BlueJay and I have watched the first two episodes of this new series, and so far we’re both intrigued. It’s rather strange, but in a good way – it’s captured my interest with its weirdness, and I want to see where they go with it.
The show starts with two brothers, Shouma and Kanba, and their younger sister Himari. Himari has been pronounced terminally and incurably ill, and given very little time to live. Her brothers are extremely upset (their parents seem to have been out of the picture for a while, and the family are close) – but put on a brave face to make the most out of Himari’s days now that she’s home. In the first episode they take her to a local aquarium, where (after being generally cute and seeing some penguins) Himari collapses outside.
I won’t ruin the bizzare revelations that follow for those who haven’t seen it, but by the end of the first episode Shouma and Kanba understand that they can prolong their dear sister’s lifespan by co-operating with a strange alien lifeform that sort of possesses her temporarily. The ‘alien queen’ character is loud, strange, and kind of scary, though little is known about her right now other than that she wants the brothers to find the titular Penguin Drum – whatever that is.
Episode two has added to the mix a high school girl who is a rather impressively dedicated stalker, and the object of her affections, a teacher (Shouma’s homeroom teacher?). The tropes are there, no doubt about it: Himari is a cute, sickly moé girl, Kanba and Shouma are the Red Oni, Blue Oni through and through, and panty jokes have already been made. Conspicuously absent, however, are the more blatant (and commonplace) forms of fanservice. I kept noticing moments where a panty flash could have been made almost legitimate, but it never happened, a small sign for which I was disproportionately grateful and impressed. I’ll grant you that the persona I’ve been thinking of as the Penguin Queen is given some odd and slightly disturbing fanservice-y moments, but I’m waiting on explanation for that.
It’s early days, but Mawaru PenguinDrum is definitely an anime series I’ll be keeping an eye on, and I look forward to the next episodes!