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Anime, Mawaru Penguindrum

Mawaru Penguindrum Ep06 – Observations, TL notes

We get an awesome Ringo episode after a 2-week wait. Let’s get this thing rolling!

First, I want to bring back the ED images here, because there are quite a few icons here explained in this episode.

I’m not sure what this is. Possibly the fact that Ringo is living below Tabuki’s feet? We will probably need more episodes to see how this turns into a trap.

How the hell did an unpeeled chestnut get in there?

And it continues to eat…

The kappa and sea otter as seen in the ED, apparently they have names.

Wordplay: 「糸」(strings) and 「意図」(design), both pronounced “ito”. Pretty interesting how they’re both tied to someone controlling fate. I also really like the extreme long-shot in the left scene. Not something you see everyday in anime, and projects almost surreal, desolate atmosphere to the scene. This episode has the best direction since episode 1, in my opinion, although the assistant director for this ep is relatively unknown, so it could’ve been mostly Ikuhara’s work.

Anyone else see something really wrong with this picture? It’s a laser-guided slingshot armed with a tracking scope. Why such a low-tech weapon of choice? How is that even going to be accurate?

{Cutoff in many parts} “Take your shoes off when you play”. Couldn’t be bothered typeset this one, but does it have something to do with the “by your feet” slogan? No one takes their shoes off, and no one got hit in the foot though.

Seems pretty simple, but it delivers the maximum possible shock effect to this scene. I really like the direction in this episode.
This also seems like soul being pulled out (usually they’re white-colored, almost sperm-shaped).

I have no idea what the hell happened to Ringo in this scene either. It seems a screw suddenly went loose in her head… Could this be the fever’s doing, or something else?

Let’s talk more about kappa, a legendary creature resembling a turtle. It’s believed to enjoy eating cucumbers, and has a plate on its head, which must be kept moist at all times, or they will lose strength and/or die.
Although the kappa in Ringo’s imagination does destroy its own plate out of rage… this is probably just for comedic value.

The “eel with flower” emblem in the ED’s second set is confirmed to be 「ウツボ」, moray eel.

“Frog Park”, with a frog table(?) and two daruma or owl chairs. The frog emblem in ED may refer to this place. Also black cats… this is too deep for me.

It turns out the diary originally belonged to Ringo’s sister, Momoka. “Momo” means peach, “ka” in her name’s kanji means “fruit”. This may explain the “Destiny” stamp, the peach gate for the apartment, and the peach symbol association in OP.

The producers of this show are such trolls. Preemptive Death Note plagiarism (or “parody”, as they say) before critics whine about the similarities.
“Write down the world’s fate here. When the future written here become true, everything precious to me will become ‘eternal.'”
This must be the diary’s imaginary (?) rules. I guess Momoka’s diary was inspired by Death Note as a kid’s fantasy, which Ringo starts to take seriously. Although, it’s hard to explain “scary cat” in ep2 and “woman in red heels” in ep4 written down there by this fantasy diary explanation alone. It must have Death Note-like powers, and something propelled Momoka to write those entries completely unrelated to her fantasy.
“Things precious to me will become eternal” also sounds like the main theme in Revolutionary Girl Utena.

「外道上等」 is an untranslatable Yankee (motorcycle gang) slang. Pretty much “I’m fine with being an outcast troublemaker”, which sounds really dumb. I think “Evil” and “Weasel” somewhat rhyme, and successfully captures the badass motorcycle rider attitude, but admittedly a line that would never pass in a professional translation agency.

Why are you so awesome, Ringo? Please stalk me.

「運命ってさ、きっとものすごく大きな輪っかの形をしているんだよ」, where 「輪っか」 means “ring shape”. Partial explanation of the use of 「輪」 in series title. Fate is probably shaped like a ring, and Ringo plans to “rotate the frozen ring of fate” as in reactivating the fate by making things the way they were supposed to be. If Ringo’s right, then Penguin Drum must be a device that controls fate… judging from the title.

Do they have the Penguin Drum, then?

The black penguin, as seen in OP.

It appears Shouma misinterpreted “M” as “marriage”. From Ringo’s perspective, it looks like “M” stands for “Momoka”, as that’s the connection between Ringo and Tabuki. Looks like another title with multiple meanings, as Shouma’s “M for Marriage” would also fit into the title.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it stands for something else for Natsume’s “Project M”. On the other hand, Natsume’s “Project M” may have something to do with the Marunouchi Subway Line, the one main characters ride every episode. Ogikubo is station M-1 (Takakura house) while Ikebukuro is at the end of the line as station M-25 (Aquarium). This would actually click with the speculation of “95” in OP being a reference to 1995 Sarin Attack, and fate being a cycle of events.

Listen to the Princess, you lowlifes who will never amount to anything!

Episode rating: 9/10

About 8thSin

Addicted to fansubbing!


49 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum Ep06 – Observations, TL notes

  1. I’m guessing the two cats are a reference to Schrodinger’s Cat. One is dead, one is alive. Just like the sisters, Ringo and Momoko. One is dead, one is alive. Himari, you might say, is both dead and alive. She’s the cat in the box. Just might take on it.

    The key here, I think, is what connects Ringo’s family and Himari’s family. It is not just a coincidence that Empress Hat thought Ringo had the Penguindrum.

    Posted by Dan | August 19, 2011, 12:56 am
    • That makes a lot of sense. Especially since Ringo is trying to “become” Momoko by following her diary. I was too distracted by Tabuki’s comment about the uncertainty of his surroundings to make the connection.

      I do agree that Himiari is technically a walking corpse, but since this is very much of a Ringo episode… your first interpretation seem to fit the best.

      Thanks for the feedback 😀

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 1:10 am
    • Just read through your previous posts. I guess the 1995 train attack is what connects the two families? And now we know why there is a school girl figure when Ringo is on the screen during the OP. Perhaps Ringo’s sister died in the same accident that killed Takakura parents.

      Posted by Dan | August 19, 2011, 1:14 am
      • It’s possible, but 1995 at this point is still a speculation.
        Also, it seems Ringo and the Takakuras are too young to be present there, but maybe their parents were.

        There’s a theory around that maybe the aquarium is what connects the two families, because that’s the “end of the line” in Marunouchi Subway Line – Ikebukuro, the location of Sunshine Aquarium. The series’ and the “eye catch” (the subway map thing in middle of ep) seems to be advancing that line, which happens to have 25 stations. The hat also says it came from the destination of their fate (it was purchased in aquarium). Unfortunately I can’t remember where I’ve seen this post right now…

        And I just realized Marunouchi Line’s stations are coded as M-## with Ikebukuro as M-25. This could very much be the true “Project M” that Natsume was talking about!

        Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 2:12 am
      • Further evidence for the Sarin subway attack connection: Curry Day is the 20th of each month, and this episode we learn that it is the day of Ringo’s birth and Momoka’s death. The subway attacks were carried out on March 20, 1995.

        Posted by CBongo | August 19, 2011, 4:25 am
      • Oh, the calendar in this episode shows March 20th as Ringo’s birthday too. This is too much of a coincidence now.

        Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 11:04 am
      • Well, the flashback panel of Episode 3 (Ringo 11 years old on March 20th, 2006) was pretty explicit about the ’95 connections. And I can’t help but remember the last few frames of the CM2 trailer, where a group of people suddenly appear heads-down after a flash… coincidentally of the same color as the ring surrounding the number 95 in the OP.

        For added fun, consider what Ikuhara said in an interview before Penguindrum aired (http://moca-news.net/article/20110518/201105181000a/01/):
        “It will seem like a Saturday morning anime, but with poison in it”

        Poisonous… gas?

        Posted by the_architect | August 19, 2011, 5:09 pm
      • Oh, I didn’t notice the one in Ep3.

        He means “thorns” as in a dark twist by “poison” in Japanese, but well, maybe there’s a hidden meaning behind it 😀

        Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 10:25 pm
      • Do we actually know that the Takakura parents are dead? We do know they were alive 9 years ago, and, in episode #5, their uncle states says to Kanba “Your parent’s aren’t coming back.” Could they be missing rather than confirmed dead?

        Posted by dbm | August 19, 2011, 8:28 pm
      • We don’t. That could very well be a harsh way of saying they went somewhere and never return.

        Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 10:32 pm
      • What if the Takakura parents are actually alive but had to run away for their safety (out of Japan, perhaps)?

        When Ringo’s mother first hears about the Takakura family name from Shouma, she has a moment of hesitation. Has she already heard that name in the past? Once Kanba enters Ringo’s room (and probably learns about Momoka’s death and Ringo’s troubled past), he feels the need to hide his parents’ photos from her.

        Did the Takakura parents have any (direct or indirect) role in the ’95 events and the death of Momoka? Was that the event that brought “the punishment” on their family, and changed their fate forever?

        Posted by the_architect | August 20, 2011, 8:00 am
  2. Thanks for the notes and for your fine work on Spinning Penguin Canister…! Do have a bit of a quibble with the “gedou shoutou” bit in the fantasy sequence. Dunno if this was editor assisted or not…but my reaction to that was very ‘wut?’ until I read your explanation. i get that it’s not really translatable, but maybe “thug” for “gedou” and “Thug Life” for the tag line would have conveyed that better. The Knievel line makes sense in the context of the motorcycle gang thing, but the ‘Yankee’ wasn’t translated into “biker” or something, so the preceding line doesn’t help you get that. Anyway…

    Posted by slyborg | August 19, 2011, 2:48 am
  3. Actually, if you’re looking for anime with camera work not normally used in anime, I’d recommend (re)watching Toradora. It might just be me, but I think the director does some great work in that particular series. It feels more like I’m watching a movie rather than a TV series.

    Posted by shark0week0 | August 19, 2011, 8:01 am
  4. Blu-ray is styled Blu-ray, with a minuscule r. Just saiyan.

    Posted by tobiwan75 | August 19, 2011, 8:40 am
  5. Just thought of this, probably obvious so you might have already seen it. Momo means peach right? That’s why the peach symbol is associated with Ringo. And the “Destiny!” peach stamp is probably from when Momoko kept her own diary.

    Have we ever seen Ringo actually right in the diary? Maybe Momoko kept a diary of all the things she wanted to do in the future. That would explain why the writing is so childish in the diary. Thus Ringo is just fulfilling all the things Momoko wanted to do.

    Another possibility is that Ringo is just imitating the way she thinks Momoko would right.

    Posted by Dan | August 19, 2011, 12:41 pm
    • Yeah, I kind of commented that in the diary vs Death Note screenshot. I forgot about the stamp though, that’s definitely Momo too.

      We haven’t seen Ringo write in the diary, and I do think it’s a fantasy diary of Momoko’s. It’s strange she would write about seeing a scary cat and woman in red heels in her fantasy though. I do think the diary has some sort of supernatural powers.

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 12:58 pm
  6. What we know about Ringo’s history: she was born on 20 March 1995, the same date as the Sarin gas attack and also the same day and month (and probably year) her sister Momoko died. Her parents’ marriage eventually fell apart from grief over the loss, but before it did, they explicitly tried to use Ringo as a replacement for her. Didn’t work though, and Ringo is still torn up over it; it makes her monomania somewhat more sympathetic.

    At 5:03, Ringo says “Get out of my way” then kicks Penguin #2; can she see him now?

    In episode #5, Ringo is startled to see that her father has a eel-shaped cell phone strap rather than the penguin-shaped strap she gave him. At the time I thought the strap might have been given to him by a hypothetical (step)daughter from a second marriage. Now I think maybe Momoko gave it to him a long time ago, since the Moray eel seems to be Momoko’s totem animal.

    Posted by dbm | August 19, 2011, 7:56 pm
    • 5:03, I think she was talking to Shouma because he was “resting”, and just happened to kick the penguin.

      I’m thinking the eel strap was given to him by his stepdaughter or new girlfriend/wife. I interpreted the moray eel in her imagination flashback as the appearance an outsider who teared the family apart rather than it representing Momoko… I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 10:30 pm
      • On further thought, cell phones didn’t become popular in Japan until 1996 (Steins Gate 08!) so it’s very unlikely Momoko gave that strap to her father.

        Posted by dbm | August 20, 2011, 12:28 am
  7. >Project M

    Metroid? Sexist representations of Samus? Ha, ha, I kid. I don’t.

    Posted by puddizzle | August 19, 2011, 8:31 pm
  8. 8thsinfansubs Great Job Awesome show, one of the best translation I’ve seen in a while, and its great that someone is talking about this show. But on a fansubbing note, how do I prepare for the 10-bit revolution this fall, and will this show be distributed in 10-bit like Nutbladder does?

    Posted by That_Guy | August 19, 2011, 9:49 pm
    • Thanks 😀
      I really like this show, and I think it deserves the subs that accurately convey every detail in this show. TL notes would be too messy, but I try to provide more detail here.

      As for encoding, I don’t have any say in it, so I have no idea. The chances of us switching 10-bit for Penguindrum halfway through the season is highly unlikely, but maybe the v2 batch? Who knows?

      All the groups I’m in have no intention of switching to 10-bit until there’s wide support for it (i.e. VLC + CoreAVC etc), so maybe next season or the one after? Pure speculation here.

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 19, 2011, 10:41 pm
  9. I just came across this site, thanks to gg, and I wanted to say that I’ve been enjoying your translation work on Penguindrum and Kamisama no Memo-chou. I hope you do many more anime series.

    I loved “Weasel Knievel” and reading why you choose to use it made me like it even more. I’ve come to realize that certain shows are best left more literally translated but there are types of anime that suffer when the sub sticks too close to the literal translation – these include high energy, fast paced anime (like Penguindrum) where a long note or unwieldy translation which causes the flow of the show to become interrupted (a bad thing, in my opinion). Reading your reasoning, I think “Weasel Knievel” also works because the original was probably old biker slang and a Knievel reference is rather old school at this point.

    Posted by steelbound | August 20, 2011, 3:47 am
    • Thanks.

      I think there are better translations out there for that line, but “Weasel Knievel” fits gg’s identity the best (from what I understand).

      I’ve been told that I take fansubbing too seriously, and I guess I’m starting to learn to enjoy it 😀
      Accuracy still precedes everything else for me though!

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 20, 2011, 5:36 am
    • Can someone explain what is this “Weasel Knievel” thing?
      Google gives too much random stuff and wikipedia have no article on it.

      Posted by Goresome | August 20, 2011, 9:11 am
  10. I think your interpretation is wrong. DN was not trolling but a clever reference, and the diary was written by Ringo. I explain.

    Momoka and Tabuki (same grade!) were about 5 or 6 when she died. She could not have possibly written the diary. When the young (10-11) Ringo says “Write down the world’s fate here. When the future written here becomes true, everything precious to me will become eternal”, she says what was said or written to her as manual how to use the diary to repair her family by the person who gave it to her. She got it from a mysterious “Ryuk”. So she write down her imaginary future, what Momoka could have written, and then began to execute it. This Ryuk could be the mastermind behind everything, the one who talks to Masako on the phone. Maybe the purple haired dude in the opening.

    Posted by scineram | August 20, 2011, 8:22 pm
    • I don’t think Momoka died in 1995. That’s still in speculation stage at this point.

      Assuming ‘Mawaru Penguindrum’ is set in 2011, 1995 is the year Ringo was born (because she’s in grade 11 = 16 years old). If Momoka really died in that incident, she would’ve died on the very day she was born… not just shared birthday. I doubt Ringo can be so attached to someone she’s never even seen, or Tabuki would say something like “She was everything to me” for a girl she played with when he was 6. I would expect at least 9 or 10 years old before they leave that much impact in one’s life. Although, Ringo written it in her own childhood is still a possibility though.

      It’s interesting you mention Ryuk though. Its favorite food was apple (Ringo), so maybe it wasn’t just done for comedy, after all.
      This is still a troll show for so bluntly using the main plot device from another series as its own though, if Ryuk-like character really exists in this series too.

      Posted by 8thsinfansubs | August 20, 2011, 9:44 pm
      • I see what you mean. Momoka’s age is crucial now, and she was in the same grade as Tabuki. On the other hand, going by your translations:

        “We’ll pour our love for Momoka into Ringo. Isn’t that what we agreed on five years ago?”

        Said dad on March 3, 1999. That is why I think something is off, if she and Tabuki were older when she died. I have no idea why dad would say that unless she died in 1995 at the latest.

        Posted by scineram | August 21, 2011, 2:45 pm
      • Oh, I totally missed the 1999 calendar on that flashback scene. Looks like you’re right. The father said “5 years ago” though, so that puts it to 1994… Maybe this was said during Ringo’s pregnancy? Maybe they even decided to have another child because of her death.
        Then, Tabuki graduated from high school 6 years later (in the next flashback scene), so that puts him at age 7 at 1994. Momoka must have been age 7 too. That’s grade 2, so if she really died in 1994, the diary is probably not written by Momoka… Now that I read that diary page more closely, it talks about “division was hard in math class”… They teach division at grade 3 in most Japanese schools. That would be the perfect age if she wrote it in 1995 though.

        If Ringo’s doing all this for someone she didn’t even see before, that makes her so much more creepier. We still need some clarity on exact date of Momoka’s death, but this looks like a pretty solid proof.

        Posted by 8thSin | August 21, 2011, 3:44 pm
  11. Struggling to write my own post on Pengidrum episode 6 right now, but I love your articles. You’ve given me some food for thought and ideas, and thank you for that.

    That having been said, there’s a couple plot points in this episodes that I really like. I still believe that the Penguinballs don’t only erase memory, but do something with the victims’ fates. My evidence is still small to support this, but it’s just a hunch.

    About the M. Off the top of my head, the words that spring up in my head about Ringo that start with M are: matrimony, marriage, mother, memories, and Momoka. There’s also two that I kind of don’t want to consider but are perfectly valid given the sexual implications behind Ringo’s actions: motherhood and maternity. There’s too much range for things to happen with what we have now, but I don’t think it’s completely out of the blue to suggest that Ringo might want to bear Tabuki’s children.

    Now… the black penguin… gah. I’m wondering why it has to be coloured black. Till next week, I guess.

    Posted by catchercatch | August 20, 2011, 10:45 pm
    • The way those girls acted after they got shot by the Penguinball definitely weren’t normal. I don’t think it was simply a method of presentation for shock value. It was as if their souls were pulled out too… I’m sure you’ve seen the common Japanese interpretation of the shape of a person’s soul in series like ‘Soul Eater’ or ‘Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai’ and comedies where someone’s dying / getting their soul pulled out. It matches the shape of that screenshot of the red silhouette scene.

      The possibility of “Memory” standing for “M” also crossed my mind, but that would still have to be memories of “Momoka” to fit into the episode title.
      I didn’t think of “Mother” though. Bearing Tabuki’s child would definitely be a strong bond. Although, that would be really creepy, but Ringo has already proven herself to be a delusional stalker, so we can’t rule out that possibility yet 🙂

      Now that I think of it, Shoumas misinterpretation (?) of “M” as “Marriage” would fit nicely into “You and I are Bound by M” as well. Every episode title other than Ep5 seem to have multiple meanings, which probably means I’m not thinking hard enough for that one ^^;

      I’ll look forward to your blog post, as usual.

      Posted by 8thSin | August 21, 2011, 12:26 am
  12. Oh, I didn’t know that line ends at the aquarium. Now the “運命の至る場所から来た” part makes more sense considering the hat was bought at the aquarium.

    I’m really looking forward to the way Ikuhara will tie it all together…

    Posted by Kamion | August 21, 2011, 12:07 pm
  13. This is of course just speculation, but as for the “scary cat” and “woman in red heels” in the diary perhaps they a form of payment to get the wheel of fate turning? Since they are talking of changing fate it stands to reason there would have to be some sort of payment, for example Himari coming back to life because of the hat and them getting the hat “alien” as well. Altered fates seemed to pop up a lot in this episode what with peoples memories (perhaps more?) getting erased, and since the memories involved something they were deeply involved in with Kanba’s exes (namely him) perhaps they are being used as a fuel/grease to get the wheel turning.

    Posted by infinitywulf | August 21, 2011, 12:36 pm
    • That’s an interesting way of interpreting it. They did mention something about paying the price in this episode’s preview, so maybe it’s a possibility.

      Posted by 8thSin | August 21, 2011, 1:17 pm
      • Well one thing that I’ve liked about this show so far that there is so much to pick at and speculate about. I’m wondering about/hoping for a huge plot twist event that will make things come clear near the end of the series. You know, something that makes the viewers gasp and get the “ah now it makes sense!” moment. Going by the symbolism presented so far I’d say that’d probably involve finding out what happened with the parents and/or the pink haired man. Of course I could be totally wrong about everything I’ve thought about so far, which makes it all the more fun. 😉

        Posted by infinitywulf | August 21, 2011, 3:58 pm
  14. I thought that the Tokyo Sky Metro message aligned itself nicely with Shouma tripping over the otter and kappa stuffed animals. These are representations of Ringo’s parents, and his tripping over them could be a symbol of his inability to push past Ringo’s emotional baggage involving her family. Or perhaps that anyone who becomes involved with Ringo will have to trip over this baggage and push past it before they are able to get anywhere close to Ringo emotionally.

    Fantastic job as always! Thanks for everything you do!

    Posted by ajthefourth | August 22, 2011, 3:19 am
  15. Tinfoil hat time. What if the Takakura parents were the perpetrators of the train attacks?
    1)It would explain why the uncle said the parents “weren’t coming back” instead of dead. They are either on the lamb or dead.
    2) It could explain why the brothers are both shamed and think that “ever since that day, we didn’t have a future.”
    3) The gas attacks were done by some crazy Japanese cult according to wikipedia. Maybe the parents thought they could cure Himari’s sickness if they did what the cult told them to (just like Hitagi’s Mom from Bakemonogatari).

    Also it would explain why Ringo’s mom knew the name Takakura. I’m sure the media would have made public the perpetrators’ names. Although this could also be explained by them being victims.

    Posted by Dan | August 22, 2011, 11:01 pm
    • That is a pretty wild guess, but entirely possible. I like how that would fit nicely with what happened so far 🙂

      Posted by 8thSin | August 23, 2011, 7:51 pm
    • That’s pretty much what I was thinking.
      The parents can’t be victims of the ’95 attack, though. We see them in the typhoon flashback in Episode 5, which according to the captions should have happened somewhere around 2002.

      The only real problem I can’t get my head around with this theory is the 1999 calendar in the flashback of Episode 6. “Isn’t that what we agreed on five years ago?” seems to set Momoka’s death in 1994 (the posters above seem to find 1995 more likely according to what she wrote in the diary). Also, if the flashback really happened in 1999, the next panel shows Ringo’s and Tabuki’s meeting as happening “6 years later”, which would place it in 2005 instead of the 2006-03-20 we saw in Episode 3.

      Sure, they could have met two different times in successive years on Curry’s Day, but somehow the 1999 calendar doesn’t feel right. Everything would fit right in place if the scene was happening in 2000 (I’m half jocking, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if the scene was actually happening in 2000 and after some other traumatic event Ringo’s mother left a March 1999 calendar on the wall for who knows how many years, after all we never see a flashback panel in that scene stating explicitly when it takes place)

      Posted by the_architect | August 24, 2011, 6:44 am
  16. You n***** did understand that Kumo no Ito was an Akutagawa reference, right. Because your translation of this line is seriously lacking.

    Posted by Pedro | August 24, 2011, 9:28 am
    • No, “ito wo hiku” is a common idiom in Japanese meaning exactly same thing as “pulling the string”, also derived from puppet strings. It has nothing to do with Akutagawa’s “Kumo no Ito”.

      There is only one disputable translation error in this entire episode, and that was not the one.

      Let’s not argue with the accuracy of my translations unless you are fluent in Japanese and has years of translation experience.

      Posted by 8thSin | August 24, 2011, 11:51 am
  17. Was showing a friend this series and when he pointed out that the starfish (as seen here http://i.imgur.com/OqNmZ.png ) from the beginning of this episode looked a lot like six pregnancy tests, it was really tough not to spoil what the M in Project M stands for. Just a little extra bit of foreshadowing that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else.

    Posted by Mike | September 24, 2011, 2:00 am
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