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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 Top07-10-2008 01:33:43 AM

SexingTouga24/7/365
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Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I love asking questions and I hope someone would be kind enough to explain? 

I was looking at episode five the sunlit garden part 2. An exchange happens between Miki and Juri while they are Fencing and he finally scores a point. 

She compliments him on his skills and touches on the fact that he has feelings for the rose bride. Also I think that she states the strength of his feelings are helping fight. Miki basically claims to have no idea what she is talking about. Juri says something such as your sword was not meant for battle. emot-confused

I was fine until the last line spoken by Juri. Now Miki and I are in the same spot because, I don't understand what in the hell else is the purpose of his sword if it is not for fighting and or battle. Unless the entire point of that line is to tell him that battling Utena is filled with fail. emot-confused

Sorry if this is confusing but that line stood out to me as kinda strange; in fact it has been in my head for a few days.


"If all the world is a stage and all the people players"...then I demand a less shitty part or the ability to get off of the stage. Slowly my sanity slides, slipping, swirling, spiraling...Save Me I need Sleep...Shattering Soon. school-devil "RukaxTouga equals the Fourth of July" MY patriotic celebration...FUCK ME TOUGA AND RUKA NOW!! etc-wankgirl etc-wankdude

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#2 | Back to Top07-10-2008 01:58:47 AM

allegoriest
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Well, an actual duel and fencing practice certainly aren't the same thing. One's certainly more controlled and predictable, the other's whatever goes. To me, Miki seemed to really be there cause he was smart, and it was a good extra-curricular activity for someone like him.

I don't think I have ever met anyone who fences that I'd actually be afraid would kick my ass. (THAT I'VE MET. There could be some I'm sure, but really.)


Besides, Miki is SO a lover and not a fighter anyway. He wanted everyone to stop dueling cause it wasn't nice. (obligatory sword in his pants mention)




hm. not all too insightful, but that would be my tiny answer.


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#3 | Back to Top07-10-2008 02:25:58 AM

Clarice
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

SexingTouga24/7/365 wrote:

I love asking questions and I hope someone would be kind enough to explain? 

I was looking at episode five the sunlit garden part 2. An exchange happens between Miki and Juri while they are Fencing and he finally scores a point. 

She compliments him on his skills and touches on the fact that he has feelings for the rose bride. Also I think that she states the strength of his feelings are helping fight. Miki basically claims to have no idea what she is talking about. Juri says something such as your sword was not meant for battle. emot-confused

I was fine until the last line spoken by Juri. Now Miki and I are in the same spot because, I don't understand what in the hell else is the purpose of his sword if it is not for fighting and or battle. Unless the entire point of that line is to tell him that battling Utena is filled with fail. emot-confused

Sorry if this is confusing but that line stood out to me as kinda strange; in fact it has been in my head for a few days.

I can understand what you're getting at. I think the answer lies in Miki's duel and its end result. Now, I'm not entirely up to speed with the nature of fencing these days, but it strikes me as being orchestrated and artistic. It's like a dance with unheard music, which suits Miki down to the ground. I don't know that fencing was itself ever used as a true form of swordplay, although I believe it was training. Not sure. But it's a stark comparison to Saionji, who practices a discipline that harks back to a bloody (though noble) history of swordplay that killed.

Now, swords have one more purpose besides fighting or battle, or at least there's an angle you didn't catch. Swords can kill, but they can also protect. You don't have to play the offensive card to win a swordfight, and you don't have to start a fight to win it. This is Miki, down to the ground. He doesn't start fights, which in Juri's opinion seems to be his weakness. His sword is not an offensive weapon, it's strictly defensive. This is not necessarily a weakness, but all the other student council members are more aggressive than Miki.

As for why he lost and what that has to do with this: Miki lost the duel because he thought he was using his sword in defense of Anthy (which is his strength) and he was in fact using it offensively. Anthy tricked him into thinking she needed to be saved, so he challenged Utena. It's a direct parody of Utena's own induction into the game, although Utena was defending Anthy from Saionji. (OR WAS SHE?) Still, the point stands -- Miki is stronger on the defensive, as when he gets aggressive he loses. No-one else seems to realise this, except Anthy and Akio, who exploit it for their own gain. Or something. I may just be talking out my ass. school-devil


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#4 | Back to Top07-10-2008 01:49:27 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Clarice wrote:

I may just be talking out my ass. school-devil

Not at all! You perfectly summed up what I wanted to say on the topic. And in a well reasoned way that I hadn't yet reached.

In fact, the only thing I want to add is off topic. Utena's first duel with Saionji isn't to protect Anthy, it's for Wakaba's sake. (Though Utena's doing it selfishly; but as I say, I'm going off topic.)


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#5 | Back to Top07-10-2008 08:18:12 PM

SexingTouga24/7/365
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

thanks for the answers emot-biggrin and more random Utena questions to come.


"If all the world is a stage and all the people players"...then I demand a less shitty part or the ability to get off of the stage. Slowly my sanity slides, slipping, swirling, spiraling...Save Me I need Sleep...Shattering Soon. school-devil "RukaxTouga equals the Fourth of July" MY patriotic celebration...FUCK ME TOUGA AND RUKA NOW!! etc-wankgirl etc-wankdude

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#6 | Back to Top07-11-2008 10:52:52 AM

dlaire
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Does Anthy really love Utena, or maye she just wants to be rescued? emot-confused

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#7 | Back to Top07-11-2008 12:32:12 PM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I know my feelings on Anthy don't line up with several people here, from past threads.  :-)  But my response to the question, "Does Anthy really love Utena, or does she just want to be rescued?" is:

Anthy does not "want" to be rescued in any conscious sense.  She thinks of herself as a Witch, and therefore "rescue" is not something she needs.  In the back of her mind, where she does wish for it it, she fully believes she doesn't deserve rescue.

I am completely satisfied that Anthy's attitude toward Utena for most of the series can be summed up by curiosity, pity, and some envy.  Anthy finds Utena to be unfathomable in some respects.  She is fascinated by Utena's "foolishness" and dedication, curious where it comes from and how resilient it is.  She is slightly envious of that innocence, of the fact that Utena was herself 'rescued', and I imagine there's a part of Anthy that reacts to Utena's "nobility" in the same way Juri did, "Throw away your Rose Signet!", that feels Utena doesn't have nobility because she herself is noble, but because she's copying someone for the wrong reasons.  Anthy's curiosity does take a malicious form, but it isn't entirely malicious.  Because Anthy also pities Utena as being naive, a dupe, a pawn in Akio's game.  She sees Utena as being a child, mentally, in comparison to her. 

What is important to know is that I believe Anthy experiences her own identity as Witch and Rose Bride as a source of both strength/pride and suffering/self-loathing. I also think that Anthy keeps her emotions at a distance, so most of these feelings toward Utena are, in the beginning, experienced only vaguely and remotely.  It's not that Anthy initially harbors any extreme guilt for using Utena or any intense fascination.  Anthy is, as both Utena and Juri later realizes about themselves, absorbed in her own interests and her own suffering, not really paying attention to people outside of herself and Akio.  By the end of the series, yes, Anthy's feelings have grown far more intense as Utena makes it obvious that her good intentions are genuine and persistent.  And so Anthy's attraction to Utena, her cruelty to Utena, and her pity for Utena become magnified.

You can see all of these things in the last 2 episodes.  Anthy's suicide attempt, while an action undertaken out of genuine despair, is also a test of Utena's resolve.  Anthy's provoking comment about wishing she, Utena, and Akio could 'stay like this' forever.  Anthy's confession to Utena that, as the Rose Bride, she has no heart and that she has betrayed Utena all along.  Anthy's stabbing of Utena, her thanks for Utena's true friendship, her worry about Utena and the swords.

Anthy, by the end of the series, genuinely cares for Utena.  But she's not a person for whom untainted love comes easily.  Her heart and vulnerable true self were locked away for years after she remade herself into a Witch.  She lived as Rose Bride and Witch, truly being a 'dirty woman' who used, manipulated, and betrayed knowing fully well what she was doing.  But Utena, as is so obviously illustrated by the Duel of Revolution, was able to reach the part of Anthy that Anthy felt necessary to lock away in order to protect herself from suffering...something that only 'a "prince" Anthy believed in' was capable of doing.  Which I think means that Anthy loves Utena.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (07-11-2008 12:34:59 PM)


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#8 | Back to Top07-11-2008 01:00:04 PM

Stormcrow
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I really have nothing to add, I think you nailed that one Rhya. I would however like to suggest something that occurred to me recently...when exactly did Anthy become a witch? It was the similarity between her outfit in the barn scene and Akio's outfit later that got me to thinking about this, so I suppose it belongs in another thread, but is it possible that Anthy was always a witch? That back when Dios was still Dios, she was the evil one? Just something I've been thinking about.

As for dlaire's question, we're in agreement there. It's hard for me to imagine someone as rigidly suppressed as Anthy is early on having any profound or strong emotional attachment to Utena. But it does seem clear that such an attachment grows throughout the show, perhaps without Anthy noticing. We've talked about this before, how her suicide "attempt" may have been spurred by her realization that she genuinely cared for Utena, and was betraying her over and over again. I think I lean a little more to the idea of Anthy testing Utena than you do, which maybe presents her as a little more scheming, but it makes sense to me that she would be afraid of loving Utena. She's spent such a long time avoiding emotional risks, she might have forgotten how to take them. If she ever knew in the first place...but Utena passes the ultimate test, remaining devoted after being literally stabbed in the back. Which frankly is stupid, noble as it is. And that's why we love her.emot-keke


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#9 | Back to Top07-11-2008 05:30:12 PM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I also believe the suicide attempt was a test.  But not one methodically considered, plotted and executed with cold clarity.  Rather, a desperate scenario dreamed up and performed due to a genuine surge of unprecedented (for quite some time) anguish, fear, and confusion (about what Anthy should do, trapped as she is between what Utena could represent and what Anthy believes is possible).

And, well, depending on what angle we look at it from... 

My "myth" angle on those two doesn't present Anthy as the dark to Dios's light.  You might be able to make a case for it, though. :-)

From the SKU take on a fairytale perspective, Anthy doesn't get to fit as anything other than a dupe or a villain.

But I think, symbolism of the red dress aside, Anthy was a child in the barn scene, not a "Witch."  She certainly had some ulterior motives for her actions, but as I've noted before, she was surprised by the hostility she encountered--she acted with a certain level of ignorance.  Which doesn't entirely make up for bad decisions, I suppose, but I see a big distinction between Anthy when she is the Rose Bride/the Witch and Anthy when she is Dios's Little Sis/the Witch.  I think Anthy became "officially" a Witch, not so much when she "sealed" Dios, more when she sealed herself.  Just as Dios is Akio when he rejects his role as Prince, Anthy is Witch when she rejects ... Well, that's up for debate.

Akio himself says, "When she became known as a witch, Dios perished."  The first time Anthy got called "Witch" is when she steps outside of the barn to lay claim to Dios.  As we've noted, the reason they call her a Witch is that they feel that she's sealed Dios away from them.

Realistically, this wasn't a transformation made in a moment.  It was a role she adopted in reaction to the circumstances of her life.  Because that's how she chose to react so, yeah, Anthy always was a Witch.  Or Anthy always was someone who would become a Witch.  But "when" does she become a Witch?  Is she a Witch the moment she takes the first step into Witchdom, or is she a Witch when she first starts thinking Witchy thoughts, or is she a Witch when she loses her innocence, or when she gets stabbed?  I reiterate my feeling that it's when she seals away that part of herself that she had to seal away to fully embrace her role as the Witch.

The kind of person who is willing to numb herself in order to do cruel things is obviously not noble.  Someone who chooses to confront humanity with the statement that Dios will belong to her from now on and they can go to hell for all she cares is not particularly sympathetic to the plights of others.  (Though I don't blame her.  I wouldn't be either.)  Akio also says, "And Anthy was the Rose Bride, then and now."  I just think it's a bit paranoid to presume Anthy was an experienced and deliberate manipulator during 'The Tale of The Rose'.

On that note, I have a question... Are 'Rose Bride' and 'Witch' synonymous.  And is the color red a symbol of one, the other, or both?

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (07-11-2008 05:37:42 PM)


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#10 | Back to Top07-11-2008 06:35:34 PM

Raven Nightshade
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

rhyaniwyn wrote:

On that note, I have a question... Are 'Rose Bride' and 'Witch' synonymous.  And is the color red a symbol of one, the other, or both?

Well.... I always considered both terms to be fancy words for "Scapegoat."

Anywho, I think defining the term "Rose Bride" requires looking at the others who were chosen to be Brides during the last arc of the series and what their roles are in the lives of the Duelist in question. Then place them in Anthy and Dios' situation. Does the story basically look the same?


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#11 | Back to Top07-11-2008 07:57:42 PM

brian
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

All I can figure out for now is that both siblings have dual natures. Possibly Utena is Anthy's other half but it might make more sense to think it's a Rose Bride/Witch duality. I would think that becoming a Rose Bride would be the worst nightmare for a Witch and yet the two seem to be inseparable until Utena comes along.

Submissive people often engage in backstabbing and Witches often end up bitter, lonely and helpless.

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#12 | Back to Top07-11-2008 09:06:20 PM

OnlyInThisLight
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I think Ryth is right when it comes to the way you can't necessarily pinpoint when Anthy becomes a Witch.  Akio says he knows....but then again, Akio says lots of things.  "Witch" is a label, a role, something you are named, such as "Prince".  So in this case, when she became a Witch in other's eyes is all about whom you ask.  Akio, because he needs it to be so, says she was a Witch from the very beginning, the people with the swords call her a Witch after her stint in the shed and sealing away Dios, and Utena didn't even think the word until Anthy stabbed her.  In addition, this means that the meaning of the term "Witch" also changes depending on whom is calling her one.

As to when she began accepting and embracing this title to be true, or to comform herself to it to make it true, I'll just cop-out and say it was probably after the "Tale of the Rose" but before the beginning of the series.  But which definition of a Witch?  I'm going out on a limb here, when I say (I think) she accepted them all.

And what does being the Rosebride mean, how would you define it?  Quite literally in the series it refers to how she is 'engaged' to the winning duelist.  But of course, we all know there must more to it than that.  A bride...is someone waiting to be married. 

Anthy mentions that in a way, all girls are Rosebrides.  Why?  Note that she said girls, not women.  Didn't expect me to go an entire post without mentioning adolescence, did you? For shame emot-tongue!  In a sense, girls are waiting to be married, which is another way of saying they are waiting for someone to save them, and it all boils down to the whole 'believing in silly fairytales when you're young thing."  And in addition, if you're not talking about fairy-tales, then it also has a dual meaning. 

Think "Kanae."

Girl's can't imagine happy futures for themselves.  If the fairy-tale schtick doesn't work, then they simply pigeon-hole themselves for a new role, and it's not always the one that will make them happy.  Just like Kanae knows that she is going to marry Akio, her own wishes aside. She is a bride, waiting for the inevitable.  Girl's are like Rosebrides because they are giving up and merely waiting to be married.  Married to what?  Depends on the girl.  Maybe one girl gives up on being a ballet dancer and decides to go into medicine like her parents want her too.  She doesn't dance anymore, instead studies relentlessy a subject she doesn't have any genuine interest in so that she will be ready for med school when she graduates High School.

Like, they're engaged to sterotypical female roles. I think.  Unable to find or imagine happiness outside of prelaid paths and molds.

A Bride is someone waiting for they have already decided is inevitable, and in the case of a regular Bride, this is something that they wanted.  But a RoseBride is waiting for something that they do not want, is someone who has given up other routes and dreams (remaining a bachalorette) in favor of a surer future or simply because they can not imagine it any other way.  More like an arranged marriage.

And in Anthy's case she will be waiting forever, because she knows that what she is waiting for isn't really there.

Also, Ryth mentioned the dress again.  Anyone else get 'Little Red Riding Hood' vibes from it?

Kind of goes along with all the Princess symbolism we see in the show (Snow White's Coffin, Anthy's missing Cinderella slipper while she is laying on the couch in "Her Tradegy", Anthy's friendship with animals- hah, this one's funny because it can also be a very Witch-like trait.)  Except that Little Red Riding Hood wasn't necessarily a Princess, was she?  While the Woodcutter does save her in that tale, she certaintly doesn't marry him or kiss his hand like a conventional Prince and Princess.

Little Red Riding Hood was just a little girl. emot-frown

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (07-23-2008 10:24:38 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top07-12-2008 02:45:20 AM

OnionPrince
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

In a sense, girls are waiting to be married, which is another way of saying they are waiting for someone to save them, and it all boils down to the whole 'believing in silly fairytales when you're young thing."  And in addition, if your not talking about fairy-tales, then it also has a dual meaning.  Think "Kanae."

Girl's can't imagine happy futures for themselves.  If the fairy-tale schtick doesn't work, then they simply pigeon-hole themselves for a new role, and it's not always the one that will make them happy.  Just like Kanae knows that she is going to marry Akio, her own wishes aside. She is a bride, waiting for the inevitable.  Girl's are like Rosebrides because they are giving up and merely waiting to be married.  Married to what?  Depends on the girl.  Maybe one girl gives up on being a ballet dancer and decides to go into medicine like her parents want her too.  She doesn't dance anymore, instead studies relentlessy a subject she doesn't have any genuine interest in so that she will be ready for med school when she graduates High School.

I thought this part was particularly birlliant. It's so clear now, but I had never put it all together that way! poptart

Something just occured to me, since you mentioned the fairytale archetypes. How do all those stories end? "Happily ever after." That cliche, ambiguous, yay-it's-over-now-go-to-sleep sort of way. But beyond that point, there is no story. It's just over and done with, and the characters no longer exist until the story is read once again. Perhaps that has something to do with the timeless quality of Ohtori. I'm thinking that it's not just a Peter Pan "I don't wanna grow up" sort of thing; it's an intrinsic property of the world they are trapped in. Am I on to something here or just crazy?

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#14 | Back to Top07-12-2008 03:04:08 AM

OnlyInThisLight
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

OnionPrince wrote:

I thought this part was particularly birlliant. It's so clear now, but I had never put it all together that way! poptart

Something just occured to me, since you mentioned the fairytale archetypes. How do all those stories end? "Happily ever after." That cliche, ambiguous, yay-it's-over-now-go-to-sleep sort of way. But beyond that point, there is no story. It's just over and done with, and the characters no longer exist until the story is read once again. Perhaps that has something to do with the timeless quality of Ohtori. I'm thinking that it's not just a Peter Pan "I don't wanna grow up" sort of thing; it's an intrinsic property of the world they are trapped in. Am I on to something here or just crazy?

First of all emot-redface.  *Ego swells head, and it floats into the stratosphere to have tea and cookies with Clarice's head*

You are totally onto something.  And giving me an excuse to bring up Sandman! emot-dance

I remember one chapter where there is this waitress who secretly writes short stories about all of her patrons, all ending happily.  She says she's good at writing happy endings becasue she knows when to stop.  Because if you keep any story going on too long it will eventually lead to and end in death.

Death is a BIG BIG part of reality that fairy-tales oh so conveintly forget to mention, and there are no "Happily Ever Afters" in real life.  More like "Happily Until One or Both of Them Dies...Afters".

Stories in general have no true beginning and true ending, they keep on going, in one way or another, despite the inevitable death of pivotal characters.  In order for a story to work and a have a "happy" or "conclusive" ending, you kind of have to narrow your perspective a bit.  You basically only read a chunk of that story's eternally long timeline, cut to have a beginning and an end.  Kind of like a great big outdoor scene, but framed so it becomes a beautiful landscape.

Which, awesomely enough, is something brought up in Kozue's Black Rose Duel Episode, "Landscape Framed by Kozue."

The problem you can see with this idea, morally, is that yeah, you have to cut unhappy parts out and limit what you see, and pretend like all the unknown stuff afterwords isn't important, because from where you're standing, or when you're reading the story, everything is going to be "Happily Ever After."

There is a reason Fairy Tales are not real, are strictly fictional beyond the obvious breaking of numerous laws of physics and known historical facts.  Because life itself is not a single happy story you can pick up off a shelf and read and ever hope to finish.  It's a Neverending Story, some of it happy, some of it sad, death leading to life and leading to death in a unending cycle, and you don't always get to know just what happens to all of your favorite characters, even your loved ones, sometimes, after you close the book, and you aren't always in control of when you stop reading.

Fairy Tales, and well, happy segmented stories, are kind of like Anthy and Akio's eternity; frozen in place.

For more of what I mean on this, read Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events.  The last book, "The End", talks alot about this kind of thing, only better.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (07-12-2008 03:25:05 AM)

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#15 | Back to Top07-12-2008 04:07:45 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Happily Ever After

I happend to be thinking about this the other day, so here's a good excuse to share it.

The thing that's interesting to me about the 'ending' of "Happily ever after" is that pretty much up until that point the story wasn't happy. Which is to say, the entire point of the fairy tale which often involves death and villains and whatever is to get to the happy part. And the moment you've reached it; The End! No matter if the protagonist lost their parents, or an evil witch ruled the land with a cold heart for fifty years or anything else bad in the story; if you tack the happily ever after onto the end it's supposed to make everything ok. And from a child's point of view it does. Another more realistic phrasing could be "And nothing nearly as bad as the events in this story ever happend again."

For SKU itself; doesn't it have a happy ending? Anthy's finally left Ohtori for the outside world with her head held high and a smile on her face. Happy music plays, the bells ring, Chu chu gets out of his abusive relationship with the frog. And someday, together, they'll shine. Sure, eventually they'll also die, but that's not as bad as an eternal unlife of torture.

... I just lost my train of thought.


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#16 | Back to Top07-12-2008 04:12:15 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

The problem you can see with this idea, morally, is that yeah, you have to cut unhappy parts out and limit what you see, and pretend like all the unknown stuff afterwords isn't important, because from where you're standing, or when you're reading the story, everything is going to be "Happily Ever After."

This is such an interesting concept in the SKU-verse! As I was reading I got the weirdest idea, actually...I don't think this is all what was intended, but I was just thinking that at the end of the series Akio is dressing up like Dios and dressing Anthy up in her childhood clothes and he's trying to get his "princely" self back. Would that negate everything that just happened? It would be like the ouroboros, like turning back around upon yourself -- there is no end to the story, because they've worked their way back to its beginning. And then you can't have an end, because it's just one big circle. I think that is the only way you could have a happy ending. Just playing the same thing on loop. Not that it WAS a happy ending, but you know what I mean. In the end, it's like Nemuro's photograph of Mamiya and Tokiko; he tried to recreate the circumstances in order to preserve what he felt then, but there was no happy ending because it had ended long before he let it go.

As for the Rose Bride and her similarity to the Witch...I think they're not necessarily synonymous, although the colour kind of implies they are two sides of the same coin. Red, after all, can symbolise both passion and fury (love and hate if you want to be more simplistic, but I prefer passion and fury). It's also hard to know if we should be taking this from a Western or an Eastern perspective, because from the Eastern front you get the "red as the colour of a bride" thing. It's the traditional colour for brides, whereas white (the colour of the prince) is the colour of funerals and death rituals. From the Western perspective, red is the colour of the Scarlet Woman, the betrayer of men and other women. White is more the colour of purity, such as with brides and young children being christened or baptised into their churches. SKU is a Japanese series, but a lot of its setting draws on Western influence. So which is more correct? Or are they BOTH correct?

The other curious thing that OITL made me think about is the state of a bride. A bride is waiting to be married. It is traditional for a bride to be virginal. Yet I think we can safely say in all circumstances that the brides in the series are NOT virgins. In fact, I don't think I could name one as being a virgin. Is that important? From the movie POV, the first thing Anthy does when she is engaged to her Victor is offer sexual favours. That's not as strongly implied in the series, but there is an element of sexuality to the bride that isn't repressed the way it traditionally would be. Is this because the Rose Bride will ALWAYS wait? Because in the end, she is not going to marry her Victor. She is more just a possession to be shuffled between players, taking with her the dowry of the Sword of Dios. Is there an implication that she must be the Bride and never the Wife because a loss of innocence would mean the loss of the Sword of Dios, who is supposedly this archetypal figure who was too pure for the world? I just think it seems rather ironic from a symbolic POV that the "virginal" archetype of the bride is carrying inside her the metaphorical phallus of the Prince's sword. Which then probably brings up questions about what state she is in when the sword is removed -- is that when she becomes the witch? Is that when Dios' power becomes unsealed again?

This is all very just talking-out-loud-with-an-audience, you know. I'm just seeing if I can flip a few switches in people's minds so we can continue the Rose Bride/Witch symbiosis thing, because I really have no answers but it's damned interesting. school-devil Also, Rhyaniwyn, can I please steal your brain and consume its brilliance? emot-biggrin


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#17 | Back to Top07-12-2008 04:41:21 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

My interpretation of the difference between Witch and Rose Bride is that the Rose Bride is a role Anthy plays, while the Witch is the role she accepts. I don't agree with Akio's belief that Anthy enjoys being a witch, though she certainly enjoys her petty cruelties throughout the series. As the Rose Bride, Anthy always has a layer of deciet which seperates her from events and allows her to take some amusement in duping the students of Ohtori. She doesn't believe playing her character could ever cause actual consequences to her true self and emotions; this is why she starts having problems when Utena genuinely means something to her. Ultimately, though it would screw up Akio's plans, there's probably the idea in the back of Anthy's head that she can quit being the Rose Bride at any time. But it takes Utena opening her coffin for her to realize she can quit being the Witch.


Clarice wrote:

The other curious thing that OITL made me think about is the state of a bride. A bride is waiting to be married. It is traditional for a bride to be virginal. Yet I think we can safely say in all circumstances that the brides in the series are NOT virgins. In fact, I don't think I could name one as being a virgin.

Saionji? emot-smile


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#18 | Back to Top07-12-2008 05:08:50 PM

Nilamarthiel
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

"Clarice wrote:

Also, Rhyaniwyn, can I please steal your brain and consume its brilliance?

*snerk* How very Sylar of you. emot-biggrin

Anyway, here's my half-a-penny on the subject, as I'm not nearly as smart as any of you guys. XD

I think that being a Witch was what got her into the situation of being the Rose Bride in the first place. Not only was she jealous that her brother no longer had time for her in favor for all the other girls in the world, but she was concerned that he would wear himself out. My sister Aliyeh is displaying disturbingly parallel feelings towards Nick and his "girlfriend" Nikki. [What the crap, Nick, you're nine, you don't need a girlfriend. And her name is Nikki what the hell kid. D:] My guess is that it is a little sister thing, especially for siblings as close as The Prince&Anthy and Nick&Aliyeh were. Aliyeh, however, cannot do anything about it. Anthy could. But in being the Rose Bride, she is restricted in such a way that she cannot use her powers for anything other than "harmless" things and whatever Akio tells her to do. Before, she could do what she desired as a Witch and only a Witch. Now, she is the Rose Bride, shackled by her "sins", and can only do limited things with witchcraft on the side.

Did I make sense at all? emot-confused


Here's my question: At the end of the Black Rose Arc, Miki mentions to Utena that the rubble that was Nemuro Memorial Hall [which was named something different, as everyone lost their memories, yanno] collapsed on 100 boys inside, but everyone got out safely. Now, is that the truth, and Akio just made up everything just to screw with everyone's head, or did the boys really die in there and he covered it up because that part of the job was finished and there was no need for that information to be public knowledge? You see, for me it could go either way, but I personally believe that Akio just covered up the whole thing and all those boys did die. I mean, why go through all that just for everyone to forget? Akio wouldn't do something without substantial personal gain. I don't know. What are your thoughts on this?

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#19 | Back to Top07-12-2008 05:58:08 PM

Clarice
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Ragnarok wrote:

Clarice wrote:

The other curious thing that OITL made me think about is the state of a bride. A bride is waiting to be married. It is traditional for a bride to be virginal. Yet I think we can safely say in all circumstances that the brides in the series are NOT virgins. In fact, I don't think I could name one as being a virgin.

Saionji? emot-smile

Fair point, as I thought the same thing at first, but then I considered the time period in which Saionji became Touga's bride and the...er..."extra curricular activities"...they got up to with Akio beforehand. I'm not a hundred percent on this front, as I think it's viewer interpretation whether Saionji actually slept with Touga, Akio, or both at some stage during the sessions they had in the chairman's room. I really can't say either way, but I wouldn't have thought Akio would pull his punches when it actually came down to the sex. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered whether or not he actually slept with Saionji (the whole point was just to arouse passions and repressed feelings and foster a closeness between Saionji and Touga that was a broken and warped mirror of their childhood friendship) but Akio's a hedonist, I can't see him turning it down for any noble reason. school-devil But that's a bit off the topic at hand anyway. Personally I like the idea of Touga and Saionji sleeping together, but that's my yaoi fangirl side insisting to the rest of my brain that the internet is principally for porn. Um. emot-redface

Lady Nilamarthiel wrote:

*snerk* How very Sylar of you. emot-biggrin

Om nom nom! (Seriously, how can that guy be so damned hot? It's not FAIR. I hate Star Trek, yet I may actually go see the movie JUST FOR HIM. emot-gonk)

Lady Nilamarthiel wrote:

I think that being a Witch was what got her into the situation of being the Rose Bride in the first place. Not only was she jealous that her brother no longer had time for her in favor for all the other girls in the world, but she was concerned that he would wear himself out. My sister Aliyeh is displaying disturbingly parallel feelings towards Nick and his "girlfriend" Nikki. [What the crap, Nick, you're nine, you don't need a girlfriend. And her name is Nikki what the hell kid. D:] My guess is that it is a little sister thing, especially for siblings as close as The Prince&Anthy and Nick&Aliyeh were. Aliyeh, however, cannot do anything about it. Anthy could. But in being the Rose Bride, she is restricted in such a way that she cannot use her powers for anything other than "harmless" things and whatever Akio tells her to do. Before, she could do what she desired as a Witch and only a Witch. Now, she is the Rose Bride, shackled by her "sins", and can only do limited things with witchcraft on the side.

That's an interesting thought, actually. It leads me on to thinking that Anthy is the Rose Bride because the implication there is that the Bride is never going to become the Wife, although you can still refer to a Bride as a Bride even after the actual wedding ceremony. Usually not for long, though, and the Victor is always explicitly referred to as "The One Engaged." To be, it implies a lack of followthrough -- Anthy could always be her brother's bride, but it's just make-believe. She can't marry the prince, not really, so she can't be his princess. Although that brings up the interesting point in that if Dios was a prince, Anthy should have been a princess by definition anyway. Is it just that she can not be his equal, given she is princess by his blood and not his name?

...er, that likely made no sense, don't mind me. I see what you mean by the implication that the Rose Bride is shackled -- a witch is generally seen as a strong woman, independent. By very virtue of her title, the Bride is shackled to her betrothed and the implication is that her will is her engaged's. As Utena learns, however, Anthy is more witch than bride in that she chooses her path...but then, is she just chained to the will of her brother? The man, the former prince whose side she wished to be beside forever? Because isn't that the tragedy of growing up...the fact your family will never stay as it was when you were children? How many children say they're going to marry their parents or siblings? It's also likely as not a reflection on Nemuro's little dreamworld, as the Professor wanted to marry Tokiko to create a family situation (or so it was implied). This was a perfectly normal adult concept. When the world fell apart, though, he decided to make Mamiya his bride. It's almost a childish concept, marrying someone you shouldn't/can't marry in order to maintain or create the illusion of a family that can not change (as divorce is not a fairytale concept). This is what Anthy appears to have done, what Nanami could not do, and what Kozue seems willing to do in order to preserve the illusionary world of her and Miki in their childhood garden. If that makes any sense. emot-biggrin

Lady Nilamarthiel wrote:

Here's my question: At the end of the Black Rose Arc, Miki mentions to Utena that the rubble that was Nemuro Memorial Hall [which was named something different, as everyone lost their memories, yanno] collapsed on 100 boys inside, but everyone got out safely. Now, is that the truth, and Akio just made up everything just to screw with everyone's head, or did the boys really die in there and he covered it up because that part of the job was finished and there was no need for that information to be public knowledge? You see, for me it could go either way, but I personally believe that Akio just covered up the whole thing and all those boys did die. I mean, why go through all that just for everyone to forget? Akio wouldn't do something without substantial personal gain. I don't know. What are your thoughts on this?

I think he probably did kill them. I'm not sure as to the mechanics of how or why, but the implication to me was energy. Nemuro was larking about with something he didn't believe in -- a perpetual motion machine -- and he didn't want to believe in it until he discovered a practical application. The illusion was that it would work, when we are fairly clear on the fact it never would. Still, my point is that energy has to come from somewhere and it has to go somewhere; the most basic tenet of science is the conservation of energy. So, basically, Akio needs energy to run his little game and somehow those boys provided a hit for him. How that works, I am not sure. Was he making some kind of external consciousness in order to push Nemuro through to the final stage? I suppose it depends on how long you see Akio as having played these games, and how much planning you think goes into them. You could theorise that Akio plucks potential "princes" from the outside world and modifies Ohtori into an individually tailored crucible for that "prince" in order to test their mettle and see if their soul sword is going to be the one strong enough to open the Rose Gate. Nemuro was an intellectual, so it would follow that instead of fighting duels his path to transcendence, as such, would be through science and mind rather than action and physicality. That was Utena's path.

...I'm kind of losing the thread there, though. I think Akio can control many things as long as they stay within the boundaries of the school. Once it's out, though...who knows where it goes. And how does he stop the outside world from interfering? Any thoughts? We do know that when Tokiko came in, he closed all the windows and left her in the dark, the only lights then being his constellations. I'm not sure what that could mean.


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#20 | Back to Top07-12-2008 08:42:42 PM

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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

Clarice wrote:

We do know that when Tokiko came in, he closed all the windows and left her in the dark, the only lights then being his constellations. I'm not sure what that could mean.

Actually, I think this just signifies that he nailed her. Kinda prosaic, but...

To answer your question though, I think Akio's power, or Anthy's power, or whatever within the school is nearly godlike. I also think that the school isn't really part of any outside world...the scenes we see that appear to be outside are actually still a part of Ohtori somehow. Akio may allow bits of the outside world in now and then, but I think that's all at his own discretion. I had the impression that he could prevent such things if he wanted to.


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#21 | Back to Top07-12-2008 08:46:02 PM

Frau Eva
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I think Nilamarthiel's totally on to something; Anthy seems like she was always a witch, what with the outfit and having the power to damn herself and seal away Dios in the first place. This seems a little negative since it seems like she was always seen as bad, but maybe she wasn't. It might be a stretch, but I have to remember the wise women before Christianity and the fairy tales that came with it was an honorable position(like the Strega Nonna books! emot-biggrin). Perhaps being a witch wasn't such a bad thing until the act itself. But I don't know if I know what I'm saying on this one.

But she certainly can't be a princess because, as the shadow girls said, a prince's sister can't be a princess. I sort of puzzled over this at first, since it at first seems like the complete opposite of the truth. But what I think that the Shadow Girls are trying to say here is that the role of a princess isn't actually defined by you, what you do, or what title you're born with. It's defined by your relationship to a man. While this isn't true in a literal sense, its true in how the trope of princess actually plays out and its Jungian role in our imagination. That's what seems to be the problem with being a princess rather than a prince(besides the problem of talking on roles altogether, which the series eventually culminates in). Princes can define themselves by noble action, title, etc. If they're not a prince by birth, then they're noble actions always lead them to marrying a princess and becoming one. Anthy couldn't be a princess because she can't be romantically defined by her brother like all the other girls. Since she can't do that, the only other archetype of a woman that defines herself by her own actions is a witch--not a prince. This also sort of shows why Anthy seems a little too close to her brother at times, as if saying, "Ha! Screw you! I'm the princess now, bitches! I get to do the prince!" I mean, Akio certainly has something to do with it, but you can't convince he that Anthy's entirely unwilling.

And I agree that the idea of being a Bride is actually a stranger one than it seems. It's the ideal of a perfect woman without necessarily the follow-through. It'll never be yours because its not your wife, but you can have her for this idealized honeymoon period while you're "engaged." I remember taking a class on Shakespearean literature where the teacher talked about much of the plays being about the world of inbetweens, where the ending usually stops with the characters being in a place that society would expect they should be. Being betrothed was one of those inbetweens that often led to such emotional intensity because of the instabililty of their roles. You're not a child, but you're obviously also not married and part of a new family. I think the part of bride fits in with the general inbetween nature of adolescence; being not quite child and not quite adult, not quite single and not quite married.

Tokiko is an interesting thing. I've always wondered how she knows so much. I've wondered if she was a particularly tough case of seduction for Akio's purposes, and letting her in on the secret of his "eternity" was the only thing that made her give in. That she gave in for her brother's sake. I mean, after all, what she specifically remarks on when she's shown is how no one in Ohtori has aged. She knows about his powers, but perhaps never had to see the reality of his twisted world face to face. The thing that bothers me though is that Akio isn't supposed to do that; he's supposed to ensnare practically anyone he wants while giving up little to nothing. But this, of course, is also largely Akio's hype about himself and he certainly isn't beyond failing. And perhaps she truly was that noble and resistant; after all, Mikage does call Utena "Tokiko" near the end, showing that there must be some sort of personality similarity there for him to see since it certainly isn't looks.

ETA: Stormcrow, you saying that Anthy and Akio are "godly" totally just made me realize why the deaths of a 100 duellists needed to be gained to acheive eternity: they're sacrifices. Akio needs them to create the power of "miracles," as any God needs.

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#22 | Back to Top07-12-2008 09:25:20 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

...you know, I'm sitting here watching the last two episodes of the Black Rose Arc as a part of my experiment in making copies of my fansubs to DVD, and I just had a WTF moment when Tokiko says to Akio in the observatory: "You should know: to bear fruit, flowers have to cast off their petals." And I mean, it makes sense in context anyway because this is the point of the narrative dealing with Mamiya supposedly burning down the hall when it was actually Nemuro, but it just struck me as also being applicable to the role of the Rose Bride. And the act of "deflowerment," so to speak. The Rose Bride is supposed to be, I would assume, virginal and untouched. And yet not one of them is. But to Utena, Anthy appears that way -- and so does Mamiya to Mikage, I would assume. (To some extent, anyway. Ha ha ha.) But this just plays back into what I was saying, and what Frau Eva has above mentioned. Brides are inbetween -- and to bear fruit, so to speak, they have to cast off their petals. They have to leave the roses behind. And Ohtori, as we know, is full of roses. It's a perpetual inbetween state; they've crossed a boundary and yet haven't shed the petals of their youth, so they do not grow or change or "bear fruit," so to speak. But then I suppose that's what adolescence is -- the wait between childhood and adulthood. Or something. God, I'm going to go and try write some pointless Mikage/Mamiya smut. Because there's just not enough of it around and I'm talking out my ass anyway. emot-tongue


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#23 | Back to Top07-12-2008 11:06:01 PM

Nilamarthiel
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I'm going to try to make sense. It may not work very well. I'm trying to put this where I can be coherent.

On Anthy being a Witch in the flashback, I've often had this idea that she's an apprentice to the local Shaman, or "Witch Doctor". I've been looking at the screencaps and recalling the dialogue [I can't find my dvds, woe], and the way that she holds him, it seems like a cross between sisterly concern, some sensualism [although I'm sure she didn't really know what she was projecting, her being so young] and a bit like she had been trained in the medical field.

In India, those who practice witchcraft are extremely persecuted. Here's a theory/personal canon: The Prince said to the villagers that he would continue saving their daughters, just quit the goddamn persecution against his Witch sister. [I know in the caps they're wearing modern-day suits and such, but how do you know that it isn't distorted reality? [/copout]] The villagers didn't like it, and they grumbled, but they agreed. When he could no longer fight due to his weakened state, and she said to the villagers that she "sealed him away", all bets were off.

Here's a bit on Indian witchcraft that I dug up:

Between 2001 and 2006, police have reports of over 700 women being killed as witches or witch doctors in eastern India alone. But they believe that the actual number could be many times higher.

The Dakini Vidya form of witchcraft is widely practiced by women in India. Similar to Wicca, it involves invoking the Mother Goddess to draw spiritual strength. Unfortunately, perhaps because of lack of education and literacy, witches are often persecuted by villagers who blame them for natural disasters, illness, death, or theft.

Anthy's sin wasn't that she sealed him away -- it was that, in his eyes, it was a betrayal because he worked so hard to save her, and she wouldn't let him fight. To him, she bumfucked everything up trying to save his life thinking she had nothing to lose, when all along he was trying to save hers. She would never understand just what he went through just for her, and became angry. "She can never be saved," and "I can never be her prince," those were phrases of frustration. He did it once, and he wasn't going to do it again. He wanted her to be saved, which is why he gave Utena the ring -- his sister needed to be saved, and he wasn't willing to do it again.

...

That came out strangely coherent, actually. Whoa.

*writes it down for further investigation/fic ideas*

Last edited by Lady Nilamarthiel (07-12-2008 11:06:43 PM)

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#24 | Back to Top07-13-2008 12:40:49 PM

Frau Eva
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I personally wouldn't put Akio and Anthy in India; I'd go for ancient Sumer, the cradle of civilization. While India is certainly close--I mean, Babylon is the root of all "Indo-European" culture, after all--Akio and Anthy's story seems to be implied to have started from practically the beginning of human story. I think that's what Ikuhara was going for with the mix of modern machinery and clothing with fairy tale clothing and story in the scene where Anthy seals away Dios--as well as the conspicuously dark skin the two have. The symbol on Anthy's forehead is certainly reminiscent of the mark of an Indian married woman, but I'd say this is misleading(after all, the fact that she's perpetually a bride and can never be married seems to go against this). I've always believed that the mark was a reference to the Mark of Cain in Hermann Hesse's Demian, where this mark is seem more as a mark of cosmic knowledge and the fear it incites in others rather than just outright damnation(although the endless, immortal wandering for sins committed in its Biblical meaning seems to work as well). I'm assuming Ikuhara was not aware of the not-so-symbolic way the Mark of Cain was used to justify slavery, but I digress.

I think that Ikuhara made Akio and Anthy dark-skinned specifically to suggest that their story goes beyond just our European ideals, but down to deeply engraved Jungian notions since the beginning of civilization and story were created. These two are story themselves, and show it. Perhaps the story itself is meant to signify the changing of women's roles of power from the ancient world to the more modern--with Anthy being a respected power figure brought down by mankind's jealousy and fear. With how feminist the show is, perhaps Ikuhara is delving into the more egalitarian roots of our ancestors before the more patriarchal agriculturalists squashed whatever else there was.

As for what exactly in the act made the two fall from grace, I have to get my thoughts more coherent before I go into that. emot-tongue Gonna go do something mindless for a minute.


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#25 | Back to Top07-15-2008 06:47:49 PM

rhyaniwyn
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Re: Random Utena Questions? Possible Analysis and or Anwsers...

I like a lot of what's been mentioned since my last post.  I think the quote Clarice mentioned, 'Flowers have to cast off their petals for the plant to bear fruit' is very relevant to the role of Rose Bride, and to Akio's manipulations.  This in-between state of a flower in full bloom...the next stage would be the petals falling off and the flower dying, then the plant could bear fruit.  But they are frozen at that moment of bloom instead, prevented from withering.  That's the stasis of Ohtori and I think it explains the Rose Bride role -- bride, but not wife, as you guys mentioned as well.

I just wanted to note real quick that when Anthy steps out of the cabin to confront the villagers in 'Tale of the Rose', they fall into a confused silence with murmurs of, "Who is that?"  They don't know her prior to that moment of confrontation.


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