The Bride of Fate: Himari, Project M, and Mawaru Penguindrum

I’ve been having some thoughts about Mawaru Penguindrum, which is proving to be fascinating, and even more so with episode 09 throwing up all kinds of new questions, symbols and possibilities. I think I’m ready to post a bit of a theory regarding how it all fits together – how Himari has accepted the role as the “bride of fate“, to bring something into the world, something which other people want.

I am very much indebted to ajthefourth and vucab caquix of The Untold Story of Altair & Vega, whose blog I have only recently begun reading because of this show, and whose analysis and subsequent discussion are consistently fascinating and educational!

Last week I mentioned the theory that Momoka might still (in some way) be alive in the person of Masako, on the grounds that she seems to be pursuing the same Project M as Ringo, who draws hers from the supposedly deceased Momoka’s diary. I also mentioned my musing on whether Tabuki-sensei might actually have little or nothing to do with the ‘true’ meaning of Project M, although BlueJay’s observation that Yuri seems a little sinister in her pursuit of Tabuki and exclusion of Ringo might suggest that he is involved somehow. In light of the admittedly cryptic information in this latest episode, I am beginning to think that Masako and whoever she works for have Himari in mind for their plan.

Himari is the very picture of innocence, frail and sweet and gentle. I’m not entirely sure how old she is – her illness makes her vulnerable and isolated, as if she’ll be a child forever. The Princess of the Crystal (the Penguin Queen, as I think of her), on the other hand, is highly sexualised. In a bizzare, abstract sort of way, sure, but she spends half her sequences removing her clothing and she dresses like a kind of showgirl. She’s looking for a “Survival Strategy” – doesn’t that sound like an alien wanting to perpetuate her own race using Earth? ‘Penguinland Needs Men’?

One thing this episode threw into doubt, however, is how aware Himari is of the Princess’s actions and motivations. She’s seemed oblivious, but her dream sequence in the library seemed to indicate that she accepted whatever the Princess of the Crystal is while she was unconscious and subsequently dead. Was it an alien being who the dying Himari gave her body over to? Or was it a part of her of consciousness – a part that either wants to find a way to live, or wants to make her brothers accept her death?

This division between Himari and the Princess is made unclear in part because of her acceptance of the ‘veil’ – her eyes are pink. She is no longer Himari – or is she? She shows no signs of the implaccable confidence and superiority that the Princess shows in her illusion sequences, although she does firmly deny the pink-haired man’s kiss. Whether this is a part of Himari emerging or another entity gaining control of her, we can’t be sure – nor can we be sure to what degree the penguin hat is enchanted, possessed, or just a symbol.

What really gets me though, is the terminology of the ‘veil of the bride of fate’. The silly penguin hat from the aquarium seems rather different in that light. By accepting the veil, Himari accepts her role as a bride. What happens on a wedding night? Ask Ringo, who is convinced that it was her who was supposed to become the bride. So as a meek and submissive bride Himari is the one to whom Project M might refer, the one around whom everyone is scheming. What will she give birth to? Who knows.

To throw yet another spanner in the works of speculation, we have a memory of Himari’s beloved ‘fated person’, the boy with whom she would share the fruit of Fate. This could have been something literal that started it all, or it could be just a symbol to her; the boy could be her fated groom, or someone else from her past who she had to leave behind, like her friends of Double H. It’s possible that the boy is Tabuki-sensei, involved in yet another corner of a web of relationships. It’s also possible that the ‘Pingroup’ corporation is orchestrating something grand with the lives of all the characters we have met so far (more on that once we have more information on what Kanba’s been up to!). All this show does it throw up more questions, and I must admit, I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride.

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