Penguindrum (Mawaru Penguindrum) is a 2011 original television anime series helmed by director and writer Kunihiko Ikuhara, alongside chief director Shouko Nakamura, writer Takayo Ikami, and character designer Terumi Nishii. The anime was produced by studio Brain’s Base, and publisher Starchild. The series first broadcast in Japan on July 2011 as part of the Summer season.
“Once you make a decision, does the universe conspire to make it happen? Is destiny a matter of chance, a matter of choice or the complex outcome of thousands of warring strands of fate?
All twins Kanba and Shoma know is that when their terminally ill sister Himari collapses at the aquarium, her death is somehow temporarily reversed by the penguin hat that she had asked for. It’s a provisional resurrection, however, and it comes at a price: to keep Himari alive they need to find the mysterious Penguin Drum.
In order to do that, they must first find the links to a complex interlocking chain of riddles that has wrapped around their entire existence, and unravel the knots that tie them to mystifying diary and a baffling string of strangers and semi-acquaintances who all have their own secrets, agendas and “survival strategies.” And in order for Himari to live, someone else’s chosen destiny will have to change. It’s a story of love, fate, life, death… and Penguins: PENGUINDRUM!”Plot Synopsis via Anime Limited, December 2021.
Kunihiko Ikuhara is known by many for his interesting and unique anime projects. Revolutionary Girl Utena is considered a classic in the shoujo genre and his other titles like Sarazanmai and Yurikuma Arashi also shared similar themes like LGBT romance and more. In-between these shows was a series called Penguindrum, which at the time of this write-up came out a decade ago.
Sentai Filmworks licensed Penguindrum and released the series on Blu-ray with an English dub, however the discs weren’t authored well (and this was during a time where their Blu-rays weren’t the best). The biggest issue was that it was presented in 1080i which resulted in some video quality issues. In addition, Siren Visual did a similar thing but was authored slightly better (though still wasn’t the way the show should be watched).
In the United Kingdom, KAZE UK had the rights and released the series on DVD only. Surprisingly one episode increased the show’s age rating from 12 to 18. Eventually KAZE UK fizzled out and the license was rescued by Anime Limited, who also released Kunihiko Ikuhara’s earlier work Revolutionary Girl Utena. Because the previous discs were a mess, the distributor teamed up with authoring team MediaOCD to provide new discs, this time done in 1080p.
Collector’s Edition Contents:
Anime Limited packaging treatment continues with their release of Penguindrum.
This package offers a rigid box that houses the Blu-ray discs in a Amaray case alongside a physical booklet. The booklet goes over a ton of content about the series, from storyboards to interviews and a bunch of highlights for specific episodes. There are some artwork that may be considered as spoilers, but it’s worth it for the fans of the series.
The artwork is free of any information or BBFC content and the info sheet covers the information and specification like previous Anime Limited releases. The collector’s edition Blu-ray is limited to 1000 units for an SRP of £69.99. A standard edition Blu-ray will follow suit once the collector’s edition release sells out or a certain period has passed.
I pre-ordered the series via Anime Limited’s store during its early bird week using the Anime (Un)limited membership with a 10% store discount, going from £39.99 to £36.
- Rigid Box with Amaray packaging and clean artwork
- Info sheet for specification and BBFC description
- 84-page Booklet
Distributor: Anime Limited
Released: 13th December 2021
The collector’s edition release for Penguindrum contains all 24 episodes across three Blu-ray discs, with the encode & authoring done by MediaOCD. While Sentai & Siren Visual released the series on Blu-ray in North America & Australia, those were encoded in 1080i while the Anime Limited release is 1080p, the correct way to watch the series, however the clean theme songs in the extras section are still in 1080i, probably carried over from the other releases.
The audio options available include Japanese with English subtitles and the Sentai Studios English dub. The white subtitles (blue & purple for the theme songs) are unlockable during playback, and the regions are locked to Blu-ray players set to B (though if you own a Region A player, you can press the ‘top menu’ button to bypass the region lock screen to access the disc without issue, which is similar to the old Sentai bypass approach but you can actually access the main menu).
|Audio||English Linear PCM 2.0|
Japanese Linear PCM 2.0
|Video||1080p High Definition Native format|
1.78:1 aspect ratio
|Region||A (Top-Menu method only) B|
Blu-ray On-Disc Extra Features:
- Clean Openings “Nornir” & “boys, come back to me”
- Clean Endings “Dear Future”, “Haiiro no Suiyōbi”, “Bad News Kuroi Yokan”, “Ikarechimattaze!!”, “Hide and Seek”, “Private Girl”, “Tamashii Kogashite” & “Heroes ~Eiyū-tachi~”
- Japanese Promos
- Japanese Adverts
Penguindrum is available to order through multiple retailers in the United Kingdom & Ireland. The collector’s edition is available to order on Amazon.
(Disclaimer: Amazon links are also included when available. They are affiliated so if you decide to order them, I’ll earn a small percentage if they ship which will help me with any hauls or small bills.)