Mawaru Penguin Drum Episode 4
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Series Premise: Mawaru Penguindrum is a weekly television anime series starting in July 2011 from the creator of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Two older brothers take care of their ailing younger sister Himari, who is saved from death by a spirit residing in a penguin-shaped hat. With the assistance of three “helper-penguins” that only the three siblings can see, they must search for the mythical “Penguin Drum” in exchange for extending Himari’s life.
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Episode Summary: Ringo prepares to meet with Tabuki for bird-watching in the park, which based on the writing in her diary, Ringo wishes to turn into a date where she receives her first kiss. Shouma tags along in an attempt to find the Penguin Drum, and when they arrive at the park, Ringo also discovers Tabuki also brought along his girlfriend, the actress Yuri. Everything that can go wrong goes go wrong for Ringo, and Yuri darkly warns her that she’ll never capture Tabuki. In a last-ditch attempt to get Tabuki to kiss her, she jumps in the lake, hoping to receive CPR from Tabuki, but ends up getting saved by Shouma instead, even though she doesn’t realize it.
My Impressions: Y’know, even though Ringo is a complete mental case, I really want to root for her, because she’s the most interesting character in the bunch. I think anyone who has ever been a teenager (or young adult, for that matter) can understand the irresistible pull of an irrational crush — it makes you think and do the most outrageous things. To everyone else, you’re as crazy as a loon, but at the time your hormone-addled brain says, “This makes sense.”
So yeah, I *want* to like Ringo, I *want* to feel a little sorry for her as her unrequited crush gets battered around. Almost. Until the final minute of this episode, when the girl with the red shoes is shoved down the escalator, and the daily interpretation of Ringo’s diary is fulfilled. Who pushed her down the steps? Dunno, that was left open to interpretation as well, but I would hate to think it is Ringo, earnestly making sure the diary remains accurate.
I still don’t quite understand what’s up with the diary. Is it really some sort of “mirai nikki”, or future diary that foretells the upcoming events of the day? Is it Ringo’s lovestruck ramblings put to paper, no soothsaying involved, that she tries her hardest to make true? Is it some sort of possible reality, is it some sort of combination between wish fulfillment and fate?
And speaking of “fate” (and its cousin “destiny”), that word is thrown around a whole hell of a lot in this show, and it’s quite clear that the concept of fate is playing a major role in what is going on, not only with Ringo, but with Kanba, Shouma and Himari as well. However, I wonder if that’s just a feint, and that their fates and destinies are truly laid out for them, puppets merely following along a path beyond their control; or, they have complete control of their destinies, it’s all free will and it only seems like fate is playing a role in their actions. I’m certainly hoping more of the latter, and Ringo’s actions only muddle things further.
Anyway, I must admit that I’m less enthused about this particular episode than the last three. It was about 80% silly humor and Utena/Rose of Versailles fantasies and such, as Ringo’s comedy of errors was played up for the yuks. Okay, I think we get it now, I think we can move on past the Tragedy of Ringo, please. Also, minor point, but I wonder if there are skunks in Japan, because I don’t think they realize just how potent a skunk’s stench truly is. Just “changing clothes” ain’t gonna do it. Here in Texas, the acrid odor pervades everything and you can smell it hundreds of feet away, and can last for days.
Still enjoying Mawaru Penguin Drum, but I would like to see less of the slapstick humor (eh, leave that to the penguins, please), more actual plot development.
- Preview reviews:
- Info resources:
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “This is definitely the highlight of the new anime airing this season. It is keeping me watching every week and wanting more. The different style in direction is really helping them show that you don’t need to follow the same model for filling up “talking time”. I wonder if the blue-haired brother will fall in love with Ringo by the end; it seems like it might happen…” – Clanrain
- “A date going wrong is nothing new, but this episode knew that and just went with trying to create the most bizarre and over the top ways for things to fail, playing around with things like “destiny” at the same time. Now THIS is what I consider to be a good romantic comedy: one with creative jokes that doesn’t just try to regurgitate the same things over and over again with characters who are basically just morons. The direction once again was just wonderful in this episode which made it all the more fun to watch.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “Well, like I said earlier, a vast majority of this episode was rather unimportant. Ringo pretty much just plans another one of her crazy attempts at seducing her crush, all while trying to desperately avoid her “destiny” from falling apart…The running joke where Ringo would daydream about fulfilling her destiny popped up in this episode 3-5 times, and by the 2nd time the joke got old. Seriously, we already got an episode last week where Ringo’s conquest ended in failure, so I didn’t need to see another episode devoted to her failing again (and once again, failed due to the new arrival blond girlfriend).” – Emory Anime Club