Last episode on Mawaru Penguindrum, we learned the secret of the diary. Apparently it can be used to alter reality, at a proportional physical cost to oneself. Magical artifacts with proportional costs for use are always a pain, but they’re probably worth having around anyway. It’s not clear what is proportional to what, exactly, but if you could learn to fine tune the alterations in reality without fully killing yourself, you could perhaps conjure into being better medical technology. And then the medical technology would be used to repair the harm done by the diary, and you could then use it again to conjure even better medical technology, which will be even better at repairing you and allow you to make an even more daring wish… it’s an exponential explosion, eventually you just shoot off the top of the power chart and can rewrite reality according to your whims. That’s one possible way of using it! Let’s see if they can think of any others in episode 16 of Mawaru Penguindrum.
…thirty minutes pass…
I don't think there's a single woman in this show that isn't some sort of sexual predator.
Ok, those of you who are not following GG’s barely passable translation can skip this paragraph, but I wanted to clarify a few points about how to do proper translation, and maybe clarify what was going on in the blowfish scene. GG’s big problem is that it works too hard to make its translations natural sentences of English. This is a laudable goal on its own, but they sacrifice faithfulness to the original work to do it. For example, they translated “shibireru” (this makes me numb; metaphorically, this is exciting or stimulating to me) as “electrifying”, which is fine in most cases, but doesn’t work out when we are talking about the effects of blowfish poison. Also in that scene they translated “doku wo kurawaba sara made” (if you eat poison finish the plate; metaphorically, if something’s costly to do at all, you may as well do a lot of it) as “might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb”, which is fine in some cases perhaps, but doesn’t work out when there is a literal plate full of literal poison in front of the speaker. GG translates the metaphors on a purely metaphorical level, ignoring the literal content and making some scenes incomprehensible.
Apart from the translation issues, this was a good episode! Masako’s grandfather seems like a cool guy. He likes his women like he likes his various things: having appropriate properties. I couldn’t tell how much of what happened in the episode was a dream sequence, or the magic of the Penguin Drum or what. Her grandfather coming back from the dead doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should happen without the intervention of the pink-haired doctor or the Penguin Queen, and a spirit inhabiting someone else’s body doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should happen without the intervention of the Penguin Queen… I guess these things all have precedents so it’s not so unbelievable. You know what they say, if you eat poison you might as well finish the plate.
We got a little bit of a closer look at the people Kanba has been presumably getting money from. So – Kanba has been getting money from them. They bear the Penguin insignia, the same as the crossbow ammo Masako has been using. Masako’s father was involved with them, to his detriment. I think I remember Kanba’s father being involved with them to his detriment too, come to think of it. Wasn’t the Penguin insignia all over the trucks that bombed Tokyo? So – they bombed Tokyo. The pink-haired doctor is in league with them, or working for them, or being worked for by them. They want to take back the world. Thus, they had the world. Also, thus, they lost the world. We know that the diary can do lots of things. If the diary is the Penguin Drum, and they bear the Penguin insignia, that could mean they had the world, in the form of the diary, and then they lost it, when Momoka got a hold of it? Or they could just mean, they had the world, but then all their hard work was wiped out by the action of the diary. Or, he could be a death god, and he’s taking back the world from the ungrateful humans who pump CO2 into the atmosphere and garbage into the seas de geso~