Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mawaru Penguindrum 01: Penguins do make everything better.

mawaru penguindrum
... and this is just the start of it.

Yesterday I said Idolmaster was one of the craziest first episodes I'd ever seen with it's unique point-of-view and large, all-over-the-place cast of characters, well, that was just completely topped by Mawaru Penguindrum. These first 23 minutes were packed with story and character developments, bolstered by the amazing animation and vibrant colors, which I'll talk about more later. Though I was expecting a light-hearted comedy, what I got was something far beyond that.

A major theme that carried the first episode, and kept me attentive, was family unity. Clearly the Takakura family has been through a lot, with two absent parents, a dying sibling, and pretty shabby (yet surprisingly colorful) home. But, if you were to only watch the interactions between Kanba, Shouma, and Himari and the way their optimistic personalities play off each other, you'd never guess that things are so bad. I'm a sucker for dynamic characters, so even with only one episode under my belt, it's safe to say we can expect a lot more from the Takakura siblings.

mawaru penguindrum
So colorful.

I wanted to touch on something very quickly before jumping into my plot impressions, and that's the art style. Fairly reminiscent of Revolutionary Girl Utena, the characters are brightly drawn and the colors pop right off the screen. Which is why I love when the show has scenes with darker lighting and tones. The contrast between these bright characters and the reality of their lives is so entertaining, in the most cruel of ways, but it really gets the emotion across. And jumping between these colorful and dark scenes (usually through time skips or flashbacks) I can fully take in everything that's thrown my way, and believe me, a lot is thrown.

In only 23 minutes we experience both death and revival, despair and hope, and though some might argue that's really not enough time to properly convey the proper emotions to the audience, it worked incredibly well mostly thanks to the characters. However, I do feel the episode suffered Star Driver syndrome, a LOT of material in a short period of time, and I'm particularly speaking about the last 5 minutes or so. The mecha, the penguins, the alternate personalities, the strange dimensions, and (correct me if I'm wrong) slight incest. I'm hoping the next few episodes will really delve into these mysteries and not leave us hanging.

mawaru penguindrum
Zombie penguin?

Now, I've been talking a little too much about the darker aspects of the show and totally forgot the more light-hearted aspects, which come in the form of penguins. I have to say, the little guys made me laugh more then I have in a while, whether they were chasing down Shouma with an umbrella, knitting with Himari, cooking dinner with Kanba, or killing roaches with repellent. They're exactly what a "mascot" type character SHOULD be, funny and not annoying, like the majority of mascots fail to be. Besides being the show's major form of humor, they also seem to play a large part in the story, which will be interesting to watch play out.

If you're shuffling through the TONS of shows airing this season searching for something new and exciting to follow, you should definitely give Mawaru Penguindrum a try, however you should be warned it will be 24 episodes long. Luckily, I love long series, especially when done right, so Mawaru is something I'll be following closely. Also, I hope you'll excuse the late posting, Practical Delusion only started yesterday so this post, along with NO.6, couldn't be posted as soon as I'd have liked. Expect NO.6 01 to be posted later today!

What did you think of Mawaru Penguindrum, a contender or a flop?

mawaru penguindrum
If it isn't clear by now, I love penguins.


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