Mawaru Penguindrum 09: Penguinception

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We get a chance at connecting the (elevator wall) dots to Himari-alter’s origins through the helpful hand of penguin #3, as well as what this all has to do with the mysterious pink-haired man who seems to be fan of both Dalian and Victorique and their libraries of books.

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As soon as this episode aired, I imagined several fan girls screaming in joy over this particular scene. Sanetoshi is quite the smooth talker, and it helps to have an entire repository of memories from my favorite Takakura sibling packed into each volume on those bookshelves. His origins are still vague, but one thing is clear: he certainly knows more about why Himari-alter came to be and where her life is heading at this point. Whether that life is going to be fated back around to Sanetoshi is unclear, but at least he tried for whatever reason. Smooth, Himari. Very smooth.

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This time shift seemed a lot more like Inception than I’d previously thought; minus the dreams, rain, persistent yelling and accusing, and zero-gravity stints, of course. Instead, we take a look at three key points in Himari’s early life and how she met, grew up together with, and eventually drifted away from her childhood friends Hibari and Hikari. Everything from the trio’s dreams of becoming an idol group to Himari’s self-proclaimed selfishness and its subsequent consequences at the sacrifice of her mother were all laid bare. And all the while, this introspection took place between the time she first collapsed at the penguin zoo to when she first called for a survival strategy session from what we all thought was her death bed in the first episode.

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So all this time, those public service announcements on the train were there for a reason. It turns out that both the ending animation and the animation on the train itself are references to ‘Double-H’, or Hikari and Hibari, in their prime as idols. What I’m still unsure of is why Himari had to leave school in the first place. I can’t remember if it was because of her persistent illness with a combination of her guilt for what happened to her mother as the reasons why she lost her friends. But I definitely find it admirable, albeit a little shady, that she has absolutely no regrets and is honestly just cheering them on from the bottom of her heart. If that’s the case, then we’re still watching the Himari we’re used to seeing on-screen. If not, then the book that penguin #3 brought back to reality could reveal the real answers.

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On the topic of getting down to the answers, we’re left with some of the biggest questions still left unanswered at this point: where is the place that holds the answer to Himari’s fated destination? If Himari-alter is a representation of fate’s bride, then who liked it enough to try to put a ring on it? Apparently, the proverbial ring is still being held by someone, and that someone happened to be wearing blue-colored shoes on the day Himari remembered as being the moment she met her soul mate. Hmm. Shouma, anyone? If next week’s preview is a good indication that Kanba’s fate is to settle some loose ends with a particular someone other than his siblings (probably assassin-girl), then many signs point to Shouma as being Himari’s soul mate. Awkward? In the context of this story, not really. Given Shouma’s state since the last episode, it’s likely that Himari could pull some magic out of that bridal penguin hat of hers to set things right, even if at the cost of her own life.

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I had to sneak in one more shot of Himari and her Target-esque stroll through the library annex with Sanetoshi. I’d like to see the red circle company take her on as a mascot and watch their sales soar thanks to us otaku. Penguindrum branded everything? Sign me up for a red card immediately, please.

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