Kamba and Shouma Takakura have taken care of their sickly younger sister Himari since their parents disappeared years ago - that is, until the day she died. But as the boys grieve by her hospital bed, Himari sits up, adorned with a strange penguin hat. Suddenly, the three of them are transported to a vibrant world where the hat, using Himari's body as a puppet, charges these brothers with a task: find the Penguin Drum and their sister's life will be saved! Now aided by some odd penguins they received in the mail, the duo must find this mysterious item or risk losing the sister they care for so much. However, they aren't the only ones with their sights on the Penguin Drum, for new enemies await them around every turn, all connected in ways they would have never imagined...
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.
When Daikichi's grandfather dies he leaves behind a young daughter named Rin. However, as most of the family is embarrassed at the idea of a 79-year-old man having a six-year-old child, they can't seem to figure out what to do with her. Disgusted by this behavior, Daikichi decides to take care of her himself, but he's a bachelor, has no idea how to raise a child, and isn't even all that comfortable with kids! Now, Daikichi must do the normal things a parent does such as enroll her in school, buy her clothing and teach her about the life and world around her. But more importantly, he must also help her deal with her father's death and decide whether or not she should try to find her mother. Together, the two begin their unlikely relationship as father and daughter, navigating each of life's bumps along the way.
There are many differences that separate Penguindrum and Usagi Drop, so at first this may seem like a strange recommendation, but hear me out.
Penguindrum is full of beautiful imagery, metaphors and has a very distinct visual style that weaves its way into the telling of the story, which at times verges into dark territory. Usagi Drop, on the other hand, is a very straightforward tale of a man raising a child. Usagi Drop's visual style is softer, and it's story is so lighthearted and heartwarming, I guarantee you'll smile while you watch it. Penguindrum is a much more fantastical in its storytelling and themes, while Usagi Drop has nothing of the sort, instead opting for realism. Lastly, it's also important to note that Usagi Drop lacks the bizarre sense of humor Penguindrum has.
Despite these extreme differences between the two, there is one key reason I feel these two shows go together well -- the concept of family. The idea of what it means to be a family and the bonds that connect family members are important themes that resonate throughout both shows. I feel as if you liked the concept in one, you will probably enjoy the other.
Also, both Rin from Usagi Drop and Himari from Penguindrum are super adorable -- both characters' silly antics and cute facial expressions made me giggle and smile while watching.