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Gougai! Gougai!

Hey I know you have opinions, put them in here! Translation suggestions for episodes 25-39, thanks all for your help!

ALSO!!! After the Revolution is now translated, scanlated, and ready for consumption! Thanks to everyone that's helped out! Ayu, you're awesome. Download here!

#1 | Back to Top01-05-2009 11:17:37 PM

StarlightArcher
Miki Molester
From: Texas
Registered: 12-06-2006
Posts: 30

The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I've been re-thinking those last episodes and the final duel. The Million Swords of Hatred, and their purported hatred of the prince. SKU's a series built on a foundation of symbolism and intentional vagueness. While Akio claims the swords aim is to hurt the prince and halt the revolution he brings...how seriously can the viewer believe this?

From the limited images the series provides, the prince doesn't appear to be target. Only once do the swords turn against a "prince" and her true achievement of "prince-ness" is widely debated. The true target of the swords appears to be the Rose Bride. So was the prince ever in danger from the swords? The mob attacked Anthy after it condemned her a witch. Why did they have swords at all? To destroy the overworked savior of all princesses? That seems to run counter to what they pleaded of Dios. I find it hard to believe the swords were ever intended for the prince. Not then and not during the series.

It isn't till Utena opens the coffin and reveals Anthy that they turn toward her. Why? Yes the swords represent hatred, but more likely they represent fear. Fear of change, fear (like many of the characters have) of life beyond the status-quo. Fear seems to be as equal a motivator in the series as any other emotion. Negative emotions such as jealousy, hatred, malice have their origins in fear.

So, what is the ultimate (and original) purpose of the swords? Who is their true target?

I'd be interested  to hear someone else's thoughts or research on the subject.


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#2 | Back to Top01-05-2009 11:34:05 PM

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

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

The swords of hatred is my favorite image in SKU ever, but I'm almost at loss for what to think about them because they're so mysterious. I'll try, though.

I really never saw the swords of hatred as being directed toward the prince at all, only the rose bride. The swords of hatred represent the people's... well, hatred out of fear, but in an almost misogynistic way their hatred is only directed at Anthy, the hated witch who dared to take the prince away from all of the other girls who aren't witches, but submissive princesses who needed to be saved. One way I view a modern-day witch myself (as I kind of am one) is self-empowerment, and a witch is often seen as a role of feminine power. In society there is still that stigma of the much-hated witch who is a hag and casts curses and is cast in the darkness and judged as a villain because her self-empowerment is feared and resented. That is how the townspeople are judging Anthy. She took action into her own hands and chose to save the prince herself, taking on a role of power for a woman. The "witch" accusations fit with this because the townspeople hate and fear what she is doing and isolate her from "normal" girls by labeling her as the villain/witch.

Another thing I've noticed is that in the very beginning of the series there are two or three different scenes where something happens to Touga, Saionji, or Miki and Nanami's henchwoman (before they are her henchwoman I guess) all gang up on Anthy at various points and blame it all on her. To me this was like forshadowing of the swords of hatred, or some kind of reality/less symbolic version of it in a way. They were being hateful toward Anthy for basically taking away their "princes." Every single time Anthy was seen as the one to blame even though by appearance alone she would just seem like a quiet shy girl who didn't deserve that kind of treatment. It is as if all/most of the girls (princesses) have some kind of internal hatred/fear toward Anthy because they know what she has done.

I'm sure there are other views of the swords of hatred, but that was just one way I saw it.

I'm sorry if that was a little muddled. I really need to do a rewatch soon too. (:

Last edited by SleepDebtFairy (01-05-2009 11:37:09 PM)


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#3 | Back to Top01-06-2009 02:01:28 AM

End of the Tour
Ballgoer
From: The Nowhere Islands
Registered: 09-11-2008
Posts: 143

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I see them pretty literally.  The masses of common people do have lots of anger - I mean, they're people, and they lead frustrating lives - but the targets of this anger aren't always selected for the best of reasons.  Witches, for example, are a very convenient scapegoat, both in real world history and in Utena history, and even though this worked against Dios when the swords first pierced his sister, he surely recognizes their usefulness now.  Better they be distracted by a witch than go after someone who's trying to usurp an unspecified godly power, which they just might well do.

But suddenly the witch vanishes, and the swords are left confused.  And then the sealed coffin is disturbed, and the swords notice not only that the status quo is being disturbed, but that it's being disturbed by a girl, and that she's rescuing their witch.  And, well, they go crazy; in swords-as-anger terms, it's suddenly mass riots rather than a simple witch trial.

As for why this sort of anger takes the form of these oddly reactive swords at that time, well, it Utena.  Moreover, what Akio's trying to do is the absolute high point of symbolic-made-literal - in terms of using soul swords, at any rate - so perhaps it's natural, in a way, that the masses of angry commoners who weren't worth consideration by Mikage get their turn in the arena.


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#4 | Back to Top01-06-2009 04:02:10 AM

Nanami's Rose Groom
Rose Assignee
From: Czluchow, Northern Poland
Registered: 04-07-2007
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

One thing about the swords concerns me. Akio seemed to know, what is going to happen if Utena will open the Rose Gate without the use of Prince's sword. Does that mean that the existence of the swords was useful for him for some reasons I can't see?


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#5 | Back to Top01-06-2009 10:49:56 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8700
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Nanami's Rose Groom wrote:

One thing about the swords concerns me. Akio seemed to know, what is going to happen if Utena will open the Rose Gate without the use of Prince's sword. Does that mean that the existence of the swords was useful for him for some reasons I can't see?

Well they certainly keep Anthy in check. Actually I always assumed he thought that if Anthy was released, the swords would go after him. But I agree with the thoughts above, that the anger and frustration of the people really isn't necessarily reasonable enough to choose the right target. Ironically, if that will were properly directed, they wouldn't need a prince at all...but then, the lack of confidence and judgment that people seem to be plagued with were the lifeblood of both Dios and Akio. I always got the impression Anthy wasn't especially popular a figure to begin with--her clothes don't suggest the sister of a prince, she looks like an outcast already. Why, when the sister of a prince is logically a princess?

But just a wild thought I had that's worth throwing in for mindbreaky--what if the swords don't belong to the people? They still represent unrestrained and violent fear, but...what if it was Dios' fear instead? Stay with me here. Dios as the prince is a very strong force, and capable of violence when necessary. His reasoned judgment slaughters dragons, but he's also portrayed as a child, and that presumed mental youth means he's capable of unreasoned direction of those forces that Dios portrayed as an adult might have had more control over. If he becomes truly terrified of something, whose to say his drive to save overrides his self-sacrificing will? A deeper seated, almost Freudian defense mechanism that would not choose the people for its target when it's Anthy's behavior that has frightened Dios. The people clamor for his attention when he cannot really give it, that sucks and it's pressure and it may kill him, but it's not quite something that would put an overwhelming fear of loss of identity (rather than life) into him. Anthy's behavior would. She has 'convinced' him to do nothing. To lose his identity. People react violently, irrationally, and often not to their benefit when faced with something that might change them. Even when it's for the better. A person who has come to identify themselves as an alcoholic will fight giving it up because they fear what's unknown, what they'll be after that, because it's unknown.

As to why the swords still exist...well, Akio has as much reason as Dios to fear Anthy, if not more. She's the one snag in Akio's self-concept.

I have to shut up now before I get in trouble at work.


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#6 | Back to Top01-06-2009 01:08:22 PM

StarlightArcher
Miki Molester
From: Texas
Registered: 12-06-2006
Posts: 30

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

what if it was Dios' fear instead?

Hadn't thought of this, but it makes incredible sense! I was wondering why a creature as old & crafty as Akio himself would allow herself to be repeatedly mutilated. She's been in the game as long as Akio. She realizes she's a pivot point around which the whole scheme swings. How does she not realize that the swords were never really intended for him, but always for her, and why does she continue to play the game? Guilt perhaps?

Her actions of "sealing him away" was something more than he was capable of then. It would give Dios reason to fear her. Anthy would probably feel guilty that the noble prince Dios has devolved into Akio a rather sham of a prince. Akio would have similar reasons to fear her. She's a powerful player & he needs to have bait each time the game starts afresh.

Could this [Dios/Akio's fear] possibly be a reason the swords turned against Utena after she opened the coffin?


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#7 | Back to Top01-06-2009 03:04:57 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

StarlightArcher wrote:

what if it was Dios' fear instead?

Hadn't thought of this, but it makes incredible sense! I was wondering why a creature as old & crafty as Akio himself would allow herself to be repeatedly mutilated. She's been in the game as long as Akio. She realizes she's a pivot point around which the whole scheme swings. How does she not realize that the swords were never really intended for him, but always for her, and why does she continue to play the game? Guilt perhaps?

Her actions of "sealing him away" was something more than he was capable of then. It would give Dios reason to fear her. Anthy would probably feel guilty that the noble prince Dios has devolved into Akio a rather sham of a prince. Akio would have similar reasons to fear her. She's a powerful player & he needs to have bait each time the game starts afresh.

Could this [Dios/Akio's fear] possibly be a reason the swords turned against Utena after she opened the coffin?

Oh wow, I really like this idea. I admit I never gave much thought to it before, but I think this serves as a really interesting explanation.

My question is, with such a massive, overwhelming surge of swords that look so angrily animated, there must be a reason for that too, especially their sheer number. It could just as easily have been one sword.

I'm no good at interpreting stuff, so I'll leave that to whoever wants to have a go at it. >.<


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#8 | Back to Top01-06-2009 05:43:14 PM

pojypojy
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From: Italy
Registered: 01-05-2009
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Just a passing thought... I don't know if the influence of Kanashimi no Belladonna on Utena has ever been discussed here. When I rewatched the SKU finale after seeing KnB (if you're not familiar with it, here's the trailer and a rather disjointed review I did), I couldn't help but see the parallels between Jeanne and Anthy.

Warning: spoilers for Kanashimi no Belladonna, aka Belladonna of sadness.

Both diverted the rage of an angry mob on themselves to save the man they loved; both were in some sort of power struggle with an evil overlord (although the Count in KnB is a more straightforward kind of villain than subtle, scheming Akio) who lusts after them and abuses them; both were witches and therefore loved and feared at the same time.

(ETA: I also find it very Anthy-like that Jeanne, when selling her soul to become a witch, expresses the desire to "do bad things". Which is kinda puzzling as there's nothing really *bad* in what she does after the transformation - although being subversive re: the current morality can be seen as "bad" - but I also see it as her will to embrace all sides of her human nature, which is what Anthy does eventually.)

If we see Anthy through the Belladonna POV, her taking the swords is like Jeanne's gang rape scene: she's the archetype of all those who are oppressed, abused by the established power, and used as a scapegoat especially because they have the potential to subvert the status quo. KnB is a 70s film with strong overtones about feminism and the sexual revolution of the time, so it's mainly about subverting patriarchy and sexual taboos; SKU takes it to a broader meaning - "revolutionize the world" might mean something different to each person.

So what are the swords? I think I fall in some middle ground among the previous posts; the swords embody fear and hatred of the world, but at the same time, they are also Akio's way to keep some... balance in the Force, so to speak. When Anthy gets rid of the swords thanks to Utena, and she goes in the outside world basically saying "I'm not taking this shit anymore, kthnxbai", Akio doesn't die or disappear - but he's been kicked off his throne. So yeah, they are his own fear of losing control over Anthy (whom eventually, like Jeanne, has the *real* spiritual power opposed to material power), and probably also Dios' fear. I agree with Giovanna that Anthy's ultimate act of love, willingly sacrificing herself in his place, probably scared him more than anything else. I mean, even Harry Potter was rather anvilicious on the "sacrificing for love is the strongest kind of spell" theme! emot-rolleyes In a way, that act made Anthy the "real" prince in that situation, and that might have felt... threatening. Mmmh, now I'm going to say something obvious, but perhaps Akio was born exactly because Dios' nature couldn't handle such an unprincely feeling.

Aaaand I'm not sure any of this makes sense but it's almost two AM... and it shows, lol.

Last edited by pojypojy (01-06-2009 06:59:35 PM)

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#9 | Back to Top01-07-2009 02:43:13 AM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

The idea of fear as a prime mover makes a lot of sense to me. However, I think there may be one more important emotion at work here. Please bear with me as I ramble a bit in an effort to organize my thoughts.

Let's consider exactly what the Swords of Hate do for a moment. Akio implies that the swords would go after him without the Rose Bride to be his meat-shield. But they don't; the swords instead went after Utena who was trying to save Anthy. Not a single stray blade of that million pays Akio any mind, in fact. I previously thought the main point of this was that Utena was more of a prince than Akio in the end, but maybe there's more to it.

I think the behavior of the swords is directly related to his fall. Anthy was the only target of the angry mob, just as she is the primary target of the swords. As mad and foolish as the people were, I assume they knew that killing their savior for a lapse in his performance would not be the brighest idea. The witch who spirited him away from them was a perfect target for their rage, of course. So my theory is that the swords are there to torment the Rose Bride first and formost, not the Prince as Akio implies, and they may also attack anyone who genuinely tries to save her.

Getting around to my point, Dios failed to do anything to save Anthy when the people attacked her. Even if it was what she wanted, even if there was nothing Dios could do in that situation, even if the mob would have killed him if he found a way to interfere, it was still his ultimate failure as a savior archetype. Though it's hard to put one's self in the Prince's shoes, it's easy to imagine how he might feel for causing a loved one to suffer through his inaction: Guilt. Sure, Akio seems to blame Anthy for everything, but I have a hunch that on some level he still blames himself.

While it's clear to me that originally the swords embodied the panic and fury of the world's people, perhaps by by the time the series takes place, the "hate" which drives the Million Swords is at least partly "self-loathing."

That's what I currently think, anyway.

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#10 | Back to Top01-07-2009 11:26:13 AM

End of the Tour
Ballgoer
From: The Nowhere Islands
Registered: 09-11-2008
Posts: 143

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Giovanna wrote:

Actually I always assumed he thought that if Anthy was released, the swords would go after him.

Hmm, the swords do whirl around destructively a lot before actually focusing on Utena.  Maybe the reason they don't focus on Akio is that he, er, had gotten the fuck out of there by then?  I mean, we don't see him anywhere in those shots near the end, do we?


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#11 | Back to Top01-07-2009 03:29:32 PM

hollow_rose
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From: Ohio
Registered: 10-26-2008
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I always wonder why the swords don't head for Akio, since he's standing there with the sword of Dios. Aren't the swords supposed to aim for the Prince, and Anthy took them in his stead? Do they seek to punish the witch for locking the prince away? Or do they head towards the Prince first? Why do they go towards Utena in the end? Does that mean she has become the Witch (to save Anthy from that fate) or do the swords flock to her because she is the new Prince?  The ending brings up all sorts of fun interpretations.


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#12 | Back to Top01-07-2009 05:37:44 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

hollow_rose wrote:

I always wonder why the swords don't head for Akio, since he's standing there with the sword of Dios. Aren't the swords supposed to aim for the Prince, and Anthy took them in his stead? Do they seek to punish the witch for locking the prince away? Or do they head towards the Prince first? Why do they go towards Utena in the end? Does that mean she has become the Witch (to save Anthy from that fate) or do the swords flock to her because she is the new Prince?  The ending brings up all sorts of fun interpretations.

Actually, it's Anthy who has the sword of Dios. She takes the swords of hate by drawing them with that. Meanwhile Akio is using Utena's soul sword on the gate, until it breaks. The swords stop when the gate transforms into Anthy's coffin but they stay in place and don't reorient on anything. When the coffin is opened a little the swords break away from where Anthy was, the sword of Dios doesn't appear there, though it's hard to pick one sword out from several. The swords get annoyed while Utena and Anthy have their moment, but it's not until Anthy falls that they focus on Utena. And the stairs. And the couches. And the projector. Just about anywhere, really.

My thoughts on that would be the sword of Dios draws the swords in, when Anthy's coffin is opened she ceases to be punished for sealing Dios away and ceases to contain the power of Dios within herself. This itself causes Anthy and her coffin to plunge away, they no longer have any support on their own to stay floating against reality. Utena in that moment becomes (as close to being) a prince (as possible) within the nature of the show or in the estimate of the swords. So they go for her first and, unsatisfied (either with an uneternal target or one that slips away) they wreck up the place. And then where do they go?

... this is all kind of offtopic, isn't it? I'll try better later.


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#13 | Back to Top01-07-2009 07:43:25 PM

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

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I think Ragnarok is on to something. If I remember correctly the swords don't focus on Utena until after she decides she is a fake. Maybe they go after her and Akio and everything else because they go after FAKE or FAILED princes like Utena and Akio. Maybe Anthy is worried about the swords because she knows they will see Utena as a failure as she must be because only Anthy can rescue herself.

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#14 | Back to Top01-07-2009 11:17:25 PM

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

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

OnionPrince wrote:

Let's consider exactly what the Swords of Hate do for a moment. Akio implies that the swords would go after him without the Rose Bride to be his meat-shield. But they don't; the swords instead went after Utena who was trying to save Anthy. Not a single stray blade of that million pays Akio any mind, in fact. I previously thought the main point of this was that Utena was more of a prince than Akio in the end, but maybe there's more to it.

I agree with you. I remember the scene where Utena in pink dress is pointing a sword at Akio - this was the gesture that determined her as a prince. She was a defender, she was an essence of prince-like devotion. I presume Utena's behaviour turned Anthy into princess - her dress at the end of the series suits a real lady.

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#15 | Back to Top01-07-2009 11:57:26 PM

StarlightArcher
Miki Molester
From: Texas
Registered: 12-06-2006
Posts: 30

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

hollow_rose wrote:

... Why do they go towards Utena in the end? Does that mean she has become the Witch (to save Anthy from that fate) or do the swords flock to her because she is the new Prince?

I've been wondering about this as well. The concept of princes, princesses, witches (and who can be who) as defined by the Utenaverse. During the Shadow play in episode 34, they explain the fate of sisters & princes.

shadow:  And I am your - sister.
shadow:  I'm the only one who can't become your princess! ...
shadow:  Women who can't be princesses have no choice but to become witches.


Yet, this runs counter to folklore, history, common sense and genetics. Realizing this is the Utenaverse and not a grounded in common sense, it's still hard to fathom. Being a sister of a prince (ie - sharing a common lineage & bloodline) would make her the only valid claimant for "princess-hood." This implies the romantic aspect of the typical prince-princess relationship. "I'm the only one who can't become your princess!"

However, later in the series, we see them have a full blown sexual relationship. Since the sibling boundary has been breached, does this make Anthy a princess? Since only women who can have romantic/sexual encounters with him are counted princesses....does the fact that they now have a sexual relationship make her a princess? Probably not. The show seems to be more reliant on symbolism than truth (spoken or technical). So, with Princess-on-a-technicality out of the running, Anthy still appears to be the witch. The Swords still react to her as one. Still by their nature display fear, aggression and guilt toward the empowered person who took action (correct or not).

When Utena finally opens the coffin, I think it can be interpreted as Anthy's redemption. That there is acceptance for her in the world, as something other than the Rose Bride. There's a strong case to be made as to why she falls away. Utena's shown her acceptance, but Anthy also has to forgive & accept herself. But here Utena shows she too is an empowered female. She pushes aside Akio, the resident prince, to save the beloved one. She's behaving just like a prince, but she's also behaving like Anthy (the witch) did all those years ago. Does Utena's gender condemn her to being a witch, or can the titles of prince & witch be used in a broader scale, blind to gender?

I don't know. With both the show & creators so vague, not sure we'll ever know definitely. Perhaps that's what makes it so tantalizing! school-eng101

Last edited by StarlightArcher (01-08-2009 12:00:00 AM)


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#16 | Back to Top01-08-2009 12:31:02 AM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2506
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

(I'm trippy, hopefully this will be in complete sentences. emot-gonk )

I assumed the same about how they'd go after Akio if Anthy was gone.


When they first showed up, swords in hand, their original reasoning was the prince wasn't doing enough for their sorry asses, and someone needed to do something for it. Anthy went and told them no, standing between them and Dios, where Akio is more than happy to try and stay, but still tried to be a prince anyway to open the gate, while hiding behind a little girl.  As long as Anthy was defiant to them, they'd go after her.

When Utena came, and Anthy decided to take her hand, she stopped being in the way, and Akio stopped being the prince, as Utena saved her, and they went after her instead, since Akio was clearly not a prince. Cause really, Akio has no excuse to not save Anthy, except being a sissy. It sounded kinda like it was some weird incest thing they way they talked about in it play and such, but seriously, I don't think that would bother either of them. They clearly have NO problem with the act, nor what people think, I'm pretty sure he's just hiding. While Utena's being a girl to save the princess is probably still seen as bad, being both the unacceptable gender thing, and being gay, she still wasn't afraid of it, and did it, making her able to be the prince where Akio couldn't.


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#17 | Back to Top01-08-2009 02:24:16 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Shadow Play Girls wrote:

Women who can't be princesses have no choice but to become witches.

I have a couple thoughts on this. One would be that, as SKU is about growing up, the labels of princess and witch don't get applied to a girl until she becomes an 'adult.' (Likewise, a boy doesn't become a prince or a... uhm, 'an Akio' until adulthood.) As such, it's my belief that the series ends with Utena ultimately crossing over from the transitional period of adolescence into true adulthood. (This causes her to be ejected from Ohtori, where no one can grow up. ["Gardens called schools" Akio says, probably an Eden thing but I digress.]) The traditional choices for Utena would be either to become a princess or a witch and it's also implied, by Anthy's role as both these things, that neither of those are a good objective. So, thankfully, Utena is the revolutionary girl who dreamed of becoming a prince rather than a princess; and when she comes to realize being a prince isn't a realistic dream in the real world, transcends both the traditional gender roles and Ohtori's fairytale roles.

In that way, the swords of hate may be trying to prevent Utena from getting away; much as the unnamed black cars do in the movie. (I recall there being a topic comparing the swords and the cars.)


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#18 | Back to Top01-09-2009 07:19:36 AM

pojypojy
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From: Italy
Registered: 01-05-2009
Posts: 33
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Ragnarok wrote:

My thoughts on that would be the sword of Dios draws the swords in, when Anthy's coffin is opened she ceases to be punished for sealing Dios away and ceases to contain the power of Dios within herself. This itself causes Anthy and her coffin to plunge away, they no longer have any support on their own to stay floating against reality. Utena in that moment becomes (as close to being) a prince (as possible) within the nature of the show or in the estimate of the swords. So they go for her first and, unsatisfied (either with an uneternal target or one that slips away) they wreck up the place. And then where do they go?

... this is all kind of offtopic, isn't it? I'll try better later.

After rewatching the episode, I think this is the theory that rings truer to me, as long as factual interpretation goes. Besides, I tend to think that the swords were never after Akio - because the moment he became Akio, he couldn't possibly be the prince at the same time. After all, Akio is Dios without his prince-ness, embodied by the sword (and I think Anthy was able to be the keeper of the sword because, no matter her later corruption that sort of went along with Akio's, she was capable of an act of selflessness that he couldn't do).

And a not totally related question on chronology, but I don't feel like opening a new topic just for that... When Utena has that flashback/dream of Dios in the coffin scene, and Dios shows her a younger Anthy already attacked by the swords - shouldn't that mean the "Dios" Utena remembers is indeed Akio? Stupid question, I know, but I wanted to make that clear emot-keke;; emot-redface

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#19 | Back to Top01-09-2009 11:27:21 AM

P.D.M.
Touga Topper
From: Budapest, Hungary
Registered: 06-24-2008
Posts: 54

Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

pojypojy asked:
And a not totally related question on chronology, but I don't feel like opening a new topic just for that... When Utena has that flashback/dream of Dios in the coffin scene, and Dios shows her a younger Anthy already attacked by the swords - shouldn't that mean the "Dios" Utena remembers is indeed Akio? Stupid question, I know, but I wanted to make that clear.

Yes he is. Those two change size and age any way they like.
Another example for this is the mother of all mindfucks Akio gives Mikage. In Mikage's past, we see an adoult Akio seduce Tokiko. Just before Mikage loses to Utena due to being "distracted by the revelation", he realises that it's been decades since he last saw Mamiya.
Utena's car accident (at the time of the show) was 6 to 10 years ago, depending on who you ask about her age.
She first meet's Dios and the Witch as childs. But at Ohtori, they don't look a day older than the time Akio was fooling around with Tokiko. So they can do whatever they like with their age, and they probably gained eternety, or something.





By the way, as for the swords, I think they primarily go after the Witch, and secondarily after the party that saves her. After all, Anthy disappeared the moment the gate turned into the coffin. Maybe Akio was saying that they are coming for the prince because he believes himself to be the prince, and simultaniously the only one capable of saving Anthy (ha was sipping a cocktail through a straw watching Utena try, for pete's sake).
Akio probably knows what the swords are about, hence him screaming for Utena to gat away before they slice her up. Maybe utena's success qualifies har as a prince. (But then what do we make out of the fact that she fails?)
...
...
And I lost my train of thought, forgot all about what I wanted to say (probably something about Akio being serious about rescueing Anthy). But don't we all? Cheers!


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#20 | Back to Top01-09-2009 03:09:50 PM

rhyaniwyn
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From: Tallahassee, FL
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I really do have a lot to say about the swords, but I don't have much time at the moment.

Regarding the flashback to Utena's childhood, I think it's important to remember Utena's reason for hiding.

girl:  My father and mother died today.
girl:  And there was one coffin left over.
girl:  It must have been meant for me.
girl:  Being alive is kind of sickening.
girl:  It's sickening...
girl:  Why does everyone go on living knowing they'll end up dying anyway?
girl:  I wonder why I never realized that until today.
girl:  Eternity couldn't possibly exist, could it?
girl:  And so, it's all right now.
girl:  I will never leave this coffin.
Saionji:  But someone will find you, eventually.
girl:  Then I'll just go hide in another coffin.
girl:  I'll never see anyone, or come out into the sun again.
Saionji:  Wait! Don't you think she might do something stupid if we leave her like that?
Touga:  Then, why don't you show her something eternal?

Yes, she was grieving because her parents died and the third coffin was an ominous sign.  But the death of Utena's parents taught her the lesson that nothing is eternal.  So it's not only the death of her parents, but also the knowledge that everyone dies that makes Utena deny the value of life.

When "The Prince" comes to Utena and speaks to her about Anthy, well...  I know some people think that Akio orchestrated Utena's parents' death to groom her for the duels.  It's not terribly unlikely that he and Anthy changed their ages to stage that scene for Utena's benefit.

But that is not my opinion.  I don't know why I feel so certain that what Utena saw was genuine--it simply fits with my interpretation of the series.  Utena's despair at that time was a beacon that caught Dios/Akio's attention.  Then Utena was taken into a place beyond time and shown something eternal...eternal and twisted.  Utena was shown one of the truths that lie underneath the outward appearances of Akio and Anthy. 

However they looked on campus at that time, whether they deliberately took on the appearance of their younger selves (or whether that was truly how they still saw themselves in their minds)...I think the words the Prince spoke and the vision itself were honest.   Even if you don't share my sentiment about Utena being shown an "eternal moment", you can also think of it this way: why manipulate with lies when you can manipulate with the truth?

Was it Akio?  Akio as we know him in the series?  *shrug*  No idea.  But it definitely wasn't Dios.  First of all, "When [Anthy] became known as a witch, Dios perished."  Second of all, that "prince" won't even try to save Anthy.  He may know better, but Dios wasn't a pragmatic individual and so it's uncharacteristic behavior for Dios.  But was it Akio?  Why not show his "real" age?--Akio in his fancy-dress is certainly a princely enough figure.  It's been said that a younger person would appeal to Utena more and could have been a deliberate manipulative choice (though the young Touga didn't appeal to her too terribly much).  But the age of the prince in that scene changes, up and down, and neither his bearing nor his words fully sound like Akio either.

I'm sure the difficulty of pinning "who" down with certainty is deliberate.  Utena can't ever really be sure whether the prince that saved her was Dios or Akio, either.  (What matters is what she wrought with the courage he inspired.)


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#21 | Back to Top01-09-2009 07:21:55 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

I think it's possible that it's Dios who comes to Utena as a child, regardless of the timeline which is pretty wonky anyway. Whether or not he's dead, sealed away or something along those lines... Akio talks to Dios in Episode 13 and in episode 39. Dios also talks to Utena in 39 while Akio is there, and Akio finishes one of his sentences. Is Akio just talking to himself? Imagining how his former self would act and talk? Their desires don't seem to sync up in 39 and even in 13 Akio comments on being glared at.

This only occurs when Akio is in the arena or castle... which are both shown to be illusions... and the swords of hate are phantoms themselves. Even though they destroy the arena, Wakaba at the base of the tower doesn't notice a thing coming from the top floor. Even though they destroy the projector, it's still in one piece when Akio is planning to restart the dueling game. And the Anthy that they stab isn't really the real Anthy, either. And yet, they're the only thing in the series shown to genuinely frighten Akio, the master of illusion.

... maybe Akio himself is an illusion. emot-confused

Last edited by Ragnarok (01-09-2009 07:25:23 PM)


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#22 | Back to Top01-09-2009 09:35:54 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

For some reason the Dios/Akio disconituity doesn't bother me very much. It makes some psychological sense. Don't we sometimes hear the voice of the child we once were scolding us for not living up to some ideal or perhaps praising us for becoming what that child wanted? The Dios that Akio once was would not accept what has become of them and would try to change things if possible. On some level Akio may be subverting himself. And perhaps the Dios who guides Utena to Anthy's prison is the real Dios, the one who sees the mistakes he made as both persons.

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#23 | Back to Top01-09-2009 10:10:49 PM

Hiraku
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From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Akio in Episode 38 did say that he has always been the same as he was at that time when Utena was in her coffin. So, using Brian's idea that the real Dios is the one who led Utena to Anthy, if the one that led Utena out of the coffin was indeed Dios, that made it sound like the Akio now is throwing a fit of some sort, a sour grapes situation. Maybe Dios became something of an ideal that Akio still desired, however naive of a dream that may be (even though he said that you need power to succeed, but maybe that's not what Akio really want to believe if Dios still exists as a part of his inner child. He is the same as he always was, isn't it?).
Back to Swords of Hatred for a minute, Anthy has the Power of Dios, but after that has already been pulled out, there's another black one that Akio pulled out of her chest. That's a random Sword of Hatred that Akio pulled out, right? Considering that since Anthy is already being skewered and such by so many. Using a Sword of Hatred to fight against Utena's Dios Sword, though, is it really befitting for Akio to just use a random sword, or was that an emblem of anger and hate belonging to Akio and Akio alone that he, too, has expressed against Anthy?

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#24 | Back to Top01-10-2009 03:19:47 AM

P.D.M.
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From: Budapest, Hungary
Registered: 06-24-2008
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

Hiraku asked:
Back to Swords of Hatred for a minute, Anthy has the Power of Dios, but after that has already been pulled out, there's another black one that Akio pulled out of her chest. That's a random Sword of Hatred that Akio pulled out, right? Considering that since Anthy is already being skewered and such by so many. Using a Sword of Hatred to fight against Utena's Dios Sword, though, is it really befitting for Akio to just use a random sword, or was that an emblem of anger and hate belonging to Akio and Akio alone that he, too, has expressed against Anthy?

No, Utena was fighting with her own soul- sword, while Akio was (probably) fighting with his very own, now useless Sword of Dios, which was in Anthy the whole time in that episode until the start of the duel.

But really, I think the Dios Utena sees in the end is kinda like a part of Akio's old self that still remains somehow visible, but only in Ohtori. There is no reason to think Dios is actually out doing things against Akio's plan, Utena's winning streak is in the interest of both Dios and Akio.

Last edited by P.D.M. (01-10-2009 03:24:44 AM)


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#25 | Back to Top01-13-2009 06:13:48 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: The Million Swords & Their True Nature

sharnii in another thread wrote:

He only cried when he was alone, standing in the middle of his arena and staring up at a million constellations, each a blazing sun in its own right but in this galaxy, this time - doomed to stay a star.

How about the swords of hate as stars? Relating to Akio's interest in astrology and Utena's comment that he seems sad when discussing them.


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