Earlier this year, I watched David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Then I revisited Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum.
“I love the word ‘fate.’ You know how they talk about ‘fated encounters.?’ Just one single encounter can completely change your life. Such special encounters are not coincidences. They’re definitely . . . fate. Of course, life is not all happy encounters. There are many painful, sad predicaments. It’s hard to accept that misfortunes beyond your control are fate. But I think sad and painful things happen for a reason. Nothing in this world is pointless. Because, I believe in fate.”
-Ringo Oginome, Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 2
Ringo Oginome is a complex character, steeped in guilt, longing, love, and later, forgiveness. Her many facets make her not only tolerable within the scope of Mawaru Penguidrum, but wholly lovable, despite her introduction in the series’ second episode as the stalker of the Takakura brothers’ homeroom teacher.
She’s introduced with a grand speech about fate, rivaling the iconic opening monologue from Shouma Takakura in the series premiere and the equally passionate closing words of his brother Kanba that bookend the episode.
She’s also introduced with a toilet flush, stars wafting from the bowl like a lingering, undeniable stench.
“You really don’t know what happened, do you? It doesn’t matter. By all means, stay in this cozy coffin of yours and continue to play prince.”
-Anthy Himemiya to Akio Ohtori, Revolutionary Girl Utena, episode 39
Each Kunihiko Ikuhara series begins with a system, and the system always remains, even at the series’ end.
“Anyway, do you really think those guys have a future?”
– Five, to Lisa Mishima, Terror in Resonance, episode 8
Five has a future. She chose – according to Nine – to stay in the Rising Peace Academy, and therefore has been able to fashion herself quite the future from this decision. Thanks to the academy, Five has a cozy gig with the ISA and does not have to worry about her career. She commandeers an entire airport, blows up an airplane, and bombs an apartment, receiving only the gentle admonishment of, “Please show some moderation.” from her superiors. She has little need to worry about her own future, provided that she meets their goals.
Human beings are such dense creatures.