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#1 | Back to Top09-07-2009 11:43:40 AM

Hacker Ringleader
From: The Incredible Edible Egg
Registered: 06-23-2007
Posts: 2537

Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

On the Long Legged Older Man, the meaning behind the word "Ohtori" AKA "phoenix" in the context of Akio is explored in depth (link!). But what about the fact that this is also the "phoenix" academy?

We know for a fact that, in the movie, at least Touga and maybe Anthy are slightly undead, in addition to Akio's being regular dead.  Over and over again in the series and manga it is made clear that most everyone is trapped in their coffins, although this is commonly taken as metaphorical. Mikage and Mamiya are in some kinda limbo where they don't grow or anything.

Did these people die and then rise from their ashes at the academy?

Is this the movie manga, wherein the academy itself rises from the ashes of Akio in order to reincarnate him?

Quite blatantly, I would say, the black rose duelists come from the ashes of their predecessors.

And then you have Chu-Chu being reborn.

I'm sort of at a loss now, but wanted to get people's input before I rewatched the series.


(As a side note, this is slightly related to, but not enough to be in, this thread)

Edit: Oooh, and while we're at it, anyone have any ideas on how the Ohtori family (father, wife, daughter) reflects any phoenixry?

Last edited by NajiMinkin (09-07-2009 11:45:10 AM)



#2 | Back to Top09-07-2009 12:19:15 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

I've always thought the phoenix reference referred to the students (or at least, the main duelists). They were like little piles of ashes waiting to turn back into phoenixes (to be revolutionized). But I'm not sure how to relate that to movie (when, arguably, everyone is literal dead) or manga Ohtori. I'll have the manga in front of me later so maybe I'll think up something then.



#3 | Back to Top09-07-2009 03:50:39 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

The manga takes it a step further: Ohtori Academy is located in the fictional "Hou'ou City;" hou'ou also means phoenix.  I would connect it all to Anthy.  She's the character who best embodies the rebirth and redemption symbolized by the phoenix.  She was defeated utterly, perhaps literally killed by the million swords and certainly figuratively a dead shell of a girl at the beginning of the series, and yet at the end she rises from those ashes.

Why is the whole school called Ohtori?  Well, I suppose growth is a process of death and rebirth.  The phoenix is the symbol the students must strive to attain in order to escape childhood.



#4 | Back to Top09-07-2009 06:57:05 PM

Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

The idea of being reborn can also be a general term for someone who goes through a rough time, but becomes a better person because of it. Rebirth is thought of as a positive thing because it insinuates that a life has started anew, but in most cases, to be reborn, a form of death must occur. In various religions and mythology, a person who is reborn dies, and comes back as an infant again.

In a metaphorical sense, however, rebirth can be seen in a situation like Utena's. Her parent's death caused her such grief that to remain in that state of grief forever would be the same as death itself. But she pulled herself out of that grief, not as the same girl she was before, but as a noble girl who wanted to become a prince. Tragic events tend to do that. They're unfortunate, but they often serve to better people. That's likely to have been the case with Shiori's experience with Ruka, too. She was dead inside, staying home from school-- but eventually, she left the room with the courage to confront Juri.

What I've wondered about for years is the "Nirvana principle" mentioned in Juri's duel song. It's likely to be the case with Ruka, Mikage, Tokiko and even Utena. They died, but because they lived their lives well, they weren't reborn into the academy, or rather, "the world". Then again, that's not exactly the case with Mikage, is it...? I guess that Nemuro died and was reborn as Mikage because he didn't live his life well. But that theory is directly challenged by the opinion of whether or not Souji's second life as Mikage was lived out well enough to be freed from the cycle of rebirth.

Karma is clearly present in the series, since Nanami pays for every bad thing she does, but I wonder what the difference is between having a bad rebirth, and avoiding rebirth by remaining dead inside? Was Anthy reborn as a witch because she something bad in her past life (specifically, being stabbed after stealing the light from the world), or was she never reborn at all until she left the academy? Was Juri reborn as the cold person she is now after Shiori emotionally killed her, is she dead inside and was never reborn, or is her soul in a form of purgatory?

*Lost in thought*



#5 | Back to Top09-07-2009 07:55:20 PM

Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4412

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

Curiouser and curiouser...

I agree with the metaphorical ramifications of the term for the characters and for the broader situations regarding pain, the past, and change and redemption.  But two other things also perk my interest:

The first is that, like Sat mentioned, the implied cycle. The Phoenix does this in order to remain immortal. Of course the ever-present theme of ETERNITY is rampant, but do we, as humans, change continuously throughout the entirety of our lives?  Or just during adolescence?  Psychologists and sociologists would argue that, in exception to a few small habits and ideas, past a certain age, we do tend to cement ourselves in our way of living. And physiologically, we change not only in appearance but on a cellular level, our bodies being completely replaced from the groundwork up every so many years through a gradual process -but this is more akin to a snake shedding skin or the paradox of Theseus's Ship than it is rising from ashes. But the concept of the Phoenix as an allegory for redemption and change and acceptance is too good to toss up as another one of Akio or Ohtori's falsehoods.

So maybe the ideal Phoenix is only partially true depending on how you see it; we all undergo its rebirth, for different reasons and in different ways, though it is not a constantly occurring process.  Once we die, the Phoenix that arises (imprints left in those who knew us, grass that grows from the soil our bodies decompose into) is not the same Phoenix at all.  And surely if the Phoenix is about learning something or self-revelation, then you are reborn differently as well. The Phoenix metaphor can be one of both repetition and change.  On a small, personal scale, in the context of a human life, it helps us grow, and in a larger scale, concerning History and Society, it is a process that is, at its core, unchanging and static, even if changes occur on that small scale.  The latter is an unobtainable, and, as the series points out, undesirable eternity for human beings.  But both are true.

The second is that, in this metaphor, there is no eggshell.

Any thoughts?

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (09-07-2009 08:40:41 PM)



#6 | Back to Top09-07-2009 08:12:32 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

I could easily see the phoenix symbolism behind the name 'Ohtori' to be satirical, in all likelihood.  All who come to Ohtori have passed their golden moments in life.  Akio is of a lesser being than Dios.  The Student Council is comprised of youths who have lost what redeeming traits they possessed in their earlier years. 

The phoenix, as we all know, represents the death of one form to the resurrection of a superior form, but in Ohtori, the opposite is true.  While I believe post-revolution, things are set aright, no one was suspecting that the revolution would have actually have taken place.  So I am inclined to see this allusion to this mythic figure of greatness to be placed in the same cynical light as is the mythical prince, princess, and in regards to every false hope possessed by those who have come to Ohtori.

And I cannot say much regarding the actual Ohtori family.  The only one who we really get to know in the series is the daughter, Kanae.  And she experiences a transformation which is again for the worse, becoming little more than a mindless, vegetative lump of flesh wholly dependent on her fiance, post her duel.  It's really quite disturbing, actually, and shows how sick that whole campus is.



#7 | Back to Top09-07-2009 08:15:12 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

OITL, you've outdone yourself!  I love the idea (paragraph four) that the phoenix can represent repetition -- the negative kind of eternity, doing the same thing over and over, a perpetual motion machine.  It doesn't matter how many times you are reborn if you spend each life in the same rut.  That's a tragedy shared by Akio and Anthy.  If you get a second chance, make it count, is what these characters' stories tell us.  Most of the main characters have failed to make their second chances count, some repeatedly.

I don't share spoon-san's cynicism about the symbol, though I suspect Akio does, in the same way that Akio doesn't believe in princes or revolutions.



#8 | Back to Top09-07-2009 08:33:31 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

Well, I'm more or less throwing an alternative perspective in there which doesn't necessarily amount to much if we are talking a more canon interpretation.

However, I see these concepts dealing with princes, eternity, and what have you, to have dual manifestations.  I personally would say for our two protagonists, especially, that there is an experience of death and rebirth into something greater.  This seems plausible as we observe, for instance, Anthy's 'resurrection' in the end, emerging from her coffin almost like an infant from the womb.  I would imagine her new form greatly outshines whoever she was previously.  With Utena, too, she goes from this naive, easily swept away youth searching for a prince to taking the princely role which leads to her own maturity (and it could be argued that in the end, Utena was freed from having to fit any role of a girl, boy, princess, or prince, and post-series existed as being 'herself').  But I would imagine Utena, post-series, was reborn, in a figurative sense, into her strongest.  I could well see this for those she 'saved' who were also caught up in the duels and the delusions.

I'd delve further but I'm finding it hard to really say what  I want to say.  But yeah, I forewarn, I am a highly cynical person and it will spill into some of my ideas.  school-eng101

Last edited by spoon-san (09-07-2009 08:36:06 PM)



#9 | Back to Top09-07-2009 11:13:54 PM

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

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

There's also a lot of death/rebirth imagery in Zettai Unmei, as well, which adds to the resurrection themes. Several of the duel songs also have these elements.

20 threads dead so far.



#10 | Back to Top09-15-2009 12:51:52 PM

Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 589

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

On the surface Akio is the would-be phoenix. Dios reborn in his person. But the real phoenix is Anthy. To some extent everyone is a phoenix except Akio.



#11 | Back to Top09-15-2009 06:17:58 PM

Dark Whisperer
From: Westminster, CO
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 1152

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

Sometimes people, in this case students and duelists (even black rose ones), die a little bit inside. Something happens that turns all their good hopes and dreams into ash, andvery often when that happens they end up stuck that way. Sometimes it takes something (a revolution), a person (Utena) who makes an impact, though small, that it's enough to pull people out of that death like funk. It takes time, though to change, it takes want and the courage to to fight, and sometimes it takes a good hold.

And that's as reflective as I'm about to get on the matter. It's easy to over think everything in this series.

"The only reason to write is to write for love. Write for passion. If you have the privilege of being able to write, then don't do it for any other reason." - Stephen Sondheim



#12 | Back to Top11-20-2009 07:46:11 AM

High Tripper
Registered: 10-10-2009
Posts: 246

Re: Schools don't go with flaming resurrective birds. Or do they?

Necroing this thread because no one's mentioned Demian.

Hermann Hesse wrote:

The bird struggles out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born, must destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God's name is Abraxas.

Touga and Juri wrote:

touga:  If the egg's shell does not break, the chick will die without being born.
touga:  We are the chick; the egg is the world.
touga:  If the world's shell does not break, we will die without being born.
touga:  Break the world's shell!
touga&juri:  For the sake of revolutionizing the world!

If you think how eggs and coffins are used, sometimes interchangeably, in the series, one could argue that 'smashing the shell' and rising from the ashes are one and the same thing.



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