If you're looking for anime similar to Mawaru Penguin Drum, you might like these titles. All recommendations are made by Anime-Planet users like you!
On a chilly December evening, Hana, a transvestite, Misaki, a teenage runaway, and Gin, a retired bike racer, found little Kiyoko in the trash. For three homeless people, finding an abandoned baby might not have been the best of luck, but with good intentions and two cents to chip in, the trio set out to find the parents of the child. But locating the mother will not be an easy task, and all they have to go on is a small key...
How far would you go for your family? What makes you family? What do you do when you've hurt those you care about? Tokyo Godfathers and Mawaru Penuin Drum tackle the ups and downs of family dynamics and the ways in which family relationships can support or hurt their members. While Tokyo Godfathers ostensibly has the more realistic premise and a different overall tone and Penguin Drum is rooted in the fantastical and somewhat ridiculous, both deal with the above questions in their own ways and ultimately highlight the importance of family, whether biological or chosen.
In a futuristic world almost barren of life, mankind is confined to mechanized domed cities where A.I.’s control all aspects of life. In this world, humans are no longer born, they are manufactured in a production line; and alongside them live androids known as autoreivs. Within one of these domed sanctuaries named Romdeau lives Re-l Mayer, one of a few citizens who aren’t entirely prevented from thinking. Her grandfather's prominent position and the affection of the scientist Daedalus have left her more free will than is normally allowed, but Re-l has started to question the sanctity of the city and the citizens' perfect way of life. With mysterious beings known as proxies causing havoc and a man named Vincent causing great influence on her life, Re-l must travel outside of the city to find the answers she seeks and discover the mystery behind "the awakening".
If you liked the thought exercise you experienced in either Mawaru Penguindrum or in Ergo Proxy, you'd like the other. The amounts of thinking, picking over details in order to get what exactly is happening. The philosophical themes of both animes are also prominent aspects in each series, with Mawaru Penguindrum predominantly about Fate and Ergo Proxy predominantly about Existence.
Fujiko Mine: a woman so beguiling that the greatest thief on earth, Lupin III, has vowed to claim her as his most prized quarry. And while men lust after her, she only has eyes for one thing – all the beautiful treasures in the world that she can possibly steal. From the haunted opera houses of Japan to the boobie-trapped pyramids of Egypt, Fujiko uses both violence and sex to manipulate those who stand in her way. But with the tireless Lupin intervening in every situation to 'take' her, and the skilled rogues Jigen and Goemon entangling their own personal vendettas with hers, how is a woman to realize her wildest desires?
Though the beginning bunch of episodes from each of these series have little in common, the last halves (where the actual, meaty plot starts to kick in) are similar. Both are a blend of mystery and in-depth character study, with a heavy dose of allegory/metaphor, and some pretty surreal imagery.
They also both touch on some of the same themes, most of which are spoilers, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.
Area 11 is still under Britannian rule and the Elevens remain brutally oppressed; what’s more, their saviour, Zero, is nowhere to be found and all of Britannia believes the rebellion is finally over. Elsewhere, having lost the battle, Lelouch sets his sights upon winning the war – but the task is no easier since the Britannian forces have learned some valuable lessons all of their own. Not only have they discovered his identity and captured many of his Black Knights, but they now manipulate the memories of all of his friends. Worst of all, they have taken the most precious thing in his life – his dear sister, Nunnally. With his hatred for the Britannians stronger than ever before, Lelouch must now recuperate his forces and bring their rule of terror to an end.
Giovanni is a young cat with a troubled childhood -- he is bullied in school, and waits patiently day after day for his father to return from his journey. One festive evening, Giovanni and his friend Camponella find themselves aboard a great train which takes them to the edge of the universe and back. However, in the midst of the sights and wonders, Giovanni soon begins to discover that the train's purpose might be much different than it appears.
Mawaru Penguindrum was heavily influenced by, and frequently references Night on the Galactic Railroad. If you want to understand all the symbolism, you should read/watch this classic children's story.
Similarly, if you enjoyed NotGR and are interested in a more modern spin on some of the same themes, you should watch Penguindrum.