You are not logged in.

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 Top10-16-2006 04:34:40 PM

azuresquirrel
Touga Topper
From: Right behind you!
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57
Website

Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

. . . yes, yes I do.

Anyway! The Shadow Girls! They somehow make an appearance in every episode of Utena. When it comes to analyzing, you'd think they'd be the perfect playground for Utena fans, with their "plays" varying in terms of how obviously they relate to the action of the episode. So why are they rarely talked about in the fandom?

So here I make this thread to discuss the much-ignored Greek chorus of SKU! About what they really are, analysis of specific episodes, that sort of thing! I for one think they're awesome, but as a drama geek myself I always cracked up in episode 34 when they came to Utena as members of the "Othori Drama Club."

To get the topic rolling, what exactly do you think they are, really? There's a lot of possibilities I've pondered. They almost seem like another inhuman otherworldly force on the academy, like Anthy and Akio. I've always wondered what their intentions are. They certainly seem to know a lot more about what's really going on than any of the "normal" characters on the show, as though they've lived through this a million times before. Maybe they're ghost of students of the Academy? Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass. But the play in episode 34 always sticks out to me. Who's side are they on? Are they trying to jog Utena's memory here (which doesn't work)? And why do they show a clearly perverted version of the story, much like Disney adaptations of the Grimm's Brothers stories, which had originally been even more violent and sexual before they wrote them down?

Or maybe they really are aliens and a monkey. I bet that's what Ikuhara would say.

Last edited by azuresquirrel (10-16-2006 04:35:12 PM)


Me on gender identity: "I have more gender issues than an anime character."

Offline

 

#2 | Back to Top10-16-2006 05:10:08 PM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Oooooh, I likie this topic.

azuresquirrel wrote:

When it comes to analyzing, you'd think they'd be the perfect playground for Utena fans, with their "plays" varying in terms of how obviously they relate to the action of the episode. So why are they rarely talked about in the fandom?

I think the problem there is they are definitely hard to approach analytically. A lot of the metaphors in the episodes are obvious even for us, especially when Freud plays so heavily on things. There are also a lot of people (like me...) that tend more toward personality analysis. For me, what's scared me off from any in depth analysis of the SPGs is a combination of metaphor ignorance and knowing that the SPGs are absolutely full of idiomatic and cultural references I won't understand. Like this footnote in the episode 5 translation by the Utena Encyclopedia:

Utena Translation Project wrote:

Henchman:  I wonder, I wonder, but Boss?
The original Japanese is "Kashira, Kashira, Demo Kashira?" The first two "kashira"s are the sentence ending word that means "I wonder," but the last one is the Japanese word for "head", or "boss" in this context. The two words sound different to Japanese speakers' ears because of the pitches: the former HI-LO-LO, the latter LO-HI-HI. And of course, this sentence is intended to be a pun.

Now how would I get that? emot-frown (By all means, refer to the script notes for material on the SPGs, a few of the reference puns are explained.)

Still, plenty to pick at. Some of the episode bits make sense no matter where you're from (the robot?).

As to what they are...well we actually see them in episode 34, don't we, when they nag Utena about being in the play. Which is in and of itself a strange thing to do given the play they're performing; as if even in this they're foretelling the role Utena will play in the larger production. (And a short while later, Akio's referring to Shakespeare, where all people are either actors or spectators. Between the two, it's like they make the point that while the three are watching the shadow girl's play, they're all themselves actors in the story that play draws from.)

But anyway here they're shown as regular (eccentric) brown-haired genki students, and for the first time, their role in the course of events is solid enough that you can seriously argue for their existing. (I wouldn't count the conversations with Akio. It wouldn't be the first time he holds conversations with people that aren't there.) Of course their being corporeal in one episode doesn't prove they're not ghosts or aliens or anything else, except they are definitely a functioning Greek chorus, which doesn't tell us exactly what they are beyond informed spectators commenting; they may represent us, the viewers. We are, after all, aliens to Ohtori Academy, no?

As to the bastardization of the story they give us...I wonder about that, too. Their version is definitely sympathetic to Akio/Dios, and yet he looks as close as he ever looks to unsettled by it, and even (in his own way) insults it later on. At the same time, Anthy looks strangely happy about the play, and though you could write this off to her usual vacant smile, it seems an odd contrast. They don't lie, not exactly, they just spin it very, very differently. (lol FOXNEWS) I would say though that their version sounds like the version someone who had been in the crowd against Anthy would give. They demonize Anthy, ignoring her motives beyond greed, and paint Dios as a trapped but still innocent party, as if clinging to the assumption their prince is still there to save them. So maybe...they're supposed to be the princesses?

Just thoughts, feel free to kick them around. That's half the fun. emot-smile


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#3 | Back to Top10-16-2006 05:20:09 PM

azuresquirrel
Touga Topper
From: Right behind you!
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Giovanna wrote:

But anyway here they're shown as regular (eccentric) brown-haired genki students, and for the first time, their role in the course of events is solid enough that you can seriously argue for their existing. (I wouldn't count the conversations with Akio. It wouldn't be the first time he holds conversations with people that aren't there.) Of course their being corporeal in one episode doesn't prove they're not ghosts or aliens or anything else, except they are definitely a functioning Greek chorus, which doesn't tell us exactly what they are beyond informed spectators commenting; they may represent us, the viewers. We are, after all, aliens to Ohtori Academy, no?

See, them appearing as actual students always threw me off. They disapear quite mysteriously, but they are still there and this is the series, whereas in the movie it could easily be written off as "Utena was dreaming! Or having an acid trip! Yeah!" They always seem removed from the action, like they're above it, so them appearing corporeally, while amusing, always read to me as Ikuhara continuing to mess with the audience.

Hee hee, Fox News. The play does read a lot like revisionist history (or "revisionist news" if you will). So why make sure that Utena saw it? It certainly wasn't for Akio and Anthy's benefit (and their reactions just opens up a whole new can of worms). I feel like it must have been directed specifically toward Utena, but for what purpose? Bleh.

Still, great thoughts! This is why I joined this forum. emot-biggrin


Me on gender identity: "I have more gender issues than an anime character."

Offline

 

#4 | Back to Top10-16-2006 07:11:31 PM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

azuresquirrel wrote:

Or maybe they really are aliens and a monkey. I bet that's what Ikuhara would say.

In an interview, Ikuhara said "The Shadow Play Girls are my friends!  Those girls come from the planet Kashira."  He went on to "explain" that they're aliens here to study human behavior.  Generally, if Ikuhara says something in an interview you can assume that the opposite is true; I suggest doing so here.

azuresquirrel wrote:

But the play in episode 34 always sticks out to me. Who's side are they on? Are they trying to jog Utena's memory here (which doesn't work)? And why do they show a clearly perverted version of the story, much like Disney adaptations of the Grimm's Brothers stories, which had originally been even more violent and sexual before they wrote them down?

The Kage Shoujo are always on the side of the narrative.  Saying they represent the audience is close, but to me it seems like they're closer to -- well -- actors.  They're excited about the play they're in, which they're watching develop for the first time, yet they've read their scripts and they know how it will end.  And like actors, they dramatize things -- finding symbolism, improvising and riffing themes, and exaggerating stories.  I'm not sure how they know what they know, however.  It may just be a plot device.

giovanna wrote:

As to the bastardization of the story they give us...I wonder about that, too. Their version is definitely sympathetic to Akio/Dios, and yet he looks as close as he ever looks to unsettled by it, and even (in his own way) insults it later on. At the same time, Anthy looks strangely happy about the play, and though you could write this off to her usual vacant smile, it seems an odd contrast. They don't lie, not exactly, they just spin it very, very differently. (lol FOXNEWS) I would say though that their version sounds like the version someone who had been in the crowd against Anthy would give. They demonize Anthy, ignoring her motives beyond greed, and paint Dios as a trapped but still innocent party, as if clinging to the assumption their prince is still there to save them. So maybe...they're supposed to be the princesses?

Hee hee.  I'd argue that their version is not at all sympathetic to Akio/Dios; their performance is self-parody.  They present their "views" on the characters' morality so strongly in order to incite you to question and even rebel against those views.  Akio is peeved because he's watching himself being parodied.  Anthy is doing her vacant smile because that's what she does when she's dissociating her consciousness from her inner self, as happens almost every time she's forced to think about the past.  And Utena is oblivious because Utena is always oblivious emot-smile

I think what I like best about the Kage Shoujo is how utterly insipid they seem as individuals divorced from a dramatic context; it's only their plays seen as a whole that make them seem profound.  They're very much like Shakespearean "wise fools."

Offline

 

#5 | Back to Top10-16-2006 08:50:40 PM

Dematrah
Ruthless Deflorist
From: Kansas City
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 300

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

azuresquirrel wrote:

They certainly seem to know a lot more about what's really going on than any of the "normal" characters on the show, as though they've lived through this a million times before. Maybe they're ghost of students of the Academy? Or maybe I'm just talking out of my ass. But the play in episode 34 always sticks out to me. Who's side are they on? Are they trying to jog Utena's memory here (which doesn't work)? And why do they show a clearly perverted version of the story, much like Disney adaptations of the Grimm's Brothers stories, which had originally been even more violent and sexual before they wrote them down?

I thought about this once, and an idea came to mind. Perhaps they have been through this what seems like a million times. The quote that made this idea seem right was what Akio (omg etc-wankgirl) said in the last episode, "...another failure."
This implies (in my mind [/eddie izzard]) that Utena is most definitely not the first to be 'chosen' and forced through this.
Then I thought that they may have studied human behavior enough to have it down pat and are merely mocking us now. :p


"We want beans, not goals." - Anon.

Offline

 

#6 | Back to Top10-17-2006 01:11:45 AM

SleepDebtFairy
Revolutionary
From: Virginia
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2095

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I'm so glad there's a thread for this subject! There are so many things I wonder about the Shadow Girls too, but they're so mysterious that you can't really come up with anything definite. But it's fun to ponder..

Seeing how they used the alien act for so many skits, that might actually be a possibility. But if they are, they've certainly watched humans at Ohtori enough to know how they work. I like the idea that they're ghosts of past students at Ohtori, although, I thought people at Ohtori never aged? emot-confused Still, the shadow girls gossiping, especially in the last episode, always reminded me of the regular girls at school when they gossip.

Anyway, I've always thought of the Shadow girls as the true wisdom in Ohtori. They're very true to their name.. "Shadows". They go un-noticed while seeing everyone else interact, mirroring many of the things they do with their plays. It puzzled me when they showed themselves as "humans", though, especially since it didn't show their faces. The way they kept touching Utena's face and getting close to her made me think that maybe they didn't normally take that kind of form or got to interact that closely to humans before.

Who's side are they on? Are they trying to jog Utena's memory here (which doesn't work)?

It's been a while since I saw that part of the anime so I'm a little fuzzy, but didn't Utena start seeing flashes of stabbed!Anthy when she looked at Anthy after that? I'm not sure, I don't rememember. >_<

Utena's memory of the prince was very sugar-coated, so maybe it was to try and jog her memory and make her think a little differently. After all, Utena didn't consciously remember "the witch", just the prince, and in her real memory Anthy was Utena's sole reason for wanting to be a prince.

Okay, I'm tired, so sorry for the mixed up babbling. @_@


"There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on"

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/Tushen/cupcake_mini2.gif

Offline

 

#7 | Back to Top10-17-2006 07:34:11 AM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

satyreyes wrote:

Generally, if Ikuhara says something in an interview you can assume that the opposite is true; I suggest doing so here.

So. Very. True. No one's done less to help people understand SKU than Ikuhara. emot-mad Way back in the stone age I was in an online interview chat with him. I ended up asking something about Chu-Chu and that I don't recall the response should tell you how helpful it was.

satyreyes wrote:

Hee hee.  I'd argue that their version is not at all sympathetic to Akio/Dios; their performance is self-parody.  They present their "views" on the characters' morality so strongly in order to incite you to question and even rebel against those views.  Akio is peeved because he's watching himself being parodied.  Anthy is doing her vacant smile because that's what she does when she's dissociating her consciousness from her inner self, as happens almost every time she's forced to think about the past.  And Utena is oblivious because Utena is always oblivious emot-smile

This is also very possible! (Insert joke about what Akio would think of the movie.) The Shadow Play Girls just turned into The Colbert Report. emot-biggrin They do use that particular approach a few times in their little plays, but if they're doing parodies of that nature it makes me think they're very possibly aliens. Definitely outside of the school, since between that and yapping directly with Akio, they don't seem under the same influence as the rest of the students. (Hell, they don't even flock around Touga!)

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

The way they kept touching Utena's face and getting close to her made me think that maybe they didn't normally take that kind of form or got to interact that closely to humans before.

emot-aaa I've never thought of that before but it makes a ton of sense. Mind. Blown.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#8 | Back to Top10-17-2006 11:51:26 AM

Frau Eva
Voodoo Queen
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 803

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I've always been enamored with the way Alan Harnum portrayed the Shadow Play Girls in Jaquemart, personally. It just sort of...sticks with me. Them as immortal elements of story just like Akio and Anthy that have always been there, but more as ever-watching and recording narrators. Akio obviously does seem a bit annoyed with them, and I would assume Akio would take care of anything he didn't like. I think he accepts their presence more because he has to. He can't destroy them any more than they can destroy him. The fact that they are made up of three women only continues to draw comparisons to other immortal figures in myth. Triadic imagery of women as new, present, and old are here represented as their control over the continued building narrative of the story.

Then Ikuhara named two "Utena" and "Anthy" in the movie, and everything went out the window. So I stick with the former version so my head doesn't explode again.


Hat Mafia Member

Offline

 

#9 | Back to Top10-17-2006 02:21:21 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Frau Eva wrote:

I've always been enamored with the way Alan Harnum portrayed the Shadow Play Girls in Jaquemart, personally. It just sort of...sticks with me. Them as immortal elements of story just like Akio and Anthy that have always been there, but more as ever-watching and recording narrators. Akio obviously does seem a bit annoyed with them, and I would assume Akio would take care of anything he didn't like. I think he accepts their presence more because he has to. He can't destroy them any more than they can destroy him. The fact that they are made up of three women only continues to draw comparisons to other immortal figures in myth. Triadic imagery of women as new, present, and old are here represented as their control over the continued building narrative of the story.

Then Ikuhara named two "Utena" and "Anthy" in the movie, and everything went out the window. So I stick with the former version so my head doesn't explode again.

I agree with you on the immortal elements theory -- from the way Akio interacted with them through the radio show, I think of them as external narrators who see things play out and yet try to break the fourth wall by actually interfering with the stories. They obviously don't get very far, as Utena seems to only vaguely see them (particularly in the Black Rose Arc) and the play in 34 seems to upset Anthy more than Utena (I never cease to shiver whenever she delivers that closing "Who are you?" line), but...there is something too them. Akio toys with them, but from the bored/thoughtful expression on his face during the play, I gathered the impression he realises they see a lot more than he does because they have an external viewpoint. Possibly that is why he tolerates them, and even interacts with them; the entire radio show to me seemed contrived, simply a way for them to acknowledge the presense of one another without descending to one another's level. [pauses] Hell, I am really not making any sense here, am I?

However, I do find it curious that of everyone in the series, only the shadow play girls seem to be able to have a genuine conversation with Akio in that car. [coughs] No one else seemed to get to that stage, really...


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

Offline

 

#10 | Back to Top10-17-2006 02:52:57 PM

Trouble
New Student
From: Up and to the left...
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 7
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Giovanna wrote:

They don't lie, not exactly, they just spin it very, very differently. (lol FOXNEWS) I would say though that their version sounds like the version someone who had been in the crowd against Anthy would give. They demonize Anthy, ignoring her motives beyond greed, and paint Dios as a trapped but still innocent party, as if clinging to the assumption their prince is still there to save them. So maybe...they're supposed to be the princesses?

I like the idea of them being princesses... I have no other thoughts to add, I'm kinda boring that way.

Offline

 

#11 | Back to Top10-17-2006 04:37:41 PM

azuresquirrel
Touga Topper
From: Right behind you!
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

Seeing how they used the alien act for so many skits, that might actually be a possibility.

Most people seemed to think I was serious about my last line in the first post then emot-aaa I was really just making fun of how Ikuhara always is during interviews. Yeah if you want to be a (reasonably) sane Utena fan, you have to ignore he of the forelock, or you'll just drive yourself in circles.

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

It's been a while since I saw that part of the anime so I'm a little fuzzy, but didn't Utena start seeing flashes of stabbed!Anthy when she looked at Anthy after that? I'm not sure, I don't rememember. >_<

Hmmm, that is true. Perhaps it did work after all then. I was just thinking about how she truly didn't remember what happened until she opened the coffin. She did have those flashes though. I always forget that Utena is very much a shoujo herione in that her brain doesn't work nearly at normal speed. emot-rolleyes

The theory of them being like princesses (and they often do sound like bitchy schoolgirls in their converstaions) is quite interesting. Yet for me it doesn't quite fit in to how wise they seem in comparison to the "real" characters of the show, especially in their plays about Touga in episodes 35 and 36 which nail his situation right on the head. Those were the ones about the Playboy Fisherman and the Prince of the White Horse if you recall. That wisdom to me indicates that they're something a bit beyond most of the Ohtori denizens. Unlike everyone else, including Anthy and Akio, it seems that there's nothing really preventing them from leaving; they're just having a ball.

Last edited by azuresquirrel (10-17-2006 04:38:38 PM)


Me on gender identity: "I have more gender issues than an anime character."

Offline

 

#12 | Back to Top10-17-2006 09:41:59 PM

SleepDebtFairy
Revolutionary
From: Virginia
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2095

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

azuresquirrel wrote:

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

Seeing how they used the alien act for so many skits, that might actually be a possibility.

Most people seemed to think I was serious about my last line in the first post then emot-aaa I was really just making fun of how Ikuhara always is during interviews. Yeah if you want to be a (reasonably) sane Utena fan, you have to ignore he of the forelock, or you'll just drive yourself in circles.

The Shadow Girls being aliens was one of the first things I thought of before hearing about Ikuhara say that about them. XD; Actually, I haven't heard of many things said by him. But I hear Ruka is based off him? *blink*

But, I think rather than aliens they're more like.. well, beings that live forever like Akio and Anthy in Ohtori, but different. They're the shadows.. they see and observe everything, including secrets. Maybe like shadows, they reflect humans? I don't know. \: (Ack, I know I've mentioned this before already..)

azuresquirrel wrote:

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

It's been a while since I saw that part of the anime so I'm a little fuzzy, but didn't Utena start seeing flashes of stabbed!Anthy when she looked at Anthy after that? I'm not sure, I don't rememember. >_<

Hmmm, that is true. Perhaps it did work after all then. I was just thinking about how she truly didn't remember what happened until she opened the coffin. She did have those flashes though. I always forget that Utena is very much a shoujo herione in that her brain doesn't work nearly at normal speed. emot-rolleyes

The theory of them being like princesses (and they often do sound like bitchy schoolgirls in their converstaions) is quite interesting. Yet for me it doesn't quite fit in to how wise they seem in comparison to the "real" characters of the show, especially in their plays about Touga in episodes 35 and 36 which nail his situation right on the head. Those were the ones about the Playboy Fisherman and the Prince of the White Horse if you recall. That wisdom to me indicates that they're something a bit beyond most of the Ohtori denizens. Unlike everyone else, including Anthy and Akio, it seems that there's nothing really preventing them from leaving; they're just having a ball.

I agree, the shadow girls seem too objective and open-minded to be former princesses that miss Dios. They respond to everyone (Utena, Akio, etc.) in pretty similar ways and don't seem to show much bias. They just tell it like it is. (Just.. really strangely. emot-confused )

Last edited by SleepDebtFairy (10-17-2006 09:43:21 PM)


"There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on"

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v84/Tushen/cupcake_mini2.gif

Offline

 

#13 | Back to Top10-19-2006 01:29:58 PM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Clarice wrote:

I agree with you on the immortal elements theory -- from the way Akio interacted with them through the radio show, I think of them as external narrators who see things play out and yet try to break the fourth wall by actually interfering with the stories. They obviously don't get very far, as Utena seems to only vaguely see them (particularly in the Black Rose Arc) and the play in 34 seems to upset Anthy more than Utena (I never cease to shiver whenever she delivers that closing "Who are you?" line), but...there is something too them. Akio toys with them, but from the bored/thoughtful expression on his face during the play, I gathered the impression he realises they see a lot more than he does because they have an external viewpoint. Possibly that is why he tolerates them, and even interacts with them; the entire radio show to me seemed contrived, simply a way for them to acknowledge the presense of one another without descending to one another's level. [pauses] Hell, I am really not making any sense here, am I?

However, I do find it curious that of everyone in the series, only the shadow play girls seem to be able to have a genuine conversation with Akio in that car. [coughs] No one else seemed to get to that stage, really...

No you make sense. emot-keke You're right too, the whole conversation in the car thing was just weird and I still don't know what to make of it, but it does support the idea that they're above and beyond, outside, and definitely not part of Akio's controllable universe. He does seem somewhat annoyed by them, but this is reasonable since the last thing Akio wants is an outside, objective opinion of his behavior. Anthy appears to tolerate them better even if they jarred her, but then it's not hard to imagine why if she knows her brother doesn't like him.

The times Utena responds, she responds completely deadpan, as if she takes them literally. She offers the 'duh' solution to their problem, even if they're speaking in a metaphor for something Utena's totally screwing up. Off the top of my head I can't recall, but which is the episode where she answers them?

Also what about Tokiko? Out of nowhere a minor character addresses them directly. And unlike Utena, she answers in a way that suggests she understands the references and metaphors.

SleepDebtFairy wrote:

The Shadow Girls being aliens was one of the first things I thought of before hearing about Ikuhara say that about them. XD; Actually, I haven't heard of many things said by him. But I hear Ruka is based off him? *blink*

Or just his character design. He does have a semi-forelock. As for the SPGs being aliens...well they're definitely not normal, so I guess in any sense that's true. He threw us an obvious answer that doesn't help. emot-mad


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#14 | Back to Top10-19-2006 01:42:38 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Giovanna wrote:

No you make sense. emot-keke You're right too, the whole conversation in the car thing was just weird and I still don't know what to make of it, but it does support the idea that they're above and beyond, outside, and definitely not part of Akio's controllable universe. He does seem somewhat annoyed by them, but this is reasonable since the last thing Akio wants is an outside, objective opinion of his behavior. Anthy appears to tolerate them better even if they jarred her, but then it's not hard to imagine why if she knows her brother doesn't like him.

The times Utena responds, she responds completely deadpan, as if she takes them literally. She offers the 'duh' solution to their problem, even if they're speaking in a metaphor for something Utena's totally screwing up. Off the top of my head I can't recall, but which is the episode where she answers them?

Also what about Tokiko? Out of nowhere a minor character addresses them directly. And unlike Utena, she answers in a way that suggests she understands the references and metaphors.

I love how Akio hangs up on them because he's BUSY (i.e. there is sex to be had, but then again in Akio-Land, when is there NOT sex to be had?). I would have liked to have seen Anthy interact more with the Shadow Play Girls, come to think of it, because although they portrayed her rather harshly I don't count it as their full opinion of her.

I actually really love Utena's responses to C-ko, who is the only shadow play girl (from memory) she really seems to pay attention to. The irony of it is hilarious, especially if you contrast the three girls with Anthy, Akio and Utena themselves; A and B-ko are partners-in-crime and keep their mysteries to themselves, much as Akio and Anthy are and do, whereas C-ko strikes out boldly and somewhat over-zealously on her own a-la Utena. (But the similarities are harder to draw out from there, and my brain is hurty already from eight hours of staring at tablets and wondering how many people I've killed THIS week). But yeah, there is a rich irony in Utena pointing out the easy solutions to C-ko's melodramatic scenes -- it shows Utena as being more noble-hearted and less-manipulated than the black rose duellist she will go on to defeat, but although Utena sees the answers to THEIR problems she is completely blind to her own. (And that fact could draw me into a LONG conversation about how similiar Utena, Saionji and Nanami can be, but...not here.) And therefore it's even MORE ironic that she doesn't really see the plays of A and B-ko, who deal often more directly with Utena herself.

If I am making any sense tonight, feel free to make me keep talking until I start talking bullshit again. It will inevitably happen sooner than I'd hope for. emot-dance

I love how Tokiko answers back C-ko, and how she keeps on being a robot and ignores her one intuitive audience. ^___^ I think, more than anything else, it is an indication of Tokiko's "distance" from Ohtori; she has the benefit of retrospect AND of an external viewpoint, and is one of the few people to talk directly to Akio without metaphor or guile. I would have liked to have known what happened to Tokiko, but I garnered the impression anyway that Akio turned down the lights, she walked out, and went back to her normal life. Her interaction with C-ko seemed to show she knew the score, and I think it's sad but true that she'd already given up on Nemuro at the time of the fire and her visits to Mamiya's grave were just about simple memory rather than complicated grief. Hmm.


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

Offline

 

#15 | Back to Top10-19-2006 04:11:51 PM

azuresquirrel
Touga Topper
From: Right behind you!
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Interesting thoughts on the responses to the Black Rose Arc plays. I'd always thought that Tokiko was referring to Mikage/Nemuro rather than herself in the Robot one, but I'll admit it's been a while since I watched that episode. (my most recently watched eps. were the Ruka eps. two weeks ago. I need a rewatch of the series when I'm done with The Mousetrap!)

As for Utena, she can see the solution to other people's problems, I'll grant you. But her responses also show how naive and sheltered she is. (yeah, she had the whole "Look at the Rose Bride's suffering, THERE'S your eternity!" thing, but she doesn't remember it so it doesn't count) Like take her response in the episode of Wakaba's duel: C-ko is playing the rabbit girl who is sad because she can only marry on a day when the sun shines while snowing. Utena responds, "What's wrong with not getting married?" and C-ko cries. Sure, that solution would work for Utena because she doesn't CARE about getting married. It perfectly reflects her and Wakaba. She doesn't understand why Wakaba needs to feel special because she herself doesn't care about it.

The same thing goes for the episode of Shiori's duel. Utena tells C-ko to just take off the "woolen panties", and she could just as well be telling Juri to just take off her locket and feelings for Shiori. Easy for Utena to say, she hasn't experienced Juri's pain of being in love with someone who she had "sworn so fair and thought so bright, who art as black as hell as dark as night." (told you I'd be making Shakespeare references!) If anything, Utena's responses show off her greatest flaws. Sure, her answers may make sense to her, but they're very selfish on her part. She just assumes that everyone thinks and feels in the same ways that she does; she doesn't stop to consider Wakaba's feelings of being inferior, or the pain of Juri's love. You could even take it as foreshadowing in the Akio/Apocalypse arc when Utena starts putting her own needs over Anthy's because she didn't bother to try to understand her feelings (hmmm, didn't someone even say that in episode 38? school-devil)

Last edited by azuresquirrel (10-19-2006 04:15:25 PM)


Me on gender identity: "I have more gender issues than an anime character."

Offline

 

#16 | Back to Top10-19-2006 04:25:25 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

azuresquirrel wrote:

Interesting thoughts on the responses to the Black Rose Arc plays. I'd always thought that Tokiko was referring to Mikage/Nemuro rather than herself in the Robot one, but I'll admit it's been a while since I watched that episode. (my most recently watched eps. were the Ruka eps. two weeks ago. I need a rewatch of the series when I'm done with The Mousetrap!)

As for Utena, she can see the solution to other people's problems, I'll grant you. But her responses also show how naive and sheltered she is. (yeah, she had the whole "Look at the Rose Bride's suffering, THERE'S your eternity!" thing, but she doesn't remember it so it doesn't count) Like take her response in the episode of Wakaba's duel: C-ko is playing the rabbit girl who is sad because she can only marry on a day when the sun shines while snowing. Utena responds, "What's wrong with not getting married?" and C-ko cries. Sure, that solution would work for Utena because she doesn't CARE about getting married. It perfectly reflects her and Wakaba. She doesn't understand why Wakaba needs to feel special because she herself doesn't care about it.

The same thing goes for the episode of Shiori's duel. Utena tells C-ko to just take off the "woolen panties", and she could just as well be telling Juri to just take off her locket and feelings for Shiori. Easy for Utena to say, she hasn't experienced Juri's pain of being in love with someone who she had "sworn so fair and thought so bright, who art as black as hell as dark as night." (told you I'd be making Shakespeare references!) If anything, Utena's responses show off her greatest flaws. Sure, her answers may make sense to her, but they're very selfish on her part. She just assumes that everyone thinks and feels in the same ways that she does; she doesn't stop to consider Wakaba's feelings of being inferior, or the pain of Juri's love. You could even take it as foreshadowing in the Akio/Apocalypse arc when Utena starts putting her own needs over Anthy's because she didn't bother to try to understand her feelings (hmmm, didn't someone even say that in episode 38? school-devil)

Oh, Tokiko is most definitely referring to Nemuro -- all I was saying is that Tokiko sees through the melodrama and metaphor of Ohtori and simply says the truth as she sees it -- and of course there's irony in that, too, as Mikage confuses her with Utena and while Utena sees a truth of a sort, like you say, she sees the simple answers that make sense to her. This is the tragic flaw of Utena's pride in styling herself a "prince," and this is why it is so painful in the last episode when she cries and says to Anthy that she was just kidding herself, that she could be a prince and save Anthy. The simplicity of Utena's worldview and the dark, diseased complexity of the truth is a key theme of the series and is demonstrated through many different vehicles; Utena's too-simplistic answers to C-ko is just one of them. The opening "fairytale" pitch is another, when contrasted against the play the girls give in...what, ep 34? (I haven't watched the series in a long time; the episode numbers are messed up in my brain, much like everything else...) In fact the whole series is about seeing things from a different perspective to your own, and I imagine that that is the real reason why the Shadow Play Girls existed.

...that, and the fact Ikuhara just likes to screw with us. No wonder he wants to be Akio. etc-wankdude


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

Offline

 

#17 | Back to Top10-19-2006 04:41:07 PM

azuresquirrel
Touga Topper
From: Right behind you!
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 57
Website

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Clarice wrote:

In fact the whole series is about seeing things from a different perspective to your own, and I imagine that that is the real reason why the Shadow Play Girls existed.

Wow. That just made things so very clear for me. You're awesome! And yes, the alternative play to the intro was in episode 34, one of my all-time favorite episodes. I don't cry at a lot of things, but chibi!Utena swearing to become a Prince to save Anthy gets me every. Single. Time. Especially since she doesn't remember it at all emot-frown


Me on gender identity: "I have more gender issues than an anime character."

Offline

 

#18 | Back to Top10-19-2006 08:21:16 PM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Clarice wrote:

Oh, Tokiko is most definitely referring to Nemuro -- all I was saying is that Tokiko sees through the melodrama and metaphor of Ohtori and simply says the truth as she sees it -- and of course there's irony in that, too, as Mikage confuses her with Utena and while Utena sees a truth of a sort, like you say, she sees the simple answers that make sense to her. This is the tragic flaw of Utena's pride in styling herself a "prince," and this is why it is so painful in the last episode when she cries and says to Anthy that she was just kidding herself, that she could be a prince and save Anthy. The simplicity of Utena's worldview and the dark, diseased complexity of the truth is a key theme of the series and is demonstrated through many different vehicles; Utena's too-simplistic answers to C-ko is just one of them. The opening "fairytale" pitch is another, when contrasted against the play the girls give in...what, ep 34? (I haven't watched the series in a long time; the episode numbers are messed up in my brain, much like everything else...) In fact the whole series is about seeing things from a different perspective to your own, and I imagine that that is the real reason why the Shadow Play Girls existed.

Couldn't have said it better myself. emot-smile

The SPGs sound almost sarcastic when they tell the opening fairytale, even following with 'was that really such a good idea?', and you somehow know they don't think it was. But how would they as outsiders see Utena's actions? Would they root for her and hope to see Akio get his just desserts (shaved ice), or would they think her actions were futile? (As Anthy did during Touga's duel?)


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#19 | Back to Top10-22-2006 01:08:31 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Wow, this is an interesting topic. Reading all of the responses in one sitting made my brain hurt a little bit, but that's what I get for thinking after coming home from work.

I think the Shadow Girls are robots. They're designed to catch monkeys and try to get us to think while watching TV.

Actually, I don't know what they are. I read this thread hoping that other people could enlighten me and now I'm thinking. Great.


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

Offline

 

#20 | Back to Top10-24-2006 10:25:38 PM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I hope I am not doing some kind of awful spoiler gaffe. This is one time when it is useful to look at the movie. There it is quite plain that Utena and Anthy are the Shadow Girls. Even in the series they actually join the Shadow Girls in waving Bye-bye to someone. Remember that the little preview blurbs at the end of each show are narrated by Utena and Anthy. "They got me from behind!" "Join us next week for the Absolute Destiny Whatever!"

Well, the Shadows can be seen as perhaps the older, wiser selves of Utena and Anthy. Then we have the third girl who is really a monkey and that of course would be...school-sherlockschool-sherlockschool-sherlock???

Offline

 

#21 | Back to Top10-25-2006 12:57:49 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

You think so? That's an interesting possibility... I'm not sure if it's obvious (I didn't think so when I saw the movie) but it definitely bears thinking about.


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

Offline

 

#22 | Back to Top10-25-2006 04:48:43 AM

Xu Yuan
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 189

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I believe the Shadow Girl's in the show are very critical of Anthy though, to the point of hate, jealousy, an act of warning, or any of that. Though C-Ko is an interesting character in relation to the normal character's. Only Utena, Wakaba, and Tokiko see her and hear her. Whatever that may mean... Then again it could be two girl's with incredible gifts like Akio, with a pact of non interference. He seems to dislike them whatever the case. Though he does willingly play their little game.


Please check out the MTG Utena Set Progress we have made at http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?id=o … 103070805#

Offline

 

#23 | Back to Top10-25-2006 07:20:05 AM

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

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

Xu Yuan wrote:

I believe the Shadow Girl's in the show are very critical of Anthy though, to the point of hate, jealousy, an act of warning, or any of that.

You think so? I don't disagree but I'm curious to know how you figure that.

If they're aliens you could consider them typical watchers, and someone watching those events would be rooting for Utena, which makes liking Anthy difficult.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#24 | Back to Top10-27-2006 05:15:10 AM

Joku_Krypfto
Saionji Slapper
From: Finland
Registered: 10-27-2006
Posts: 21

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I always thought of the Shadow Play Girls as a sort of ironic meta-joke about the ontology of the series and how it relates to Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Shadows on the walls, illusionary world, etcetera, etcetera.


Originality is nothing.
Hypertextuality is everything.
Obey your hypertextuality.
☞ MOKUSHIKUSHIMOSHIMOKUKUMOSHIMOSHIKUSHIKUMO ☜

Offline

 

#25 | Back to Top10-27-2006 01:08:31 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Do I dare to make a topic about the Shadow Girls?

I was thinking about Shiori's duel chorus yesterday, and the concept of Juri's light casting a shadow of Shiori, and it got me thinking... What if the shadow girls the shadows of the people who Dios's light once shone upon? Dios was the light of the world, and even light casts shadows, doesn't it?

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement