Mawaru Penguindrum 14 — Yuri

I guess her name should have been a hint. Amazing episode.

The Tragedy of M

Why is Yuri’s play tragic? The ending seems happy at first glance: Yuri and her lover fly off into the sunset, arm in arm, on the wings of a swan. But the reveals from the remainder of the episode paint the play’s ending in a different light. Yuri’s marriage is a lie meant to make her forget her past with Momoka. There is no love between her and her husband: they are but tied together by the cruel wheel of fate (as the swan is tied to the ceiling), unable to fly free. The lie they have constructed weighs down their dreams and true desires, just as the false swan is burdened by the weight of the couple. The feathers that they once used to fly are torn from their wings and scattered in the wind. Tabuki and Yuri are birds in a cage. This is the Tragedy of M(atrimony).

The Princess of Lies

The episode’s title, the Princess of Lies, refers to Yuri’s status as a celebrity and her propensity for lying. It also appears to be a clear reference to the Prince of Lies, Satan. The tragic character of Milton’s Lucifer bears many similarities to Yuri.

All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That Glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deifie his power,
Who from the terrour of this Arm so late
Doubted his Empire, that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfall; since by Fate the strength of Gods
And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,
Since through experience of this great event
In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc’t,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal Warr
Irreconcileable, to our grand Foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th’ excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav’n.

Paradise Lost 1:106-124

Lucifer wages eternal war against heaven, even though he must surely fail: so, too, does Yuri (and Kanba) wage eternal war against fate. With deceit and guile, Yuri lures the unsuspecting Ringo into eating the fruit of carnal knowledge (and hopefully Ringo will share some with Shouma). Yuri claims that she has abandoned her past, but this is a lie: in her pride, she will not bow down to fate and sue for grace. Her body is that of a monster, and no one will ever accept her again.

So what is the mystery of Yuri’s body? I’m going to guess that she isn’t entirely a woman. She’s having an affair with a woman who dresses as a man, and apparently only a woman can satisfy her. So yeah.

To briefly incorporate the ongoing gnostic comparisons, the archons (Yuri) see the reflection of Sophia (Momoka) in the waters, and long for her. When they see the same light of Sophia (Momoka) within Eve (Ringo), they rape her and she bears their children.

Ringo and Shouma

Gah, this was too much. I’ve been shipping the two of them since the second episode, but really, this has exceeded my wildest expectations. The scene where Ringo clung to Shouma’s shirt as he refused to accept her forgiveness was too adorable. He even has her crying. I don’t think she ever did that for Tabuki. The aftermath was adorable as well, where it turned out that Ringo had elaborately planned out her “I wasn’t waiting long” greeting and was embarrassed. I could say more, but just have some pictures.

Other Observations

  • Note Yuri’s bondage ropes: they’re red. She and Ringo have become entangled in the strings of fate.
  • We see Yuri / Akiho’s car. I was wondering when they’d import this from Utena.

  • Masako’s entrance to the subway car was awesome. While she knocks out the men in suits, her penguin replaces Kanba’s perverted pictures with pictures of herself. Then Masako places her foot in a very suggestive position. Kanba is a top-notch womanizer, as his eyes are focused up her skirt the entire time, even as he trips her.
  • Masako’s words seem to lend some weight to the theory that Kanba and Himari are not actually related.
  • I liked Sanetoshi’s answer to when Himari will be released from the hospital: “When the secrets of the world are revealed.”

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21 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 14 — Yuri

  1. Right when I realized that Yuri was driving Akio’s car, I thought, “Oh crap, Ringo is going to be raped.” I’ve never been so sad to be right. Poor Ringo. T_T

    1. It’s ok, this gives Shoma a chance to redeem himself. But considering that the episode stopped before anything actually happened, I’m wondering if they won’t go through with it. Pretty much the only guaranteed thing with this show is that it won’t do what you’re expecting.

  2. That Ringo/Shouma scene was so sad! I understand why Shouma said what he said, but I still find it unacceptable. Hopefully, sometime down the road, Ringo will be able to break through his wall of guilt. I definitely don’t think that Ringo will give up so easily (if she isn’t “broken by Yuri” or something stupid like that).

    I doubt that Shouma will be around this time to stop Yuri (if anyone does, it will probably be Masako, since she leaves Kanba on the train to “go save Mario herself” and is heard speaking with Sanetoshi about who has the other half of the diary) but I’m hoping that Ringo herself, with her new-found conviction and self-worth saves herself from Yuri. How awesome would that be? Destinyyyyyy!

    1. It was sad, that’s what makes it so good. A romance is best in the face of adversity. If things are too easy then a happy ending (or a sad ending) just doesn’t feel as meaningful.

      I can’t see Ringo being broken by Yuri either. Based on everything she’s done to Tabuki Yuri’s actions don’t seem too surprising. Ringo overcoming it herself would be awesome. Destinyyyyyy!

    2. I suspect Ringo’s “new-found conviction and self-worth” is about to take another tumble in the aftermath of Yuri’s intervention. After all, there are almost a dozen more episodes in which to drag the characters through hell before they find any hope of redemption.

  3. Poor, Poor, Ringo….She’s really not having a good day…

    I agree with you saying the play stands for the “Tragedy of M(atrimony)”, but I think this idea of tragedy became a the theme of the episode as a whole. One of the characterization of tragedies is when something out of our control (ie. fate) brings a character to their downfall/demise/destruction. Even Shouma brought this up when he was talking to Ringo and saying that Ringo is just going to watch him and his family until they’ve hit the absolute rock bottom. Because he believes it’s fate that has punished him and in a way you can look at it like he is saying Ringo is just going to watch his tragedy…

    I’m also a bit surprised that you didn’t touch up more on Himari’s situation. This is the first time we truly see her showing some negative emotions towards her old friends who are now Double H. It was so sad to see Himari realizing that she’s stuck in the hospital while her friends go out and live her shared dream with them, which also causes her to throw out the scarves she made for them and just lie in bed, depressed….I guess its either resentment or jealousy? I don’t even know what to think of these two friends. They seemed to care so much for Himari that they worked together to try and kill a fish to help her mother, but we never really knew what happened in the time when Himari left school because she became sick (which is what I understood from episode nine at least). Were they supportive during those times? At what point did they stop visiting her? I guess maybe they got caught up with being famous and had no more time for her…

    Anyway, much like how a tragedy is mostly somber, so was this episode. Easily the most depressing episode of Penguindrum to date. I just hope in the next episode Ringo is saved somehow before its too late…

    1. That’s a good point: Shouma sees himself as the victim of a tragedy.

      There’s a lot to say about Himari as well, but I was more interested in the events surrounding Ringo and Yuri so I neglected to mention her. My guess is that Double H stopped being friends with Himari after what her parents did.

      1. Forgot about that point.

        Also, I think there is a possibility that Ringo could be saved because Sanetoshi supposedly told Masako who had the second half of the diary (in ep 13), so she might step in before anything can happen. Of course, with this anime, it’s anyone guess….

        1. That’s true. She’d have to figure out where Yuri went on vacation to though. But anything’s possible. Maybe Masako and Ringo will team up to take the brothers on a double date.

  4. Ikuhara gave us all the pieces to figure out this would happen. Yuri had that “peach symbol” in her house, and…*her name is Yuri*. Plus she didn’t really care what Ringo did to Tabuki in their house a few episodes earlier.

    Even with all that, I still drew the wrong conclusions, and never expected this would happen…insane.

    1. Definitely insane. I wonder if it’s actually yuri though, given that we know something is wrong with Yuri’s nether regions.

  5. Whew, I’m glad I didn’t comment yesterday since I have more thoughts about the episode than “Oh god someone stop her!”

    That scene with Shouma and Ringo was soulcrushing. I can see why he said the things he did after everything he and his family have been through, but I really hope that she can break through his barriers in the long run. Shouma’s outlook on life isn’t going to be healthy in the long run. I’m kind of hopeful that his isolation won’t survive contact with Himari, though her depression upon throwing away the scarves makes me wonder if she isn’t thinking about isolation too…

    I bet that we’re going to learn a lot more about Yuri next week and why she’s doing this, and I don’t think we’re going to learn happy things. I’m a little worried about it because attempted rape as a topic has a lot of minefields to go around, but it doesn’t feel like this is being done just for shock value so I have faith in the writers to handle the issue and Yuri’s character tastefully.

    1. I think it’s a good thing that it was soul crushing. Stories where the characters have to overcome enormous hurdles end up much stronger than stories where everything just works out. Himari seems to have her own demons to fight as well.

      I don’t really mind the attempted rape, I love having shock value. :) E Minor has more to say here about the attempted rape, if you aren’t already reading his Penguindrum posts.

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