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November 2, 2012

Anime Review: Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Peguindrum might sound weird at first (it really is), and the story might get your head spinning into trying to get it together, but the anime does present some entertainment value that will enjoy at the very least.

Mawaru PenguindrumSynopsis:

Once you make a decision, does the universe conspire to make it happen? Is destiny a matter of chance, a matter of choice or the complex outcome of thousands of warring strands of fate? All twins Kanba and Shoma know is that when their terminally ill sister Himari collapses at the aquarium, her death is somehow temporarily reversed by the penguin hat that she had asked for. It's a provisional resurrection, however, and it comes at a price: to keep Himari alive they need to find the mysterious Penguin Drum. In order to do that, they must first find the links to a complex interlocking chain of riddles that has wrapped around their entire existence, and unravel the knots that tie them to mystifying diary and a baffling string of strangers and semi-acquaintances who all have their own secrets, agendas and "survival strategies." And in order for Himari to live, someone else's chosen destiny will have to change. It's a story of love, fate, life, death... and Penguins!

Review:

If you do not think psychological (thinker) animes then you better off not watching Mawaru Pengindrum. As weird as it sounds, the story is quite complex as well. What it deals with is quite cleverly hidden in the subplot. If you view the anime from a normal perspective, you may think it as just another anime with a complex story and random penguins, however, you you carefully analyse the visual elements and story devices throughout each episode, you will come to realize the true meaning of what this anime is all about. That said, you must not take everything in the anime literally or else you will become very confused. There are plenty of flashback scenes, dream-state moments, hallucinations and the such. Basically keep thinking that everything is just in the character's head, then you will be alright. However, the anime is not totally realistic either. You got the game of fate being played by a bunch of people. Not to mention the quite funny and cute penguins that follows the main character around, everything plays a role in the anime whether big or small. There are plenty of plot twists and use of figurative speech which gets quite complex. I still have trouble understanding what exactly happened in the anime but after giving it some afterthought, I came to release what the story was actually about.

The art was above average but wasn't spectacularly detailed or anything. Rather, it felt like it was intended to be more "picture-book" coloring than specifically "real". It as if the anime wanted the whole art style to be dream-like and unrealistic. However, the use of symbolic art device to portray events and thoughts from the anime was quite creative. Especially the use of the penguins and apples. The effects were quite good as well. Character design was pretty average and rather generic. They weren't that memorable in the end.

I some minor issues with voice acting. Some character's voices didn't really suite the characters that well which slightly ruined the enjoyment of the anime. However, you got used to it in the end. Theme songs were quite good and the background music was well chosen for specific scenes. Sound effects were quite elaborate.

The anime heavily implies that every character is not what they seem. Don't be fooled by outward appearances, every character is not what you think although some minor characters were quite predictable as to what they were like. Let us focus on Kanba, Shouma and Himari. I will not spoil anything here, but they play a major role in a massive plot twist at the end. Kanba is the more talkative and lively twin whereas Shouma is more quiet. Himari is pretty peppy and cute and also shows concern for her brothers. It is all one happy family until they discover the truth and face the challenges and hardships that happens.

In the end, it is one big psychological anime that requires little explanation to what is happening. You have to just accept it as it is and move on with the story. You will get to understand some plot twists, how they work, what happened and what the explanation was, but for most part, you have to either guess what happened or just disregard them. I quite enjoyed it and it was entertaining to the very end.

STORY: 8

ART: 8

SOUND: 7

CHARACTER: 8

ENJOYMENT: 8

OVERALL: 8