In 1986, the “Pingu” animated children’s program began in its home country of Switzerland. The cartoon quickly became a worldwide hit because of its unique, universal method of storytelling and simple humor that entertained all ages. There were two countries in particular where “Pingu” became a massive hit: the United Kingdom and Japan. The United Kingdom-based company HIT Entertainment purchased the rights to “Pingu” for a whopping £15.9 million after production on the Swiss version was stopped in 2000. They used their investment to produce more episodes of the series from the years of 2003 to 2006.
Both the Swiss and British versions of “Pingu” were
massive hits in Japan; if one searches “Pingu” on eBay, all sorts of exclusive merchandise, books, toys, and even Game Boy and DS games that were only released in Japan pop up. As the series has continued to thrive in Japan even without new episodes being made, it would make sense that a Japanese company would want to invest in producing new episodes for the franchise.
Enter Polygon Pictures. Instead of continuing the original series, they decided to completely change up the formula and reboot “Pingu” for a new generation with “Pingu in the City”. Not only is the series now computer-animated, but Pingu’s family has been moved from their classic setting of the South Pole into “the city”, where new adventures await for the always curious Pingu. But does such a drastic change work with “Pingu”?
Let me explain a bit about my history with “Pingu”. I remember watching the original show when I was younger and enjoying it, primarily because it was weird that channels aimed at running educational drivel would often put it on their schedule. Let’s face it: you can’t learn much from “Pingu”, but you’ll have a good time. The reason every country hopped on board with airing the show at one point is because of the unique storytelling method I mentioned earlier: the characters, instead of having real spoken dialogue or a narrator explaining the story, communicate through a made-up language known as “Penguinese”. In this sense, “Pingu” is educational, as it teaches children not only how to interpret a story through visuals, but how to read body language and vocal emotion to tell how others are feeling.
The first night I started taking antidepressants after getting out of the hospital and feeling shitty about life in general, I randomly stumbled across the original “Pingu” on YouTube again, and it honestly made me the happiest I’d been in a long time.
The feeling was only temporary, and something I’ve been chasing ever since. As such, I was understandably very excited by the news of this new “Pingu in the City” reboot. At the same time, I was a bit worried about the ways a different production team and changing the classic formula could go wrong. Another show from my childhood, “Max and Ruby”, was revived under a different production team who altered several aspects of the original. Max, who originally spoke in humorous one-word exclamations, now spoke full sentences, while Max and Ruby’s parents made random appearances seemingly in an effort to be “politically correct”. It just didn’t feel right.
Thankfully, the production team of “Pingu in the City” is clearly very familiar with the original source material, as this reboot has all the charm and humor of the original. Pingu is the same accident-prone yet lovable penguin child he’s always been; the new setting of the big city gives plenty of new opportunities for the story that it’s never had before. The “Penguinese” language, including the classic battle cry of “Noot noot!”, has been left fully intact. Unlike other shows (*cough* Berserk 2017 *cough*), the shift to a new animation style is barely noticeable and actually seems to work to the show’s advantage.
Some might argue that “Pingu in the City” has a unique aspect over the original that really works in its favor; the setting is almost a utopia, where Pingu, a young child, doesn’t appear to go to school, and instead learns about the world around him through working at jobs with adults who are more than happy to help him learn. Kids in modern society don’t have the time to explore the world around them and learn what they like to do due to the amount of time they have to spend in school, which is a real shame. “Pingu in the City”’s utopia brings me a sense of joy, and a hope for a future with a reformed education system.
For all these reasons (and probably more that I'll wish I added later), “Pingu in the City” is more than a meme to me. From the first second of every episode, the show is full of a unique energy that immediately puts a smile on my face, even when nothing else seems to be going my way. I highly recommend the show for viewers of all ages, and hope that with the international licensing deals in progress (Sony has the rights to the show in North America, while Mattel has the rights in China) that every viewer possible will get to enjoy it. Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles both have Pingu tattoos due to their viewings of the original show as children. I hope ten to fifteen years from now another celebrity who’s popular with the kids will have a Pingu tattoo thanks to their viewing of “Pingu in the City” as a child.
Pingu in the City is an amazing show with plenty of laughs. The characters are charming and the humor is top notch. The mimicking of the claymation stayed true to the original concept and the lack of dialogue makes this a universally appealing anime with no language barrier. Pingu in the City is very episodic and realistically you could watch any episode in any order back to back as there isn't any real overarching story. This is a simple kids show and a great one at that. Very little shows can capture the charming, carefree nature of children as well as this did. I personally
felt this was masterfully done, the simplicity only adds to the overall genius of this show. This show has a variety of simple, easy to understand themes sprinkled throughout each episode and you could come out learning something even if it's a simple lesson it's important. This show isn't for everyone, being a kids show doesn't mean it won't appeal to adults (I mean I certainly enjoyed it) but there is a clear audience in mind and taking that into consideration this clearly not only nails it in that ballpark, it perfectly encapsulates everything a kids show should and ought to be. I highly recommend this show if you enjoy carefree wholesome kid shows that is fairly simple to grasp and understand. Kids will surely enjoy this show, some adults can come to like and appreciate this show as well. Truly a modern-day masterpiece that won't be forgotten. 10/10.
Pingu in the City's first weeks in MyAnimeList's database have been rather turbulent. We've got everything from obnoxious, unfunny kids giving it either extremely high or low scores and its occasional inclusion in the overall top 10 through spam-filled, rule-breaking 'reviews' to toxic discussions over its status as an "anime" given the lack of loud, spiky-haired boys and annoying copy/pasted teenaged girls with extremely large eyes among its characters.
Pingu in the City can be better described as a spin-off of sorts to the award-winning European animated series "Pingu". The Western version of this show features the titular Pingu's various stunts and misadventures in a South
Pole village inhabited by anthropomorphic penguins. With its stopmotion-based clay animation, it quickly became a worldwide hit for its sometimes bizarre slapstick humor and the now-iconic "Penguinese" fictional language, which was as expressive and easy to understand as could possibly be. There was never any need for dubbing or subbing: Pingu's appeal was mostly visual and completely universal, allowing it to take over the world and reach the largest audience possible destroying any existing language barrier. Originally airing in most of the countries in the world over the course of two decades, it's safe to say that most readers must have watched at least one or two original Pingu shorts at some point in their lives. Pingu proved to be incredibly popular in Japan, where its original version is still running - a couple of JP-exclusive games were even released over there, too. Being aware of that is important to understand why popular 3D animation studio Polygon Pictures would start producing this new take on a series over 10 years since its final episode and clears most of the shadow of mystery that's apparently hanging over all of the "anime is only my hand-drawn Cambodian cartoons" manchildren's eyes.
Unfortunately, as is usual for sequels that dare enough to change a classic formula, some of what may have made the original Pingu series so charming may have been lost or dimmed in its transition to CGI animation. The computer graphics look nice, of course. Directed with a "claymation emulation" technique, the effort and care of the 3D artists really shows, meaning that animation is way more up-to-date and that impractical or otherwise impossible to animate ideas can potentially be explored in the next episodes of the show (we had flying vegetables and a tennis match until now). Who knows what they can come up with, right? Still, the simple, goofy stop motion animation was probably what sold the original Pingu to much of the audience.
The new urban setting may also have taken out some of the bizarreness factor which made Pingu so unique - vast ice deserts and dreamlike clay scenarios now give place to a colorful, bustling city (Tokyo reference? looks pretty European though). But sound design might have taken the sharpest blow of all of the aspects, sadly. Penguinese comes back, as expected, but with different voice actors. It's still neat and funny to listen, but then some very small details bother me - the show's signature catchphrase ("noot noot!") sounds too different and characters now vocalize almost uninterruptedly, contrasting with the sparsely and cleverly used grunts and mumbling let out by the hilariously moody penguins from the original show. Maybe the excessively talkative penguins are there to represent how life in the big city is all about communication or something like that?
With simple plotlines and characters, the show has got just what it needs to hook its primary audience in, but expect some very light surrealism and situations deserving of a sincere laugh (no matter your age!) if the original series writing formula is to be followed.
In conclusion, while Pingu in the City may not turn out to be as grand as the classic series, it will still certainly make for a harmless, quick and fun weekly watch for the next 20-something weeks or so. If anything, Pingu in the City is already one of the most influential anime of recent times for exposing how noxious and puerile the modern Western anime community can be.
This is meant to be a fair preview of NHK’s 2017 children’s anime “Pingu in the City.”
In this preview, I aim to provide credible information regarding this anime to those who might look into this show no further than reading the reviews on this page.
As the newest season of a mainly episodic series with little to no overarching plot, Pingu in the City is by no means groundbreaking. With that being said, the 6 episodes of this season that have aired are far from bad. The stories are predictable and follow traditional themes of children’s storytelling, but there is a uniting theme
of “work” at the core of every episode. This can be broken up into sub-themes such as (but not limited to): helping, responsibility, and making the most of an unsavory situation. One positive aspect of the Pingu series that lends itself towards effective storytelling is its gibberish dialogue, which cuts out almost all exposition. At only seven minutes per episode, there is little to complain about here. For a children’s show, “Pingu in the City” is fantastic, but when compared with something intended for an older audience, the story of this show will obviously come-of as nubile and generic.
Despite the switch from the claymation of previous seasons to the computer-animation of this one, the art style of the Pingu series has always been good. The simplistic character designs of the previous seasons are still around, only now, their forms are a tad more consistent. The splendid texture work on the characters, objects, and buildings makes for a very convincing replication of original show’s soft clay aesthetic. While not exactly inventive, the shot composition is very nice, and the lighting looks quite realistic. Despite the constant technological advancements that are made regarding the visual fidelity of CG, the lighting and textures in this show cannot match the real shadows and actual clay of the claymated original. One benefit of the switch to CG is the spike in animation fluidity and consistency, making “action” scenes more convincing. If “Pingu in the City” was claymated like the original, while also using the artistic technique on display in these past six episodes, I’d give it a 10/10 in this category. Even though this is not the case, I feel that an 8/10 is a valid score for how well they were able to replicate the charming claymation of the original using a digital medium.
One of the Pingu series’ main appeals is its gibberish dialogue, and in “Pingu in the City” this is still the case. The voice actors flesh out the characters quite well, even though the words they’re speaking have no specific meaning. The OP and ED are short, cheery, and pleasing to the ear. The sound effects serve their intended purposes very well; I personally found the slapping sounds that accompany the movement of feet and flippers to be very cute. The background instrumentals are relaxing, and the overall soundtrack seems to be filled with a wide expanse of different songs that fit the tone of every scene in which they are used.
The characters presented so far are serviceable, but the only one with a discernable name is the main character, Pingu. After minimal research, I found out that there are only 12 other named characters in the series, including “Papa,” “Mama,” and his sister, Pinga. One might take this as a bad sign, but for the sake of this show’s interests, names aren’t really needed. Traditional family stereotypes tell us who Pingu’s mother is and who Pingu’s father is; there is no need to for exposition. So far, the only one of these characters with ample screen time has been Pingu. As a mostly episodic anime, there doesn’t seem to be any significant character growth or deterioration from episode to episode. At the end of episode 3 however, Pingu seems to have grown into a more responsible person, so there is the possibility that his character will change with time.
I’ve enjoyed this anime far more than I had originally expected, which is why I’ve written such a dead serious review; I want to give an honest opinion for those who are drowning in this sea of memes. Pingu in the City makes for a satisfying weekly reprieve from the more violent and depressing anime that I usually consume. With 26 episodes at only 7 minutes an episode, this anime is easily consumable and doesn’t demand the commitment that a normal anime might demand in order to get anything out of it. The hypersexual, overly violent, and needlessly cutesy aspects of modern anime which usually drive people away from this medium are not present here. I can say with certainty that this show is for everyone.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Despite the lengths to which I have gone for the sake of this show, I am not an avid fan Pengu. I’ve only seen a few episodes of the original seasons, and that was only for the sake of comparison in this review. I’m just a guy who saw a charming, fun show being overtaken by a meme, and felt the need to do right by said show.
In deeming this a preview, this review will most likely be removed upon this series’ completion, and I’m ok with that; I can write a full review when that day arrives.
Just imagine over several thousand of years had passed, the human race would have gone extinct ages ago, and the wildlife had taken control over once again, some form of life descended to earth, and discovered the Disney park, now wouldn't they think we human, the previous residents of earth were worshiping Micky mouse, regarding him as a mighty god? well, what would happen if they were to get a copy of the Pingu in the city series? now that would be something to be looking for, wouldn't it? but seriously guys, the series that emerged from our dark nature of memes, and gained most
of its popularity from that is our focus for this review, I won't lie when I say, I picked up interest in this show just to take part of the meme community, and was greeted with a whole different experience when watching it.
This is going to be, an honest and an unbiased review of the series, “Pingu in the city”.
- Story (6/10):
The score in here varies from a person to another, I'm sure if someone else, younger than I am, would have given it a slightly higher score, but as for me, -the viewer, it felt like an easy 6 on the scale of ten, the story, while not completely dull, it follows our protagonist, a young male Penguin called, well, you guessed it, “Pingu”, that goes through his daily life, having fun sometimes, probably working hard in others, struggling like the average kids would. The story focuses more on his relationships with his family and friends, It's very wholesome and family friendly, and honestly, geared more towards a younger audience.
- Art (7/10):
Nothing very remarkable or outstanding, it's done all in CG, and surprisingly enough, taking in consideration the context, it's not that bad, you would typically see big-time shows screwing up the CG moments, but not this one. nothing is too overkill or anything, which really helps keep up the peaceful kind of atmosphere to the environment of the story.
- Sound (7/10):
Long have people complained about the lack of subtitles in this one, but honestly, why would you need any? the whole time, the characters are screaming nonsense, literally, some form of complex jibberish, and on fewer occasions, they would yield “Noot Noooot” very awkwardly, and yet, there is zero misunderstanding when it comes to following the characters' dialogs and interactions, the opening and ending are very, very simple, but do they stick to your memory that easy.
- Character (8/10):
What I really loved about this show, is how consistent the main cast is, who said only shows with lots of characters are successful? we don't see many familiar faces, because first, they are all penguins, and look similar to one another, and second, even though the city is so big, everyone seemed to know each other, outside of Pingu's family (which is one of 4 members), you have few of Pingu's friends and close relatives, and that's it. the show is typical, self-centered around Pingu, because, duh, he's the protagonist, but it's his everyday life that makes the cast wider by margins compared to the first episode.
- Enjoyment (7/10):
Trying to sum this one up, I'd say, I liked the show, I didn't love it nor did I hate it, simply had watched a decent show, where I didn't have a lot of things to complain about (which by the way would find me doing on even the most credible and popular well-written stories), if you overlooked the fact that it looks very childish, it's a really decent show to watch on your spare time.
- Overall (7/10):
Wow, even I am surprised that this lived up to be worth 7 out of 10 at this point, I'm not going to introduce a lot of people to this show, but for the ones who want something wholesome, here's your pick.
Review in brief: Pingu’s surprise anime reboot, while a resounding hit with pre-established fans of the European claymation series, is difficult to recommend to newcomers despite being fairly entertaining in its own right. Though this short series provides simple fun, it’s a definitive step down from the older claymation seasons. That said, if you’re already a fan you’ll probably like Pingu in the City just fine.
Review in full: Though this review is solely about Pingu in the City, it would be difficult to truly understand what’s right or wrong about it without looking back to its source. Originating from Switzerland
in 1990, Pingu gained international acclaim as a children’s claymation series that made fantastic use of its medium to present zany yet touching short stories about the eponymous penguin. The international aspect was reinforced by how it told itself though expression rather than verbal dialogue, allowing characters to morph themselves to convey thoughts & emotion while having them speak “Penguinese”, a silly gibberish language that fit in perfectly with the typically light-hearted nature of the show. Japan was one of the many countries Pingu gained a following in, resulting in a CG anime reboot few saw coming but many became excited for.
This reboot is, in a word, alright. Many more descriptive words could be used, but they wouldn’t be completely honest. It’s unfitting in some ways, and yet it’s definitely still Pingu. It’s a little unspirited, yet specific aspects of it were certainly made with spirit. Lacking almost works, but in truth there’s no less going on here than there was before. It’s a whole product for sure, but you could say it’s missing just a couple screws that would have held the whole thing solid.
It starts with the production values. The use of CG does an average job of replicating the original claymation, though there is an initial effort to avoid the looser effects from the old show (they start making things a bit looser from the halfway point of the first season but it still isn't the same). At the same time a few odd bits of repeated animation & freeze frames are scattered about, and while giving Pingu transformation sequences was a cute touch it does wear its welcome. In essence, while it clearly looks like Pingu, it doesn’t hold the same expressiveness the original did, which means the plot can’t take advantage of the art style like it had before. At least the Penguinese functions the same and usually does its job well, even if it sounds somewhat different (I swear the chef penguin was made to sound the slightest bit French). There’s little noteworthy music to speak of though.
Pingu moving to the city gives the show a new setting but it isn't tapped into all that much. The environment and set pieces are interacted with in ways befitting an explorative children’s show, but nothing about it has to do with being in a city. Most of the jobs & activities Pingu partakes in could have taken place at his old village. Sure, the show can go on without the “city” aspect, but for what is essentially a look into a child’s exploration of his new home it results in many missed opportunities, especially as Pingu isn’t performing a new job every episode (in fact most of his jobs are recycled 2 times or more). The city itself also feels awfully generic in the end, though part of it is also how static it is from an artistic standpoint. If you put humans in this setting I’d almost think I was looking at Soviet Murmansk after 5 buckets of pastel paint were evenly distributed.
The humor is pretty much in the same vein as the older Pingu episodes but it's not quite as quirky as the original due to its much more formulaic nature (Pingu observes job, gets job, does job, has job-related conflict, creatively resolves conflict or the episode ends before then). The show still has its moments, especially the first few episodes with the chef penguin (probably because Pingu does the silliest things to him, albeit unintentionally). Some episodes don't follow this formula (such as the racing and babysitting episodes) and they are usually more enjoyable as they actually explore things that fit the characters and the concept of children exploring rather than some random job Pingu gets a sudden interest in (which, again, could have worked fine if he didn’t repeat jobs so often). It honestly isn’t enough to give the show consistent charm. It’s almost frustrating to watch this season despite its occasionally down-to-earth episodes when it’s usually just one or two of the characters messing around with a job they were curious about for six minutes before the main joke happens and the credits roll. For the new viewer, they’ll likely find a couple episodes charming and simply see the rest as a standard kid’s show.
Fortunately the old characters that appear are themselves and the new ones fit in quite well. Pingu himself is a big part of what makes his show enjoyable; his impulsive & childish nature leads him into many crazy situations but he is also hardworking and well-meaning, so even if his approaches to problems are less-than orthodox he generally manages to solve them through genuine effort, even though he rarely takes an optimal path to it and it doesn’t always work out. His interactions with his little sister Pinga bring out both of Pingu’s sides in a strong way, further reinforcing his immature yet admirable character. Robby the Seal is like a foil to Pingu, usually fooling around and just looking for a good time, but he has a good chemistry with Pingu and they always find a way to help each other in the end. It’s a shame his appearances are limited and are mostly just in the later episodes. Most of the other characters have a few defining traits, which considering the limited screen-time they receive is enough to serve their roles and occasionally bring interesting moments to the table on their own accord. A little more expressive movement would have gone a long way towards having a consistently memorable cast though, and while there are definitely stand-out characters, the cast as a whole isn’t able to make the city come to life by themselves.
Verdict: Pingu is back, but this season just isn’t quite the same. At times it has a genuine charm to it but when the majority of episodes can be chalked up to “standard fare” despite occasional quirks it’s time to take off the nostalgia goggles and be honest with what it is. I still found Pingu in the City enjoyable, but it’s not consistently good like Pingu was for me in the past.
Pingu in the city is based on an older pingu which aired on 1990 to 2006. It was, at the time, the most enjoyable show I've ever watched when I was a child. Though granted, some of the details may have been lost in childish nostalgia but one thing is what I remembered from that old classic, I was anticipating each and every new episode in the morning whenever I get up. It's amazing to see that most of what I loved from the past still has been implemented in this show. All the characters I've come to know and love to the classic "noot-noot"
sound, It's still all here. Now, I did say it still has most of what I loved from the old cartoon and that's because it manages to bring new elements to the plot that allows it to become much more endearing than in the
first iteration of this series. It's a great series if you want to relieve old memories when you were still a kid whilst creating new good ones when watching this show when you're older
As a child I grew up watching Pingu. Although, it was never my favorite, I did definitely enjoy it. After many years, I was surprised to find a reboot. I was crying. My childhood Anime!
Pingu in the city is an emotional masterpiece. From character design to the art and to the plot, everything is perfect. When I was watching the first few episodes, i didn't expect much. However, after episode 4, I realized it wasn't that this Anime was bad, it was different. Pingu is an original. Unlike other Anime out there that lure in hormonal teens with shirtless guys and short skirt girls, Pingu
is different. It shows the daily life of people reflected in a penguin. Struggles that most people forget. Though this anime, we are reminded.
Overall, pingu is heavily underrated, it NEEDS to be in the top 10 in any anime list, including MAL. However, that will never happen because people have poor tastes.
The stopmotion clay animation is a dying art. Pingu in the City immerses itself in the dying embers and emerges as the magnificent phoenix which it is. The incredible sound design is orgasmic and Pingu's voice actor is honestly top tier. The character arcs are incredible and the development of not only the main character but also the side characters is immeasureable. The enjoyment level I got from watching this is too high. I had to change my underwear multiple times while watching as the sweat got too concentrated around my crotch and butt areas. Overall it is honestly a masterpiece that will honestly probably
never be topped.
Pingu's friends connects deeply with the consciousness of Pingu and catches a glimpse of memories that she retained but he forgot from their childhood. Pingu's friends sees how Pingu endured torturous experiments from Dr. Daddy and received a picture book called The Pingu and the Dingu , which was her one source of comfort, from a caretaker. Pingu and Pingu's friends caught their first glimpse of each other when she was being dragged into the lab, where she experienced painful experiments if a laser blowing a hole through her hand. A caretaker tries to take her book from her but Pingu fought back until
the woman gave up.
After suffering from electroshock treatment, Pingu's friends helped her escape by breaking the window in her room and Pingu notes that was her first time experiencing the outside world and the environment confused her, as it was different. She tried eating a mouse and impulsively bit Pingu's friends’s hand when he tried to stop her but he soon realized she didn’t understand what he was saying. He tried thinking of a name for her; his first choice was ‘Oni’ but then thought of Pingu, although he said it wasn’t good either. She tried pronouncing ‘Pingu’ but couldn’t because of her speech impairment. Pingu's friends then suggested they go somewhere far away.
Pingu narrates she didn’t understand his words but knew his voice called to her, she saw things with them and walked with them, and all the moments they shared were fun. She was given a piece of candy by Pingu's friends which delighted her. Feeling comfortable around them she showed them the picture book before they were forced to hide from some guards who were tracking them.
The two later sat in front of a tree while Pingu's friends read the book, which he noted was sad because Pingu and dingu couldn’t get married. Pingu was curious what ‘marry’ meant, and he explained it was when two people who loved each other make a vow to be together forever. However, he thought it would mean the two would have to be human. She smiled at them and Pingu's friends suggested they keep walking but noticed she had a cut in her knee. He was surprised to see blue blood from her wound and licked it. She compared his knee position to a proposal based on the wedding page and asked Pingu's friends if this is marriage. He said once they get out of here because he wanted to be with her forever too and become her darling. She began crying and hugged Pingu's friends to what Pingu now believed those were tears of joy. The two realized they were sitting in front of a mistletoe tree but were then found by a group of soldiers, who knocked Pingu's friends unconscious and grabbed Pingu.
Since then, she has vowed to become human no matter what because she always believed she could do anything with them. After a collision with Daddy and hearing gaymer's words. Pingu agrees but stops herself when Pingu's friends mutters she was the them with the picture book from before. As she looks back at them with tears in her eyes.
Such an emotional masterpiece. Would watch it again and give it a 10/10 again if I could.