Mawaru Penguindrum 23 — Stop, Drop, and Roll

Clearly the Japanese education system’s teachings on fire safety are lacking.

The World is a Corpse

I already mentioned this two weeks ago, when the Takakura parents declared that the world was corrupt. But where they want to fix it, Sanetoshi strives to destroy it.

The world is broken because people stuff themselves into their own little boxes. Now, recall that for most of this show, all the people we didn’t know appeared as floating silhouettes! Suddenly, this makes perfect sense!

But Sanetoshi, as one of the chosen ones, sees this. He sees the people on the train as people, who are stuffed in their boxes.

Then, at the end of the episode, something changes:

Now we actually see the people on the train, not as an abstraction, but as individuals, with color. Sanetoshi is the one who has been putting these inconvenient creatures in boxes.

I’ll confess that I was disappointed by Sanetoshi’s survival strategy. When I saw the gates to the subway, my first thought was “holy shit!” but it was over almost before it began.

Notice the symbolism in Sanetoshi’s survival strategy: the apple, which is the world, is trapped in the cage of fate. Sanetoshi’s world is trapped in a box of his own devising.

The Power of Love

So both hats were Momoka. Does that mean she was fighting with herself the whole time?

But the reason she said that the diary was “maybe” the Penguindrum has become clear: there’s actually a different spell for each person.  My guess is that the power is love (yes, I know it sounds corny when you word it like that, but I mean it in a positive way). Of course, Sanetoshi’s strength comes from the power of love as well:

So what is the difference between Sanetoshi and Momoka? I think that in a large part, it’s the extent of their love. Sanetoshi sees people trapped in boxes, and he comes to hate the world. But the boxes are his own invention. In the same way, Kanba is led to evil because he fears for Himari’s life. His love is confined to the box that he has created for himself and Himari, and he has denied the love he has for Shouma, Masakoa and Mario.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

— Robert Frost

In Penguindrum, the world will perish from both Sanetoshi’s ice and Kanba’s fire.

On the other hand, Shouma’s love has never been constrained like Kanba’s has. He loved Ringo, even when she was a lunatic stalking her teacher. He loved Himari when she hopeless and alone. And he still loves Kanba, despite the terrible things Kanba has done. Of all the characters in Penguindrum, it’s actually Shouma who has inherited Momoka’s will, and is destined to become the savior of the world. (Yes, I hope it’s not true… but I think he’s going to die…)

The Passion of Shouma

Shouma is anointed with the most precious of all perfume, the tears of his Magdalene. His face is wiped with her hair. (What a beautiful scene!)

Shouma heads back to Jerusalem Himari’s room and sits down to pray in the garden at Himari’s bedside. But he is interrupted by Judas Kanba, who betrays him with a kiss hug. (I’m glad they changed that last one, given the modern context… But on the other hand, oh the squandered potential…)

My baseless speculation is that next episode, Shouma will wear the crown of thorns (the penguin hat / the curse?), pass his cross to Kanba(?) to carry, and walk to Cavalry. The two Marys (Ringo and Himari) will watch him die. Sanetoshi will laugh and call him an invisible child. But Shouma’s death is the catalyst for the Penguindrum: the curtain will be torn in two, and death, thou shalt die.

I don’t have much faith in Shouma’s resurrection though. Unless Momoka has some deeper magic up her sleeve. One can hope.

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15 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum 23 — Stop, Drop, and Roll

  1. “On the other hand, Shouma’s love has never been constrained like Kanba’s has.”

    So in order to be the saviour of the world you need to be a harem lead. That’s kind of a deep concept lol.

    On a side note, if Shouma “inherited Momoka’s will”, why did Momoka leaver him out of the loop all this time and instead focused so much on Kanba?

    1. So in order to be the saviour of the world you need to be a harem lead.

      Yeah pretty much. I mean, Jesus had twelve disciples who fought over who would sit in the chair next to him. (and Peter was totally a tsundere: “Do I like Jesus? I don’t even know him!”)

      But seriously, I meant love in the sense of charity rather than romantic love.

      That’s a good point about Kanba. Based on what Momoka said, it seems like it will take both of them to stop Sanetoshi. My guess is that she focused her attention on Kanba because he needed it more: there was little risk of Shouma following in his parents footsteps.

  2. My prediction is a little different, although chances are someone’s going to have to die after so many ‘fake’ deaths or rather people don’t die when they are killed in this series but Ikuhara will make sure someone does in the end because– people die when they are killed.

    Anyway, my theory is that once upon a time Shouma and Kanba actually managed to get out of their ‘boxes’. So their souls will be able to join and maybe they’re like Sanetoshi and Momoka– a person whose soul was broken into two halves. So maybe THEY are the Penguindrum. But eh, I’m having trouble reconciling all these revelations so late into the story. I just want them to pilot giant teddy bear mechas in the last episode.

    1. people die when they are killed

      Shirou, is that you?

      Ooh, that’s a very interesting theory that Shouma and Kanba are two halves of a person! I wonder why there soul is broken though? Perhaps it is somehow part of a curse placed on their parents…

  3. Sanetoshi’s part at the start reminds me of a old spice commercial ahaha I can picture him saying:

    “I hate this world, I want to blow it up! look up and then down, I’m on a train and I have lovely pink flowing hair.”

    Teddy bear bombs! I freaking knew it…damn them, but great episode it was interesting to see that Sanetoshi was actually a ghost! Maybe he is like a grim reaper? Then again I have no idea how he can bring back the dead.

    And Ringo…she needs to go back to school and learn how to STOP DROP AND ROLL! Lolol but now that the diary is gone…now what? I just hope the ending is not everyone dying..

    Last thing D’awww brotherly love isn’t it the best? Well “Siblings” Kanba could have just punched Shouma! That would have been more bad ass but I thought for sure he would kill Shouma…

  4. I doubt everyone will die. But I wouldn’t be surprised if someone does. I think that, from what Momoka said, the diary isn’t actually Kanba and Shouma’s penguindrum, and so it isn’t needed to cast the spell.

    And yeah, I thought he was going to kill him too. But he used the memory erasure ball… what did he erase?

    1. Not even sure what he could have erased from Shouma…it seems interesting but after reading AJ and Vuc’s post I think it might be something like Vuc said of giving him a memory? Or possibly a secret plan to use against Sanetoshi…

  5. “Shouma inherited Momoka’s will”

    He certainly did, but so did Kanba. It takes the two of them to save the world after all. Momoka said so herself.

    Also, if you think about it, Shouma’s and Momoka’s moral standpoints are quite different. Shouma is a very uncompromising moral-fag. Momoka’s morals, on the other hand, are flexible enough that she could go as far as to erase someone else’ existence for the sake of those she loves, like she did with Yuri’s father. Shouma would never have done something like that.

    I think that if Shouma and Kanba represents opposites ends of the moral scale, Momoka is right on middle. Maybe that’s what takes BOTH Shouma AND Kanba to make a new “saviour of word”.

    1. I’m not sure, I think that in a way Shouma can be equally uncompromising. I could see him erasing Sanetoshi for the sake of Himari. Actually, I could see him erasing Kanba for the sake of saving everyone… but let’s hope it doesn’t get there.

      I think you’re right though that it will take both of them, and Momoka does kind of fall in the middle. Shouma is uncompromising on behalf of the general welfare, and Kanba is uncompromising on behalf of Himari specifically.

  6. A bit confused about one thing. Sanetoshi says that people bend and stuff their bodies into their own boxes, but later in the episode, he says people can never escape the box called “self.”
    I honestly didn’t really understand the point that Sanetoshi was trying to make from that.
    Is Ikuhara making him say this so that he would be proven wrong later? Is another point being made from being trapped in the box called “self”. What does it mean to be trapped by “self”?

    1. My understanding is that he meant that people isolate themselves from one another, and make themselves alone. Kanba built up walls between himself and everyone but Himari, so that Himari was the only thing that mattered to him.

      They’re trapped in the boxes of self-interest: they don’t care about others, only about themselves. At least that was my understanding.

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