Penguindrum 15, UN-GO 2, Working’!! 3

Mawaru Penguindrum 15 explains something we’ve all been wondering in the context of Yuri’s sad life and current passions.

Apart from her bandages Yuri’s physical abuse is never shown. This being Penguindrum, it’s suggested in symbolic fashion using a ridiculous, huge David tower, sculptor’s chisels, and especially the chink-chink-chink sound they make (which the show exploits during Masako’s wounding speech prior to her attack). But there is more than enough violence in her father’s words to damage Yuri, or any small child. Is it enough to justify what she is doing to Ringo now? Of course not; it makes her actions understandable, is all. Oddly, Ringo is awake and telling Shouma over the phone that she’s freeing herself, or something, all of which sounds like a suicide message. It’s possible she’s still drugged. One more observation about the show in general: it turns out Shouma is at the same inn, and is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Yuri and Ringo. Were this most other shows it would be the most ridiculous coincidence possible. But since this is Penguindrum we (or I do, anyway) just shrug it off. The show goes by its own logic. Besides, maybe Sanetoshi was behind Shouma’s friend winning the raffle.

We get a sweet moment where Himari sees her friends turned idols wearing the scarves she made for them on TV. They call her a “dear friend,” yet it’s a little scary that Sanetoshi was behind it. Is he behind everything? Probably. But most of the episode is about Yuri, befriended by Momoka (finally we see her!) and brainwashed and abused by her sick father. Momoka is a little too good to be true as she reaches out to Yuri even though she has no reason to, explaining that everything is beautiful. But I guess that’s why so many people are mourning her death. But she’s a little sinister, too. She calmly explains her diary’s powers to transfer lines of fate and that she can get rid of that tower (replacing it with a landmark that should leave a few heads spinning) and all the helicopters waving around it like she was saving another rabbit. The fact that she endures great pain to do so suggests we’re not dealing with a sane mind.

Back in the present day we get Masako’s attack on Yuri for the other half of the diary–naturally, since it’s at a hot springs inn, it involves ping-pong–and then, oddest of all, the fact that Yuri put Ringo (back in her robes) side by side with Shouma, as if his appearance had made her change her mind, that maybe Ringo was better off with her “Prince Charming.” AND she admits to Shouma that she was the one who stole Ringo’s half of the diary. Why tell him? What game is she playing now? I guess we’ll find out eventually.

I’m not going to say a lot about UN-GO 2, except that it’s clever, fast-paced, and bizarre, as episode one was. It goes by in a second; it’s like a blur. Maybe not the best thing for a detective show with murder mysteries. I’m busy trying to figure out a bit of information while they’re speeding past a second or a third. I was never very good with murder mysteries, anyway. But I love the show’s sense of style along with its speed. I’m having fun trying to figure out what Inga is all about, and Kaishuu, even while I stumble of Yuuki’s ramblings over, in this episode, breakability. Also interesting is the world they live in, a post-war Japan full of ruins where no one seems to be suffering, at least badly, and the police state the country’s become, thanks to such cheerful and real-world sounding legislation like “The internet Privacy and Protection Act.” On the other hand, I wonder if the show gives too much credit to the suppressors. Can you tell me that there is no possible way for Yonaga recordings to get distributed? That they can shut down downloads all over Japan just like that? What about encrypted files? What about torrents, the way through most of us get to watch this show in the first place? The show’s opinion on who controls technology is a tad naive. But no matter.

Izumi meets Inami.

At leaast with Working’!! I don’t have to think too much, or scribble endless notes like the other two shows here. Well, except that I can never get the sisters’ names straight. What little plot the episode has concerns Izumi, the gothy author sister, and her belief that she will be ignored if her beloved brother gets a girlfriend. She sees Popura in a photo and assumes her brother’s a pedophile. She will rescue him from pedophilia! And that way, she won’t lose him! If she has the energy. Ironically, she meets the real possible girlfriend, Inami, and takes a liking to her. Once again the show uses half-knowledge as a basis for laughs, that and excellent comic timing. The other highlight concerns Nazuna volunteering at the restaurant, and doing a better job than Yamada.

Yamada's cute when she's evil.

Naturally, Yamada’s plans come to naught. It’s always fun when Takanashi’s sisters tag along.

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