Penguindrum 13, iDOLM@STER 14, SKET Dance 27

After a few days of watching new shows go through their paces (and usually falling down), it’s a relief to get back to some shows good, or at least decent enough that I haven’t dropped them already.

Mawaru Penguindrum 13 has a few moments of plot but mainly has the characters sitting around thinking and talking.

The big plot point is, of course, Himari’s latest resurrection, this one at the hands of Sanetoshi. It wasn’t hard to figure out this would happen after his dramatic appearance at the end of last episode (besides, did you really think the show was going to do away with Himari?). This could have taken just a moment, but there are negotiations to undergo first (and probably more plot is inserted because we don’t know exactly what Sanetoshi’s price for saving Himari is, only that Kanba is willing to pay anything). Not to mention that we’ve already had a reprise of Shouma’s “I hate fate” speech. But the question of payment, the repercussions hinted at, will wait for another episode.

Instead, interjected with little plot points, like Sanetoshi’s call to Juri, we get a lot of flashbacks and discussions. Shouma goes on at length about what happened sixteen years ago. The events aren’t surprising, the kids are taken away and slowly learn what their parents had done. Neither are their reactions (well, Himari, the innocent little lamb, sleeps through much of it). What’s more interesting is Shouma’s belief in the present day: all this is happening to them because of their parents. They are cursed. It makes you wonder if the curse is part of fate as well. Sanetoshi, meanwhile, wonders if fate is actually set in stone. He tells us a story about a girl that I can’t fit into the show’s master plan yet, but which suggests that he is searching for someone, and that he is more than willing to test the validity of fate. And, in maybe the happiest moment of the show, Ringo and Teiju talk about everything. It appears she has gotten over her obsession, but, on the other hand, she is still a firm believer in fate, that everything happens for a reason. That will be no comfort to the boys. They claim that they will never amount to anything. Maybe that’s their fate, but that doesn’t mean they like it. And Kanba, at least, wants to fight it.

Back to iDOLM@STER. Last week felt like a finale, but since it isn’t, they have to add some lows, that is, after ten minutes of highs. Watching all the shots of the girls getting more successful I was just waiting for other shoe to drop. Unfortunately, it’s a rather contrived obstacle. The president of 961 Pro has declared war on 765 Pro (what is it with these numbers?) and had a pop magazine switch covers on them to promote their own group, some noir trio called Jupiter. Naturally, Jupiter is first shown as snotty and aloof, but in what will probably be the key to the story arc, they don’t really like their boss Kuroi’s tactics. As for the 765 girls, they do the adolescent moodswing thing, disappointed, then angry, then read their fan mail and get bubbly again. Nothing much to the episode, but the fruit costumes the girls wear for a shoot are pretty funny.

SKET Dance 27 isn’t bad. We get a new teacher who’s an adorable klutz, and then Switch shows off his failed inventions. None of them are particularly funny on their own, but when you start piling one on top of another there are some laughs involved. Especially the ramen-cooling head.

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