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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 Top08-09-2009 12:23:30 PM

Jaeden
New Student
Registered: 07-02-2009
Posts: 2

There never was a prince in this world to begin with!

Hello all.  Apologies if this didn't need a thread--I've read through the rules but I couldn't quite find anything that explained if I suck or not.

I happened to be scanning through Episode 38 for a friend of mine (I wanted to let him know that the cliffhangers for 37 and 38 would drive him mad---and then of course I got caught up watching it.  Because it's Utena for crapsake) and I came to one of the most famous moments in the series.  Utena's passionate cry of "Aren't you her brother?!" and Akio's tearful reponse: "Foolish Creature.  There never was a prince in this world to begin with!"

Now this line is somewhat mystifying simply due to the fact that mere moments before Akio's talking about how he used to be a prince, and how he was Utena's prince and throughout this episode and next it's not only heavily implied, it's basically outright stated that Akio was at one time, Dios.

So I got to thinking about what exactly this line meant, especially in the context of Akio's tears--and then it struck me!  This is Akio's direct parallel to Anthy.  Just as Anthy has been blindly acting the role of the Rose Bride--having long since forgotten what life was like before then, just as Anthy has to constantly endure the Swords that shine with human hatred, just as Anthy has to sacrifice on a constant basis--So did Akio.

But more than that, looking back he can see that.  As Akio looking back at his time as Dios he can now see with clarity all of the dark and dirty things.  He can see that there never really was a fairytale prince, he, like every other (Utena herself included) was merely playing prince.  The difficulty came with him playing it too well.

Now I can already hear some of you rumbling about how Akio didn't have to deal with the Million Swords that Shine with Human Hatred--and I recall reading analysis on exactly why they never would have gone after him in the first place (But that doesn't explain his scream in episode 39) and so I'll explain myself!

Though we often refer to them as the Million Swords of Human Hatred--the subtitling in my version refers to them as the Million swords that Shine with Human Hatred.  Whether or not this is correct I have no idea (as I can't speak Japanese worth a damn) however it adds an interesting perspective to the whole thing if that's correct.  The swords don't just represent humanity's hatred, but humanity as a whole.  They shine with hate when the witch is visible, because she's the one who took their 'prince' from them, but one could rightly assume that they would also descend on Akio himself--not to kill him, but to attempt to get any small piece of him just as they did when they were human.

The swords represent all the people of the world who constantly 'took pieces' of Dios, the never-ending suffering that Dios went through in order to be the perfect fairytale prince, Akio has good reason to fear them.  (Likewise they descend on Utena for a completely different reason, in my opinion)

One of the most important keys for me here is this.  We all agree that while outwardly silent, once a saviour had entered her life, Anthy began to desire freedom and wasn't willing to let go of it--I think the same thing happened with Dios.  With Akio's confession of 'aishiteru' which as far as I know is a very serious way of saying "I love you."  I think that Dios looked at Anthy as his saviour, he began to yearn to be free and when she offered him the chance he 'selfishly' took it.  That explains the love/hate relationship they hold.  Akio both thanks and loves Anthy for freeing him from his torment, but he also hates her for taking away his power--perhaps he also hates her for taking the swords, for, in essence dying and leaving him alone in his misery.

My basic point here is that Akio can look back and see just how impure Dios was, he was never really a prince.  Did he have powers?  Yes.  Did he use those powers to help the girls of the world?  Oh yes.  But I imagine that within his mind he was still a boy, he still had thoughts, urges, desires.  That's why when Anthy offered him salvation (and herself) he took both.  I mean really, for such a supposedly noble character it took very little convincing to get him to abandon his duty and stay with Anthy.  And even brief seconds before that, we can see that he's in pain and his eyes are closed so he can't see--and who does he call for?  Anthy.

Just like Akio said to Utena "Foolish Creature.  There never was a prince in this world to begin with!" and that is why he and his sister suffer now, and always have.  Akio cries for the loss of what he saw as innocence, and at the naivete of Utena.  Only a "foolish creature" could believe in fairytales, like he once did.

Feel free to tell me I suck and stuff.  This is my first attempted anaylsis, I mostly just lurk and read <<

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#2 | Back to Top08-09-2009 01:53:52 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: There never was a prince in this world to begin with!

Jaeden wrote:

Apologies if this didn't need a thread--I've read through the rules but I couldn't quite find anything that explained if I suck or not.

Nice!  I don't know if you're right or not, but you definitely don't suck emot-smile

So I got to thinking about what exactly this line meant, especially in the context of Akio's tears--and then it struck me!  This is Akio's direct parallel to Anthy.  Just as Anthy has been blindly acting the role of the Rose Bride--having long since forgotten what life was like before then, just as Anthy has to constantly endure the Swords that shine with human hatred, just as Anthy has to sacrifice on a constant basis--So did Akio.

But more than that, looking back he can see that.  As Akio looking back at his time as Dios he can now see with clarity all of the dark and dirty things.  He can see that there never really was a fairytale prince, he, like every other (Utena herself included) was merely playing prince.  The difficulty came with him playing it too well.

One difficulty that comes up a lot when we start talking about "princes" is that there are a lot of different ways that word gets thrown around in the show.  What is a prince?

- Is a prince someone who, regardless of his own pain, rushes to the aid of any and all strangers in need, whether they're being attacked by a dragon or just lack a date for a fancy French restaurant -- but may not give a shit about their own family and friends?  (This is Dios's style of being a prince, and the only kind the Swords of Human Hatred will accept.)
- Is a prince someone who protects everyone in the world, including family and friends, from every petty inconvenience that befalls them?  (This is what I think Akio means when he says there never was a prince to begin with.)
- Is a prince a selfless hero who saves people who cannot save themselves?  (This is young-Utena's idea of princehood, which doesn't really begin to fall away until the end of the first arc; it's very similar to Dios's.)
- Or is a prince something much more complicated -- someone who treats friends and strangers with compassion, but especially friends; someone who accepts both the selfishness and the love that he harbors; someone who, whatever their faults, strives to act with strength and nobility; someone who saves people by loving them so much that they are able to save themselves?  (This is the kind of prince that Utena, at her best, becomes; and it's the kind of prince Anthy does not believe exists until the climax.)

When Akio says "there never was a prince in this world to begin with," I think he's looking back on Dios and trying to learn from his mistake: Dios gallivanted around saving everybody but his own sister.  Therefore, a real prince must be someone who devotes his full attention to saving humanity and to loving the people close to him.  Obviously you can't have both, so there must be no such thing as a true prince -- goes Akio's reasoning.

Ironically, I think Akio's right that Dios was a false prince, but I think he has the reason wrong: while your loved ones should take priority over strangers, that was not Dios's biggest error.  I also think you, Jaeden, have the reason wrong: it's possible Dios had "thoughts, urges, desires" -- selfishness, that is -- but if so, his error was not in having those desires.  He made an error in denying those desires, if he had them, but that wasn't his biggest error either.  His biggest error was believing that swooping down to remove everyone's inconveniences counted as saving them.  To adopt a cliche, you don't save someone by giving them a fish; you save someone by teaching them to fish.  Utena can't reach Anthy down in the coffin unless Anthy reaches up to Utena.  And Anthy's not going to do that unless she believes love is possible; and she's not going to believe love is possible unless Utena has shown it to her.  And she has.  That's what makes Utena so dramatically different from every other duelist, and from Dios, and from Akio.  Dios "saved" thousands of girls but never did cause a revolution.  Utena saves just one girl, and does.

Not that Utena is thinking about any of these metaphysics.  She's sort of a prince savant.  She transitions from a Dioslike prince to a selflike prince without even noticing what she's doing.

That's why when Anthy offered him salvation (and herself) he took both.  I mean really, for such a supposedly noble character it took very little convincing to get him to abandon his duty and stay with Anthy.  And even brief seconds before that, we can see that he's in pain and his eyes are closed so he can't see--and who does he call for?  Anthy.

Of course, Anthy "poisoned" Dios, right?  I'm not clear on whether Dios's pain and labored breathing are the result of trying to save too many people, or of Anthy's poison, or of both.  Either way, he didn't look in any fit state to be fighting any dragons, or even going on dates.  Not that that was any excuse as far as the overentitled mob outside was concerned.

Just like Akio said to Utena "Foolish Creature.  There never was a prince in this world to begin with!" and that is why he and his sister suffer now, and always have.  Akio cries for the loss of what he saw as innocence, and at the naivete of Utena.  Only a "foolish creature" could believe in fairytales, like he once did.

Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer.

But seriously, I think you're pretty much on target here.  A lot of Akio's cynicism about princes comes from the fate of Dios.  In a way he's right: if the only way to be a prince was to protect everyone from everything, it would be impossible to be a prince.  Fortunately for Utena and Anthy, there is another way.

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