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Mawaru pen.jpg
Official Japanese series logo and main characters: (from left to right) Himari, Kanba, and Shōma.
(Mawaru Pingudoramu)
GenreMystery, psychological, supernatural[1][2]
Created byIkuni Chowder
Anime television series
Directed byKunihiko Ikuhara
Produced byHiroo Maruyama
Shinichi Ikeda
Written byKunihiko Ikuhara
Takayo Ikami
Music byYukari Hashimoto
StudioBrain's Base
Licensed by
Original networkMBS, TBS, TVA, AT-X, BS11
Original run July 8, 2011 December 23, 2011
Episodes24[3] (List of episodes)
Written byKunihiko Ikuhara
Illustrated byLily Hoshino, Isuzu Shibata
Published byGentosha
English publisher
MagazineComic Birz
Original runMay 30, 2013January 30, 2017
Volumes5 (List of volumes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Penguindrum, known in Japan as Mawaru Penguindrum (輪るピングドラム, Mawaru Pingudoramu, lit. Spinning Penguindrum), is a 2011 Japanese anime series produced by Brain's Base. The series is directed and co-written by Kunihiko Ikuhara and was broadcast in Japan from July 8, 2011 through December 23, 2011.[4] Sentai Filmworks has licensed the series for North America, while Kazé UK has licensed the series in the United Kingdom, Siren Visual has licensed the series in Australia and New Zealand, and Dynit licensed the series in Italy. A manga adaptation of the anime by Isuzu Shibata began serialization in Comic Birz on May 30, 2013 and ended on January 30, 2017.[5][2]


A terminally ill girl named Himari Takakura is miraculously saved from death by a strange spirit who resides in a penguin-shaped hat. However, in exchange for extending her life, the spirit tasks Himari's brothers, Kanba and Shoma, to seek out an elusive item known as the Penguindrum with the assistance from a trio of strange penguins.


Shoma Takakura (高倉 晶馬, Takakura Shōma)
Voiced by: Ryōhei Kimura (Japanese); Blake Shepard (English)
The middle child of the Takakura siblings and the only biological child in the Takakura family. He is uneasy at thoughts of performing any morally ambiguous deeds. He is assigned to obtain Ringo's diary, believing that it is the Penguindrum, and hesitates after being told to obtain it by any means necessary. He accompanies Ringo as she follows their teacher, and the two become close.
In the novel adaptation, Shoma is the narrator.
Kanba Takakura (高倉 冠葉, Takakura Kanba)
Voiced by: Subaru Kimura (Japanese); Illich Guardiola (English)
The more serious and experienced of the brothers who has a history as a playboy, dating girls only to dump them soon after. He has several angry girls that pursue him, with Masako Natsume being the most aggressive. He cares a lot for Himari and will go to great lengths for her happiness and safety. As the oldest member of the Takakura siblings, he is responsible for maintaining his family's finances and livelihood. He takes his duty to obtain the Penguindrum and Himari's medicine very seriously, willing to resort to any method to obtain them. Kanba does not consider legality or self-preservation when it comes to saving his family. He was adopted by Takakura family to become the brother for both Himari and Shōma. His biological twin sister is Masako.
Himari Takakura (高倉 陽毬, Takakura Himari)
Voiced by: Miho Arakawa (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)
The brothers’ younger, cheerful sister. She loves her brothers very much, and is constantly smiling so that they will worry less about her health. After being discharged from the hospital, she visits the city aquarium but then loses consciousness and dies. She is revived by a penguin hat bought at the aquarium's souvenir shop. When she wears the penguin hat, her appearance and personality changes to that of the Princess of the Crystal (プリンセス·オブ·ザ·クリスタル, Purinsesu Obu Za Kurisutaru), a dominatrix, donning a skintight costume and ordering the brothers to obtain the Penguindrum in order to extend her life. When she was a child, she was part of the aspiring idol group "Triple H" with her friends Hibari and Hikari, but their friendship weakened after she left school. She and Shoma met as children. Shoma convinced his parents to adopt Himari, making them siblings.
Ringo Oginome (荻野目 苹果, Oginome Ringo)
Voiced by: Marie Miyake (Japanese); Emily Neves (English)
The target the brothers are ordered to watch. She was born on the same day that her sister Momoka died and believes that she is Momoka's reincarnation. The death of her sister caused her family to fall apart; her parents divorced and she lives with her busy mother. She possesses Momoka's diary, the entries of which she follows religiously for the purpose of "destiny". It is because of these entries that she stalks Keiju Tabuki, who was very close to Momoka. She believes that by replacing her sister, she will be able to bring her family back together.
Keiju Tabuki (多蕗 桂樹, Tabuki Keiju)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida (Japanese); Mike Yager (Ep. 1–13), Andrew Love (Ep. 14–24) (English)
The teacher that Ringo stalks. He is the science teacher of Shoma and Kanba and the advisor of a bird-watching club. He was Momoka's close friend and narrowly missed being with her at the incident that took her life. As a child, he was abandoned by his mother after she remarried and gave birth to a child that surpassed his skill at playing the piano.
Yuri Tokikago (時籠 ゆり, Tokikago Yuri)
Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese); Shelley Calene-Black (English)
A famous actress belonging to the Sunshiny Theatre Takarazuka troupe. She is introduced as Tabuki's girlfriend and later becomes engaged to him. Although she is regarded as beautiful and elegant by others, she considers herself and her body to be ugly. She was a close friend of Keiju and Momoka in elementary school. She became attracted to Momoka because Momoka was the only person to ever call her beautiful and is willing to do anything to bring Momoka back to life. She often describes things as "fabulous" or "fabulous max".
Masako Natsume (夏芽 真砂子, Natsume Masako)
Voiced by: Yui Horie (Japanese); Maggie Flecknoe (English)
A wealthy young woman obsessed with Kanba. She is the current heir to the Natsume corporation. She possesses a laser slingshot that is capable of selectively erasing memory with red projectiles shot at the forehead and blue projectiles that allow memory to be restored. Like each of the Takakura siblings, she has a penguin accomplice named Esmeralda. Her primary goals are to possess Kanba and gain the Penguindrum in order to ensure her brother Mario's survival, paralleling the Takakura brothers' goal to save Himari's life. She is later revealed to be Kanba's biological twin sister.
Sanetoshi Watase (渡瀬 眞悧, Watase Sanetoshi)
Voiced by: Yutaka Koizumi (Japanese); Adam Gibbs (English)
A cloying man that harbors an interest in Himari. He first appears as an all-knowing librarian working at the Central Library's "Hole in the Sky" branch, assisting Himari with books filled with memories of her past. He is the one to place the penguin hat on her. When Himari dies for a second time, he appears as a doctor that demands large sums of money for the dark pink medication keeping her alive. Himari often goes to him for advice, though she is usually troubled by what she hears and is cold towards him. He claims to be from "the destination of Fate," and is accompanied by two black rabbit underlings, Shirase (シラセ) and Sōya (ソウヤ).
Momoka Oginome (荻野目 桃果, Oginome Momoka)
Voiced by: Aki Toyosaki (Japanese); Brittney Karbowski (English)
Ringo's older sister who died in a subway explosion on the day of Ringo's birth. She was close friends with both Tabuki and Yuri, whose lives were both saved by her. Her diary is allegedly one that can transfer the fate of individuals at a cost; it can even prevent someone from dying. Thus, others compete for its possession.
Hibari Isora (伊空 ヒバリ, Isora Hibari) and Hikari Utada (歌田 光莉, Utada Hikari)
Voiced by: Yui Watanabe (Hibari), Marie Miyake (Hikari) (Japanese); Brittney Karbowski (Hibari), Cynthia Martinez (Hikari) (English)
Himari's best friends in elementary school. The three of them aspired to be idols, so they formed their own group called Triple H. However, because of her poor health, Himari had to leave school, and Hibari and Hikari went on to become famous idols under the group name Double H. They are featured on advertisements found on Tokyo Sky Metro trains that show that day's slogan. In the show's production, the real-life called Triple H made up of the voice actresses of Hibari, Hikari and Himari. They sing many of the insert songs and ending themes. Their names are thinly-veiled references to Hibari Misora and Hikaru Utada, respectively.
Takakuras' Penguins #1, #2, & #3 (高倉家のペンギン 1号、2号、3号, Takakura-ke no Pengin Ichigō, Nigō, Sangō)
Voiced by: Subaru Kimura, Ryōhei Kimura, and Miho Arakawa
A mysterious trio of blue penguins that arrived at the Takakura siblings' doorstep after Himari's resurrection. Only the Takakura siblings can see them. For the sake of convenience, Kanba named his penguin #1, Shoma's #2, and Himari's #3. These numbers are written on the back of the penguin. Each has their own traits based on their masters. #1 has pronounced eyebrows and likes looking up women's skirts, #2 is often seen spraying bugs or eating voraciously, and #3, who sports a ribbon on its head, keeps Himari company.
Esmeralda (エスメラルダ, Esumeraruda)
Voiced by: Yui Horie
Masako's penguin. Unlike the Takakura siblings' penguins, Esmeralda is black with a heart-shaped face, apparently based off a Rockhopper penguin. It has a more menacing appearance than the others. Esmeralda holds an infatuation with Kanba's penguin that mirrors Masako's interest in Kanba.
Mario Natsume (夏芽 マリオ, Natsume Mario)
Voiced by: Kazusa Aranami (Japanese); Hilary Haag (English)
Masako's younger brother. Just like the other penguins, he also serves under the influence of a penguin hat that looks very similar to Himari's.
Kenzan Takakura (高倉 剣山, Takura Kenzan)
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (Japanese); David Matranga (English)
The father of Kanba, Shouma, and Himari.
Chiemi Takakura (高倉 千江美, Takura Chiemi)
Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese); Brittney Karbowski (English)
The mother of Kanba, Shouma, and Himari.

Theme songs[edit]

Opening theme songs
  • "Nornir" (ノルニル) (episodes 1–14)
  • "Boys, Come Back to Me" (少年よ我に帰れ, Shōnen yo Ware ni Kaere) (episodes 15–23)
    • Lyrics, composition: Tika・α / Arrangement: Kenji Kondō / Singing: Etsuko Yakushimaru Metro Orchestra
Insert songs
  • "Rock Over Japan" (episodes 1–3, 5–7, 16, 17, 24)
    • Lyrics, composition: Ryo, Hisashi / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Daddy's Shoes" (ダディーズ・シューズ) (episode 5)
    • Composition: Ryō Ishibashi / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "M no Higeki" (Mの悲劇, Emu no Higeki, M's Tragedy) (episode 7)
    • Lyrics: Ikuni Ikami (イクニ・イカミ) / Composition: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Mamiko Noto as Yuri Tokikago
Ending theme songs
  • "Dear Future" (episodes 1–9, 11, 12)
  • "Dear Future feat. Yui Horie" (episode 10)
    • Lyrics: Yūho Iwasato / Composition: Narasaki / Arrangement: Watchman / Singing: Yui Horie
  • "Haiiro no Suiyōbi" (灰色の水曜日, "Gray Wednesday") (episodes 13, 15, 18)
    • Lyrics: Ryō Ishibashi, Hisashi Shirahama / Composition: Hisashi Shirahama / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title. Also used as the insert song of episode 9.
  • "Bad News Kuroi Yokan" (Bad News 黒い予感) (episodes 14, 17)
    • Lyrics: Ryō Ishibashi / Composition: Ichirō Tanaka / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Ikarechimattaze!!" (イカレちまったぜ!!) (episode 16)
    • Lyrics: Ryō Ishibashi / Composition: Ichirō Tanaka / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Hide and Seek" (episode 19)
    • Lyrics, composition: Hisashi Shirahama / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Private Girl" (episode 20)
    • Lyrics, composition: Ryo, Hisashi / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Tamashii Kogashite" (魂こがして, "Scorching Soul") (episode 21)
    • Lyrics, composition: Ryō Ishibashi / Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H
    • Cover of ARB's song by the same title.
  • "Heroes ~Eiyū-tachi~" (HEROES ~英雄たち~) (episode 23)
    • Arrangement: Yukari Hashimoto / Singing: Triple H

Triple H is composed of Marie Miyake as Hikari, Yui Watanabe as Hibari, and Miho Arakawa as Himari.


Almost two years after the premiere of the anime, a manga adaptation by Isuzu Shibata began serialization in the monthly magazine Comic Birz on May 30, 2013.[5][6][7] The first volume was released on September 24, 2014, the second on December 24, 2014, the third on October 24, 2015, and the fourth on June 24, 2016.[8][9][10][11] The manga ended serialization on January 30, 2017.[2]


In 2019, Polygon named Penguindrum as one of the best anime of the 2010s.[12]


  1. ^ "Penguindrum". Sentai Filmworks. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Sherman, Jennifer (December 27, 2016). "Isuzu Shibata's Mawaru Penguindrum Manga Ends in January". Anime News Network. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "Mawaru Penguindrum Official Website". Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Mawaru PenguinDrum by Utena's Ikuhara to Air in July". Anime News Network. May 18, 2011. Retrieved July 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Inc., Natasha. "バーズで生存戦略!「輪るピングドラム」マンガ連載始動". Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  6. ^ "Penguindrum Anime Inspires Manga Almost 2 Years Later". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  7. ^ "First Volume Of "Mawaru Penguindrum" Manga To Be Released Soon". Crunchyroll. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  8. ^ 柴田, 五十鈴; イクニチャウダ, ー (2014-09-24). 輪るピングドラム. 東京; 東京: 幻冬舎. ISBN 9784344831926.
  9. ^ 柴田五十鈴, 星野リリィ(キャラクターデザイン) (2014-12-24). 輪るピングドラム. 東京; 東京: 幻冬舎. ISBN 9784344832916.
  10. ^ 柴田五十鈴, 星野リリィ(キャラクター原案) (2015-10-24). 輪るピングドラム. 幻冬舎. ISBN 9784344835412.
  11. ^ 柴田, 五十鈴 (2016-06-24). 輪るピングドラム. 東京; 東京: 幻冬舎. ISBN 9784344837331.
  12. ^ "The best anime of the decade". Polygon. November 6, 2019. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

External links[edit]