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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!

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#1 | Back to Top03-02-2009 08:16:10 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

A Red-Haired Man: A self-examination on Movie Touga.

Q. So, what's up with Movie Touga?
A. Touga is Utena's deceased childhood sweetheart. Years ago he tried to save a girl (Juri) from drowning, and though she survived, Touga lost his life in the attempt. Utena, still a child at the time, resented Touga for dying and leaving her; she concluded there were no princes, and resolved to become one herself. However, deep down she still wished that Touga had been a prince, had not died and left her. When Utena arrives in the world of Ohtori, that subconscious wish causes her to forget the details of Touga's death, and allows Touga's spirit to take on an active semblance of life.

Q. And what are his goals? What is Touga after at Ohtori?
A. Touga still loves Utena. He intends to become Utena's prince, and to make Utena into his princess. In a misguided way he is attempting to "rescue" Utena from her misery by being the prince that he could not be to her in life, but to accomplish that he goes to great lengths to distort Utena's perception of him, the duels, Anthy, and even herself. At the same time Anthy is attempting to draw Utena out spiritually and free her from her past, Touga is working to increase Utena's emotional isolation and dependence on his memory.

Q. And in particular, he is trying to dispel her dream of becoming a prince, right?
A. Yes. For a number of reasons, opposing that aspiration is Touga's key goal:

#1. Most obviously, it is at odds with Touga's intentions for Utena as his princess.

#2. Just as in the series, Touga sees Utena's goal of princehood as unrealistic, even impossible, and sees himself as attempting to save her from an inevitable failure.

#3. It is an intriguing possibility that Touga rejects Utena's desire to be a prince because it represents, in her mind, Touga's own failure to be one. His opposition to the notion may be partly rooted in a desire to "correct" that past failure.

#4. Derailing Utena's path to princehood also serves the additional useful purpose of sabotaging Anthy's plans, both for Utena and for herself.

Q. Sabotaging Anthy? Why is that useful to Touga?
A. Anthy is Touga's archenemy: the Rose Bride who is drawing Utena towards princehood, a romantic rival for Utena's heart itself, and the de facto ruler of the only place Touga can be with Utena now - Ohtori, Anthy's world of eternal adolescence. For all these reasons, Touga's interests are best served if Anthy stays exactly the way she is: alone and neglected, searching in vain for a prince that may never come. That way life in the "closed world" of Ohtori will go on uninterrupted, and Touga can be with Utena forever. Thus, in attempting to keep Utena away from Anthy, Touga is also abandoning Anthy to her fate.

Q. So even though he loves Utena, he is working to undermine her that much?
A. That's right. One of the most interesting - and contradictory - things about Touga is that he greatly admires Utena's "high goals" even as he seeks to shatter them, and greatly respects her strong spirit even as he attempts to subvert it. In this behavior, Touga seems to echo the stereotype of the well-meaning but condescending male who insists that women, however willful and independent, ultimately need to be sheltered by male strength and support.

Q. You seem to be throwing around a lot of possible theories. Could you summarize your own views?
A. My personal interpretation is that:

#1. Touga believes Utena's "high goals" and dream of princehood are naive and impossible to realize.

#2. Touga nevertheless admires and loves Utena all the more for holding those ideals.

#3. Touga recognizes that his manipulation of Utena is dishonorable, and is aware of the ironic contrast between his own methods and Utena's concept of what a prince should be like.

#4. Touga finds that to be a necessary evil. He believes that he is the best thing for Utena, and intends to do whatever is necessary to "win" her. However,

#5. Touga does not understand that his plans for Utena are detrimental to her growth as a person, nor does he see how injurious to her his success would be.

Q. And that is your final definitive judgment on his mindset and motivations?
A. Not quite, as it happens. There is a very large other possibility to all of this, and that is...everything Touga seems to think and feel may spring from what Utena herself secretly thinks and feels, including her opinions of Touga himself.

Q. Are you suggesting that Touga's opinions and intentions actually come out of Utena's own subconscious?
A. Perhaps. Certainly, his mere presence at Ohtori is at least partially a response toward her lingering desire for him to be her prince. That being the case, it makes perfect sense for him to reflect Utena's internal fears and desires. Touga's actions and attitudes throughout the movie show a suggestive degree of conformity to what Utena herself feels or wants:

#1. He tries to keep Utena in Ohtori with him forever because she wants it, subconsciously.

#2. He sees Utena's ideals and princely aspirations as unrealistic because Utena has her own doubts and uncertainties regarding them.

#3. He tries to make her into a princess because she still carries her own buried wish to be one.

#4. He expresses attraction toward Anthy, which Utena resents, while at the same time Utena herself is attracted to Anthy, and resents it.

All of these actions and attitudes make sense in the context of Touga's own interests, and yet coincidentally they are all reflections of what Utena herself secretly feels as well.

Q. But isn't the Touga in Ohtori a "ghost" of the real dead Touga? Or are you suggesting he is simply a creation of Utena's mind?
A. He is definitely not merely a creation of Utena's psyche. In the course of the movie, Touga reflects on his own troubled childhood, and those recollections could only have come from his own memory as a living person. He is definitely the spirit of the real Touga who died (Ikuhara's statements also make this plain), but at the same time, Touga as he appears in Ohtori does seem to strongly reflect Utena's own attitudes and expectations toward him. Touga died as a child, and not as the tall, suavely manipulative and cynical man that we see in Ohtori.

Q. Hang on. So you're suggesting that not only do his motivations reflect Utena's subconscious feelings and desires, but that his looks, manner and personality are the result of her mental conception of him?
A. It's possible. As a young girl, Utena interpreted Touga's "departure" as cruel and capricious. Even though he died in a noble sacrifice, Utena resented it as an abandonment, and might even have mentally cast him as a suave playboy who made promises he did not keep. Judging by her dialogue at the beginning of the Dance Scene, this would seem to be a strong possibility. Given that possibility, how much of Touga is his own self, and how much is Utena's expectations made manifest, is an intriguing question.

Q. And do you think these things yourself? Do you endorse these interpretations?
A. They would seem to be at least partially true. I wouldn't say I totally accepted them as part of my "main interpretation", but I think examining the movie with these readings in mind can be very interesting. While they might seem to rob Touga of his effectiveness as a character, I think they could also serve to more powerfully convey Utena's mental state and her dependence on Touga as an idea, a concept to which she clings desperately despite Anthy's efforts to free her.

In any case, regardless of whether Touga merely senses Utena's inner uncertainties and exploits them, or is himself a reflection of them, his connection to Utena makes him uniquely situated to play upon her psychological weaknesses.

Q. At the beginning of the movie, Touga leads Utena to the spot where she obtains her Rose Crest, and so puts her squarely on the path toward Anthy. If Touga wants to make Utena his princess and prevent her from bonding with Anthy, why would he do this?
A. It was inevitable that Utena would be drawn into the duels one way or another. As Touga explains late in the movie, the world of Ohtori is a prince-centric world, and anybody with an ambition to become one (as Utena has) is naturally going to be swept into the duels and toward Anthy, who is at the center of it all.

However, by making a strategic appearance at this point, Touga is preemptively associating himself with the duels in Utena's mind. This is the same reason he shams being a duelist himself and wearing a ring. He is twisting the duels into a mechanism for Utena to get closer to HIM, instead of Anthy as is their true purpose. Indeed, preempting Anthy in this way is part of Touga's strategy throughout the movie.

Q. But what does he mean when he says the ring "led me to this academy"?
A. Simply, it means that Anthy's supernatural world of Ohtori, as symbolized by the ring, is what has allowed him the chance to meet and be with Utena again.

Q. In what other ways does Touga attempt to sabotage Utena and Anthy's connection throughout the movie?
A. The specifics of that are explored at great length in both Utena and Anthy's respective examinations. In this examination, I am more interested in exploring Touga's nature, his general motives and strategy, and his connection with Shiori.

Q. You haven't brought her in yet, but what's up with Shiori, and what is her connection to Touga?
A. Shiori is nothing more than a shallow, spiteful teenage girl. It seems she had a crush on Touga when they were children, although the impression one gets is that Shiori probably knew very little about this boy she was idolizing. It was infatuation for the sake of infatuation. She also states that "my prince and I were supposed to have gone steady", but that seems to almost certainly be a lie; either Shiori is deluding herself that that was actually true at the time, or she is deliberately misrepresenting her own past. In any case, she is aware that her "prince" died saving Juri's life, and despises Juri as the cause. She also finds Juri's attraction to her disgusting and abnormal.

Q. What does Touga think of Shiori?
A. To be honest he seems to think nothing of her. He sees her for what she is, and while he recognizes her as a useful tool and manipulates her as such, he has no feeling for her. His only goal is Utena.

Q. But doesn't Touga sleep with Shiori?
A. Well there's no proof that Touga and Shiori actually do anything, but let's proceed on the (extremely solid) assumption that they did. By seducing Shiori, he is manipulating her to do his bidding.

Q. How could he do that though, if he loves Utena?
A. As I said above, Touga knows that what he's doing is "wrong" in the sense of being contrary to Utena's conception of what a prince should be like. Nevertheless, he's pragmatic about doing what he thinks is necessary to "save" Utena from her unrealistic ideas. Seducing Shiori is a means to that end. Having said all that though, there's another possibility: Touga may not be able to resist fulfilling Shiori's expectations of him, just as he can't resist Utena's.

Q. What do you mean?
A. I suggested earlier that Touga as he exists in Ohtori could be being influenced by Utena's mental state. I'm suggesting now that, if you accept that hypothesis, Shiori connection to him could be influencing him as well. Indeed, it might be that some of his more questionable behaviors are due to this influence.

Q. But you've already said that you don't really endorse this view, correct?
A. It's true that I don't personally accept as part of my "main reading" of the movie, but again, it's an intriguing idea. If you give credence to the theory that Touga is a reflection of Utena's emotions, opinions, and expectations, it would not be hard to think that Shiori's personality might be similarly influencing him. It's possible that Touga is caught between Utena's ideals of princely nobility, and Shiori's desire for him to be her boytoy/instrument of revenge. Even if that were the case though, his partiality for Utena seems to remain unquestionable.

Q. Leaving that aside, does Shiori know Touga is the "prince" that she was infatuated with as a child?
A. It seems clear that Shiori has not made that connection. She does not know what he really is, and unlike Utena, she does not even recognize him as the "prince" from her past. She may think of him as just another duelist that she's allied herself with, and of course as a potential love interest. However, Touga knows he is the "prince" from Shiori's childhood, and I consider that knowledge key to his ability to make contact with her.

Q. In what way?
A. It would be natural to make the assumption that the ability to see Touga is a quality that Utena and Shiori possess, but I believe rather that it is Touga who possesses the ability to make himself seen by certain others. In the case of Utena and Shiori, this is due to his involvement in their pasts and their conception of princehood, which he represents. Shiori, in her shallow selfish way, still longs for the prince of her childhood.

Q. Anthy also sees him during the Pool Scene, though. What about that?
A. There are two sides to Anthy's perception of Touga during that scene. On the one hand, it's evident that Touga intended himself to be seen by Anthy at this point: he calls out and beckons to her. Although not connected with Touga, Anthy has her own conception of princehood, and this may be a factor in allowing him to appear to her.

However, it also goes without saying that Anthy is...Anthy. The Witch, the Rose Bride, the would-be princess. She is the center of Ohtori and the one most in tune with its strange reality. I think it's clear that Anthy more fully perceives Touga's nature than anyone else, although she does not perceive how much of a threat to her plans he actually is.

Q. Why is he such a threat?
A. There are a number of reasons, but the greatest is that Touga knows Anthy's secrets, having learned them through his fellow deceased, Akio. Through this connection, Touga learns Anthy's past, her present situation, and her intentions for the future.

Q. What motive would Akio have for telling Touga Anthy's secrets like he does?
A. As I said in Anthy's examination, my personal interpretation is that Akio is not a conscious, active force in the world of Ohtori, due to his sister's complete dismissal of him as her prince. I see Touga's conversation with Akio, not as Akio the person actively revealing this information, but more as though Touga is metaphorically drawing these secrets out through his link with the dead.

However, if one wished to attribute a more conscious motive to Akio in this scene, I would say that by helping Touga snatch Anthy's new would-be prince (Utena) away from her, Akio is attempting to keep Anthy in the "closed world" with him. This hypothetical goal overlaps perfectly with Touga's own actual goal: to keep Anthy alone and trapped in her own prison forever.

Q. At the end of this conversation there is a particular line Touga says that has great significance, does it not?
A. Yes. "So that's why you set up this game, to regain the lost magic. But I'll be the one to gain it in the end." These words are spoken by Touga, ostensibly to Akio, but in reality his words are aimed at Anthy. This remark not only establishes Anthy as the power behind the duels, but establishes Touga's intentions with regard to Utena.

Q. Could you elaborate on that?
A. This is mainly answered in my self-conversation about Movie Akio, but briefly: Anthy's "magic" is the love and belief in her brother as the prince, and that "magic" was lost when he stabbed her and committed suicide. Akio was a false prince, and now Anthy is trying to regain that "magic" by finding a new prince, her true prince. This is the point of the duels in the movie, and Anthy is orchestrating them.

Q. If that's the case, how could Touga gain that "magic"?
A. That just means that Touga intends to become Utena's prince. The "magic" under discussion here is the "magic of turning someone into a prince". For Touga to say that he intends to gain that magic is to say that he intends to become a prince. Well, we already knew that, didn't we? He intends to become Utena's prince. He wants her to have that same love and belief in him, that "magic" that Anthy once felt for her brother.

Q. Shortly after this comes the infamous Shiori Butterfly Scene. What is the symbolism and significance of the imagery in this scene?
A. The butterflies depicted here are either the Large Cabbage White or the Indian Cabbage White, two closely-related species that are extremely similar in all ways. Although they are beautiful, these insects are major agricultural parasites. As their name implies, they lay their eggs on, and as caterpillars feed on, the cabbages of farm fields. Metaphorically speaking, Shiori is also such a parasite - emotionally and mentally leeching off those around her. The scene of her becoming the butterflies in Touga's memory is symbolic of her parasitizing Touga. She wants to use him to attack Juri, and he's agreed to go along with her plans...or so she thinks.

Q. Or so she thinks?
A. Of course. One of the most ironically tragic aspects of Shiori is that while she is certainly vile and malicious, she always, always ends up being used by someone more cunning, whether it be Ruka and Akio in the series, or Touga in the movie. In short, while Shiori thinks she is making use of Touga to achieve her goals, what's really happening is just the opposite. Touga has found a useful tool to advance his agenda.

Q. So you've established the many ways that Touga is a "threat", but as the movie continues it becomes clear that his grip on Utena is slipping. Despite his efforts, Anthy is succeeding in releasing Utena from Touga's hold on her, isn't that so?
A. It is. Regardless of his advantages, nothing has worked out for Touga. He was unable to cast himself as the focus of the duels in Utena's mind. He was unable to turn Utena against Anthy through jealousy and suspicion. He was unable to exploit Utena's self-doubts by manipulating the duel with Juri. Even his greatest trump, exposing Anthy's role in her brother's death, was unable to blacken Anthy in Utena's eyes. It was a decisive blow to Anthy herself though, and so with her in retreat, Touga makes one last desperate bid to turn Utena away from Anthy before their hearts are completely joined. This is Touga's denouement: the Elevator Scene.

Q. What's happening in this scene? Why does Touga disappear, and how is his disappearance connected with Utena's memory?
A. It was the subconscious wish that Touga had not died - and thus failed her as a prince - that gave birth to Utena's loss of memory about Touga's death. With those memories blocked out, in her mind his death never happened. In other words, the memory loss is only a mechanism that makes it possible for Touga to have "life" again in Utena's reality. This lack of memory is the anchor of Touga's existence, and as Utena recollects the true history that anchor falls away, and Touga vanishes from Ohtori.

Q. This is the moment when Utena chooses Anthy, and so bids Touga farewell. Is facing the details of Touga's death what makes her able to do that?
A. No, it's the opposite. Utena's recollection is not what releases her from her dependence on Touga, past and present. She had already been released. Under Anthy's skillful combination of nurturing and prodding, Utena has strengthened, gladdened, and matured - so much so that by the time Touga makes his last offer, she no longer needs him, except as a fond childhood memory. Being able to let Touga go emotionally, thanks to Anthy, is what allows Utena to face the recalled details with a gentle, resolute nostalgia, to kiss the past goodbye, and then to turn with steady steps toward her final union with Anthy. No hesitation, no regrets, and no looking back.

Q. How did it end up this way? How did Touga fail?
A. Touga's methods, in addition to being deceitful and exploitive, were hamstrung by several key disadvantages:

#1. A false gender role philosophy. Even though he knew of Utena's princely aspirations and viewed them with an patronizing admiration, he never believed in them as a serious and meaningful possibility. Touga thought that Utena would ultimately come to accept the role and boundaries that he sees as natural for a girl. He thought wrong.

#2. The necessity of trying to keep Utena in a static mental state. Against human nature, Touga was seeking to bind Utena to an emotional time and place that originated in her childhood. This mirrors his own arrested life, but though Touga may be dead, Utena is alive, and to be alive means to change and move forward. It might even be said that he and his plans are representative of the all-too-human desire to hold on to times and feelings that cannot return.

#3. The inability to directly challenge Anthy as a real alternative for Utena. Limited as he is to trickery and manipulation, I don't think Touga was prepared to vie with Anthy as a serious romantic rival, one with the very material advantages of life, sensitivity to Utena's needs, and the ability to coax her into positive forward growth.

Q. So, in spite of his tools and efforts and all his inside knowledge, in the end doesn't it seem as though Touga was the underdog?
A. That's how I see it. To my mind, Touga never really had a chance after Utena began to bloom under Anthy's expert handling. His whole existence in Ohtori was based on a subconscious wish by Utena, a wish that becomes less and less relevant for her as her bond with Anthy grows stronger and deeper. Through this new connection, Utena is able to grow out of her pain, resentment, and dependence on that wish. Thus it is that Anthy helps Utena to shed the very things that Touga was seeking to promote in order to keep her attached to him. Touga knew this might happen, and tried to prevent it, but he was fighting a losing battle all along.

Q. Haven't you been a little harsh on Touga? Everything he did is because he loved Utena and wanted to be with her forever. Would that really have been such a bad thing for her?
A. Touga did genuinely love Utena, but in his pursuit of her he dismisses her princely aspirations, views her "high goals" with indulgent condescension, and does everything possible to press her into a role of passive reliance. In attempting to win her, he is attempting to make her fail, and he did not seem to grasp that his victory would've robbed Utena of everything he esteems about her. Having Utena to succumb to his wishes would've resigned her to being a "living corpse": unchanging, unprogressing, and totally dependent on him forever.

Q. So I take it you don't find his actions justifiable? From an ethical standpoint, is what Touga did in pursuit of his goals morally defensible? If not, are they at least forgivable?
A. When it comes to Utena, conventional "ethical standpoints" tend to be somewhat superfluous, and making absolutist moral judgments on it is a questionable endeavor. This includes Touga. How do you make definitive moral judgments on someone who died, and only does what he does now, however misguided, to be with the one he loved? I will go this far, though: I do not believe his actions are justifiable even if they are understandable, and while I do forgive him, I am not at all sorry he failed.

Q. Are you sure you're being fair though? You seem in this exam to have cast Anthy as Utena's angelic savior, but she had her own schemes and gambits, her own plans and intentions. How about that?
A. She's no angel, but Anthy is Utena's emotional and spiritual savior. That much is indisputable. Unlike Touga, who was so eager to shape Utena into what he thought she should be, Anthy listened to Utena's pain and soothed it, listened to her loneliness and filled it, listened to her resentment and cleansed it.

Q. Isn't that just because Anthy was in the market for a prince?
A. Anthy was looking for a prince, but she chose Utena to be that prince because she saw the person that Utena wanted to become, and whether by fate or happy chance, the person that Utena wanted to be was exactly the person that Anthy wanted her to be. As I said in Utena's exam, Utena was seeking to embody in herself the very ideals that Anthy was seeking to find in another. In short, Anthy was falling in love with Utena's spirit even as she herself worked to set it free.

Q. Off topic, but it's rather an irony that Anthy unleashed this growth and change in Utena when Anthy herself is standing still, is it not?
A. It's a beautiful irony. In releasing Utena, Anthy caught a tiger by the tail. She never intended to leave Ohtori, in fact her ultimate goal was really much like Touga's own: to remain in the closed world with Utena forever. Utena though, having grown so strong and assured, had other plans for both of them.

Q. What about Shiori's end? What does her crash as a car symbolize? Did she die? Did Touga just abandon her?
A. Touga never cared about her, and neither do I. school-devil

Q. So, could you give a final summation?
A. Touga is a ghost, a wish, a memory given life by the power of Ohtori. He wanted Utena to love him and be his princess, and to make that happen he attempted to sabotage her strengthening love for Anthy, but it could not work. Both he and his feelings are in the past for Utena, and in the end he goes back to being simply a memory of that past.

Q. That's almost exactly the same summation as last time, and it needs to be rewritten. Couldn't you have put more effort in?
A. I've already spent weeks hashing this out. Leave me alone.

Q. You're pathetic.
A. PLEASE PHRASE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION.

Q. Isn't it true that you're pathetic?
A. .....

Last edited by Aelanie (05-28-2009 11:17:17 AM)

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#2 | Back to Top03-02-2009 08:21:37 PM

Prince_of_Stars
Someday Shiner
From: The Hellsing Organization
Registered: 06-12-2008
Posts: 4165
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Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

I thought he saved Juri's sister...? I mean, that's what she said in the series, so I don't really know how much that ties into the movie.


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Faithfully failing at feminine tasks, gender roles, and the conventionality of femininity since 1990.

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#3 | Back to Top03-02-2009 08:35:41 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

That's only in the series.

In the series, it's Juri's sister, and some unnamed boy who drowns saving her.

In the movie, it's Juri herself, and Touga drowns saving her.

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#4 | Back to Top03-02-2009 09:16:34 PM

Prince_of_Stars
Someday Shiner
From: The Hellsing Organization
Registered: 06-12-2008
Posts: 4165
Website

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Got it. And may I say that you're quite a genius, because I was so damned confused. I'm glad you have these 'self discussions'; you're freaking brilliant.


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Sir Hellsing: Leader of the Feminine Failure Revolution
Faithfully failing at feminine tasks, gender roles, and the conventionality of femininity since 1990.

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#5 | Back to Top03-02-2009 09:37:53 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Haha. Well rather than try to type out decided thoughts, I found it much easier and more informative to ask myself questions, answer them, and then ask questions that naturally followed. ^_^

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#6 | Back to Top03-02-2009 11:54:23 PM

hollow_rose
Egghead
From: Ohio
Registered: 10-26-2008
Posts: 1074

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Aelanie wrote:

That's only in the series.

In the series, it's Juri's sister, and some unnamed boy who drowns saving her.

In the movie, it's Juri herself, and Touga drowns saving her.

I often squish these two together. Juri was always saved by Touga. In the series she displaces herself for her sister, because its easier for her to deal with. It's how I account for all the significant looks Touga and Saionji give each other as Juri is telling the story about her "sister" in the series. But then that only works if you think of Ohtori as an afterlife of sorts, since then they're all dead.


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#7 | Back to Top03-03-2009 12:17:58 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Well, you could be half right. It could've been Juri instead of her sister, but it was still the unnamed boy, not Touga. However, that would kind of lower the impact of her contrasting her own forgetting with her sister's. Where she says,

"I always thought my sister was horrible for not remembering, but try as I might, I can't remember now either."

That just wouldn't have the same weight if it was really Juri. In fact, it would make Juri a fairly bold-faced liar, and I can't believe that of her myself.

Last edited by Aelanie (03-03-2009 12:21:36 AM)

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#8 | Back to Top03-03-2009 11:32:34 PM

hollow_rose
Egghead
From: Ohio
Registered: 10-26-2008
Posts: 1074

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Aelanie wrote:

Well, you could be half right. It could've been Juri instead of her sister, but it was still the unnamed boy, not Touga. However, that would kind of lower the impact of her contrasting her own forgetting with her sister's. Where she says,

"I always thought my sister was horrible for not remembering, but try as I might, I can't remember now either."

That just wouldn't have the same weight if it was really Juri. In fact, it would make Juri a fairly bold-faced liar, and I can't believe that of her myself.

I wasn't saying that she was lying. I was saying that she forgot she almost drowned, repressed that, and substituted in her sister instead, because it was easier for her to deal with than thinking it was her and that Touga rescued her. A trick her brain played on her, not that she was lying. Because I can't see her doing that, either.


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#9 | Back to Top03-05-2009 06:54:30 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Actually, I kind of like that it was her that was saved. But in the series, there's no need for it to have been Touga that saved her. The order of events could have gone the same, just with her in the water instead of her sister. Her sister forgot the name of the boy who saved Juri from drowning, and Juri thought that was unacceptable. You know how rigid she is. But then she found eventually that she herself forgot....it would be hard for her to accept, wouldn't it? If someone gave their life for you and then you forgot their name, wouldn't you feel pretty low about it? Add to that that Juri has no tolerance for human weakness, and it's not too hard to imagine that she would remember it differently so that it would sting less.

Or not, I suppose that's more of a personal canon thing than it is actual analysis.


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#10 | Back to Top03-11-2009 01:33:29 PM

Setsuna
Tragedian
Registered: 02-25-2009
Posts: 1370

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Thank you so much! i love movie touga, but i was seriously confused about him....

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#11 | Back to Top04-03-2009 01:33:41 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Aelanie, what exactly was the relationship between Shiori and Touga that allows her to interact with him?  The movie has this odd habit of slipping out of my head however many times I see it, which must be eight or ten now, and I can't remember Shiori's backstory with Touga.  And maybe more importantly, isn't it a little odd that Shiori can see Touga merely because he was important in her past even though she now seems to have no idea who he is?  Does that mean that even subconscious memory can influence perception at Ohtori?  But if so then how come Utena can't let go of Touga until her subconscious memory is made conscious?

It seems to me that there's a tricky set of relationships here that have interesting parallels with Anthy's "magic" that turns Akio into a prince, as you discussed in your post on Akio.  Remember that for Akio, Anthy's magic wore off when he found out she was a willing partner in their incest.  Nothing had changed external to him; the only change was that he could no longer see himself as Anthy's prince, because of a change that took place in how he remembered what he thought was rape.  Something new was brought to his consciousness, and that alone destroyed the magic.

Is the same thing going on with Utena and Touga?  Does he float away in the elevator because something new is brought to Utena's consciousness -- Touga's death and its circumstances -- that prevents her from seeing Touga as a prince?  The roles are reversed here, since Utena is the princess and not the prince in this relationship, but the magic is destroyed either way.  It takes two to make a prince.  And if the answer to these questions is yes, does that mean Shiori is captive to Touga's memory in the same way Utena was, and she needs to attain the same self-consciousness to be free of him?  Does turning into a car mean she failed?

Finally, why the Black Rose elevator?  I agree with you completely that one should not draw direct links between the series and movie without careful consideration, but do you think the elevator has the same property of bringing out subconscious feelings and memories in the movie that it does in the series?  But if so, why is it used to ensnare in the series and to liberate in the movie?  I'm fond of the Black Rose elevator, so I'd like to see this as a redemption of the symbol, a way of saying that introspection can be a powerful force for good as long as you stay in control of what comes up.  Is that fair?

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#12 | Back to Top04-03-2009 10:07:02 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

You ask tough questions, and a lot of them. emot-tongue

Aelanie, what exactly was the relationship between Shiori and Touga that allows her to interact with him?  The movie has this odd habit of slipping out of my head however many times I see it, which must be eight or ten now, and I can't remember Shiori's backstory with Touga.

Shiori had a crush on Touga when they were children, although it was clearly a kind of vague and distant affair. The impression one gets is that Shiori probably knew very little about this boy she was idolizing. It was infatuation for the sake of infatuation.

And maybe more importantly, isn't it a little odd that Shiori can see Touga merely because he was important in her past even though she now seems to have no idea who he is?  Does that mean that even subconscious memory can influence perception at Ohtori?  But if so then how come Utena can't let go of Touga until her subconscious memory is made conscious?

First and foremost, an assumption is made when you say, for example: "Shiori is able to see Touga."

The assumption is that it is not, rather: "Touga is able to make himself seen by Shiori."

Shiori's specific memories aren't important. What matters is the conception of princehood in Shiori's mind. Shiori, in her shallow selfish way, still longs for the prince of her childhood. Touga is aware that that was himself, and I would suggest that it doesn't matter she doesn't know it was Touga. HE knows it. That's more than enough for him to make contact, I would say.

As for Utena's resolution, what we have here are two dichotomous readings of cause and effect:

You're positing that Utena facing the details of Touga's death is what's responsible for her being able to let him go.

What I'm positing though, is that Utena being able to let Touga go emotionally (thanks to Anthy) is what allows Utena to face the buried memories within her.

I address this somewhat in Utena's exam (which probably needs expanding too), but for Utena, it was the wish that Touga had not failed her as a prince that gave birth to her memory loss, and to his presence at Ohtori. In other words, the memory loss itself isn't the object. It's only a mechanism that makes it possible for Utena to once again potentially conceive of Touga as her prince. If his death never happened (in her mind), it's still possible for him to fulfill that wish.

In both cases, the specific memories are not what's important. It's the emotions and the conception of princehood that give shape and substance to Shiori and Utena's interactions with Touga.

Is the same thing going on with Utena and Touga?  Does he float away in the elevator because something new is brought to Utena's consciousness -- Touga's death and its circumstances -- that prevents her from seeing Touga as a prince?  The roles are reversed here, since Utena is the princess and not the prince in this relationship, but the magic is destroyed either way.  It takes two to make a prince.

In a word, no. As I said above, this is a dichotomy in our readings of cause and effect. Her recollection does not wipe out his chances of being her prince. They had already been wiped out, through Anthy.

The thing is, Touga never really has a chance after Anthy comes along. His whole presence at Ohtori is based on a subconscious wish by Utena, a wish that becomes less and less relevant for her as her bond with Anthy grows stronger and deeper. Through this new connection, Utena is able to grow out of her pain, resentment, and dependence on that wish. So much so that by the time Touga makes his last desperate bid to be her prince, she no longer needs him. This is what allows her to face the recalled details with gentle, resolute nostalgia. They are in the past, and so now, is Touga.

Touga knew this might happen, and tried to prevent it. His specific methods and attempts will be discussed in Anthy's exam, and when I update this exam.

And if the answer to these questions is yes, does that mean Shiori is captive to Touga's memory in the same way Utena was, and she needs to attain the same self-consciousness to be free of him?  Does turning into a car mean she failed?

Since the answer to those questions wasn't "yes"... school-devil

Finally, why the Black Rose elevator?  I agree with you completely that one should not draw direct links between the series and movie without careful consideration, but do you think the elevator has the same property of bringing out subconscious feelings and memories in the movie that it does in the series?  But if so, why is it used to ensnare in the series and to liberate in the movie?  I'm fond of the Black Rose elevator, so I'd like to see this as a redemption of the symbol, a way of saying that introspection can be a powerful force for good as long as you stay in control of what comes up.  Is that fair?

Of course. That's a perfectly reasonable way to feel, if you wish to do so. The real reason, of course, is that Ikuhara wanted to reuse it because it was popular with fans. HAHAHA!

Take that, Death of the Author! school-devil

Last edited by Aelanie (04-10-2009 10:39:44 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top05-28-2009 11:08:12 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Touga's examination has been massively, massively expanded, updated, and rewritten. MASSIVELY!

Special thanks to Satyreyes for asking lots of great questions, most of which was incorporated...along with loads and loads of other stuff.

Please enjoy it again, for the first time. emot-biggrin

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#14 | Back to Top02-20-2011 09:09:50 PM

RhythmFusion
Rose Smilee
Registered: 03-18-2010
Posts: 131

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

I have a question that's been bugging me for a good long time now. Did Shiori, at any point in the movie, ever know about Touga and Utena's past relationship?emot-confused

Last edited by RhythmFusion (11-10-2011 11:33:26 PM)


"But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail." ~ Lady Macbeth; Macbeth - Act One, Scene 7
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#15 | Back to Top02-27-2011 01:28:21 AM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

(Sorry for the late reply.)

Not in my view. She knew only what Touga had told her, which is what she subsequently told Juri: that Utena was besotted with him and dueling for the sake of getting closer to him, which is of course what HE intended to be true. This also had the secondary benefit of arousing Juri's scorn.

Last edited by Aelanie (02-27-2011 01:28:49 AM)

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#16 | Back to Top02-27-2011 02:11:04 PM

Malacoda
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 07-26-2009
Posts: 180

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

satyreyes wrote:

Finally, why the Black Rose elevator?  I agree with you completely that one should not draw direct links between the series and movie without careful consideration, but do you think the elevator has the same property of bringing out subconscious feelings and memories in the movie that it does in the series?  But if so, why is it used to ensnare in the series and to liberate in the movie?  I'm fond of the Black Rose elevator, so I'd like to see this as a redemption of the symbol, a way of saying that introspection can be a powerful force for good as long as you stay in control of what comes up.  Is that fair?

This is a very late reply, but this subject interest me.

Unless the Black Rose elevator is somehow at a higher point than the rose garden, the elevator must be going up. So, much like a tarot card placed in reverse, the elevator's meaning has changed. It still does the same thing it does in the series--force people to face emotions--but since it's now going up (instead of down into basement where all the locust cars are), the release of emotions becomes a positive force.

So, yeah, that's it's fair, reasonable even.

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#17 | Back to Top07-10-2014 12:30:25 AM

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

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

I found an interesting analogy between SKU and science-fiction book and movie Solaris.
When I analised movie!Touga, I started to think that illusions work in a similar way.
Heres my spoilerish analogy - [Ohtori works just like the planet Solaris. When you enter it, it projects your past desires. It scans your past in order to find the best stimuli. Solaris does not try to make them happen, its just a form of communication. Solaris wants you to be there, so it lures you. It cannot make things happen, so it gives you an impression of doing so.]

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#18 | Back to Top02-20-2017 07:54:14 AM

SaigonAlice
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 61

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Hi Aelanie,
I know this is a very late reply and you may or may not even remember this post. But how would you factor in Touga's past as a CSA victim into his motivations and treatment of Utena?

If I had to take a haphazard guess, it probably imbued in him the cynicism of the adult world, which in turn made him that dark pragmatic he is as a ghost.


Thân em như quả mít trên cây,
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#19 | Back to Top02-25-2017 11:45:22 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Sorry, I actually didn't even notice your question somehow. I would hardly "not remember" one of my most important pieces of work in deciphering the movie to my own satisfaction, however long it's been since. emot-tongue

Honestly I'm not sure it directly informs his relationship to Utena much. One could make an assumption that while still alive he looked upon his relationship with Utena as being wholesome, diametrically the opposite of what he had known. This could've fed into an idealized conception of belonging with her, and of her belonging with (and to) him. Looked at this way, it might certainly be influencing his mindset, but again there are so many possible factors it would be difficult to say just how prominent a role that aspect takes.

Last edited by Aelanie (02-26-2017 12:19:21 AM)

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#20 | Back to Top02-26-2017 07:18:15 AM

malna
Caretaker
From: Poland
Registered: 10-03-2011
Posts: 209

Re: A Red-Haired Man: A conversation with myself about Movie Touga.

Dlaire, you're spot on with the Solaris analogy! I haven't thought about it before but it's neat.


a lot of hope in one man tent

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