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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top08-10-2012 05:44:54 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
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Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Being deep in the mist of my own SKU/MP post series both series fic (currently struggling with the second Nemuro/Penguindrum research chapter), I've been rewatching both SKU and MP over and over again, along with reading many online reviews of both shows.  It seems like most people out there (with some exceptions, of course) still think that SKU is a better show than MP, and I have to say I agree with this common consensus. 

The following is my own opinionated ratings of some core elements shared by these two shows:

STORY: 
SKU 8, MP 9.5
SKU focuses on the (largely) student interactions within an fictional boarding school to cover topics like contemporary Japanese feminism and teen angst.
MP uses the very real 95 Tokyo Subway Attack to to cover topics like modern Japan's guilt-by-association viewpoints towards family members of criminals, the punishing pain of living, the (highly limited) ways of coexisting with fate.
Both series stress the power of human sacrifice to bring about salvation and/or change of fate (Anthy taking the Swords of Hate while defending Dios, Utena taking the Swords of Hate while trying revolutionizing Anthy, Momoka and Ringo both getting burned when they use spells to help others, Kanba and Shouma getting erased from reality for changing Himari's fate)
I consider the story of MP (when stripped of the fantasy elements, of course) to have more relevance to what people of all ages (not just girls and teens) face today (especially when living in Japan), thus why I give MP's plot a higher rating than SKU's.   

STORY PRESENTATION: 
SKU 10,  MP 7.5
Both SKU and MP use highly stylized animations and editing techniques to give their own respective stories their "surrealistic" qualities, and they both employ "greek chorus" characters (Shadow Girls vs Double H) to dramatic effects. 
That being said, I find the SKU eps to be a lot more engaging - and certainly more emotionally moving - than those of MP; in fact, I dare say that the styling techniques used in MP's presentation makes the story needlessly convoluted when it does not have to be so; MP is, at its core, a genuine human drama, and I think a simpler, more direct way of presenting MP's story can make the story appear more "sincere" than in its current "odd-ball for odd-ball's sake" presentation. 

CHARACTER PRESENTATION:
SKU 10, MP 7

While the main characters of both shows undergo a lot of development throughout the course of their story lines, the SKU characters came across to me as being more layered and fleshed-out, in spite of how the MP characters are the ones being put through the more dramatic situations.  A lot of that had to do with the aforementioned superior story presentation of SKU, where the characters are presented in a way that makes them more vivid and accessible to the viewers despite their stories being admittedly less gut-wrenching than those of the MP lot.  Also, I find the human emotions (and interactions) in SKU to be depicted in far richer details than what I see in MP (where the love/hate emotions of the characters do not seem "layered" enough to match the dramatic quality of their story).  On the topic of details, while animated in the 90's, the SKU characters' facial expressions and body languages are simply far more detailed than those of the 2011 MP characters.  Plus, I find the voice acting in SKU to be more emotionally authentic than the borderline affected screeches (especially from Ringo and Masako) I heard in MP (I know Touga's voice actor is the same as Shouma's dad, but he didn't really have enough screen time in MP to make a difference).

There are other elements that can affect a show's quality (like animation quality and music), but their effects pale in comparison to that of the above three IMHO.  Thus why I find SKU to still be a superior show than MP.

So, what do you guys think?


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#2 | Back to Top08-10-2012 06:58:31 PM

Yasha
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

As I was trying to express my answer to this, I realized that I have no logical rationale for why I feel the way I do. I was about to make the argument that SKU portrays grimmer situations (the death of the hundred duelists, obsession, the loss of ideals) and then I realized that it really doesn't-- see the subway poisoning, Yuri's upbringing, the near-rape or whatever that was.

Then I was about to say that these dark elements seem to have more impact on the characters in SKU as opposed to the characters in MP, but again, that doesn't hold water at all when closely examined.

I'm not entirely sure what's leading me to feel that on the whole SKU is a more disturbing, grimmer show. It has something to do with how these things are portrayed, and the closest I've been able to come to it is that while the grim aspects in MP create the characters and inform their decisions, in SKU we see them also destroy the characters, or parts of them. That's the only claim I feel safe making about the difference between the two.

Regardless of my inability to express it properly, this is the factor that to me makes SKU the better piece of work.


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#3 | Back to Top08-10-2012 07:27:04 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

yasha wrote:

It has something to do with how these things are portrayed,

Hi Yasha!  You're the only known IRG mod I've yet "spoken to", and I'm glad I finally got the chance to now emot-biggrin

I think you tapped on something that I've been trying to express in my first post: that while MP has the more dramatic story, SKU has the more dramatically-presented story.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#4 | Back to Top08-10-2012 08:13:42 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Yasha wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what's leading me to feel that on the whole SKU is a more disturbing, grimmer show. It has something to do with how these things are portrayed, and the closest I've been able to come to it is that while the grim aspects in MP create the characters and inform their decisions, in SKU we see them also destroy the characters, or parts of them. That's the only claim I feel safe making about the difference between the two.

Hmm.  I would say that that's true but incidental.  I think shutin is closer to the heart of it when e talks about how emotion is depicted and developed in each show.  To me, the difference is all about character and is very simple.

Do you get it?

I like SKU better than Penguindrum because I get it.  I get why these characters are the way they are.  Not because I know their backstories -- not at all.  (Actually, we have less backstory for the main cast of SKU than for that of Penguindrum.)  Not even quite because I can draw a straight line between their past traumas and their present terrors -- though that's part of it.   But because I empathize -- or at least understand.

So to me, the question is really why the SKU cast is more relatable (to me) than the Penguindrum cast.  Some of that is undoubtedly personal; I am closer to a privileged Japanese high schooler than to a cast-off orphan brought up by proxies.  But some of it is not.  To understand the characters of Utena, I do not first have to decipher riddles concerning space aliens, penguins, a child broiler, amnesia, destiny transfers, and (especially!!) the fruit of fate.  All I have to do is watch the show.  Where do Utena's motivations come from?  Explained in Act I Scene 1.  What is the thing with Touga and Saionji?  Shown directly in flashback.  Who are Anthy and Akio?  Well, that's built up as a mystery for a long time, but when the answer comes it's straightforward.  (The fact that they're archetypes could have been puzzling, but those archetypes are explored explicitly by the Shadow Girls and elsewhere; by the time you're told that Akio was Dios who was a Prince, and Anthy was a Witch, you know what that means.)

SKU rewards analysis but stands apart from it.  Penguindrum cannot be understood without intellectualizing it, if it can be understood at all.  And by the time I intellectualize Penguindrum, I've lost the empathy for the characters that the show otherwise works so hard to build up.  It's like a joke that has to be explained.  I don't get it.  I get SKU.

Last edited by satyreyes (08-10-2012 08:22:44 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top08-10-2012 08:38:21 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Satyreyes, you NAILED it.

Forcing out-there mysteries (riddles concerning space aliens, penguins, a child broiler, amnesia, destiny diaries etc) upon a social-reflection story about Japanese society's harsh attitude innocent people related to criminals turns what could've been tear-jerking into, at worst, alienating.

That, and the love and hate of the MP characters are shown as being too simple, to the point that the three chore characters risk being mere archetypes (sweet damsel Himari, lone wolf Kanba, sweet boy Shouma), and cannot compare to the intricate, vivid entities that are the SKU cast, almost none of whom can be simpliflied into just one label (Utena is at once a prince, a righteous princess, an "other woman", a childhood victim AND a hero, with many other characters having even more complicated identities than she does).


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#6 | Back to Top08-10-2012 09:07:02 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

gorgeousshutin wrote:

That, and the love and hate of the MP characters are shown as being too simple, to the point that the three chore characters risk being mere archetypes (sweet damsel Himari, lone wolf Kanba, sweet boy Shouma), and cannot compare to the intricate, vivid entities that are the SKU cast.

This is an interesting point too.  The Penguindrum characters have some of the most elaborate backstories in anime.  Entire episodes are devoted to minor characters' flashbacks.  We know which kids got handed off to which families when, and what kittens were there at the time.  The show in many ways is about dead people and bygone events.  What a rich historical canvas onto which to sketch the figures of the present-day characters!...

...except you're right, the characters are pretty much one-dimensional.  All that backstory and you can basically understand Shouma by asking "What would Shinji do?"  Ringo is getting complex and interesting by the point in the show where the writers abandon her.  The others just... don't live up to their backstories.  No wonder it's hard to relate to them.

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#7 | Back to Top08-10-2012 09:39:32 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Satyreyes wrote:

...except you're right, the characters are pretty much one-dimensional.

Oh, I'm so glad that there are other people who feel the same way too: that MP is a richly layered story dogged down by under-fleshed characters.  Watching it, I kept thinking about just how much BETTER the show could've been if the characters are as fleshed as those in SKU . . . or that my beloved SKU cast can maybe make cameo appearances to make use of the intricate tale that the MP group have left largely wasted (that idea eventually blossomed into my Seinen fic).

And, here is when I'm about to say something many here might deem blasphemous.

I'm beginning to suspect that Ikuhara's strength lies mainly in his ability to generate "unexplained mysteries" (aka Miki's stopwatch, greek chorus that interacts with chars, and all of Penguindrum's alieness), and that he is actually not devoted to fleshing out characters; SKU's ultra-vivid characters may be the masterpieces of people other than Ikuhara (and no, I KNOW it's not C Saitou either).


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#8 | Back to Top08-11-2012 01:05:58 AM

Malacoda
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Registered: 07-26-2009
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Yasha wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what's leading me to feel that on the whole SKU is a more disturbing, grimmer show. It has something to do with how these things are portrayed, and the closest I've been able to come to it is that while the grim aspects in MP create the characters and inform their decisions, in SKU we see them also destroy the characters, or parts of them. That's the only claim I feel safe making about the difference between the two.

Maybe SKU comes off as grimmer because the grimness is unexpected? Most of the first arc is a formulaic school drama with fantasy elements. It takes 9 episodes to tear the glimmer of fantasy off of Utena's encounter with Dios. While in Penguindrum, Himari dies in the first episode.

Personally, I enjoyed SKU more because I related to the characters more. Penguindrum, for its complex plot, lovely animation, and adorable penguins, didn't have characters I cared about. Maybe I could have cared more about the characters if they had gotten more development but I can't relate to Shoma, Himari, Kanba and Ringo as much I can relate to Utena, Wakaba, Juri, and Shiori.

I'm also a little annoyed that I still can't find a complete translation of the novels that could provide important characterization to our main characters but that fact is mostly irrelevant to this discussion.

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#9 | Back to Top08-11-2012 03:44:56 AM

Lurv
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Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

This might be me, but I also feel like MP was less... sublte. Which might be a weird complaint because the story is harder to get than SKU's, but it all comes down to the characters. And I agree that the characters in SKU seems more layered and relate-able.

Though I do think there's something to be said for presentation too. The plot in Utena is not that big, yet you do feel like a lot is at stake. All that talk of revolution and the end of the world will do that, I guess. Of course, the problems of some angsty teens (or heck, a group of people in general) matters little in the grand scheme of things, but for those people, it feels very important. (But now I start thinking of NGE, so I'll shut up.)

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#10 | Back to Top08-11-2012 04:29:20 AM

MikoGalatea
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

While Penguindrum was a good show, I'll count myself in as someone else who liked SKU better.

Put simply, SKU's characters and themes resonated with me better, but I also couldn't help feeling that although Penguindrum clearly has its own themes and messages, it still wanted to be another SKU, what with the countless references to the earlier show and obvious expies of SKU characters (e.g. Kanba = redheaded playboy = Touga). Perhaps it's not half as much of a problem for viewers who'd never seen SKU beforehand, but for fans like us, it's way too easy to make all sorts of comparisons instead of treating Penguindrum as its own unique show, and SKU is frankly a pretty big yardstick to judge things by. It's sadly pretty unfair on Penguindrum, but I can't say it isn't true in my case. emot-frown

Another thing that I love about SKU that was missing from Penguindrum is the LGBTQ factor. SKU's queer factor probably goes without saying by now; we've got the lesbian Juri, love between Anthy and Utena, and lots of homoerotic subtext and text between various other characters. What's more, we've got all kinds of characters showing that kind of thing, whether they're good or bad or just plain human. Penguindrum, on the other hand... the two lesbian characters there - and we don't even find out about this lesbianism until episode 14 - aren't evil, but they're still an attempted rapist and an attempted murderer. (Yuri falls under the "messed up human being" banner and is actually my favourite despite what she tries to do to Ringo; Tsubasa, meanwhile, is the kind of minor character who's too ridiculous to take very seriously.) One minor character whose face we never even see was revealed as gay in a bonus audio drama. That's it. Maybe SKU spoiled me on this particular front, but I guess I was hoping for a bit more out of Ikuhara.

Speaking of relationships (because I don't mean to imply I'm anti-het in any way) I couldn't really get into any of them in Penguindrum, which probably goes back to what's already been said about the relatability of the characters.

Finally, I think some things in Penguindrum were presented in too goofy a fashion. I'm particularly thinking of the episode that focused on Masako here; it was so high on the comedy factor that it was hard to take any part of it seriously, and it almost wound up discrediting Masako entirely (although she did end up becoming one of my favourite characters near the end of the show).

gorgeousshutin wrote:

And, here is when I'm about to say something many here might deem blasphemous.

I'm beginning to suspect that Ikuhara's strength lies mainly in his ability to generate "unexplained mysteries" (aka Miki's stopwatch, greek chorus that interacts with chars, and all of Penguindrum's alieness), and that he is actually not devoted to fleshing out characters; SKU's ultra-vivid characters may be the masterpieces of people other than Ikuhara (and no, I KNOW it's not C Saitou either).

I don't find that blasphemous at all, personally. I've come to think that Enokido deserves more credit than he gets, for example; actually, as I watched Penguindrum, I became convinced that it was actually a combination of Ikuhara's direction and Enokido's writing - plus the contributions of everyone else on the creative team - that made SKU as great as it is. This is why, although I'm certainly not denying Ikuhara's genius, it does honestly irk me when people act as though he made SKU singlehandedly, and/or that he's the only one who deserves any credit for making SKU, because as far as I'm concerned it was a team effort. (Hell, even Saito made her contributions, no matter what everyone thinks of her; if nothing else, I think she's the big reason why Anthy and Akio are POC.)

Last edited by MikoGalatea (08-11-2012 07:59:11 AM)

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#11 | Back to Top08-11-2012 09:46:12 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Malacoda wrote:

Maybe I could have cared more about the characters if they had gotten more development

Sadly, too true.  The character potentials were dashed down by problematic directing and voice acting, thus cruelly wasting the hard work put into their stunning backstories.

Lurv wrote:

This might be me, but I also feel like MP was less... sublte.

The story of MP is more complex, but the execution of the story AND the character reactions are both blatantly not subtle, which just detracts from the drama that could've been IMHO.

MikoGalatea wrote:

Finally, I think some things in Penguindrum were presented in too goofy a fashion.

Oh, definitely, like the two times when Masako goes up against Yuri - neither of the eps are "fillers", and the struggle for diary ownership should've been a serious matter, but the director just goofs it up and played it for laughs.  In sku, goofy things were largely grouped into the filler eps, with only light sprinkings of it showing up in the regular, semi-serious eps.

a combination of Ikuhara's direction and Enokido's writing - plus the contributions of everyone else on the creative team - that made SKU as great as it is.

Ah, Enokido of the "privacy files interviews" . . . he really is proving to be even more important to SKU's brilliance than most would previously give him cred for.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-11-2012 09:47:06 AM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#12 | Back to Top08-11-2012 11:22:17 AM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Lurv wrote:

This might be me, but I also feel like MP was less... sublte.

The story of MP is more complex, but the execution of the story AND the character reactions are both blatantly not subtle, which just detracts from the drama that could've been IMHO.

Oh dear, a typo... emot-gonk Guess that's what happens when I write in a hurry.

Anyway, I think what bothered me most was Yuri's background episode. It could have been creepy, but it was too over the top.

Admittedly I found myself comparing it to SKU as well, which might have been unfair. I wonder if it would be a good idea for a person interested in seeing both to see MP first?

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#13 | Back to Top08-11-2012 11:46:44 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Lurv wrote:

I wonder if it would be a good idea for a person interested in seeing both to see MP first?

I think MP's characters will come off as being too bland for its intense story with or without SKU comparison (it's almost like a live drama with great plot but subpar actors).  Then again, since most post 2000 anime got really bland chars when compared to those in the 90s, the blandness of the MP characters might not be so apparent for younger kids who've never been exposed to the character-driven 90s gems like SKU, Please Save my Earth, Eva, Basara, Gundam Wing, Escaflowne . . . etc.

Edited to add:

Truth be told, even a 2 minute, faceless SKU character like Mrs. Ohtori is far more vivid a char than all three takakuras combined.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-11-2012 12:00:18 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#14 | Back to Top08-11-2012 12:26:11 PM

Lurv
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Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

emot-rofl
That's kind of sad to say, but yeah.

(And I got to admit, I haven't really seen all the shows you mentioned.)

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#15 | Back to Top08-11-2012 12:38:56 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Lurv wrote:
(And I got to admit, I haven't really seen all the shows you mentioned.)

Please save my earth is a STUNNING 6 ep OVA (I think it's all on youtube) that covers only the first 6 manga vols of the 21 vol PSME manga series.  The entire scanslated manga series should be available for download at Band of the Hawks via torrent (I hope it's still the case).  If any anime/manga series could rival, maybe even surpass SKU in terms of characters, this one is it.

Basasa is kinda the same thing - good anime, but story to be wrapped up by manga - if slightly inferior in quality to PSME (still very good though, but it has even stronger female empowerment themes).  I have, however, no idea if its manga has ever been completely scanslated though.

Esca, Eva, and GW are complete stories in their anime incarnations.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#16 | Back to Top08-11-2012 03:37:43 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Double post to draw attention to the "Penguinbear Project by Ikuhara": http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3168

Could this be a sequel or parellel-verse film ala Utena's Adolescence Apocalypse? emot-aaa

Either way, the team better find a more competent character writer so as not to again waste this rich story. emot-mad


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#17 | Back to Top08-11-2012 03:39:55 PM

Davine Lu Linvega
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

I was kind of disappointed in the MP characters - the mysterious atmosphere of the show made you think they had more depth than they really did. The first time I saw Sanetoshi in the OP I was thinking "This guy's obviously important, who could he be? What's his story?" His initial appearances and pronouncements heightened the mystery, but at the end of the day his character was about as deep as the dialog boxes preceding the last boss battle in an 8-bit JRPG. "I wanna destroy the world for shits and giggles! Try and stop me!" Momoka was the same way - I tried for some time to unravel the mysteries behind her character, but then I realized that all I had to do was replace "Momoka" with "Jesus" and her peach symbol with a cross.

Compared to Utena, it's night and day. Anthy is one of the most interesting characters in all fiction, and you can't describe any significant SKU character without multiple caveats. The interviews and commentary by Enokido I've read lead me to believe that he bore a lot of responsibility for breathing life into the SKU characters, and he seems to be a more character-oriented creator overall.

I get the impression that Ikuhara had greater creative control over MP than he did over SKU and that MP is a more pure Ikuhara creation. SKU was Ikuhara's first project where he had most of the creative control, but he still followed the Sailor Moon model of a multimedia franchise with a team of creators, either out of obligation by the sponsors or his own choice. Perhaps the reason it took him so long to direct another series was that he didn't want another Saitou shouting him down and would only take on a project where he had total creative control.

That said, I think you can understand a lot about Penguindrum by looking to one of Ikuhara's biggest influences: David Lynch. From what I've seen of his work - Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive and the Dune movie, that I recall - his stories aren't driven by super-complex characters but by throwing simple but quirky characters into weird situations.

Like Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, Penguindrum characters have some interesting idiosyncrasies but at bottom they are not that complicated. You can speculate all day what kind of horrific events made Frank what he was, just like you can wonder what Yuri's father was doing with those chisels, but in the end his character boils down to "insecure, perverted psychopath". Thinking about it, I can see a lot of parallels between Penguindrum and Blue Velvet - they both try to point out the weirdness and darkness "lurking below the surface" of a particular culture.

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#18 | Back to Top08-11-2012 03:56:45 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Davine Lu Linvega wrote:
his character was about as deep as the dialog boxes preceding the last boss battle in an 8-bit JRPG. "I wanna destroy the world for shits and giggles!

So . . . unfortunately . . . true . . . emot-gonk

SKU's tragically-obsessive Mikage and even controlling, self-centered Akio are both way deeper characters than Sanetoshi was shown as being in MP.

P.S. Does anybody know which other notable animes are Enokido majorly involved with?


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#19 | Back to Top08-11-2012 04:15:03 PM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Davine Lu Linvega wrote:
his character was about as deep as the dialog boxes preceding the last boss battle in an 8-bit JRPG. "I wanna destroy the world for shits and giggles!

So . . . unfortunately . . . true . . . emot-gonk

SKU's tragically-obsessive Mikage and even controlling, self-centered Akio are both way deeper characters than Sanetoshi was shown as being in MP.

I don't think I ever even really got what Sanetoshi's deal was. @.@ Or was there not that much to "get" in the first place?

gorgeousshutin wrote:

P.S. Does anybody know which other notable animes are Enokido majorly involved with?

Off the top of my head, he's the writer for such shows as Melody of Oblivion, Star Driver, and the anime adaptation of Ouran High School Host Club.

I haven't seen Star Driver at all, so I can't comment on it, but I've heard it described as being a bit like SKU with mecha. I've seen about half of Melody, and it's got a similar surreal flavour to SKU despite being shounen; it's got wonky pacing, but is interesting enough and is legally available on Crunchyroll for those who want to check it out (and live in the right regions...). Ouran is a fun and clever comedy that sends up a lot of typical shoujo tropes, and some people even call it better than the manga it's based on, so it's definitely worth a look.

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#20 | Back to Top08-11-2012 04:25:16 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Thanks for the recs, MikoGalatea!

I remembered reading the early parts of Ouran and was repulsed by the sheer wish fulfillment quality of it, but if the anime is better then I should check it out . . .


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#21 | Back to Top08-11-2012 05:31:42 PM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Thanks for the recs, MikoGalatea!

I remembered reading the early parts of Ouran and was repulsed by the sheer wish fulfillment quality of it, but if the anime is better then I should check it out . . .

Just as a note: while I did compare Melody's surrealist flavour to SKU's, I'm not putting the show itself on anywhere near the same level as SKU, so don't set your expectations too high...

As for Ouran, admittedly it does fall into certain shoujo trappings itself as much as it makes fun of shoujo tropes (I take it that it's the reverse harem aspect you don't like?) but the heroine does find a lot of what the main bishies do to entertain girls pretty silly. And I'll confess that my favourite characters in that series besides Haruhi herself tend to be side characters like Renge and Nekozawa.

Thinking of demographics like shoujo and shounen... I guess that's another thing that brings SKU above Penguindrum for me. Penguindrum, with its late-night timeslot, is more-or-less a seinen series, and it really shows in how much the fanservice/sexiness is skewed towards things that appeal to straight guys - male gaze, Princess of the Crystal's outfit, etc - and that's counterbalanced by, what, Sanetoshi's pretty pink eyelashes? Our dear shoujo SKU, on the other hand, is a lot more equal-opportunity when it comes to sexiness, even if it is tempered by the amount of fan disservice (and really, not that much of SKU's sexiness even comes across as pandering). I know this is kind of a shallow thing to comment on, but all the little bits do add up to make a difference for me.

Davine Lu Linvega wrote:

The first time I saw Sanetoshi in the OP I was thinking "This guy's obviously important, who could he be? What's his story?"

Heh, you ID'd Sanetoshi as a guy right off the bat? Reminds me of how much I rolled my eyes at one anime blogger who thought he was a girl, then got all disgusted when he appeared in episode 9 along with his deep voice because ewwww bishie boy in mah hot seinen or whatever (obviously not a direct quote, but that's what it basically amounted to). I'm pretty sure that blogger hadn't seen SKU, otherwise I'm sure he wouldn't have flipped out like that over a long-haired male character. emot-rolleyes

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#22 | Back to Top08-11-2012 05:43:54 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

MikoGalatea wrote:

Thinking of demographics like shoujo and shounen... I guess that's another thing that brings SKU above Penguindrum for me. Penguindrum, with its late-night timeslot, is more-or-less a seinen series, and it really shows in how much the fanservice/sexiness is skewed towards things that appeal to straight guys - male gaze, Princess of the Crystal's outfit, etc - and that's counterbalanced by, what, Sanetoshi's pretty pink eyelashes? Our dear shoujo SKU, on the other hand, is a lot more equal-opportunity when it comes to sexiness, even if it is tempered by the amount of fan disservice (and really, not that much of SKU's sexiness even comes across as pandering). I know this is kind of a shallow thing to comment on, but all the little bits do add up to make a difference for me.

That bothered me too. emot-mad

(You got a link to that blog post by the way?)

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#23 | Back to Top08-11-2012 05:46:26 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Hee... it sounds like a lot of you have stronger negative feelings about Penguindrum than I do!  For my part, I mostly object to the way it "crosses the streams" between metaphor and reality to the point where you can't understand what's literally going on without also understanding the metaphor.  That was my point when I talked above about how the show's mysteries make its characters harder to empathize with.  But I do like the show.  It's very pretty, and it has Ringo in it, and it addresses powerful themes, as shutin noted in the first place.

I have the same reaction to Penguindrum that I have to a lot of stories that have ambitious concepts but fall short in the execution.  On one hand I almost hate them because they make me care about them and then can't deliver on their promise.  On the other hand I kind of love them because they show that someone is daring to try something new in a medium, and that someone cares about the story e's telling.  In the end, especially with distance, the second reaction tends to beat out the first one for me.  I would rather have one Penguindrum than a thousand Slayers knockoffs.

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#24 | Back to Top08-11-2012 05:51:03 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

MikoGalatea said:

sexiness, even if it is tempered by the amount of fan disservice (and really, not that much of SKU's sexiness even comes across as pandering).

The thing about SKU is that the sexual imagery serves plot-wise purpose, which is more than I can say for many other animes.

On Ouran: the harem thing is not what bugs me the most.  The show lost me immediately with the boys doing something so ego-filled and contrived as that hobby host club idea.  I can understand boys who need to do it for a living in actual clubs, but for priviledged kids to invest vast amount of $ and time to do this just to show the world how sexy they really are (and don't tell me this is therapy to girls in need, it's pure ego at work) . . . it just makes them shallow and affected from my POV.

Edited to add:

Satyreyes:
On one hand I almost hate them because they make me care about them and then can't deliver on their promise.  On the other hand I kind of love them because they show that someone is daring to try something new in a medium

Every time I rewatch ep 24 of MP I get phantom chills and feel like I should care . . . but whenever that incredible score (children of fate) stops I find myself left in the cold emotionally. 
That being said, it still is a lot better than a lot of the banal crap out there in these current years of quality anime drought.

As for the 90's anime era . . . those were the days my friends, we thought they'd never end . . . (singing off key)

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (08-11-2012 06:03:16 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#25 | Back to Top08-11-2012 06:06:02 PM

MikoGalatea
Rose Bride
From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
Website

Re: Utena V.S. Penguindrum - which one is a "better" show?

Lurv wrote:

MikoGalatea wrote:

Thinking of demographics like shoujo and shounen... I guess that's another thing that brings SKU above Penguindrum for me. Penguindrum, with its late-night timeslot, is more-or-less a seinen series, and it really shows in how much the fanservice/sexiness is skewed towards things that appeal to straight guys - male gaze, Princess of the Crystal's outfit, etc - and that's counterbalanced by, what, Sanetoshi's pretty pink eyelashes? Our dear shoujo SKU, on the other hand, is a lot more equal-opportunity when it comes to sexiness, even if it is tempered by the amount of fan disservice (and really, not that much of SKU's sexiness even comes across as pandering). I know this is kind of a shallow thing to comment on, but all the little bits do add up to make a difference for me.

That bothered me too. emot-mad

(You got a link to that blog post by the way?)

Here it is.

"I just don’t see what making him extremely feminine-looking is supposed to add to his character outside the initial “ugh”-type reaction." Speak for yourself, dude; not everything has to be for teh menz all the time. emot-rolleyes

satyreyes wrote:

Hee... it sounds like a lot of you have stronger negative feelings about Penguindrum than I do!

Aww, I'm making it sound like I hate Penguindrum, aren't I? I'm starting to feel sorry for it now! emot-frown As much as my posts probably look like I'm raking it over the coals, I really did enjoy the show, and I always looked forward to every episode because I could never tell what was going to happen next. Connections to SKU aside, that kind of unpredictability was a huge draw for me.

gorgeousshutin wrote:

On Ouran: the harem thing is not what bugs me the most.  The show lost me immediately with the boys doing something so ego-filled and contrived as that hobby host club idea.  I can understand boys who need to do it for a living in actual clubs, but for priviledged kids to invest vast amounts to do this just to show the world how sexy they really are . . . it just makes shallow and affected from my POV.

To be fair, I recall Haruhi thinking much the same thing in the series itself. It's been a while since I watched it, though.

Last edited by MikoGalatea (08-11-2012 06:07:36 PM)

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