MP4S #02 – Risky Survival Strategy

This analysis contains spoilers.

Fate and Hope: a specular vision


<<I love the word “fate”. Because, you know how they talk about “fated encounters”? A single encounter can completely change your life. Such special encounters are not just coincidences. They’re definitely… fate. Of course, life is not all happy encounters. There are many painful, sad, moments. It’s hard to accept that misfortunes beyond your control are fate. But this is what I think: sad and painful things definitely happen for a reason. Nothing in this world is pointless.>> – Ringo Oginome

The second episode opens with another, specular perspective on fate given by Ringo Oginome. Those hopeful words clearly distinguishes the Oginome family with the Takakuras: the first are seen as the saviors, while the second ones are victims. We’ll see this later on.

Finding Ringo


The Takakuras brothers first mission, given by Inagi, is finding Ringo. There are many fun scenes here, like the one on the train where Kanba charms the girl that is bothered by one of the penguins.

Kanba x KIGA #1

Kanba leaves to meet the KIGA group people. This is the first of a series, and, of course, you cannot understand much on your first watch.

The quest to find the Penguindrum goes ahead with Kanba equipping the penguins with cameras and sending them spying Ringo in class. Everything involving the penguins cannot be noticed.

“Magic Aura of Mental Hiding”


The penguins and everything they touch is hidden to other people to notice. It’s nice, as they can notice the consequences of what the penguins do (eating bentos, for instance, or even messing with Ringo’s leg in this episode). They worry for the consequences (which are always some minor mess), but cannot think or wonder about the cause. It is very similar to the Pathfinder Psion’s Cloud Mind Power!

The brother take the train again, wondering on the nature of the Penguindrum. Inagi sent them just to make things moving here: she probably wanted them to meet Ringo for now.

Taking care in the Takakura family


Himari often worries about his brothers. In this episode, she’s worried about them not going to school (while they’re on their quest). She tries to take care of them as a mother, but she’s the one that needs to be taken care of the most, due to her weakness/illness. This ambivalence communicates a strong family feeling, which is soft and warm.

They bump into a lingerie shop, and another fun scene goes by. There is a shady, psychological truth around her behaviour, but everything is comedic, making this fun to follow and watch. She risks her life to take a picture of a reddish swallows nest, then meets Tabuki, to show it to him. She finally hides under his house to listen to the same radio frequence he’s listening, and to stay close to him.

She’s actually stalking him, making you see her as a psychopath. The question here is much more complex than that.

Accompishing Momoka’s Fate


The episode is closed with words that are kindred to the ones that opened it: firm belief in destiny. The game here is mirroring the feeling behind the words (from hopeful to desperate). In fact, accomplishing Momoka’s Fate on her behalf is both a mission and a burden for the girl: she does this to save her family by replacing Momoka’s role.

Her obsession for Tabuki has the same origin: she would not to that if Momoka was alive. There is, though, a strong psychological connection between the two: they both suffered Momoka’s loss.

Theme: Fate and Traumas


For the author, Fate is clearly determined by psychological traumas. People who lived the same trauma are tied together. This has been proven true by psychological experiments, making his interpretation feel real. It is not a case – as he created the anime as an answer to the real 1995 subway attack – a real, tough event which is closely tied to the anime’s message.

Ringo’s motive will be further explored in the next episode, so, stay tuned!

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