Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2011 to Dec 23, 2011
24 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.161 (scored by 43454 users)
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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
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
Mawaru Penguindrum is a beautiful piece of art. It can inspire either much love or hate, and new details are discovered with each viewing. Intelligent symbolism and heavy themes span all of Penguindrum's 24 episodes. Despite its surreal delivery, Penguindrum remains very real.
The story of Mawaru Penguindrum is completely absurd. Not absurd because of the surreal elements, but how it makes something so imaginative and implausible seem real. We start off with a dying sister, her revival, and eventual search for a mysterious object, called the "penguin drum". Yet, somewhere along the way, the story becomes a situation of life, death, and existence itself.
The plot takes a while to reach its climax. Half of the show is spent on character development, craziness, humor, and seemingly random events. The first half is exciting, and the absolute insanity never stops. However, this slow-developing plot is crucial; the characters grow on you. And if you have any siblings, it'll hit close to home. The second half, on the other hand, takes a dark turn, and the plot moves much quicker here. The development and random elements from the first half are pieced together, and nothing ends up being random or useless. Nevertheless, the show's thematic elements are certainly strange. There's comedy, terrorism/cult politics, moral ambiguity, philosophy, all tied together by the overarching theme of family and friendship. The story isn't just unique; it's relevant without being pretentious and forceful. As stated before, its absurd, but the themes, feelings, and other elements that Penguindrum invokes is very real.
Brain's Base put quite some effort here. As the makers of Natsume Yuujinchou, the art quality is outstanding. The story isn't the only thing that's surreal; the art is too. From the strange angles and fantasy-esque scenes, the art has a Shaft feel. How a studio is able to go from a calm slice-of-life, realistic style to flamboyant, Bakemonogatari-like flair is beyond me. The art truly complements the story.
Sound is just as great as the art. The music is simply stunning. The opening themes are performed very well, and their compositions are genius. The ending themes are mostly covers of ARB (old Japanese rock band) with a cool twist. Dear Future (first ending theme) is exceptional--extensive use of hemiola, polyrhythms, layering, and the most angry/painful sounding minor chords. In other words, the music was made for musicians while being very accessible. This isn't you regular J-Pop or J-Rock fair. The rest of the soundtrack is appropriate, but not exactly memorable. Sound effects are also well-done.
Again, character development is crucial to Penguindrum.
Kanba: You'll hate some of his decisions, but you'll always have sympathy for the Takakura siblings. He's a cool guy, and he will do anything to save his family, no matter the consequences. He does some immoral things.
Shouma: He's innocent but brave. He will only do what is right, but just like Kanba, he tries to protect his family whenever he can.
Himari: She's the little sister of the Takakuras'. She's rather intelligent and insightful, and unlike the majority of sisters in anime (or in media in general), she's not filled with moe/kawaii or tsundere-ness. The Takakuras are very likable, and each have their own quirky personalities.
Ringo: She'll creep you out for most of the show, but you'll eventually love her too. Confused but wholehearted.
Penguins: THEY ARE THE CUTEST THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE. They provide most of the comedic relief in the show, and each penguin takes its personality quirks from their respective owners.
The remaining cast are interesting, and they all add quite a bit to the story.
I loved Mawaru Penguindrum. It has its own peculiar charm through its humor and its tragedy. I thoroughly enjoyed Penguindrum's use of literary themes (foreshadowing, allusions, etc.) and overall artistic approach to everything. In addition, it made me feel a wide-range of emotions, from joy and confusion to sadness and anger, and by the end of it, I was left crying with tears of sadness and joy.
But that's not to say that you'll love it too. As with any work of art, it will inspire love or hate. In any case, if you happen to enjoy this show, it will open your eyes quite a bit--if you're not used to opening them. Otherwise, you'll be very amused. So, give Mawaru Penguindrum a shot. It will take the whole show to truly appreciate it, although I question your humanity if it doesn't make you interested.
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.
Since Ikuhara directed both, it's no surprise that Penguindrum should be similar to Utena. There is a similar focus on sibling relationships, with tastefully ambiguous hints of incest. Utena's focus on the incestuous nature of such relationships is certainly stronger (although I expected it to be the opposite from the first episode of Penguindrum). Both shows have a similar surreal feel, and both keep you hooked with elements of mysteriousness until the end. Although Penguindrum is a show about relationships, the focus is less deep and systematic than in Utena. Both have strong elements of symbolism, although Utena's symbolism appears to have more meaning. Both seem to take a bizarre turn toward the end of the series, although I didn't like the way this happened in Penguindrum necessarily. Penguindrum lacks the unique visual expression that Utena does, although it borrows almost exactly Juri's character design for one of the secondary characters. Overall, Penguindrum is great and definitely evokes some of the same feelings I had while watching Utena.
Mawaru Penquindrum is heavily influenced by the story line for Night on the Galactic Railroad. Knowing the base influence can possibly help the viewer to understand the show more, not to mention understand some of the decisions that the director made with Mawaru Penquindrum. Both deal with a lot of angst and heartache.
There are similar themes in both, both include soundtrack from the new world symphony, the two main characters from both are symbolized with blue and red hair, and there is a reference to Night on the Galactic Railroad in episode one of Mawaru Penguindrum.
Penguindrum borrows a lot of imagery from (the book) Night on the Galactic Railroad, and explicitly alludes to it on several occasions.
Mawaru Penguindrum is heavily influenced by Night on the Galactic Railroad. Penguindrum uses many of the same motifs, symbols, music, and even terminology found in Galactic Railroad, and some moments cannot be fully appreciated without knowledge of the movie. While Galactic Railroad is much older and is paced much slower than Penguindrum, any fan of the series has much to gain from seeing the movie, either before or after. It's impossible to say just how relatable the two anime are without spoiling either of them, but fans of either who have an eye for the small details would benefit greatly from seeing the other.
Penguindrum was inspired by NotGR! There's no doubt this is the anime you should watch directly after Penguindrum.
Penguindrum was influenced by Night on the Galactic Railroad & borrows a lot of imagery from it as well. A must watch for all Penguindrum fans.
Night on the Galactic Railroad served as an inspiration for Penguindrum, and the latter borrows a lot of imagery from it as well. Makes for interesting viewing.
This is the next step after watching Mawaru Penguindrum.
Both similar in style & share a lot of symbolism.
This anime serves as a spiritual predecessor to Mawaru Penguindrum in a way. It's not as flashy or fast-paced as Penguindrum, but they both show a lot of symbolism & use a lot of similar imagery (you should notice one based on their pictures).
Night on the Galactic Railroad and Mawaru Penguindrum have the same symbolism! That, and they're both fantastic!
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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