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Gougai! Gougai!

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

#1 | Back to Top12-06-2007 09:06:58 AM

Stephanie
Yasha Assassin #1
From: Philippines
Registered: 10-01-2007
Posts: 615
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Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I've never figured out why.. What's his reason and what was behind that reason..

Can anyone tell me? emot-confused


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#2 | Back to Top12-06-2007 09:58:20 AM

st0dad
Ohtori Paramouri
From: Andover, MA
Registered: 09-20-2007
Posts: 91
Website

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I believe it stems origionally from when he was a boy and saw that little girl in the coffin.

She was crying, and was all "why bother going on living if you're just going to die anyway?...Nothing's eternal..."


...........

But I suck at essays, so I'm'a leave the rest to the real writers.


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ChuChu: "Around the world I've traveled, strolling trough dozens of countries and thousands of lands, taking my time to feed my knowledge with the wisdom that folklore and history brings along."

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#3 | Back to Top12-06-2007 11:17:44 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

There's a lot about Saionji in this thread: http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=300

(Reminds me I should have posted something there ages ago. I've absolutely forgotten by now. emot-gonk )


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Believing in True Friendship Since 2008.

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#4 | Back to Top12-06-2007 01:35:03 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I think Saionji equates owning something eternal with some pretty prosaic desires.  All that talk about eternal things took place at a sensitive time for him.  After the incident in the church, his relationship with Touga was changed on some essential level.  Instead of seeing himself and Touga as BFF, Saionji saw Touga as someone better than him, someone who had something that he, Saionji, couldn't have and didn't even really understand.  Suddenly Touga is someone special and Saionji is standing in his shadow.  And Saionji resents that; he also thinks that if he matches or beats Touga, their friendship will be healed.  That has very little to do with Touga and a lot more to do with Saionji's personal experiences during that period.  He began to see the flaws in his relationship with Touga and also began to feel inferior.  To him, having something eternal is equivalent to erasing all his doubts and returning to a more innocent and assured mindset.

It doesn't make any logical sense, but I'm illogically persuaded that I won't be able to write ever again unless I believe in 'true love', due to a coincidence of events in my adolescent years.  So I can't really blame him.


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#5 | Back to Top12-06-2007 01:48:12 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

Maarika wrote:

There's a lot about Saionji in this thread: http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=300

I loved that thread and would happily do it all over again. etc-love It's a great place to start with Saionji though. Ultimately I think it did boil down to the girl in the coffin.

girl:  Why does everyone go on living knowing they'll end up dying anyway?
girl:  I wonder why I never realized that until today.
girl:  Eternity couldn't possibly exist, could it?

Saionji had no answer to that, just 'Hey yeah she's right, what the fuck, guys? emot-mad' Amusing that Saionji witnesses this scene, and in his mind creates the metaphor of living in a coffin to explain something that's actually happening in quite the way he imagines it.

Most people that harp on the desire for eternity do so in terms of life after death. I strongly doubt with the show's emphasis on other taboos that it was shying from a religious topic by making Saionji not view eternity in this way, rather that he states he wants eternity but demands it on completely unrealistic terms. He wants living eternity. He expects it to be a happy eternity. He means to lovingly share it with another. Unfortunately none of the options meet all that; you can live forever, happily, in a coffin as Akio does, but you are still in a coffin. Sure, you're sharing it with someone, but it's not lovingly. Or you could be Anthy, who is also in her coffin, but she's not happy and she's not lovingly sharing it. Saionji wants something idyllic stretched out across ages. Who doesn't? But he wants this so passionately that he believes somewhere in his mind that it's possible, and that hope tears him apart. (Especially since he must wonder if he would even deserve it.)


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#6 | Back to Top02-25-2009 06:36:37 PM

Nights1stStar
Ballgoer
From: Clawing Out of Her Coffin
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 157

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I believe three key points need to be identified to recognize Saionji's motives. The first is found in his third duel when Utena tells him to stop coming after Anthy. Saionji responds by gleefully declaring that he's "seen the truth" and knows for certain now that the Rose Bride is a mindless doll. Thus, the first key point is how Saionji's renewed belief in Anthy's lack of free will becomes his catalyst for re-entering the duels.

The second key point is that "eternity" in this case does not just represent eternal life. This idea is probably what confused you. While it's true that Saionji first realizes his obsession for eternity when he sees a girl sent into near-catatonia by the death of her parents, death isn't something Saionji is shown dwelling on throughout the series, and Touga and Akio don't mention it when taking him along on his pre-duel car ride. Thus, though the idea of eternal life in a palace (the upside down castle) probably appeals to Saionji as much as it would to any normal person, fear of death isn't something Saionji is extremely preoccupied with. We do know, however, that seeing Utena in her coffin traumatized him, and that Saionji began feeling distant from Touga in the immediate aftermath. The bandage Touga gives him symbollically slips off his hand, and Saionji quickly concludes that Touga must be hiding something from him out of a natural feeling of superiority. Thus, rather than the brevity of life, the aforementioned events in episode nine show Saionji the brevity of happiness and companionship instead. For the first time, young Saionji realizes that one's closest companions can easily be torn away from you, both through dying like Utena's parents, or simply through growing apart like Touga.

The last key point is that Saionji has an inferiority complex several times larger than his hair, easily shown by his tendencies towards violence. Before we even know his name, we see him slapping Anthy, and he attacks a five-foot-two fourteen-year-old girl from behind with a sword simply because she saves a girl and he's jealous. People who lash out like that are either very insecure or very sociopathic, and since Saionji definitely has emotion and empathy, I think it's safe to say he doesn't have antisocial personality disorder.

And now, we combine the key points: Saionji's insecurities and his encounter with Utena's coffin lead him to desperately wish for "true friendship", like Touga points out in his midnight car ride. He wants a companion who will be by his side for "eternity", or at least as long as he lives. But because Saionji's so insecure, he has neither faith in his own charisma nor a basic trust that other people will want to form permanent bonds with him. Thus, he can't bring himself to believe that any normal human will stay with him. Enter Anthy, the Rose Bride. From what Saionji knows, she's not normal in any way. If she's really an immortal creature, then she can't leave him by dying, and if she really has no mind of her own, then she can't leave him at all. Thus, Anthy appears to be the perfect "eternal" companion Saionji is looking for. And so, Saionji is eagerly sucked into the Dueling Game until he finally wins Anthy, only to realize that his "perfect" Bride really isn't such after all. And after involvement in the Duels get him expelled, he rightly suspects foul play. Logic goes that if the Duels are a farce, then so must be the Rose Bride, its centerpiece. Perhaps, Saionji thinks, everything they said about Anthy was a lie. Perhaps she really does have a mind after all! This kills the deal for him. He doesn't want to live in the upside-down castle forever, if, God forbid, his partner actually has free will! Because then she might want to leave him, and Saionji doesn't think one way or another that he can persuade her to stay. Thus, Saionji keeps his resolution to stay out of the Duels, (though he understandably wants to go back and finish high school), until Touga and Akio take him along for the first pre-duel ride of the series. Once Saionji is re-persuaded that the Rose Bride really is a mindless doll, the possibility of an "eternal", perfect companion arises again, and Saionji eagerly jumps back into the fray only to be kicked out again in less than one episode. And that, my fellow Utena fan, is series Saionji in a (large) nutshell.

Last edited by Nights1stStar (02-25-2009 07:24:44 PM)


"To copulate is to enter another...and the artist never emerges from herself."
-Charles Bauldelaire

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#7 | Back to Top02-26-2009 07:36:07 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

Nights1stStar:

I agree with most of your assessment, as it matches my own.  "Eternity" to Saionji isn't eternal life, or an escape from death.  It's a desire that sprung from Saionji's disintegrating relationship with Touga and Touga is the one Saionji is trying to "beat".  Realizing that nothing, nothing lasts forever, not even friendship made a profound affect on Saionji.  What he seeks to recapture is a relationship that he can believe he will not lose.

What I find interesting is your assertion that Saionji's original preoccupation with the Bride was based on the knowledge and hope that she had no will of her own.  It makes a certain twisted sense, but why would Saionji continue to pursue Anthy after he realized that he could lose her -- which happened in episode 2.  Why would he continue to obsess over her as he does throughout the series, without fail?


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#8 | Back to Top02-26-2009 09:50:17 AM

Nights1stStar
Ballgoer
From: Clawing Out of Her Coffin
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 157

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Nights1stStar:

I agree with most of your assessment, as it matches my own.  "Eternity" to Saionji isn't eternal life, or an escape from death.  It's a desire that sprung from Saionji's disintegrating relationship with Touga and Touga is the one Saionji is trying to "beat".  Realizing that nothing, nothing lasts forever, not even friendship made a profound affect on Saionji.  What he seeks to recapture is a relationship that he can believe he will not lose.

What I find interesting is your assertion that Saionji's original preoccupation with the Bride was based on the knowledge and hope that she had no will of her own.  It makes a certain twisted sense, but why would Saionji continue to pursue Anthy after he realized that he could lose her -- which happened in episode 2.  Why would he continue to obsess over her as he does throughout the series, without fail?

Yeah...I realized my own error. Immediately after finishing the post, I rewatched Ep 25 and saw the line where Saionji says "I too, used to consider the Rose Bride's feelings...but now I know better!". This quote indicates that Saionji once thought Anthy had a mind, making my analysis of Saionji's thought process throughout the series only half-right. I was hoping to edit the post before anyone realized my error, but it was getting late and my grandparents were yelling at me to go to bed. emot-gonk Damn, and every single English teacher I've ever had in my life has commended me on my ability to understand and analyze complex situations better than most or even all of my classmates. Looking back at Saionji's first-arc adamant belief that Anthy truly loved him, I made quite an obvious slip. Oh, I hate when I make juvenile errors.... emot-aaa

New conclusion: Saionji begins the series believing that Anthy truly wants to reach the Castle of Eternity with him, but after losing her to Utena, Saionji is horrified when Anthy acts cold and indifferent to him.  She'd even told him that she wanted to reach the castle because there was "something eternal in there", and Saionji clings to these memories as "proof" of Anthy's "love". He persists in these delusions until he's kicked out of school, after which he suspects rightly that there is foul play behind the Duels. And if the Duels weren't what they seemed, maybe Anthy wasn't either. Maybe she really didn't love him. (Wow, Kyouichi. Ya think? emot-rolleyes ) Knowing that he hadn't actually won Anthy's heart, Saionji loses interest in the Duels because he now believes that they are unable to supply the "perfect" eternal companion he wishes for. But during his preduel carride, Akio and Touga persuade Saionji that Anthy is a mindless doll whose thoughts are solely determined by her current Master, which means that all Saionji has to do to make Anthy "really" love him is to defeat Utena, take back Anthy, and make sure to never lose her again.


"To copulate is to enter another...and the artist never emerges from herself."
-Charles Bauldelaire

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#9 | Back to Top02-26-2009 10:46:09 AM

Bluesky
Chpn Dlst
From: Your window
Registered: 10-25-2008
Posts: 1939
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

It would let him get one over Touga.


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#10 | Back to Top02-26-2009 10:52:03 AM

BioKraze
Faceless Master
From: Yuma, Arizona (USA)
Registered: 11-26-2006
Posts: 8280

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

But isn't an example of something eternal the line of girls headed into Touga's bedroom? emot-confused


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#11 | Back to Top02-26-2009 11:07:03 AM

Nights1stStar
Ballgoer
From: Clawing Out of Her Coffin
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 157

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

Miss Bluesky wrote:

It would let him get one over Touga.

Yes, eternal power's also on Saionji's list.


"To copulate is to enter another...and the artist never emerges from herself."
-Charles Bauldelaire

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#12 | Back to Top02-26-2009 11:10:08 AM

Nights1stStar
Ballgoer
From: Clawing Out of Her Coffin
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 157

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

BioKraze wrote:

But isn't an example of something eternal the line of girls headed into Touga's bedroom? emot-confused

Hah! He wishes! Akio's the one with the REAL eternal line. Of both girls AND GUYS! And Touga's standing in it. school-devil


"To copulate is to enter another...and the artist never emerges from herself."
-Charles Bauldelaire

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#13 | Back to Top02-26-2009 12:48:44 PM

Setsuna
Tragedian
Registered: 02-25-2009
Posts: 1370

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

to make sure chu chu never dies...

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#14 | Back to Top02-27-2009 11:03:16 AM

J-Syxx
Banned
Registered: 04-25-2007
Posts: 102

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

Possibly eternal friendship and or buttsecks with Touga.  XD

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#15 | Back to Top03-01-2009 03:24:36 AM

BlackRoseVixen
Snowdrop Lover
From: USA, Arkansas
Registered: 12-24-2007
Posts: 1815
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

J-Syxx wrote:

Possibly eternal friendship and or buttsecks with Touga.  XD

Seconded. school-devil


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#16 | Back to Top03-01-2009 02:36:38 PM

Riri-kins
World's End
From: Cloud Nine
Registered: 09-22-2008
Posts: 2346

Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I think it all stems from clinginess. Let me explain.

   He's been jealous of other people in his best friend's life ever since they stumbled on Utena in the coffin. The next day Saionji must have wondered why his best friend would show a complete stranger something so special when he was the most important person in the world to him. I've always believed that Saionji was a very spoiled child, and when he realized he couldn't have him all to himself he decided to outdo him. If he got eternity Touga would think he was so special that they wouldn't need anybody but each other.


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#17 | Back to Top03-01-2009 08:21:30 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

I figured it has to do with his experiences with young Utena, originally, exacerbated by him being disillusioned with what he thought was a genuine friendship with Touga later on.

Things seem to be dying and expiring all around him and he wants to be proven that that view isn't true. It's sort of the opposite of Juri's self-proclaimed disbelief in miracles... maybe?


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

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#18 | Back to Top03-01-2009 08:25:25 PM

Shinolala2
Forum's Favorite Mommy
From: U.S.A.
Registered: 12-04-2008
Posts: 429
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

okay saionji wants eternity because utena said nothing is eternal so he figures why not make something eternal out of my life to live for all eternity might as well make him a vampire. now juri with the whole miracle thing. her micacle will never come true utill she faces the truth and gets off her high horse


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#19 | Back to Top03-05-2009 08:06:43 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: Why does Saionji want something "Eternal"?

Ah, Saionji. My guiltiest pleasure. Sorry folks, I don't mean that in a sexy way. But Saionji kind of appeals to my less mature side. He's violent. Hard to talk to...but he's not actually bad, just misunderstood! Believe it or not, he had nothing to so with Zhenia, who was modeled on someone else entirely.

But, to the question at hand. What motivates Saionji? Clearly it changes pretty dramatically during the show. I think his interest in the duels early on is pretty easy to grasp, and plenty of folks have summed it up pretty well. He had no answer at all for Utena, and never got over it. What people might not have considered is that this could be a pretty big factor in his sense of inferiority to Touga. Even though Touga couldn't help Utena either, Saionji certainly thinks he did. So, so far as Saionji can tell, Touga was the hero of that story, and Saionji was just a useless tag-along. The show also implies pretty strongly that Touga is better with a sword than Saionji is back then. Not to dredge up the old Saionji childhood talk in this thread, but I do wonder a bit about their relationship back then. Was Touga always the dominant partner? He was the one that wanted to go into the church, the one that opened the coffin, while Saionji hung back and begged him to stop. And of course, Touga petals, which I'm sure is some kind of sexual metaphor. emot-tongue

So, after that...Saionji perhaps begins to find his perceived inferiority to Touga more and more galling, it becomes more and more necessary to surpass him in some way...and eventually they end up at Ohtori in this weird dueling game. And somehow Saionji wins! This of course we have to speculate about, since it isn't shown, but do you think Saionji ever won a duel with Touga? I could see it either way. In any event, he's the top dog all of a sudden and has the one thing Touga lacks. Anthy. And she's attentive, obedient...he's too young and inexperienced to have the faintest clue that it's not genuine, how could he have known? He smacks her around a little, to demonstrate to the world and himself as much as to her that he's in charge. But he's also extremely sentimental toward her, with the exchange diary and all. And then some pink-haired bitch comes along and takes Anthy away.

I can't remember whether Saionji connected her with the girl in the coffin or not, and I don't think that makes a big difference either way, except that it would remind him of the event. But it's clear that it hasn't been far from his mind anyway. I'm inclined to think that this whole time, Saionji never once questioned the story about the castle where eternity lies. It let him be the hero of the story finally. He was the Victor, he possessed the Rose Bride, and he would go to the castle in the sky with her and live happily ever after. What could possible appeal more to a high school boy? Dragons? So when he loses Anthy, he starts to go off the rails. Suddenly, he's inferior to Touga again, vice president to Touga's president, and to make matters worse, Touga flirts (apparently successfully) with Utena. It wouldn't matter if Utena had Anthy, if Touga had Utena. Saionji must have looked at the letter sending him to the arena after his second duel with Utena as a miracle in itself. He was the special one after all. Until Utena shows up. Again.

This time it's Anthy in the coffin, and Utena that saves her, ruining everything. Again! So he tries to kill her, and somehow freaking TOUGA ends up saving Utena. AGAIN! Saionji looks pretty crushed when this happens, I don't think he starts to put the pieces together again until later, when he realizes that Touga is the only one he knows who is in direct communication with this shadowy Ends of the World, and Touga could have easily set the whole thing up. Plus, Touga kind of gives himself away with his attitude after being slashed. He isn't at all upset...heh, the bastard must have just been hiding behind some rubble or something, hoping Saionji would attack Utena. Damn I hate that guy.

So, Saionji gets expelled. And on his way out of campus...we have a VERY strange scene. Touga tries to comfort him, and Saionji appears confident. Then he gives Touga his exchange diary to hold on to. WTF? The obvious explanation would be that he hasn't yet figured out that Touga set him up. But then why is he so nonchalant with Touga, who he just accidentally tried to kill? Is he just that mellow, that cool? Seems a little out of character, he would surely act out in some kind of way...unless he has figured out that Touga set him up. In which case, I can only assume it was all bravado, trying to convince Touga that he still buys his shit, and that he's not afraid of never coming back to Ohtori, a very likely possibility if Touga was behind the whole thing. Curious. Of course, there's the exchange diary. Would he really surrender something that precious, his last link to Anthy to someone he knows perfectly well can't be trusted? And he must still want Anthy, he gives her that hairclip he made for Wakaba...except he didn't. Mikage did.

Maybe...just maybe...Saionji correctly guessed that Anthy herself could not be trusted. Think about it. Anthy is the Rose Bride, she keeps insisting. Why? Who decided that? Someone had to have. The Ends of the World, who Saionji has never seen, and only communicates through Touga? Who Saionji now realizes has been conning him? Saionji could well come to the conclusion that there IS no Ends of the World. Or that it is Anthy herself. Either way, it's a logical conclusion that she was just messing with him the whole time, especially since she actually was. So maybe he gives Touga the diary as a sign that he's out of the whole game. Maybe.

OK, next we see him, he's living with Wakaba. He seems like a nice guy all of a sudden, if a little pathetic. Shaken maybe? Re-evaluating his life perhaps? Maybe I'm giving him too much credit. After all, when Mikage tracks him down and dangles a return to Ohtori in his face, he jumps at it like a salmon returning to spawn. He's so eager to reclaim some glory that he doesn't even wonder why Mikage would want that hairclip. Membership in the Mikage Seminar...very prestigious. It would validate him completely, proving that he was one of the winners in life. Which he didn't feel like sponging off of Wakaba, even if he may have had genuine affection for her. Who knows. It's possible that he was a little ashamed of the hairpin (only 500 yen after all) and actually meant to get her something "better" later on. Not that it mattered, she assumes he's given it to Anthy, goes to Nemuro Hall, obtains a black ring, and rips a sword out of his chest. Going along with my supposition so far, if Saionji did indeed find the situation with Wakaba embarrassing, then her attack might have been a relief in a way. It let him off the hook. No need to stay friends with a girl who goes psycho and rips your heart out of your chest. Or sword, whatever. Either way, he might have some reservations about staying with her, so he still takes advantage of the offer to return to Ohtori. But apparently not to join the Seminar. Makes me wonder if he ever told any of his family he got expelled? But that's a whole nother kettle of fish.

So now we come to it. Why does Saionji go back to the duels? He doesn't trust Anthy, he doesn't trust Touga, he's announced that he's seen through the whole charade and wants out. So, to reel him back in, Akio, through Touga, rewrites the whole story. Touga finally admits that it wasn't him that saved Utena.

It seems almost trivial, but I imagine this must have had a profound impact on Saionji. Suddenly the whole story, Touga as the prince, Saionji as the incompetent fool, is revealed as a lie. A fabrication. The thing that Touga had, the eternal thing that made him a hero, and that Saionji himself lacked, never existed in the first place. So now Saionji has a lot to absorb all of a sudden. There is in fact and Ends of the World, and it's not Anthy, but her brother Akio. Who therefore must have known all along about all the troubles she went through, and is so just using her. So Anthy is an empty-souled doll after all, but it's not the winner of the duels who owns her, it's Akio. No point resenting her any longer, she's just a toy, a tool. Akio is the man in charge, to whom even Touga has to bow. Which means that Touga's vaunted superiority isn't worth much of anything in the end, he's been dancing to Akio's tune just like everyone else. Akio become Saionji's focus in this moment. Akio is powerful, dangerous, and a complete mystery. But from the moment of his car ride on, a whole new avenue opens up for Saionji. He can bypass Touga and Anthy completely and try to get his status from Akio directly. But first he needs to prove to Akio that he's worth the trouble by winning Anthy.

Of course, he loses. Again. But he does a lot better than he has in the past. No longer encumbered by his naivete and fantasies, he's a player in the game of power at Ohtori, only out for himself and unconcerned with anyone else's feelings, doubts...whatever. All of which is useless against the power of Dios it turns out, so he tries to get closer to Akio in other ways. He also feels renewed kinship with Touga, who it turns out is actually in the same boat he is. Plus, Touga is starting to show some genuine vulnerability at this point in the show, which makes it easier to overlook his manipulations. Saionji may even see Touga becoming uncertain about a girl for the first time, showing weakness in the one area where Saionji has never had the guts to attempt to compete with him. I'm straying from the point here though, which is why Saionji returns to the duels in the Akio arc.

To sum up, I think it has everything to do with Touga. Or rather I should say that he realizes that it doesn't have to have anything to do with Touga. With the great mysterious "something eternal" that Touga had but never shared with him gone, Saionji sees something to gain from the duels again, and sees a goal beyond just topping his friend (hurr hurr), which suddenly doesn't seem such a remote goal either.


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
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