Since its very first episode, Mawaru Penguindrum may have already established a sort of form for itself: sheer unpredictability. Others may disagree though, and say the show is not unpredictable as it is just a montage of crazy random sequences. Well, it wouldn’t matter how you look at it; you will almost always wind up clueless after an episode. With sixteen episodes in, the mystery still remains as a mystery, despite the latest revelations and such. I feel that the series is just begging us to speculate, only to have our guesses flipped around stomped on. So why am I pointing out something that is already so apparent from this show?
Two words: Uncrushable Man
That would be the title of the sixteenth and latest episode of Mawaru Penguindrum. To summarize, the episode sheds some light on Masako’s past, mostly about her family, her desire to kill her grandfather Sahei, her subsequent desire to bring back her father and how she ended up the way she is now. The “Uncrushable Man” (I think) refers to Masako’s grandfather who claims that men of the Natsume clan must not be crushed at all costs. This also attributes to Masako’s catch-phrase, “I must crush him soon”. All this would be well and good, but this particular episode was so random in so many ways.
First off, we have some dream sequences wherein Masako kills off her grandfather in various covert and/or comedic ways – poisoning, blow-dart to the neck, and golf ball to the head – to name a few. The reason for doing so, was so that her father could return to their household. However, Masako was yet to do anything remotely close to actually killing her grandfather. I think this was how Masako saw her grandfather. A man who won’t be crushed, and would still be alive the next morning. Well, it’s that, as well as comic relief. You’ve got to admit, Sahei Natsume is funny (along with that American business associate who actually speaks proper English).
When her grandfather really does die (due to being poisoned by eating a blow fish he stripped himself), crazy randomness reaches a whole new level. He possesses Mario, Masako’s brother, since, well, he can’t be crushed. This leads to an odd stand-off which involved two plates of stripped blow fish, one of which was stripped and poisoned by Sahei himself. The challenge was to pick the right one. However, that would mean that Mario, controlled by grandpa Natsume, would be the one to be poisoned instead. This led to Masako pushing aside Mario (to a pond, of all places) and eating both plates. Of course, eating both plates meant that she would surely be poisoned, and well, she was. She became paralyzed shortly after. This scene may have well been the actual death of Mario, which sucks for Masako, since she was still fully conscious for some time, before she blacked out.
Which leads to a more serious, but still confusing scene. Masako was now aboard a mysterious train with Sanetoshi and Mario, and her father, Kanba, and a bunch of suited guys on the next cart. Sanetoshi explains that her father and Kanba were one of the chosen ones to “put the world back on track” and asks (more like blackmail) Masako to be a chosen one too, for the sake of her brother. Masako ends the episode by waking up from a three-day coma (well, she was between life and death, so I would assume so)
After the episode I found myself speculating every bit of what I can and can’t understand. That led to a bunch of questions that popped in my head – How can Sahei be able to possess someone? Is Masako’s father related to the Takakura family, since they work for the same organization? Is Kanba related to Masako’s father, since his hair is kinda Kanba-like? and in that matter, are Shouma and Kanba really brothers? Where the hell does Sanetoshi stand in all this?
I left out some other scenes, like scenes with Shouma and such, but the events above are more than enough to prove my point. No matter how random they make it (this episode being the best example of it) Mawaru Penguindrum makes it work (I think Ikuhara gets the credit for this one). I don’t think there are a lot of shows that could utilize randomness to actually advance a plot, and in such a colorful way at that. At first I thought this episode was pretty bad, but after thinking some of the things over, and actually paying attention to the craziness, I was proven wrong.
I mean come one, can you blame me? The episode was full of puns (which I admit are totally funny) One of my favorite lines being, “I like my blow fish like I like my women: stripped by me!” ^^