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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 Top10-31-2008 11:52:45 AM

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

Kisses

I know many fans here consider the manga sub-par, but I find it an enjoyable retelling of the story and also find it illuminating which items differ or are similar from version to version.

I was contemplating the scene in episode 39 when Dios gives Utena a kiss as "consolation" and suddenly noticed a parallel to the manga that I hadn't made note of before.

In the last part of the manga, it shows a flashback to when Utena met Dios--because the true events of that meeting have great bearing on what is happening at the end of the story (just like in the show).  If I am recalling correctly (since I don't have my copy here), it shows Dios and Utena sort of freefalling together and Dios gives her both a kiss and the ring, bestowing on her his powers/princliness.  He says if she doesn't lose her nobility, someday, she will save them.  Shortly after this flashback, Utena bestows a kiss of her own on Akio.  I was always given the impression that she "killed" herself and him by reuniting what was separated (her as the Prince and him as the anti-Prince) with that kiss.

In the last episode, Dios is speaking to Utena.  Ostensibly he says he is comforting her, congratulating her on getting so far, assuring her that her failure is not through lack of trying.  But it's obvious that he is taunting her at the same time and that his words of comfort are cruel.  He leans down to give her the kiss of consolation (recalling the kiss Utena got in her incomplete memory from her Prince) and then Utena finds the strength to stand.

The anime takes a more cynical bent here.  The truth Utena has learned about the Prince (Akio) does not match her enchanted memory, but was rather a harsh disillusionment.  That is why instead of giving her a kiss of grace, Dios gives her a kiss that bedevils her.

In an interesting turn, series-Utena does not kiss either Akio or Anthy.  Instead, she and Anthy touch hands.  Rather than romance and intimacy, we have a moment of friendship and tentative promise.

On a sort of "metaphysical" level, I think the events framed by these kisses are just the same.  An enchanted, idealistic memory turns out to be in truth a moment of sorrow - Dios's death, Anthy's torment, Utena's first glimpse of tragedy.  A romanticized kiss becomes a source of strength and the spark that drives a quest that is not destined for a fairy tale's "happy ending".  The final kiss unites the earlier naivete with the newly-learned cynicism--but under Utena's control and to her ends, which Akio hasn't managed to break although they have changed from their early fairy-tale form into something that accepts the reality that life doesn't always have happy endings and that no one is truly free of "sin."

If I'm making any sense here. :-)

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (10-31-2008 11:56:27 AM)


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#2 | Back to Top10-31-2008 04:35:17 PM

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

Re: Kisses

rhyaniwyn wrote:

In the last part of the manga, ... it shows Dios and Utena sort of freefalling together and Dios gives her both a kiss and the ring, bestowing on her his powers/princliness.  He says if she doesn't lose her nobility, someday, she will save them.  Shortly after this flashback, Utena bestows a kiss of her own on Akio.  I was always given the impression that she "killed" herself and him by reuniting what was separated (her as the Prince and him as the anti-Prince) with that kiss.

I got the impression that after manga-Dios was torn away from Akio he spotted a drowning girl, "with eyes as lost as my own", saved her and asked her to return and save the three of them. After Utena left Anthy came just before he died and made her futile effort to save him by becoming the Rose Bride.

In the manga you have the option of seeing them as literal individuals or as symbols of an idealistic youth becoming a corrupt adult. In both cases Akio thinks he has or can absorb both roles. He uses the afterglow of Dios to attract Utena to him and then rubs her nose in his cynicism and corruption. He never expected Utena to put friendship and duty ahead of love. Possibly neither did Dios or perhaps Dios knew from the start that that was the only good resolution.

I don't have my thoughts together but it seems like that kisses and near-kisses are usually signs of parting, especially in the manga. Anthy's embrace of Utena during the "consummation ceremony" is clearly a goodbye and so is Utena's last kiss of Akio. Weddings and consummations symbolize things lost as well as things gained.

If kisses symbolize parting perhaps the ring symbolizes the transfer of courage or obligation. That's evident in the manga when Dios gives his ring to the young suicidal girl, again when he gives it to her when she thinks that she has killed Anthy, and again when Utena gives the ring to Anthy after she kills Akio.

Edit: Now I am wondering what Utena's two swords mean. Perhaps resolution or the need for action. Both swords come from Anthy, the first one stems from her loss of Dios and the second formed from the coffin she was placed in after she loses Utena. The rings come from Dios/Akio and the swords from Anthy. The rings lead Utena to the swords. Where was I going? I forgot. Perhaps both swords are forged out of coffins.

The coffins probably symbolize despair so perhaps the swords are hope.

Last edited by brian (10-31-2008 04:50:23 PM)

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