Characters That Made My Year – Penguins & The Penguin Hat (Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Ten)
Moving swiftly on, we’re on the home straight. Day 10 brings us adorable invisible birds and crazy possessed hats – all glory to the Penguins & Penguin Hat of Mawaru Penguindrum!
Penguindrum is a series that just never fails to amaze week in week out. Its flamboyant visual style, multi-layered plot and mad characters have all made the series one of the very best to air this year. It’s been remarkable how Penguindrum has gotten better and better with each passing week, when most shows would have self destructed from having so many convoluted plot threads.
A large part of my enjoyment stems from the silent antics of the invisible companion penguins for the three central siblings. They’re in the background of practically every scene doing something inane/awesome/hilarious, which can make the comedy scenes even funnier, lighten heavy drama scenes or add another layer of poignancy to a tender moment. The penguins are a constant in the show and can be said to be the siblings alter-egos – #1 often exhibits Kanba’s more perverted/reckless tendencies, #2 has Shouma’s house-proud streak as well as his love of food and #3 displays Himari’s skill with handicrafts and patience.
The episode that highlighted the penguins best was episode 2 when Kanba & Shouma decided to take advantage of their invisible nature and use their companion penguins to spy on Ringo for them. The entire episode is just hilarious as #1 constantly gets distracted by panties and #2 raids everyone’s lunches while the boys attempt to get the birds to do as they’re asked. Simple, but very fun.
Now for the Mistress of the Penguins – the Penguin Hat! This Hat that possesses Himari & extends her life is an awesome creation. The reused footage of the Hat invoking the ‘Survival Strategy’ to the tune of ‘Rock Over Japan’ never gets old – I could watch it on loop! Himari’s entire personality when under the Hat’s control is endlessly amusing as she orders her brothers about while stripping out of that Fabulous outfit. The Hat’s intentions and origins are left pretty vague for most of the show, and we know very little about the Hat other than her constant demands for the Penguindrum and domineering personality.
I think the first time ‘Seizon Senryaku!’ is invoked is my favourite moment for the Penguin Hat. The sheer levels of ‘WTF is the mad Fabulousness!?’ that I felt when watching that scene are hard to beat. It beat out Star Driver’s ‘Ginga Bishounen!’ for my favourite transformation sequence of the year.