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Penguindrum Collection 1 [Blu-ray]

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Once you make a decision, does the universe conspire to make it happen? Is destiny a matter of chance, a matter of choice or the complex outcome of thousands of warring strands of fate? All twins Kanba and Shouma know is that when their terminally ill sister Himari collapses at the aquarium, her death is somehow temporarily reversed by the penguin hat that she had asked for. It's a provisional resurrection, however, and it comes at a price: to keep Himari alive they need to find the mysterious Penguin Drum. In order to do that, they must first find the links to a complex interlocking chain of riddles that has wrapped around their entire existence, and unravel the knots that tie them to mystifying diary and a baffling string of strangers and semi-acquaintances who all have their own secrets, agendas and "survival strategies." And in order for Himari to live, someone else's chosen destiny will have to change. From the creator of REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA comes a story of love, fate, life, death … and Penguins: PENGUINDRUM - THE FIRST COLLECTION.

Orphaned brothers Shoma and Kanba Takakura, the heroes of the fantasy melodrama Penguindrum (2011), are utterly devoted to their younger sister, Himari. When she mysteriously collapses and dies during a visit to the aquarium, a souvenir penguin hat revives her by summoning a supernatural being who uses Himari's body as a vessel. The being orders the brothers to find the sacred Penguindrum if they want to save their sister. The search brings Shoma and Kanba into contact with Ringo, a fussy girl from their school who's stalking the homeroom teacher, Mr. Tabuki. Ringo believes she's the reincarnation of her older sister Momoka: if she reenacts everything in Momoka's diary--and conceives a child with Mr. Tabuki--she'll somehow fulfill her destiny. The plot is further complicated by the sinister Masako, who uses a laser slingshot to shoot balls that cause amnesia. The filmmakers often seem as lost in the tangled story as the viewer. At one point, an uncle announces he's going to sell the Takakura's house and separate the siblings. Kanba insists he'll get the money to keep them together, and someone on the subway hands him an envelope full of bills. But who? And why? The scenes of Ringo attempting to seduce a man twice her age--serving him drugged pastry and dressing up as his fiancée--simply don't play in America, where child molestation isn't considered entertaining. Director-cowriter Kunihiko Ikuhara was one of the principle creators of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Penguindrum includes many similar elements: vaguely art nouveau framing devices on the screen, portentous dialogue about Fate, endless flashbacks and fantasy sequences, disturbing sexual elements, and an utter lack of coherent storytelling. Like Utena, Penguindrum will appeal primarily to high school girls, as it panders to the urge to inflate a gritty crush into a crisis of cosmic dimensions. Older and/or male viewers will dismiss the series as overwrought piffle. (Rated TV 14 D: violence, risqué humor, brief nudity, sexual situations, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

(1. The Bell of Fate Rings, 2. Risky Survival Strategy, 3. Then Devour Me Courageously, 4. Descension of a Princess, 5. That's Why I Do That, 6. You and I Are Connected by M, 7. Tamahomare Girl, 8. Even If Your Love Is a Lie… 9. The World of Ice, 10. Because I Love Him, 11. You Have Finally Realized It, 12. The Wheel That Spins Us 'Round)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Andrew Love, Emily Neves
  • Directors: Steven Foster, Scott Gensch
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Section23 Films
  • DVD Release Date: December 31, 2012
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,070 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By jerbearmy on October 20, 2012
Mawaru Penguindrum is a difficult anime to define... As another reviewer said it is art in the truest sense of the word. If you want mindless entertainment, look elsewhere. If you want something playing on the TV in the background while you are doing something else, look elsewhere. It is a series that requires and deserves your full attention. It is highly psychological and highly philosophical. If you don't care for analyzing literature or peering into the darkness of the human heart, then you probably won't enjoy Penguindrum.

That disclaimer out of the way, Mawaru Penguindrum is a philosophical masterpiece. The main topic is free-will vs destiny. There is also quite a bit of time spent on perception vs reality, and the meaning and nature of family. But to me the topic that distinguishes the series is the role of others in self-definition and self-worth... Namely, that an individual is defined by their contrast with others, and no individual can continue to value himself unless he is also loved by another.

Let me give two examples... The first is the animation of the background characters. Background characters such as random people walking on the street are depicted as white blob-figures--like what you would see on a public restroom door. At first I thought this was evidence of a low budget, but as I began to understand the series I realized that it emphasizes the main point. A person does not become truly human in the eye of the observer until the observer knows something about them. The background characters have no individuality, no motion, they are nothing but blank scenery. Since we know nothing about these characters, they cannot become truly human in our minds, and the series emphasizes this point by depicting them with no individuality.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Rita on February 27, 2013
Verified Purchase
I was so excited when I heard Mawaru Penguindrum was coming out in the US. It was something I had been waiting for. The series was one of my all time favorite anime series. Actually not just one of my all time favorites, it is my all time favorite. I was looking forward to seeing it on my big screen TV and eager to support it by buying it.

Now the reason for only 3 stars - I really wish another company besides Sentai had gotten this series. One that would have done a better job. I was watching the subs and they really weren't good. At first I thought maybe it's just because I watched the fansubbed version so many times that I was used to their wording, but no. It seems like Sentai was really careless with the subs. At one point Kanba says "we gotta got hold of Uncle." Gotta got? Didn't anyone check these things? There are more instances where I found myself wondering "how careless were the people who subbed this thing?"

Aside from the errors, there were some changes to the script. The most notable change was changing the series' catch phrase from "survival strategy" to "survival tactic" in the subs. Another example I can think of off the top of my head is when Kanba (in episode 1) said his speech at the end; instead of saying "Dear God, is he really human? Just wondering," he says "could God...really be human? Yeah right." Uh, what? I won't post the whole speech, but I will say that doesn't even make sense in the context of what he's talking about. The first line does - he's talking about if someone loved another person in spite of their DNA or fate, could that person cast those things aside and still be considered human? The second line has him asking a philosophical question about the nature of God out of left field.

It's just sloppy work all the way around. I'm torn now - on the one hand I really want to buy the DVDs and support a series that gave me so much joy. On the other hand, I don't want to support Sentai's shoddy work.
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Kunihiko Ikuhara is best known for directing episodes of the "Sailor Moon" series but most notably for his work on "Revolutionary Girl Utena". While Ikuhara may not be known for having a long oeuvre in his animated career, Ikuhara has won over fans all over the world for his work.

In 2011, Ikuhara returned with a 24-episode series titled "Mawaru Penguindrum" (Penguindrum) produced by Brain's Base.

Directed by Ikuhara and also co-written along with Takayo Ikami ("Heaven's Memo Pad"), the series features the music of Yukari Hashimoto ("Mayo Chiki!", "Kanamemo", "Toradora!"), original character designs by Lily Hoshino ("Zakuro", "Mr. Flower Groom", "Otome Yokai Zakuro"), character designs by Terumi Nishii ("Casshern Sins", "Death Note", "Inuyasha") and background art by Chieko Nakamura ("Eyeshield 21″, "Azumanga Daioh", "Revolutionary Girl Utena") and Kentaro Akiyama ("Air", "Black Rock Shooter", "Steel Angel Kurumi").


"Penguindrum" vol. 1 is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). It's important to note that when it comes to anime production, unlike major anime studios who are very busy developing several animated TV series, films and OVA's all at one time, Brain's Base (which is founded by former staff of Tokyo Movie Shinsha) is not one to put themselves in the situation of having too much on their plate. The good news is that because the staff are not in a major deadline while working on multiple series, they could focus on a series and give it the best quality, even though it's a TV series.

In the case of "Penguindrum", everything that you can hope for in a series with many locations, scenery, art backgrounds, characters in different clothing and great amount of detail and shading is featured.
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Penguindrum Collection 1 [Blu-ray]
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