It's been a while ! But here is the final review of Mawaru Penguin Drum.
I'll start by saying that the point of this review is to inform people of the series in question and I will not debate with people who thinks without valable arguments that Mawaru is crap. Mawaru Penguin Drum is one series that can ignite so many fires in arguments ; some like it some don't. I will try to be as objective as possible, but seriously I doubt that I will be able to do so. I just have to pour my unrequited love into this.
The story is something so imaginative it is really difficult to even try to explain Ikuhara mad geniosity here. The story starts by an rather cheesy premise. Shoma, Kanba and Himari are siblings living without their parents in an small house. But reality strucks: Himari is affected by an grave illness that will eventually take her life. And so begin the quest for the Takakura brothers to find the Penguindrum to save their beloved sister from her sad demise. is sound pretty simple isn't it? But believe me Mawaru is one heck of a story that will leave you shocked, sad, hilared and ......confused. Because Mawaru means running around in circles and that's exactly what the show will do its viewers....letting them run in circles before bashing them in the face. It's also one of the rare series that makes you think because almost everything is so far-fetched that you can't even imagine how far it goes.
The animation is done by none other than the rather unique Brain's-Base that really deliver something ....mind blowing. Something that makes Mawaru an unique series is the outstanding numer of details in almost every frame that you see. Mawaru is litterally bursting with color, style and substance. There is always something to see somewhere apart from the characters themselves. The animation is beautiful and fluid. But the reason why I give so much credit to Mawaru's animation is because it makes the most use of the anime style and twists it completely up side down. In short, Mawaru animation is nothing short than masterful. It is far from the perfect animation but it uses that so well; the characters and the setting couldn't have become more bursting with life than this. My hat for Brain's-Base seriously.
Mawaru's soundtrack is extremely subtle and every piece fits perfectly with the story and animation. I have nothing more to say except that for me it's a perfect match.
The voice actors now. What an incredible choice they did. Instead than choosing some popular well-known voice actors the creator gave the chance to some new comers to shine. The three main siblings ( Shoma, Kanba and Himari) are respectively voiced by Ryohei Kimura, Subaru Kimura ( are they related I wonder) and Miho Arakawa. Apart from Ryohei Kimura that already have some names in his career like Akira Takizawa in Eden of the East, the two other along with Marie Miwake that voices Ringo Oginome are relatively new to the business. I never heard of them before watching this show. And I truly wish to hear them more often in the future. They did an excellent job in general in the exception of few scenes that were poorly voiced. You can't go wrong when you add some famous voice actors in your cast and they are also present here in Mawaru. You'll find Akira Ishida, Mamiko Noto and Yui Horie along the way with some others. But the star is given here, for me, for Subaru Kimura and Mamiko Noto. They just amazed me to no extent.
Opening section: 1) Nornir by Etsuko Yakushimaru. The visuals are sooooo impressive and the song fits extremely well.
2) Boys come back to me by Etsuko Yakushimaru. As incredible that the first one.
Ending section: 1) First part of the show always end with Dear Future with Coaltars of the deepers. Good song and visuals.
2)Second part features always a different song on the same slightly altered excellent visuals that matches perfectly.
None is to say that Mawaru's cast of characters is divine. Every one of them is developped with care and love. None of them is left out. The characters themselves are fascinating to see and you can never see what thoughts are guiding them. I also loved the facts that none of them are clichés. They are totally lovables and absolutely ....crazy is the word that describes them the best. You'll either love them or hate them but for me I adored the time I spent watching them moving on the screen.
Overall, Mawaru Penguin Drum is for me the best anime series I have ever seen in my entire anime life. It provided me with absolutely everything I ever wanted to see in an anime or even in a TV series : style, care, love, story and WTF-ness with subtle symbolism along with totally loveably crazy characters. It even offered much more than I anticipated when I started it few months ago. It kept me glued to the screen every damn week and I just had one thought the entire week: the next episode of Mawaru Penguin Drum. But I have to warn you: this series is definetely NOT for everyone. Some content may shock some and the story can also lose some others. If you think you are brave enough to get trolled every single episode well I think you may taste it for yourself. I also recommend beeing an anime veteran( 100 series seen and more to fully appreciate it) or have a totally crazied mind would be good too. Ikuhara provided us after ten years in the dark an ultimate jewel. For my part I will never forget the experience that was Mawaru . You may call me overpositivist if you wish but those are my arguments. Mawaru is incredibly UNIQUE for everything it presents and does.
Note: No editors are planning Mawaru license and that is really sad when you see that almost every crap series gets licensed and a jewel like Mawaru does not. But if it gets one day on DVD I wll buy it FOR SURE and review it here.
Score: 9.9/10 Because 10/10 doesn't exist. For me, Mawaru is extremely close to perfection. And that is really something coming from me.And now I am antipating A LOT from my next purchase: Revolutionnary Girl Utena from the same creator, the marvelous Kunihiko Ikuhara.
Just be amazed by the number of details O_______O A feast for the eyes.
Or this.... Simply crafty and arty to no extent.
Next! Maybe Un-Go in a few weeks.