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 searched it up:
"Best anime ever"
"I can't believe something as good as this anime exists"
I was super excited. I couldn't wait to watch it.
I waited until my exams were over and cleaned my room and brought lots of popcorn and turned off the lights and opened my laptop and put on the first episode.
23 and a half minutes later, I was a little confused.
OHH! this must be like those anime, you know...the ones that start out fairly weird but get super interesting a few episodes later.
I continued watching.
Exactly 144.5 minutes and 6 episodes later, I was very, very confused.
Frustrated, I googled: "Is mawaru penguidrum really worth watching?"
"ITS A MUST WATCH"
"You cant miss it"
"I strongly, strongly recommend it"
Are the answers I got. You see, I'm a simple woman. I value the opinions of my fellow anime fans. They have never let me down. 3 to 4 MAL reviews alone, guide me enough about the worth of an anime and 99 out of 100 times, I agree with majority, if not all, of the reviews.
But this wasn't the case with Mawaru Penguindrum.
I decided to watch it till the end.
576.5 minutes and 24 episodes later, I sat there fuming, with a burning ache in my head.
It felt like I had wasted a quarter of my life and I felt incredibly stupid for still not being able to find a single thing that was "mindblowingly amazing" (or even remotely interesting) about this anime that I had just finished watching.
I still go to blogs and MAL reviews sometimes, to find some explanation for this anime...an explanation that I missed, yet I always thought I was that one person that always searched for a meaning in everything I watched or read, which is one reason I like anime, because I believe that it is a medium of entertainment that is capable of conveying deeper meanings to seemingly shallower things, because everything can be visually explained.
At some points, I saw a bit of potential in this anime. Some scenes were nicely portrayed, the BGM was fitting. It even had a bit of nice comedy. The character designs were not bad. It could have been a nice romantic comedy or a heart warming story about two brothers trying to save their ill sister. Even earned some points from a psychological aspect (the stalker business and child boilers and terrorist organizations)...but it took all of its nice potential and smashed it together into a wannabe deep complex drama that was really just meaningless.
Everywhere I looked, they talked about some deep ''symbolism'', some ''hidden meanings", a "relation with art/history/religion/etc..".
At first it frustrated me and annoyed me, but now I just laugh.
Despite the fact that it was a ridiculous anime, that poorly conveyed/did not convey at all whatever hidden meaning it was supposed to carry to an average viewer, and that it was only meant to confuse people, and that it tried WAYY TOO HARD to become a psychologically thrilling masterpiece and for that it even tried to steal ideas and symbolism used to in many pieces of literature (such as night on the galactic railroad), it FAILED MISERABLY. And people like me, who were disappointed to see the anime they had such high hopes for fail so badly, forcibly tried to put it on a pedestal. These are the same people who gave excellent reviews and ratings to the most troll anime of 2016, "Erased" , that won everybody's hearts at the first episode but failed miserably by the last, but people couldn't deal with it so they refused to even acknowledge its failure...
Despite all that, I have taken a strange liking to Mawaru Penguindrum. It is my wonderland. My crazy world.A haywire fantasy. Because whenever I search it up, or hear about it, its like reading or hearing about somethingremarkable, something that only exists, but explodes and sparkles and flashes and shimmers...but is invisible to me.
But I did learn that it is possible to attach a meaning to anything if you try hard enough.
I do not recommend this anime to anyone.
If you're really such a fan of deep symbolism and hidden meanings, then I suggest you invest yourself in anime that successfully delivers at least SOME of it when you watch it. So I'd say go watch ghost in the shell, or perhaps even Angel's egg (yes, even that does a wonderful job with symbolism) and there's plenty more. You'll love those.