Mawaru Penguindrum 01: Ideal

Right off the bat we get hit with big sticky globs of Idealistic Idealism of Ideal Ideas.  The notion that Fate sucks because its existence would render Life meaningless.  The notion that there is an Afterlife, and that Life only really begins with the Afterlife.  The notion that Love rules.  The notion that you can accurately imitate an Animal by simply repeating its Name in whichever Language you happen to speak <an example of extreme Idealism if you think about it>.

If Nietzsche came back from the grave and saw this he’d vomit, have a heart attack and die again.  Thankfully the rest of us can watch this and enjoy it.

Even the geography seems to be ideal.  The family lives near Ogikubo Station, from which the Marunouchi line begins (part of the line was historically named the Ogikubo line).  Then the aquarium they visit is in Ikebukuro (which is the 25th and last station on the same line).  Shoma goes to school near Shinjuku-Gyoenmae, the 10th station on the same line.  The chances that all the places you need to go to in Tokyo are on the same line are practically astronomical.  Fate???

And of course,  all of what I’m writing here wasn’t the result of hours of research.  Quite the contrary, the show slaps you in the face with this geography.  I guess we’ll know in the next episode if there’s more to this, but since Shinjuku (or as I call it: Heaven and Hell on Earth) is on the line, they could easily just stay on it for the rest of the show.

Since I’ve always thought of Revolutionary Girl Utena‘s Chu Chu and Neon Genesis Evangelion‘s Pen Pen as equivalents, I find it funny (though not surprising) that Utena‘s Ikuhara is now bringing us penguins that sound like Chu Chus.  Overall, I love the fact that Ikuhara is not being all paranoid and trying to banish or exorcise Utena from this project.  Sticking your arm inside someone’s chest as they arch back in exquisite pain makes for a cool scene, no matter what show it is.

As for the kiss at the end, well, we’ll see…

P.S. ghostlightning writing in otou-san‘s blog warns us to prepare for disappointments.  I refuse to believe that this will bad.  But if it turns out to be bad, I will be very disappointed.

~ by Haloed Bane on July 8, 2011.

32 Responses to “Mawaru Penguindrum 01: Ideal”

  1. As a train commuter myself, I notice that it takes a different mentality than you would need to commute in a car culture. Hard to say what it is, exactly… just that different switches are flipped. You get used to defining the motions of your life by a timetable, living on the clock both inside and outside the office.

    It is, as you say, a bit like living a life with fate. Especially when your entire life is on the Marunouchi Line.

    • You’re totally right. A train life is so regimented (also, bus life). The routine is easy to interpret fatalistically!

  2. This first episode was excellent. Shows do fall apart, so we’ll see what the future holds, but this first episode was so so good.

  3. If Nietzsche came back from the grave and saw this he’d vomit, have a heart attack and die again.

    Then I’d make him wear the penguin hat.

    I love the fact that Ikuhara is not being all paranoid and trying to banish or exorcise Utena from this project.

    Seconded (though no surprise coming from me, who revels in self-referencing in anime).

    Lastly, I wrote the post on SOS. Your reading skills are declining in your advanced age.

    • Gah, you Mexican jumping bean bloggers get me all confused~ Back in the old days, bloggers had the one blog and they stuck to it 😀

      Nietzsche with the penguin hat deserves its own show.

      • As early as 2008 I had access to at least 3 blogs: Oi, hayaku, and notdotq… your nostalgia is as whitewashed as a conservative political ad campaign.

        +1 on the Nietzche Penguindrum, especially if Wagner and Dostoevsky is somehow involved.

        • Now I’m paranoid. A ghostly hand in every aniblog pie… :O

          BTW, congratulations to South Sudan on its birthday.

  4. I find the idealisms in this episode so interesting~

    Wow… nice observation on the train station locations. It’s so unexpected that such could actually be somehow related to the “fate” theme *_* Thanks for sharing~

    • Yeah, the train thing is interesting. I’m dying to know if the characters will stick to locations on the same train line in the next few episodes. It’s great that the line color happens to be Red too.

  5. […] notes the wonderful geography. The train station layout of the series somewhat parallels the chess theme […]

  6. Love directing, love SZS-esque songs, but… Fate? Ressing like that? Absolutely disgusting! I’d joint Nietzsche on this one!

  7. Confession: I normally don’t watch anime as it airs. However, if it’s from a group I have a great love for, I’ll do so then. After the crazy masterpiece Utena, I just knew I had to check out Ikuhara’s latest (Ditto for Matsumoto, Oshii, Anno or Gainax in general.) Anyway, while it’s still too early to say, I was very intrigued with this first episode. I do hope the quality stays consitent though. Utena’s your masterwork, Ikuhara – Try to top it if you can… or not. Either way, just make a kickass anime with enough stuff to chew on so nerds like me can gee with joy. You still got it if this first one’s to go by.

    • We’ve got the same tastes. There is a possibility that a new TV series or OVA from Matsumoto will be coming out later this year, if not, then I guess it’ll get pushed to next year, but it’s coming. As for Penguindrum, I feel very optimistic about it over the long run..don’t ask me why. And BTW, Discovery IS the best album of the decade!! And Justice rules. Lately I like Neo Tokyo’s remixes a lot too.

  8. Yo,

    Got linked here with from the penguindrum lj comm because of the map locations you pointed out here. Just wanted to thank you for doing so out and, if you’d like, check out what I’ve written here. here. It’s doubly worth it to check out the comments section because a lot of people have brought up a lot of details I missed.

    Also, your comment about Nietzsche made me giggle. Personally, I think if Nietzsche came back from the grave and watched the show, it would convert turn his perpetual frown upside down and, like the Grinch, his heart would grow three sizes and he would then start preaching about the healing power of penguins.

    Though, to be respectful to Nietzsche’s enormous body of work and his writing, I think he would appreciate the themes and the metaphors that are being discussed in the anime, especially the brother’s outright disdain and skepticism for even the vague concept of God.

    • sorry, link didn’t work. try here:

      • Wow, you go in really deep, and with only one episode!!!

        Kanba’s problem about the elegance of simpler lifeforms vs humans can be solved if he accepts that what he himself is doing is a survival strategy. That is, there is no essential difference between the human and the animal. And humans are a very successful species so far (as ants and cockroaches are too). But your comment on how Kanba turns around and doubts the humanity of someone who does not follow his DNA is very striking. Kanba is confused it seems…which means he is human after all.

        Another great connection you make is with the apple and punishment and enlightenment. The whole business of Samsara = Nirvana, or the Felix Culpa concept in Christianity, are applicable, yes. RE: Garden of Eden, the blogger at catchercatch pointed to the cherub pic at the beginning of the episode.. Then we were reminded that cherubim are guarding the Garden of Eden. Also, as every Christian teenager has noticed and remarked at one point or another, the first humans must have been incestuous. Adam and Even are siblings, or maybe father and daughter…

        I don’t believe in free will, so it’s very interesting for me to see how this show (and its bloggers) deals with dilemmas that remind me of “how many angels fit on the head of a pin”.

        I am glad one of your commentators quoted a statement confirming what I was speculating about: that the series will all take place within the Marunouchi line.

        • Thanks!

          You’re right about Kanba and the factor of incest. A commenter on animesuki showed that my binary between human and animal wasn’t as definite as I thought it was as incest does have its place in the animal world (thus it is an actual survival strategy).

          And yeah, one of the Anonymous commenters in my post goes into this awesome analysis of everything in Himari’s room, including the cherub and it’s placement.

          I was actually thinking about the cherubim guarding the Eden actually, especially in relation to Ringo in the opening and how she turns into fire in the OP (like the fiery sword the cherubim use to fend people away from the tree of life).

          The show’s already bringing some huge topics up in it’s first episode and I’m really excited to see what comes of it! I’m an aesethicist by nature so I’m just having fun watching rather than casting any judgments or bringing personal opinions in yet. And like, I have utmost confidence in Ikuhara: he doesn’t seem like a person who does things half-assed. I mean, instead of hanging around the anime industry and create so-so series, he waits over a decade until he finally has something he thinks is meaningful. And how full of meaning it is already! (heh).

          • Yeah, this is by far the most analyzed first episode of an anime series I’ve ever witnessed. Just a few more days and we’ll have one more ep!!

  9. A new Matsumoto show is coming?! YES! (First the GE999 movies getting a DVD release and now this – It’s good to be a Matsumoto fan right now. :))

    Indeed, I’m looking forward to how this turns out. I’m expecting great things.

    • It’s called Zero Desigze. Last I heard it was likely coming out before the end of this year… We’ll see.

  10. Great article. I just love reading about this show, and how nearly every single aspect of it is being very well analyzed by various bloggers!

    • Yeah, I think I spent over an hour just reading blog posts on this episode. I imagine I’ll have to take a day off just to read up on episode 2 😀

  11. […] think it goes without saying that PengiDrum is one of the most talked about shows of the 2011 summer anime season. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of bloggers’ insight […]

  12. […] to be from the destination of the Takakura brothers’ fate and the aquarium is located at the end of the Marunouchi line in Ikebukuro.  It will be interesting to see if all roads lead back to the aquarium, as it is now not only an […]

  13. […] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: