I am a few days late on my review of Penguindrum Season 2, but when I sat down to write about it, I realized I needed a few more days to gather my thoughts. My initial reaction to the series was that I thought it was great, but at the same time there were so many layers to it, that I realized I couldn’t write a full on review of it without watching it a few more times to peel back each layers. I also instantly felt that I needed to do a research paper on the whole series because I felt that there was so many thing they were trying to say.
Let’s start with explaining the basic premise of the story. There is a sister, Himari, and her two brothers, Shoma and Kanba. Himari is terminally ill and one day while at the aquarium, Himari dies. Himari wears a Penguin hat that brings her back to life, but in order for her to continue living, Kanba and Shoma must find the “penguin drum”. Along their way of searching for the penguin drum they come across several interesting characters, Mr Tabuki, Natsume, Ringo and more.
You can read my review of the first half of Penguindrum here. Season 2 wrapped up the series and this review is going to be more along the lines of the whole series. Overall, season 1 was a mix of comedy, character backstories and hints of a larger plot that came to fruition. Towards the ending of Season 1, we received glimpses of a new character and potential story paths, but we could see how some of the characters were going to start having intersecting story arcs.
Season 2 starts to expand on these storylines and we learn more about what the Penguindrum is. At the same time we start to see a dark side of some of some of the characters and even darker areas of their backstories. I don’t want to spoil the series for anyone because I highly suggest for people to check this series out. I personally felt the series was written to make you view it several times, which are the types of series I enjoy. I give the show high ratings based on that. I reserved the right to change my opinion after a few more viewings so I can determine if I can make sense of potential arcs.
Season 2 saw a more direct influence of terrorism as an element, which coincides with an actual terrorist attack that took place in Tokyo. This angle of inspiration or creator statement, is one that really interests me. I am thinking next year, I might research this topic further.
There is also possible directions in Japanese society and in particular, homelessness and possibly homeless children. There are sprinkles of a fate vs destiny debate as well. With so many paths and influences towards characters actions, it is hard to write a non spoiler review of the series. That isn’t even touching on the purpose of the penguins as in the series as well.
I highly suggested the series to a friend and he read episode summaries before watching the series. He told me after he marathoned the show, he regretted reading the summaries. The episode summaries do not do the show justice. The best comparison I have heard in regards to Penguindrum, is the show is like a scenic train ride. It takes you from point A to point B, but along the way you see so much interesting stuff that you can’t explore at the time and makes you need to revisit it several times. Once you are through the show, you are no longer distracted from an entertainment stand point, and you can start to focus on things that escaped you the first viewing.
I will touch on the series again at a later date, once I am able to view it a couple more times. I hope you give it a watch 🙂 Penguindrum is licensed by Sentai Filmworks in the U.S.