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.
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.
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.
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.
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.