You can see my synopsis right here. However I want to make a new post, just in case.
I hope to see you all Monday, assuming I survive this trip. I want to thank you all for going on this gay anime adventure with me. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or you come in months after we’re done. I’ve got more plans in the works so I hope you stick around.
One of those plans is even to update and finish my LP!
Friends I just learned that today, yes today, nothing is going to be happening until 5pm. But that’s not so much the case for Monday which I’m being told will be, “Explore Nashville Day.”
So I’m gonna watch the last three episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena now. Like, right this very moment while I know I have the time (unless my sister-in-law is knowingly or unknowingly lying to me) and I’m going to post up my live blog too. HERE WE GO:
Episode 37: I’m My Own Master.
More gay subtext.
Utena stop and please get it together.
Akio you are already engaged to Kanae. Whatever the hell happened to her.
To Akio, yes, all girls are like Rose Brides.
And more girls are like Rose Brides than I’m happy with.
It’s not even about you, Akio. You shit.
No you don’t, Anthy.
Why are you sabotaging this.
Why is Akio sabotaging this?
I often can only think about myself and also have feelings I can’t set free. We’re told thinking about ourselves is selfish and bad, but it isn’t. Or, at least, it isn’t always. Someone has to consider your interests, and consider you, and only you know you best.
Your love for Anthy is not much different from Juri’s love for Shiori, Utena. You need to be honest with yourself.
This is the first time I’ve been happy to see Nanami.
You better not fuck this up, Nanami. Because Juri and Miki are trying really hard and I feel they were on the verge of a breakthrough. Which you just interrupted.
I want to explain what’s happening in this scene. Miki and Juri are both starting to let go of the things that have them trapped and ineffectually spinning their wheels. They joke about replacing them with Utena but this isn’t serious, it’s endearing. They are acknowledging and thanking Utena. That it was Utena who set them free. Utena who revolutionized their worlds.
Even the Shadow Girls have dreams and have bonded!! Things are really shaking up.
Yes, the car rides were like having sex.
Incest is gross.
Wow this is rapey, um, take it easy with this scene friends.
Anthy: I’m poison.
Utena: I’m poison too.
This is deep. I always flip back and forth over how much they’re being serious and how much they’re playing around here because this is a really real conversation they’re having and they’re both being really honest with each other here, but they’re so jovial about it. They are both poison and this relationship is not exactly healthy, far from it. They realize this. I don’t think any relationship is ever 100% healthy because people are complicated. But you work at it, you grow together and learn to be better people from each other and to yourselves and to each other. Utena and Anthy’s relationship is super fucked up, not just personally between themselves but because external forces are also meddling, straining, and fucking with them. Sometimes you shouldn’t put the work in to make a relationship work, and sometimes you should. Only you know which is the case, not anyone else. But regardless of whether you work or not, or how much you work, Relationships change you. They leave their mark upon you whether you stick them out or not. Sometimes… Sometimes you gotta fight for it. I hope Anthy and Utena fight for each other. It really sounds like that’s what they’ve decided on in this exchange. I’m rooting for them.
But then this. They just made this oath to try but it’s too much for Anthy.
Be safe with yourselves during this scene, friends. This one is going to be very hard for me but I’m with you. And if it’s hard on you or not? Whatever it is, I’m right here, okay?
No. You. Don’t.
Yes you do. You have a date in ten years. (Oh god… in ten years those bans on same sex marriage got overturned…We could have done it. We could have had each other.)
Shut up, Touga.
That’s right, Utena.
We’re both fools. (I can’t let go, won’t.)
No. There is no turning back. (I wish I could have been there to catch her… to slap those pill bottles away from her. Hundreds of miles separated us, and all I have now is the loss, emptiness she left behind, and my memories of her… of us.)
Episode 38: Thy Enemy? Thyself.
This opening sequence is the usual ascension sequence. But there’s some difference at the end, so if you’ve been skipping these consider not skipping this one.
Not true, she most certainly did not. That was never her mission.
It’s not about you, Akio.
That is also untrue.
Nope, I don’t like it.
PROTECT HER FROM WHAT?!?! BECAUSE THE ONLY THING SHE NEEDS PROTECTED FROM RIGHT NOW, AKIO, IS YOU AND YOUR BULLSHIT!!
I have a letter for you, Mister End of the World. Have a read:
This is not happiness.
This is not an eternity worth having.
None of this is what she wanted.
This disgusting perversion is not love.
And she is not a princess.
Nor are you her prince.
This is sickening.
You are sickening.
##You are the worst character in this show.
That’s right, Utena, ask the important questions. What about Anthy, Akio?
Akio: "She’ll remain the Rose Bride forever."
Me: So you want Utena to abandon Anthy for you? To sell her out and be complicit in her eternal suffering for you? That’s unacceptable and you’re not worth it.
Maybe Anthy doesn’t remember because all this nonsense wasn’t exactly against Utena’s will. Some of it was, but not all of it.
I mean, you did realize the pain she was in and the suffering she was in once upon a time, Utena. That’s why you made the oath. But, you forgot. And I think you had some idea of how much she suffered (though definitely not the full extent) because you tried to fix it. Willing her a normal life.
But like, at the same time I get what they’re both saying. This is some seriously Deep Honesty here. Utena was using Anthy to stroke her ego and play out her fantasy of being the noble prince. Her association with Anthy wasn’t exactly selfless or noble. And Anthy was using Utena the same way she’s used every other duelist, to pursue her brother’s goals. Up until Utena, Anthy probably didn’t care much for any of them, she simply couldn’t, but she did and does care for Utena. Despite that, she still fed Utena to her brother, why?
The answer? Because it made her [Anthy] suffer more and Anthy feels she deserves nothing but suffering. So she used Utena to punish herself more, to make her life worse, because it’s what she thinks she deserves.
But hey, here’s a hot take from me, Jenner, to you, the reader. There isn’t really such a thing as deserving, not really. The world is just the world. It is cruel, amoral, and unjust but also kind, ethical, and merciful. It is also much more than that, it is all the things and it is all the things to everyone arbitrarily regardless of their “goodness” or their "badness."
Things are rarely happening to you (good, bad, and everything in between) because you are deserving of them. (Though you can bring things down upon yourself, stack the deck so to speak, and manipulate things such that certain things are more likely to happen to you. Also other people can sabotage you or empower you.) Things are largely happening to you because things happen, and it really isn’t about you.
Sigh, I could talk more about this but it would be so long. Instead, after all that–with full acknowledgement that there isn’t exactly a deserving, I shall now state with utter certainty and all the authority you will permit me that nobody, nobody, no matter how reprehensible they are, no matter what they have done or how they have sinned, deserves to suffer for eternity. (Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to agonizing over my deceased loved one for the rest of my living days and also watching this anime.)
In this scene, they’re confessing their wrongs to each other and coming clean. They’re trying to mend it up, and possibly giving each other closure and strength. The most important thing I think is happening here is that they’re trying. I believe they’re fighting for each other.
Anthy is trying to save Utena, trying to convince her to just go, to just save herself and leave Anthy to her fate. But Utena can’t do that. She’s not leaving this place without Anthy. You go Utena.
Shit is about to get real, maybe.
See, I don’t trust a man so committed to, and defined, by lies to show any reality that is true to anyone but himself.
Warning, dear readers, I’m about to type some triggering words!
Utena: I didn’t come here to chase some fantasy! I came here because this is the place where you keep abusing and incest-raping my girlfriend!!
Akio: Oh you’re upset about that?
Utena: YOU’RE DAMN FUCKING RIGHT I’M UPSET ABOUT YOU ABUSING AND INCEST-RAPING MY GIRLFRIEND!!
Akio: But it’s just like, nbd.
Utena: omg fuck you.
Me: Please kill him.
Akio: You think I’m so bad but you’re the real abusive incest-rapist.
Akio: Allow me to show you how much we both suck.
(Friends, I would have busted the everloving shit out of that projector by this point.)
##Akio’s Rationale for Why They Both Suck:
(AKA: No, you suck, Akio.)
1.) Victim Blaming + rape culture: He comes onto her. He ignores/disregards their established boundaries. He’s pushy and he practically forces himself on her. But, in typical Man Logic, since she stops fighting him and relents to his obscene bullshit she’s just as guilty (or better yet, it’s all her fault.) That’s not how this works and frankly it’s disgusting. Yes, Utena pursued you even though you were engaged and that is shitty but what about your actions, Akio?! You were also aware that you were engaged, yes? And that you are an older man and she is a much younger woman, which gives you power over her? Oh, and you also have a position, as acting chairman of this school, which gives you even more power and authority over her? Akio, if you wanted to respect your engagement and not have affairs with students in your school you had the power to stop it, to put an end to it, the whole time. For example, you could have simply respected Utena’s earlier statements about not wanting that kind of relationship instead of persuing her and pressuring her. Or hell, you could have rebuffed her when she started pushing boundaries back and ended it there too. What I’m saying, Akio, is there were literally over a dozen points where you, a grown adult acting incredibly inappropriately towards a teenage girl, could have stopped. Yet you, yes you, persisted and encouraged this. This is like maybe 10% on her, at best. But you wanna put it all on her. You. Are. The. Worst.
Also, yes Akio turning away from the truth and blaming others is extremely unfair. And yes, pretending ONLY YOU are noble and right is bullshit…you ENORMOUS HYPOCRITE.
I think I’m done being intensely triggering now! My apologies!
2.) Taking Credit for All The Things: Utena just had a hugely tragic event happen, like, she literally just lost her mom and dad and became an orphan overnight. She is understandably despairing and suicidal. Then this guy shows up and is like:
"Wow Utena, suffering sure sucks a lot huh?"
Utena is like, "It sure does."
Akio: Well come here a moment, check this shit out. ::pulls back the curtain to reveal a foreverially suffering Anthy.::
Utena: Damn, that is some shit alright, who is that?
Akio: Oh that’s just my sister and it’s nbd.
Utena: Dude no, this is awful and unacceptable. You really should do something about this.
Utena: WHAT?! Why?!?!
Akio: Legistical Bullshit.
Utena: Okay well I’m not okay with that so fuck you I’m gonna do something about it.
Akio: Awesome, now everything you do from here out is all my doing.
Friends this is not how this works.
Brief Jenner Fact: I once convinced a friend to stick it through grad school because grad school was hell. I supported her and was there propping her up and rooting her on the whole time but I am under no illusions about just who it was who did the real work and graduating here. Now she’s a fucking cardiologist and making more money in a year than I will probably ever make in a life time and good for her. I am proud I was able to help her, to support her and give her that extra bit of strength she needed to push through. But she did it, not me, and I don’t expect any payment or credit for being there for her in her time of need because that’s just what friends do. Also I’m not an asshole.
Wow I’m talking way too much. It’s so TL;DR here. My point is, Akio may have pulled her out of the hole and given her renewed strength and purpose but she’s the one who walked, she’s the one who worked, who chased the goal, who went for it, and who is making it happen. Not him. He can’t take this much credit, he’s not allowed to steal her agency like this. He’s a rude man. The very worst.
Akio: Gimme the sword!
Utena: What’ll you do with it?!
Akio: Whatever I want.
Utena: You’re not gonna help your sister?
Akio: WHAT PART OF WHATEVER I WANT DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!
Me: Woooow, you suck.
But Utena is challenging him on every level and he’s lashing out viciously by renouncing his prince self. Basically trying to own her (and also owning/attacking himself) by telling her her prince never even existed. He’s very shitty.
Yes, Akio, she knows what a prince is.
I just can’t even how full of shit he is.
AKIO YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT YOU WANT IS UNACCEPTABLE!!
Please corncob this terrible man with impunity.
So you can see here, he projected the Black Rose duel rooms. So how much of it was Souji and how much of it was Akio is really muddied. I like to blame it all on Akio because he’s the worst.
Utena speaking truths!
Akio still full of shit.
You already are a prince, Utena. You already are and always were.
##BREAK. THAT. BULLSHIT. DOWN.
Tear the world down around you!
Fuck your patriarchy! Fuck your reality! Fuck you!
TEAR IT APART.
TEAR IT DOWN. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!
She’s got him on the ropes!
Look at him scramble!
See the lightning in her eyes?!
See him squirm, see him panic?
YOUR. SHIT. IS. NOT. WELCOME. HERE.
Are you seeing this Anthy?!
Go ahead, throw Anthy at Utena you piece of shit. That’s where she belongs anyway!!
NOW he admits it! I mean, it’s a bit more complicated than that but FUCK IT PRETTY MUCH YEAH IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT YOU SHIT.
Akio doesn’t feel nor understand her pain, not really.
He doesn’t love her either, not really.
This. Is. Bullshit.
Let’s take a minor spoiler break.
Hello folks outside the spoilers, sure is a lot of words blurred up there huh? I hope you can get to them soon. But, as always, prioritize you okay?
Now then, about Anthy. Why is she doing this? I mentioned one reason in the spoilers above but I believe there are many more reasons why. (I just feel like the “deserves suffering” reason is the biggest reason.) Maybe you disagree?
Let’s talk about it together. After all, we’re supposed to discuss this anime too, aren’t we?
Back into the spoilers now, hope everyone can join me soon.
Episode 39 continues.
Stab him! Stab him!
You can do it! YOU ARE VERY GOOD AT STABBING PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT.
Don’t do it, girl.
Don’t you do it.
Now Akio recognizes her as a prince. God he is just the absolute worst.
OMG OW FOLKS THERE IS A LOT OF IMPALEMENT COMING UP PLEASE BE CAREFUL
::WINCES AND CRINGES REPEATEDLY::
OW OW OW OW OW!!
WHO WANTS THAT?! WHO WANTS THAT?!
##NOBODY WANTS THAT!
She chose this?! Holy fuck.
NO WAY! NO FUCKING WAY!
It’s hurting her? I think both having her sword callously savaged on that doorway and seeing Anthy just filled with swords is causing Utena extreme pain. Empathy and all.
With you, Anthy! She wants to be with you! She’s happiest with you!! YOU MADE AN OATH, A PROMISE! You don’t need to do this!
Akio could never understand.
He never cared about Anthy.
And it opened the way.
You can do it.
Put your back into it.
Put your heart into it!
Shaking and quaking?
Where ever you are.
I wanna be there.
Is it me you’re looking for?
It’s the real her.
The show lied to us, my friends. And I was complicit in that lie. It, and I, told you Anthy needed a prince she could believe in. That wasn’t true, I apologize. Anthy’s belief would have been nice, but it was an incredibly high win condition. Anthy’s belief was not required, because Utena believed in herself, in them, enough for them both.
Take her hand, Anthy!
Just take her fucking hand!
Do it! Do it!
Thank you for watching gay late 90s anime with me. It is now 5:33pm and I have to get my mehndi done now. Maybe I’ll post pics! Maybe not!
Also it’s looking like some time in the late afternoon/early evening on a weekend for the Stream! I’ll start scheduling it and setting it up when I get back from Tennessee on Tuesday. Until then, please vote.
[spoiler]It’s Akio’s sword, they both have the same handle:
Akio’s right hand isn’t visible in any shot after he pushes Anthy towards Utena. Most of them are close-ups but also:
Looking through all this I did notice an error in 39: Anthy throws away Akio’s sword and takes Utena’s, but after the Student Council scene she’s holding Akio’s for a single shot. It’s back to Utena’s from then on.
edit:ALSO while Akio’s giving the “I was like you once” speech in 39, his rose disappears. Nice job being the only chump to unintentionally forfeit a duel?
I’ve taken shitty pictures of the article but I’m gonna scan it and post it up in full when we get home. However, just so you folks know, it’s full of spoilers and this magazine was only published like a year after Utena came out. Nice.
So, assuming @heyboots can sort out his plumbing and help me get my streaming set up and working (and assuming I have the movie) I will be streaming (and we will be watching) the Revolutionary Girl Utena Movie: Revolutionary Girl Utena Adolescence Apocalypse (AKA Adolescence of Utena) on: SUNDAY, JUNE 4TH, AT 8:30 PM EST
I know more people said they’d be available Saturday but my spouse always makes plans on Saturday and it’s Ramadan so we gotta have Iftar with Linda Sarsour and Wajahat Ali this Saturday… So please, @Fefnir and @heyboots, try to make it!
I’ll be closing off this saga of my Let’s Watch Adventure with those magazine scans and a short (ha ha) write up next week and then in the next week or two I’ll be moving on to my next Let’s Watch project. This is where you come in, since you are my Let’s Watch Crew I want to keep as many of you as I can with me along for the journey. Which means I have just ONE MORE poll for you all. When I start my next project should I:
Rename the thread, edit the OP, and keep the train going.
Okay! Finale time! Bulk watchin’ starting from episode 34:
[spoiler]I’m glad the silhouette girls get actual screen time in an episode. It’s weird to see them actually take part in the show, they usually seem like they’re an entity outside of the actual events, but they rock here so it’s good.
Hoo boy, there’s a lot to take in with that flashback. So Dios is also Akio as well. And while the world over-relied on Dios, I think the implication is that the Akio part of Dios existed even pre… death? Sealing? Either way, it seems like the super-kind personality and the incest personality don’t exactly care for each other, so I’m curious how that worked out in single-body Dios.
As for Utena, I have to wonder what’s missing that wouldn’t allow Utena to save Anthy as a woman and not a prince, outside of just, you know, societal expectations. But that “if you keep your nobility” line in particular has me wondering what exactly Utena needed to keep. Outside of style.
And if I had to guess, Akio’s also trying to seduce Utena as well as his sister because all he can do is keep Anthy suffering with his love, where as Utena could probably save her.
Y’know, the fairy tale intro seems a lot less fairy tale-like now that the full story’s there. Now I’m just kinda sad.
On one hand, Akio sucks and seeing him seduce Utena is the worst. On the other, Touga’s whole shtick finally falling apart is nice to see. And now he seems to think he’s in love with Utena because he understands her fear. Saionji’s kinda on the ball here, though. It makes sense considering that incident scarred him as well, so he’s more understanding that Utena isn’t alone in her fears.
Episode 36: Touga Still Doesn’t Understand Love or Really Just How to Deal With People in General.
Cutting dozens of cars in half is a metaphor I’ll admit I don’t understand, but damn if it didn’t look cool. Anyway, Touga’s still bad with emotions, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but Saionji can do better than Touga. Come on, man.
I appreciate the scene of Utena bonding with Jury and Miki. In general this was a good episode for character development, but most of it was far more tense. It was nice that there was something tonally positive. Though Utena’s relationship with those two is far less messy, so it makes sense.
Also, “In the end, all girls are like the Rose Bride” is my favorite line. Like, dang. That one hurt.
So basically, Cool Dios never existed and he was always just The Worst. All he does is use and manipulate, and honestly I really doubt he even wants to bring revolution. He seems more like a status quo kinda guy.
That was a great ending. It does kind of suck that we don’t see how Utena is after the events, given she had to suffer and lose herself at the end. Still though, she improved everybody’s lives, and even the worst members of Nerd Squad seem like they could improve. And really, that’s a way better ending for Akio than just dying during the final duel, or something like that. He’s still in his dumb idiot manipulator tower, but he has no power. Everybody’s happy and not listening to him, and Anthy can walk away. Utena as well, though her leave was a little more forceful than just “walking.” It’s really just a big fuck you to Akio: it’s the same place, the same people, but he doesn’t control a thing.
And so, the series ends with: Eat shit, Akio.
It’s an open ended-ending, but I’m sure Utena and Anthy will be together in ten years. Maybe less.[/spoiler]
I should be on time for the movie, provided dinner doesn’t run late.
##9001 errors later the stream was a technical success.
Before I begin I wanna respond to @Fefnir’s post above mine.
[quote=“Fefnir, post:52, topic:1885”]
I have to wonder what’s missing that wouldn’t allow Utena to save Anthy as a woman and not a prince, outside of just, you know, societal expectations…
I’ll get more into this in my big write up but I believe it’s because Ohtori Academy is like a different world manifested by Akio and Anthy where people are trapped in by Akio via him and Anthy messing with their tragic hang ups on people. While it’s probably created by both of them, Ohtori Academy plays by Akio rules. Probably because all the abuse and bullshit has bent Anthy to his will and thus he’s at the control panel. Akio, being a rude boy, pushy man, complete piece of shit, and the Absolute Worst has rigidly defined gender roles that he tries to enforce on his captives and especially beat into his sister. But I believe that if Anthy could just cast that shit off and believe Utena could either rescue her as a woman or be her prince as a woman (or both) would have brought the whole thing down. But she couldn’t and stabbed her with Dios’ sword. Though at the end, Utena brute forces it regardless because she’s a determinator and a goddamn hero and I believe Anthy accepts Utena and Utena gives her what she needs to free herself. She believes in Utena in the end.
[quote=“Fefnir, post:52, topic:1885”] But that “keep your nobility” line in particular has me wondering what exactly Utena needed to keep. [/quote]
Creepy pervert fans think it’s her virginity. I’m not that kind of fan and think that theory is gross. I think it’s the intrinsic goodness that Utena has. That purity of heart, her willingness to go through all this to save Anthy, her strong since of justice and overall decency, empathy, and caring, that is the “nobility” she must hold on to. She must not let temptations, the corruption of this world get to her, and resist Touga/Akio/Everyone’s schemes to be victorious.
[quote=“Fefnir, post:52, topic:1885”]
I was also surprised to be agreeing with Saionji I think @LoakaMossi is right and that Saionji might know more about what’s going on then he lets on. He’s still awful but I was impressed by how much Saionji comes around and how much he understands.
[quote=“Fefnir, post:52, topic:1885”]
“In the end, all girls are like the Rose Brides” is my favorite line. [/quote]
Yeah it’s really good and such a stab. #TooReal
[quote=“Fefnir, post:52, topic:1885”]
Given she [Utena] had to suffer and lose herself after the events.
[spoiler]I think if Utena lost herself at all it was only once or twice and both times are incredibly brief. She always bounces back and she doesn’t give up. It’s sad that it ends with her despairing and thinking she’s failed as she takes Anthy’s swords when in truth she succeeded. But Anthy will (and does) find her, I know it.
And it’s largely a perfect ending, Akio can’t keep Anthy and has no hold on her, or really any one else here, any more. Utena has revolutionized their worlds and set them free. In time, all of them will leave and it’ll just be Akio alone. Because, you’re right. He is powerless now and thoroughly dunked on. Sayonara fucklord! [/spoiler]
Okay now that that’s done, movie talk!
I prefer the anime to the movie, I feel the story is better. Adolescence of Utena has to condense all the stuff in the series into 80 minutes though so it does its own unique things that I like and dislike. Things I really like about Adolescence of Utena (AoU):
1.) I love Utena’s look in the movie. I wanna dress like that but first I need to be thin since I am somewhat chubby and have a major muffin top.
2.) I love how fucking beautiful everything is.
3.) The movie features more nakedness and explores sexuality a bit more and I like that a lot.
4.) I love that they actually fucking kiss, and even make out a bit. Like, yes thank you! WHAT DOES A GIRL GOTTA DO TO GET A FUCKING SMOOCH?!
5.) I like that the worst people (except Saionji) were dead all along because good.
6.) The scene where they dance together always makes me tear up a bit. The song is really good. Don’t @ me.
7.) I like how much more active Anthy is in the movie. Really interceding and being very involved. She has much more agency.
8.) It’s so much gayer. With Utena being cool and flirty right out the gate.
9.) I like cars, cars are cool.
10.) Castles on big rig tires are second only to castles on tank treads. (#MandatoryLunarReference)
Spoiler city begins now:
It seems like Utena comes here in search of Touga, who is her prince, who rescued her when she fell into the water and then drowned instead. So I guess Ohtori Academy draws ghosts or reflects memories or lets one face their past (like Silent Hill but not.) And she gets the ring from the a rose which is symbolic as fuck. And then there was apparently never a Dios in the Manga version and Akio was always a shit and Dios was a fiction Anthy projected because she’s tragic or something. But Akio realizes he’s shit and kills himself a some time before all this and Anthy is apparently the only one holding this together with the chains of abuse. Victims of abuse often trap themselves in cycles of abuse and become their own abusers in a way. ANYWAY. It’s pretty intense how incredibly sexual Anthy is in this movie. It’s obvious that Utena is trying to sort this shit out and also attracted to and possibly falling in love with Anthy (represented by plane taking off noises, as pointed out by @heyboots.) Utena apparently does figure it out because she tells Anthy, “Hey, you don’t have to stay here in your special hell. You can leave. Nobody is keeping you here but you. So let’s just leave.” And Anthy is like, “I can’t!” And Utena is like, “Yes you can, you totally can. Come with me, I’ll take you out of here!” Then Utena gets pulled into a car wash.
And that’s when things get wild because suddenly Utena is being transformed into a car and she comes out of the car wash the coolest car and Anthy is like, “Okay, I’ll go with you.” And the Rose Crest ring has that she pulled off Utena’s finger while trying to hold onto her is now the key for the car so she starts the car and now it’s a racing game. And everyone is turning into fucking cars or practically fucking in cars and Shiori is everywhere. It ends, as Fefnir says, with Akio getting impaled by naked lesbians and bursting into flower petals and Anthy and Utena kissing and making out towards a new world. It’s good yo.
Anyway, that’s my big movie write up and response edited in. Got a final thoughts and magazine scans before my next adventure. That’ll be the next post.
So I expected Adolescence of Utena to be a prequel, but it did its own thing. That was for the best, because it would have been difficult to capture what was so great about the series in under an hour and a half.
Plus, The Worst characters pulled a Souji/Chida and were dead all along. Utena was Turbo Teen out of nowhere. And Akio, who had earlier been dead all along after falling off a balcony, got impaled by naked lesbians and turned into rose petals. All in all, it was a good time.
Given the context of what’s going on when the prince tells Utena to keep her nobility, i can’t read it as anything but that. I don’t even see any other valid reading, it’s like, obvious? Like that is literally one of the definitions of being noble.
##Closing Statements: WARNING, OPEN SPOILERS IN THE CLOSING STATEMENTS!
Firstly, let me begin by thanking everyone who watched this show with me and anyone who may join in later who will watch this show with me in spirit. I really appreciate you sharing this show with me and I hope we consume other entertaining media together in the future.
Secondly I just want to wish Revolutionary Girl Utena a happy 20th Anniversary. You are a good show, RGU!
That out of the way, let’s begin proper:
Revolutionary Girl Utena holds a very special place in my heart, I’ve done enough oversharing in this thread already, I think, but I feel it is important to state that it has been 14 years since I watched or sought out this series. The last time I watched it was when I binge watched it with my late fiance in 2003. I was swept up in it and I loved it. But my late fiances’ tragic suicide caused me to avoid this show until now. It was still a bit painful for me to watch but I was happy to do so. Having shared this show now with friends I feel I can finally untangle it from its weighty connection to that tragic loss in my past and just enjoy it as it is. So, again, thank you all for going on this journey with me.
Now then, the article I linked. I’ve read over it thoroughly and all I can really say is that this was written before the writer had seen the whole series (since the whole series hadn’t yet been released in the United States when they wrote this article) and that they just spoil so much. But I really like this article. Though I’m going to throw down with this journalist over their claims that, “Absolute Destiny, Apocalypse” means nothing (and also forgive them because you don’t figure out what it means until the very end so how could the author have known?) When the Duelist’s destiny is to duel the End of The World (AKA the Apocalypse) and bring about world revolution (to the world of Ohtori, and to the worlds of the characters and, if I may be so bold, to the worlds of the viewers.) I’d be interested in hearing other takes.
Okay, let’s talk about Utena proper now.
What I think is going on:
The World of Ohtori Academy is an Alternate World that has been magically created by Akio and Anthy. However, it is still connected to, what I’m going to call the Outside World. I theorize that some people probably can travel between Ohtori and the Outside World freely, or semi-freely, since Kanae and Kanae’s mother both do so and Tokiko appears to do so as well.
But most of the students and minor characters seem to be unaware that they can leave or not interested in leaving. They appear to be swept up, as it were, in the simulation. Perhaps this is because there is definitely a door between the Outside World and Ohtori. (Ohtori is definitely sealed off from the Outside World to an extent.) The characters who move between worlds appear to be doing so because Akio allows it. They have, so to speak, graduated and Ohtori has no hold over them. So the minor cast is probably trapped to an extent by the power of Akio and Anthy. (Also it could be argued that the minor characters are all part of the simulation, all projections, few, if any, of them real.)
The entire main cast in Ohtori is [i]definitely[i] trapped there by their personal hang ups on people (or over events/traumatic pasts) and Akio himself who seems to enjoy toying with and manipulating the main cast through these vulnerabilities. Anthy herself appears to be the key to unlocking the door and opening up Ohtori to the Outside World. It is quite possible that is it primarily her magic (powered by her selfless sacrifice and eternal suffering) that is largely holding this whole thing together. (Chorps and his guest touch on this a bit in the Revolutionary Girl Utena episode of his Podcast so you really should give it a listen.) Akio is trapped and sealed away too, and he wants out. But he no longer has his noble spirit or his sword. And his impurity makes it so his sword cannot open the door. So he concocts this whole fucking scheme with duels and what have you to sculpt the perfect pure hearted prince that he lost to open the door and release him. Anthy goes along with the whole thing because she’s been (and continues to be) horribly abused by Akio (and other characters), because she genuinely loves and adores Akio, and because she’s punishing herself because she feels she deserves this torment. (There’s probably other reasons but those are the big ones.) So that’s pretty much what’s going on. Akio finds this largely earnest and pure-hearted girl and sets her up to go through his gauntlet of tragic puppets before fucking with her himself to try and dick the whole thing over. Why? Because I think he likes having this world and all these fun toys (because he’s The Worst and a piece of shit) and he doesn’t want anyone else to be able to get out, just him.
That Black Rose Arc though:
Yeah what is up with that. I think the big thing the Black Rose Arc is teaching us is what it is exactly that is trapping each major character in Ohtori. It develops the main characters and these more minor characters by establishing these, for lack of a better word, chains on them and also on their linked major character. Everyone is a mirror, a look into themselves and the character associated with them.
Now, you might be asking, who is Kanae the mirror to? Akio or Anthy? Both but mostly Anthy. Kanae complains that no matter what she does Anthy doesn’t like her in a reflection of Anthy in that no matter what she does she does not feel she can cleanse her sins. I feel Kanae’s anguish over her relationship with Anthy mirrors Anthy’s relationship with herself. Kanae has the things she cannot have, a loving, healthy, relationship with her brother and a good life. And just like how Anthy cannot love Kanae, I feel Anthy also cannot bring herself to love herself.
Kozue reflects Miki in that he really needs to stop wanting to fuck his sister. (Some jokes for the people actually reading this long ass ramble.)
Shiori reflects every fucking time I failed to win her over in Tokimeki Memorial and FUCK YOU SHIORI YOU’RE NOT EVEN WORTH IT!! Juri who really needs to let go and learn to try to love again.
::Pauses:: ::Looks pointedly at herself:: (I’m working on it!)
Wakaba reflects Saionji in that Saionji feels like he’s a small fry in comparison to Touga. Touga gets all the girls, he’s the Main Character, and Saionji is always second string to him. Saionji also has that unhealthy love obsession with Anthy which Wakaba mirrors by having the same for Saionji.
Keiko is all about appropriate love and justice and Nanami is such a contentious character for me. When everything comes apart she’s the one who tries to hold everything together and the one who, to an extent, tries to get Utena to realize shit ain’t right. But she’s also almost completely self absorbed and creepy obsessed with Touga and just such a Mean Girl.
Touga doesn’t get a mirror… yet. He kind of figures it out on his own later (with Saionji’s help) but doesn’t quite get it right. I do believe he eventually figures himself out.
Anyway, the Black Rose Arc also acts as a further test of Utena’s resolve and the strength of her bond/relationship with Anthy. The whole thing is overseen by Souji, who is dead and a ghost, and the Chida he is seeing is just a projection of Akio’s. With Anthy is playing double duty, being both Chida for Souji and Anthy for everyone else (which is why she’s so tired and fucking out of it all the time. Practically falling asleep on her feet at times. Poor girl.) This is why Chida looks how he looks and why Chida is revealed to look completely different when Utena ghost busts Souji.
Souji is a tragic spirit, trapped in Ohtori just as much as everyone else. However he can’t face the truth and wants more than anything for the simulation to continue. He acts as a foil, a counterweight, to Utena. Challenging and tempting her with the promise of always being able to play out her fantasy as the dashing, rescuing, prince But never truly delivering. (Credit to Chorps again, he or his guest mentions this “Mirror of Utena” aspect to Souji in his podcast.)
We also learn more about Ohtori in the Black Rose Arc. It’s here where Ohtori is finally established as definitely otherworldly and supernatural when Tokiko (or whoever) comes back and observes that time doesn’t pass in Ohtori (or, at least, passes very slowly) as Akio hasn’t aged at all.
So What Exactly Happened?
Souji pretty much sees the truth when Utena busts him. All Akio’s bullshit crumbles away in that moment of defeat. Akio was trying to get to the dueling arena and open the way to the castle, and thus the door, and just throwing bodies at it with Souji’s help. (Manipulating him through Tokiko and Chida.) Souji breaks into the dueling arena proper so now Akio’s bullshit can start in earnest but somewhere along the way True Chida either dies or starts seriously dying before Akio could trick Souji into making True Chida the Rose Bride for Reasons (which I don’t think Akio would have allowed anyway because Akio needs Anthy to be the Rose Bride and he was just using Souji.) Souji rages and burns the whole thing down, because if X dead people is enough to open the way to the arena perhaps ALL THE DEAD PEOPLE will open the whole way and allow him to save True Chida who may or may not already be dead because Souji is just obsessed at this point. (I personally think Chida died before the fire but regardless when Souji lights the place up he killis all the duelists, True Chida (if he’s not already dead) and himself in the inferno.) Souji is now trapped by guilt and obsession and Akio brings him back to facilitate his schemes but Utena busts Souji and then Akio “graduates” him, setting his spirit free, because Souji’s work here is done. (Souji is the one who calls him on the phone at the end.)
And that’s my explanation for the Black Rose Arc.
I already talked about what the Final Arc is in my write up but Utena succeeds, opens the door, and truly reaches Anthy (and all the other students as well) revolutionizing their worlds. And now it’s just up to them to make their own way out, with Anthy leading the way, because Akio has no power here any more, no further hold on them, and nobody is keeping them there any more. The door is open.
My fan theory is they all make their way out and leave Akio a sad man, alone in an empty world with no toys.
Thanks for reading my write up, for watching this show, and for everything. This officially ends the Let’s Watch Revolutionary Girl Utena thread. (Though I will be keeping it open for stragglers and continued discussion.)
It’s time to move on now and the poll shows I should start a new thread for my next adventure so I shall. Please look forward to that and I hope to see you all in the next thread my friends.