It’s that day of the week where I talk about Marawu Penguindrum, hopefully you’ve come prepared with your penguin hats on. Now that we’re all set let’s get this square ball rolling.
Well, there’s not much I want to say on the second episode of Mawaru Penguindrum specifically, other than that I was only slightly disappointed we didn’t learn much about Himari’s alter ego or the actual ‘status’ of the our orphan siblings (if you know what I mean) but that will probably come later. Actually I’m here to discuss the similarities it shares with Revolutionary Girl Utena compared to other shows of similar genres.
I think its safe to assume that Mawaru Penguin drum is 50 percent fairytale (a post I plan to do in the middle of next week, perhaps sooner), 30 percent sexuality, 15 percent penguins, and 5 percent magical girl. I’m here to talk about that five percent.
In both Mawaru Penguindrum and Revolutionary Girl Utena, the sequence that the main female protagonist undergoes is quite different compared to other magical girl shows. Here are the sequences in question:
Here, in the Mawaru Penguindrum ‘transformation sequence’, we start off at the gates of a train station. Following that we are swept along the tracks with what appears to be a rocket, that, after reaching its destination, spits out a transformed Himari wearing quite the catchy get-up.
In Revolutionary Girl Utena, the transformation sequence is quite similar (Yes I’m aware they’re similar because both are directed by the same person, just bare with me), though poor Utena doesn’t get a fancy rocket to her destination. Don’t worry though, later on she gets to use the employee elevator.
I found it interesting that these two sequences focus not on the the actual transformation into a magical girl, but rather the journey it takes to become one. In fact we don’t even see Himari change, that takes place behind closed doors and though we get to see Utena’s transformation it’s still very simple and is not meant to be the spotlight of her journey.
Compare this to Madoka Magica’s transformation sequence and you can see that there’s quite the difference between the two types. Mami’s transformation focuses entirely on the change of her outfit, which – while visually stimulating – doesn’t have the same effect as either Mawaru Penguindrum or Revolutionary Girl Utena. Even though this method of change may not be as flashy or exciting (though Mawaru Penguindrum begs to differ), I feel that it gets across a better message, even if I’m grasping at ideas that aren’t there. They say that its not about the desitnation but the journey it takes to get there. You don’t become who you are after you’ve gotten to were ever it was you were going. You change along the way.
(Just as a side note, I wonder how much control or influence Himari has over her counterpart, if at all. She’s weak to begin with, but I hope there will ever be a confrontation between the two. Wouldn’t that be interesting?)