Mawaru Penguindrum 12: Brief Analysis of the Christian Symbols
Episode 12 was rich in Christian symbolism. As Shoma told his tale of the bunnies, the goddess, and Mary and the three lambs, it was immediately obvious that much of the story’s inspiration was from the Garden of Eden (among other stories – Draggle mentions Prometheus). Shoma’s tale, of course, was also very different. Still, certain symbols kept their same meaning, while others contain meaning when seen through a Christian lens. Here’s a brief rundown on these symbols:
The most obvious symbol in the story was of the tree. It was the only tree in the world and brought light into it. Neither of this is true of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but both are nonetheless mysterious trees connected with life and power. Both are also symbolized by apples – in Mawaru Penguindrum, throughout the series as a steady symbol, and for the Genesis account tree, in art and popular culture.
Both trees are connected to death – Mary’s tree wilts and eventually leads to another death, while the Genesis tree leads to original sin and the death of all mankind. Notice that in both cases, the “sinners” realize that they are doing bad. Mary at first refuses to go along with the bunnies, while Adam and Eve hide their shame. Deaths occur later, not immediately, as a result of the sins.
Mary takes the role, alternately, of both Adam and Eve. There is only character in the Mary story because the tree symbolizes a person (I’m not clever enough to understand if Mary is the mother or father of Kamba, Shoma, and Himari). As Eve was, Mary was tempted by sin. And as in the case of both Adam and Eve, their choice led to death.
What is it with bunny-type creatures, lately? Though they could be seen more as demons or assistants to the devil (pink-haired man?), the bunnies are most definitely tempters. They promise good things despite obvious consequences. The serpent (Satan) gave a similar promise. Again, cashing in on those promises leads to death.
The Goddess most definitely represents God. I find it interesting that the Goddess, in this case, is seen as “unjust,” mirroring the thoughts given at the beginning of episode 12. Similarly, a common cry against God is that He is unjust. But notice that there is no complaint that the Goddess is taking a life, only whose life.
The lambs represent humanity. They are Mary’s children, as we are the sons of Adam. Himari’s lamb has a specific representation – she is a Christ figure. Jesus referred to Himself as the “Son of Man,” a play on the idea of being the second Adam. He is pure and perfect. This is similar to Himari, who must die because, as the Goddess says, she is innocent. Jesus was innocent, and it took his innocent blood to pay for our sins. Additionally, there’s a very obvious comparison here – Jesus is commonly compared to a lamb (also to a goat); He is the “lamb of God.”
Did I miss anything? I’m sure I did – please comment below on additions or disagreements to this analysis.