Episode 2 of Mawaru Penguindrum begins by arguing with episode 1. We get a new character, Ringo.
So who’s right? Since I personally don’t believe in fate, I’d have to go with Shouma, but as we’ll find out, Ringo has a special relationship with the concept. As for Shouma, the circumstances he finds himself in, along with his siblings make this whole “fate” thing unimportant. He and Kanda are being blackmailed into doing Himari-Penguinhat’s bidding. Fail to carry out her orders and their beloved sister will die. Maybe Himari is fated to die soon and the Hat is forestalling the inevitable, which suggests that fate can be thwarted. And what will happen if the boys do manage to obtain the penguindrum? Will they be abandoned? Will Himari die?
The show leaves these matters for us to gnaw over as the boys, on the Hat’s orders, seek out Ringo, who has the penguindrum … probably. The Hat knows exactly where she will be, but not what she looks like—more room for speculation there. The boys find themselves using their little penguin friends to sneak around an all-girls’ school, when they’re not following her themselves, just missing trouble and embarrassment every moment. And we get more issues for Shouma to dwell on, mainly whether they should be tailing Ringo at all (an appropriate response to seeing his penguin look up her skirt). Shouma is clearly the thinking member of the family. Kanda is amoral, but pragmatic; he’s the one who gets the surveillance equipment from an old girlfriend. And what is Himari? Hostage? Physical representation of forbidden love? Innocent waif who must be protected? Who knows?
The story plays out, and for a while it’s not very interesting. We’re just wondering if the boys are going to get caught. But Ringo begins to act strangely, and we learn of her inappropriate interest in Mr. Tabuki, the boys’ homeroom teacher. Two societal taboos in as many episodes! But what’s more interesting is that diary of hers with future events already written in them. No wonder she believes in fate! So we must assume for now that the diary, which they show us in some detail, including an interesting image on the cover (that maybe reflects Ringo’s uniform sleeve? Nah), is the penguindrum, which means it’s probably a red herring (do penguins eat herring?) That’s the problem with shows like this; I start to look for symbolism everywhere and get dizzy. I’ll wait for the next episode to sort it out, or make me dizzier.