Mawaru Penguindrum 21 — The Second Coming

It was a great episode. Very exciting, filled with twists, excellent pacing, great music, etc., etc. Blah blah blah blah. Everything is coming together in the end, and the secrets of the universe are being revealed.


But I’m the kind of person who prefers the workings of the universe to remain hidden. A mystery is divine; facts are inane.

It’s like Schrodinger’s cat, which Penguindrum is so fond of mentioning. When the box is closed, we can see, with the mind’s eye, endless worlds of possibility. But when the box is opened, it’s just a cat.

What do you see in this picture?

I have this friend who, when I watch anime with her, looks up spoilers on Wikipedia while we’re watching. She wants to know things. What’s going to happen. Who characters are. Why people do things.

I don’t get it. Why would you want the mystery to end?

Of course, some of the mystery must be resolved for Penguindrum to have any sort of conclusion. And I’m not saying I’m disappointed in how they’ve chosen to wrap up the mystery, either. It’s just that I’m less enthusiastic about the mystery’s solution than I am about the mystery itself.


Penguindrum, much like the works of Murakami and other magical realists, has a very murky boundary between “fantasy” and “reality”. Many viewers seem concerned with questions of what’s “real”. But in my opinion, this is a vapid and inconsequential line of inquiry.

So I immensely enjoyed the scene where Sanetoshi pointed himself out in the photograph. “Look, he’s right there!” The camera zoomed to where he was pointing and narrowed into the dad. “No, not there! Here!” We zoom to some penguins. “No! Right here!” And there we go to Sanetoshi’s face.

The camera zooms out, and Sanetoshi has been added to the picture where there was nothing before. He says “This is from a long time ago.” Of course, it wasn’t there until just now. That’s right, you “realists”, the creators are teasing you!

A Sister’s Love

The scenes with Himari were pretty heartbreaking. She and Shouma both try to stop Kanba from what he’s trying to do. Shouma does it by (attempting to) punch Kanba in the face. When that doesn’t work, and Kanba disowns him, Shouma gives up. Ringo better show up next episode to beat him into shape.

Himari, on the other hand, leaves her soulmate behind forever so that she can follow Kanba into the depths of hell. She is the second coming of Momoka, the Savior of the World. She embraces her suffering and her fate for love.

The conflict at the heart of Penguindrum is a cosmic battle between two competing survival strategies, passed down by Sanetoshi and Momoka. On one side, we have Sanetoshi and his plans to change the world in some unspecified way. On the other, we have Momoka, who loves the world.

The battlefield is the hearts of the Takakura children. Kanba has chosen to follow Sanetoshi. Himari has chosen Momoka and love. Shouma will be the tiebreaker, indecisive as he is. Which will he pick?

The End of Relationships

Himari’s farewell to Shouma was quite touching.

Kanba’s was less so.

But their ties are stronger than they think. You can’t put relationships like that behind you just with a declaration.

Further Thoughts

  • It was nice to see that their house and that bear had explanations behind them. I’d been wondering about those for a while.
  • So Kanba was indeed adopted, and we saw why he swore to protect Himari. Looks like it’s going to end up with Himari protecting him though.
  • Kanba actually murdered that journalist. He really would do anything to save his sister. And I assumed he was an underling, but he appears to be in some sort of leadership position in the organization.
  • Who got stabbed, Tabuki or Yuri? I’m guessing Tabuki, and he’ll die after deciding to come back to her, but I’m probably wrong, of course.
  • Did you notice that the black ship that Shouma and Kanba appear in during the survival strategies was stacked along with the boxes behind Himari? Hmm…

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16 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 21 — The Second Coming

  1. “Himari’s farewell to Shouma was quite touching.

    Kanba’s was less so.”

    I lol’d. But seriously, I like that this show seems to be all about family. Sure, they’re not biologically related, but the ties are there all the same.

  2. Es interesante que Himari tome ahora el legado de Momoka y confluyan las dos personalidades que forman a la Princesa. El inicio de la guerra como dijo Sanetoshi va a empezar, y la pieza clave seguramente sera el Diario.
    Hermoso episodio, solo espero que los lazos que compartieron sean mas fuertes que la idea de cambiar al mundo.

    1. Si, Himari y Momoka comparten el mismo objetivo ahora. Yo tambien creo que sus lazos van a ser la fuerza que cambia el mundo.

  3. I still wonder about those ties to be honest. Well, maybe more between Kanba and Shoma and less between Shoma and Himari. Shoma hates his parents. Despises them greatly. If he wouldn’t forgive them, why would he then forgive his brother?

    Also, who knew that doctor would come back…from vacation I add O.o I actually forgot about him.

    1. I think Shouma will forgive Kanba because he knows that no matter what he did, he thought he was doing it for Himari. And because they’re brothers. If his parents came back, I think Shouma would end up forgiving them too. But I’m perhaps a bit optimistic…

  4. I am wondering about the kiss Kanba and Masako had back at the hospital around episode 11. She was the one who engaged the kiss and she well knew how Kanba was related to her.

    Sadly, it seems writers are just going to let this slide under and not mention the type of relationship those 2 siblings might have.

  5. Damn this episode was sort of depressing! Kanba beating the crap out of Shouma and seeing ghosts of his dead “parents” Wow I was sort of thinking maybe they were made up in his head? Well this episode sure clears that up fast…

    Himari leaving Shouma like that was sad T___T But yeah the family has been broken for a few episodes now, hopefully Himari can save Kanba’s soul? xD

  6. I finally caught up!

    Show needs more of the octopus from the other episode.

    if only ending relationships was so simple

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