Mawaru Penguindrum 17 — Showdown at the Parking Corral

Tabuki reveals himself!


The penguins are moving on to even more ridiculous stunts in the background this week. There is an epic fight ensuing in the background, involving ink, knives, and skewers. You do not want to get on #3’s bad side. Or Himari’s.

The strangest part, though, was when the octopus joined Kanba’s penguin in peeping up girls’ skirts! What was that about?

Survival Strategy!

Damn, this was perhaps the best entrance into the survival strategy so far. I love how they always do this: a normal conversation is going on, and then you notice that Himari has stopped moving. Then you notice the penguin hat on her head. “Oh. Shit.” It made for an even better effect this week since it happened while she was stuffing her face.

Ikuhara is doing some awesome trolling here as well. “Is the diary the Penguindrum?” “No-…. Not telling.” Also consider what penguin hat Himari says of the punishment: “What you treasure the most will be lost.” Obviously, Shouma and Kanba think this means Himari. But based on the wording and how full of surprises this show has been, I highly doubt it’s that simple.

Before, the camera always cut off right after Himari said “Let’s initiate the survival strategy.” But this time, the camera remains, and Himari strips. Sexy times ensue.

The two of them are definitely hiding things from Shouma (and from us). Kanba is putting on an act for Shouma, but breaks down in tears as soon as he leaves through the trap door. Kanba seems to know what the Penguindrum is as well, even though they were both keeping it a secret from Shouma earlier in this scene.

There are still some huge looming questions about the relationship between Kanba, Himari and the hat. Kanba cries because he can’t protect Himari. But who does he really want to protect: his innocent sister, or the being possessing her body he’s busy making out with?

Showdown at the Parking Corral

I loved the scene in the parking garage and how they incorporate the imagery of western movies into the duel between Yuri and Masako.

Yuri is waiting at the appointed place. She hitches her horse to the post at the feeding trough parks her car, and fingers her gun, waiting.

Then Masako makes her flashy appearance, riding on a stunning steed. She dismounts. The two wheel about and face each other at thirty paces.  Their boots heels click as they walk, and music of the impending showdown plays in the background. They circle each other as they shout out insults and declare their intentions. They do seem to know an awful lot about each other— I wonder why.

If you missed it, check out the great discussion from two weeks ago, spurred by passerby and continued by Noc, about the symbolism on Ringo’s diary and the story of Urashima Taro. In the duel this week, Masako brandishes the diary cover with the picture of the underwater palace as she declares her intent to save Mario, and Yuri shows the back with the turtle. Yuri claims that if Masako doesn’t believe in herself, her life will only be consumed. Masako says that Yuri’s life has already been consumed.

Finally, on cue, they draw their weapons and fire. Masako pulls out a Gatling gun and Yuri brings a crossbow. We’ll have to wait until next week to see the result of their duel.

This is one crazy rivalry though. A naked ping pong match and now this?

A Shadow of Desire

For the most part, Tabuki was actually what he seemed, which is a surprise for this show. He doesn’t hold anything against the Takakura family: only Yuri does.

Recall the scene from earlier in the show, where Ringo is with Tabuki in the park. Tabuki tells Ringo that Momoka taught him how to fly. Once she died, he still knew how to fly, but could no longer treasure anything he saw. He is filled with desire no longer— only a shadow of desire remains.

Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained; and the restrainer or reason usurps its place & governs the unwilling. And being restrain’d it by degrees becomes passive till it is only the shadow of desire. The history of this is written in Paradise Lost, & the Governor or Reason is call’d Messiah. And the original Archangel or possessor of the command of the heavenly host, is call’d the Devil or Satan and his children are call’d Sin & Death. But in the Book of Job Miltons Messiah is call’d Satan. For this history has been adopted by both parties. It indeed appear’d to Reason as if Desire was cast out, but the Devil’s account is, that the Messiah fell, & formed a heaven of what he stole from the Abyss.
— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Yuri fits well with Blake’s Satan— her desire is unrestrained; she wants vengeance. But for Tabuki, nothing remains other than a shadow of desire.

Elevator, Elevator, Himari got the Shaft!

As soon as I saw that elevator, I knew that things would not turn out well. But what a cliffhanger! Is Tabuki going to kill her? What happened to all his talk of forgetting the past?

Could Tabuki be the Goddess of Shouma’s story, the one who passes a fickle judgement?

Further Thoughts

  • I loved Yuri’s phone call with Ringo. “Let’s go to a hot spring again sometime.” “O… ok.” Sometimes you should just say no, Ringo.
  • Those glasses in Yuri and Tabuki’s apartment just scream “evil mastermind.”

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4 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 17 — Showdown at the Parking Corral

  1. You mention something that I had forgotten about until now: Himari’s penguin. Her actions are, in addition to being hilarious, very interesting when it concerns what we know of Himari’s character, and her seeming acceptance of her own death that was foreshadowed in the episode 18 preview. Himari, although she may be weak physically, is fairly strong mentally and emotionally.

    It also looks like, next week, we may be getting an answer to the question, “Just what would Himari think of her brothers’ actions in the name of saving her life?” If we’re going by the actions of her penguin, she would far prefer to protect them in her own way (perhaps by dying) than to have them trying to protect her.

    Thanks for drawing attention to this!

    1. I’m still not sure whether Himari is strong, simply indifferent, or fleeing from conflict. Remember the scene where Shouma tells Ringo he wants to look at the diary? They start screaming at each other from across the table. Himari just sits in between them, chewing her food, completely oblivious. Until she puts on the penguin hat.

      Her penguin’s behavior certainly does contrast with her own though. You bring to mind an earlier scene, where Kanba and Himari are cooking dinner, and #3 is getting stripped by #1, complete with the spinning, unraveling sash, and they later tie each other up. #3 is probably the penguin whose behavior least resembles her human counterpart, at least on the surface.

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