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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

#1 | Back to Top02-05-2008 10:17:52 PM

mindxdetergent
New Student
From: Plymouth, MA and Storrs, CT
Registered: 04-25-2007
Posts: 8

Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Recently, I was discussing my thoughts on what makes a relationship (whether a friendship or romantic partnership) ideal. I knew that the person I was talking to was familiar with Utena, so I referenced the Utena/Anthy relationship for having certain characteristics that I believe make for a deep and meaningful partnership.

The person I was talking to, however, cut me off quickly and said "But Utena/Anthy was an unhealthy relationship! That was kind of the point of the whole series!"

I was a little surprised and the conversation was dropped shortly thereafter. However, upon rethinking the situation, I discovered that I never thought of Utena and Anthy's interactions (as a whole) as "unhealthy."

What was your take on the Utena/Anthy relationship, IRG? Would you describe it as being "unhealthy?" Why/why not?

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#2 | Back to Top02-05-2008 10:20:38 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I don't think Utena and Anthy had an unhealthy relationship. I think what makes your friend say that is because Anthy was just such an unhealthy person (Utena too, but not nearly as bad as Anthy) that it twisted everything in their relationship.

I think it was healthy, by the best definition of healthiness-- they brought out the best in each other, fostered it, protected it, and made it grow. But then, I tend to think Utena did become a Prince in the end, and that Anthy did leave Ohtori into a new and scary world without once looking back.


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#3 | Back to Top02-05-2008 10:43:18 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I wouldn't call it unhealthy in that it's irrevocably flawed, but I'd venture to say that at the point Anthy's at in the series, and probably some time after, she's not going to be a healthy partner for anybody. Utena's going to be pretty scarred too. They both seemed to withstand Akio pretty well given the damage he's probably used to causing, but there's still going to be that specter of jealousy and betrayal that they both have felt toward the other, and I don't get the impression either of them, Anthy especially, is the communicative type such that that laundry will get aired without a lot of mess first. Unhealthy? No, but that's a relationship, friends or otherwise, that needs a lot of work.


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#4 | Back to Top02-05-2008 10:46:17 PM

mindxdetergent
New Student
From: Plymouth, MA and Storrs, CT
Registered: 04-25-2007
Posts: 8

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I agree with you, Yasha. I felt that it was not the relationship that was an issue, but it was the characters themselves that had significant problems. I like to think the end of the series, when Anthy saved herself and went off to find Utena in the outside world, was a testament to how strong their friendship was, that it could persist after all they went through.

Also, I'm not really sure, but it seemed that the person to which I was talking believed that the Utena/Anthy relationship was destined to fail because it was too intimate and they were too invested in each other to be "healthy" friends. This opens up an entirely different way of viewing the series that I never considered before, but I still can't bring myself to see it that way. emot-confused

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#5 | Back to Top02-06-2008 02:21:59 AM

Arki
Dark Whisperer
From: Croatia
Registered: 10-28-2006
Posts: 1120

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I've always seen their relationship as a lack of one.* There was just so many things left unsaid and hidden by Anthy, when on the other side you have Utena who is trying to turn her into a 'normal girl' for the sake of her own satisfaction. The amount of time they spent together (which started off as a formality of being the Rose Bride and the duelist winner) could might as well be the only reason they've developed somewhat of a liking towards each other, because everything else between them was a combination of lies and untold truths.

* Which disappointed me, because I originally started watching SKU for the yuri. emot-redface

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#6 | Back to Top02-06-2008 08:35:42 AM

Iris
Queen of the Video Box
From: The whispers of twilight
Registered: 12-28-2006
Posts: 2124

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I do see their relationship as unhealthy, but probably the healthiest one in SKU.
That is, until the very end, when it becomes healthy.

Utena sticks around Anthy to fulfill her dream of becoming a prince, and Anthy stuck around Utena with her desire to help her fallen prince, Akio/Dios.  They're side by side not noticing the other, until they're driven to extremes and forced to see each other's real pain.

Utena knows that Anthy is unhappy, so she tries to take away the surface part of it, but she doesn't try to see the real source of it, and Anthy is just obsessed with her own past.

At the end, their relationship becomes more healthy, but only after an extreme sacrifice on both their parts.

Edit:  I started watching SKU for the Yuri too! emot-redface

Last edited by Iris (02-06-2008 08:36:21 AM)


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#7 | Back to Top02-08-2008 08:53:04 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I think Iris has it spot on. I don't think there ARE any healthy relationships in Utena. If Utena and Anthy have a healthy relationship, it's only in the relative sense. However, I think if we go for platonic relationships, I might nominate Utena and Miki, who pretty much stay casual friends through  most of the series.

Whenever I get all fangirly for Miki I point out that he's the only student council member who would lose to Utena and basically go, "Meh. See you tomorrow at lunch."


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

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#8 | Back to Top02-08-2008 09:32:05 PM

Iris
Queen of the Video Box
From: The whispers of twilight
Registered: 12-28-2006
Posts: 2124

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Baka Kakumei Reanna wrote:

Utena and Miki

You have a good point there, their relationship is really rather healthy and normal.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that in the manga he was in love with Utena instead of Anthy.


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#9 | Back to Top02-08-2008 09:48:13 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Iris wrote:

Baka Kakumei Reanna wrote:

Utena and Miki

You have a good point there, their relationship is really rather healthy and normal.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that in the manga he was in love with Utena instead of Anthy.

I'd be willing to bet that was the inspiration for it, since the manga and anime are so different. I think it also has a lot to do with the nature of Miki's personality.


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

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#10 | Back to Top02-09-2008 12:19:56 PM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1107

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Ooh. The yuri. coolemot-danceschool-devil

Personally, I see it as a non-relationship until the Black Rose saga. It wasn't really friendship until then, I think. It took the first Touga Duels to start them both thinking in that direction. After that, is up for analysis... but as for other healthy relationships, there is a kind of friendship between Nanami and Miki that is rather healthy, given their particular hang-ups about siblings. Miki seemed to have no qualms about calling her on her actions/non-action when he catches her lackies cornering Anthy(Utena at the time) in High Curry Trip.


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#11 | Back to Top02-09-2008 04:16:36 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Amen to Anthiena.  They both get into the relationship for all the wrong reasons, as Iris explains.  Then Touga's first duel happens, and everything changes.  Utena is torn to shreds by the loss, and thanks largely to Wakaba, she realizes that it's the end of her friendship with Anthy that does this to her.  It makes her reevaluate her view of Anthy -- she's a friend, not a charity case; worth love, not pity.  From then on, while Utena's tendency to second-guess Anthy's antisocial behavior doesn't go away entirely, she presents her concern with more respect than she did during the Student Council Saga.

For Anthy's part, this is the same time when she begins to see Utena as more than one more plaything for Akio.  We have her imagining Utena smiling at her across the table when Touga walks off bound for sexploits, and of course in the climactic duel of episode 12 we have Anthy withdrawing the power she'd infused the Sword of Dios with.  Anthy still doesn't trust Utena (trust doesn't tend to work out well for Anthy), and her loyalty to her brother is (for now) undiminished, but Utena means something to her then.

So we have two characters who love each other and acknowledge their love for each other, at least to themselves.  That is the groundwork of a healthy relationship.  The edifice itself needs some work, but at least it's not built on deceit (like RukaxShiori), denial (like NemuroxTokiko), or despair (like AkioxAnthy).

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#12 | Back to Top02-09-2008 05:04:14 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

You have a good point. Now I have to think how to elaborate on that agreement. >.>

It's clear that during the Black Rose saga, when Akio's grip on Anthy really begins to weaken, he sees at is something largely unforeseen. But I guess, to me, it seems Anthy still doesn't trust Utena fully, or she'd confide in her more. Or perhaps there's a reason I'm overlooking that she would keep a secret that big.

I give it half an hour before someone gives an airtight "here's why you're wrong" reply. XD


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

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#13 | Back to Top02-10-2008 03:16:17 PM

mindxdetergent
New Student
From: Plymouth, MA and Storrs, CT
Registered: 04-25-2007
Posts: 8

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Like you said, Satyre, I think the healthy groundwork is there for Utena/Anthy (while in the majority of the series relationships, is most definitely is not). There are issues certainly, but I think this is inevitable in any friendship, real or fictional.

I believe Anthy does trust Utena more than anyone else she interacts with by the last arc of the series. She may be hiding more from Akio than she is from Utena at that point, in a sense. She still can't trust her completely (due to fear and a sense of hopelessness as to her fate), but I think their relationship shows gradual growth of understanding over the course of the show. Given Anthy's past and degree of self-loathing, it's true that it's impossible for her to completely confide in Utena during what we see. I don't think of this as a result of a relationship problem with Utena however, I think of this as a personal Anthy problem, and she makes strides toward healing herself in the end.

I guess it bothers me that people dismiss Utena and Anthy's interactions as flawed, because I feel like that has an undertone of saying individuals who are broken and have been victimized in the past can never have healthy relationships. I believe it takes effort to be able to trust again and interact normally, but I don't believe that it's impossible.

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#14 | Back to Top05-24-2014 05:38:09 PM

dereban
New Student
From: USA
Registered: 05-09-2014
Posts: 4
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

In my opinion, it's the healthiest in the franchise; and beyond that, it has the potential to be a very healthy, happy and successful relationship.

However, in the confinements of the series where they (Utena & Anthy) each have ulterior motives for coming together, it's a co-dependant relationship, full of denial. They often utilize each other for selfish gain, and fail to recognize the others true feelings and even personality. I don't think Utena had any idea the depth of Anthy's sorrow until the scene where Anthy attempts to throw herself from the tower, or as other posters have mentioned, in the Black Rose saga (which was certainly the beginning to their newfound understanding for eachother... I just personally think Utena was too distracted by her own introspection for it to hit her until the tower scene).

After the events of the series, when Anthy finds Utena again... I feel like they could have a happy, mutual love and appreciation for each other. It's a very tender relationship, considering the trauma they've experienced, but as Utena proved in episode 39, they would do anything to protect one another. These circumstances are necessary for their relationship to be healthy.

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#15 | Back to Top06-16-2014 03:30:42 PM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Iris wrote:

I do see their relationship as unhealthy, but probably the healthiest one in SKU.
That is, until the very end, when it becomes healthy.

This. I totally agree with Iris here.
First of all, they don't communicate freely what they need so they are both frustrated. I cannot imagine a healthy relationship that lacks communication. When I think about a healthy relationship, I don't think about the co-dependence. It's not our job to save someone in a relationship, so this relationship was based on wrong assumption to begin with. The relationship became healthy when Utena and Anthy reinvented it: Anthy left Ohtori by herself, actually. I think it's important that they are both riding horses in the opening - they are finally equal.

I'd like to add that Anthy was a witch. To me her relationship with Utena was the actual bewitching. So... the relationship didn't bring the best out of her, actually. I think its bitter end made her realize there's the other way - to save herself. In episode 25 Anthy remembers the moment when she said to Dios: "We'll live to help each other", so they aren't autonomous, they were codependent.

Last edited by dlaire (06-16-2014 03:55:55 PM)

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#16 | Back to Top06-16-2014 07:21:52 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Actually, my personal belief is that the healthiest relationship in the tv series is that between Utena and Wakaba. Utena and Miki are indeed 'casual friends', but Wakaba and Utena are genuine, full time friends with genuine, full time affection. Who have not challenged each other to a duel over *insert half arsed reason here*, or tried to manipulate each other for bullshit and nebulous goals, or tried to fuck around with the other's relationship between so and so.

Yeah, vote 1 for Utena & Wakaba. Vote 1/2 between Miki and Utena.

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#17 | Back to Top06-16-2014 09:07:08 PM

sharnii
Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

I've come to realise it's a very unhealthy relationship in every sense of the word. emot-aaa

Which doesn't make it any less enthralling! emot-wink

A healthy relationship would be open and honest, with no weird power dynamics, and mutual interest. Utena has a saviour complex and Anthy is the eternal victim, and their energy calls to each other strongly.

They did both grow in the course of the series, but it's still far from a healthy relationship. Perhaps they could build one, say oh, with some hard work and personal growth over a few years (when/if Anthy finds Utena again!).

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#18 | Back to Top06-16-2014 10:18:50 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Utena and Anthy - An Unhealthy Relationship?

Then, dear sharnii, will you ever continue with writing about this unhealthy relationship by way of updating your famous fic? *hopeful*


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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