Mawaru Penguindrum -- Ikuhara's new anime project

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Postby symbv » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:15 am

View Original PostInstrumentalityOne wrote:I actually expected worse when SaltyJoe spoke of trainwrecks.

Just show how much expectation could influence the actual enjoyment and appraisal.

You guys are again jumping the gun because you watched the feed from MBS which is from Osaka and those poor souls in Tokyo has not yet seen the broadcast in their region yet....
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Postby SaltyJoe » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:01 am

View Original Postsymbv wrote:You guys are again jumping the gun because you watched the feed from MBS which is from Osaka and those poor souls in Tokyo has not yet seen the broadcast in their region yet....

Okay, so i watched the subs and my opinions didn't change at all. In fact, i was surprised at how my impressions remained the same after the language barrier was lifted (i did understood "aishiteru"(sp?), so i guess i got what it all bolied down to even at first go:P). The last episode was essentially meditation about bonds, fate, new beginnings and above all, love. And it wasn't bad, it just lacked the punch it could have had, if the series had been more decently developed to this end. Also, a little tension and urgency every now and then probably wouldn't have hurt, but i digress.

My reason for dubbing MPD a trainwreck is simple: the finale contained the true meat of the show, but it didn't really need the show itself to back it up (and vice versa, MPD would have worked with a totally different ending). The 23 episodes preceding Ep. 24 only provided the most minimal of frameworks needed to establish the means by which Ikuhara could make his final point. In other words, the show is wasteful, though far from being a total waste. The lack of focus did result in a reliance on very overblown tactics to communicate the message, from the heavy-handed dialog to the interminable Soulful Piano And Strings™ background music, without a sense of drama and passion to justify these methods (like in, say, Utena).

Or maybe i'm just an emotional retard with a shriveled black heart who can't be arsed to really care about something without swordfights and death being involved.
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Postby Bagheera » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:09 am

^Man, what are you talking about? That was fantastic! Everything was resolved, we found the Penguindrum, saw Momoka, got the fate transfer, saw all the major characters, and got updates on all the secondaries. I don't know what else we could have asked for in an ending, really. Yes, it would have been nice to have some clue as to what all of that actually meant in a real world sense (i.e., how blowing up a train would wreck the world, why Sanetoshi was so bent on doing this, etc), but that's inconsequential. The real story was the brothers and their relationship(s) and that was resolved beautifully.

I'm hoping for a beautiful U.S. release next year. Ikuhara's a big enough name that it might happen, so I've got my fingers crossed. In the meantime I am content.
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Postby SaltyJoe » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:49 am

I guess i'm the lone dissenter here. At this rate, i won't be surprised when Azathoth barges into the thread to tell how he broke down in tears at the beauty of it all. But hey, someone's gotta have an unpopular opinion.

View Original PostBagheera wrote:^Man, what are you talking about? That was fantastic! Everything was resolved, we found the Penguindrum, saw Momoka, got the fate transfer, saw all the major characters, and got updates on all the secondaries. I don't know what else we could have asked for in an ending, really.

To me, this last episode felt like checking through a list rather than making any sort of dramatic use of the elements listed. I mean, i can take an ending that consists of people having deep and meaningful conversations with each other against the backdrop of weird imagery. I could take EoTv seriously. But this was just so devoid of any tension, or intrigue, or conflict that i just didn't feel like i'm watching something, you know, happening. Not even within the characters themselves.

But let me just bring up an example, so as my argument about dramatic deflation won't feel as hollow: okay, so we have Kanba. The guy has been going Light Yagami on the world's ass, planting bombs, killing people left and right, shooting his own brother-of-fate in the ribs (to stun him, but still), abducting his own sister. That's a pretty long list of fairly weighty things that suggested a rather grandiose ending to come for this character.

And then, he sulks a little, Himari embraces him and he finds his heart and then it's over. Erm... i know that all the terrorist shenanigans were just a metaphor for some rebellion against fate and some denial over the turn of events, ultimately nothing more than another aspect of the relationships in the Takakura family, and love prevails but what the bloody hell? That's it? Kanba himself doesn't reflect on what he did and what it means that he did the things he did, and everybody else forgot about it in an instance, and then fate transfer, world reset, it doesn't really matter anymore. His character that was built up meticulously is discarded in an instance, without any real impact.

Or there is Ringo, who had her own full arc, then fell in love with Shoma or something, then fell off the face of the Earth, barely getting what coud be dubbed cameos, and then she spends the last two episodes in full-on Jeanne d'Arc mode with zero payoff involving her own character (the payoff goes to Shoma). And then, world reset, none of it matters anymore.

In fact, i think i have some philosophical gripes with the ending. There is such a thing as striving to alter our percieved fates and then there is making a mockery out of causality. But i digress.

Really, EoMP to me was dramatic flacidness, making no real use of the series that preceded it, terrible dialog (this has been a tendency for the last batch of episodes. Sanetoshi's the only one who had any good lines, but only because of the boastful, campy charm involved), cop-out resolution, so much sugarcoating that it had me reaching for the insulin (everyone loves everyone!), and that nyeh-nyeh-nyeh viloins+brass and wailing vocals combo was just annoying as hell after a while.

Actually, now that i think about it, i fucking hate the ending. Well, this is refreshing. It's been a long time since i really hated on something.
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Postby Ornette » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:23 pm

A lot of that was the weird writing that they used where almost all the reveal was told through flashbacks, so it's just the audience that doesn't know what's going on when the characters really should/does. I felt that it worked some of the times, but didn't work most of the time but it was something I got used to toward the end so it didn't bother me much. The narrative getting wrapped up was nice, but I also didn't feel any tension in the last episode, mostly because it was supposed to be carried from the previous episode, something that's hard to do when you wait a week between episodes. Pretty good overall, I had problems with some of it but was worth the watch.

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Postby robersora » Fri Dec 23, 2011 1:19 pm

@SaltyJoe: You're not alone! I didn't get this ending either. Well, they wanted to convey some message. But why do they introduce so many things, explain so many details but let the big questions unanswered? (or am I too stupid?) What was the Penguin Drum? Was it the book, or the cherished apple? Is the penguin drum something different for everyone? why do they chase MOMOKA'S book, when the important spell to revive Himari HAS BEEN KNOWN BY HIMARI? And how could SHE know? The APPLE-THING has been experienced by the BROTHERS, so HOW COULD HIMARI know?
In the end Momoka was not important for the plot, it just convoluted it more.

In the end, my main complain is, that I don't see any connection and purpose in many things that are thrown into the story. It is very easy at it's core (which would be ok), but I feel like even the creator had no idea what the story was about. Or he just failed to deliver it.

Yet, I still like the show. It was refreshing and except for the long time it centered at Momoka's sister, I was entertained.
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Postby evaunit13 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:02 pm

This is definitely something that needs to be rewatched at least once or twice to understand. Made me ;_; in the middle. This is now my #2 favorite this year after Steins;Gate.
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Postby Bagheera » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:19 pm

View Original Postevaunit13 wrote:This is definitely something that needs to be rewatched at least once or twice to understand. Made me ;_; in the middle. This is now my #2 favorite this year after Steins;Gate.


Agreed (though I think I preferred this one to Steins;Gate, if only by a narrow margin). The reaction here, from NGE fans no less, is perplexing. I would have thought Eva had trained us better.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby SaltyJoe » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:09 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:The reaction here, from NGE fans no less, is perplexing. I would have thought Eva had trained us better.

Oh please. I don't care that elements of the plot were left unexplained. I fully expected that. Nor do i think the ending was mindsrewy. It was direct to the point of preachiness (much like EoTV) only packed into some striking imagery (again like EoTV).

What bugs me is that the series ended in a hollow, maudlin fest of insipid sentimentality so syrupy parts of the script feel like they were transcribed from Hallmark cards, without, again, any sense of gravitas (unlike EoTV). Because, by accident, by planning, or whatever else, NGE earned the right to get preachy, since it's preachiness was given substance by everything else that came before the ending. MPD had potential, but it din't put it's money where the ending wanted to show it's heart, so to speak.

I mean for God's sake, just from a perspective of themes and ideas presented, EoMPD isn't that different from Utena (sacrifice, love conquers all, the hero disappears from the "world's scenery" after the sacrifice, the anatgonist is left to rot, everybody moves on). The difference is that Utena almost had me in tears both times i watched the finale, and i'm not that easy to move. By contrast, i gave the ending of MPD a third watch, and it rang even more hollow than the first two times.

So no, my problem with the ending is not that "NOTHING IS EXPLAINED!!" nor that "OMG IT'S DEEP AND MINDSCREWY!!". My problem is that i find it dumb, rushed and a general disservice to an otherwise mostly great series.

But i feel like i'm on the defence for some reason. Can't someone not like something for some reason other than "i don't get it"?
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Postby Merridian » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:45 pm

View Original PostSaltyJoe wrote:What bugs me is that the series ended in a hollow, maudlin fest of insipid sentimentality so syrupy parts of the script feel like they were transcribed from Hallmark cards, without, again, any sense of gravitas (unlike EoTV).
And this was somehow unexpected? The show's drama hinged on the same kind of mock-classic era hollywood sense of self-importance and aesthetic. Most of Ikuhara's works require the same kind of suspension in order to enjoy; it worked in Sailor Moon because it was expected, and it worked in Utena because Utena's story was already insane, and the rest of the narrative used that kind of pretension to enforce its stage-like feel. I don't see why it can't work in Mawaru, either. It's a little uneven and inconsistent in parts, but still effective.

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Postby Bagheera » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:17 pm

^This. Salty, you're acting like the show somehow wasn't an insulin-inducing sapfest before the end, or like the show was ever about anyone other than Shoma, or like Kanba had anything meaningful left to say or do. Yes, it could have been better at points, but it couldn't be anything other than what it was. And, for what it was, it was fine.
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I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby Xard » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:06 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:(i.e., how blowing up a train would wreck the world, why Sanetoshi was so bent on doing this, etc)


how is one matter but why was revealed in second last episode and comes down to "no Sanetoshi you are the instrumentality and then sanetoshi was Seeles" like with so many other anime villains.


View Original PostOrnette wrote:A lot of that was the weird writing that they used where almost all the reveal was told through flashbacks, so it's just the audience that doesn't know what's going on when the characters really should/does. I felt that it worked some of the times, but didn't work most of the time but it was something I got used to toward the end so it didn't bother me much. The narrative getting wrapped up was nice, but I also didn't feel any tension in the last episode, mostly because it was supposed to be carried from the previous episode, something that's hard to do when you wait a week between episodes. Pretty good overall, I had problems with some of it but was worth the watch.


Yeah, this would be essentially my take on it. Though I'm a bit harsher, I think the second cour was a bloody mess way too often when it comes to storytelling and the ill-fitting reliance on flashback revelations over actually developing the central drama and characters got at its absolute worst here. It's really rare these days to get two cour anime titles (though they're starting to grow in numbers again) so the sample base is relatively small but among last 5 years there are few titles which have pulled a certain kind of shift in mood and style between the cours with success. For most obvious examples Gurren Lagann's time skip and MacrossF's shift from certain happy-go-luckyness to surprising degree of grimdark and serious war were successes in all fronts and well based on what came before, for lesser scale shift there is the change in plot direction and utter revamping of dynamic between the main characters present between two seasons of Tiger & Bunny (the series's style itself remains exactly the same in contrast to previous examples).

As for Penguindrum first cour was built pretty much as a single narrative thread (with exception of ep 9) culminating in Great Revelation. Second cour's focus to taking us on tour through side cast and their issues (how facts about Great Revelation and Momoka affected them), nearly utter narrative stasis, ridiculous reliance on flashbacks to bring on developments and revelations in contrast however was not all that succesful shift in narrative style and focus. Episode 16 is hands down the best single episode of the series and perhaps year, but treatment of Tabuki and Yuri, the stale and nearly completely development-free sibling relationships among main trio for long while, Masako's almost nonexistent importance and reducing Ringo to almost cameo character (which in turn sapped her arc the power the finale called for) are all strong marks against it. There are some other issues too, but those aren't really limited to second cour and why I think the storytelling shift just didn't work all that well.

I don't even want to get onto Momoka/Princess of the Crystal/Penguindrum is Love Apple deal because the part she played seems hardly sensible in retrospect.


I didn't particularly enjoy the final episode aesthetically either. There was this strange overabundance of things (visual symbols of both meaningful and flair variety etc.) present in finale that alongside with nearly complete lack of tension made first two thirds or so of the ep 24 stale and weak clusterfuck in comparison's to Utena's ep 39. More common ground with EoTV in matters of form wouldn't have been bad, I think. Thank God I'm such a wuss and I cared enough about the characters: the final third when sacrifices of true love and shit start to happen I got very much emotionally involved and the series ended on very high note for me which is always a good way to make me forgive a lot of things.


View Original PostSaltyJoe wrote:My reason for dubbing MPD a trainwreck is simple: the finale contained the true meat of the show, but it didn't really need the show itself to back it up (and vice versa, MPD would have worked with a totally different ending). The 23 episodes preceding Ep. 24 only provided the most minimal of frameworks needed to establish the means by which Ikuhara could make his final point. In other words, the show is wasteful, though far from being a total waste. The lack of focus did result in a reliance on very overblown tactics to communicate the message, from the heavy-handed dialog to the interminable Soulful Piano And Strings™ background music, without a sense of drama and passion to justify these methods (like in, say, Utena).


You could label exactly same criticisms to Evangelion and its ending. Just sayin'


In fact I've said this before when I've said Eva runs out of things to say much before ep 26 and a lot of it is just pretty meaningless repetition as far as making a point goes




All in all, very good series and at its best truly stunning. But it's also too much of a clusterfuck for me to give a perfect rating. Which has led to quite the dilemma: Usagi Drop was much controlled and in very ways consistently better realized tv series, but it never was even remotely as impressive as mindblowing as Penguindrum as its best and I feel like Penguindrum is best series of the year I've finished so far... but I really can't justify to myself putting it above Usagi Drop due to its numerous issues the other series is devoid of. Now it hovers around Madoka tier of "great but..."

gahh



Ikuni ruined my Christmas  SPOILER: Show
Image

BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW


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Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Guilt & Innocence » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:08 pm

So according to penguindrum, in the end..........




All you need is love........
Will the darkness in their hearts be purified?
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Postby Mr. Tines » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:50 am

View Original PostGuilt & Innocence wrote:All you need is love........
Just like the last episode of "The Prisoner"?
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Postby Defectron » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:16 pm

Well that was a nice ending. Yeah this is certianly my favorite series of the year.
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Postby symbv » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:08 pm

Well you people debate over the merits vs disappointments over the structure, story, directing and technical merits of Penguindrum, 2ch put their time into sharp observation and creative spirits:

Example:

- How the penguins in trash bins in ep.1 already foretold the endings of the characters...

- How the apple got passed around:
SPOILER: Show
Image

Again I have to give my :thumbsup: to 2ch


Basically the 2ch opinions can be mostly grouped under two types
1. This is just great stuff. Such a waste for those who dropped out in the middle.
2. I just don't understand what it is, but somehow I found it really touching.
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Postby Xard » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:57 pm

those are the general feelings based on western sites too symbv. :)

/a/ seemed to really like it too in general and in fact english translation of that chart has widely circulated in discussion :lol:
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
Mugwump: Goddamn it, Xard! Take me in your arms, you magnificent sex god bastard!
And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
Eva Yojimbo: You really are the Otaku equivalent of a Catholic and Jew rolled up into one giant dakimakura of guilt.
Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Bagheera » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:13 am

View Original PostSaltyJoe wrote:But i feel like i'm on the defence for some reason. Can't someone not like something for some reason other than "i don't get it"?


Of course. But by the same token that doesn't automatically validate your arguments; if you're gonna say it sucks because of X, Y, and Z and people don't agree with X, Y, and Z they aren't gonna rubber stamp your arguments just because you have the right to hate whatever you like. Go nuts with the hating, but don't expect the rest of us to buy into it if we don't see things like you do.

@Xard: That pic is awesome, thanks.

@Symbv: I suspected there was some stuff like that going on. Good to know I was on the right track; I'll have to watch the series a couple more times to catch all of that.
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby symbv » Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:12 am

View Original PostXard wrote:those are the general feelings based on western sites too symbv. :)

OK I believe you, although that is not the feeling I got from reading EGF.... :p
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Postby SaltyJoe » Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:24 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Of course. But by the same token that doesn't automatically validate your arguments; if you're gonna say it sucks because of X, Y, and Z and people don't agree with X, Y, and Z they aren't gonna rubber stamp your arguments just because you have the right to hate whatever you like. Go nuts with the hating, but don't expect the rest of us to buy into it if we don't see things like you do.

Well that's one thing, but i was replying to that bit that goes like..

The reaction here, from NGE fans no less, is perplexing. I would have thought Eva had trained us better.

...which sort of reads as "Eva fans should appreciate this and be able to get it", and i kinda felt like i was being talked down to.

Anyways:
ou could label exactly same criticisms to Evangelion and its ending. Just sayin'


In fact I've said this before when I've said Eva runs out of things to say much before ep 26 and a lot of it is just pretty meaningless repetition as far as making a point goes

Sure, NGE repeated itself to the point of redundancy, but in doing so, it did the thing you yourself found to be lacking in MPD: it built up the characters and their woes to a point where EoTV felt justified, if not necessarily narrativley satisfying. By beating the same tracks over and over again, it deepend them, so to speak. MPD really didn't do anything of the kind.

But i guess i should just stop bitching, it's クリスマス after all. As a final note, i do feel the need to say that i did like the series, for the most part, especially bits like the Ringo Arc and Episode 16. I guess i prefer crazy fabulous slapstick Ikuhara to sincere lecturing Ikuhara.
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