Every once in a while excitement travels through the air drawing the masses near to view the big event that entraped souls at the head of the line. Count me as the black sheep that heard the sounds of fireworks exploding and people sounding off their various "oohs" and "ahhs" at the glorious big event, but as black sheep do, I decided that it's not so great.
We follow A story of three Siblings that are living without their parent for an unexplained reason. Two boys and their sister Himari, that they live for. The sister is sickly and given a few months to live. By chance of course they buy her a random magic hat that is a life form of it's own and has the power to extend Himari's life. The hat offers it's life extending power in exchange of the brothers finding the "Penguin Drum" for it, not giving them anymore information about the drum.......not that they cared.
Ok that's the story in a nutshell as far as I feel comfortable talking about the what happened. The story runs a seemingly never ending theme of "nothing is what it seems". The potential of what they could of done was really high, I have to admit that a fairly nice stage was set.........BUT.........
The story settles soon afterwards for about 60% through into a Sailor moon or Pretty Cure like style and things don't get much more mediocre than that plot device wise. The male leads see their sister die, confirmed dead by a doctor, awaken by the power of the penguin hat and transported to a magical world in hand cuffs and yet they play the skeptic roll, and thus my eyes roll. Over and over the story is stretched out do to repetitive sequences and repeated acts of forced stupidity. The situational actions of the characters never scrape the bare minimum of a rational person with a smidge of common sense. In the end the show ended up with probably 13 more episodes than it should of had with the amount of time wasting that took place.
The story does have a considerably large amount of dynamics. Following the "things aren't what they seem" theme, every character worth caring about has secrets to be uncovered that open up the story in some areas were you might feel confused about early on, and that is a nice feeling, However, for the amount of things that are confusing about the show, there isn't enough reveals to fully pacify.
The pace is rather slow for the bulk of the anime and picks up lightning fast near the end giving it an overall unbalanced feel.
The comedy is smile worthy when it comes to the 3 penguins I forgot to mention (yeah they found 3 eggs that hatched into a penguin for each that are important in a way but on a large scale, just a cheap comedy device). There was one part that had me tearing up but at large I wouldn't recommend this for any consistent humor.
Character designs seemed lazy with simple bubble gum looking hair and similar faces. Not to say clear character distinction cannot be made but how hard can that be when every character's hair is a different color? And then there is the countless scenes of anonymous character silhouettes.
Effects are stunning. The often used transformation sequence is vivid and pleasing to the eye, though keep in mind the rehashing of a scene used copy paste in a mass of episodes isn't so impressive if you think about it. If you're going to use a scene more than once you'd better make that scene pop. Environments and backgrounds are passable for the year and probably a bit above the bar.
SOUND : 8/10
This is were Mawaru Penguin Drum shines if no where else. The in show SFX are nothing to snuff at nor is it anything to run home and tell mom about. However, the in anime group "triple H", a musical girl duo/trio have laid their music on the table and I have to admit I ate it all and wasn't planning on sharing. All you had to do was hijack my Ipod and it would be impossible for me to tell you I didn't enjoy the music. This would be the lone reason I'd recommend checking out the anime to anyone.
CHARACTERS : 4/10
A rather difficult portion to tackle as I wouldn't say the characters fit snuggly into specific stereotypes. They all have their nice atmosphere going about them, all mysterious in their own way.
However I do believe if an anime makes you feel bad a large part of that has to do with the characters. You can probably take the character shells from this anime, implant it into something good and have some likeable pieces. The problem is a character/plot incohesiveness.
Simply put, the characters do dumb things negatively affecting their personal outlooks. Just like the story, potential here was killed by the plot devices.
What we have here is a sad example of wasted potential. The pieces were all there to make an enjoyable piece of work. Too much ambition took that promise away by trying to force 5 gallons of content into a 1 gallon container. What I will take from this show is a nice collection of music and I have to admit I love it when Himori screams out "seizon senryaku!". The extreme lack of logic killed this for me.