Penguindrum 17, Chihayafuru 5, goodbye Mashiro-Iro Symphony (finally)

Mawaru Penguindrum 17 was, compared to some of the other episodes, fairly normal. But there are the usual portents such as the fact that Himari is feeling better much too early in the episode, Sanetoshi having a cryptic solo conversation about the nature of truth while grooming his bunny (not a eumphimism), and a later conversation between Yuri and Keiju that given extra weight by the LACK of anything else, no music, no penguins vs. octopuses, just Keiju sensibly telling Yuri that the sins of the father cannot be passed down, etc, while Yuri mutters about how sensible he is. Hoo, boy. Should have seen it coming.


It looked for a while like the pressure was off Himari. While she still does the penguin thing (and has another suggestive scene with Kanba–apparently he can still protect her), she was almost ready to be discharged. While they have not yet gotten her the penguindrum (and it’s obvious by this point that she doesn’t know what that is, either), the diary is no longer the issue. Let Masako and Yuri fight over it. Ringo, too looked to have a peaceful future. Maybe their family is cursed after all. All of a sudden, for reasons I don’t understand, Yuri decides to take revenge on Himari–perhaps it had been Shouma at one point, but Ringo has a crush on him, so he’s off limits(?). So it’s a relief when Masako shows up, Clint Eastwood style (gosh!), for another of their battles using strange imagery, gatlin guns vs gatlin bows, red petals vs white, arguing purity vs experience. Phew! Himari’s off the hook for once. Now, just get her back to the hospital and …

Oh, shit ...

As I said: should have seen it coming. Keiju is the only non-family member in the show who has always sensible and compassionate. Early in the series he was a bit of a victim, too. It’s always the quiet guys, or it was his time to turn, or they ran out of characters to do crazy stuff with. All I know is that Keiju as a threat is somehow scarier than any of the other characters, because he HAS been so sensible, and no one saw it coming.

Unless he’s got something else in mind. Wouldn’t put it above this show.

Unlike Penguindrum, where you have no idea what’s going to happen next, I predicted pretty much everything that would happen in Chihayafuru 5. In fact, I was a little disappointed in the show that Arata’s reasons for quitting Karuta was so predictable. Arata’s grandfather, a god of the game, died, and he hasn’t been able to touch a card since. We knew that last week without having to be told. But in this show, mood and character are as important as story. We may have guessed the events, but it’s their unveiling, and their impressions on Chihaya that are the important thing. Chihaya is a beautiful, young girl full of emotions and care for her friends, and she missed Arata terribly. And her reactions are what you’d expect, i.e., she cries a lot and a lot of leaves and petals fall around her. What makes her different from other manga/anime girls of this type is she is also a doofus, running with excitement when there’s no reason, collapsing on the train floor, writing little notes for her upcoming conversation (not used, but when Arata stumbles across them it’s the thing that possibly reminds him of the endearing girl that was his best friend once), yanking Arata off his bike, and so on. Taichi goes from protector to jealous suitor to asshole, sometimes combining the traits. As for Arata, since we know what he’s about right now, he’s the dullest. That’ll change once he gets back in the game. Meanwhile the aforementioned leaves and petals fall or float by and the orchestral score plays on, though it’s getting a bit repetitive. Now it’s on to form the club, and meet the archer-girl looking at the poster. As good as the main characters are, it’s about time we met some new ones.

About the only decent part in the episode.

Finally I say goodbye to Mashiro-Iro Symphony. I was two episodes behind, I got to see the whole “Sena’s secret” thing play out, and it was even duller than I expected. She’s poor (but by her own choice. She could go back to being rich at any time, I imagine). When they all learn about it and are stil nice to her, she immediately drops most of her tsundere-ity and becomes another boring-as-hell character. The episode is like this. People are nice to her, she is shocked and fights back tears, over and over again. The scene pictured above, with a girl I forget the name of, was the only part of the episode I enjoyed. At least she had an emotion beyond happy and teary. Ack, goodbye.

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