Mawaru Penguindrum


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Alternative Titles

English: Penguindrum
Japanese: 輪るピングドラム


Type: TV
Episodes: 24
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jul 8, 2011 to Dec 23, 2011
Premiered: Summer 2011
Broadcast: Fridays at 02:10 (JST)
Licensors: Sentai Filmworks
Studios: Brain's Base
Source: Original
Genres: Avant GardeAvant Garde, ComedyComedy, DramaDrama, MysteryMystery
Theme: PsychologicalPsychological
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)


Score: 7.971 (scored by 9357793,577 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
Ranked: #5952
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.
Popularity: #658
Members: 266,719
Favorites: 6,679

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Dec 4, 2011
8thSin (All reviews)
I love the word "fate".
You know how everyone talks about this anime called Mawaru Penguindrum?
Just one single show can completely change your landscape.
Such a thought-provoking series is not made by mere coincidence.
It's definitely... fate.
Of course, it's not for everyone.
There are many mysterious, seemingly pointless story developments.
It's hard to accept abstract ideas that start with nothing but confusion.
But I think... Every line of dialogue, every object drawn in the show exist for a reason.
Nothing in this show is pointless.

What if I asked viewers what anime was like before they have seen Mawaru Penguindrum?
They've forgotten what it was like when they didn't?
You could say anime today isn't read more
Apr 24, 2013
WickedMind (All reviews)
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 read more
Jan 10, 2012
Uriel1988 (All reviews)
When someone on the Internet describes a work of fiction as 'visionary', it's usually meant as a form of praise, referring to a willingness to defy convention in favor of something more thought-provoking and enticing. As defined by a dictionary, 'visionary' refers to embracing fanciful and often impractical ideas.

Mawaru Penguindrum falls under both definitions.

What Kunihiko Ikuhara of Utena-fame has created here is a show that takes philosophical musings on themes such as fate, love and death; and combines them with slapstick antics involving ghost penguins and ping-pong balls that erase people's memories.

If that sounds difficult to take seriously to you, don't bother watching this show. read more
Apr 6, 2013
chancellor (All reviews)
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 read more
Nov 19, 2014
ktulu007 (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum is one of those rare anime that doesn't have some form of source material. It was created by Brain's Base, the same studio behind Durarara & Baccano. The co-writer and director was Ikuhara Kunihiko. You may not know his name but you probably recognise his other works. He created and directed Revolutionary Girl Utena and served as the director for large segments of the Sailor Moon anime. I have to say, this sounds promising. So far, the two anime I've seen from Brain's Base have been at least decent and Ikuhara does amazing work. If they screw this up I'm going to be read more
Jan 14, 2012
ShiiKatsu (All reviews)
Before I started watching this anime, even before I knew what it was called, I already had a feeling it was going to be special.
After watching the first episode, I said aloud: "This is the weirdest anime...!" But despite that, I was very drawn to it and kept watching. I wasn't disappointed.

Mawaru Penguindrum has made me both laugh and cry more than once, and after episode 8 I could hardly wait to watch more, putting all the other anime I had been watching on hold for this.

The story is very touching, and the Takakura family's close bonds with each other was something read more
Jul 10, 2011
artist-retired (All reviews)
"Survival Strategy!" -That involves so many things, and so many of it is just amazing.

*This review will be updated as more episodes are available, It is up to episode 14, also I have yet to watch Utena, so I can't make completely accurate comparisons to it*

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Now this one's a real head scratcher, is it a brilliant new story that's trying to break into new boundaries? Or is it just pure nonsense with a penchant for philosophical babble? Or a comedy about watching penguins do funny and out of the ordinary things?

What I'm talking about (If you haven't figured it out yet) is the read more
Apr 24, 2014
cumsussertodd (All reviews)

Honestly, I feel that Ikuhara had many good ideas in terms of the plot. However, the end result is a clusterfuck of stories and themes mashed together. On their own, each arc stands up quite well, and a lot of ideas are well executed too. I liked the Child Broiler idea for one, ignoring the fact that it was a tad overused.

The plot is extremely convoluted and confusing. Unlike other anime that explain their convoluted storylines like, say, Kyousougiga, Mawaru Penguindrum does not make any attempt to do so. The viewer is left wondering what the fuck is going on as plot development after read more
Apr 19, 2015
orionator (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum; also entitled 'I Have a Lot of Feelings'

I won't lie. This was amazing. Absolutely beautiful. Stunning script, clean art, a unique plot line and music that wrenches at your gut in the most despairing moments of the series, whilst enhancing the humour and light-heartedness that this series needed as a preventative measure for hearts breaking and tears overflowing everywhere.

Where should I even start?

The story itself was...definitely unique. I heard the title of Penguindrum and passed it off as a simple family orientated fantasy adventure, but when I saw that it was categorised as 'psychological', my curiosity was piqued and I began to watch read more
Apr 25, 2015
Link_of_Hyrule (All reviews)

“What is Mawaru Penguindrum?“ If ever there was a more loaded question in the realm of anime, I’m not sure I’ve heard of it, because this show is an absolute enigma. Adequately reviewing this show is a daunting task for reasons that will soon be clear, but let’s give it a shot: First of all, what is this show? Well, it’s a lot of things. A moving story about the importance of love. A detailed commentary on the way society treats children. A unique perspective on mental health issues. An insightful interpretation about the concepts of fate and destiny. Etcetera etcetera etcetera. While read more
Dec 27, 2012
PoeticJustice (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum. What can I possibly say about it that hasn't already been said? Pretentious. Confusing. Beautiful. Terrible. A Masterpiece. Overrated. Genius. You could say anything of these things and you would be correct. But, in my eyes, Mawaru Penguindrum is an anime unlike any I have ever seen. It pushes the boundaries of the medium in a way that hasn't been done since the End of Evangelion movie.

Story(9/10)- Penguindrum's story is one wrapped in what seems to be endless layers of symbolism. One can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of it. Everything from a single line of dialogue to an unusual camera read more
Dec 28, 2013
LuckyKrystal (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum is a zany, wacky, twisted, messed up jumble of an anime that is so absolutely insane, yet it surprisingly turns out to be an interesting and compelling story in the end.

Penguindrum is the brainchild of Kunihiko Ikuhara, who also conceived Revolutionary Girl Utena over a decade earlier. Penguindrum bears many similarities to Utena: the repetition, the odd humor, the heavy handed symbolism, and the silly yet loveable characters are all here. Fans of Utena will definitely feel right at home with Penguindrum.

The story goes a little bit like this: Two brothers, Shouma and Kanba Takakura, have a sweet little sister, Himari, who is read more
Jan 11, 2017
starumii (All reviews)
This is my first review on MAL and normally, I wouldn't be too interested in writing reviews, because honestly, I'm not very good at it, but in the case of Mawaru Penguindrum, it was inevitable.

I felt like if I did not write what I'm feeling after watching this anime, then something inside my mind will definitely break...
So here I go.

I found out about the famous ''mawaru penguindrum'', when I overheard two girls in my college talking about how mindblowingly amazing it is. Perhaps , it was then, that i made a mental note to maybe check it out.

When I came home that day, I read more
Mar 20, 2012
Purjoloek (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum to me is a show that had lots of potential, but ultimately fell flat towards the end, due to a convoluted plot and wonky character development. Let me tell you why (I'll try to keep it as spoiler-free as possible):

The Story:
The show starts with our main characters in a state not that unusual in anime: orphaned teens living on their own, doing alright. The little sister is sickly, but is miraculously saved by a hat. While being possessed by the hat, she tells her two brothers that they must find the "Penguindrum", and that's our set-up.

The story follows our heroes as they read more
Dec 17, 2011
fideo (All reviews)
The first time I saw this anime I was expecting some easy-going plot with magical stuff all about and whatsoever, as the animation, art and mascots made it seem like it was so. However, I was wrong, and both in a good and bad way.

I'll give much credit where credit is due; I thought there was an interesting character development; I think Ringo's backstory was splendidly well done. She may seem annoying, creepy (what with every single thing she did and how far she went), but the reasons to how she behaves are acceptable (in the sense that one can be satisfied, and it answers read more
Nov 23, 2014
MadScientist001 (All reviews)
I've seen many people compare this anime to a novel or another work of literary art. In a sense, they are correct. I found this anime to be very reminiscent of some of the books my english class had assigned in high school: well-written, full of symbolism and poetic imagery, but not engaging/captivating.

Story - My biggest issue with this show is the story. The basic plot (which you can read in the above synopsis) seems simple enough. However, there are many side stories, background stories, and things that are hinted at that are never resolved, explored, nor explained. Many times an episode would end with read more
Aug 28, 2014
theshinyone (All reviews)
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 read more
Jan 20, 2014
drearyrain (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum is an anime unafraid to break conventional rules. Its story is lucrative and all over the place, and is hilarious yet profound. It has an extensive use of symbolism to convey its morals and message, similar to Kunihiko Ikuhara’s other piece, Revolutionary Girl Utena. It has a nice set of characters each with their own quirks that make them interesting and diverse. The animation is well-done and the soundtrack is stunning. But most importantly, it has irresistibly adorable penguins that you just can’t help but feel like hugging. Such qualities should make Penguindrum an outstanding anime. Unfortunately, various problems, such as its abuse read more
Dec 23, 2011
SkyGel (All reviews)
Mawaru Penguindrum is not a show for everybody, but for those who are able to appreciate what this show has to offer, it is truly a treat.

This series, first and foremost, focuses on the messages that it wants to convey, and then weaves the plot around it. The show approaches things quite differently than most animes, and leaves us with a thematically tight, but quite confusing show. The premise is basically two brothers trying to save their younger sister from a terminal illness. She dies, but a mysterious penguinhat revives her and commands them to obtain the penguindrum if they truly wish to save her. read more
May 4, 2015
literaturenerd (All reviews)

As a longtime anime fan who has been watching anime since the 1990s, I divide anime into 3 categories of "uniqueness" , based on what I consider to be the composite average of all anime and how far a title is from that average core. First let us picture the most generic, average anime in existence to serve as the Sun of our Solar System. How about Naruto or Bleach? Either would be a good candidate as the most average an anime could possibly be. The first category are "inner planets" anime that are fairly close to the Sun. These are your generic anime read more