Well, never thought that I would be back again writing another post about Mawaru Penguindrum on impulse. I’m losing precious sleep just by writing this post… Oh well, might as well get it all out since I do have some brief thoughts to share. I’d like to point out another interesting concept brought up by Masako in this episode, yin and yang, along with a wrap-up of the Mary Had a Little Lamb nursery rhyme that I talked about in my previous post.
But, before we talk about yin and yang, I suppose that I should wrap up my previous post on Mawaru Penguindrum briefly. So it turns out that the story does have a rather happy ending, but at a different cost. First, let me bring your attention to ajthefourth’s tweet in response to my previous post about the last two lines in the Mary Had a Little Lamb nursery rhyme (at least thought-provoking for me):
The theme of the nursery rhyme is still mainly kindness, but the last two lines do sound sinister to me ever so subtly. If you’ll remember in the previous episode, the story ended off with Himari’s sudden seemingly death, but this did strike me as shocking and yet strange at the same time. After all, there was nothing in the story that would seem to reference the last two lines until now, when we hear the rest of the story. The Goddess changed her mind and decided to leave the lamb alive, not because of pity for the lambs or mercy for Mary, but because it would be no fun if the punishment were to end there. The story ends there (supposedly), and of course, there is a subtle hint of a more sinister purpose. I feel that the goddess (most likely referring to Sanetoshi) purposely lets them off just so she can call them back for a new purpose or task in the future. This isn’t kindness, but more like a sly extortion, maybe?
Next, yin and yang. In the scene where Masako calls on a television screening promoting the anniversary of the subway, Masako talks of brightness and darkness coexisting together. She mentions that when you shine a bright light on everything, darkness will strike back at the brightness without fail. This is very evocative of the yin and yang concept, which I shall give a brief background on first.
The yin and yang symbol is one of the oldest and best known symbols in the world, but very few understand its meaning. It represents the two poles of existence which are opposite but complementary, and which exist in everything. That is, the opposites co-exist together and exist in everything. Yin represents everything that is feminine, dark, withdrawn, receptive and passive and things moving down and in. Yang represents the masculine, bright, forceful and expansive, and movement out and up. According to the philosophy of Taoism, everything contains both yin and yang; this is the reason why you see the white dot in the black portion and vice-versa.
The penguin symbol in the opening is, of course, evocative of the yin and yang concept, with its colors. Also, it’s rather interesting that the penguin is yin and yang in itself. It is a bird and it can swim, yet it cannot fly. There are also several examples that I have been able to spot throughout the series thus far and I shall list them (yin / yang format):
- Fishes (referenced heavily in Ringo’s room) / Birds (referenced heavily by Tabuki’s hobby and in the OP)
- Water (the fishes’ affinity) / Air (the birds’ affinity)
- Female (Masako for her stalking and perception) / Male (Kanba for his forceful tactics)
- Dark / Light – I don’t think this needs any explanation. Can easily be referenced by the use of lighting in this series.
The yin and yang concept also accounts for the Taoist’s sense of contentment; he has accepted that things change and evolve constantly, moving first one way and then the other. Thus he does not feel upset or worried when obstacles or hard times come; he knows that things will improve. Nor does he get caught up with riches or power when they come his way. Though he might enjoy them, he knows that they are not permanent, and willingly waves them good-bye when the time is right. Taoism also introduces the concept of not going against the flow and not struggle against the tide through this yin and yang concept. These concepts seem so very contradictory with Kanba’s obsession of keeping Himari alive, as he is fighting against fate and the flow. I wonder what would happen if he lets Himari go in peace, but I suppose we won’t know until later on…