mawaru penguindrum

The Visible Storm of Yuri Kuma Arashi

At Arashigaoka Academy, blending in is not only a way of live, it’s introduced as the only way to survive. While the body count rises in Yuri Kuma Arashi, so do the cries from various young women in the series to uphold the status quo at all costs. Sumika Izumino is announced as the first casualty within the scope of the series and all her classmates can say about her rumored death is that it was her fault for going out alone. Friends are necessary for survival. The Wall of Severance is constantly being rebuilt to keep the bears, the others, out. The Invisible Storm consumes those who don’t follow the status quo and stay within the lines.

Blend in completely. Be invisible. Those who cannot read the atmosphere are evils inevitably sought after, found, and obliterated by the Invisible Storm.

For people who are supposed to make a homogeneous background pattern, thereby becoming invisible, these young women — lily and bear alike — are oddly conspicuous individuals.

(more…)

Advertisements

[Nine] The Red Room (Mawaru Penguindrum, Kunihiko Ikuhara, David Lynch)

Earlier this year, I watched David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. Then I revisited Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum.

(more…)

Paneling 101: Scum’s Wish and Doukyuusei

Just over four and a half minutes into the short film, paneling appears in Doukyuusei.

First, the hands of guitarist Hikaru Kusakabe appear in an isolated panel, centered over black. Next, his band is shown with the lead singer thrashing wildly, the drummer’s hands and hair nearly a smear in the background. Finally, Hikaru is shown again, isolated and still, save his strumming hands.

In this moment, he’s thinking of his classmate — and soon-to-be significant other — Rihito Sajou. The band moves around him, but he’s lost in his own world, as shown by isolating his moving fingers in a panel and later, his still body in a full frame. Paneling is used a few times in Doukyuusei, always to display heightened emotion or to draw attention to the feelings of a specific character. It reminded me of the currently-airing series Scum’s Wish, which uses paneling as its primary visual technique.

(more…)

Introducing Ringo Oginome — Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 2

ringo oginome toilet penguindrum episode 2, mawaru penguindrum episode 2 ringo's fate speech, i love the word fate ringo oginome mawaru penguindrum, pink toilet ringo oginome 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.

(more…)

On Beginnings, Endings, and Yuri Kuma Arashi

anthy himemiya, anthy, utena, revolutionary girl utena end, anthy leaves ohtori academy, the rose bride

“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.

(more…)