I’m not sure why, but Mawarau Penguindrum 23 seemed to have absolutely no sound to it. Okay, voices talking (Sanetoshi’s low voice especially), the alarm noise used to introduce flashbacks, and clocks ticking, and a song during the closing credits, but everything else around them felt completely silent, like unimportant things had been stripped away. The episode was tense and sorrowful, although, again, no one is actually dead yet.
The first scene flat-out tells us what is going on. Sanetoshi was going to kill a lot of people sixteen years ago, but Momoka stopped him, at some expense to herself, and thus were born two penguinhats and two dark bunnies. As an aside, why one black hat and one white one, while you get two black bunnies? Anyway, this itself feels like the sort of fairy tale they were banding about many episodes ago. Maybe because it’s far in the past that the story’s rough edges have smoothed down to something more universal. If that’s the case we have to assume the fairy tale hasn’t ended, since the hats and bunnies aren’t done yet.
We learn a few things and see a few that seem to break the show’s rules. Masako dies but is brought back by Sanetoshi, simply to prove a point. But she seems aware of what happened and refuses to accept it, only that Kanba stop listening to Sanetoshi. Kanba, apparently, is now the lost one of the family that he now denies having, well, apart from Himari. Meanwhile, Shouma, in vigil over Himari’s anticipated deathbed, has a dream where Himari articulates this. It’s as if Shouma has replaced Kanba as Himari’s rescuer. While in my mind I’m thinking “Wrong person to ask. Shouma hasn’t done anything all series.” Indeed, Kanba shows up and dispatches (but does not kill) Kanba rather easily, making me wonder what’s going to happen next week, when it’s down to him.
Indeed, Kanba/Sanetoshi seem in full command of their battles. Ringo is stopped. Both halves of the diary are burned (unless Yuri pulled another fast one, but I doubt it. I think her role in this series is done). Maybe it’s the ease with which Kanba/Sanetoshi achieve their aims that give the episode its serious, silent feel. There was little visually to surprise or delight us. They have showed us all the symbols already. There was only the completely unexpected (and, frankly, wrong-feeling) moment where the penguinhat actually talks to Shouma. There is no one left to speak for it; I guess it had to talk on its own. That’s the only reason I can think of. Next week is the finale. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I’m hoping to find out what the hell a penguindrum is, and for more life and energy. And more sound.
Working’!! 11 spends some time with Satou, oh, and with Yamada looking for her stuffed bear. It’s a typical Working’!! instance of misunderstanding. He tells Mitsuki to leave Yachiyo alone, which Yachiyo overhears and assumes means Satou’s confessing to Mitsuki, I think. So both Satou and Yachiyo go around in a funk for a while, long enough that we pay a visit to see how Takanashi’s sisters are all doing (fine). And another conversation where both parties discuss something the other doesn’t know anything about, Working’!!’s specialty, and it’s resolved in that everything is the same as it was before. One thing to remember about this show is that nothing much really changes, unless they introduce a new character. I am relieved, however that the episode is not only not Inami-centric, but that we barely see her at all. Come to think of it, whatever happened to the normal girl, the one with glasses? The best moments, sadly, have nothing to do with the main story, and involve the sisters, and the bit where everyone just walks away from Yamada.
Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 11 has a few battles of more or less equal inanity. The first one has Mushashi’s God of War (two girls) attack the bad guys’ massed army by flinging something at it. It seems to work. Bodies fly everywhere. Everyone else on that side just stand around watching as Neito Argent Loup Mito Tsudaira (cal her Mito. Her title is even longer) finally lands. They continue to stand there as Mito, the enemy, walks right past them and up to Toori, sho gives her noogies of appreciation. She goes back to fighting the army, who JUST STAND THERE, until Pope President Innocentius of KPA Italia tells them they weren’t the good soldiers anyway. Here’s his real army. And top prove it, he casts a spell using his mortal armament, the “armament of mortal sin for lust, stateis Porneia,” that seems to tak away all the enemies’ strength. I bet that other army wished they had that kind of support. So Toori signs a quick contract that endows him with 1/4 of the ether in Musashi, provided his offering of happiness remains. He can’t be unhappy. Since I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face, this should not be a problem. He plugs into the good guys, literally, and they start pushing the enemy back. Meanwhile Masazumi, (botched sex change, remember?) challenges the Pope to a one-on-one, and some other guy takes on Galileo, who has armed himself with “Ptolemaic theory” defense, but is undone by punching by the months of the year. I didn’t quite get that. Oh, and Futayo takes on Tachibana Muneshige again, but loses this time. So now there’s a big gun pointed at Mushashi; there’s a lot of talk about what this means, but a big gun pointed at something is always serious business. That’s all we need to know. Or want to know.