Mawaru Penguindrum 20 — The Ties that Bind

Nunca está uno libre, el que no está atado a algo no vive… Las verdaderas ataduras son las que uno escoge, las que se busca y se pone uno solo, pudiendo no tenerla.

—Last Ataduras, Carmen Martín Gaite

Apparently no one in the Takaura family is biologically related. But the strongest ties are those we choose for ourselves. Shouma chose Himari, and Himari chose Shouma. Now how did Kanba come into this?

The Chase

Himari had a very interesting conversation with Sanetoshi here.

In the past, it was Shouma who chased after Himari. She thought she was destined to remain chosen by no one and to become invisible.

Why does she still refuse to chase and fall in love though? Perhaps now that they are family, that is out of the question? I doubt it though. My theory is that she fears she will be abandoned once again.

Wait wait what? Kissing? “Fruit”? Am I the only one with a dirty mind?

What?!! I think I may have to reconsider the apple imagery. Especially with the theme of the “survival strategy.”

But this does remind me of penguin hat Himari and Kanba. They’ve kissed, and she’s taken his “fruit” too. (And Kanba is the chaser.) Will the chased (penguin hat) give her fruit to Kanba?

This entire scene was reminiscent of the scene with Sanetoshi and Himari in the library, where Sanetoshi tries to kiss her but she stops him.

I think that this is the reason Himari says she won’t fall in love. She doesn’t want to give her fruit, become empty and be thrown away like she was before.

This World is Corrupt

We finally get some motivation of the parents in the attack. It’s because the world is corrupt, and they want to fix it (although it isn’t precisely clear how). In particular, the world is corrupt because it allows children to become invisible.

This idea that the world is corrupt is central to much of western thought as well. In traditional Christianity, the world is fundamentally good, but tainted and broken by sin (specifically, by the original sin). It is man that is broken more than the world itself.

The Takakura parents take a different approach: they despise the world itself for allowing children to become invisible. But perhaps they should look at themselves. They say that it is impossible to save children from the child broiler. Yet Shouma saves Himari, and Momoka saves Tabuki.

There are other approaches to this broken world problem as well. Nihilists declare that the world is base and meaningless, as is human existence. Our friends the Gnostics (I haven’t mentioned them in a while!) take a surprisingly similar view:

Jesus said, “Whoever has come to understand the world has found only a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world.” — Gospel of Thomas, 56

The world is base and meaningless, but that is not because human existence is meaningless. It’s because the world is beneath man. A supremely optimistic conclusion from nihilistic underpinnings.

The Takakura parents seem to hold the view that the world is terrible and cruel, but that they can somehow fix it. Followers of these other systems of thought would accuse them of being proud and foolish.


This segment with Shouma and Himari’s past was beautiful. (Although I’m still rooting for Ringo, of course!)

Sharing the apple. Shouma sure loves the story of Adam and Eve. I wonder why. Sharing the forbidden fruit isn’t generally seen as a positive thing. Except among our friends the gnostics, of course.

Himari is not the chaser, but the chased.

Damn, that scarf. So adorable. This must be where Himari’s hobby of knitting scarves comes from.

Absolutely beautiful scene in the Child Broiler. Fantastic music. Did Shouma walk though the hole in the wall that Momoka left? Then Shouma manages to find Himari, out of all the thousands of abandoned children in the child broiler. He chooses her.

Being Meguca Life is suffering.

Beautiful. Shouma’s parents reject suffering and try to “fix” the world. Shouma and Himari embrace suffering and one another.

This concept reminds of Buddhism’s four noble truths:

  1. Life is suffering.
  2. Desire leads to suffering.
  3. The end of suffering comes by letting go of desire.
  4. The eight-fold path leads to the end of suffering.

Himari and Shouma accept the first two, but choose to live with suffering rather than abandon their desires.

Further Thoughts

  • Ikuhara you troll, I love you!

  • This chase scene reminded me of the scene where Momoka is fleeing from Sanetoshi in the library. I wonder if when he tells Himari that if neither person chases they will never come together he is speaking of himself.

  • Little Himari is adorable.
  • The Takakura father mentions the “flame of hope”, a holy flame that they will cleanse the world with. This reminds me of Kanba’s scorpion heart.  As does the father’s claim that the world is ruled by those who will “never amount to anything.”

  • みかん box spotted!
  • Shouma came across as kind of cool for once with how he saved Himari. If you think about it, though, it’s because of his chronic uselessness that he was able to save her: because he wasn’t paying attention to the meeting like he was supposed to. He also looked cool when he stood between Himari and Masako in this episode.
  • Notice another parallel: Shouma chased after the garbage can with the cat (and failed) just like he did when Ringo threw the penguin hat onto the garbage truck.

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12 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 20 — The Ties that Bind

  1. While more things are clearer now, I’m just totally confused on who’s sibling with whom? And who is the Takakura parents’ kid: sho or kan? and what about masako? and what about her little brother? I wonder if we’ll get to know some things from momoka’s view 😉

    1. My understanding (of course, this is probably wrong) is that none of the Takakuras are siblings. Shouma is the biological son of the two parents. Himari was a random girl he met in the apartment complex. And Kanba was Masako and Mario’s brother. I’m still not entirely sure whether the Takakura parents are Shouma’s parents or Kanba, Masako and Mario’s parents though. I’m looking forward to seeing how Momoka is tied into all this as well.

  2. Just a thought: maybe the holy flame that’ll cleanse the world is the Goddess’s flame? And the World Tree is actually a metaphor for the world and its withering for the corruption ‘Mary’ sees?

    1. Yep, I think so too. (And that the flame is also Kanba’s scorpion heart as well.) Mary in the myth is appearing to fit better and better with the father.

  3. “The Takakura father mentions the “flame of hope”, a holy flame that they will cleanse the world with. This reminds me of Kanba’s scorpion heart. As does the father’s claim that the world is ruled by those who will “never amount to anything.””
    Also, the part of Seizon Senryaku make me laugh.

  4. “Notice another parallel: Shouma chased after the garbage can with the cat (and failed) just like he did when Ringo threw the penguin hat onto the garbage truck.”

    Indeed, the chasing game ends when one of the parties gives up,
    Is Himari able to run forever? Will Shouma catch her, or give up?
    Kamba is no quitter, will he be the one who gives up everything for love?
    Just saying

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