Mawaru Penguindrum‘s Ringo started off seeming like a ridiculous, over-the-top comic stalker (fabulous max!). Then she started to become a bit too creepy. In this episode, Ringo cements her place as a truly disturbed young woman, and proves her ironclad determination more than ever.
(I can’t post the screenshot I really want to without massive spoilers, so it’s after the break. You know the scene.)
Ringo is determined to become pregnant by Tabuki-sensei. Ideally she wanted this to happen because he would fall in love with and marry her, but even Ringo has to admit at this point that Tabuki and Yuri are not going to be easily broken up. Drastic measures are in order. In a bizzare comedy we might expect all kinds of desperate antics, but Ringo? She drugs Tabuki, drags him to the bedroom, and attempts to rape him – while disguising herself as his fiancee, so that any confused memories don’t tip him off to what she has done. This is not longer a funny stalker character, ladies and gentlemen. It is time to start really worrying about Ringo.
Luckily for everyone involved, Shouma manages to stop her. What interests me (apart from the sheer desperation this who scene shows) is that Ringo isn’t doing all this for her own romantic delusions, nor even for her sister Momoka. She’s convinced that fulfilling Momoka’s dreams as recorded in the diary will keep her family together and happy as she remembers them before Momoka’s death. This is unlikely – her parents seem to have moved on. Her father is taking on the role of step-father to another woman’s child, and I didn’t notice any particular bitterness on Ringo’s mother’s part. Only Ringo herself seems mired in the past, living only to recapture it at the expense of her own happiness.
Selfless might be too strong; certainly Ringo’s main reason to keep the family together is because she wants it. Nonetheless Ringo is not a love-crazed stalker. It’s hard to tell is she even feels anything sincere for Tabuki, or if she’s just convincing herself she does to fill the role she has forseen for herself. She needs, I think we can agree, to move on and develop more of a sense of herself (as Ringo, not Momoka) – luckily for her, she has Shouma. As ineffectual a pushover as he has proven to be, Shouma Takakura is a kind, compassionate young man who just can’t stand to do wrong, or to let anyone wrong or harm themselves. He also seems to be the only person to really know or care about what Ringo is going through, and he just might be the support she needs.
Alternatively, she might regress to her undying devotion to ‘becoming Momoka’ and Project M, despite the considerable obstacles in her way. Just as Ringo seemed to be coming to a realisation, her diary was torn and half of it stolen; now we must wait and see what she chooses to focus on, the diary or the wounded Shouma. The two of them are suited to each other, really – both living their lives for other people.
There was mention of a theory at The Untold Story of Altair and Vega, that Masako (the woman with the slingshot) might be a reincarnation or secretly still living identity of Momoka herself. That would explain her apparent knowledge of the mysterious Project M and the events described in the diary. I also had a disturbing thought while writing this post: what if Project M does refer to a pregnancy, but not between Tabuki and anyone? What if the pregnancy in question was a… survival strategy?
And what does Kanba do, exactly, with the Penguin Queen when they’re alone?
I might be on the wrong track here, who knows? At any rate, Masako has a penguin, though whether it’s from the same source as the Takakura brothers’, or opposed to them, remains to be seen. There are a number of unanswered questions, regarding Masako, Kanba, the brothers’ parents, the group or corporation with the penguin logo…suffice to say, this show has my attention.