Penguindrum (Manga Spotlight!)

Manga Spotlight!
Animeggroll will be starting a new thing this year where we highlight a manga title that isn’t part of the mainstream releases. We hope that you’ll discover something new!

We’re starting this off with a series that actually first appeared as an anime, and became one of our favorites. Then two years after the series completed, the manga was made, but it took 6 years to get a US release. Now it’s finally here!


The Penguindrum anime originally aired in 2011 in Japan, and first appeared in the US in 2012. In 2013, Penguindrum the manga was made, and ran until 2017 (Japanese release). The manga finally got it’s US release on December 3, 2019.

The series was created by Kunihiko Ikuhara, who is most known for his work on Revolutionary Girl Utena, as the director. Penguindrum has similar tones of intrigue as Utena, but Ikuhara took it to a whole new level.

Penguindrum is about the Takakura family, two brothers and their sister, and their strange relationship with a hat designed after a penguin.

Himari (the youngest) has a terminal illness. She is sent home to spend time with her brothers and as a treat to their sister, Shoma and Kanba take her to the zoo to see the penguins. Shoma buys Himari a penguin hat, moments before Himari passes out.

Himari is pronounced dead at the hospital. The brothers are left alone with her, and as they discuss what just happened, when Himari sits up, shouting “Survival Tactic!” She’s wearing the penguin hat, and seems to have changed personalities. The brothers are stunned, Himari passes out, but this time she’s alive! She’s healthy and is discharged from hospital. While at home, a package is delivered with three large eggs. None of them know who sent it, but they bring them in. After a bit, the eggs hatch into three penguins! No one else can see them, but they help with stuff around the house.

Later Himari passes out, only to wake up wearing the penguin hat. The brothers suddenly find themselves kneeling and bound at the wrists. There’s a girl in an elaborate costume walking down some stairs telling them they must find the Penguindrum, or their sister will die.

Penguindrum is a fun series with mystery, moments of insanity, and some really wholesome characters. The anime has a wonderful art style and was well animated. The manga does a pretty nice job compensating for the omission of the color, sound, and movement, that was seen in the anime. Illustrated by Isuzu Shibata, who wasn’t part of the anime process, the manga looks and fells like it might have came first with almost matching character designs and scenery! The plot in the anime at times was confusing (like what actually is the Penguindrum?), but the manga clears some of that up, making it a read to recommend!

Penguindrum is rated TEEN, for it’s darker tone and crass humor at times, but contains little to no nudity, intense violence, or overly harsh language. We recommend it for readers 13+

Written By: Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yurikuma Arashi)
Illustrated By: Isuzu Shibata (A Strange Journey of Me and Cursed Sorcerer)
Us Release: Vol. 1, Dec. 3rd, 2019.
Expected Volumes: 4 (Completed Japanese Release)
US Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment

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