Penguin Highway

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Penguin Highway
Penguin Highway 2010 Novel Cover.jpg
The cover of the novel, as published by Kadokawa Shoten in 2010
(Pengin Haiwei)
Written byTomihiko Morimi
Published byKadokawa Shoten
English publisher
PublishedMay 28, 2010
Written byTomihiko Morimi
Illustrated byKeito Yano
Published byMedia Factory
MagazineMonthly Comic Alive
Original runMarch 27, 2018February 27, 2019
Anime film
Directed byHiroyasu Ishida
Produced by
  • Taku Matsuo
  • Noriko Ozaki
  • Katsuhiro Takei
Written byMakoto Ueda (Europe Kikaku)
Music byUmitarō Abe
StudioStudio Colorido
Licensed by
ReleasedJuly 29, 2018 (2018-07-29) (Fantasia International Film Festival)
August 17, 2018 (2018-08-17) (Japan)
Runtime118 minutes
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Penguin Highway (ペンギン・ハイウェイ, Pengin Haiwei, stylized penguin highway) is a Japanese science fiction[2] novel written by Tomihiko Morimi, published in 2010. A manga adaptation was serialized in Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive from March 27, 2018 to February 27, 2019, and an anime film adaptation by Studio Colorido premiered in August 2018.


Penguins suddenly appear in the town with no explanation. Aoyama finds that the penguin species is known to follow a singular path known as the "Penguin Highway," which leads to the woods. After the bully Suzuki ties Aoyama up to a vending machine, the Lady frees Aoyama and transforms a soda can into a penguin.

At school Aoyama finds Uchida and his other classmate Hamamoto with a penguin named Penta on the rooftop. They bring Penta on the train, where it falls ill upon leaving the station. Penta stumbles out of the cage and transforms into a soda can. Aoyama then goes to a cafe to play chess with the Lady, where she mentions her trouble sleeping after reading about the Jabberwock. The power goes out, and then she accidentally transforms the pieces into bats. Aoyama later deduces that the Lady can turn thrown objects into penguins in the light and bats in the dark.

The next day, Hamamoto leads Aoyama and Uchida deep into the forest, where a floating sphere of water sits, which she calls the "sea". The next few days, Aoyama, Uchida and Hamamoto, spend playing around the sea and investigating it. Uchida throws in a toy spaceship into the sphere, and it sucks up the toy. One day, Suzuki comes to bully Uchida and Aoyama, happening upon the sphere, and Hamamoto warns him not to tell anyone about the sphere.

The next day, the reporters note a new unidentified creature has been discovered. Aoyama and Uchida spot the creature eating a penguin. The Lady asks Aoyama to go to the coast with her, and they depart by train. As they leave the station, the Lady falls ill. Her sweat falls onto the ground, liquifying the concrete into the creature — a Jaberwock. He does not see the Lady after that for a while.

After school, Hamamoto and Uchida go to find the forest blocked off. Entering despite the warnings, they find Hamamoto's father conducting research, with Suzuki revealing the sphere's location. A huge storm brews as the sphere grows in size. The next day, it is revealed that the sphere has expanded to a dangerous extent, leading to the disappearance of Hamamoto's father. The school holds a lockdown, and Aoyama escapes to meet up with the Lady.

Aoyama solves the mystery. The sea is the energy source for both the penguins and the Lady, but the penguins try to destroy it. The sea displaces space and distorts time. Aoyama believes the sea is a hole, a place where the world is torn. The penguins are trying to destroy it in an attempt to repair the world. However, making too many penguins causes the Lady to fall ill. In response, she produces the creature, known as the Jaberwock. These attack the penguins, which makes the sphere larger and result in her improved health.

Aoyama and the Lady walk toward the forest, generating a mob of penguins. The blast their way into the sphere and land into the apocalyptic future. Aoyama and the Lady rescue Hamamoto's father and the other researchers. The penguins fly up and pop the sphere, causing water to rush out into the real world.

Aoyama and the Lady return to the cafe to talk, while the mob of penguins slowly disappear. When the last penguin disappears, she hugs Aoyama and leaves the cafe. Outside of the window, she disappears. He resolves not to cry, believing he will see her again and will tell her that he loved her. One day, Aoyama spots a cat playing outside of the cafe in the spot the Lady disappeared from. He approaches the spot and finds the toy spaceship that the sphere swallowed.


Aoyama (アオヤマ君, Aoyama-kun)
Voiced by: Kana Kita[3] (Japanese); Gideon Modisett[4] (English)
A precocious boy who keeps a notebook of things he learns. He has a crush on the Lady and a fascination with breasts. He has never seen the ocean.
Lady (お姉さん, Onē-san)
Voiced by: Yū Aoi[3] (Japanese); Erika Harlacher[4] (English)
A mysterious woman who works at the dental office and also coaches Aoyama in chess. She has memories of her parents and growing up by the coast. It is revealed she is from the world of the sphere.
Uchida (ウチダ君, Uchida-kun)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya[5] (Japanese); Landon Beattie[4] (English)
A shy boy who is friends with Aoyama. He is bullied by Suzuki.
Hamamoto (ハマモトさん, Hamamoto-san)
Voiced by: Megumi Han[5] (Japanese); Anne Yatco[4] (English)
An intelligent girl who has a crush on Aoyama. She is jealous of the Lady.
Suzuki (スズキ君, Suzuki-kun)
Voiced by: Miki Fukui[5]
A classmate of Aoyama's and a bully. He has a crush on Hamamoto.
Aoyama's Father (アオヤマ君のお父さん, Aoyama-kun no Otōsan)
Voiced by: Hidetoshi Nishijima[5] (Japanese); Keith Silverstein[4] (English)
A well-posed man. He leaves for international work trips.
Hamamoto's Father (ハマモトさんのお父さん, Hamamoto-san no Otōsan)
Voiced by: Naoto Takenaka (Japanese); Eugene Nomura (English)[5]
A meteorological researcher who has an interest in the sphere after reading his daughter's journal.



Penguin Highway is a novel written by Tomihiko Morimi, which was originally published by Kadokawa Bunko in tankōbon format on May 28, 2010 (ISBN 9784048740630).[6] Kadokawa later republished the novel under the Kadokawa Bunko imprint on November 22, 2012 (ISBN 9784041005613).[7] Upon the release of the film, Kadokawa republished the novel with a new cover illustration by Booota under the Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko imprint on June 15, 2018 (ISBN 9784046317988).[8]

Yen Press announced at Anime Expo 2018 that they would be publishing the novel in English,[9] with a hardcover release on April 23, 2019.[10] The English translation is by Andrew Cunningham.[11]


A manga adaptation of the novel was serialized in the May 2018 to April 2019 issues of Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive magazine, with illustrations by Keito Yano.[12] The manga was published in three tankōbon format volumes, with the first volume released on July 23, 2018.[13]

Anime film[edit]

An anime film adaptation by Studio Colorido was announced on March 1, 2018.[3] Hiroyasu Ishida serves as the director for the film, with Yōjirō Arai responsible for character design, Makoto Ueda writing the screenplay, and Umitarō Abe composing the music.[3] The theme song is Good Night, performed by Hikaru Utada.[14]

The film premiered at Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal on July 29, 2018.[15] Toho released the film theatrically in Japan on August 17, 2018.[14] Fuji Creative is responsible for international distribution of the film. Anime Limited announced in July 2018 that they had acquired the film for distribution in the United Kingdom and Ireland,[16] where it premiered at Scotland Loves Anime Glasgow on October 13, 2018,[17] with a wider release in 2019.[16] Eleven Arts announced that they would be distributing the film theatrically in North America, where it premiered at Crunchyroll Expo in San Jose on September 2, 2018,[18] and a wider release on April 12, 2019.[19][20] Madman Entertainment announced that they had acquired the film for distribution in Australia and New Zealand, where it premiered at Madman Anime Festival Melbourne on September 15, 2018,[21] with a wider release premiering from November 8, 2018.[22] The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital on August 6, 2019 from Shout! Factory.[1]



The novel won the Nihon SF Taisho Award in 2010.[2]

Anime film[edit]

The film won the Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation award at Fantasia International Film Festival for the best animated feature.[15] In Japan, the film premiered in 192 theatres in its opening weekend, where it placed in 10th position.[23] The film later exited the top 10, having earned a total of ¥307 million (US$2.76 million) as of August 26, 2018.[24]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10.[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100 based on 4 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[26]

See also[edit]

  • Solaris – 1961 philosophical science fiction novel by Polish writer Stanisław Lem


  1. ^ a b c "Anime Feature 'Penguin Highway' Comes to Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital August 6". Anime News Network. May 20, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Dai-31-kai SF Taishō Jushō-saku" 第31回SF大賞受賞作 [31st SF Taisho Winning Work]. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Tatami Galaxy Novelist's Penguin Highway Coming-of-Age Fantasy Gets Anime Film". Anime News Network. March 1, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Penguin Highway Anime Film Hits the Road with English Dub Cast". Crunchyroll. April 10, 2019. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e Ressler, Karen (June 26, 2018). "Penguin Highway Anime Film's 2nd Trailer Reveals More Cast". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  6. ^ "Pengin Haiwei" ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Penguin Highway] (in Japanese). Kadokawa Shoten. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Kadokawa Bunko Pengin Haiwei" 角川文庫 ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Kadokawa Bunko Penguin Highway] (in Japanese). Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  8. ^ "Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko Pengin Haiwei" 角川つばさ文庫 ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko Penguin Highway] (in Japanese). Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  9. ^ Ressler, Karen (July 8, 2018). "Yen Press Licenses Happy Sugar Life, Kakegurui Twins Manga, Penguin Highway, Walk on Girl, Mirai Novels". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  10. ^ "Penguin Highway". Yen Press. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Library of Congress Catalog. Library of Congress Catalog. Library of Congress. 23 April 2019. ISBN 9781975382605. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Komikku Araibu 2018-nen 5-gatsu-gō" コミックアライブ 2018年5月号 [Comic Alive May 2018 Issue]. Monthly Comic Alive (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Penguin Highway 01" [ペンギン・ハイウェイ 01] (in Japanese). Monthly Comic Alive. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Hikaru Utada Performs Penguin Highway Anime Film's Theme Song". Anime News Network. November 14, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  15. ^ a b Antonio Pineda, Rafael (July 26, 2018). "Penguin Highway Film Wins Satoshi Kon Award at Fantasia Int'l Film Festival". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Hanley, Andy. "Anime Limited acquires Penguin Highway". All the Anime. Anime Limited. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  17. ^ Scotland Loves Anime [@lovesanimation] (August 29, 2018). "We can't reveal the full lineup yet but tickets for select films in our lineup at @glasgowfilm (12-14th Oct) are on sale: Includes: Penguin Highway (EU Premiere) Fate/stay Night: Heaven's Feel Movie 1 (UK Premiere) Even a screening of Cyber City Oedo 808" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (August 31, 2018). "Eleven Arts to Premiere Penguin Highway Anime Film at Crunchyroll Expo". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  19. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (February 6, 2019). "Eleven Arts to Screen Penguin Highway Film in U.S. Theaters in Winter 2019". Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  20. ^ Sarto, Dan (September 3, 2018). "'Penguin Highway' Theatrical Release Set for April 12". Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Madman Anime Festival [@MadFest] (August 22, 2018). "Be swept up in a whimsical and wondrous journey at @MadFest Melbourne 2018 with the Australian Premiere of Penguin Highway! 🐧✨" (Tweet). Retrieved August 22, 2018 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Penguin Highway Official Theatrical Trailer (YouTube video). Madman Entertainment. October 10, 2018.
  23. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (August 20, 2018). "Live-Action Gintama 2 Earns 800 Million Yen at #1, Seven Deadly Sins Opens at #5". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  24. ^ Antonio Pineda, Rafael (August 27, 2018). "Live-Action Gintama 2 Film Falls to #2, Seven Deadly Sins Falls to #10". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  25. ^ "Penguin Highway (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  26. ^ "Penguin Highway Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 24, 2019.

External links[edit]