Mawaru Penguindrum 09 — Mystical Library of Penguins

They’re just trolling us with Shouma’s car accident now. But seriously, this episode was great. They’ve opened things up into an entirely new dimension.

End of the World Fate

If the Utena vibes weren’t obvious enough before, they’re screaming in our faces now with the library scene. The long elevator ride, the endless rows of books, the cages and ladders, and then that librarian…

We even have the Utena kiss pose.

IMAAAAAGINE!

Himari’s aspirations to become an idol began long before her first survival strategy. Which raises the question: how much of the penguin hat personality (if any) is a being from another world, and how much is Himari herself? When Himari put her hands on her lips and said no, that seemed more like the penguin hat personality than Himari.

And I never imagined that those two girls on the train would actually be characters in the story. The extent to which this show manages to tie everything together is amazing.

Nothing is a Coincidence

This episode forces us to reconsider the original narrative of Himari’s death. Himari picked out the penguin hat at random from the store shelf, and then died outside from independent causes. The penguin hat just happened to be able to revive her from the dead. But nothing is a coincidence in Mawaru Penguindrum. It is the hand of fate. And indeed, it seems that both the purchase of the penguin hat and Himari’s death have the same root cause.

Musings on Symbolism

It’s going to take a while for me to collect all my thoughts on this. But I’ll share a few immediate ones. Many others have already drawn the connection between the apple and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I’m a bit hesitant to make the connection though, except in the superficial sense of simply being associated with knowledge.

In this episode, it’s revealed that the apple is the “fruit of fate”, and Himari receives it as a parting gift from the library. After which she proceeds to die. So perhaps the connection isn’t quite so tenuous after all… Library ==> Knowledge, Fruit of the Tree ==> Death. Himari also shares the fruit with her “soulmate”, as Eve did in the garden.

Then we have Ringo ==> Apple ==> Knowledge of Good and Evil and Momoko ==> Peach ==> Longevity ==> Tree of Life. Momoko is dead, and Ringo seems to utterly lack any knowledge of good and evil. So perhaps the sisters are named after what they lack.

Another major revelation is that the penguin hat is the “wedding veil of the bride of fate.” What does a wedding veil do? It obscures the bride’s face. Which brings us back to the idea that the penguin form / idol act serve as a veil between Himari and her brothers.

Himari is the bride of the destination of fate. What is the destination of fate? To interpret this in a literal fashion, death. And Himari does appear to be the bride of death.

There’s much more to say, but I’ll stop rambling for now. Expect a longer post once more has been revealed and I’ve had time to collect my thoughts. I’d be delighted to hear any of your thoughts on this!

Further Ramblings

  • The flashbacks were all good, but it is a bit much. The mirror falling in particular was  over the top. At least Himari’s friends had a reasonable reaction.

  • But then they ditched her. Did she just transfer schools, or…?
  • Himari’s searching for Super Frog Saves Tokyo. We’ve already seen one frog…
  • We have Himari about to bludgeon a Koi to death with a baseball bat to give some fresh blood to her mother. They aren’t stopping with the frog scene. The seventh social sin is worship without sacrifice. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  • How many animals have we seen so far? Penguins, frogs, snakes, koi, birds, cats, skunks… Something to think about as well.
  • The penguin in the library packed a book into the box with him. I wonder what he took…?

My apologies for being less coherent than usual, I’m about to pass out and this episode did not help with maintaining my mental faculties. Again, I’m very interested in hearing everyone’s speculations on the symbolism!

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22 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 09 — Mystical Library of Penguins

  1. Yeah, there were a ton of Utena vibes in this episode. All the librarian needs now is a self-driving sex car and we’re good. XD

    But anyway, while this episode did explain a lot, it still left enough up for speculation–like why would her friends go from defending her to watching her leave with cold stares? That’s a key piece of information that I’m sure will come up later.

    1. I was half expecting the sex car. 🙂 And the pink haired guy to pull a sword out of Himari’s chest.

      And yeah, it seemed like they had a falling out. I wonder what she did…

        1. That seems plausible, especially if there are multiple hats, like that kid in the gift shop seemed to have. There could also be some connections between the penguin hat / wedding veil and the Rose Bride.

  2. “The penguin in the library packed a book into the box with him. I wonder what he took…?”

    The penguin got the book Himari was initially looking for, i.e. “Super Frog Saves Tokyo.” The camera zooms in on #3 at the end of the episode. The penguin rolls to the side to reveal the book and its title.

  3. I am still firmly sticking to my idea that the Apple is symbolic of the world – since it was mentioned a couple of times within the story – taking epsiode 1 for example with the children. It has a spherical shape, which is a symbol of circular time rather than linear time and dictates that the world has a continuous cycle of beginnings and endings. This was also something that was expressed in the Illiad when Achilles had his shield made by the Blacksmith; for the reason it had a round shape and the images engraved.

    Also to point out, when Sanetoshi sent her back to her world he used the Apple as a diction piece to find her “destination”. Just saying, lol.

    Good work on pointing out some the common points I completely graved over though.

    1. There are many ways to interpret the show (that’s what makes it so much fun to dissect) and the apple as the world is certainly a valid and interesting interpretation as well. It’s interesting that you mention circular notions of time— I wonder if we can fit that into Penguindrum elsewhere. So far, at least, the narrative seems mostly linear.

      1. Very true. I find myself going back over a epsiode several times just to glean one meaning, when I probably stepped over a dozen smaller ones. Although as expressed before previous awhile back, Kunihiko Ikuhara likes for his fans to speculate. A little expert from an interview he did one Utena.

        “When questioned about his work by fans, particularly about the more mystifying aspects of Utena, he tends to give humorous, odd, or evasive responses (for instance, asked about the significance of the stopwatch carried by the character Miki, he said that it contains the key to “all the mysteries of the world.”) The implication is that he wishes to leave interpretation of his works open to the audience.”

        Interesting guy ^^

        1. It’s a good idea- if there’s some official interpretation, some people get the idea that other interpretations are “wrong” and it stifles discussion.

          1. Maybe their might be one, but I think everyone that has watched the show at least has a valid interpretation. Since their is no official one, it is not like one person is extremely right or wrong over the other. Although, there are some that think that, so I can see what you mean.

  4. Ugh, they’re trolling alright =_= But if they’ll troll with something this good, I won’t complain (much) then.

    I agree on the mirror think. That’s just… whut. It might be Shouma having a kiddy tantrum or stupid act next =_=

    I like the idea of the library = knowledge, and Himari + soulmate = adam and eve.

    but I’m not very sure about fruit = death. I mean, adam and even only got banished from eden after eating the apple, which Himari didn’t do… so she hasn’t gotten “the knowledge”… so hhhmm… I dunno.

    1. Banishment from Eden also entailed Adam’s death, since he couldn’t eat from the Tree of Life, and would return to the dust from which he was born. That’s where the death idea came from.

      But yeah, we haven’t actually seen her eat it yet. Although there’s always Ringo’s curry…

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