Penguindrum 08, Dantalian 08

This will be brief.

1. I think I figured out what’s going on with Penguindrum.  Ikuhara had great sucess with Utena, and he’s decided the only way to top it is to increase the pageantry and amp up the comedy.  Exhibit A: shadow girl plays (once per episode, 20 seconds, simple choreography and costumes) → Ringo’s mind plays (multiple scenes per episode, minutes long, elaborate choreography and costumes); Exhibit B: a single Chuchu’s occasional silly antics → three Penguins’ constant silly antics.  How this will feed into evaluations of the new show will only be known in the coming years.  Next week looks like more penguins.

2. There’s a fundamental flaw with Dantalian, and this episode slaps us in the face with it as if it were proud of it: phantom book inflation.  Everyone’s seen them, touched them, received them in the mail (possibly by subscription), bought, sold and traded them.  If this is the case, then how come the 1920s Britain of Dantalian is pretty much exactly like our own?  How come WWI happened just like in our world?  You either make the books really rare and secret (so that their influence, if widespread, is at least mysterious and unknown) or you radically exoticize the environment of the show’s world to suit the proliferation of these books.  The show does neither.  Next week looks potentially plot heavy.

3. For the Matsumoto fans out there: Leiji Matsumoto was in a traffic accident two days ago.  The taxi he was in crashed but the mangaka’s injuries were minor and he’s doing fine.  This happened in Nerima where he lives.



~ by Haloed Bane on September 3, 2011.

22 Responses to “Penguindrum 08, Dantalian 08”

  1. Penguindrum is Utena taken to the (fabulous) max.

    And yeah, it seems like everyone can easily get their hands on a phantom book. Good to hear Matsumoto is ok.

    • Fabulous max is the callname of this show, no doubt about it.

      Yup, Matsumoto is OK. I hope it wasn’t too scary of an experience..

      • I foresee “Police Captain Harlock,” and “The Civil Engineering of Galaxy Express 999.”

        • The college that I went to had a lot of civil engineering hanky panky going on. In essence, people would apply to civil because it was less competitive and less popular a major, then, once accepted, they would switch to mechanical or electrical engineering, which was what they wanted to study all along. I don’t think Leiji approves of such deviousness.

  2. The proliferation of Phantom Books is bugging me too. I wish that the show would put down some concrete rules for this world so that we would have a better context to put this in, but it looks like it’s trying to be in our world (the real world history) while also having it’s own fantasy world (the one that revolves around Phantom Books) at the same time. It really should just pick one.

    As for Penguindrum, I’m just enjoying the fabulous max. XD

    • Exactly. Exactly. “Oh look, it’s 1920s Britain lovingly recreated down to the tea cups and stuff, but wait, magic abounds and no one bats an eyelid when the biblioprincess comes around. Oh yeah, mystical library princess, whatever, been there done that.”

      What’s going on?! Where’s the friggin’ war ministry?? Why don’t they take Dalian in and dissect her and try to develop phantom book weapons??

      • It would be so easy for them to be like, “Oh yeah, by the way, we’re actually in an alternate universe that happens to resemble our own” and then I would be okay with all of this. But since they don’t specify, it just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Now you’ve made me curious. This is based off of a light novel series, right? Maybe the original author did flesh out this alternate universe and the anime is just cutting it out. I don’t know.

          • It’s because the show’s focus is on the books, and not on daily life in England. London isn’t a crime-infested pit just because that’s all you see in a Sherlock Holmes anthology.

            • Sure, but there’s tons of daily life here. Every episode features at least one teatime with pleasantries exchanged, some shopping etc. You’d think we’d see something odd but we don’t. It’s all normal.

  3. Ugh yeah, comedy to the (Fabulous) Max.

    We are in one very extended Cowbell of Hope/Tsuwabuki’s Diary/Nanami’s Egg episode.

    • And that can be a good experience if you’re not expecting anything more, which we were. There’s the rub.

  4. I really wonder if Ikuhara compares his work to Utena like this at all. It’s been 14 years since he made that show. Which is, like, the same amount of time that my little brother’s been alive, or the time since I was into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I dunno it just feels to me like there would be a lot more to this guy than Utena at this point, regardless of what parts of him have remained consistent since then.

    As for Dantalian, here’s something I know: the light novel series this is based on is chapter-by-chapter episodic like the show, and there are like 10 volumes. (Which came out in the span of like 3 years, god damn Japanese productivity.) Supposedly, you can pick up any chapter and read it without having to read previous chapters. i.e. there’s a lot of fucking stories going on here. So… maybe that has implications?

    • Whether Ikuhara is aware of it or not, there’s not getting around the fact that the penguins are replicas of Chuchu. And since there’s three of them, their antics show up in practically every scene. I disapprove.

      You might be right and he doesn’t think of Utena at all, what I wrote is pure speculation on my part after all…Another factor we haven’t considered is the other people in the crew. This is not all Ikuhara of course (and Utena wasn’t all Ikuhara either). Maybe after this is over I’ll have more appreciation for Chiho Saito and other members of the Be-Papas.

      About Dantalian, what you say has tremendous implications. I’ll be honest with you, if I had heard that the light novel was like that I might not have decided to watch the show. So I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t, because it’s been entertaining so far 🙂

  5. Dantalian 8 wasn’t as good as the last two half-episodes. I liked the first half, which had a homage to the Red Paperclip Project, but the latter part was just lame. And stupid.

    Phantom book inflation is indeed boring. But I guess that, as Dantalian is set in a large city in the early 20th century, many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore would find itself somewhere in London.

    MPD is just sillier and sillier. I suspect there will be character-based arcs, rather than character-based episodes like Utena.

    A few scenes were very poignant, at least for me. The Aquarium scene had a nice, creepy dissonance to it, and the last few minutes, where we saw Ringo trudging in the rain wearing only a black negligee, also left an impact on me.

    Small gem: When Shoma get’s hit by the car, and there’s a distorted zoom of his eye, accompanied by a drum sound. Quite creative.

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: