Road Rash Reviews

RE: Cycle of Penguindrum 1 & 2 Cinema Review****-

Cert 15 | 124, 142 mins | 2023

4 star two film compilation of a compelling and strange anime.

How far will we go to save those we love?

Written and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena), these two films are a reimagined version of the original anime series, Mawaru Penguindrum, released in 2011. They are still quite long, coming in at 2hrs 4mins for the first film and 2hrs 22mins for the second, but the time flies.

They are being shown as a double bill-exclusively at selected Odeon cinemas for one day only on 20th May 2023 courtesy of All the Anime.

Read this and all will be clear. But if you fail to carry out all that you are meant to…you will fail to overwrite fate and this whole world will be destroyed with you in it.”

The story begins with three siblings, Himari Takakura and her twin brothers, Shōma and Kanba. While on a day trip to see the penguins at the aquarium, the terminally ill Himari collapses and dies, only to be mysteriously resurrected by a spirit wearing a penguin shaped hat.

In return for saving the life of their sister, Kanba and Shōma are told by the spirit that they must find the item known as the Penguindrum.

Shortly after, they receive a package containing three penguins, one for each of them, that only they can see, who will aid them in the search for the Penguindrum. Also caught up in this story are Ringo Oginome, good friend to Himari and sister of Momoka, who was killed on the day of Ringo’s birth by an act of terrorism carried out by the parents of Himari and her brothers.

As the second film opens we see Himari once again critically ill in hospital, this time in the care of Sanetoshi, a doctor who seems to have an unusual interest in her well-being.

The consequences of past actions are beginning to close in and it starts to become apparent that a far higher price must be paid than anyone originally thought. Can our heroes hold together the fragile bonds of friendship and love in order to complete their mission, find the Penguindrum and save the life of Himari?

“Survival Tactic! Imagine! O you, destined to accomplish naught at all, heed my words.”

There are some very deep and disturbing themes running through it, incest, terrorism, tragedy and betrayal. The portrayal of everyone in the world except the main characters as faceless one-dimensional cut-outs lends a very cold feel. And of course penguins, whose antics are hilarious and serve to partially diffuse some of the more tense scenes. The storylines are based around a subway, as our characters board a train which leads them inexorably towards the glorious and heart-breaking conclusion.

This is a very enjoyable return to the world of the Penguindrum. It feels very much aimed at fans of the original series and although slightly different offers a welcome revisit to a much loved anime. There’s a new narrative path to follow and also some very nice live action sequences showing views around the city which add lots of atmosphere.

RE: Cycle of Penguindrum is truly a work of art and a definite must see for fans of the series. Although confusing at times, the way it is all brought together at the end is brilliant, thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a trip to the cinema and down memory lane.

“Peasant. Hurry and deliver the putrid incontinence of your delusions, what you call your future diary, to this young fool.”

RE: Cycle of Penguindrum is showing exclusively in Odeon cinemas on 20th May 2023.

©2021 ikunichawder/pinglobeunion
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DirectorKunihiko Ikuhara
GenreAnime, drama, fantasy
Category: Anime, Cinema, film, Review