In the first half of Penguindrum, we learned that each of the characters appeared to be existing in a wholly different reality from the characters around them. On the first disk of the second half of Penguindrum, we learn why.
Himari’s health takes a turn for the worse, but that is set on the back burner, as bizarrely beautiful and immediately untrustworthy Sanetoshi-sensei inserts himself into the story, confirming our belief that there are separate, but intertwined, realities colliding here.
Shoma and Ringo confess their realities to one another, only to find that they are the same reality, which makes everything worse. Ringo get caught up in Yuri’s reality. Yuri, while living up to her name, turns out to be a broken and unhappy person, twisted by parental abuse and grief. Yuri’s backstory is absolutely agonizing and horrific to watch. The repeated concept of abusive father who smokes a pipe is starting to worry me, frankly.
But slowly, these realities all start to coalesce around one person and it feels like it all might make sense. Did Momoka change reality? That would explain a lot. That almost makes sense until Masako and Mario’s story pops up. They have their own reality, but is any of it related to anything else? And what is Dr. Sanetoshi’s part in all this?
The most maddening thing about watching an anime by Ikuhara in full throttle is the unshakable feeling that, even when it’s all over, and all the pieces have been played, you may never really understand anything at all.
Collection 2 is going to have a lot more screaming, a lot more adults being horrible to children and more not-quite-matching realities.
Sentai’s translation and technicals are both not noticeable, which is exactly what one wants out of them. Rather than thinking about word choices, I find myself scanning the visuals for more meaningless symbology like the cats, the arrows, cars, towers, (what does Michaelaneglo’s David as a tower mean, really?) apples and, of course penguins. Does any of it have any meaning at all, or does it just look good? Maybe we’ll find out. Maybe not.
Art – 8
Story – 8, but super grim, with a side order of misery
Characters -7 Shoma and Ringo become more real, while everyone else becomes a pulp fiction version of themselves
Yuri – 8 It’s all yucky, but it’s there
Service – 5
Overall – 8 A hard watch, a tense watch, but a compelling watch.
Many thanks once again to Okazu Superhero Eric P. for sponsoring today’s review!