Now for something different; This is Triple H. No, not the WWE wrestler, the penguin one. No, not the penguin version of the wrestler as seen in Surf's Up 2: WaveMania. The OTHER penguin-themed Triple H. I'm not going to lie, this one needs some explaining.
Do you remember us featuring a brilliant anime called Mawaru Penguindrum? Well, the story focused on Takakura siblings – brothers Kanba and Shōma, as well as their deathly-ill sister Himari. Now, prior to getting sick, Himari was part of a pop trio with two of her friends; Hibari Isora and Hikari Utada. This pop group was called Triple H – for Himari, Hibari and Hikari.
In the story of Penguindrum, when Himari became too ill to participate, Hibari and Hikari continued the group as a duo renamed Double H. They became a smashing J-idol success, to the point they are everywhere within the series. In any other anime this could've ended up as an excuse to have J-pop songs all over the soundtrack, but in Penguindrum Double H is woven to the fabric of the show as a part of the clever symbology.
While in the universe of Penguindrum Triple H was never to be, this fictive group does exist. Sort of. A group consisting of the voice actors of Himari, Hibari and Hiraki (Miho Arakawa, Yui Watanabe and Marie Miyake, respectively) performs majority of the insert songs for the show under the banner of Triple H. These songs were then released as this album, "HHH".
So yes, this is basically the closest thing there is for 'Mawaru Penguindrum' soundtrack album besides the bonus CDs that shipped with select Japanese DVD sets. While this doesn't feature any of the opening songs, it does feature all the ARB cover songs – which there were quite a slew of. Most iconic track of the bunch is definitely "Rock Over Japan", which is used for the transformation sequence during the scenes where the penguin hat takes over Himari.
Is the album good? Yes it is. At first I was sort of sceptical on how this could capture the mood of the show – I mean, it's essentially 'just' a cover album – but it works. The style bounces around from pop-rock and punk-esque romps to more sombre and emotional ballads, bit like the show hops between tragedy, penguin slapstick and everything in between. Whether you like anime soundtracks, ARB or just fun pop-rock albums, HHH is for you. If you're interested, it's released in Japan under King Records.
So, that was "HHH", but I'm not going to settle for an 'almost soundtrack', am I? I mean, I obsess over penguins, collect soundtracks and loved the show, so of course I had to go on a quest to put together the 'full Penguindrum soundtrack'! Join us next week as this quest continues.