Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2011 to Dec 23, 2011
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.171 (scored by 41024 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisOnce you make a decision, does the universe conspire to make it happen? Is destiny a matter of chance, a matter of choice or the complex outcome of thousands of warring strands of fate? All twins Kanba and Shoma know is that when their terminally ill sister Himari collapses at the aquarium, her death is somehow temporarily reversed by the penguin hat that she had asked for. It's a provisional resurrection, however, and it comes at a price: to keep Himari alive they need to find the mysterious Penguin Drum. In order to do that, they must first find the links to a complex interlocking chain of riddles that has wrapped around their entire existence, and unravel the knots that tie them to mystifying diary and a baffling string of strangers and semi-acquaintances who all have their own secrets, agendas and "survival strategies." And in order for Himari to live, someone else's chosen destiny will have to change. It's a story of love, fate, life, death... and Penguins!
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Mawaru Penguindrum, Mawaru Penguindrum
Characters & Voice Actors
Director, Episode Director, Script, Storyboard, Series Composition, Screenplay
Director, Episode Director, Storyboard, Animation Director, Key Animation
Episode Director, Storyboard, Assistant Director
Episode Director, Storyboard, Animation Director
Firstly, let's get it out of the way. Mawaru Penguindrum is a show which is by no means an easy watch. It is not a simple show with a linear plotline, nor is it one that is willing to spoonfeed every single piece of information to its audience. Instead, it is a highly cryptic show that prides itself on its ability to pile mystery upon mystery onto the show, leave the audience thoroughly confused by blending reality and metaphorical imagery, and leave much of its message to personal interpretation.
If you are one who doesn't enjoy thinking too deeply into a show, it would be best for you to avoid this one. Although there are many aspects which can still be enjoyed even if you choose not to look at the show beyond a superficial level, such as the excellently done humor and its slick sense of style, you would be missing out on the many small things that make this show special. It is filled with tons of literary devices, ranging from the constant usage of imagery and symbols to allusions to obscure works. It requires some work to fully get the show, and not taking the effort to do so will often leave you confused or even frustrated at your inability to grasp just what is going on.
However, if you are one that finds fun in figuring out what each of these little things mean, Penguindrum is the perfect show for you - it is easily one of the richest shows that the medium has to offer, exploring a wide range of themes such as fate, family, love and revenge, packing plenty of content within its short run within 24 episodes. One of the interesting things about the show is that things are often not made fully clear - and how each person interprets it can be completely different. It truly is up to you to make your own view of the show and its messages, so I won't go too much into that, as each individual will experience the range of events differently.
Despite having some of the cutest and adorable penguins in the show, it must be warned that this show is a very dark one. This is a show wherein the characters are very, very screwed up. A common thread around them is the theme of shitty parents - this show contains some of the most worthless and shittiest parents I have personally seen in most works. The development here is extremely well-done, managing to create a excellent balance of emotions within the viewer. We will often feel disgusted or creeped out at the many sick and demented actions the characters take, yet we will manage to understand why they might want to go to such lengths. It manages to paint them in a pitiable light whilst not downplaying the fact that yes, these people are messed up and are doing some horrible things. That aspect is without a doubt my favorite aspect of the show, managing to humanize horrible humans and make us care for them.
That is not to say that it isn't flawed. There are certain characters which may do a complete 180 and completely shift their personalities or motivations to fit the plot. Whilst some might argue that these instances are well foreshadowed and thus acceptable, it is in my opinion that some instances are poorly done. I would say that this doesn't happen too often within the show, but it does sometime feel that the show is creating a twist for the sake of creating one. Thankfully, as mentioned, this happens rather rarely, and the overall quality of the characterization is excellent.
Plot wise, this is undoubtedly a very intriguing show. What it excels best at is creating that sense of mystery - you never know what the hell is going on, yet are given enough hints throughout the show, many of which come full circle at the end of the series. It can be said that this show demands a rewatch to fully understand all the little things packed into it, and even then, it can be very difficult to understand what truly is going on. Things are very often left unexplained, and several plot threads are left hanging. Whilst some might feel that this is a good thing as it leaves more to interpretation, I personally find it a little too much, as many things make very little sense, and I am sure that there are many gaping holes throughout the plot which are never fully resolved.
The production values on the show are excellent, and there is nothing to complain about. The art style is gorgeous, and it's clear that plenty of effort was put into the art and animation, making it one of the more beautiful shows of recent years. It also boasts an excellent soundtrack that is used excellently, often bolstering the effects of many scenes. There are close to zero complains regarding the technical aspects of the series.
In the end, how you would judge the show ultimately relies on how much effort you are willing to put in the show, and how far you can let little flaws slide. It is one which I enjoyed, but didn't manage to love as I felt that things were often a little too cryptic. Everyone's response to penguindrum will be very different, but what is undeniable is the fact that it is a truly unique and daring show, one which dares to challenge the mediocrity of the industry, and mostly succeeds in doing so, delivering an engaging and thought-provoking product. read more
Remember during an English/Literature class and your teacher would recommend you a book to read for an important exam/lesson? Some of the contexts contain what you may think as a simple room painted in "red" actually hides a message of violence and anger. Another example is the book "The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry" shares many symbols such as the rose being a symbol of vanity. Mawaru Penguindrum is definitely like a classic book. A classic book that uses objects as symbols.
Practically, the whole anime in itself is a pure symbol of what you may think is a child's play is actually much more than that.
The thing that made me drawn into the anime was pretty simple, the cute little blue penguins. I barely took the anime that seriously because I don't really check out the summary of an anime just for an element of surprise and the picture cover of the anime made it look like a children's show. The first few episodes did turn out to be a joke and I had a great time laughing and admiring the fun atmosphere the anime was giving. But once the anime started to take the story in a different direction the anime turns into an anime worth raising an eyebrow for.
During the start of the anime, more likely the word "fate/destiny" does keep on repeating a dozen of times and mainly that is the general story line. Likely avoiding the destined future a person takes is not plausible -- and so that's when the penguindrum comes. Symbolism can never die down in this anime and it is unavoidable. What is unique about how the anime's flow of story goes is the endless amount of flashbacks you will receive in every episode. It surely is annoying and confusing because they do show you flashbacks in random but then it isn't much likely a bother if you are serious about getting to know this anime better. Another word you'll be hearing a lot of times in this anime is "punishment" and in life happiness doesn't come along the way you like it. There will always be hard times and consequences no matter how painful it is. The way I see with this anime a reward has to be equal to its punishment -- but I think that's just me. The greatest part of the anime for me was the ending. I think it was a pure masterpiece. I was overflowing with tears and anger but if you look at it in the story line itself and the meaning of destiny that ending did not fail to surprise me. An ending worth crying and worth inspiring.
Practically the reason is that once we see a colorful piece of artwork the logical meaning is "fun & happy" but that picturesque is just a cover up and so that's when the "Psychological" genre clearly explains it. The bright colors was well-spot on with the anime. I always loved the transformation part of Himari. The splashing of colors, the angle shots and the well-detailed animation are all worth praising for. The opening and ending animations are both done beautifully. If I may, the Opening Animation or even the title screen of Mawaru in itself holds a lot of clues. They sure took their time planting these clues very well and hiding it from the viewers and with these colorful images it is a very bright idea that the director was hiding the "main" plot.
One of the best soundtracks out there. I fell in love more with the OSTs rather than the Opening and Ending songs. What is so great about these OSTs is that the music is so perfect with the scene it was trying to match. My favorite OSTs would be "The Children of Fruit and Destiny" and "Unmei no Ko Tachi" -- listen to it and let the music feel you. I still cry to this OST and it still holds a deep meaning to me.
Excellent character development. The characters made this anime possible. Let me remind you, this has a psychological genre so more likely you'll see a lot of out-of-the-box characters. The anime didn't just focus on the four main characters but also all those characters around them had a big role in the anime and what can be more realistic than that. Today, we live our lives thinking that the people around us are just individuals who will be nothing more than just strangers not knowing that these people can change our life or more likely our destiny and that's how Mawaru Penguindrum explains it so well. The beautiful way of how the director connects all these minor/major characters makes you ask at how much more can this anime get more realistic as it is.
One of the most rare animes that truly uses my brain to unfold the story. As I go beyond the episodes it becomes more intriguing and exciting. So much were happening in this show that I actually grabbed a pen and paper (literally) to try to unfold the life of all of these characters -- and it was a bliss. For a show to be called as an "anime" that kept me pre-occupied with questions was something I haven't really experience in my time being of watching animes and that's what makes this show so special. Penguindrum also holds my most favorite anime quotes. This is so far the only anime that truly made me experience happiness, sadness, anger, suspense and even madness. It practically is the only anime that moved me to think over my life (I know, what the hell) and the great deal of Penguindrum being able to touch me so much is a much better work than any masterpiece.
Mawaru Penguindrum is not like any normal anime. It's a work of art that is in need of 100% of your attention and fairly "a lot" of brain power. Like any great literary piece, not all would understand the point of view of the creator but then if you are able to, most especially in Penguindrum, you'll feel how beautiful this creation is. read more
Basically if you've seen Utena and loved it, then Penguindrum is a must watch. Both shows are directed by Ikuhara Kunihiko, which means you'll expect to see similar themes and artistic flare.
Both have the same director, are heavily symbolic to the point that almost everything is directed in a very specific way to enhance the symbolism , have a fun vibe on the surface while being psychologically darker and have similar basic and underlying philosophical themes while some of their characters share the same traits.
They are similar in a way that the more twisted and complicated everything gets, the better it becomes, first episodes start off slow but by the end - every episode is like a piece of a puzzle that adds up to make a complete picture. Both are unusual, visually beautiful and artistic.
Similar topics are explored in both shows (they also share the same director). Mawaru Penguin Drum has multiple references to Utena.
Leading characters go to great lengths to save the ill fated, moe, fellow lead whilst venturing into a high level conspiracy plot.
same director, same unique style........must experience his world. Utterly different than all the rest :)
Both directed by the genius Ikuhara. Lots of symbolism, motifs, random screen shots and dialogue. Beautiful characters and bishounens :) and cute animals hehe
They are both are directed, created, and written by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Similarities between the two:
- Unique style and great artistic direction.
- Similar character designs (the character designers, however, are not the same).
- Very unpredictable at times.
- An animation/music sequence that is repeated in several episodes (Seizon Senryaku in Penguindrum, Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku in Utena)
- A lot of visual symbolism and metaphors. A LOT.
- Involve changing the world.
- Deal with fate and destiny. Penguindrum more so than Utena.
- Very similar character development.
Both have the same director and I get Utena vibes everywhere from Penguindrum. They have a similar style and use of repeated scenes and phrases. Although I don't know yet, Akio seems really similar to Sanetoshi, and the whole library thing seemed really similar to the Black Rose arc. Penguindrum has a Fate Bride and Utena has a Rose Bride.
If you liked Utena, then you will love this anime. They were directed by the same director and Penguindrum is just as exciting and just as mind screwy as Utena was.
Both were directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara and in fact are very similar in ideas & details of the plot. Also both have great characters & art.
If you are an Utena fan do yourself a favor and just give it a watch.
You'll be feeling the Utena vibes.
Simply amazing, you have to watch it!!!fun and sad!!a surprising story, for me is the best anime of 2011, a masterpiece of Ikuhara ;_;
Both are surreal, highly symbolic coming of age stories where the young protagonists deal with the after effects of trauma, an incomprehensible world, and accepting loss as a rite of passage to adulthood. Both shows rely on absurdist humor and parodying shojo tropes before growing steadily darker in tone. And both are directed by Ikuhara.
Both Anime use an animation style that doesn't stick to the norm. There are bright colors and there is a lot of angst from beginning to end. Everyone tries to fight for their dream and wish too.
Both have a hidden secret behind the story. Everything resolves around something that happened in the past and both have an unexpected solution. They become more interesting with each episode.
Dark setting and surreal ambiance wrapped in a cute , colourful package. It's not what it seems to be at first sight. Both pictures a struggle with destiny. There are also important plot developmnets based on characters ambiguity. Both shares vague endings that won't satisfy everyone, especially those who like things to be clear.
Both explore fate; hardship some suffer or view and whether they chose to go to extreem lengths to change it or simply leave things as they are destined to be.
Both animes have the theme of changing fate, or the future, and in both the characters attempt to do so in order to save the ones they love.
If you liked one of them, you'll certainly appreciate another one.
They're similar in:
-Good character development
-Fighting against fate is the main idea of both
Both have similar ideas of fate and destiny
I also feel the ending in both are executed similarly
Both are cute looking with a surprisingly dark tone
Both start out fairly pleasantly and "normal." However, the plots quickly take a turn to dark atmospheres and philosophical messages.
Both have a unique and interesting art direction and high quality sound design. If you like one of them, you'll probably enjoy the other as well.
Both have a "magical" element to them and get twisted in the end. Both also contain characters fighting for each other. While Madoka Magica and Mawaru Penguindrum strive to complete different goals, you may enjoy this anime as it is still similar.
Opening Theme#1: "Nornir (ノルニル)" by Etsuko Yakushimaru Metro Orchestra (eps 1-14)
#2: "Shounen yo Ware ni Kaere (少年よ我に帰れ)" by Etsuko Yakushimaru Metro Orchestra (eps 15-23)
Ending Theme#01: "DEAR FUTURE" by coaltar of the deepers (eps 1-9, 11-12)
#02: "DEAR FUTURE feat. Yui Horie" by coaltar of the deepers (ep 10)
#03: "Haiiro no Suiyoubi (灰色の水曜日)" by Triple H (eps 13, 15, 18)
#04: "Bad News Kuroi Yokan (Bad News 黒い予感)" by Triple H (eps 14, 17)
#05: "Ikarechimattaze!! (イカレちまったぜ!!)" by Triple H (ep 16)
#06: "HIDE and SEEK" by Triple H (ep 19)more
#07: "Private Girl" by Triple H (ep 20)
#08: "Tamashii Kogashite (魂こがして)" by Triple H (ep 21)
#09: "Asa no Kageri no Naka de (朝のかげりの中で)" by Triple H (ep 22)
#10: "HEROES ~Eiyuutachi (HEROES ～英雄たち)" by Triple H (ep 23)
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