The Bell of Fate Tolls
← Previous 1st STATION Next →
Release Information
Kanji 運命のベルが鳴る
Romaji Unmei no Beru ga Naru
Airdate July 7, 2011
Opening Nornir Ending DEAR FUTURE

"The Bell of Fate Tolls" is the 1st episode of Mawaru-Penguindrum.


Three siblings, twins, Kanba Takakura and Shoma Takakura, and their younger sister Himari Takakura live alone. Himari is fatally ill with not much time left to live, and on the day the three decide to go to the aquarium Himari collapses. But thanks to the intervention of a strange entity she is saved... at least temporarily.


The scene opens up in Himari's room. The camera focuses on different objects around the room including a cherub hanging from the ceiling, a window with blue curtains, from which yellow stars float from, a pink pirate teddy bear, a photo of the Takakura family (parents and all), and Himari's sleeping form, before zooming away from the bed slowly revealing the whole room. All the while Shoma voices over a monologue on fate.

I hate the word "fate." Birth, encounters, partings, success and failures, fortune and misfortunes in life. If our lives are already set in stone by fate, then why are we even born? There are those born to wealthy families, those born to beautiful mothers, and those born into the middle of war or poverty. If that's all caused by fate, then God is incredibly unfair and cruel. Because, ever since that day, none of us had a future and the only certain thing was that we wouldn't amount to anything.

— Shōma Takakura

The Takakura siblings, Himari Takakura, Shoma Takakura, and Kanba Takakura enjoy a nice relaxing breakfast made by Shoma. They make light conversation about the food prepared when Himari takes a sip from the miso soup, noting it's been a while since she's had hot miso soup and that it tastes just like the one their mother used to make. The scene implies that Himari has not just stayed at a hospital for a long time, but that both their parents are also deceased.

Watching Himari laugh, Shoma has a flashback to a grim scene at the hospital. A doctor sits opposite of the twin brothers, and tells them that there's nothing they could currently do for Himari with modern medical technology, and she has at best a few months to live. Kanba bursts into anger and grabs the doctor by the collar of his coat, denying that a doctor could say such a thing.

If it's money I'll get it somehow! If she can't get the surgery in Japan, we can send her overseas! If she needs an organ transplant, she can use mine! So... so, please, don't say there's nothing you can do.

A brother's devotion.

Kanba breaks down onto his knees and begs the doctor to save her even at the cost of his life. But the doctor somberly looks down at him and replies that doctors aren't Gods. Shoma cries quietly, and with tears in his eyes, Kanba mutters that there must be no God.

In the present, Himari falls in stuffed satisfaction onto a couch. Kanba reprimands that it's bad manners, but Himari dismisses it because today is "Himari Day." When prompted for an explanation, Himari tells him Shoma told her she could do whatever she wanted today, thus it's "Himari Day."

Outside two boys walk past the house,

Boy A: Like I said, the apple is the universe itself! A universe in the palm of your hand. It's what connects this world and the other world.
Boy B: "The other world"?
Boy A: The world Campanella and the other passengers are heading to!
Boy B: What does that have anything to do with an apple?
Boy A: In other words, the apple is also also a reward for those who have chosen love over everything else!
Boy B: But everything's over when you're dead.
Boy A: It's not over! What I'm trying to say is that's actually where everything begins!
Boy B: I'm not following you at all.
Boy A: I'm talking about love! Why don't you get it?

Back inside, Himari voices her happiness. She suddenly sits up and wonders if an aquarium they once when to as children still has penguins. Getting on the train from Ogikubo the siblings ride an empty train car, reminiscing about their childhood and the animal impressions they used to make (Kanba an otter, and Shoma a sea horse). At Ikebukuro, they go to the aquarium and observe the penguin exhibit. Kanba leaves for a moment to take a call from a girl, to Shoma's disgruntlement. Himari notices a happy family coming to look at the exhibit and Shoma decides to take her to the souvenir shop to distract her, and tells her he'll buy anything she likes. As they walk to the shop three penguins hidden in recycling receptacles watch them on...


100% Shoma approved.

At the shop Himari picks up an expensive otter but puts it down since she could just make Kanba imitate them at home. Shoma thinks this unlikely, but Himari says he will have to since it's Himari Day, adding that Shoma will imitate a seahorse. Picking up a crested penguin hat and putting it on, she declare that they must do so because she is queen. Shoma is immediately taken with how cute she looks and he goes off to buy the hat at the register.

Kanba finds him there when they hear yelling from outside that a girl has collapsed. The twins rush out to find Himari on the ground surrounded by a crowd of people. She's immediately rushed off to the hospital and onto a surgical table. The brothers watch impotently as her heart monitor flatlines.


The unfairness of it all.

Later, in a hospital room, Shoma sobs next to Himari's sheet covered body. Kanba is leaning off the side, not looking at either of them. Kanba mentions that the doctor said it was a wonder she was still alive and walking, to be prepared for her death anytime.

This was... Himari's fate.

He says that at least she didn't suffer, and passed away in a place with fond memories, and her life actually ended happily for her. At any rate, Kanba says they'll contact Uncle Ikebe since they can't do all the paperwork and things. Shoma explodes into anger, pushing Kanba to the ground, furious that he could speak, (as Shoma thinks) so coldly about their own sister. But Kanba denies this, saying that he is only dealing with reality. But Shoma is too angry, unable to accept that such a death is fair. Asking why is had to be Himari when Himari was a girl who was content and happy just by eating breakfast with her family. He quietly lowers his face into Kanba's chest and resumes crying. Kanba replies quietly that it's most likely the punishment bestowed upon them.


She's alive! Sorta.

Suddenly Himari's body, with the Penguin Hat from earlier atop her head, sits up and yells, "Survival Strategy!" Kanba stares at her in shock over from the ground, and shoots up throwing his brother off of him. Shoma also stands up quickly upon realizing why his Kanba reacted so quickly and strongly. Himari, her eyes glowing a faint violet turns to look at them.

I have come from the destination of your fate. Rejoice, for I have decided to extend this girl's life. If you want to keep the girl alive...

But before she could finish the sentence, the Penguin Hat slips off her head, and the regular Himari seems to come to herself, rather confused. The brothers cry in happiness clutching onto her, glad to have her alive.

Another day, another breakfast that Shoma's cooked, the three sit down to eat together. Himari compliments Shoma and asks him how to cook the sweet eggs next time, which Shoma easily agrees to. Himari happily says that she'll be helping around the house from now on, and maybe she'll even be able to go back to school.


Maybe they're eggplants?

Shoma flashes-back to another scene with the doctor, who's staring at photos of Himari's brain in disbelief, and informs the brothers that not only did she recover she's also completely stable.

In the present they receive a packaged cooler. Inside are three blue frozen round things buried in ice. Unsure of what they could be, Shoma none the less leaves to go to school. At Shinjuku-Gyoemmae where Shoma's school is located, Shoma ponders on the miracle and their fortune.

At this time, I thought we were just lucky. That unfair and cruel God altered our fate with a tiny miracle on a whim. I thought we even had the right to be happy.


After school, Shoma's friend tries to get him to hang out with him to hit on girls, though Shoma tries to decline. A group of three girls pass by that the friend point out, trying to arouse his interest. The one in the middle looks back at them in amusement, but Shoma uses the distraction and escapes to the station. Outside the station, he realizes he forgot his subway pass at school, when something taps him on his leg. He looks down and sees a blue penguin who hands him the forgotten item. When Shoma looks down again, the penguin is gone. At the supermarket Shoma disappointingly notes that all the cabbages are sold out. Something taps him on his leg, and when he looks down he sees the same penguin handing him a cabbage. The next moment the penguin is gone.


What's up with this penguin?

Outside the market it's raining very badly, and Shoma ponders under the eave when something taps him on his leg for the third time. This time the penguin holds out an umbrella for him, but instead of taking it, Shoma asks a mother and daughter who's come out of the supermarket if they know anything about the penguin. The child asks her mother what he's talking about, and the mother shushes her not to look at him, hurrying them away.

Nervously Shoma realizes no one else can see penguin and runs away. After gaining some distance he looks back to see the penguin speedily waddling toward him. Finally arriving home he walks into the kitchen, soaked. Kanba asks if he didn't run into it even though he told him to take Shoma an umbrella. Shoma looks up confused and notices another angry eyed penguin chopping cucumbers at an incredibly speed, and Himari sweetly conversing with another bowed penguin while knitting in the living room. Just at that moment the penguin that's been following Shoma around walks into the house and settles the umbrella against the wall.


What, what, what?

Shoma asks what's going on, and Kanba tells him these were the things that was in the frozen package, also confirming that they're the only ones that can see them. Sitting around the table they notice that Himari suddenly has the Penguin Hat on her head again. She yells out "Survival Strategy!" and after an elaborate and colorful scene the twins find their wrists and ankles cuffed in a strange pink dimension. Himari stands at the top of a stair and as she walks down, her eccentric, and rather promiscuous, penguin schemed outfit disappears piece by piece. She tells them they must obtain the Penguin Drum. Shoma, utterly baffled, asks her what she's talking about. But "Himari" denies that she is their sister.

I have come from the destination of your fate.

What is going on anymore.

Kanba realizes the Penguin Hat on her head is possessing her, shocking Shoma who thought it was just a toy bought at the aquarium. The mysterious entity tells them she is extending Himari's life through it's powers, but there is a price for what she's doing: The boys must find the Penguin Drum. Shoma tries to object、 before he is unceremoniously dismissed by getting dropped through the floor.

The hat possessed Himari then announces they will initiate the Survival Strategy, and the last visages of her clothing comes apart. She leans forward and reaches into Kanba's chest, and pulls something out that shines brightly.


Definitly not sibling appropriate.

Back at the Takakura household, Shoma tosses and turns in his sleep muttering for Himari to snap out of it, because she's being controlled by the hat. In the next room over, Kanba sits over Himari's sleeping form... then leans down for a kiss.

Why are people born? If people are born only to suffer the hard life, is it meant as some kind of punishment? Or a cynical joke? If that's the case, animals that adhere to the survival strategies programmed in their DNA are far more elegant and simple. If there really is an existence worthy of being called a God, I want to ask him just one thing. Is there really fate in the universe? If a man ignored fate, and ignored his instincts and DNA to love someone else... Dear God, is he really human? Just wondering. I hate the word "fate."

— Kanba Takakura

Characters IntroducedEdit

Allusions and SymbolismEdit

  • Fate is likened to the Clockwork Universe Theory. In other words, the universe is like a mechanical clock created by God and ticks along accordingly and predictably with certain immutable rules. God's only contribution was creating it and setting everything in motion (i.e. The Big Bang) and from there science took hold and has governed every sequence of event since that time.[1]
    • In the same vein, the Crystal World, presumably where the Crystal Princess is from ("I have come from the destination of your fate,") has clock faces revolving around it.
  • The Takakuras live in Ogikubo and ride to the very last stop to Ikebukuro: "The end of the line."
"Apples were a favorite food of author Miyazawa Kenji, and they appear in many of his works... To Kenji, apples were connected to his image of the universe. This was because the universe that includes our galaxy is also round like an apple. So when you hold an apple in your hand, you're holding the entire universe in the palm of your hand.
"According to the author, the seeds of an apple were comparable to the worlds we live in from day to day. The fruit of the apple reflects the hugeness of the universe outside ourselves. Just like there's a world outside the apple's skin, the universe doesn't end at its own edge either. Outside of our own universe, there's something even bigger surrounding it. No doubt, there's another dimension of a higher order expanding outside our universe, that can't be contained by our three-dimensional rules."[3]
  • Miyazawa had a little sister named Toshiko who died young of illness, and he based the character of Campanella on her. After she died, he took a journey north, and that trip became the inspiration for Night On the Galactic Railroad.[4][3]
    • Miyazawa also wrote a number of poems on her death. Including "Aomori Elegy" which references aquariums and apples in its opening lines.[3]

Himari's nightstand has fairytale books and the lamp itself is even shaped like a mushroom!

  • The overall feel of the show itself is like that of a fairy tale. The use of whimsy colors, three siblings, and the moment Himari is resurrected the siblings' whole world changes, and are metaphorically thrust "down the rabbit hole." The brothers are like night and day personality wise-- the official website describing them as "opposites." And the twins end up in a nonsensical world, with a demanding and dominatrix-like-queen character. And like Snow White, Himari "falls asleep" and "wakes up."


  1. Colloquium: Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 1
  2. Ikuhara and Anno in an old joint interview where Ikuhara mentions it. Possibly inspiration.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Credits to the Penguindrum Livejournal Community
  4. Further information on their relationship.

Site NavigationEdit

Next Episode
Episode Navigation
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.