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Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top07-16-2008 04:04:22 PM

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

Tokiko - more than pawn?

I started to ponder about Mikage, but suddenly one thought grabbed my attention - maybe Tokiko is more important than it seems? She's the only one who left Ohtori, and her sentence was really interesting for me:
Tokiko: Say, even you should know. To bear fruit, flowers have to cast off their petals.
I suppose she was also the only one who discovered that all Academy is just like a prison where everyone is impossible to be 'productive'...
So, what do you think, IRG?

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#2 | Back to Top07-16-2008 05:06:31 PM

Himeohji Kagaya
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 07-01-2008
Posts: 197

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

personally, i thought of her as a proto-Utena of sorts.

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#3 | Back to Top07-16-2008 05:08:49 PM

NajiMinkin
Hacker Ringleader
From: The Incredible Edible Egg
Registered: 06-23-2007
Posts: 2537

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Himeohji Kagaya wrote:

personally, i thought of her as a proto-Utena of sorts.

I echo this sentiment. All signs and random beeping white hands point to her having something important to do with the whole dueling scheme. I think it's reasonably certain that the project she was a part of failed to some extent, but it was an attempt nonetheless.


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#4 | Back to Top07-16-2008 05:29:37 PM

Kaelyndra
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 04-18-2008
Posts: 557

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Tokiko, for me, has always been a character that lacked the same interest as a lot of character's of SKU because she was simply not as torn as they were. Many of the goals of Ohtori's residents relied upon gaining revolution for themselves.

As far as I can gather, Tokiko was only in it for Mamiya. She wanted him to be able to live forever and in that sense be free of the sickness that plagued him. But, I don't think she was at all prepared to do anything that would hurt another person. Akio, bless his insanely intuitive soul, I think realized this. He had no target in Tokiko herself because her intentions were not at all malicious and she didn't appear to be changing her ways anytime soon. So, he indirectly used her as a pawn against Mikage.

Which, actually, makes her extremely important in the aspect of Ohtori's schemes. Up until that point, Mikage was inclined to simply work because and would not have stepped out to help Akio. Then Tokiko got placed in the whole mess and things began to change. I think Akio might have hoped that the disaster that since invoked might have shaken Tokiko in such a way that she would have become a more direct part of the world for eternity. Unfortunately, Tokiko instead packed up her things and left. She was plenty smart enough to realize that crap had gone down, and she could sense the change in Mikage. Instead of remaining around like many people would have, she up and left and abandoned her "hope" because she knew that the means to gain it were not right.

I think a morbid curiosity to find out how much of was she thought was true brought her back. She probably wasn't that surprised by what she found there. Eternity, most certaintly existed, and it was as demented as she presumed it to be upon leaving. This makes her crucial in the sense of "hope" for Ohtori. She escaped her coffin "unaided" and "unguided". Then again, one could argue she wasn't ever in one to begin with. Tokiko, I think more than anything, symbolizes the ability for people to move on with their lives and the necessity to leave Ohtori (or at least the ideals) to do so. She didn't really cling to the past much, and even when she came back she kept herself hidden. She didn't want to be seen as that Tokiko, and she didn't want to come back to repeat the past. She simply wanted to see, and to know.

In that sense, she may directly represent the sudden shift in people moving forwards in that arc. Up until then, most everything had remained static. In that arc little tiny hints of what could possibly become forward motion began to surface, but because they remained in Ohtori and the dueling games, they became nothing more than a whisper on the wind. It could also be argued that it vaguely foreshadowed the idea that the only way to leave Ohtori is to take yourself.

I hope that all made sense.

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#5 | Back to Top07-16-2008 06:21:49 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

I like Tokiko a lot. She's a prince who failed to protect the person she was trying to protect. In this sense, along with many others, she really is a lot like Utena. By the point when we first see her, she's already starting to give up hope, but what she tells Mikage gives evidence of a somewhat persistent determination to save her younger brother. Even the doctors, the ones who would be most capable to save his life, have told her that it's useless, and yet she refuses to accept her brother's fate.

Her background also seems to be a lot like Utena's. Tokiko is just Mamiya's older brother, so why is she the one looking after him and giving him shots? It could be that their parents died long ago, and that she was left to look after him on her own. A good portion of the prince-like characters have younger siblings to watch after, and having to do so seems to build up ideal qualities as opposed to someone who only looks after his or herself. Losing the little brother she is so determined to protect is like Utena losing Anthy, though rather than freeing him from his coffin, she's trying to keep him from entering one. (On the other hand, if it will merely extend his life rather than curing the illness, will that really be freeing him...?)

Like Utena at the end of the Akio arc, somewhere along the line she has gotten herself romantically involved with Akio, either in hopes of saving or brother, or simply for consolation. As the chances of saving her brother diminish, as does her confidence in her ability to save him. From what Mamiya says about her coming to this academy to meet him, Mikage seems to fit into the role of her prince, the one who could help her save her brother. In the end, it's that prince who takes that brother away from her.

Ten years down the line, she's stopped playing prince and entered the adult world. She's not protecting anyone anymore. Her hair is grown out long like Anthy, the Rose Bride, rather than the short cut identical to the way Utena wears her hair in the movie, and now she's living by what her husband provides for her. Could this be what Utena's life would eventually be like, had things gone differently?


I'm sorry. Any analysis I write off the top of my head is usually wrong, so forgive me if I was completely off target with that. I really haven't put much thought into Mikage's episodes, unfortunately. I know that I came up with a really important breakthrough in her character a few months ago, but I can't remember what that was.

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#6 | Back to Top07-16-2008 06:38:54 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Wow, interesting thoughts here!  I think the thing I most want to add to this discussion is how strongly Tokiko reminds me of Ruka.  Both are "adults" who left Ohtori of their own will; both seek to protect a person they care about; both seem to understand more about what's going on than average Ohtori students; both are painted as generally good people; and yet both are intimately acquainted with Akio and don't seem to have any moral conflict about him.

What fascinates me most is this latter point, their relationship with Akio.  If Tokiko is a generally kind and empathetic person -- as she seems to be in flashbacks -- and she knows, at least by her return to campus, that Akio is a cynical puppetmaster, then why on God's green earth does she choose to associate with him?  I think it's because Tokiko is the SKU version of Gio.  She thinks Akio is really hot and it doesn't turn her off that he's such a bastard -- because she, a mature woman, can see just how petty and laughable the child-king of Ohtori is in his phallic tower.  For Tokiko, Akio is like... Marilyn Manson or Ozzie Osbourne or someone.  Isn't it just adorable how he pretends to be all special and outrageous?  Look at his silly pimpmobile!  He thinks he's a grown-up, the cutie-pie!  I want to rape him!

Or at least that's my best guess, somewhat exaggerated for effect.  The short version is that Tokiko doesn't dislike Akio in spite of his nastiness because she doesn't feel threatened by Akio (and I think the same is true of Ruka).  It's possible that flashback-Tokiko, the young woman, was just a pawn, but modern-Tokiko has long since quit the game of chess.

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#7 | Back to Top07-17-2008 04:03:11 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

I had discussed Tokiko briefly in our thread about Tatsuya.  Mostly in how she related to Mikage and how that had bearing on Mikage's opinion of Tatsuya.  But, hey, it's applicable.

Tokiko is originally the one that really desires eternity in the interactions between herself, Mikage, and Mamiya, not Nemuro.  We don't know how she comes to be in Akio's employment, though we can presume there was some quality in her Akio felt would be beneficial to his plots, otherwise she wouldn't be working for him in the first place.  Her job is to come oversee the project "to grasp eternity".  What's interesting is that she doesn't seem to be a scientist herself, more of an administrator or secretary.

But she's the right person for the job because of qualities in her personality and circumstances that speak to Nemuro.  Tokiko seems far more adult, even in flashbacks, than most of the characters in Utena.  She is self-possessed and a gracious hostess (as we see when she and Nemuro first meet).  The lipstick smears she leaves behind are also interesting...she's the only character I recall who wears makeup.  Certainly the only one about whom that fact is shoved in our faces.  I'm not entirely sure about all of the symbolism, but I think it speaks about her comparative maturity, her femininity, and her sexuality.  Because as self-possessed as she is most of the time, Tokiko has passion--she is dedicated to her brother, to the search for eternity for his sake, she is a sexualized being who trysts with Akio, she has strong feelings about wrong and right.  We see this passion burst out of her on several occasions (is it any wonder Nemuro found her fascinating?). 

This is interesting to me because in some ways it feels very traditionally "Japanese".  For the most part, Tokiko's public image is gracefully feminine and competent (without being arrogant or overbearing).  She tends to keep her family business and her sexuality reserved for privacy.  What I wonder is if she is, in fact, very good at maintaining her 'face'.  She slips up several times, after all.  It's also noteworthy to me that while she is at Ohtori, she acts as a "professional" in the workplace, but once she leaves she fulfills her female "destiny" of marriage to a man who "provides for [her] very well" (something along those lines).  Furthermore, we learn that, as adult as she seems, Tokiko at Ohtori still held on to some fairly "naive" ideals--for example, she goes to great and various lengths to preserve roses because she hates to see things die.

All this reminds me of Anthy's statement, "In the end, all girls are like the Rose Bride."  Tokiko in Nemuro's memories is someone who does a fairly good job of meeting the benchmarks of a very traditional female.  She cares for her physical appearance while remaining fairly conservative, she cooks & hosts, she defers to Nemuro's expertise (using feminine graces and compliments to cajole him into seeing her side), and she avoids public displays of strong emotion or sexuality.  Her (apparent) goal is not to be a working professional, but rather to found a family.  The reason I think of Anthy is that I wonder if Tokiko is an example of someone Ikuhara would accuse of suppressing their individuality and following society's pre-laid paths.  Because we see that Tokiko has reserves of curiosity, courage, and passion.  She is also, as the OP points out, more insightful than many characters in the series--I get the feeling she does grasp much about Akio and his plots that others miss.

I'm not saying here that the role of wife and mother isn't desirable, or is less admirable.  If it's really what you want, it's as good as any career you might choose, or any other path you might follow.  I just question if Tokiko didn't have a potential alternative destiny, and if she chose the oh-so-traditional path because she felt it was really her only viable option (because it's what she's "supposed" to do).  Her phrasing when Akio asks how she's been doing since she left Ohtori is what makes me curious.  And she comes back--why?  Is it because she role she played in her life after graduation was less exciting than the role she played while she was still at Ohtori?  Or was it really just to visit her brother's grave?

Whether or not that's what the series is implying, she's a pretty interesting and admirable character.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (07-17-2008 04:13:43 PM)


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#8 | Back to Top07-18-2008 03:55:25 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

satyreyes wrote:

I think it's because Tokiko is the SKU version of Gio.  She thinks Akio is really hot and it doesn't turn her off that he's such a bastard -- because she, a mature woman, can see just how petty and laughable the child-king of Ohtori is in his phallic tower.  For Tokiko, Akio is like... Marilyn Manson or Ozzie Osbourne or someone.  Isn't it just adorable how he pretends to be all special and outrageous?  Look at his silly pimpmobile!  He thinks he's a grown-up, the cutie-pie!  I want to rape him!

...oh god it sounds just like me. emot-gonk Especially given I'm the sort to ridicule down to absurdity things I know are dangerous. school-eng101

(Are you suggesting I'm actually a decent person? emot-mad)

rhyaniwyn wrote:

Her phrasing when Akio asks how she's been doing since she left Ohtori is what makes me curious.  And she comes back--why?  Is it because she role she played in her life after graduation was less exciting than the role she played while she was still at Ohtori?  Or was it really just to visit her brother's grave?

If her only intention was to visit his grave, why did she stop by Akio's place? It's not like one stumbles into the top floor of a tower, and I would say by her behavior she knew very well it wasn't going to be the most professional of meetings.

Everyone here is suggesting her merits, her escape from Ohtori Academy, etc, etc, so I feel obligated to take the role of (fairly literally in this case...) the devil's advocate. She does leave the school. She moves on to marry a kind and generous man, but as rhyaniwyn points out, that, and her clothes, and her overall demeanor suggest a lifestyle that doesn't leave room for the sparks of personality we see when she's still young. She has left the school, but she cast off her petals in doing so. Now, what does she mean by petals? Or what can we take her to mean? Because she's talking in the context of Akio's nasty little eternity science experiment, we assume the petals are something that should be shed. But let's see.

The obvious metaphor is that you must shed the petals of youth to bear the fruit of maturity. You could certainly take this literally to mean 'bearing children', since doing so forces the ultimate maturity on you. (Also virginity metaphor har har.) If you have children, you are no longer your own, or independent. You are you, plus your child, and all your decisions thereafter will reflect that. Maturity of that sort, in Akio's garden? Never! A child half his own is 49.9% better than anyone else around him. He might actually have to pay attention to and respect that. Ew.

Because of the advocates on either side of the argument, we naturally assume Tokiko is right, and it's good and proper and noble to shed the petals to bear the fruit. Akio certainly doesn't agree, and anything Akio thinks is most definitely wrong if not purely evil. But neither of them are right, because they both represent extremes that society, as a whole, still can't find the happy medium between.

The features of Tokiko that rhyaniwyn points out: curiosity, courage, passion, the hallmarks of youth that people shed as they 'mature'...are these bad? Must these be the price paid for what's considered the improvement? Conservative? Emotionless? With not the passion to let out an opinion as if it were your own? How's that better?

Tokiko didn't want to see roses die. She would make them atrophy, dry, so they would not shed their petals. She didn't want to lose her own, either...and yet she did, because she had to. Because to live in reality one must take their place among all the others. She didn't want that, though, and that is why she still, on occasion, returns to Ohtori Academy. She escaped, somewhat, but her heart is still there--her brother is still there. Why bury him in the school except that she felt this place more appropriate for the boy who never had to shed his petals. She realizes that's not such a bad thing, and knows he was spared a different kind of loss. There is something wrong with Ohtori Academy, she knows this, but it still has appeal, and even through her maturity, she sees the appeal is not only in the facade. If only there were a way to stay curious, courageous, passionate, and yet still be an adult. Utena and Anthy managed this, and Tokiko did not, and it's why Tokiko still returns to the garden at times, to pine for the loss of what she didn't manage to keep.


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

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#9 | Back to Top07-18-2008 05:43:05 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Neato.  :-)  I think that's part of what I was getting at.

Tokiko has her merits and, to answer the original question, YES, she is more than a pawn.   I think we have indications that she has insight into Akio's character and the nature of Ohtori that most of the others lack.

But so far as what her leaving Ohtori means... Tokiko, I feel, is a "failed" Utena in some respects.  Rather than find "a way to stay curious, courageous, passionate, and yet still be an adult," Tokiko became a Rose Bride as an adult and chose to live a generic life.  She acquiesces to the image of womanhood her society and her husband desire.  She is "engaged" to the traditional role of woman as as wife and mother.

That is why she uses the particular metaphor about fruit.  I think it does reference bearing children on one level.  Tokiko considers bearing fruit to be her ultimate destiny.  Her life would be a failure if she didn't.  She doesn't even question that eventually that is what she will have to do.  But there is a part of her that longs for a different destiny--that is what draws her to the eternity project and what drives her to preserve roses.  However, at the same time she is intelligent enough to know that there is something very wrong with the stasis of Ohtori, something corrupt in it.  She's smart enough to get out, but she's not quite courageous enough to get out and live life on her own terms.

That is one of the things that draws Mikage to her--she would certainly be a person with whom to build a family; that's the life she's heading toward.  But those signs of the suppressed Tokiko that peek through from time to time could be why Mikage finds her so fascinating.  Those moments--such as her distracted musing on eternity, her confrontation of Mamiya in the garden, her passionate kiss with Akio, her reaction to Mikage when the Memorial Hall is on fire--indicate to me that Tokiko was suppressing parts of herself in order to fit a mold.

The items that Gio pointed out: her burial of her brother at Ohtori and her visit to Akio, as well as her statement about her life and her husband suggest to me that Tokiko's innermost longings weren't fulfilled by the life she chose.  So it's not that her aspirations lined up with the very conventional adulthood she gained, it's that Tokiko had tunnel vision about that one thing.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (07-18-2008 05:44:36 PM)


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#10 | Back to Top07-18-2008 07:41:51 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Failed Utena makes some sense but there is too much iconography that suggests Mikage is the failed Utena. He was trying to be a Prince, to save Mamiya and win Tokiko. I think this is some kind of foreshadowing of the main triangle. Mikage plays the Utena role, Mamiya plays the Anthy role and Akio plays the Akio role. So where does that leave Tokiko?

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#11 | Back to Top07-18-2008 07:47:01 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

brian wrote:

Failed Utena makes some sense but there is too much iconography that suggests Mikage is the failed Utena. He was trying to be a Prince, to save Mamiya and win Tokiko. I think this is some kind of foreshadowing of the main triangle. Mikage plays the Utena role, Mamiya plays the Anthy role and Akio plays the Akio role. So where does that leave Tokiko?

There's a lot of iconography going both ways.  Mikage and Utena have the same character design.  But Mikage hallucinates Utena as Tokiko; Utena even delivers to Anthy a line identical to one we saw Tokiko delivering to Mamiya.

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#12 | Back to Top07-18-2008 08:14:35 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

brian wrote:

Failed Utena makes some sense but there is too much iconography that suggests Mikage is the failed Utena. He was trying to be a Prince, to save Mamiya and win Tokiko. I think this is some kind of foreshadowing of the main triangle. Mikage plays the Utena role, Mamiya plays the Anthy role and Akio plays the Akio role. So where does that leave Tokiko?

Wakaba? emot-gonk Sorry, I'm being facetious. emot-gonk What I really think is that Akio chooses to manipulate people around him for different ends. Some people are more important to the ends than the others, and Utena is the most obvious example of that. The entire duelling game is built around her, because it is her sword that he wants to regain the Power of Dios. Whether he always plays the duels like this, we don't know. I'm personally of the opinion that Akio changes the game to suit the pieces to suit himself, but there's no evidence of that in the series, save maybe for the fact Nemuro is never seen with a sword and Mikage is. Still, my point is this: Tokiko may have been his original target. She has many things in common with Utena, the most important being that "earnestness" that Akio makes mocking referral of later in his comment to Dios while Utena attempts to open the Rose Gate. We see this in Tokiko when she deals with her brother -- in this instance, she is the same as Utena. She wants to save him. It is not an exact corollary, because as has been pointed out Utena came into the game for Wakaba's sake and ended up caring about Anthy's fate after "winning" her, but it's the same basic principle. There's a selflessness there.

Still, as Gio and Rhyaniwyn have described, Tokiko has sides to her personality that perhaps made her less than malleable in Akio's hands. She has her uses, certainly, but she was too self-aware to be manipulated to the extent Nemuro and Utena are. This is likely where Nemuro came into play, and why he became the focus of Akio's machinations at the time of the fire and the death of the hundred boys. Nemuro was simply more gullible, or less experienced in the ways of the world. While it can be said his desire to help Mamiya was selfish -- because he wanted to earn Tokiko's love -- it is demonstrated that Nemuro held a genuine affection for Mamiya (although this affection was later to become the sensual aspect of the relationship between Anthy!Mamiya and Mikage). And it was that which drove him onwards, because he didn't know how to deal with it. Which is why the trick with Akio macking on Tokiko in his presence caused something to twist, then break.

So. Er. What was I talking about, again? Oh, yeah. Tokiko and Nemuro both have Utena-ish qualities. Obviously all three are different characters, however, hence the different fates. You don't need to exclude one in order to compare the next to the last. If anything, the fact that they all had very different endings to their stories gives you a good way of looking at the series and what might have become of them had they chosen different paths. Or been allowed to chose different paths. emot-keke

Last edited by Clarice (07-18-2008 08:15:04 PM)


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#13 | Back to Top07-18-2008 10:37:42 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Interesting, I'd forgotten that Nemuro and Mikage could be seen as two different persons.

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#14 | Back to Top07-18-2008 11:19:59 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

brian wrote:

Interesting, I'd forgotten that Nemuro and Mikage could be seen as two different persons.

I always tend to see them as separate, actually, which makes convoluted analysis of a convoluted subject even more convoluted. I etc-love this show. emot-smile


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.

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#15 | Back to Top07-19-2008 09:48:30 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Clarice wrote:

etc-wankgirl

All the while I was reading this, I kept having the same thought. If Tokiko could be seen as a failed Utena, you could ultimately view the whole affair of Mikage and Tokiko as a sort of safely failed experiment. Any result it could have had would suit Akio in some way, but if she was supposed to be Utena, what was the big problem? Her age.

Perhaps Akio originally wanted to work with an older group, or was at least seeing if that was a viable option. The 100 duelists, Nemuro, and Tokiko are all over all older than the group he has in the series. Might burning the duelists have been Akio's version of a reset button after it became obvious they were past the expiration date for his particular needs? I've always wondered that Akio ends up working with such young people. On one hand it lets him play big bad grown up, on the other, he can do that with adults, and it's even more impressive when they cower. You kinda wonder if he doesn't occasionally prefer to play with the adults, and if the game, in various incarnations that failed, didn't at some point favor them. After all, it's a strange cast he picked for this farce. Nemuro is a senior, but so computerlike that his age is almost unimportant. He's as convincing as a 30 year old, if you account for how often scientists of that age are psychologically retarded. Tokiko is also quite ahead of her age, if you count for that most people in their 30s are still trying to act older than they feel internally.

Not that this trend doesn't continue. Except for Utena, who had to be youthfully innocent and pliable, Akio seems to prefer people that act older than they are when he chooses close associates. After all, I suspect many a MILF has refused to believe Touga when he says he's 17. Or 16. Or 15. Or 14. Probably started with the MILFs pretty quick, that one. Mikage is the same situation. Artificially so or not, he's certainly no high schooler anymore. Take it far enough and I wonder if the 100 duelists, and that whole affair, wasn't designed to artificially age a group of young people to an 'adulthood' more like Akio's. Tokiko would have been part of that, but she ended up being an 'adult' in the real world instead.


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

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#16 | Back to Top07-21-2008 03:40:49 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

There seems to be a common motif of adults sacrificing their young.

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#17 | Back to Top07-21-2008 04:11:59 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

brian wrote:

There seems to be a common motif of adults sacrificing their young.

Oh oh!  There IS...and doesn't it fit in perfectly with Ikuhara's expressed theme of "young people not being able to find ways to live outside of pre-laid paths"?  Good one, brian. :-)


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#18 | Back to Top07-31-2008 10:45:17 AM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Giovanna wrote:

After all, I suspect many a MILF has refused to believe Touga when he says he's 17. Or 16. Or 15. Or 14. Probably started with the MILFs pretty quick, that one.

QUOTED FOR WINNAGE.

Tokiko I thought of as sort of like Yurika's boyfriend. They have one foot out, but there's one always one foot in.

.....is it me, or does nobody mention rose hips really in Utena? That is the fruit of the rose...


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

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#19 | Back to Top07-31-2008 06:34:01 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Akio takes the fruit of the rose and gets it drunk, opens it wide, pounds the bejeezus out of it, and then makes it into a delicious jam. school-chef


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

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#20 | Back to Top07-03-2012 11:43:00 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Am I the only one here who thinks that Tokiko was back in Ohtori to confront - or perhaps even duel - Akio instead of sleeping with him?

I mean, her rather tight tone during the following line:

Akio:  As long as they stay in this garden we call the Academy, a person will never become an adult.
Tokiko:  There's something wrong with that, though...  the chinese translation on my VCD differs slightly in that her reply is just as harsh-sounding as the tone of her voice.

And her outright defensive tone as she made the following reply:

Akio:  Are you leading a normal life?
Tokiko:  Yes, I am. My husband is a kind and generous man.

makes it seems to me like the two are engaged in thinly veiled verbal sparring.

And finally, after the shutters come down:

Tokiko:  Say, even you should know. To bear fruit, flowers have to cast off their petals.
Akio:  Yes, indeed. (The translation I got was "I know", spoken in a pained voice).

Melancholic as her tone is here, she had cornered Akio into admitting that she was right and he was wrong.

I know the planetarium shutters coming down is often associated with sex in the series, but those shutters also came down during the Duel called Revolution, where the planetarium is revealed to be the dueling arena all along; the way how there is ZERO romantic tones between the two during the meeting - but lots of opposite viewpoints and defensiveness on both parties - led to to believe in the possibility of a confrontation/duel between the two right afterwards. 

Now of course "present" Tokiko never showed up again in front of the audience, so had they fought, Tokiko was likely the one who loose . . . then again, there's also the possibility that it is because of this fight that Mikage got graduated - maybe Tokiko successfully made an arrangement with Akio (through violence or sex)such that Nemuro can be set free into the real world.

It's all pure speculation on my part, of course - but I think it's entirely possible that it happened this way.


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

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#21 | Back to Top07-03-2012 01:13:52 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Shutin, that's a really interesting idea!

For reference, the full conversation, using ohtori.nu's script:

Beat 1 wrote:

Akio:  You... It's been quite a while.
Tokiko:  The Academy has changed a lot.  Just now over there, I saw Professor Nemuro.  He hasn't aged a bit since then, just like you, hmm?
Akio:  As long as they stay in this garden we call the Academy, a person will never become an adult.
Tokiko:  There's something wrong with that, though...

Beat 2 wrote:

Akio:  Are you leading a normal life?
Tokiko:  Yes, I am. My husband is a kind and generous man.

Beat 3 wrote:

Akio:  What did you come here for today?
Tokiko:  I came to visit my brother's... Mamiya's... grave.

Beat 4 wrote:

Tokiko:  Say, even you should know. To bear fruit, flowers have to cast off their petals.
Akio:  Yes, indeed.

I can read the subtext in this conversation in about a hundred different ways, and some of them are indeed quite combative.  The most natural interpretation doesn't seem all that combative to me; Akio keeps probing to see if he still has power over Tokiko, and she keeps showing him that he doesn't, and at the end he acknowledges that he doesn't.  But if he doesn't, then what is Tokiko doing in his planetarium?  Mamiya's grave, presumably, is in the ruins of Nemuro Memorial Hall, not under Akio's couch -- unless Tokiko is speaking very metaphorically.

So we might also read it something like this:

(Beat 1)
Akio: You have no power over me.
Tokiko: Want to bet?
(Beat 2)
Akio: You're no better than me.
Tokiko: Yes I am.
(Beat 3)
Akio: What do you want?
Tokiko: To put the past behind me.
(Beat 4)
Tokiko: And there's just one more thing I have to do.
Akio: All right.

That's a badass reading, but I can't quite get past the fact that Tokiko is an old lady by now.  Can she really think she can beat Akio?  Or maybe the last thing she has to do isn't to duel him, but to fuck him, as some kind of symbolic bookend.  But I don't know if I buy it.  Tokiko seems too self-possessed to want to relive that episode, floral imagery notwithstanding.

Which leads me to a chilling third interpretation:

(Beat 1)
Akio: You got away from me.
Tokiko: Yes, I did.
(Beat 2)
Akio: How did that work out for you?
Tokiko: Fuck you.  But I felt like I was running.
(Beat 3)
Akio: What do you want?
Tokiko: To be with my brother.
(Beat 4)
Tokiko: Kill me.
Akio: All right.

And I could go on all day with more interpretations -- some focused on Mikage, some on Utena, some on Anthy...

Gio, body language clues?

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#22 | Back to Top07-03-2012 01:52:14 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Satyreyes:

Tokiko is an old lady by now

Being that this is SKU, where Professor Nemuro (early twenties?) can transform into Mikage (late teens?), I wouldn't be surprised if Tokiko can transform back into a young woman, or even teenage girl, at a blink; plus she was shown to have an affair with Akio when young . ..  maybe he passed her some of that age-manipulation magic while they're intimate?

That, and there's no fear towards Akio I can detect from the woman - who KNEW what Akio is - as she still make statements against what he stands for . . . I don't know, if Utena (originally just an athletic tomboy) and Mikage (originally just a nerdy/nutty professor) can sword fight like pros in Ohtori, who's to say that Tokiko cannot?

Edited to add:
Also, it seems to me that power and strength in SKU lies not on skill or bodily bulk, but rather, a strong mind filled with conviction (thus how Utena can beat bigger, more skillful Saionji, how seemingly invincible Mikage lost the duel the moment his conviction wavered).  "Present" Tokiko seemed like she'd be a pretty strong/powerful SKU char by this logic.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-03-2012 02:03:33 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
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#23 | Back to Top07-03-2012 03:11:13 PM

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

Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Here's the thing I see. Who else left the Academy and came back, after their lives were influenced by Akio? We can make an argument that Shiori was a normal student until she came back. But Ruka, isn't there a concept that he used to be on the Student Council? And Tokiko was directly manipulated by Akio. Isn't there a possible correlation between the two and what they wanted to accomplish?

Is there anyone else who left and came back?


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#24 | Back to Top07-03-2012 03:21:11 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Aine Silveria wrote:

And Tokiko was directly manipulated by Akio. Isn't there a possible correlation between the two and what they wanted to accomplish?

I myself always thought "present" Tokiko's appearance has to do with Mikage's graduation right next episode.  Now that you bring this up, maybe Tokiko, like Ruka, really was back to save a past loved one; whether she died right afterwards like Ruka (or did he really die?) I have no idea at all
. . .

Is there anyone else who left and came back?

I'm not sure if Tatsuya is one.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-03-2012 05:57:04 PM)


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
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#25 | Back to Top07-26-2012 08:54:36 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Tokiko - more than pawn?

Satyreyes wrote:

Mamiya's grave, presumably, is in the ruins of Nemuro Memorial Hall, not under Akio's couch

Sorry for the double post, but having rewatched the episode, I just realized that Mamiya might have no actual grave site at all, being that Tokiko laid down her roses on a plain stretch of grass away from any buildings/grave marks/Nemuro Hall etc.  Could that be because Mamiya did not leave behind a body for Tokiko to bury?  If the boy died in the fire at Nemuro Hall, then Tokiko should've left the flowers at the Hall; if he died from illness away from the Academy's grounds, then Tokiko would likely had him buried and giving a grave mark - whether close to Ohtori's grounds or not.    What actually happened to the boy on top of his being "dead"?  Could Mamiya's "death" merely meant that he "disappeared" within Ohtori and had since been beyond Tokiko's reach?  Was that part of the reason why she had to visit Akio years later?

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/9078-1/Series_ep22_113.jpg

I also noticed the shot of Prof Nemuro being flanked by research boys carrying uprooted/yet to be planted tree-sprouts that are leaveless/barren-seeming . . . I know that was supposed to signify the dry/futileness of the Professor's life back then, but now that I've watched Penguindrum, I can't help but think they're "Penguindrum Trees" related to the research - ones that continue to grow "apples" as more and more lives get sacrificed for the research . . . one of them having eventually made their way to Kanae's mouth years afterwards (I know, pure fanwank here) school-devil

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-26-2012 09:06:26 AM)


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

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