Penguindrum is a 2011 Japanese anime series produced by Brain’s Base. The anime is known as “Mawaru Penguindrum” in Japan, or “Mawaru Pingudoramu”, which literally means “Spinning Penguindrum”. Kunihiko Ikuhara and Takayo Ikami co-authored the series. Shouko Nakamura directed the series along with Ikuhara’s assistance. From July 8, 2011 through December 23, 2011 the series aired in Japan.
In North America the anime series has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks, in the United Kingdom the series is licensed by Kaze UK, in Australia and New Zealand the series is licensed by Siren Visual, and in Italy, Dynit licenses the series.
On April 29, 2022, in celebration of Penguindrum’s 10th Anniversary, the first part of a two-part film compilation titled Re: Cycle of the Penguindrum premiered. The second part will premier July 22, 2022.
A new poster visual for the second part has just been released:
The story centers around a girl named Himari Takakura who is suffering from a terminal illness that has no cure with modern medicine. She makes sure to always smile and remain cheerful around her brothers, Shoma and Kanba, so that they will worry less about her health. When it appears as though her health has improved she is discharged from the hospital. Himari decides to visit the aquarium with her brothers but unfortunately pushes herself too hard, loses consciousness, and eventually dies at the hospital.
In a strange twist of fate, a penguin hat her brother purchased for her at the souvenir shop is possessed by a spirit, and this spirit decides to bring her back to life. When Himari puts the hat on, she undergoes a “magical girl transformation” and turns into the “Princess of the Crystal”.
Princess Crystal wears a skin-tight outfit and has a domineering personality. As her alter ego she orders her two brothers to find an elusive magical item known as the Penguindrum in order to extend Himari’s life. A strange trio of magical penguins also helps the brothers in their quest to save their sister. The penguins can only be seen by Himari and her brothers.
Princess Crystal orders the brothers to obtain a diary that may in fact be the Penguindrum from a girl named Ringo Oginome. When Shoma is told to obtain the Penguindrum by any means necessary he feels unsettled by this due to having a strong moral compass. On the other hand, his brother Kanba, is unfazed by the request. The two brothers begin to stalk Ringo who is stalking their teacher, Keiju Tabuki, who she happens to be secretly in love with. Shoma eventually develops feelings for Ringo.
Kanba is different from his straight-laced brother Shoma and is a playboy. Although he is notorious for breaking girls’ hearts, he sincerely cares about his sister Himari and is ready to do whatever it takes to find the Penguindrum and make sure his sister is happy. As the eldest brother Kanba feels protecting their family is his responsibility. After Himari is brought back to life, he begins to develop feelings for Himari since she’s not really his biological sister.
Ringo Oginome is the girl the brothers are ordered to keep an eye on. Ringo was born on the same day that her sister Momoka died and believes herself to be her sister’s reincarnation. Momoka’s death placed stress on her parents’ marriage and they ended up getting divorced. Ringo wants to replace her sister so that her family will become whole again. To that end, Ringo studies her sister Momoka’s diary and tries to do everything that Momoka would have done for the sake of “destiny”. It is because of her sister’s diary that she pursues Keiju Tabuki.
On May 30, 2013, a manga adaptation of the series by Isuzu Shibata was serialized in the monthly magazine Comic Birz. The serialization ended on January 30, 2017. On September 24, 2014, the first manga volume was released, and the fifth and final one was released on April 24, 2017. Seven Seas Entertainment licensed the manga to be translated into English and between 2019 and 2021 it was published.
A new trailer for the second film has also been released: