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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#26 | Back to Top11-04-2007 10:39:45 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

OnionPrince wrote:

That makes a lot more sense to me now. I feel like I'm learning so much about this extraordinarily deep series. school-eng101

One thing still bothers me, though. Like Satyreyes said, "protecting people you care about, because you care about them" is a truer and healthier goal to live for. But in that case, what about the people who no one cares about? Are the plights of the huddled masses enough justification for a Prince in the world? I have no idea, really, so I'm just throwing that question out there.

Interesting question!  But it may be academic.  Can you think of anyone at Ohtori who no one cares about?  Take a minute and try.  It's harder than it sounds.  Maybe Kanae or Keiko?  But we know so little about Kanae, and I do think that Nanami and Aiko and Yuuko care about Keiko, in a bizarre passive-aggressive way.  If everyone would take a tip from Utena and act awesome to their friends, I don't think anyone would need an altruistic/masochistic Prince.  So it's very hard to answer your question; there are just no friendless "huddled masses" in the show for us to study.

If I had to guess, though, extrapolating from what the show communicates about the Prince archetype, I'd say that there's nothing wrong with charity as long as it doesn't take you away from the people you genuinely love.  Being awesome to your friends doesn't necessarily mean not being awesome to strangers.  But the latter is treated as much less important.

EDIT: The direction we're going suddenly puts me forcefully in mind of the anime Paranoia Agent, a horror/noir/mindfuck that carefully and movingly treats the problem of accepting responsibility for one's own life and problems.  I am sure that if you were lonely and wanted to be taken to a French restaurant, the director of Paranoia Agent would say "so deal with it."  I'm not sure Utena goes that far, but the sense of entitlement to being saved from petty personal problems by a stranger is condemned, if anything, even more harshly than being The Prince is.

Last edited by satyreyes (11-04-2007 10:45:14 AM)

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#27 | Back to Top11-04-2007 09:39:54 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

As noted earlier Saito seems to have a more positive view of Princes and even implies that both of them became Princes at the end. A Prince is someone who strives to be a Prince. Utena had to choose between being a Princess and Prince and had to accept that being a Prince wasn't about being glamorous or admired or feeding her ego but entailed a lot of self-sacrifice and hard choices. She became a Prince not by grasping at a role prepared for her by others but through accepting "death" (metaphorical or literal) and exile and giving up certainty and security. That may be why Anthy is dressed like a Prince at the end, because she too has re-set her priorities and accepted the vicissitudes of adulthood and its numerous temptations to not strive for nobility.

Even Ikuhara seems to imply this in the movie. The very last thing seen is another castle -- possibly a mirage or another trap -- but possibly that "real" castle that is waiting to be created by Utena and Anthy.

This may be one of the Christian resonances because Jesus and his disciples had very different views of what being a "Prince" actually required.

Last edited by brian (11-04-2007 09:40:39 PM)

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#28 | Back to Top11-06-2007 01:54:15 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Even Ikuhara seems to imply this in the movie. The very last thing seen is another castle -- possibly a mirage or another trap -- but possibly that "real" castle that is waiting to be created by Utena and Anthy.

As far as my interpretation goes, castles in the movie symbolize dreams which the characters seek to fulfill. The Castle of Eternity is real, but only within the context of the closed world and to those who seek to leave it, the castle becomes an obstacle which must be passed. The castle in the outside world represented dreams to be fulfilled within the context of the outside world, which is far wider than anything available in Ohtori. I don't think they directly correlate with princehood, even though it's easy to make that conclusion for obvious reasons - in the movie, the death of princes and acknowledging it was required for Utena and Anthy to escape. In other words, the princes themselves were traps, which bound people to their specific roles. Breaking away from the set roles has always been the main theme of Utena for me, and what role is more important than that of a prince?


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#29 | Back to Top11-08-2007 10:38:37 AM

Scortia
Rose Bride
From: Louisiana
Registered: 12-23-2006
Posts: 116

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Awesome conversation here!  Just to add that I don't think Utena became a prince because that would defeat the purpose of her actually getting out of Ohtori.  Everyone is in Ohtori for their own personal 'hang-up'.  Utena's is that she is trying to live as an archetype and it causes her to ignore some of her own actions and hypocricy as well as perceive people unfairly at times. (Do I need to point out that I adore the dialogue between her and Mikage in Nemuro hall? emot-tongue ) If she became a prince, then why was she even in Ohtori to begin with?... that'd mean becoming a prince was a positive and not a symbol of childish idealism.

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#30 | Back to Top11-26-2007 12:34:11 PM

ZSPACE
Touga Topper
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Giovanna wrote:

I don't think Akio would know a true prince if it crawled out of the water and bit him on the ass, so I tend not to trust him to call whether Utena became a prince or not. Although I think the show is ambiguous on purpose about what a prince is, so we're kinda denied an obvious answer as to whether or not Utena is one. If you want to go by the archetype, probably not. She is human, and must remain human, and because she's such, she can't be a pure embodiment of any one thing except being human. But the show always seemed to me to make the point that archetypes shouldn't matter, and in the end, they don't. (Akio, the remaining archetype, becomes completely unimportant.) It's not what people aspire to become that matters, it's what they do. Utena spends all this time aspiring to be a prince, acting the part, trying to be the real deal. But it's her actions in the end that make her a prince. Not by her own standards, sadly, because she aimed for the archetype, but for the rest of us watching, what she did was at the very least princelike. A Christian does not try to be Jesus, they try to be like him, because that's the best you're going to get out of it, being what you are, and that's impressive enough. So in the end, I guess I think Utena's actions were princelike, but it doesn't qualify her to be a Prince. There was a prince, and it's gone now. The most you could give her is she was a prince for a moment, the same as Wakaba shining for a moment.

i would have to disagree. during the series utena definitely displayed actions that were above human. i think that in the end the swords of hate were similar to the fruit of the gods or the tree of life or something with the ability to make a person strong enough to endure the trials able to be on the same level as a god. like in the end no one remembered utena, well no one remembered God either (specifically). before the swords destroy the entire planatarium it goes after utena first, so maybe the swords are both good and evil

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#31 | Back to Top11-26-2007 07:29:15 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

If you want to be metaphysical about it Dios is dead and Akio is pretty much getting his own way. Anthy tipped the balance but the world has to be brought back into balance. The role of Prince has to be filled by somebody. Unconsiously Akio is seeking his own defeat because deep down he knows that he has no where else to go.

Still I am not sure how far to pursue this idea. After all, who becomes the new witch/pincushion? A long time ago someone suggested that it is Utena and that is why Anthy has to find her. So is the new Prince Anthy and the new witch Utena? I don't like that idea but it would explain the swords coming at Utena.

A disconnected idea. Utena does perform multiple miracles throughout. We are led to believe that Dios or Akio are doing it, but Dios is dead and sometimes Akio is completely caught by surprise. Who is doing the miracles then?

Last edited by brian (11-26-2007 07:34:43 PM)

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#32 | Back to Top11-27-2007 01:35:31 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

brian wrote:

Anthy tipped the balance but the world has to be brought back into balance. The role of Prince has to be filled by somebody. Unconsiously Akio is seeking his own defeat because deep down he knows that he has no where else to go.

That is arguable - it was shown that the world was going to hell when Anthy interfered. Dios was dying and people weren't even trying to do anything on their own. Anthy removed the Prince from the equation and forced the people to fix their own damn problems. They never forgave her.

Still I am not sure how far to pursue this idea. After all, who becomes the new witch/pincushion? A long time ago someone suggested that it is Utena and that is why Anthy has to find her. So is the new Prince Anthy and the new witch Utena? I don't like that idea but it would explain the swords coming at Utena.

The swords were coming at Utena because the hate of the world demands a scapegoat - the Prince who can't save everybody will do fine, if no witch is available. Anthy certainly is no Prince; she isn't driven by motivation to do the impossible, but concencrates her effort on a single meaningful task of saving Utena.

A disconnected idea. Utena does perform multiple miracles throughout. We are led to believe that Dios or Akio are doing it, but Dios is dead and sometimes Akio is completely caught by surprise. Who is doing the miracles then?

Anthy, or rather the Power of Dios that sleeps within Anthy as she keeps telling us at the start of every duel. Remember how Ruka got that moment of insight when he saw Anthy seemingly praying for something just before "Dios" appeared? And it was her interference that allowed Utena to use her own soulsword.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#33 | Back to Top11-27-2007 03:59:36 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

I'm in full agreement with statements made by Gio and satyreyes.  I think satyr has put my general feeling into a slightly different and more accurate perspective here. :-)

OnionPrince wrote:

But in that case, what about the people who no one cares about?

I'd like to make the observation that Anthy is a person who no one cares about.  She was anonymous to the World before Dios's death and she was ignored by the Prince until she destroyed him by trying to save him.  Then she became a Witch and still no one cared about the real Anthy at all.  They blame her, venerate her, and generally see what they want to see in her--no one ever sees or cares about Anthy.

And that was one of the problems, as I know we've said before, with Princes, Princesses, and Witches.  In the real world, you may feel like no one cares, but someone always does.  (I guess I believe that.)


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#34 | Back to Top12-21-2007 10:05:48 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

It struck me that Wakaba created a lot of Princes: Saionji, Utena, Tatsuya, and Akio. She is quite a very busy girl. It seems that the Onion Prince is a false Prince but the Tatsuya who confesses unselfish love to Mikage is a True Prince. The Utena who fights duels is a False Prince, the one her sacrifices herself and her hope of keeping Akio is a True Prince.

Remember that in the movie Touga is called a True Prince because of his sacrifice. The Prince described in the Tale of the Rose is Akio's distortion. The Prince who merely makes girls feel good is not a real Prince but the Prince dying in Anthy's arms was. In the movie manga Utena makes a crack about Princes just being playboys and Touga saying that there is far more to it than that.

Perhaps that argues for the point someone made in another thread that Anthy's sacrifice made her a kind of Prince.

Also Utena and Juri both had similar relationships with their purple-haired friends. It does seem a little unjust that Juri's sacrifice gave her no peace and apparently neither did Utena's. It does seem that that Utena surpassed Juri in being better able to set aside obsessions and hurts and just think whole-heartedly about her friend.

So this argues that there are such things as True Princes in the various versions of SKU and that Utena achieved it, but not before serving time as a False Prince. This would explain why Anthy stabbed her. At that point Utena was still in love with Akio, and even though she was doing her best to defend Anthy, Anthy knew her deepest heart was not in it. Since the duels are usually fought with one whom the protagonist loves on some level Utena could not win the final duel when she still wanted to be a Princess who would be taken care of by Akio. She was still a girl, still desiring to be a usurper Rose Bride on some level. Even if she had bested Akio it would not have changed much. She finally won not by fighting Akio but by loving her friend.

Nuts, this posting is a lot more rambling than it seemed when I composed it in my sleep last night.

Last edited by brian (12-21-2007 10:06:56 PM)

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#35 | Back to Top12-26-2007 10:10:36 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

brian wrote:

She finally won not by fighting Akio but by loving her friend.

But that sums it up so well!

In the fairy tales, a Prince "wins" and becomes a hero by defeating a monster or evil sorceress and rescuing the Princess.  In SKU, Utena "wins" by loving Anthy--by putting down her sword and holding out her hand.  She's not a Prince...she's something better...


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#36 | Back to Top02-27-2008 10:01:55 PM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Ok, ok, how about this?

Going along similar lines stated by satyreyes and others, including rhyaniwyn's post immediately above this one: "[Utena's] not a Prince...she's something better..." But focusing more on Utena's line of "I guess I couldn't be your prince after all."

One of the major themes on SKU is the concept of growing up or, in many cases, failing to do so. The Student Council, Mikage, Akio and Anthy are all trapped in Ohtori because they can't grow up or choose not to. Utena, as our protagonist, must therefore accomplish what no one else has and grow into an adult; thus showing the way to Anthy who likewise leaves her old life for the outside/adult world.

Princes as seen in SKU are fairy tale characters, they only exist in a child's view of the world. "There never was a real prince" is a true statement from the adult or faux-adult perspective. Couldn't Utena's realization that she can't be Anthy's prince stem from finally accepting this simple yet mature truth? It's not a happy thought by any means, it requires her to give up her innocence in order to pass into the unclean and realistic world which adults have made. At the same time it is not a failure to recognize fiction for what it is, growing up may be bittersweet but it's also a necessity.

Akio, as the ultimate antagonist, represents the opposite of what the hero must strive to become. He has all the trappings of an adult with none of the maturity or responsibility. He knows that the prince doesn't exist, yet rather than accept that and move on he instead steals the role of prince for himself, forcing everyone else to play along with his game. A 'real' prince can only exist to children, so Akio must keep his subjects from maturing and figuring out the truth behind his illusions. He gives the Student Council a taste of adulthood as he sees it, as it's viewed from a child's eyes; freedom from authority with none of the personal responsibility that needs to entail.

And so, by gaining the adult knowledge that being a prince is just a fantasy itself, Utena disappears from Ohtori by having outgrown it. Anthy, realizing what's happened and using Utena's example is finally able herself to grow out of the fairy tale role she's steeped herself in.


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#37 | Back to Top02-28-2008 09:26:10 AM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Hmm, I dunno. I do agree with the notion that what Utena accomplished is more important than what she became. I think that the fact that the idea of a prince and becoming a prince is so vague is no accident. Not to mention most cast members don't react with much beyond mild bemusement when Utena states that her ring was given to her by a prince, or the fact that Utena wants to become a prince. They're more concerned with how Utena ACTS on a day-to-day basis, not her ideals and dreams. I think that probably holds some significance too. A title means nothing without deeds.

And that's my two cents. I think this goes along with Ragnarok's pointing out that a prince is a creature that only children can truly believe in anyway, and that Utena, while unable to become a prince had grown out of that notion that she'd grown up with and instead focused on what she could do, not become.


We see things not as they are, we see things as we are.

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#38 | Back to Top02-28-2008 07:27:25 PM

My_Friend_Todd
Juri Jeerer
From: Shittiest place on Earth :D
Registered: 02-25-2008
Posts: 46

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Nanami's Rose Groom wrote:

I also agree, but only to some extent, because I believe that Utena was a pronce, maybe just for a while, but always. Remember the moment, while she was duelling with Akio and she said "This means I am going to be a prince" (or sumthin like that). A second later the statue of Dios (prince) was shattered. In the same moment we see that Akio is shocked (with her words? probably). He loses control over the planetarium which shows that the castle also breaks down. We can't forget, that Akio was once the prince, and the statue might have served him as a memento of some sort. When Utena exclaims, that she will be the prince, we see that symbolically Akio is not needed as a prince anymore, because of his fall. There is now a true, new, noble prince, and this is Utena. That's my interpretation...

So many points of view...and I'm relatively open to all of these opinions...
but I'd have to say this is the closest to mine emot-smile

That's what I believe. emot-keke^


Oh, Hai Gaiz!
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#39 | Back to Top02-28-2008 08:16:54 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Oh, Ragnarok!  I love it. :-)

I've always had trouble resolving that line.  I don't think Utena is, by any means, perfect.  She's admirable.  But she's got huge blind spots and a lot of what she does for Anthy is done out of a pleasantly oblivious sort selfishness and narrowness.  I don't think that Utena magnificently transcends all of her faults at the end.  It is too sudden, there are too many cues to the contrary. 

Her perseverence is heart wrenching.  Her final attempt to reach out to Anthy is insightful and astonishing.  But that line, "I'm sorry I couldn't become a Prince" and her defeated posture, well, it always makes me wonder if Utena ever truly understood Anthy at all, or if she sort-of got lucky because she was trying so hard with the best intentions.

But the idea that Utena is acting out of a sort of bittersweet enlightenment adjusts my perspective just that little bit necessary to make it work for me.    She's feeling, perhaps, a little ill used and jaded.  But instead rejecting her optimistic ideals, instead of seeking to use her new perspective to manipulate or destroy, instead of making that pendulum swing over to the antithesis of what she was...instead of being bitter...

So maybe now I can see that line not as Utena saying that she still nurtured notions of being a Prince, but rather as Utena saying something along the lines of, "I do wish that I could have been a Prince who could rescue you, but I know that it's just not that simple.  I hope this meant something, I hope I helped, I hope this was enough."


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#40 | Back to Top02-28-2008 08:18:35 PM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: Did Utena become a prince?

Oh, that reminds me. Tying in with my pervious comment, Dios riding away (and on a merry-go-round) works symbolically as a departure from childhood.


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#41 | Back to Top02-28-2008 09:32:24 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

It's not easy to reconcile all four versions of the story but what they might have in common is that in the end Utena does act like a True Prince and knows that she is doing so but cannot be sure how Anthy will turn out, or maybe is not sure that Anthy will still want to find her and be her friend.

She knows she has lost Akio forever and fears that she may have lost Anthy. She is setting off in the friendless wilderness from whence Anthy came. In all four versions it is Anthy who gets the Power of Revolution. That was not the outcome any of the other characters anticipated. Maybe, she was the rightful owner all along.

Last edited by brian (02-28-2008 09:38:09 PM)

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#42 | Back to Top04-18-2009 08:53:14 PM

YostinAust
Pathtracer
From: Tallahassee, Florida
Registered: 04-02-2009
Posts: 352

Re: Did Utena become a prince?

If there is anything Revolutionary Girl Utena is not, it is most definitely not Objectivist.

I agree with the whole "new, true prince Utena" theory, especially since I consider the movie be a continuation of the series. In the movie, the cast becomes more like the people they are inside and want to be. Utena gets to be her own fusion of prince and princess, Anthy her own fusion of princess and witch. Everyone else is more direct, confident and affable, so the Revolution was a most definite success emot-keke


"In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service"
     - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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