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Old 2011-09-02, 06:59   Link #1021
Haak
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Shoma taking the hit for her was pretty much an obvious plot device for Ringo's sake, because now I'm guessing she'll start seeing things differently thanks to it. Can't say I like too much since it seems kinda contrived. It's all too easy to just randomly throw in a car accident to develop a character. Otherwise I have to agree with everything Kanon's said.
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Old 2011-09-02, 07:49   Link #1022
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I think you have a surprise in store, if you think Ringo is gonna turn into a good girl just like that thanks to Shoma taking that hit for her.
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Old 2011-09-02, 07:54   Link #1023
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I don't think she'll suddenly turn good but I think it will set her on the right track.
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Old 2011-09-02, 08:29   Link #1024
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Tabuki moving out, Ringo in a mess. Those 2 penguins sure are funny ^^
The wild west side story was pretty good, she sure has an active imagination.
Tabuki's new place sure is awesome, but Ringo totally snapped. She took the stalker thing into psycho zone!
Really interesting episode this time, especially the ending.
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Old 2011-09-02, 09:11   Link #1025
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Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
There's no question Ikuhara is a talent, and RGU had moments of surreal genius to it. But what was fresh then (before he recycled it within the same series) certainly doesn't feel as fresh now. Utena would have benefited from being a shorter series, and MPD would have too, it looks like. Attention span and diversity of style don't seem to be Ikuhara's strong points.
Utena would have suffered greatly had it been any shorter than it was, and it's way too early to call the jury on Penguindrum. So far, the direction is purposeful that it's very very unlikely. And of course, as Forsaken_Infinity pointed out, there's almost no similarity between Utena and Penguindrum in terms of chracter, plot or theme. My examples were simply to point out similarities in direction technique. And frankly, the techniques are so rarely used in other anime that their very existence adds freshness to a work.

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Oh, I quite get that. I just feel we need more balance we don't want viewers to be too uncomfortable. The show has basically made Ringo into the real main character so far. And while I've enjoyed all the episodes for the most part, my biggest criticism is the lack of characterization and screen time so far to Himari and Kanba, not that I'm a particular fan of Kanba though. While something like Utena strove to establish all the characters fairly early on, this has been quite different. Ringo is the show and for me that's a scary prospect.
Himari and Kanba have been kept in the background on purpose. Kanba in particular has been up to an awful lot and the Penguin Hat was also giving direct orders to Shouma for a reason. If all that was important was Ringo's diary, wouldn't Kanba have been assigned to the task as well?

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Not to say I would ever drop this show. I'll watch till the end no matter what but I'd prefer the focus widen a bit. Ringo can be a tiring character to follow and we have a lot of potential other characters to focus on.
We are certain to see that in the next couple of episodes - there's at least one character who hasn't even shown up yet. And the timing is certain to not be a coincidence.
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Old 2011-09-02, 11:16   Link #1026
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Spoiler for ep8:
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Old 2011-09-02, 12:15   Link #1027
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So I see that either Kanba or Masako has hired a certain Dullahan to steal the penguindrum, that was unexpected. And I'm really convinced now that after episode nine Ringo is either going to leave the story for good or take a break and come back close to the finale, she's just so far gone now that I'm expecting her to have a complete mental breakdown and get locked up in a mental ward. I'm also kinda hoping that, as much as I like him, Shouma isn't the focus of the next few episodes so we can see what Kanba has been doing behind the scenes and see how things are going with Himari. As some other people pointed out earlier, we don't really know that much about Himari so I'm really expecting her to have a big dark secret as well, although I could just be speculating too much right now.
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Old 2011-09-02, 12:47   Link #1028
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Man, very shocking cliffhanger there. Shipper side of me wants Ringo to get better because of the accident, but the side of me that craves for a more interesting storyline is wanting Ringo to go EVEN MORE INSANE because of it.

Psycho-moe ftw. XD
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Old 2011-09-02, 12:55   Link #1029
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Originally Posted by Forsaken_Infinity View Post
I think you have a surprise in store, if you think Ringo is gonna turn into a good girl just like that thanks to Shoma taking that hit for her.
I think she'll calm down a bit. While I like crazy Ringo, she's kind of going off the deep end here. I'm pretty sure this is gonna end the "Ringo arc" and the series will start focusing on other characters, at least for a bit.
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Old 2011-09-02, 13:12   Link #1030
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Originally Posted by Forsaken_Infinity View Post
I will be honest; I think you are whining too much here. Stand back and watch the show as the director plays it out to you - like it or not, up to you - but to decide by yourself that the show would have benefited from being a shorter series before the show is even at halfway mark is only your playing "the critic" to a fault. And as Sides pointed out, not much (I would say not a single frame) has been wasted thus far so you lost me with your "shorter would have been better" argument.

You may not have found Ringo interesting, but I - and many others - watch the show with much arduous interest than most other shows precisely because of her. Do I think she's a crazy bitch? Most definitely. But does that take away from the show? Nope. It adds quite a bit to it instead. I am practically glued to the screen, trying to notice every subtle change - from the very subtle references to external materials to the antics of the penguins - so you lost me with the "attention span" argument as well.

Regarding fresh, the show is fresh alright. It brings to the table stuff you didn't find in anime for years. And no anime thus far has had such a character as Ringo so the one thing you hate about the show is already serving as the counterexample of one of your arguments. Comparing RGU and MPD, I don't exactly see what's so similar about them. Sure they have a somewhat similar art style and there are surreal touches in both. But beyond that, I find the stress of the two show to be much different. RGU was a fantasy while MPD is "real" is how I would put the difference I perceive. I am almost inclined to agree with you in that RGU is somewhat made out to be more than it is but MPD has thus far been a magnificent show. You can disagree with that conclusion but wait until you watch the whole show to call out on how the show could have improved upon. At the moment though, I think you are giving in too much to your desire to criticize a "popular" show to the point that you aren't even having fun watching it anymore.

OT: That was a crazy episode to say the least. I must say I am "excited" for the next episode. Not really in the sense of wanting to see the resolution of a cliffhanger though.
Holy shit really?! Has this thread really gotten to the level where people aren't even allowed to question RGU/MPD/Ikuhara period? Also how can anyone say that comparing RGU and MPD is a bad idea when the whole thread has basically been spent doing so? Not that I would disagree at all since I personally have become rather bored of seeing Ikuhara and RGU praised non-stop up and down the board (arguably they've been talked about more than MPD itself) by some users while there's a perfectly new and fresh show to be experienced.

I mean I've kind of been joking before, but this is getting more than a little ridiculous. Some people need to stop being so damn overbearing about Ikuhara and whatever legacy he might have left with Utena and just allow the flow and generation of ideas to flourish here or this thread is more done than it already is. I think they know who they are by the way.
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Old 2011-09-02, 13:17   Link #1031
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Originally Posted by Forsaken_Infinity View Post
I will be honest; I think you are whining too much here. Stand back and watch the show as the director plays it out to you - like it or not, up to you - but to decide by yourself that the show would have benefited from being a shorter series before the show is even at halfway mark is only your playing "the critic" to a fault. And as Sides pointed out, not much (I would say not a single frame) has been wasted thus far so you lost me with your "shorter would have been better" argument.

You may not have found Ringo interesting, but I - and many others - watch the show with much arduous interest than most other shows precisely because of her. Do I think she's a crazy bitch? Most definitely. But does that take away from the show? Nope. It adds quite a bit to it instead. I am practically glued to the screen, trying to notice every subtle change - from the very subtle references to external materials to the antics of the penguins - so you lost me with the "attention span" argument as well.

Regarding fresh, the show is fresh alright. It brings to the table stuff you didn't find in anime for years. And no anime thus far has had such a character as Ringo so the one thing you hate about the show is already serving as the counterexample of one of your arguments. Comparing RGU and MPD, I don't exactly see what's so similar about them. Sure they have a somewhat similar art style and there are surreal touches in both. But beyond that, I find the stress of the two show to be much different. RGU was a fantasy while MPD is "real" is how I would put the difference I perceive. I am almost inclined to agree with you in that RGU is somewhat made out to be more than it is but MPD has thus far been a magnificent show. You can disagree with that conclusion but wait until you watch the whole show to call out on how the show could have improved upon. At the moment though, I think you are giving in too much to your desire to criticize a "popular" show to the point that you aren't even having fun watching it anymore.
One man's trash, you know? What you're effectively saying is, "Take the show as the director intends it and shut up." That doesn't inspire much of a discussion, does it? Offering critical commentary isn't "playing the critic" as you so condescendingly put it - it's participating in a discussion. If you're not comfortable with anything but positive commentary, you're the one with the problem.

It's certainly valid to love Ringo as a character - different viewers are going to react differently to a character as a matter of course. I'd certainly take issue with the statement that we've never seen anything like her - we've seen lots of characters like her. In fact, she's practically a trope. It's just that - in my view - many of those characters were executed much more effectively. I'll certainly agree she's much different from Utena as a character - they fill a different role and represent a different perspective.

In terms of whether the show is fresh and whether it would benefit from brevity, again, it's a matter of opinion. There's plenty here that was fresh - the first time we saw it, seven eps ago. Now that we're seeing it for the nth time without anything beyond cosmetic change, it isn't quite so fresh. That was an issue I had with Utena and why I worry about MPD - it felt like a lot of the freshness was packed into the early parts of the series and a lot of the creative spark was stale by the end. RGU was 39 eps, I believe, so that was always going to be a challenge. That''s why the "no wasted frames" argument doesn't fly with me, because I see Ikuhara using not just recycled imagery, but recycled imagery to accomplish the same result. And we're only 8 episodes in.

Is this interesting? Absolutely - it's the most visually striking series of the season. Ikuhara is undeniably a man with a genius for surrealism and his skill at composing a shot is stunning - he has a great imagination and a great eye. I just see worrying signs that his discipline isn't at that same level and I think the balance of the show has gone out of whack with the last few episodes and their obsessive focus on Ringo. It might be a different view than yours, but I don't buy the premise that not accepting what a director is doing at face value makes your opinion invalid.
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Old 2011-09-02, 13:31   Link #1032
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I think the balance of the show has gone out of whack with the last few episodes and their obsessive focus on Ringo.
The problem I see in this argument is that we don't' really know yet why the series has been so focused on Ringo till this point. You may or may not like it, that I can understand, but saying it screwed the balance of the show even though we still don't know what the show is really about and how Ringo's story fits in it seems... well, let's just say it doesn't make much sense.
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Old 2011-09-02, 13:32   Link #1033
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
One man's trash, you know? What you're effectively saying is, "Take the show as the director intends it and shut up." That doesn't inspire much of a discussion, does it? Offering critical commentary isn't "playing the critic" as you so condescendingly put it - it's participating in a discussion. If you're not comfortable with anything but positive commentary, you're the one with the problem.

It's certainly valid to love Ringo as a character - different viewers are going to react differently to a character as a matter of course. I'd certainly take issue with the statement that we've never seen anything like her - we've seen lots of characters like her. In fact, she's practically a trope. It's just that - in my view - many of those characters were executed much more effectively. I'll certainly agree she's much different from Utena as a character - they fill a different role and represent a different perspective.

In terms of whether the show is fresh and whether it would benefit from brevity, again, it's a matter of opinion. There's plenty here that was fresh - the first time we saw it, seven eps ago. Now that we're seeing it for the nth time without anything beyond cosmetic change, it isn't quite so fresh. That was an issue I had with Utena and why I worry about MPD - it felt like a lot of the freshness was packed into the early parts of the series and a lot of the creative spark was stale by the end. RGU was 39 eps, I believe, so that was always going to be a challenge. That''s why the "no wasted frames" argument doesn't fly with me, because I see Ikuhara using not just recycled imagery, but recycled imagery to accomplish the same result. And we're only 8 episodes in.

Is this interesting? Absolutely - it's the most visually striking series of the season. Ikuhara is undeniably a man with a genius for surrealism and his skill at composing a shot is stunning - he has a great imagination and a great eye. I just see worrying signs that his discipline isn't at that same level and I think the balance of the show has gone out of whack with the last few episodes and their obsessive focus on Ringo. It might be a different view than yours, but I don't buy the premise that not accepting what a director is doing at face value makes your opinion invalid.
While I might not agree with you on the whole Ringo thing (I personally can't get enough of her character, but can see why others would have problems with her), I'm more than on board with this attempt to bring Ikuhara back down to Earth for the purposes of making this thread a little less ridiculous. I mean I can understand why people are so excited here. It's like something of a Nostalgic trip and Utena fans basically never expected this guy to come back, but it's just gotten a little too overbearing in my estimation to the point where the implication is that his work is somehow beyond our meager attempts to criticize.

I'll share a little something with the thread. While I really enjoyed most of episode 7 on account of the Ringo scenes, I also made the comment to someone that the stock footage use has gotten extremely bad to the point of looking out of place and actively working against one of the shows characters. When the Survival Strategy scenes first started it was about introducing the Penguin Himari in a flourish (all those exploding clothes and poses and what not), now when they are using the same footage for scenes like Himari talking to the brothers about getting Ringo together with Yabuki it just plain does not fit anymore. Like I know at this point I'm watching footage that was meant for a completely different set of circumstances, so why are we still using the exact same scenes. To me stock footage should be barely noticeable or at the very least flow with what needs to be done for the purpose of a scene (one of the reason most Magical Girl/Super Robot transformations are still okay in my estimation).

This to me is a pretty glaring flaw in how Himari's character has been handled. As I mentioned earlier, it is indeed a little hard to identify with and see a character as present when she basically only exists in stock footage. Shame since she started off extremely sympathetic.
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Old 2011-09-02, 13:47   Link #1034
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The problem I see in this argument is that we don't' really know yet why the series has been so focused on Ringo till this point. You may or may not like it, that I can understand, but saying it screwed the balance of the show even though we still don't know what the show is really about and how Ringo's story fits in it seems... well, let's just say it doesn't make much sense.
I get what you're saying, but the balance I refer is to the tone - the mood, etc. Irrespective of whether or not there's a larger point to the focus on Ringo, it's not invalid to debate the actual presentation of the material - how does it feel? Does it work?

I really think this boils down to the idea that any criticism of Ikuhara is inherently invalid. Accept what He's doing, for His purpose will eventually be revealed.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:08   Link #1035
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I really think this boils down to the idea that any criticism of Ikuhara is inherently invalid. Accept what He's doing, for His purpose will eventually be revealed.
Please, don't start using that argument every time someone disagree with you; I did explain why I think you're argument doesn't make sense.

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I get what you're saying, but the balance I refer is to the tone - the mood, etc. Irrespective of whether or not there's a larger point to the focus on Ringo, it's not invalid to debate the actual presentation of the material - how does it feel? Does it work?
If it's presentation, I understand the "how does it feel" issue, but "does it work?" is something you can't really answer until you know how it fits in the story, specially since Ikuhara uses the presentation itself as a plot device and not just to establish a particular mood.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:11   Link #1036
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If it's presentation, I understand the "how does it feel" issue, but "does it work?" is something you can't really answer until you know how it fits in the story, specially since Ikuhara uses the presentation itself as a storytelling device and not just to establish a particular mood.
Every episode of a series exists not just as part of a whole, but as a distinct entity in and of itself. It's absolutely logical to look at an episode (or in this case, pretty much a run of three episodes) and ask "does it work"? from a dramatic standpoint - the only caveat being that you've also seen the episodes that preceded it.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:23   Link #1037
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Every episode of a series exists not just as part of a whole, but as a distinct entity in and of itself. It's absolutely logical to look at an episode (or in this case, pretty much a run of three episodes) and ask "does it work"? from a dramatic standpoint - the only caveat being that you've also seen the episodes that preceded it.
That's just one of many possible ways you can structure the narrative of series. And ultimately it depends on the writer/director's style. IIRC Ikuhara particularly is stated to approach storytelling on tv format as if it was a movie (ie: the entire series as one whole), so it's natural that some episodes are going to lack dramatic punch or feel anticlimactic. That's the kind of thing that comes with the director I suppose, so expecting something different from him would be akin to expect a Spielberg-like movie from Tarantino. You have to consider what to expect from a particular director before trying to analyze their works IMO.

BTW, note that I haven't watched Utena (tv, I did watch the movie) so all this is just what I heard about the guy.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:41   Link #1038
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That's a very forgiving approach - is there a cutoff? Do we say it's OK if 23 episodes "lack dramatic punch" if the payoff is in the 24th?

Of course every director is different, as you say, and that's why I said that an episode exists both as an entity and as part of the whole. It depends on the nature of criticism you believe in, I suppose - I don't think a director should be allowed to exempt himself from ongoing analysis because it's only relevant when viewed as a whole. That being said, I'd certainly say that if it were a matter of one episode, it wouldn't be of great concern for me. The issue I have is that the last three episodes have had major problems for me, and that's almost 40% of the total run-time to date. That's a lot of ask in the "just have faith" department.

I think a good example here would be the Lord of the Rings films. Jackson filmed them simultaneously - in fact, so out of sequence that many scenes in "Return of the King" were shot before scenes in "Fellowship". So of course, it makes sense to view the trilogy as a whole and judge it's worth in that context. But it's also valid - and I would say necessary - to analyze each film individually (as every critic, review board and awards committee did) at the time of it's release. They're films - they exist as independent entities, not just as a trilogy.

If Jackson wanted those films to be judged as a single unit, he would have released them as one (admittedly very long) film. If Ikuhara wants MPD judged as a movie, he should have made a movie or OVA. Since he made a series, the series needs to be judged on an ongoing basis. When it's over, that's when you look at the whole package and decide where it succeeded and where it failed.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:50   Link #1039
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I find it strange that people ridicule the repeating footage of Ikuhara's series as that is one of his signature's style. It is like ridiculing pigeons/ mexican standoff/double gun in John Woo's movie/ keying in songs at the end of an episode in a Fukuda directed series/ too much text in a Hideki Anno's series...etc. That is what they do.

Frankly if you dislike Utena you won't like Penguin Drum at all. As someone said before the plot has nothing in similar but the direction style is practically the same, and Ikuhara has a very strong direction style that might overwhelm some people, and there is nothing wrong with it.
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Old 2011-09-02, 14:57   Link #1040
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I find it strange that people ridicule the repeating footage of Ikuhara's series as that is one of his signature's style.
Spoiler:


Anyone who ridicule the repeating style do not know squat about anime.

I would love to see the Seizon Senryakuu each and every episode. Probably my limit would be up to 30+ episodes. Then I'll get sick of it... maybe.

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Frankly if you dislike Utena
Well. I couldn't really watch Utena back in the day because I found it to be... "weird". Granted, all I've seen was the movie. Hence, I had absolutely no clue what I was watching. And this was... a good... 10-12 years ago.

Yet, this style used in Penguindrum. Much more colorful. Much more vibrant. Audio-wise, I can't compare here. I don't recall enough for that.
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