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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 Top11-16-2006 03:59:59 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

A post in the violence thread spurred me to make this topic, which I've been toying with for a bit.

This is in reference to Touga being sliced by Saionji:

Ivy-chan wrote:

It's interesting how we don't see any sense of regret or even anger from him over that scene, he seems to take it all in stride. Touga's not much of a reactor, especially compared to the other Duelists. That scene emphasizes how aloof he is, or at least how emotionally closed he is. We hardly see anguish or pain on his face, even when he's angsting away to his symphony tapes.

One of the interesting differences between Akio and Touga is how different they are emotionally, both in how they present themselves and how they react to others.

Touga acts indifferent to his fellow student council members, in the first arc he tends only to do what's necessary to make them follow the set plan Ends of the World is pushing. This includes Saionji and Nanami who should have some bearing on him, however he treats them as pawns to further his grab for power to the extent of allowing Saionji to be expelled and Nanami to have an emotional breakdown after losing to Utena. Speaking of Utena, Touga portrays himself as her prince to gain the edge needed to survive the Move that Wins Battle, going to great lengths to appear princely to her. He does this through actions more than words, as his dialogue with her is faily detached for someone trying to get closer to her. He favours appearing princely in a general sense and letting Utena fill in the blanks on her own, which is a good strategy since he is not, in fact, her prince and wouldn't want to make a faux pas by being overly familiar.

While Akio, to the contrary, immediatly seeks direct emotional involvement with Utena. Using Anthy as a springboard, Akio establishes a big brother/psychologist/mentor/love interest relationship pretty much from day one. It's not simplyl that he is the closest living thing to Utena's perfect image of the prince, Akio is intimate with absolutely everyone he comes into contact with. In convincing the student council members to duel, Touga may put the moves on Kozue to spur Miki into dueling; Akio with drag Miki along on his date with Kozue. All it takes for Akio to change someone's world view is one drive in his car. It's only on the inside that he is removed from those around them.

Again oppositely, Touga buries any real attachments he feels under a veneer of cool sophistication. After beating Utena in their first duel, he pursues her as he would any other student of Ohtori, expecting her to come around to him easily. Her rejection of his courtship and then defeat of him in the arena sends him moping to his room until Akio drags him out for a ride. As he tries to sort out his feelings for Utena, Touga attempts to emulate Akio's easy relationship with her, to the extent of taking her horse back riding (which ends up favouring Akio far more.) and finally being as near honest with her as he's likely been to anyone. As soon as Akio has what he needs from Utena (A soul sword which has reached the requirements needed for the duel of Revolution.) he drops any pretense, treating her as coldly as a stranger.


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#2 | Back to Top11-16-2006 07:36:31 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

I think Touga's used to working with an emotional distance. It's kinda necessary for him as a MACK DADDY SCHOOL PIMP. Girls don't quite fall for him (none of them know who he is), they fall for the distant, vaguely unobtainable status figure. Though not entirely dependent on it, his success with women hinges on a careful balance of intimacy (predictable intimacy) and distance. He does, after all, have to juggle a large number of women operating on the distant assumption they're the only one, or might become the only one. This has probably bled into Touga's overall manipulative strategy, he draws by being desirable but distant, so people come after him. Even at his most aggressive, he makes himself a lure and means for people to follow. (Didn't go well with the Utena.)

Akio's approach is more personal, but he also deals with fewer people at a time. Akio doesn't have a small army of floozies to manage, and he doesn't often want that balance of intimacy and distance. Most of the time, he only gets close to people whose heads need to be pulled wide open to suit his purposes. That needy distance isn't necessary, so Akio doesn't necessarily draw people to him. He's quite willing to go after the people he wants. After all, they don't resist him, do they?

[ducking flying rotten veggies] Perhaps Touga's preference for people coming after him is related to a need for the ego-boost?

Oh that's right, I went there.


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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#3 | Back to Top11-16-2006 07:53:51 PM

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

Re: Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

Ragnarok wrote:

As soon as Akio has what he needs from Utena (A soul sword which has reached the requirements needed for the duel of Revolution.) he drops any pretense, treating her as coldly as a stranger.

You know, my whole problem with this theory is one tiny ass moment towards the end of 39. When Utena starts lurching towards the Rose Gate, or however it's called, Akio is talking to her, and walking casually towards her, but as soon as she really starts bowing over, he steps a bit faster, then it cuts to her really starting to fall, cuts to Akio starting to trot (not really run, but faster then a speedy walk), and then he catches her. That scene just grates me. It seems like the animators are trying to...I dunno, make him seem like he might possibly care for Utena? And maybe they did that just so they could get the big dramatic face-shoving shot (which is plenty symbolic in it's own, I suppose), but...no matter the reasoning, even though he's got a look of contempt as he's holding her up, it's just so wrong, and somehow so out of character for him to actually speed up to catch her. I could see Akio at that point just walking past her, or even stepping over her, like discarded trash -which in his mindset at the time, she pretty much was.


I dunno. Just grates. Doesn't seem right.


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

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#4 | Back to Top11-16-2006 08:30:35 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
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Re: Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

Gio posted a good interpretation of that in the Untold Story thread:

Giovanna wrote:

I've always juggled a couple different interpretations of that moment. Originally I thought he caught her simply because catching her would get her away from the gate, which would have been more comfortable for him. I still think there was a bit of that there, but also, there must be some of that prince instinct left in him, enough that he'd do the princely thing when it suited him, and it would suit him just then. Aside from that, letting her fall breaks a decorum Akio keeps up on principle for his own ends. He's a dick, but letting Utena fall when he's perfectly able to catch her would be completely classless. I'm sure he was quite indifferent to her suffering and couldn't care less if she dropped dead, but while he is a gigantic bastard, he's not rude. Rudeness would be unbecoming, a force such as himself doesn't need to be reduced to such things.

I agree with everything except, if Akio does want Utena away from the gate to any degree I think he'd be likely to remove her, if necessary. I don't get the feeling he saw any danger in Utena being near the gate. (Until it changed into Anthy's coffin, obviously.) I also like to believe that it's more than just instinct which prompts him, because as twisted and self-involved as he is, I don't think Akio's void of goodness. I'd say he's more likely to do good without reward than to do evil without motive.

There's also the tears he sheds just after Utena's been stabbed. I wouldn't say those tears are for Utena herself, but I don't think they're just a show for Anthy's sake. She knows him too well to fall for false emotions. Anthy and Akio have known each other for so long that they've got to be brutally honest with each other, pleasentries will have lost all meaning between them. (To throw in another contrast to Touga, his relationship with Nanami is again on the other side of the spectrum. He can completely screw with her head by saying a single line. And yet as his ride with her in Akio's car shows, he doesn't really understand what she values in their relationship; what it is she really wants.) Akio doesn't need to convince Anthy to hand him Utena's sword, he can pick it up himself if need be. Likewise, Anthy's not in a position to refuse taking the swords of hate until after her coffin is open, so Akio's not crying to get her into position there either.

That said, Akio's not the type to, for example, belch out loud just because no one's around to hear it. He holds himself to some high standards.


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#5 | Back to Top11-17-2006 12:30:41 AM

Ivy-chan
Unfulfilled Juror
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 232

Re: Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

I must disagree, as I  don't think Anthy and Akio do brutal honesty even in the privacy of their own phallic-shaped tower. Every interaction we've seen with them has been incredibly subtle. They've mastered this high art form of communicating without actually saying anything.  Akio, when he's talking about how he discovered a star, doesn't say: 'Stay away from Utena. Your involvement with her is worrying and will go nowhere." Anthy doesn't go right out and say: "Oniisama, you are lower than dirt to me right now."  They manage to express these sentiments very well in their own way, but never in a million years would I see that as 'brutal honesty'. If anything, their interactions have become more like an old, tiresome game that they continue to play, I don't see Akio's tears as anything but a show, and I believe Anthy knows very well that it's nothing but a show. That scene struck me as one they've already played out before, and neither of them even bothers to show an emotional display over it.  Akio has tears running down his face, but his actual expression is zero, and his voice is not affected by sorrow. Anthy, too, is calm, expressionless. Very rehearsed.


If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
-Isaac Newton

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#6 | Back to Top11-17-2006 02:08:39 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: Let's get emotional! Touga/Akio

Well there is a difference between being honest and being blunt. I suppose it depends how you define brutal honesty, but I meant it in terms that Anthy and Akio aren't capable of keeping secrets from each other. They can still dress their words up to sound nice and at the same time lay into each other as if they hadn't. When Akio asks Anthy what she thinks of Utena, she doesn't want to respond and tries to change the subject. It would be much easier for her to just lie to him, and she certainly has no qualms with being decietful to anyone else in the series.

Ivy-chan wrote:

If anything, their interactions have become more like an old, tiresome game that they continue to play, I don't see Akio's tears as anything but a show, and I believe Anthy knows very well that it's nothing but a show.

In a way their dialogues are being staged for the benefit of the viewer and though the series doesn't break the fourth wall at any point to my memory, it's plausible to say that they're performing roles they can both see through. Even so, I have a hard time with the tears. After the duel ends the curtains have come down. I don't know, is crying after victory the princely thing to do? At the least, if it's still an act then it's bad acting, something Akio isn't known for. If he's still playing the role he'd play it to the hilt, not half-ass it in the denouement.


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