Mawaru PenguinDrum – First Impressions

Is it one or two words? Seriously, I don’t know. Some help please?

Anyway, moving on… THIS is the reason I got into anime, this and mecha of course. The blend of colour, anthromorphic animals and general “WTF” moments is what makes anime watching so awesome. That and I’m really a sucker for penguins!

Owing to the extensive research I do for each show, it has revealed itself that this is an (Kunihiko) Ikuhara project – the man who brought us Revolutionary Girl Utena which I’m told is pretty good but I have never watched it as its still sealed in the box and sitting on my shelf. I may need to break it open if its anything like Penguin Drum.

The show starts with Shoma making breakfast, which is a great way to start a show – breakfast is the most important meal of the day; if anything else we can at least say that Penguin Drum teaches us important life lessons. The story looks like it will focus on this family of two brothers and their terminally ill sister. The family gets along well, really well. I don’t know if its just them putting on a strong front for Himari but they seem really close.

So because its Himari day (she can do what ever she wants) it is decided to go to the aquarium because the aquarium is always totally awesome. They take the train to the aquarium and this seems to be a continuing theme thoughout the show, they kind of mark off parts of the story by train stations on a map.

At first Himari seems interested in otters but apparently Mawaru Otter Drum didn’t have a nice ring to it so they went with penguins which Himari takes a liking to next. The show only really kicks into gear once Himari decides to go for a stroll on her own and then promptly dies… more life lessons: don’t let terminally sick people out of your sight.

So what do you do to two brothers who’ve just had their much loved sister die? You have her miraculously come back to life, talking in a funny voice wearing a penguin hat. Back at home things are noticably wierd having a formerly dead person around and things get even wierdier when 3 penguins arrive frozen in a cooler box which if you were wondering is the only ISA approved method for transporting penguins, any other way could land in prison or a hefty fine depending were you live.


I came into this with high expectations owing to all the hoorah around it on twitter and needless to say I was not disappointed. It was fresh, it was funny and it was cute.

What starts out as a simple albeit interesting family drama transforms into a supernatural story of magical proportions including a visually stimulating transformation sequence of its own. But as expected the 3 penguins easily steal the show with their subtle but lovable humor, did you see that penguin chop that cucumber/leek?

Besides it only being a first episode they don’t give much away. I not really sure what the point of the show is yet, why did Himari come back to life? Why are there penguins? And how can they cook and knit so well? Many unanswered questions, hallmark of a possibly great show.

Verdict (Will I blog this?):

I would love to blog this, but its a long show (24 episodes) and may be too deep for me as I’ve read some pretty insightful blog posts about it. Great show though will definately watch it.


7 Responses to “Mawaru PenguinDrum – First Impressions”

  1. 10 July 2011 at 7:20 am

    I completely agree (except about leaving Utena boxed on a shelf — shame on you for that). I couldn’t stop laughing at the scenes with the penguins. It was so understated, yet OTT. I mean, if you had some magical penguins shipped to you, what would be the first thing you would do? Get it to teach you how to knit, right?

    I just can’t wait for episode two. XD

  2. 10 July 2011 at 9:10 am

    I didn’t know that there were actual regulations for shipping penguins.

    The more you know!

  3. 10 July 2011 at 11:40 am

    Well this first episode has me wanting more! So mission accomplished penguins, love all the designs and colors so far really bright and fun will have to watch more of this and follow it 😀

  4. 10 July 2011 at 11:53 am

    The first episode was so full of in-your-face content; from the colors, to the graphics, to the characters…..it was an anime that didn’t bother to pump the brakes.

    I really like that. Hopefully it can maintain this enthusiasm for a whole 2 cours.

  5. 6 Hogart
    10 July 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Is it wrong that I kept wanting the penguins to say “dood”?

    There was seriously so much homage and parody here that I just don’t know what to say, but if they keep this up it will be amazing. I love anime that try to entertain on multiple levels like Matrioshka dolls, where you can be blown away by the production itself, while freely analyzing them in multiple ways without feeling like you’re really missing the point. It’s really nice to watch something this “cleansing” once in a while.

    Sure provides a stark, but welcome contrast to Usagi Drop, that’s for sure.

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