Bedroom decor can often be seen as a reflection of one’s personality or desires. If one is fortunate enough to have their own bedroom as a child, it may be the only “private” place for them in the house. When my brother and I were allotted separate rooms around the time I entered fifth grade, my room became my sanctuary. Much to my parents’ dismay, I pasted up drawings and paintings of my own on the walls, ruining their hard work in papering and preparing the room.
Our doorway into the world of Mawaru Penguindrum is Himari Takakura’s bedroom. It is a purposeful entry point that ushers us in and offers us a comfortable seat in the first episode, and shows us out gracefully in the last.
Himari’s bedroom is notably not a sanctuary away from her family, as mine was for me, but rather a museum of her brothers’ somewhat smothering love for her. Additionally it acts as a mirror, reflecting her inner desires that become more improbable for her to achieve as she ages, due to terminal illness. Volumes upon volumes of fairy tales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Alice in Wonderland, Gretel, and Schneewittchen/Snow White) are stacked next to Himari’s four-poster bed. Stars and cherubs hang above her head as she sleeps. Having had to abandon her dream of becoming an idol with her two childhood friends, Himari instead turns to creating things for those whom she loves. Fabric and bundles of yarn accent the clutter in her room, along with an old sewing machine and table.
She later tells Ringo Oginome that the entire Takakura household is a “Mika-chan House,” fashioned after a popular doll that Himari wanted as a child but never received from her parents. Mika’s curtains, pillows, hat, and lighting fixture are all recreated lovingly for Himari by her brothers. Himari even owns similar outfits to Mika, as her Princess of the Crystal outfit mimics Mika’s pink dress, and a pink coat similar to the one that Himari dons when she leaves her home in episode 21 can be found hanging in Mika’s closet.
However, Shouma and Kanba Takakura’s wish to bestow Himari with the house that they believe she wants spills outward from Himari’s bedroom into the entire house itself, including its exterior. Stencils and pops of color are added, as are hanging mobiles, plants, and other knick-knacks. Ordinary fixtures like the fan above the stove and the refrigerator are painted blue and green respectively. Like Mika, Himari comes with her very own house, constructed just for her. The only separate room in the Takakura house is saved for Himari, while the brothers sleep in the main living room.
The series’ finale shows what Himari’s home would look like in a different world from the one that she inhabits, and we are privy to. It is a world where she has no terminal illness, no twin brothers, and lives with her aunt and uncle. Instead of the dreamlike and childish extravagance shown above, Himari’s new room is modest, and fairly average for a teenage girl.
Her books are neatly organized, as is her sewing corner. The layout of the room implies that she more than likely sleeps on a mattress on the floor, with her aunt and uncle sleeping together in the main room. Himari no longer occupies the house as she did for the majority of the series, chained to one location due to her health.
Mawaru Penguindrum‘s closing sequence offers book-ended scenes of its opening, with noticeable differences in the color palette and decor of both Himari’s bedroom and her house. Gone are the whimsical trappings that invited us into the series, begging for a keen eye while introducing Himari along with the show at large. The ending credits show Himari’s four-poster bed and cherub mobile vanishing into the stars. At the end of it all, Himari is no longer a doll like Mika, who comes with her personal habitat and changeable clothing. Instead, she presumably leads a normal life. The most valuable home that her brothers bestowed on her was not the colorful dollhouse but the most ordinary of settings where she is free to come and go as she pleases.