A thoughtful response to current anime.

Mawaru Penguindrum – Episode 19

Last episode on Mawaru Penguindrum, the good guys managed to rescue the damsel-in-distress from the clutches of the evil Tabuki.  But things still aren’t resolved; Tabuki seems to have given up, for now at least, but Yuri is still out there scheming, so is the pink-haired doctor, and Masako and the Penguin Queen seem to have their own agenda.  Plus Kanba has been getting money from the remains of the cult, and you have to wonder what the cult is getting in return.  Let’s find out in episode 19 of Mawaru Penguindrum.

…thirty minutes pass…

The truth grows out of the barrel of a gun.

There were a lot of lies exposed in this episode.  We’re going to have to sit down and think about what we know.

First off, the family’s parents, the perpetrators of the bombing fifteen years ago, are still alive.  And Kanba is in contact with them!  This at least solves the mystery of what he’s doing to earn the money – he’s being a blood relation of people with money.  Of course, that doesn’t preclude him doing some shady stuff, and he does in fact seem to be playing the role of a pawn in the cult’s game, but I like to think that’s sort of incidental, that they’d be helping him anyway, that even as crazy cultists, the parents love their children.

Speaking of those parents’ children, Himari isn’t one!  Isn’t that wacky.  Well, that retroactively makes those naked incest kisses a lot less taboo.  It changes Kanba’s whole character, in fact, for the worse.  Instead of being a loving brother who’s all twisted up with fraternal duty and forbidden love and so is willing to give up part of his soul or let his hand be ripped to pieces by a steel cable, he’s doing it all based on boring old romantic affection.  And it’s romantic affection for a girl his brother staked prior claim on, too!

Speaking of the prior claim his brother staked, apparently the Child Broiler is a real thing.  Apparently unwanted children are non-metaphorically fed into an assembly-line and erased from existence.  Apparently, in canon, Shouma saved Himari from this fate with a magic apple.  This might help explain why Himari occasionally dies for no apparent reason – maybe she was lightly broiled before Shouma managed to save her.  Maybe her claim on reality is tenuous, which was why she wanted to be an idol but couldn’t. And now she’s borrowing part of Kanba’s soul, but it’s not enough.  And that medicine the pink-haired doctor is giving her is actually liquid reality (which would explain why it’s so expensive).  But other events seem more consistent with Himari being important in her own right.  The pink-haired doctor called her the bride of fate, the Penguin Queen saw fit to possess her, and Shouma picked her out of all the broiled children in the first place.  I dunno.

I had been coming to like Masako more, but when she started shooting at Himari, all my sympathy evaporated in a flash.  Sure, she wasn’t firing bullets, only truth bombs, but some truths are painful enough you’d rather take the bullet.  To tell someone the truth is an act of sabotage akin to slashing their tires.  And in any case, while she was dodging those truths, she could have easily gotten herself hurt.  The way she was dodging those rolling boulders that were in the street for no reason made it look like a danmaku stage.  She’s just out of the hospital, and you’re forcing her to dodge gunfire and rolling boulders?  You’re gonna end up with a Himari pancake if you don’t look out.

The pink-haired doctor wants Masako to burn the diary.  I’m glad she didn’t, she has a good head on her shoulders.  I guess not all the sympathy I had for her vanished.  I’m still rooting for her if it comes down to it, I just wish she’d be more understanding of people who want to keep their illusions.  But in the end, I have to hope for the princess to rescue Mario.


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