Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Kanba and Shouma reindeer
Art by さちゅ

I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Day.  I love Christmastime and I can’t deny that a big reason for is because I typically take vacation from work during this time of year.  And the very first thing I did after waking on my first day off was to watch the series finale of Mawaru Penguindrum.  And befitting of the season, it was a religious experience.

While the Buddhist overtones of the episode were strong, as in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I saw something additional – again as with Madoka, I saw Christ all over the series finale.

How appropriate, then, that my final post on Mawaru Penguindrum is all about the One whose birth we celebrate today.  And although I couldn’t tell you what everything in the episode meant or the how’s and why’s of all that happened, I can tell you that in the end love won out in an episode befitting of the power of the Christmas message.

His Role

It’s hard to fit Kanba, with some of his devious actions, into the role of Christ (a little less so with Shoma), but the role placed upon he and his brother fits well with the Savior.  Jesus was “born to die” – a special boy with a special role:

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Kanba and Shoma were also fated to die.  But fate, as the series shows, can be changed.  Shoma or Kanba could have, at any point, walked away and said, “to heck with this – my life is too valuable.”  But the love in their hearts prevented them from self-preservation.  They gave their lives in the end, as they were “fated” to do – and as they chose to do.

Jesus, too, had a choice.  As He prayed to God the night He was arrested, Jesus spoke about the possibility of the avoidance of death.  But in the end, He chose to be obedient and to die – out of love.

Art by タカハシ

Our Role

Himari and Ringo, meanwhile, mirror us in relationship with God.  Both girls represent sinners.  Himari’s throw away past was explored in-depth in the final episodes; she was unloved and unneeded, like an “unclean” person who no one would touch.  Ringo made a number of mistakes, trying to take charge of her life, but getting it all wrong – this is an image that many Christians are familiar with, as we decide to blaze our own paths instead of following God’s.

But despite the fates of the two girls – they accepted their deaths – they survived, not through their own power, but by the grace and love of the Jesus figures.  Kanba and Shouma literally and figuratively give their hearts to the girls – clean hearts, hearts of flesh to replace their hearts of stone.

Shouma’s sacrifice particularly got to me – I admit, I was VERY close to shedding a tear (not since Clannad After Story have I come this close) as Shouma lovingly transferred the fire and suffering onto Himself.  This is precisely what Jesus did on the cross, offering Himself in our place to bear the punishment of sin.

Art by 梅太

The ending of Mawaru Penguindrum was beautiful and heartfelt.  It showed the depths of love and the power of sacrifice, and in that way, it reflected what Jesus did for us on the cross.  And in the end, that’s what Christmas is all about – not presents or Santa, or even family, but about the humble birth of the One who died to save us all.  That’s the message of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!


5 thoughts on “Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24: Merry Christmas

  1. This time I’m the one not reading your post because I don’t want to spoil it for myself! 😀

    I do have the entire show in my backlog though, and will watch it next term for sure.

    I would ask you to make it stop snowing on your blog, except incredibly it hasn’t snowed here in Minnesota for a few days, and we had a brown Christmas.

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 🙂

    1. Well, Mawaru Penguindrum might not be your cup of tea (I know the first few episodes didn’t capture you). Then again, I didn’t think Clannad would grab you, either….

      1. Not so much “didn’t capture me” as “didn’t make much sense, but were intriguing.” I see on my MAL list that both this series and “Usagi Drop” are “On Hold” rather than “Dropped.” Which is as it should be.

        after all, Toradora! is there too

  2. With Penguindrum, it’s the library episode with Himari when I realized Ikuhara absolutely had a point he was trying to make somewhere in there and that whatever it was was phenomenal. Then I was in it for the long haul. And my god was it worth it. Also, yes, there are Christian allusions nearly everywhere in Penguindrum, many of them quite well thought out. :] And some hit you in the face obvious.

    1. I really need to revisit this series. As I watched Sarazanmai this season, I realized that there was so much of Mawaru Penguindrum I’d forgotten!

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