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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 Top08-16-2009 05:53:01 PM

Zekkass
Wakaba Wrangler
From: New York, USA
Registered: 11-15-2008
Posts: 19
Website

Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

(There are spoilers in this post for the entire series. Please read with caution.)

I was reading up on some theories about the Shadow Play Girls, and I don't think I saw this theory. My mind exploded, and I'd like to hear some thoughts on the validity on it.

Let me start with this, a quote from episode thirty-nine:

Akio:  Once again, even this sword fails?
Akio:  Tell me, when will I ever recover the Power of Dios?
Akio:  Well, no matter. The Rose Bride is mine.

If the Rose Bride is his, and if he's done this before and failed...

What happens to the failed princes/princesses he's used before? My theory: they become the shadow play girls.

"No!" You say. "Then how do they know about the history of Dios?"

My answer lies in these lines from episode thirty-four, during the play that reveals the backstory of Dios. (and parodies it, too)

shadow:  This is a story from the days when all the women of the world were still princesses.
shadow:  In those days, the world had not yet been completely engulfed in darkness.
shadow:  Because, the Rose Prince was there.
...
shadow:  Save me! A monster is chasing me!
shadow:  Gallop gallop gallop! Accursed beast! I shall slay you!
shadow:  Glargh...
shadow:  Are you unhurt, princess?
shadow:  Thank you, Rose Prince.
shadow:  Then, the promised kiss!
shadow:  Growl growl growl growl
shadow:  Save me! It's Christmas Eve, yet I'm all alone!
shadow:  Gallop gallop gallop! Fear not, for I have reserved us a table at a French restaurant!
shadow:  Thank you, Rose Prince.
shadow:  Then, the promised kiss!
shadow:  Yes, all the women of the world were princesses.
shadow:  Because we were all protected by the Rose Prince, the world was overflowing with light.

There were other princesses before Dios was taken away. So...could the Shadow Play Girls be the princesses and could - somehow - Akio's failed attempts become Shadow Play Girls?

Ooo, new thought: what if the SPGs are a role - like the three wise woman in myth - and they share roles. This could be completely weird, but here's my thought: Utena is a Shadow Play Girl, 'reset' and memory changed to fit her role as prince/princess, and Akio's basically trying over and over again with the same Shadow Play Girls (princesses from when he was Dios) to get a strong enough soul sword.

So he's been recycling them (he can mess with memories, as we've seen in the entire Black Rose/Mikage arc) and failing, and somehow, when recycling Utena something went wrong/changed (Maybe Anthy did something/realized something/etc?) and the end of the series as we saw it happened.

Or I could be completely wrong. Your thoughts on my extremely long post?

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#2 | Back to Top08-16-2009 11:25:13 PM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2506
Website

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

And I come bearing movie spoilers. I think.

I really don't have much to say, but to sorta add on, how in the movie, at the end, the shadow play girls are just dolls with their nametags too. i'm not ENTIRELY sure what you're saying (I'm kinda WHEE right now ) But I always found that part odd. Maybe I kinda see them as inside voices. Hm.

...I'm not sure if I'm going with or against you really.emot-confused


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#3 | Back to Top08-17-2009 12:18:15 AM

spoon-san
Someday Shiner
Registered: 03-18-2009
Posts: 3423

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

I think I get the OP.

Basically, the shadow girls...it's kinda like the Lost Woods scenario for those who have played Ocarina of Time.  You lose your way and you became trapped forever and turn into a monster.  So the shadow girls, according to this theory, never did succeed to obtain eternity or whatever and were confined to their fate as being the shadow girls.

But then you're saying that Utena, for instance, is one of them and fudged up along the way in the past but is in now a Matrix like scenario where she is stuck in this cycle of fate where she loses, loses her memories, only to start over, like being data in a system.  But this time, Utena seemed to have 'glitched' the system and broke out of the cycle, to Akio's surprise...

The idea is novel though I would not call it canon, but is interesting and different nonetheless.  However, it would help explain why the shadow girls know as much as they do.

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#4 | Back to Top08-17-2009 02:22:28 AM

Itsuke
Pathtracer
Registered: 12-08-2008
Posts: 341

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

You know how astonished I was to see the shadows girls reveal their physical selves (well, their backs actually) in the beginning of episode 34? I never thought they are real people. I actually think (yes, I still do) the shadow girls are another manifestation of the million swords of hate (the collective subconscious of humans) playing the role of commentator (when not in berserk mode). How else to explain the fact that they know about the Tale of the Rose (which I am sure they did not get it from the latest fairy tales collection ordered from Amazon.com), and their awareness about the secret dueling game? How can two simple Ohtori students be that knowledgable?

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#5 | Back to Top08-18-2009 07:57:12 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

Well, Zekkass, if you're right, that puts the scene where the Shadow Girls are fondly encouraging Utena to join the drama club in an entirely new light, doesn't it?  emot-biggrin

I still think that the Shadow Girls pretty much stand apart from the narrative and should be understood as supernatural, omniscient commentators, like Ohtori's very own kitsune.  But if I had to contextualize them and make them a part of the plot, saying that they're failed princes and princesses makes some sense.  It explains how they know what's going on and why they seem to have a mildly adversarial relationship with Akio in episode 34.  I don't know if I like the idea that Akio is somehow "recycling" them, though.  Utena, after all, has an on-screen childhood; she hasn't been recycled, unless recycling includes reincarnation, which is reaching a little.  But the scene I mentioned at the beginning of this post, plus Utena's participation in the Black Rose Shadow Girl skits, plus their obvious interest in her -- if failed princesses do become Shadow Girls, that makes our three seem pretty sinister, doesn't it?  emot-aaa

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#6 | Back to Top08-18-2009 11:42:24 AM

Zekkass
Wakaba Wrangler
From: New York, USA
Registered: 11-15-2008
Posts: 19
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Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

But if I had to contextualize them and make them a part of the plot, saying that they're failed princes and princesses makes some sense.

I'm still content with the idea that they're narrators of a sort. My theory was an idea that occurred to me, and I still have no idea if it works. I can see Akio doing it, especially if he was looking for pure souls.

Then I go and get to Nanami's Egg yesterday, cause I'm rewatching the entire series again, then Anthy and Utena talk about reincarnation. It's a silly episode, but still! Recycling including reincarnation? Akio's got the time, he can wait - and he can mold every step of his victim's life, and he doesn't even have to take a direct role until the really important bits. (There's a question I've always wondered about, and this theory kind of answers it: How does Akio/Dios know to appear to Utena right when she needs it? When she's most likely to believe him completely? If Akio's recycling her...and doing her life over and over again, then he knows that moment will show up, and I wouldn't put it past him if he arranged for the car crash. Seeing as he's manipulated everything in the series.)

The Shadow Girls are both light hearted and sinister at times, and so if they appear extra sinister to me, well, it makes sense to me.

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#7 | Back to Top08-18-2009 02:26:53 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

I think that they are personifications of the Fourth Wall, quite aware that they are living in fiction, and bridging the line between the show and the viewer. They're clearly unthreatened by Akio, as they don't mind openly mocking him both by phone and in person, and he doesn't seem able to do anything but to try to ignore them. They come of as an audience doing some really esoteric MST3K on the show, and occasionally messing with the protagonists, like lots of viewers would undoubtedly want to do, if they could. I think that Alan Harnum did the best explanation in his fanfics, essentially stating that they are not human, and that they are not tied to the world the story is set in, but beyond that it's not possible to define them. If you really want to, then they resemble folklorish fairies more than anything else.

You know how astonished I was to see the shadows girls reveal their physical selves (well, their backs actually) in the beginning of episode 34? I never thought they are real people.

If you look carefully you notice that no-one else appears to pay attention to them, and that they seem to dissapear in thin air - Wakaba only comments the invitation they left behind by saying that she didn't know the school had a drama club. I took it as confirmation that there is no such club in school, and that the Shadow Girls were just posing as ordinary students to lure Utena to their theatre.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#8 | Back to Top08-19-2009 04:21:37 AM

Itsuke
Pathtracer
Registered: 12-08-2008
Posts: 341

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

Lightice wrote:

If you look carefully you notice that no-one else appears to pay attention to them, and that they seem to dissapear in thin air - Wakaba only comments the invitation they left behind by saying that she didn't know the school had a drama club. I took it as confirmation that there is no such club in school, and that the Shadow Girls were just posing as ordinary students to lure Utena to their theatre.

Well, doesn't that make them more eerie...

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#9 | Back to Top08-19-2009 09:16:44 AM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

In the movie the SPG's were left behind as straw dolls. What strikes me about that is the fact that after UTena and Anthy broke away, the SPG's became something just as flimsy as the shadows they once were, but they also lacked the spirit they once had.

As far as the series, I think this is an interesting theory. Utena and Akio seem to be the only characters who actually interact with the SPGs.

If it was indeed Akio manipulating the course of events in Utena's 'life' then that actually intercrosses into another theory I've heard of and contemplated. After rewatching the series sometime back, I realized that Utena has been going to Ohtori for quite a while. Madam Lamer makes the allusion in episode one about having to deal with Utena for another school year... Anyway, the theory that can be associated with that is the one that states that Ohtori is an afterlife of sorts, and Utena is dead, and has been dead since she climbed in that coffin. The eternal thing showed to her by Touga was actually death... anyway, it's possible that she's been going through cycles of the *underworld* and has finally broken free of the hell like place she ended up, and has left Ohtori in the end to finally *pass on*

The shadow girls are the 'knowledge' she's accumulated on the way to this incarnation. That's one connection between this theory and another. I'm sure there are more, and I really like this idea.


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#10 | Back to Top08-19-2009 10:13:29 AM

Zekkass
Wakaba Wrangler
From: New York, USA
Registered: 11-15-2008
Posts: 19
Website

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

Melancholic_Soul wrote:

Anyway, the theory that can be associated with that is the one that states that Ohtori is an afterlife of sorts, and Utena is dead, and has been dead since she climbed in that coffin. The eternal thing showed to her by Touga was actually death... anyway, it's possible that she's been going through cycles of the *underworld* and has finally broken free of the hell like place she ended up, and has left Ohtori in the end to finally *pass on*

The shadow girls are the 'knowledge' she's accumulated on the way to this incarnation. That's one connection between this theory and another. I'm sure there are more, and I really like this idea.

Now that's a cool idea. Somehow I'd never thought of Ohtori being hell...but Akio being the devil? That makes a lot of sense. And in Dante's Inferno there were levels of hell, so maybe Utena was going through those...but y'know, without Cerebus or the Harpyies or any of those things. Instead she gets the pain from Akio and Anthy and everyone else, tempered with happy moments to set her up for a fall.

I'm not sure it's the theory I absolutely subscribe to, but it's certainly worth a think.

And another thing: Utena is like a religion, cause we all have different theories for the meanings of the show aka God and how to worship. I don't want to get into trouble - cause Utena is NOT a religion. It's just like one, and we all have different ideas on who and what God really is, or if there are different Gods (Christianity is not the only answer, see. What about Hinduism?)

And so on. school-sherlock

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#11 | Back to Top08-19-2009 10:52:14 AM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: Shadow Play Girls and Utena Theory/Question

Zekkass wrote:

And another thing: Utena is like a religion, cause we all have different theories for the meanings of the show aka God and how to worship. I don't want to get into trouble - cause Utena is NOT a religion. It's just like one, and we all have different ideas on who and what God really is, or if there are different Gods (Christianity is not the only answer, see. What about Hinduism?)

And so on. school-sherlock

I agree with this statement wholly. Perhaps the absolute truth is not apocalypse, but that truth is determined by the person evaluating it. Something along the lines of beauty is in the eyes of the beholder...

*** also as for the theory I mentioned earlier, another argument was that Ohtori is shaped like a burial ground... I forgot to add that.

Last edited by Melancholic_Soul (08-19-2009 10:54:19 AM)


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v476/anthy_utena/rukasan.gif Believing in the power of Love and Justice since 1999
Red Lobster CGM- Burning Shrimp since 2013
Amazon FFC fucking shit up since 2015
Best Buy Warehouse - Tech decks on deck since 2016

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