Penguin Musume Heart

August 21, 2009

How otaku are you? Do you consider cosplay in real life as a form of fashion? Do you apply what you read in mangas or seen in animes in your daily life? This includes references and quotes from several anime and manga characters of your liking. Not to say that Penguin Musume Heart is a total 100% otaku parody series, but the main character is well, an otaku. I’m sure there are many other series with its main characters like that too.
 
Also known as Penguin Girl, this series is more of an ONA (original net animation), which means that it is being released through the internet rather than the conventional TV stations or videos or DVDs. Though there are 22 episodes in total, each episode is relatively short in the sense that on average it lasts about 10 minutes, inclusive of opening and ending credits. Well, not exactly 10 minutes because some episodes are shorter and I if I can remember the shortest one lasting 8 minutes or so while the longest around 13 minutes. Yeah, not fixed. But the things which are fixed that you can count on are the hilarious comedy and fanservice. Oh yeah. Fanservice. A must have for otaku based animes.
 
As mentioned, the main character is a total otaku. She is Sakura Nankyoku and is obsessed with the anime and manga world, especially some show called Takenoko-chan. I guess being a filthy rich daughter of a super international conglomerate has allowed her to spend more time indulging in this hobby of hers. In addition, Sakura is nicknamed Penguin because of her hairstyle or A-chan, which is short for Antarctica because her surname means so. But throughout this blog, I won’t be referring to her as Penguin like her pals do because I think Sakura sounds better :).
 
As seen in episode 1, Sakura is locked away in her room, obsessed watching her anime so much so her more responsible little sister, Kaede, has to remind her to prepare herself for school. Because Sakura isn’t listening, Kaede tells her butler, Sebastian, to throw away all her anime stuff. Now she’ll wake up. In school, the ever gentle Nene Kurio has nominated her best friend, the crude tomboyish Kujira Etorofu to be the class president. Also, Sakura is the new transfer student and I guess all the guys love her because she’s into cosplay. Which guy isn’t into that? Since Sakura’s seat is next to Kujira, she mistaken her for her beloved Takenoko-chan since she resembles close to her favourite anime character, but gets an Etorofu Punch in return. Because Sakura continues to get all clingy over her, Kujira sends more painful punches, including one which bloodies the blackboard. But Sakura isn’t going to give up and decides to enter the student council president election and if she wins, she’ll have Kujira cosplay for her. During the contest, Sakura wows the crowd with her anime passion while Kujira equals her record with a more down-to-earth do-her-best speech. A tie-breaker is needed to see who wins. We learn that when Sakura cosplays as a character, she’ll gain whatever powers that character has. So the tie-breaker… 45 wins and 45 losses each. Uh… Getting draggy. So the final battle shall be decided using water volleyball wearing swimsuit. Because Sakura is wearing some heavy armour, there is a danger of her drowning when she falls into the pool. Kujira without thinking dives under to save her even if it’s her lost. In the end, Sakura decides to vote for Kujira and make her win the election, thinking she is more worthy. Unfortunately, she voted wrongly and made herself win. Oh great. An otaku as student council president. And as her first order, she has Kujira cosplay…
 
In episode 2, we learn that Etorofu’s dad wanted a son to take over his dojo but since Kujira is a girl, he grew him up as a boy since young and even cross-dresses her. When Kujira learned about her sexuality, she is pissed off. That explains her crudeness. Even until now her dad still thinks that she is a boy. In total denial. However in this episode, a girl from China who irritatingly ends her sentences with "~chi", Cha Chi, arrives to issue a challenge to Kujira by interrupting their conversation (Sakura really loving it for Kujira cross-dressing as a male Takenoko-chan version). Eight years ago, Kujira (then under a pretext as a boy) made a promise to Cha that if she beats her, she’ll become Cha’s groom. Uh huh. Lesbian girl. Even though Kujira insists that she’s a girl now, Cha isn’t listening and starts executing her spinning kick moves. Cha beats her but is at a lost on what to do as lovers. Sakura suggests asking Kujira’s dad in which he disapproves and punches Kujira, making her lose her memory and while in hospital she gets lovey-dovey with the nurse (Nene) and Cha would come in and kill her. Before she could finish, Kujira comes to and punches that otaku. Since Cha knows Kujira isn’t easy to beat, a rematch starts. Kujira unleashes her powerful Etorofu Whale Punch which not only rips Cha’s clothes, but put devastating holes in the classroom! Wow! Cha admits defeat but vows to make Kujira hers one day. The next day, Cha is the new transfer student in their class and since she doesn’t like Sakura, a fight nearly descended when Kujira steps in and in her reflex protects Sakura from Cha’s kick. Cha is devastated to think she is protecting that weird woman as she runs away in tears while reminding about her vow to make Kujira hers.
 
The student council body is having their meeting in episode 3 when Kujira punches Sakura for forgetting to bring her report. As the duo quarrel, Kaede comes in to deliver the stuff Sakura forgot. Though everyone is amazed by Kaede’s politeness, the ironic part is that she turns into a scary being when she lashes out at Sakura’s absentmindedness. Sakura is trembling in fear! Kaede even empties Sakura’s bag full of anime stuff outside the window! Kaede leaves her special daifuku for everyone to eat before leaving. When Kujira continues with the meeting, she finds that everyone in the room is acting like a cat. She contacts Kaede and we learn that Sebastian has developed a drug which has been put into the daifuku that turns people into a cat because he believes Sakura thinks cosplaying as a cat isn’t fun enough and the reason he has Kaede deliver to them is because he knows what Sakura is thinking after serving her for 14 years. Urm… wanting to see her classmates as cats? What’s this? Sebastian too is a cosplaying cross-dresser?! You’ll notice this weird behaviour of his in the coming episodes too. Of course Kaede won’t allow it and orders the operation to begin. Meanwhile, the catgirls are loose over school and attacking other students. Kujira is having her hands full rounding them up when she is attacked by Sakura and Cha (licking at odd places…). Soon the school is surrounded by the special unit and it’s like some big time hostage infiltration as they release catnip gas so that they can take them back to the company lab and find a cure. All except for Sakura who is hiding nearby. Kaede then says if she doesn’t come out, she’ll send her to the lecture house. Sakura instantly comes out and be a good kitty. But Kaede’s scary eyes seems to indicate she’s sending her to the lecture house anyway. Sakura is panicking and apologizing profusely but it’s no use. I wonder what is inside that room.
 
It’s the festivals in episode 4 and everyone is in their yukatas out to have fun at the stalls together. However Sakura is lost. A short flashback sees how Sakura came with Kaede but she spots something and quickly rushes off in her whim. The MIBs are helping to look for her but to no avail. Pissed off Kaede is thinking of sending her back to the lecture house. Yeah, that place must be real scary. As the gang goes in search for Sakura, Kujira thinks she has spot her but WTF?! It’s Sebastian cosplaying as Sakura! Isn’t that old geezer ashamed? Nope. He says it’s his hobby. Another reason for him doing so was because Sakura ordered him to win some prizes. Funny part is that he uses a machine gun to shoot at all the targeted prizes! They then spot Sakura on top of a big tree as Kaede order Sebastian to bring them there. I don’t know what that shirt ripping move is but we won’t get to see how he send the girls to the top because Kujira quotes how they nearly died. Some things are better not known. Then we find out the reason why Sakura rushed off was to find this spot so that she could watch the beautiful fireworks with everyone. Not bad. Surprising that she’s capable of thinking at such times. Oops. Sounded like I look her down. Hehe…
 
In episode 5, an enormous building bearing a bear symbol appears next to Sakura’s residence. Another rich obnoxious girl, Mary Chupacabra Whitebear asks her servant, the single eye-patched Maguro, to deliver a challenge letter to Sakura. Nene and Kujira are on their way to meet Sakura when they’re being confronted by Maguro. Kujira receives an SMS from Maguro which states who she’s one of the Four White Knights, how cute Kujira is, how she loves to meet the real Kujira in person and wants her to deliver the letter to Sakura. The hilarious part is that, Maguro may seem like a tough no-expression maid but when the SMS is read, she sounds so girly and lovey-dovey! So bloody contrasting! Since they’re so close, why don’t Maguro use her mouth? Well, she has fear of talking to strangers apparently. Maguro disappears while Cha gives Kujira multiple kicks thinking she’s a playboy, ripping the letter. At the same time, Sakura picks them up and in the car tries to piece the letter together. Of course, they interpreted it as wanting to meet her at North Pole and off they go. Meanwhile Mary is eagerly anticipating Sakura’s arrival as she sunbaths herself at a tropical beach. Sakura and co arrive at Nankyoku’s Villa and it’s a large mansion made with ice. Freezing cold! Everything is below zero! I don’t know why Sakura isn’t feeling cold as her buddies. Probably she’s in cosplay mode. On a contrasting note, too bad for Mary and her White Knights because they’re feeling the heat, being roasted under the sun and pissed off about Sakura’s no-show. Back at the freezing mansion, the gang decides to take a warm bath but the only bath available is Penguin Bath. Yup, freezing waters. Kujira can’t take it anymore and starts breaking furniture to make firewood. Incredibly, the huge bonfire they created melted the entire mansion. Like hell freezes over? Lastly, tanned Mary isn’t going to forgive Sakura for ignoring her letter.
 
In Cha’s eternal quest to make Kujira hers, in episode 6, she tries to shoot a twin football move towards Sakura but finds the ball exploded before reaching Sakura. What happened? Sebastian snipping from afar as he vows to protect his oujou-sama. Then Cha tries to slash Sakura while the girls are changing but finds her own clothes being ripped to bits. The culprit? Sebastian and his trusty steel wires. Kujira gives that perverted butler a good punch upon finding his presence out. As Cha ponders her fate, she is being called by someone. The next day in school, Cha leaves early as Sakura decides to take Kujira and Nene to a coffee shop. Okay, more like a maid cafe from the Nankyoku Company. Kujira then finds Cha working as a maid. Cha explains that night a maid staff was handing out brochures and Cha thinks this is the ultimate technique to send her opponent to hell and decides to be a maid. Obviously she doesn’t understand what that means so Sakura passionately explains the master-slave relationship and other embarrassing stuff. Cha realizes all this is humiliating and destroys her maid outfit with her Qigong Fists. However Sakura is bloody pissed off for she has destroyed the symbol of a maid’s life and wants her to apologize while hitting her like a possessed mad person. Yeah, nobody can say bad about or dishonour her otaku stuff. Cha, you lose to a maid’s true power. And I don’t know why Sebastian is crying tears of joy while wearing a maid outfit himself.
 
In episode 7, Kujira and Sakura continue to argue about staying back for cleaning duties. You know, Sakura doesn’t want to miss her special rerun of Takenoko-chan although she has the full DVD set of it… Ever smiling and calm Nene steps in to quell the storm and as the duo continue with their cleaning duties, making terrible slip-ups and clumsy trippings in which Nene is at the receiving end of it all, they think they’re goners but to their surprise, Nene isn’t mad a single bit. Sakura finds out that Nene’s grandma always thought her never to get mad and soon learns that she lives in a shrine. Sakura gets a nosebleed and turns into her super hyper otaku self. She intends to help out at Nene’s shrine and her ulterior motive is to put a shrine maiden outfit on. Yeah, even enough to ditch her Takenoko-chan rerun. At the shrine, Sakura is totally taken in by the shrine maiden outfit and thinks it is Godly moe! Of course Sakura tries to help out but as usual is her klutzy self causing more trouble than anything. Then she tripped and banged her head, breaking a seal, causing several evil spirits to be unleashed. I wonder if Nene has teleporting ability because she does one for Kujira and Sakura before they’re being devoured. While Nene continues to give gentle advice and Sakura totally in awe of her goddess aura, Kujira is worried about the evil spirits roaming town. I don’t know how they’ll clean this one up because they leave it to viewer’s imagination.
 
In episode 8, Sakura notices a larger building next to hers, Whitebear Tower. Everything in that building is bigger than Nankyoku’s. From cars to people. Somebody with inferiority complex? The gang are greeted by Mary and Maguro. Later Sakura, Kujira, Nene and Kaede visits Mary and brought along a bowl of soba each so that they could eat together. But upon seeing the penguin logo, Mary has painful memories of being taken away (or was it some loved one of hers died?). Kaede then notes how the Whitebear Family is the Nankyoku’s rival and the 2nd largest corporation in the world, cruelly using and exploiting loopholes in the system to buy out competition and expand their empire. Though Sakura wants to be friends, Mary pours the hot soba on her face and declares this as a challenge to wipe out the Nankyoku family. The next day, a giant Whitebear Junior High School is established next to theirs and they find out there are no students left in their school because Mary tricked Sakura’s uncle, Taro, into some buy-in deal and transferred all their students into her Whitebear school. Nene then says how somebody will notice this chaos and Mary did mention that some back-up student council president guy, Makoto Konsaba, opposing the transfer. But when Mary says he’ll make him the student council president in her school, that guy instantly decides to go! Got future ah like that? But he deserved what he got because he only became president for 5 minutes! But is Kujira and the gang going to sit back and watch? Nope. If they’re going to get Mary at the rooftop, they have to pass through each of her White Knights guarding their path. Yeah, Sakura thinks all this is like from a manga… And Mary is really looking forward to it. Oh, that jerk Makoto is even pleading to be president for 1 more minute! Kick him away Maguro! As Sakura and the gang heads into Whitebear territory, they are confronted with the 1st of the White Knights, Hunting Marie, a fencer.
 
As part of the fanservice in episode 9, Marie rips Sakura close to naked. But don’t worry, Nene’s sewing skills will have Sakura covered up in no time. Anyway Cha’s Spinning Kick was enough to defeat Marie’s Whitebear Piercing Tornado 12 move. The gang moves on into the next room which resembles so much like a quiz show. That’s because White Knight Kiyomi Kodama is a quiz hostess wannabe. Sakura has to answer her questions but since they are not otaku stuff, you can tell she flops big time and earns a basin hitting on her head. Kids, remember to read your history well. Then a final tough question and it’s do or die. Amazingly Sakura answers it correctly because she enters into one of her otaku cosplay mode and became that character. Kiyomi is devastated by her loss and falls into a trapdoor. Our heroines continue their journey but are suddenly trapped in an iron cage. Come forth, another a gothic-clad White Knight, Kare Ijuin, who proclaims that she is the most beautiful among the White Knights.
 
Basically in episode 10, if they want to escape this cage, they have to get the key which is under her skirt, which she claims is the most beautiful place. I can see many viewers will agree with her. However if Kare flips each of their skirt, they lose. Yeah, so it’s just a skirt flipping competition dubbed Death Battle Of The Holy Panties. In a flash, Kare flips unsuspecting Sakura, Kujira and Cha. Now all that’s left is Nene but Nene knows that she is lying to herself no matter what beautiful clothes she cover herself with. Kare frantically tries to flip her skirt but Nene is graceful in evading each of her attempts. Finally Nene’s gentle persuasion says she can’t fool her because lying to everyone hurts. Then Kare is overcome with self realization and thinks she has saw through him. With that, Kare flashes her own skirt and reveals that he is a male! OMG! A TRAP! Shocking discovery for the rest, eh? Kare goes on to say that he likes the beauty of wearing skirts but because of the embarrassment, decides to hide his identity as a man. But after Nene’s words, he felt more confident and gives them the key. Are we still agreeing that’s the most beautiful place? So our gang trudges up to the final White Knight. Yes, it’s Maguro. Kujira decides to settle this one through an arm wrestling match. The funny part is that Maguro can quickly type and send an SMS to Kujira with 1 hand! Bloody fast! Still no confidence of talking to strangers, eh? But her SMS sound as girly as ever. The deadlock lasted for hours and the rest went to do something else to kill time like having tea or playing Nintendo DS. But Maguro is at her limit and faints. However Kujira catches her and says it’s a draw, causing her to blush. Cha isn’t pleased with the developments and orders Kujira to put her down or else she’ll slice her with a sword. Jealous, isn’t she? The girls reached the rooftop only to see Mary very upset that her White Knights has failed her. Because Sakura sees how she is mistreating them like kicking Kare’s crotch and poking Marie’s rapier in her butt, Sakura decides to fight her.
 
In episode 11, Sakura says that if she wins, Mary has to stop bullying the White Knights. But they need to decide on the type of match to settle this. A sumo match? Well, Kujira mentioned that Sakura’s useless big boobs are the only thing which can win against Mary. Though Sakura initially had a good start, Mary’s bear hug causes her to lose strength. But Sakura stands back up when Nene says she’ll get to cosplay Kujira if she wins. Kaede decides to help her sister as she has her men fire some Love Drive needle (into her head?) whereby the power will increase with direct ratio with the amount of love absorbed from her supporters. Sakura seems to be giant size now and naked. Mary also receives the same thing but the difference is the love from her 4 White Knights seems to be pleas not to kill them. No wonder Mary is a little thumb size figure. When Sakura says she won’t lose because she has friends, Mary disagrees because she doesn’t need friends and all she believes is in her own power. The White Knights then got up and say that isn’t true because they love her, the reason for serving her all this time, and wants to be by her side forever. With that, Mary is now giant size as they continue their destructive mortal combat. Yeah, very destructive alright. The entire city is so decimated. In the end, it is a draw as they both shake hands when Mary asks why a naive otaku coward like her is still standing. Sakura’s answer is simple. Because she has friends. Just like Mary has.
 
There’s this hilarious episode 11.5 whereby it’s called a MAD episode in the sense that the scenes are rearranged and changed to create a whole new story. Yup, character messing no matter how senseless it is. This includes voiceovers such as Sebastian voicing Kaede’s lines and vice versa (hilariously lame and out of place), Nene’s consulting corner whereby all her advices aren’t really problem solvers (like the reason Kujira never looks at Cha is because she isn’t her type, or to cure Maguro’s fear of talking to strangers is to break her handphone), an attempt by Cha and Kujira’s love (didn’t work out because something about not getting enough re-submissions?), a 3 minute cooking special from Sakura, an otaku 21 pop quiz (nobody gets enough time to answer), Kujira in a hand to hand combat action, a sentai-like Nankyoku Squadron Penguin 5 to save the world from an evil organization (the squad self destructed even though the monster was defeated?). At the end of it all, Kujira realized she’s been only yelling all the time (trying to correct this series from becoming something unrecognizable, I guess). Well, they don’t call this MAD for nothing.
 
Back to the original story, in episode 12, due to the destruction caused, Sakura and co are having their class under the blue sky. Mary and her White Knights are now transfer students in their class. Mary still harbours bitter feelings for Sakura though she doesn’t hate her as much as before. We learn Whitebear Corporation has been dismantled because they became bankrupt after paying for the city’s damages. 10 billion Yen! Poor Mary, Her clothes are all in rags and patches because she can’t even afford them. Even her panties are patched! So poor thing. Later Sakura invites everybody to a party to celebrate the incorporation of a new Nankyoku Corporation and unveils a new highrise. Not only that. In an instant, the surrounding highrises started to bloom from ground zero, returning the city to its original form. Now we can say she’s super rich. Mary retreats to her little shabby hut when her White Knights takes her to a park bench to celebrate her birthday. Even Sakura and her pals are there. But you know, Mary still has her pride and says she’ll rebuild and take revenge one day but for now if she wants to join in, it’s okay with her. While the gang are happy celebrating, a pair of girls in black suits, Aka and Riff, are taking photos of the group in secrecy before retreating.
 
In episode 13, the White Knights are fitting well in school by joining clubs like Kare in cheerleading, Marie in fencing, Kiyomi in pop quiz host and Maguro in cooking club. Except for Mary because everyone’s too afraid to ask her. Sakura decides to go ask Mary to join the student council but the latter refuses (spitting a fish bone at Sakura’s forehead?!). Sakura then challenges Mary to a badminton game (it’s one of her Takenoko-chan episodes) and if Sakura wins, Mary has to help with the student council activities. And the reason why she wants Mary to be on the council so badly is so that she can watch Takenoko-chan while Mary does the work. Such honest yet insulting reason. Control yourself, Mary. The match begins and it seems Mary is better but every time Mary wins a point, Sakura wants her to paint a stroke on the loser’s face, which Mary very much obliges. But soon Mary finds out that this may be part of that perverted woman’s plan because Sakura seems to be enjoying every stroke of the brush that Mary paints on her. Yeah, she’s so turned on. What’s with that heavy passionate breathing. Aahh… Oohh… What’s this? She wants her to paint here and there too?! Though the White Knights praise Mary for getting her revenge, Mary doesn’t feel like she has won and storms off. And since Mary isn’t there anymore, Sakura wants Kujira to continue. Get away from that pervert! Yeah, she’s totally broken.
 
In episode 14, Kujira continues to keep check on Sakura’s irresponsible attitude during student council meetings. Uh huh. Sakura wants to go to some live concert as part of her job to keep students happy. After getting beaten up, Sakura properly chairs the meeting about what to do for the upcoming school festival but notices a little quiet girl, Saki, sitting among the members. Sakura tries to examine her character and throughout this episode, you’ll notice her Sakura Vision akin to some dating simulation as the words describing her character from Sakura’s point of view will appear onscreen. Since Sakura is very taken into Saki’s mysterious ambience, she has her put on a maid outfit and I’m pretty sure Sakura’s fetish is way beyond perverted because she peeps under Saki’s skirt to see what panties she is wearing! Yeah, terra-moe, says she. I don’t know why Saki is just standing there like a rock allowing Sakura to do as she pleases. Is she that timid? Although Kujira gives Sakura another punch, to their surprise Saki isn’t upset but actually happy and is blushing. Then she SMS to Sakura and introduces herself. Doesn’t this seem awfully familiar? To Kujira’s horror, she spots several manga in Saki’s bag and thinks she is Sakura’s equivalent. Later as Sakura and Kujira walk Saki home, they are surprised to find out that Maguro is her elder sister. No wonder. By now, Sakura has upgraded Saki’s status to Galaxy-moe which has Kujira beating that perverted otaku up and dragging her away. That night Saki writes in her diary the lovely events that has happened and we see Sakura spying with a telescope on her from her building. Yeah, Big Bang-moe now. She deserves another kick from Kujira.
 
In episode 15, Kujira is surprised to learn that Sakura had a boy confessed to her before. A short flashback showing how Sakura went to a shrine and that’s where the confession took place. Anybody can see that the ‘boy’ is Kujira. Yeah, Kujira remembers it and it’s sending a chilling feel down her spine. How embarrassing. Who would’ve thought she said "I love you" to a future perverted otaku. Because Sakura thinks Kujira still doesn’t believe her, she decides to travel back in time to find out. Yeah, the Nankyoku Corporation did make a time travelling machine. However Sebastian refuses to allow her, warning that she may not return if she changes the past. This gives Kujira an idea. She fakes stomach pains and when everyone leaves, she enters the time machine back to 6 years ago. She heads to the dojo and spots her little self training with her dad. Because little Kujira is amazed by daddy’s special mark of attaining heavenly of a true man (kanji writing of sky/heaven), he decides to paint that mark on her back too. However, he slipped a little but decides not to make a fuss. Later little Kujira is running through the streets and spot young Sakura being surrounded by bullies. Kujira saves the day and Sakura thinks how cute this ‘boy’ is. Meanwhile future Kujira has spot her other self and decides to play fortune teller by telling her that Nene is her fiancee. Later Sakura comes by to the shrine and instantly fell in love with little Kujira. But when Sakura finds out that Kujira and Nene are engaged, her shock causes her to fall off the steps. Future Kujira in her reflex saves her. Little Kujira is awed by the newcomer and says she has fallen in love with her. Haha. She fell in love with herself!
 
The quest to untangle her love story continues to be complicated in episode 16 as Sakura is upset that little Kujira fell in love with future Kujira even after having Nene has ‘his’ fiancee. She runs away in tears while future Kujira tells her other self to forget about her (herself). Future Kujira starts feeling guilty that she has done something bad to Sakura but think she has erased an embarrassing chapter in her life. When she returns to the present, Kujira is surprised to find Sakura’s building missing and only Whitebear’s. Her school is no longer there and replaced by Whitebear and what’s worse is that nobody knows who Sakura is. Kujira then spots Sakura, Kaede and Sebastian living a very poor life in a dilapidated hut outside the edge of town. Thankfully, the trio managed to carry on living a decent poor life by selling off Takenoko-chan collection. Oh dear! Kujira really starts to feel guilty and even though she knows that without Sakura there’ll be peaceful days ahead, ultimately she thinks it’s boring without her. Yup, she’s going to change history to how it was.
 
Kujira goes back in time again and bumps into her little self who is looking for Sakura (must be the aftermath of that fiancee thingy). Little Kujira sees Sakura once again being surrounded by those bullies and steps in to save her. However the bullies brought their bigger brother and starts whacking her. Hey, pick someone your own size. Future Kujira refrains hard from getting involved and could only give encouragement from the shadows. In the end, little Kujira does her Death Kick and Whale Punch to send all those bullies retreating in shame. She then reconciles with Sakura and we learn that she doesn’t know the meaning of fiancee and that Nene is just her friend. She gets panic upon learning that being a fiancee means to marry. Finally she makes a promise to appear before her when she becomes a real man. Like that will happen. Or will it? Then I don’t know why, future Kujira and the time machine disappears back into present time. Kujira gets another shock of her life to learn that today is the day she gets married to Sakura. How can this be? Sakura shows the proof on Kujira’s back, the kanji mark for husband (remember daddy’s slip of the hand?) as they have her ready for their wedding. Now she’s in a worse spot than before. Will there be another chance to change history? Maybe. Because their relationship is back to normal for the coming episodes. Unless this marriage thingy is a few years into the future…
 
In episode 17, Mary and her White Knights continue to live the poor life. At least they have each other. Their meal is interrupted by bungling Riff of Kurobara Communications, coming out from the dustbin to introduce herself. She proclaims how she is going to kidnap Mary and unleashes sleeping gas. Bad news is that stupid Riff too fell asleep. Thankfully Aka is more competent and finishes the job. Maguro who is barely awake, SMS an SOS to Kujira. When Mary comes to, she finds herself tied up and in a swimsuit. She is introduced to her captors and the head of Kurobara Communications, Black Rose (if you’re wondering who that mysterious lady is in the opening credits, finally she makes her appearance). Meanwhile Sakura receives a challenge letter from them even telling their exact location. While the White Knights are recuperating in bed, Kujira thinks that this is a trap to lure Sakura and wants to stay put and think of a plan first. For once, Sakura slaps Kujira for being conservative because the former thinks she’s some sort of Heroine Of Justice and needs to quickly go to the aid of a friend in need instead of sitting idly, even if it’s careless and reckless. Nene decides to go and soon Cha, who is disappointed that this isn’t the Kujira she know. Sakura, Nene and Cha arrive at a dark church and are being attacked by Aka’s card weapon. It could’ve been game over for Sakura if not for the White Knights intervention. They too can’t sit around while their master is being held captive. The gang have to beat the duo in order to save Mary by retrieving some card key. Realizing that there are 2 of them, the wonder where is the other one. A hand suddenly breaches the soil and grabs Maguro’s feet. Is it a zombie? Well, the hand lose consciousness and even wrote on the soil to save her. Feeling the pathetic-ness, they just pull her up. Riff then comes to and says how they have fallen for her zombie operation as the earth around them crumbles into a deep pit. Yeah, Riff too falls with the White Knights. Bungling incompetent.
 
Riff seems like the weak kind of opponent in episode 18, blaming herself for her stupidity. But at the same time, she can be very sly. Riff unleashes a mysterious gas but since the White Knights didn’t feel anything, they start to persuade weak Riff in handing over the card key. Suddenly Kare is being punched by Kujira. Is that really her? When Kare open her eyes, he spots his other members fighting among each other. It’s revealed that this gas is causing them to hallucinate each other as enemies. But it’s not working on Kare. Riff then hallucinates herself as Mary and orders the White Knights to dispose of Kare the enemy. Kare’s determination to save Mary has him going strong (short flashback on how Mary picked up the abandoned White Knights from young and ever since they’ve been together) until he is knocked out from the back by Maguro. Then Riff understands why her gas didn’t work on Kare because it was designed to work only on women. Haha! Riff has got Kare’s balls in her face! Double KO. Meanwhile Kujira is at the school rooftop thinking deep about justice and all when she spots Kaede looking for her sister. Kaede then learns of the emergency situation and wants to leave right away but Kujira says she’s not going.
 
In episode 19, Cha takes on Aka turns herself into some ninja dressing after easily knocking out Sakura previously. Cha and Nene cooperate to beat Aka’s Card Shuriken Tidal Wave with Nene holding Aka airborne while Cha unleashes her ultimate technique created to defeat Kujira, Cha Chi Ultimate Explosion. Meanwhile Kujira is still thinking and Kaede notes that she is worried about them. Of course Kujira has her ego to protect and says it isn’t so while ripping the school fence with her brute force. Her body actions don’t lie. Kujira decides to go where Sakura is, giving a reason to return Sakura’s lunch favour. And off they go in Sebastian’s Apache helicopter. At the same time Sakura has come to and wonders what has happened to everyone. Cha and Kare passes to her the card key before passing out and Sakura even have the cheek to say how all this is such like a final episode looking scene. Furthermore, she can’t pronounce Kurobara Communications and mispronounced it as Kuwabara Kowaresouda. Sakura prepares to enter the church.
 
In episode 20, Black Rose says how she doesn’t need Mary anymore because she’s just a bait to lure Sakura. Mary is upset that she endangered the lives of the White Knights for this but Black Rose gives her a super stomach punch. Then we learn that Black Rose is some obsessed lover of Sakura, having heaps of painting, artwork and statues on Sakura! Holy sh*t! Black Rose goes on saying how Sakura’s happiness, joy, cries of sorrow are all hers and that she’s going to torture her! Is she some sadistic stalker too?! Her right, eh? Sakura has done a costume change to power up (not that I can see any) into some magical girl of justice, Magical Penguin. Sakura is taken aback when she is suddenly hugged by Black Rose. Even an otaku like her can get freak out of this yuri stalker onee-san. Black Rose starts her torment by whipping Sakura with her Whip Of Love. To add salt to injury, that whip is thorny too. Sakura is weakened while Black Rose enjoys every second when Nene stealthily and quickly sticks a needle at her neck. But Nene too isn’t able to withstand her Whip Of Love and Cha’s Laser Kick didn’t do much either. Tired with outsiders interrupting their love, Black Rose activates a tall tower of thorns so that she could continue seeing more of her loving expressions. Real sicko. I don’t know if Sakura has the time to comment "What is this unnecessarily epic-looking place?!". Meanwhile the others try to climb the thorny tower but their injuries prevented them from going far. Then to their surprise, Kujira appears. Yahoo. The saviour has arrived and she’s going to climb up. Can she? Don’t underestimate her. Sakura remembers her mission to save Mary and decides to cosplay as Kujira to attain her strong power. Tying a headband around her head, Sakura declares how she won’t lose. The final narration from Sebastian has got to be a hilarious one. "It’s almost time for the finale. Cosplay Headband vs Black Rose Rabu Rabu Whip Of Love. Who is the real pervert?". Haha! So true.
 
In episode 21 as Kujira climbs the thorny tower, Sakura finds that her cosplay moves from Kujira isn’t working. Black Rose rips the attire in just a swing of her whip. Sakura starts to cower in fear so much so that her body can’t move while Black Rose continues enjoying whipping her. But she is surprised to see Kujira holding on to the end of the whip and though Sakura is glad to see Kujira, a short little argument ensue before Kujira and Black Rose get down to serious business. Black Rose seems to have the upper hand when Sakura grabs onto her and says how important Kujira is a friend to her and won’t let go. Kujira takes the chance to land a powerful Etorofu Straight to send Black Rose crashing and Sakura wonders why that move she pulled on earlier didn’t work. Kujira’s reply is that she shouldn’t copy other people’s move and just hit them with her own fists. The duo then combine their powers to strike Black Rose with their Penguin-Etorofu Double Straight Max. But that’s not the end yet as Black Rose somehow appears behind them and her eyes look even more crazy and scarier.
 
But the fight never materialized in episode 22 as Black Rose suddenly turned all gentle and says Sakura has passed. When Black Rose took off her hair band to reveal a same single ahoge (hair antenna) hairstyle as Sakura, Sakura then to her surprise realized it’s her mama! OMG! That sadistic pervert is Sakura’s mom?! Like mother, like daughter. Ah well, Now we partially know about Sakura’s otakuness. It’s all in the genes. Sakura starts shivering in fear because mama is the world’s strictest and scariest mama ever (whipping poor Sakura for any little wrong thing? I know that’s her way of love but…). So the reason why Sakura didn’t recognize her was because she had a little mole on her left cheek. WTF?! Anyway mama proceeds to explain that all this was just a test to see how Sakura is doing after 5 years of absence for work. Though Black Rose still considers Sakura to be a failure due to her weak crybaby and helpless ways, but because she has brought wonderful friends, she passes her. She then hastily leaves in her helicopter and tells Sakura to get along well with her friends. All this trouble just for this crazy test? Yeah, I can see why Mary is so upset. Used and abused. I’m not sure why when the gang resume school, Mary is wearing an embarrassing sailor swimsuit as her uniform. Though her White Knights love it. Not to mention Sakura. As usual, she gets into a spat with the rest when the teacher announce 2 new transfer students. Former Kurobara Communications staff, Aka and Riff. They seem sad that Black Rose has ordered them to study here. Can they get along? Mary and Cha don’t think so but Sakura is quick to offer her friendship. Aka is touched but Sakura sneezed and has her hands accidentally on Aka’s boobs. This made her mad as she decides to slice her up. Then in some office, we see Black Rose saying how her daughter should enjoy herself while she can because she’s going to begin recovery with another daughter named Sakura which closely resembles like the otaku one. What is going on? Twins?
 
So it hasn’t really ended, has it? I guess that cliff-hanger at the end was to tease viewers and perhaps in the near future if the producers have any more wacky ideas, they could come up with a sequel. Sometimes I caught myself laughing out loud with the absurd stupidity or Sakura’s antics. That otaku girl is sure weird in her own ways. Hey, aren’t every otakus weird too? Despite her obsession with anime and manga, she still values the power of friendship, unlike stereotypic views that otakus are lonely hikikomoris who lock themselves up alone in their room watching animes or playing games all day and night.
 
I just wished that the other characters would play a more active role towards the end of the series. No doubt their appearance were short and just to help Sakura out, it was just that. After Mary and her White Knights’ lost to Sakura and co, it’s like they aren’t so prominent anymore after that. I was also hoping that Kaede and Sebastian would do something outrageous and hilarious in the final episode. Perhaps Sebastian cosplaying to cheer Sakura? Haha, can’t believe that old geezer cross-dresses. Some of the other characters are amusing too. Like Maguro’s fast finger texting, Cha’s denial that Kujira is a girl, Riff’s stupidity and Nene’s cool and never-get-mad attitude (we should all emulate her). Hmm… I’m still wondering what is inside that lecture house. Long boring lessons of the world’s history? Also, I’m curious about Mary’s initial hatred for the Nankyoku Corporation. What is it that they have done to her to make her harbour such hatred?
 
The drawing, art and animation are your standard Japanese animes of today. Cute looking bishoujos, that’s for sure. Because of the relatively good quality of the ONA, one can mistaken this to be an OVA production. During the next episode preview, the animation can range from simple outlines to manga drawings. Sometimes the animation here is a little crazy so much so I don’t really understand what is going on. And what’s with that weird looking penguin with a pair of long human legs? Weird.
 
I love the voice of Azusa Kataoka who did the role of Sakura, especially when she gets hyped up and passionate, her voice is so otaku-like. I also like Mariya Ise who did the voice of Kujira because when she starts yelling from the top of her voice, it feels like the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to. I noticed that some of the seiyuus like them are relative unknowns such as Rina Hidaka as Kaede, Yoshino Nanjou as Nene, Anri Shiono as Marie and Yuuto Suzuki as Kare. Of course there are veterans like Sakura Nogawa as Chi (Nemu of Da Capo series), Mai Kadokawa as Mary (Mimi of Kodomo No Jikan), Masami Suzuki as Maguro (Lal Mirch in Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn), Sato Akesaka as Kiyomi (Kuno in Sekirei) and Kouji Ishi as Sebastian (Lori of Skip Beat!).
 
The opening theme, Renai Jiyuu Shoujo, by the seiyuus of Sakura, Kujira, Cha, Kaede, Nene and Mary, is a very upbeat and lively piece. It makes you want to get up and dance. For the first 8 episodes, I noticed that the opening animation differs and each featuring chibi computer avatars of the girls doing stuff like digging underground and such. I wonder what that spacecraft battle between a one which looks like a penguin and polar bear meant. Man, they should have an episode on this too. After that, the opening animation is fixed and is more standard. The 1st ending theme, Yurete Hajikete Afurechau Miwaku No Penguin Musume sounds like a video game song and the animation is also like one. The 2nd ending theme is Yurayura + Yuriyura + Nanananaa sounds like a song with nonsensical lyrics because it starts off with "Na na na na na na… and then the chorus with "Yurayura, yurarira…". The animation here has the characters drawn in chibi manga crayon sketches.
 
Another thing I like about this series is the parody title of certain episodes. For example, episode 5’s "Mary-sama Ga Miteru" is a parody of the Marimite series, episode 9’s "Death Game" (referring to one of Bruce Lee’s movie), episode 16’s "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (based on the Japanese anime movie of the same name), episode 20’s "Sakura Taihen" which literally means Sakura in trouble (fans of Sakura Taisen should know that the name is taken from this anime) and episode 21’s "Sakura And Kujira! Together We Are Magi Cure" (obviously taken from Pretty Cure fame). However I was kinda disappointed with episode 17’s "Rozen No Tsukaima" and episode 19’s "Mai Otome" because there is no parody relating to that mentioned anime series. Not that I can see. It would’ve been even better if they did so. Perhaps they just want to make fun of the title, that’s all.
 
Now that I’ve thought about it, the main characters are represented by animals like Sakura (penguin), Kujira (whale) and Mary (polar bear). Would you go up against a team of girls with such ferocious symbols? Okay, maybe the penguin don’t seem threatening but hey, don’t look down on them (seen DreamWorks’ Madagascar?). While I myself hopefully won’t turn into an obsessed otaku just like Sakura, I’d love to continue watching animes at my own pace and leisure. Hmm… If I were to pick an animal to represent my otaku self, what would it be? A dragon? Too majestic. A tiger? Too fierce. A horse? Better not horse around. How about a pig because I’m a potato couch when it comes to watching animes. Perhaps a chicken because I was born in that animal year. I could just consider a penguin then…
 

Penguin Musume Heart