Mawaru Penguin Drum Episode 14


The curtain rises on Tokikago Yuri’s performance of The Tragedy of M. It is revealed that she has been having an illicit affair with her costar Tsubasa (Paku Romi), who muses aloud that true satisfaction can only be found in the arms of another woman. Yuri, however, brutally ends the affair, which incites an over-the-top breakup scene, played to great comedic effect, complete with obligatory melodramatic musical score. As she speeds off down the highway in her blood-red Akio car sports coupe, she defiantly declares no one will touch or get close to her ever again. Screeching to a halt, she silently breaks down, and with a whisper, prayerfully wishes to once again meet the one person who saw her as beautiful.

Meanwhile, Ringo has been waiting to see Shouma and greets him cheerfully when she finally sees him in the street; yet Shouma’s conscience is so burdened with guilt and shame over his parents’ past, he cannot even meet her gaze. When Ringo asks after Himari’s welfare and why the siblings haven’t contacted her, he pleads to be left alone. Shouma bleakly tells her his family can never make it up to her, citing that Ringo’s kindness despite her past tragedy and desire to be close to him only cause him pain. As the siblings can do nothing to earn her forgiveness, Shouma declares it best for them to part ways for good, leaving Ringo in tears.

At the hospital, Himari’s convalescence is progressing steadily, as she is able to sit up in bed to knit handmade scarves for her now-famous friends. In Sanetoshi’s offices, Kanba is dealing with the matter of settling the debt the siblings owe to Sanetoshi for saving her life. Although Kanba manages to secure an impressive sum, Sanetoshi rejects his offer as insufficient, prompting Kanba to promise the necessary funds by day’s end. In return, Himari can be released when the “secrets of the world are revealed.” Checking in on the ransomed patient, Sanetoshi finds Himari sulking, having thrown away the intended scarves in the wastebasket. Since she’s throwing them out anyway, Sanetoshi seizes the opportunity and decides to take them for himself. Waste not, want not.

Elsewhere Masako, in contact with the mysterious informant, confirms the identity of the one currently possession of the missing half of the diary and prepares to make her move.

Ringo, still upset over Shouma’s coldness, looks up as Yuri pulls up in her car and matter-of-factly invites Ringo to hop in. On the road, she confides in Yuri about her seemingly hopeless situation with Shouma; Yuri tells Ringo that she is in love, and that she too had a first love. On the subway, Kanba prepares his payment to Sanetoshi from his shadow associates just as Masako bursts in to dispatch them all. In a bid to buy him out and neutralize a potential threat, Masako tries to intimidate Kanba into backing down but he disarms her and refuses her offer, declaring he will take care of Himari on his own terms. Masako claims Kanba is in love with “that girl,” to which Kanba replies he is simply trying to save his family. Reluctantly, Masako withdraws, stating she will save her brother Mario and find happiness in her own way.

Yuri eventually stops at a private ryokan, as part of her treating Ringo to a fabulous girl’s night out. After settling in, Ringo and Yuri relax in a secluded onsen under the night sky, where Ringo learns about Yuri’s past. Before she had become a star, Yuri had been childhood friends with Tabuki in elementary school and, incidentally, also knew Ringo’s sister Momoka. As Ringo listens, Yuri wistfully describes the sister Ringo never met. For Yuri, Momoka made everything bright and taught her the world was full of things to be loved, including herself. Ringo laments that she is nothing like her, to which Yuri responds that Ringo and Momoka in fact have the same scent.

At dinnertime, Ringo insists on learning more about Momoka and Yuri obliges, pointing out similarities between the siblings. As Ringo drinks her cola (which Yuri had drugged beforehand), Yuri asks her whether she still wants to be like Momoka. As the drug takes effect, Yuri and pulls Ringo into the bedroom. Yuri reflects that Momoka was the only one who saw her for what she truly was and still said she was beautiful -her soulmate. Yuri pulls out the elusive other half of the diary from beneath her yukata, revealing herself to be the mysterious biker who tore it from Ringo’s grasp. As she hovers poised over Ringo, Yuri declares she will do anything to see her precious Momoka once more, even if it must be through seducing Ringo.

There’s really so much going on in this episode. To backtrack to last week’s discussion on fate, Himari is “stuck” at the hospital, still not yet clear of the probability of death. Hanging between life and death for so long and having technically died twice already, I wonder if in fact she is “fated” to die. Additionally, if Himari represents the fragility of life, which cannot be replaced once lost, then in the context of her tragic past Ringo may symbolize a kind of innocence, which also cannot truly be restored once lost (another big theme for Ikuhara).

With all the drama of recent events in the series, Yuri has been able to stay comfortably below radar until now (although considering this series’ director and even the character’s name, I should have suspected more). As her ruthlessness and the truth about her hidden nature have now come to light, I’ll look forward to next week’s developments. Her outlook about the world being full of lies with beauty alone as truth brings more themes to the mix. Also, it seems reasonable to say that Sanetoshi’s objective isn’t money and he definitely has a stake in who ultimately gains possession of the Penguin Drum, so we can be sure to expect some (more?) behind-the-scenes meddling and manipulation on his part.

This week features another ED, “Bad News Kuroi Yokan” (Bad News 黒い予感), again by Triple-H.


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