Defying fate, femanding futurity: Nostalgia, queerness, and family in Ikuhara Kunihiko’s Mawaru Penguindrum
- Defying fate, femanding futurity: Nostalgia, queerness, and family in Ikuhara Kunihiko’s Mawaru Penguindrum
- Zhang, Cynthia
- Issue Date
- Ikuhara Kunihiko
- Aum Shinrikyo
- Collective Memory
- In discussions of anime director Ikuhara Kunihiko, much emphasis has been placed on the prominence of queerness in his works. Mawaru Penguindrum (2011), with its focus on familial belonging and relatively low incidence of explicitly LGBTQ+ characters, is consequently often framed as the most heteronormative of Ikuhara's works. Drawing on the ways in which queerness has deployed in queer theory as a force that pushes against normativity, I argue that Penguindrum can nonetheless be read as a queer text insofar as it queers the concepts of family and nostalgia. If the family is at the heart of Penguindrum, it is not the heteronormative nuclear family that Lee Edelman critiques as a force of reproductive futurity, but families of choice formed in response to exclusion from normative society. Additionally, working with Freud's distinction between mourning and melancholia as well as work in memory studies, I read nostalgia in Penguindrum as an affect that is queer insofar as it does not seek to replicate or hold onto the past, but rather uses past attachment as a generative force for forming new connection. Ultimately, I argue that queer nostalgia acts a crucial link between Penguindrum's two main themes: the idealization of the nuclear family and forms of societal belonging in the wake of the 1995 Tokyo sarin gas attacks.
- Series/Report Name or Number
- Journal of Anime and Manga Studies, vol. 4
- Type of Resource
- Copyright and License Information
- Copyright 2023 Cynthia Zhang
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
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