Penguindrum 22

Late in many series we have the episode where all the bad stuff happens at once. Mawaru Penguindrum 22 is that episode. But on the other hand, I’m not sure we can start counting corpses. This show likes to tease too much. And too many people are unaccounted for.

Like Shouma, the one who’s done little but watch and have things done to him, and who we see in a box at the end of the episode? It’s about time he did something besides accept his curse. Sanetoshi says that that’s the only way to save Himari. Maybe that’s true, maybe not. Sanetoshi’s appearance with the two behind him (who are, let’s remember, NOT his mother and father)(I think …) suggests that everyone involved in this is part of the same conspiracy to cause mayhem on an unfair world, but neither the world or the conspirators have been very fair to Shouma recently. Will he take Sanetoshi’s advice and be useless for the final two episodes? And speaking of people still having a role to play, how about the girls in Double-H who show up first thing to see Himari and leave with Ringo a gift for Himari? Then they leave. Surely that’s not the only thing that’s going to happen with them. Unless the fact that they have acknowedged Himari as a friend was the point of the trip to the colorful little Mika house. And the fact that Ringo’s still hanging around, even though she has nothing whatsoever to do now, suggests she’ll be doing something active later on. One forgotten character who plays her role out is Yuri’s former lover, who stabs Keiju for no reason. Maybe the creators felt they had a loose end to tie up. Keiju apparently will survive, after his comment about how kids should be told that they are loved.

But these are all side notes. The real story, of course, is Kanba, and the two women who have both been sisters to him, and not, trying to stop him from what I consider to be the real curse, the thought that an individual can and should act on their own for the behalf of the ones they love, even if that causes great pain to innocents. First it’s Himari’s turn, hugging him from behind (as Masako will later) and trying to talk him out of it, which never works. Later, it’s Masako, who follows him to a secret lair and is discovered with him by the police.

The contrast is interesting. Himari is truly defenseless. She expects to die and has come to accept it. She hates the thought that Kanba is wants to save her by doing something terrible. But if words won’t persuade him than there is nothing she can do. She makes a prayer and finds herself back where it started-the aquarium. Maybe her prayer of self-sacrifice is granted, or maybe what the doctors said is simply happening. We leave her lying on the ground with her penguin half-transparent–but still there. I wonder if the show really intends to kill off one of its central characters with two episodes to go. I don’t think so.

Masako, typically, is more proactive, and probably makes a mistake. Caught with Kanba when he slunk back to a discovered hideout to erase some data, she tries to get him to surrender (I told you, that hugging from the back trick never works!), and when he fails to listen to her (maybe a further rejection of her as a sister, but then again he rejected his “other” sister the same way), and then falls taking the gunfire intended for both of them, which suggests the opposite of a rejection, or at least a desire to keep another person he cares for safe, she stays behind to take on the deadly special OPs team with her little slingshot. Heroic lighting, etc. She, at least, is almost certainly dead. But why? In order to help Kanba escape, so he can continue to carry out the destruction he was dishing out through the entire scene with his bowling game app. Because he helped her escape the worst of the retribution as a child. Noble, I suppose. But her words also show that she has come to believe in the misguided things that Kanba does. So she has doomed herself. Unless she lives. Who knows? In spite of all the tragic events we saw this time, no one has actually DIED yet. I think.

So next week maybe we’ll Shouma finally do something, with Ringo helping out, armed with her part of the diary, returned to her by Yuri. Er, does that mean all the running around during the first half is completely forgotten now? What ABOUT the diary? Momoka? Mario? Double-H? The cat? We have only two episodes more to tie it all together.

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