Penguin 1, 2, & 3 – Penguindrum
*Warning – Spoilers Below*
This is a very strange, dark, and interesting story. Overall, it’s about people and coping mechanisms in dealing with “fate.” The first part of the Japanese title is a very accurate descriptor of the story- “輪る”, roughly translated as “circling.” For each step forward in plot, they circled around to the past to highlight motives and reasons for particular actions. A significant portion of the story is told via flashback, but it’s not as though they are flashing back to an already told part of the anime – the flashbacks convey new information. Interestingly, they shift perspectives, making sympathetic characters positively villainous and vice-versa. All in all, I found it a highly unique story, told in a highly unique way.
The penguins are really interesting. They start off really silly, and are somewhat silly throughout. They have distinctive personalities that are mirrors of the character they represent, albeit a little more slapstick. Part of the role they serve is to give a bit of a visual break for all the difficult things going on in the anime. The other role they serve is to give you almost a comic-book-like interpretation of what’s happening. If all you do is pay attention to the penguins, you’ll have a rough idea of the plot of Penguindrum. All in all, they are really fun, interesting, and their role is very important in the anime – they help the viewer at all stages.
Chiro – Magimoji Rurumo
*Warning – Spoilers Below*
There’s just something about a sassy, lanky, feisty cat with big ears and a kansai-ben (southern dialect) that I can’t help but enjoy. Always yelling, often distractible, entirely cat…even when she turns herself into a human! I am going to put a warning on here: Chiro the cat (as a girl) is fanservice. However, she’s fanservice that, oddly enough, adds to the character and makes perfect sense. She doesn’t care about what, how little, or when she wears proper clothes—she’s a cat . In an excitable bout of kansai sass, she blurts out that she’s going to use a magic ticket and—poof!—she’s a brown-skinned girl with a fangy grin that shows just how pleased with herself she is (Here’s the clip, somewhat Not Safe For Work). She doesn’t care that she ain’t got a scrap o’ clothing on her—she’s a cat! When she goes to the beach, it’s a skimpy sea-shell bikini for her. “What fun!” she thinks—she’s a cat! She’s proud of her panties and shows ‘em off—she’s a cat! Wildly splashing around carefree in a mixed-bath? Yup, she don’t care—she’s a cat enjoying her first trip to the wonders of an onsen!
What’s more, Chiro comes with a sweet backstory of being an unwanted mutt of a feline whom Rurumo the witch takes as her familiar…a couple of misfits together. Aww. Thing is, Chiro is honestly the star of the show. Hilarious, loyal, great backstory, full of personality…. The anime itself and the rest of the characters were really nothing special (and actually rather bland), but Chiro is someone memorable and worth appreciating.