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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 Top11-03-2006 06:40:40 AM

HonorableShadow
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From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 471
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Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

These are things I noticed and found interesting in the Black Rose Arc. (Or more specifically...episodes 22 and 23.)  As far as I can tell, no one has ever commented on them, but I could be wrong.  There are spoilers, so read on at your own risk.

The first big thing I noticed was something odd from Nemuro's backstory.  Nemuro and a boy are walking up the stairs, talking about the snow.  Pay attention to the boy's outfit.  While they're walking up the stairs, he's wearing a green uniform.  Then the scene cuts away to show Nemuro standing in front of a window.  He asks about the ring all the boys wear, then they cut back to Nemuro and the boy on the stairs.  The boy is now dressed in a white lab coat, and he has a clipboard.  I doubt this was a mistake, because things in Utena usually aren't.

The second thing I noticed is this from this scene:  http://www.broomstick.org/utena/mikage.html  Everyone always talks about how that scene is from a painting, and that's pretty cool in itself, but I think people miss a more subtle detail of that shot.  When they zoom in on Nemuro, his glasses are no longer purple, they're clear. (It doesn't even look like they have lenses in them anymore.)

This one was probably discussed before, but I still think it's interesting.  When they show Nemuro Memorial Hall burning down, Tokiko runs over to Mamiya and asks what he did.  While Tokiko and Mamiya are both colored in orange and black shades (because of the fire),  Nemuro stands out because for some reason they colored him in pink and white. 

I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting, but I have to go to work now.  When I get home I'll see if I can remember some more things I saw!

Last edited by HonorableShadow (11-03-2006 12:15:08 PM)


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#2 | Back to Top11-03-2006 09:55:47 AM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Huh. At first I thought these were all mistakes or misinterpretations, but in fact they're all pretty interesting minutae. Good job, Shadow! Now, I think what this thread badly needs is some pictures.

A) Quick-changing Student

When Nemuro is speaking to the student at the beginning of the flashback in episode 22 (Nemuro Memorial Hall), they look like this.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/NemuroStudentAsmall.JPG

Their conversation continues over a few brief shots of other students, other places in the building, and Nemuro staring out a window.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/NemuroStudentExtrasmall.JPG

When we get back to the conversation (in which there have been no apparent breaks), the student is in a lab coat with a clipboard.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/NemuroStudentBsmall.JPG

B) Nemuro's Optometry

Most of the time, Nemuro's glasses are tinted purple.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/GlassesAsmall.JPG

However, in the scene in episode 23 when Nemuro and Mamiya have the "Olympia" conversation, they've turned clear. This is apparently shortly before Nemuro burns down the building, and it's implied that he has resolved or is in the process of resolving to do so when the scene occurs.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/GlassesBsmall.JPG

But wait, there's more! This is apparently not an animation oversight, because when Mikage flashes back to Tokiko slapping him during his final duel, his glasses are shown to still be clear at that point. So they weren't clear for one scene, they apparently turned clear. And the glasses have pretty distinctive frames - it's not a case of two different pairs.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/GlassesCsmall.JPG

This begs the question: were Nemuro's glasses also clear during his "false" memory of the fire? Well, it's hard to tell, due to the tinting of his entire body during those shots.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/GlassesDsmall.JPG

Speaking of which...

C) Roses are Pink, Mikage is Too

Tokiko and Mamiya are tinted orange and purple, and Mikage is pink, during both his false memories of the fire...

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/PinknessAsmall.JPG

...and his correct ones.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/PinknessBsmall.JPG

Note that the second shot is a bit misleading. Tokiko is still the same colors she was last time, it's just that she appears very purple because she's turned away from the fire and purple is the color of shadows in these shots.

Finally, white chocolate is neither white, nor is it chocolate. Discuss!

Last edited by Dallbun (11-09-2006 04:07:19 PM)

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#3 | Back to Top11-03-2006 10:01:16 AM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

HonorableShadow wrote:

These are things I noticed and found interesting in the Black Rose Ark.

And incidentally, when you're talking about story arcs, arcs of swing, and so on, you want to spell it "arc"... an "ark" is a ship. school-eng101

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#4 | Back to Top11-03-2006 10:24:37 AM

MissMocha
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From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

I'm totally half-assing this, but purple seems to be the Akio/Anthy Color of Ultimate Manipulation (+1). Maybe the purples are meant to suggest the things that are being manipulated, i.e. his worldview, or what he sees as his relationships to Tokiko and Mamiya, and the clear is used to suggest that he is finally acting on what he thinks is his own resolve. There's also the possibility that the purple is used to suggest his own detatchment, and that Tokiko, in pink, represents maybe....nont...detatchement? Pink does seem to be a defining color on this show. During the fire scenes, the roles are switched somewhat. Tokiko has a definite detatchment towards Mikage (although there's anger, so....I think I'm shot down. Damn), whereas Mikage in pink has a clarity (or so he thinks) and a reason for setting the fire.

This is absolute crapola, but I'm gonna post it anyway, because I think there's something to Tokiko and Mikage switching colors during the fire, and  think the colors are related to Mikage's glasses. The rest...I can't offer much (not that I did here)...


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#5 | Back to Top11-03-2006 11:17:29 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

morosemocha wrote:

I'm totally half-assing this, but purple seems to be the Akio/Anthy Color of Ultimate Manipulation (+1). Maybe the purples are meant to suggest the things that are being manipulated, i.e. his worldview, or what he sees as his relationships to Tokiko and Mamiya, and the clear is used to suggest that he is finally acting on what he thinks is his own resolve.

Hey, not bad!  ::Stereotypical mad scientist cackle::  "All of it... it's all so clear to me now!"

Thing to notice in Quick-Changing Student, however: The student is still wearing his green uniform at the end of the talk, it's just that now he's wearing a lab coat over it.  Lab coats don't take long to put on.  It's possible that he really is just a fairly quick-changing student.

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#6 | Back to Top11-03-2006 11:44:30 AM

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

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

satyreyes wrote:

Thing to notice in Quick-Changing Student, however: The student is still wearing his green uniform at the end of the talk, it's just that now he's wearing a lab coat over it.  Lab coats don't take long to put on.  It's possible that he really is just a fairly quick-changing student.

I suspect that it represents Nemuro's disorted memories - it may have been two entirely different conversations mangled into one in his mind, for example. Or that the students are pulling practical jokes on him. "Labcoat? What about it? I've worn it all this time. Are you all right, professor?" emot-biggrin


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#7 | Back to Top11-03-2006 11:53:24 AM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

morosemocha wrote:

I'm totally half-assing this, but purple seems to be the Akio/Anthy Color of Ultimate Manipulation (+1). Maybe the purples are meant to suggest the things that are being manipulated, i.e. his worldview, or what he sees as his relationships to Tokiko and Mamiya, and the clear is used to suggest that he is finally acting on what he thinks is his own resolve.

Eh... but in regard to the glasses, Nemuro's are tinted purple up until he starts acting in accordance with Akio's manipulations. I don't think the color scheme of purple=manipulation works here at all. Although it is pretty clear that the change in glasses is supposed to reflect a change in worldview. Hmm...

So how about this - Nemuro's purple glasses represent Nemuro's worldview. When they turn clear, that brings him one step closer to being Mikage, who doesn't wear glasses at all (presumably because he doesn't look at the world so detachedly, although the fact that the glasses are slapped off his face by Tokiko also probably plays a part).


morosemocha wrote:

There's also the possibility that the purple is used to suggest his own detatchment, and that Tokiko, in pink, represents maybe....nont...detatchement? Pink does seem to be a defining color on this show. During the fire scenes, the roles are switched somewhat. Tokiko has a definite detatchment towards Mikage (although there's anger, so....I think I'm shot down. Damn), whereas Mikage in pink has a clarity (or so he thinks) and a reason for setting the fire.

This is interesting... I'd forgotten that normally, Tokiko dresses in pink (err, dark pink... maroon, I guess?) and Nemuro dresses in purple. So during the fire scene, their normal color schemas are reversed. That's pretty cool. And what about Mamiya?


satyreyes wrote:

Thing to notice in Quick-Changing Student, however: The student is still wearing his green uniform at the end of the talk, it's just that now he's wearing a lab coat over it.  Lab coats don't take long to put on.  It's possible that he really is just a fairly quick-changing student.

Yeah, that's plausible. Still, where did the labcoat and clipboard come from? Was he carrying them around at his side with his hands that he can't see?

More importantly, why have him change at all? Why would he change out on the steps of the school while talking to Nemuro? Idly putting on clothes during casual conversation with a superior (and the student insists on acknowledging Nemuro's higher status) could be interpreted as rude, but no attention is drawn to the act of changing itself during the sequence. Is it just a bizarre visual that reflects the dual roles of the students/researchers?

I guess it's also worth noting that the labcoats are standard issue - it's not just this guy who wears one.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/temp/LabcoatsSmall.JPG

Last edited by Dallbun (11-09-2006 04:06:28 PM)

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#8 | Back to Top11-03-2006 11:56:10 AM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Lightice wrote:

I suspect that it represents Nemuro's disorted memories - it may have been two entirely different conversations mangled into one in his mind, for example.

Oooh, I like this one. I think that makes the most sense by far. After all, the students are all completely interchangable in Mikage's memories, and he's not exactly a reliable narrator. If this little change is intended to represent that, it's pretty cool!

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#9 | Back to Top11-03-2006 12:00:20 PM

HonorableShadow
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From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 471
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Thanks for posting pictures, Dallbun!  I wanted to post some, and I do I have DVDs, but no matter how I try I can't take any pictures from them.  Oh well.  It's interesting that his glasses were also clear when Tokiko slapped them off, I never noticed before! (I thought it was just because of the coloring from the fire.)

If you guys want to add more stuff about the Black Rose Arc (yes, I know how to spell it.  I noticed right after I had posted and I was like "Oh crap, everyone's going to think I'm dumb now." emot-smile ) feel free to!  I love reading stuff about it...it's my favorite story in the series because I love Mikage/Nemuro.  I've watched episode 22 and 23 so many times, so that's why I noticed all this stuff.


Rose tint my world...
Keep me safe from my trouble and pain.

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#10 | Back to Top11-03-2006 12:10:29 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

HonorableShadow wrote:

If you guys want to add more stuff about the Black Rose Arc (yes, I know how to spell it.  I noticed right after I had posted and I was like "Oh crap, everyone's going to think I'm dumb now." emot-smile ) feel free to!

Fixed. emot-smile

Also, great thread. I'm going to be writing a paper on SKU for Psychology, and I think I might pick the BRS as my topic, not sure yet. I'll hammer out some ideas here later, I think...


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#11 | Back to Top11-03-2006 02:03:29 PM

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

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

HonorableShadow wrote:

Thanks for posting pictures, Dallbun!  I wanted to post some, and I do I have DVDs, but no matter how I try I can't take any pictures from them.

Use VLC Media Player or Windows Movie Maker. They'll do the job.


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#12 | Back to Top11-03-2006 02:08:39 PM

Ger
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Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 139
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Mikage is my favorite character in all of Utena and probably one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. I wrote a  fanfiction about 2 years ago regarding him, Tokiko, and Mamiya, trying to get into each of their heads, which I spent a long, long, LONG time on (more than a year) and it still didn't turn out like I wanted it to. I would go back and rewrite it, but I've given up.

Thanks to Lightice for the theory of Nemuro's distorted memories, which I think is a very valid theory.  The entire Black Rose Arc is based on the distortion and manipulation of memory, which later becomes a big theme in Utena's remembrance of what Dios showed her while she was in the coffin in the church. I read somewhere a long time ago that Mikage is, in essence, another "side" of Tenjou Utena - the person Utena could have become if she had become obsessed with finding her "prince" and getting those memories back. He says as much, in their confrontation in Nemuro Hall, when he tells her that they are the same, saying "don't touch my precious memory!"

Mikage's precious memory is Tokiko and Mamiya, but he's been so obsessed with getting those memories back to how he wants them to be, not how they actually were, that I think all of his flashbacks are rather disjointed, not just the inconsistencies with the students and the glasses. Watching the last two episodes of the Black Rose again, it's pretty clear that he's still trying to make sense of what happened between him, Tokiko, and Mamiya. There are large gaps in the storyline there as it jumps back and forth, and watching those episodes is like watching a film that has had half the cels cut out of it, making you almost want to fill in the gaps yourself. I'm pretty sure that in the last how many ever years, as he's been trying to justify his actions to himself over and over, he's erased parts of what happened and fashioned other things that never did (Mamiya setting the fire), as Akio has to some extent also justified all his actions to himself. Mikage wanted to be Mamiya's "prince," another addition to the "Utena gone bad" theory.

The distorted memories theme plays itself out in the Black Rose Arc beautifully, as the duellists board the elevator and tell their own memories to Mikage. By the end, those memories have degenerated into the simple emotions of hate, jealousy, or anger. Mikage then does a masterful job of building these base emotions back up to another "memory," one in which the duellist is the victim and is justified for revenge.

Last edited by Ger (11-03-2006 02:10:51 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top11-03-2006 03:12:35 PM

HonorableShadow
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From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 471
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Dallbun wrote:

Lightice wrote:

I suspect that it represents Nemuro's disorted memories - it may have been two entirely different conversations mangled into one in his mind, for example.

Oooh, I like this one. I think that makes the most sense by far. After all, the students are all completely interchangable in Mikage's memories, and he's not exactly a reliable narrator. If this little change is intended to represent that, it's pretty cool!

I like this theory too!  It does really make a lot of sense.  I wonder if there are any other inconsistencies in his memories?  Besides the obvious ones, of course. 

Thanks for fixing the title of this thread, Yasha!  I'd be interested in reading your paper if that's what you go with.


Rose tint my world...
Keep me safe from my trouble and pain.

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#14 | Back to Top11-03-2006 07:31:41 PM

Aine Silveria
Pumpkin Bride
From: Allegan, MI
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 2098

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Dallbun wrote:

I guess it's also worth noting that the labcoats are standard issue - it's not just this guy who wears one.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/ … sSmall.bmp

It also presents a beautiful difference between the students (who are all in faded sepia-type tones like that of a faded photograph) and Nemuro in his brilliantly colored clothes.

Yet another point towards the jumbled memories theory. Of course he's not going to remember precisely what his students looked like (notice how they all look an awful lot alike?), but he does remember that which is most important to him.

On a side note, I like the guy in the red bow tie. It amuses me somehow.


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#15 | Back to Top11-04-2006 01:18:36 AM

MissMocha
Bettie Page Princess
From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Lady Chani wrote:

On a side note, I like the guy in the red bow tie. It amuses me somehow.

I second this heartily. emot-biggrin


The first time you looked at her curves you were hooked
And the glances you took, took hold of you and demanded that you stay
And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
Such a charge that you need another touch, another taste, another fix

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#16 | Back to Top11-04-2006 10:31:28 AM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Lady Chani wrote:

Dallbun wrote:

I guess it's also worth noting that the labcoats are standard issue - it's not just this guy who wears one.

http://aglick.web.wesleyan.edu/Dallbun/ … sSmall.bmp

It also presents a beautiful difference between the students (who are all in faded sepia-type tones like that of a faded photograph) and Nemuro in his brilliantly colored clothes.

Notice, too, how Nemuro is the only one wearing an ID card. emot-biggrin


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#17 | Back to Top11-04-2006 10:34:25 AM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Dallbun wrote:

More importantly, why have him change at all? Why would he change out on the steps of the school while talking to Nemuro? Idly putting on clothes during casual conversation with a superior (and the student insists on acknowledging Nemuro's higher status) could be interpreted as rude, but no attention is drawn to the act of changing itself during the sequence. Is it just a bizarre visual that reflects the dual roles of the students/researchers?

Oh, and actually, before I forget -- I actually always took that scene as being a subtle way of conveying the movement of time. I would have to go and look at it, but Nemuro's memories of the school seem to begin in autumn and end towards the latter stages of winter; I was always a fan of the snow metaphor he used in the garden with Mamiya. But that's just a fly-by observation; I need to see the whole two episodes again before I can actually claim that as a proper theory. Just wanted to toss some herbs in with the spices already in the cooking pot. emot-tongue


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#18 | Back to Top11-04-2006 04:15:25 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8730
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

This thread makes my panties happy but I need to rewatch a couple episodes to properly contribute. For now, I'll throw this out:

The glasses get clearer and then fall off in the process both of where he becomes Mikage, and more importantly, where he accepts the worldview he's given. His eyes are flawed in reality, he needs glasses. Once he truly becomes a creature of Akio's, it doesn't matter what he needed on the outside, because the illusion is self-correcting anyway. He sees what he's supposed to see, whether he wears glasses or not. Furthermore, his glasses were originally tinted: sunglasses. He was sensitive to light to wear those habitually, but in the series, what does this mean? He's sensitive to light. He can't handle it, and the more he slips into Ohtori Academy, the less he needs that physical protection, because the less light there is to hurt him. Again, the illusion is self-correcting, giving him what he 'needs' instead of what's real. In this case, even more layered, because the light of reality, the light he couldn't quite bear on his own, is dimming. It's like the series is showing you there's a flaw that makes him an ideal student in Ohtori. He was blinded by light. I think a lot of people like him, that try to see the world logically, suffer this way.

And a contrast...Anthy wears glasses in Ohtori Academy and removes them when she leaves. Mikage's illusion fit him well enough to lose his glasses, but perhaps Anthy needed them to accept the world Akio is giving her. Her position is a more informed one, and we know she sees through Akio's BS, so she voluntarily wears a device to make the illusion real to her. Like 3-D glasses.


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#19 | Back to Top11-08-2006 11:39:16 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Some observations about the Black Rose Arc

Clarice wrote:

Notice, too, how Nemuro is the only one wearing an ID card. emot-biggrin

Well, you can take that down through a few layers (fukaku, motto fukaku). First, there's the surface meaning, which is that he's new. The students talk about him as if he's new, and the ID card suggests that not everyone recognizes him.

Second, a different kind of newness. He's new to Akio's game. An ID card is sort of like... visitor ID. He's not quite a part of things yet, he's with the Duellists but not one of them. Symbolically, the ID card could be a reference to his tentative status as a player in the game. He's not quite there yet, but under consideration.

Third, he wears the ID card when he has the strongest sense of himself; it's when his own thoughts are the least adulterated by Akio's game. I don't believe he wears it the entire time that he has that sense of self, but it does seem telling that he's identifying himself clearly at the time when he can be said to be truly himself and not a creature of Akio's. A dry man passing dry days, yes, but also a person who is very clearly a product of his own drives. It could almost be a label saying that he's his own person.


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