Moments of Anime 2012: Welcome to Rock & Roll Survival Strategy (Mawaru Penguindrum)

[Seventh Moment: Kaiji Killed Me Every Week]

The Survival Strategy recurring scene is my favorite moment in Mawaru Penguindrum because it succeeded and failed at the same objective, and that this failure only adds to the awesomeness of the whole. What do I mean?

The spectacular oddity of this sequence, or series of sequences serves to prepare us for the incredible weirdness and penchant for surprise of the show itself. But see, it never ever prepared me for how the show unfolded. It’s like I should’ve known it was going to pull out some weird rabbits out of its hat, and I did know. But nothing prepared me for every week, twist after twist. My body was not ready. Mawaru Penguindrum twisted me like a pretzel.

I had to have my own Survival Strategy: Read no blogs about the show until done. The baroque interpretation games the blogs indulged about this show all but put me off from it – I felt that these earnest work took away from what I believe is the power of the show as audiovisual (and not necessarily symbolic) entertainment. In any case, welcome to rock and roll fight.


There are less explanations, instead slow revelations
Presented ritualistically as if in a dance
Many episodes later.
The mystery of this entertains,

Forcing me to take it for what it is as it plays;
Steps, turns, pirouettes,
Gestures flashing meanings meant to be understood later.
When was the last time I watched a dance

And I immediately understood what everything meant
Without liner notes, without Wikipedia?
Knowing this, I am okay with this.
Smiling at this spectacle, is my survival strategy.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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30 Responses to Moments of Anime 2012: Welcome to Rock & Roll Survival Strategy (Mawaru Penguindrum)

  1. MarigoldRan says:

    LSD might have played a factor in the production of this show.

  2. animekritik says:

    Doesn’t meth make you thin? Ikuhara is looking mighty skinny 🙂

  3. Reid says:

    Those penguins are adorable. Penguins are the best thing ever.

  4. WhatSht says:

    Every single episode has an unexpected plot twist, the child broiler, everyone’s origin, and the face that everyone is adopted.

  5. Andaer says:

    Only TV show besides AGE I followed this year – well until episode 14 at least. The plot is silly but teh presentation is amazing, I will finish it in a hopefully not to distant future.

  6. krizzlybear says:

    Remarkably fabulous. I watch this show for a plot that I can’t seem to keep up with, but disregard at times because of the sheer amounts of FABULOUS.

    Did I also mention that the show is fabulous?

  7. Pingback: 12 Moments of Anime 2011: Roboworld Trolled Into An Heroism (Redline) | We Remember Love

  8. Sebz Dima says:

    okay, this show made FABULOUS into my (and a bunch of others, I’m sure) catchphrases. Moving on, I never understood the disappearance of the Princess of Crystal. was the Penguindrum ever defined? Or were they both cast aside for Sanetoshi’s screentime?

  9. Nishimura says:

    A part of me wishes that I never blogged this show and watched it without any input from others, but I enjoy hearing other people’s opinion. I’m rather easily influenced, so having read all these other posts about Mawaru penguindrum, I probably lost my unique opinion somewhere along the way. However, I am looking forward to rewatching this show after putting it aside for a year or two, after all the craziness and hype has gone down. Hopefully it’ll licensed by someone.

    • There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the opinion of others and being influenced by them. That happened to me, as the posts of ak then wabisabi were truly amazing. However after a while the discussion became real baroque all over the sphere and I didn’t have a taste for it anymore. I still liked the show though, so I kept watching and man did it ever deliver!

      One’s opinion needn’t be unique for the sake of uniqueness. It’s the voice you have that’s more important. After all, the opinions of popular or good pundits are shared by many. That’s what makes them popular or influential.

  10. Shinmarizu says:

    This was one of those series where you watch the first few episodes, think “Ok, this seems normal so far,” followed by being smacked with the WTF hammer and the “Plot? what plot?” hammer at the same time. All to the tune of Rock and Roll Fight.
    It is at the very least, an enjoyable roller coaster ride. Hopefully the end of the coaster isn’t perched off a cliff.

    • Have you seen Utena? In any case, nothing in the first episode suggest that this show is normal – defined as ‘like most anime.’

      • Shinmarizu says:

        I have seen Utena, and I suppose I should have been looking through such rose-coloured glasses when I watched MP Episode 1…. dammit, it seems I misspoke. Change the word “episodes” to “minutes”… that should be more appropriate.

        It also doesn’t help that “normal in anime” is quite skewed AFAIK.

        At any rate, I was won over the moment Himari shouted “Survival Strategy.” My 14-year old sister and 18-year old brother were watching with me, and immediately asked where the next ep was.

        • Gotcha. The first half of the show was a convoluted mess but it had all these fascinating gimmicks that I couldn’t help but want to keep watching. Boy I’m glad I did because the show started hitting harder.

  11. Nopy says:

    I always thought of the survival strategy as eyecandy rather than anything actually to do with the story, kinda like how Sailor Moon’s transformation was just eyecandy.

  12. Xard says:

    Penguindrum ended in note that was at the same time awesome, fail and BAWWWWWW

    Welcome to rock n roll night was, for me, THE scene from tv animation this year. No other single scene comes even close to its great zanyness and awesome

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