Well, the past weekend and week ended up being extremely busy for me and I didn’t manage to come up with a single post. So here, I shall try to catch up on episode 17 & 18 of Mawaru Penguindrum. It was certainly a grand, varied build-up with a sorrowful end that has the Takakura family and Ringo bonding.
The octopus is a fascinating creature of the ocean, and having a strong fascination with marine animals and the oceans (I wanted to major in marine biology), I shall naturally talk about this mysterious animal. The octopus is full of symbolism, and there really are so much to be derived from this clever, simple animal. For instance, the octopus’ physicality offers so much interpretation. Octopi are invertebrates, meaning that they have no structured spine. Thus, they can slip out or into the tightest spaces, and be as fluid as water itself. This is symbolic of grace, ability, and flexibility. The octopus can also detach a limb at will to distract predators, and from a totem perspective, we can interpret this that we have the ability to cut loose excess baggage that we carry in life. Here, this begs a question: what exactly can we cut from our lives? More specifically with regard to the characters of Mawaru Penguindrum, what can they cut from their lives? For Kanba and Shoma, they can cut out Himari since she is fated to die, but they refuse to do so because they love her. As for Yuri and Tabuki, they can cut out Momoka since it is unknown what happened to her, but they refuse to do so because she was the savior of them.
Episode 17 had some really nice artistic scenes, such as the Survival Strategy and Tabuki & Yuri drinking champagne. The Survival Strategy, this time, takes a somber mood with a muted, pale atmosphere change after Shoma is yet again dropped. This atmosphere felt really powerful to me and I feel like it indicated a different change within Himari and Kanba. As for Tabuki and Yuri, by gods, the composition of the scenes were really amazing. The whole dark, night mood does make it feel like a prelude to something sinister, and Tabuki did plan something as seen later on in episode 18.
In keeping up with the artistic themes of the recent episodes, we now have a direct reference to Claude Monet’s Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son in episode 18. A brief background on this art: It was intended to look like a casual family outing, and Monet painted his wife, Camille Monet, and son, Jean Monet, for this artwork. However, Claude and Camille apparently had a stormy relationship, as Camille was Claude’s mistress. Claude’s parents were against their love, and even threatened to disown him. This reference may have been similar to Tabuki’s case with his parents, but it’s really hard to say so.
In the midst of watching episode 18, I noted a rather interesting scene, the scene with the glass shards falling down. This brought one particular scene of the opening to mind, which is shown above. Glass is fragile and can easily be quick to break, disintegrating into sharp shards. These shards of glass could represent negative feelings; they are seemingly falling out of the sky and causing harm. This scene, with relation to the OP scene, could very well imply that Himari could be an “unneeded child.”
This scene invokes so much emotions from me, and it looks so strangely familiar to me somehow. To be honest, what I envisioned was the image of star-crossed love, one of familial love, threatened by the actions of the parents. Sounds very much like Romeo and Juliet, no? The looks on Kanba’s and Himari’s faces really showed the intensity and urgency of the situation at hand, and you could really feel their love. But what kind of love is it? Is it familial love or is it something else as implied by their interaction in Survival Strategy? We may not know now, but this particular scene plus the group hug at the end really impacted my heart. Ikuhara, why are you so good?