Mawaru Penguindrum 10 — It’s a me, a Mario!

Wow, this may have been even stronger than the previous episode. The previous episode had a great sense of mystery, but this one had a sense of excitement and thrill that we haven’t seen so far.


The first thing I noticed is that Kanba really does seem to love his brother (and sister). Ringo’s comment that Shouma’s family life was fake had left me wondering, but Kanba at least gives the appearance of being completely dedicated to his brother and sister. He stays all night worrying by Shouma’s bedside, even though he tries to hide it. One thing in this episode seems to jar with that image though: the actions of Kanba’s penguin. As we’ve seen, the penguin’s actions tend to reflect the thoughts and actions of their owners. And here, for most of the episode, Kanba’s penguin is busy stealing underwear, reading porn magazines, and looking up the nurses’ skirts. Perhaps all is not as it seems… Another hint to this effect is that Kanba does not want to give the diary back, instead entrusting it to Ringo. This is probably just his cool and collected self remaining in control, but let’s leave the possibilities open. Then we have Kanba’s conversation with Himari, which was hilarious. How dense can you be? But yeah, Kanba is a confirmed siscon now. Interestingly, Himari doesn’t seem quite so innocent towards the end of this scene, where she leans in close and pats Kanba on the head. Perhaps this is a glimpse of her true feelings, which are revealed through the penguin hat.

Drawing Parallels

One thing to notice is how closely this episode paralleled the last one. Himari, and then Kanba, descend lower and lower into the floors of the building, reliving their memories on the way. The walls of Himari’s library are bars of a cage, and the walls of Kanba’s library are colored like the stripes of a prison. Both Himari and Kanba feel trapped by the past, although Himari wants to remember hers and Kanba does not. Also, look at how what happens with Masako parallels Kanba’s conversation with Himari. Himari asks whether boys would like homemade lunches, cakes, or hand-knitted sweaters. Kanba says no, they don’t want any of that “made with love” crap, unless it’s from Himari. Then Himari leans in close, pats Kanba’s head and disappears. Masako presents the same items to Kanba: homemade bento, a wedding cake, and a hand-knitted sweater. He rejects all of them, except for the unfinished undersized sweater which he is forced to wear. Notice how Kanba tells Himari that girls always make oversized sweaters: the sweater must have been made long ago. When he arrives at his destination, Masako kisses him and disappears. On a side note, Masako’s disappearance scene was excellent: I really thought she was going to shoot Kanba, but instead she jumped eagerly into his arms. Perhaps her Project M has the same goal as Ringo’s after all. We could also interpret this sequence as Kanba’s fall from innocence: he initially chases Masako’s fleeting image through the fields of white sheets, to the sounds of the music box. Then the music box cracks, and things start to go wrong. He enters deeper and deeper into a relationship, while continuing to feel more and more trapped. He finally ends up in the torture chamber, where he is confronted with a kiss. By the way, does anyone know what music was playing during this sequence? It seems so familiar, like it’s on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t quite warp my head around it.


The yin-yang penguin symbol pretty much gave it away from the first episode, but there seems to be a dualistic opposition between what I’ll call the light and the dark penguins. We know that Masako’s goal is to gain control of fate, so it seems logical to guess that the goal of Himari’s hat is the opposite— to free herself from the control of fate. Himari and Mario are paired, as we saw in the previous episode with the Child Broiler. (also, notice the まり in both of their names) I am sure we will see exactly how they are different in the future. Kanba and Masako seem to take on similar roles in both sides of the conflict, as the people who do the dirty work. Kanba is most likely Masako’s “fated” person, but Kanba only has eyes for Himari. They’ve sure done a great job of making Masako seem dangerous, with that crazy slingshot, the dark penguin sharpening the knife, the blowtorches, torture rack and injections. Does Shouma have a counterpart on the other side? I am guessing yes— Tabuki. Note how when Ringo picked up her cellphone it gave a chirping noise, which previously rang for Tabuki. Ringo seems like the type of girl to set individual ringtones. And this also would put Shouma and Tabuki in opposition over Ringo. On that front, Shouma seems to be making some progress, as we witnessed Ringo’s guilt and appreciation for perhaps the first time. Plus, her diary is gone. Fate is now an open book.

Further Thoughts

  • Masako tells Kanba he was led by Ariadne’s red thread of fate- a combination of the story of Ariadne and the Eastern idea of how soulmates are tied together by a red string of fate since birth. We could also tie this into the three Fates.
  • Masako says that Kanba’s sweater is made of pigeon blood. Penguins are flightless birds, Tabuki learned to fly but can no longer treasure what he sees… whose dreams did Kanba have to sacrifice to get to where he is?
  • The dark penguin’s face is shaped like a heart. Back to the dualism surrounding fate of the two penguin clans.

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20 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 10 — It’s a me, a Mario!

  1. The art was so off and wonky that I couldn’t focus on the episode itself. Even the dialogue felt ridiculous as a result! It really shows how important it is to have a consistent and good-looking show.

    1. Haha I didn’t even notice the animation. 🙂 I guess if the story and the characters are great I’m willing to overlook a lot.

  2. “By the way, does anyone know what music was playing during this sequence?”

    I think it was Shenandoah.

    “He enters deeper and deeper into a relationship, while continuing to feel more and more trapped.”

    Ooh, this was something I didn’t consider.

    “Masako says that Kanba’s sweater is made of pigeon blood”

    I think she meant the crimson color of pigeon’s blood, i.e. the common way to describe a blood red ruby.

        1. Oh, ok. There was one conversation a few episodes back, where Tabuki told Ringo about how Momoka taught him how to learn to ride a bike. He said that she taught him how to fly, and that everything looked like a wonderful treasure when he saw it with her. Now that she’s dead, he still knows how to fly, but everything doesn’t hold the sense of wonder it once did.

          So if we associate flying with hope and the joy of living, and Kanba’s sweater is splattered with pigeon blood, perhaps his happiness is built on the destruction of others’ hopes and dreams (and given his underground dealings this doesn’t seem too implausible). Come to think of it, the sweater was knitted by Masako, so we could just as well apply this to her.

          Thanks for asking about this, after explaining I’ve realized it was nowhere near as straightforward as I first thought.

  3. Ironic the fact that #2 eats everything and Shoma always ends up drugged by the food…
    Sorry for write english so badd, I’m learning but is difficult to me

    1. Haha, you’re right, this isn’t the first time Shouma’s been poisoned. He must be getting what he deserves for eating so much.

      Thanks for commenting, and don’t worry about your English: it makes perfect sense. As they say, practice makes perfect!

      (pero si prefieres, siempre puedes comentar en español)

  4. Yay! Thank you Draggle for also being a person who is so immersed in the series that they don’t get distracted by sub-par visuals. I also thought that this episode was quite strong, other than the fact that the characters were off-model.

    That’s an interesting catch with the ringtone. You’re absolutely right that Ringo seems like the type of person to have individual ringtones. Tabuki has always interested me, if only because he never seems happy. Even when he’s supposed to be ecstatic, his smile seems fake or mild, as if he’s smiling but not really meaning it. I suppose this feeling is set by the OP, where he looks downright depressed. Perhaps one could attribute this to Momoka’s death. I can’t help but think there’s a lot more of Tabuki that remains to be seen.

    As for the Three Fates, I’ve been grappling for a handle to tie them into a trio seen in this series (Himari/Shouma/Kanba or Himari/Hibari/Hikari) but there’s not enough there (yet) to tie it in. Perhaps they’ll touch upon it though, you never know! ^ ^ Thanks for the post! (Sorry I didn’t comment sooner, however I try to avoid other Penguindrum blogs until we finish w/our post!)

    1. I honestly didn’t even notice the sub-par visuals until everyone else pointed them out. Too excited. 🙂

      Indeed, Tabuki seems almost villainous in the OP. There’s definitely more to him than meets the eye (and I bet the same is true of Yuri). Speaking of the OP, Tabuki has the bird cake, Ringo becomes a rocket, and the pink haired guy in the library has a two arrows in a circle, kind of reminiscent of a recycling symbol. Along with the penguins initially coming out of the recycling cans, I wonder what this means?

      And thanks for commenting, there’s no hurry, I always write my posts first as well. If I read everyone else’s posts first and I disagree I feel like I must be wrong. (and if you’re referring to my twitter comment, I meant that I was waiting to read you guys’ post, not your comments, so you got your priorities straight 🙂 )

  5. Does Shouma have a counterpart on the other side? I am guessing yes— Tabuki.

    Oh boy, how will I be ready for this? So far, it’s Tabuki that intrigues me the most. But then, it must be the Akira Ishida factor working here.

    1. He is quite intriguing— he has this hopelessly oblivious air about him, but I feel that to some extent this is a cover. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is involved on the other side, trying to bring back Momoka in his own way. He reminds me a lot of Head from Star Driver, and not just because of the voice actor.

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