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Gougai! Gougai!

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 Top12-08-2009 08:53:01 PM

Katieryn
Rose Smilee
From: Not-the-City, NY
Registered: 12-08-2009
Posts: 139

What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

I poked about the forum a bit, but I didn't see any full thread about this...

I'm looking to amass some theories about Chu-Chu's existence. I found an old thread theorizing that he is an expression of feelings that Anthy can't show. But if he is, why does he dress like Akio, who is one of the forces restraining Anthy's emotional expression? And why can something as fantastic as a self-aware purple monkey exist outside of the Ohtori world?

I'm not sure what to think about it myself. It's been puzzling me for literally years. What is that little bugger there for?!


"If Utena was a novel, you'd be studying it in college." -- EM site info

We're patient for now, and we're patient for tomorrow, when the past will redeem all the toil extreme and all the sorrow.

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#2 | Back to Top12-08-2009 10:03:04 PM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Leaving aside the meta-reason, that the series is playing around with shoujo tropes, and any shoujo magical girl series needs a cute animal sidekick... the obvious explanation is that Chu-Chu is Anthy's familiar. Admittedly, that's not really an explanation, but it provides a starting point to look at things from. Glancing over the Wikipedia article on familiars, this looked interesting:

Wikipedia wrote:

Recent scholarship has become more multi-disciplinary, integrating feminist-historical and world-historical approaches. Deborah Willis' Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England links the witch's relationship with the familiar to a bizarre and misplaced corruption of motherhood and maternal power.

Let's also look at his actions. Chu-Chu doesn't seem to carry out Anthy's bidding all that often, but he has his moments: putting on the music for the dance at the end of episode 3, eating Nanami's bento in episode 4, throwing the banana peel under Nanami's foot in episode 7... okay, so mostly he fucks with Nanami, but that's more or less all Anthy unpromptedly does for most of the series, anyway. He also facilitates Utena's first meeting with Juri, leads Utena to Nemuro Memorial Hall... basically, he presents himself as an agent of random chance or coincidence, but it's not much of a stretch to assume that every event he causes is something that Anthy wanted to happen, or at least condones. In some scenes (like the one where he interrupts Akio's photo-taking), people tend to read Chu-Chu's actions as being effectively Anthy's, so we may as well read him like that all the time, right?

Chu-Chu's big moment is episode 27, in which he is reborn in a phoenix-like process (while also fucking with Nanami). That shows us the mechanism behind his presumably eternal life at Anthy's side, if not the reason. And, of course, he mostly stays away from Akio, either entirely of his own volition or also because Anthy wants to keep him mostly under Akio's radar.

We should also try taking Anthy's claims that Chu-Chu is her friend as face value. If Chu-Chu is Anthy's friend, and not her servant or pet, what kind of friend is he? Why does Anthy want or need a friend like him: an unswervingly loyal, smarter-than-your-average-bear animal? Apparently he's not all she wants or needs, since it takes Utena to free her in the end, but he's got to help somehow, right?

Last edited by Dallbun (12-09-2009 07:31:12 AM)

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#3 | Back to Top12-08-2009 10:04:59 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4691

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Every witch needs a familiar. For some reason, it wasn't until last month that I realized that that Chuchu's tie is supposed to make him look like Anthy, and not Akio. Akio's tie is purple, whereas Chuchu's tie is that of the school uniform. He seems to be an extension of Anthy's self, or something. There's likely more to him than what I can think of, since I tend to ignore him a lot. emot-frown

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#4 | Back to Top12-08-2009 10:21:38 PM

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

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

One useful clarifying question might be: do you want to know what Chu Chu is doing in the show from a story perspective (how he and Anthy met, why she finds him useful, why he serves her) or from a meta-story perspective (what function he serves in SKU, why Ikuni included him)?

The forum hasn't talked much about either question.  There's this thread, which suggests Chu Chu is there to draw Utena into the duels from a story perspective; he plays the innocent and nonhuman victim of Saionji's abuse who Utena must rescue.  From a meta-story perspective, I wrote a little something here to the effect that Chu Chu is a commentary on how Anthy defines "friend" in the wake of her abandonment issues.  Really, though, I think a lot of it is "otherwise the only comic relief sidekick is Wakaba, and she's not as funny after we start taking her seriously."

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#5 | Back to Top12-08-2009 10:32:17 PM

BioKraze
Faceless Master
From: Yuma, Arizona (USA)
Registered: 11-26-2006
Posts: 8280

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Being a Fanfic.Net geek (there are stories I monitor and I'm a writer there), one particular author, shanejayell (who wrote Arisugawa's Locket, among other stories), wrote Chu Chu out of the story entirely in the Locket's prequel. Utena asks Anthy what happened to Chu Chu and the Rose Bride explains that he disappeared, as he was a "bubble" of humanity she had split off from her native personality to maintain sanity while she and Akio dicked about with the duels. She said that many, many years of watching people rise and fall started to make her feel empty and lonely, and so she created Chu Chu as somebody she could actually trust implicitly. Once he wasn't needed, she reabsorbed that part of herself back into her mind and the monkey hasn't been seen since.

Of course, all this takes place post-series, at least four or so years, so interpretation is always left to the reader. However, it's the best explanation of Chu Chu that I've seen yet, barring forum member Reanna's explanation in her infamous "Ecchi Adventures" fic that Chu Chu is actually a Pikachu-Marill hybrid Pokemon.


Roses have thorns to stop those who would dare deny their right to live.
Razara's Postulate: For every lover of lesbians out there, there is an equal and opposite attraction to Dippin' Dots.

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#6 | Back to Top12-08-2009 10:42:23 PM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 689

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

BioKraze wrote:

However, it's the best explanation of Chu Chu that I've seen yet, barring forum member Reanna's explanation in her infamous "Ecchi Adventures" fic that Chu Chu is actually a Pikachu-Marill hybrid Pokemon.

That's crazy. He's clearly an Aipom.

What happened to the hand on his tail is anyone's guess.

Last edited by Dallbun (12-08-2009 10:43:52 PM)

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#7 | Back to Top12-09-2009 03:13:58 AM

Brett
New Student
Registered: 12-09-2009
Posts: 5

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

the witch's relationship with the familiar to a bizarre and misplaced corruption of motherhood and maternal power.

This actually makes sense in the way that he appears to have attributes both of Anthy (tie) and Akio (earring), making him some kind of Ersatz-baby, a bizarre offspring of their bizarre relationship. The fact that he mostly stays away from Akio could make sense on a freudian level, some oedipal conflict, perhaps.

Last edited by Brett (12-09-2009 03:14:28 AM)

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#8 | Back to Top12-09-2009 06:54:10 AM

sharnii
Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416
Website

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Katieryn: I'm looking to amass some theories about Chu-Chu's existence...
I'm not sure what to think about it myself. It's been puzzling me for literally years. What is that little bugger there for?!

I have several thoughts/theories on ChuChu's purpose/s in the anime to add to the delicious mix. Some of them build a little on what has already been mentioned.

a) He exists in relation to Anthy, that is he backs up her character
Such a passive and quiet character as Himemiya Anthy needs another form of expression to get certain parts of her story across to the audience. ChuChu is that expression. So for instance he cries on Anthy's bed (and Utena confusedly comforts him) when Anthy is 'visiting' Akio, and the purpose of that is for the audience to understand that part of Anthy is crying too. She's in pain but as the rose bride she can't show pain, so ChuChu shows it. Likewise he stabs Saionji's shoe when Anthy is getting slapped around by Saionji. Anthy no doubt wants to cause Saionji pain but is curtailed from the physical variety (but gives him a dosing of emotional pain later on when Utena beats him and Anthy smiles widely in his face and congratulates him as 'senpai' instead of sama).

Think of ChuChu as a living illustration to the cryptic words Anthy likes to say. Or to her lack of saying/doing something in a certain scene.

b) He exists in relation to Utena, that is he proves she is noble
Utena's nobility is first demonstrated by her decision to duel to 'protect ChuChu'. Of course (at least in my view) this is an understated desire to protect the 'messed up girl who let's herself be abused by that crazy dude'. But Utena can't actually say that at that point - it would be weird, and she needs to believe that she is above all the rose bride nonsense. Thus ChuChu provides an excuse. Utena consistently defends (from Saionji for instance) and helps (cradles to sleep etc) ChuChu, further demonstrating what a good-hearted type person she is. Willing to protect a cute defenseless animal? Princelike! school-devil

Think of ChuChu as a living demonstration that Utena will be the prince in the end.

c) He exists as a mirror of Anthy's relationships

Utena's quickly formed and ongoing 'friendship' with ChuChu surprises Anthy and causes her to look at Utena slightly differently from other victors. ChuChu is very open to Utena's advances (they play together constantly), whereas he hates Saionji (understandably), Nanami (with vengeful glee), and apparently Akio (self protection?). This is a mirror of Anthy's opinions of all those characters.

Think of ChuChu as 'Anthy+'

d) He exists to provide comic relief
Although I see most of ChuChu's actions as fulfilling the purposes stated above (and meaning more than they appear at first glance) most of them are also pretty cute and funny. ChuChu is the requisite 'weird animal device' that shines in this genre and gives comedic relief between spurts of serious melodrama.

Think of ChuChu as bizarre! I know I thought 'wtf?!' the first time I saw him...I'll never forget that moment... emot-tongue

As to what ChuChu IS that gets even more involved and can be defined in terms of both his relationships and his actual being. But my theorizing above focuses on the thread's central question: What is ChuChu doing in the show?

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#9 | Back to Top12-09-2009 12:18:45 PM

Katieryn
Rose Smilee
From: Not-the-City, NY
Registered: 12-08-2009
Posts: 139

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Very interesting stuff...I've never really watched much anime besides Utena, but I sort of figured a cute creature is a feature of this sort of show. But we all know that nothing in SKU is included just because...

Razara, thank you for pointing out the thing about his tie. I'd never noticed that before either. So the tie and the earring put him between Anthy and Akio as far as appearance goes. He most certainly comes with Anthy's magic (none of her other "friends" are so intelligent, and all are more realistically drawn) and he definitely has some of Akio's wicked sense of humor (such as tormenting Nanami because she gives a big reaction and makes such an easy target). But what do you guys think could keep him so firmly on Anthy's side? The only time I ever remember seeing him near Akio (aside from just being on the table next to him) was in the final episode, and he looks terribly sad to go. If he's an extension of Anthy's feelings, why would he be that sad if she isn't? Even if she still felt the need to hide her feelings (which I don't believe at all--she leaves behind the glasses, which I've always taken to be the barrier between her real feelings and what she must appear to be) wouldn't he be expressing more fear than sorrow, if anything?

Also. Maybe when he leaves behind his little tie and earring at the end--like Anthy leaves behind her glasses, uniform, and (I think) her powers as a witch--Chu-Chu leaves behind what makes him more human like and becomes more of a normal little monkey?

But he's packed his little sack (probably full of cookies again) like he did when he and Anthy first moved in with Utena. Which shows human-like forethought. This is not a characteristic of normal little monkeys.

Sorry, it's sort of weird and tangled up in my head.


"If Utena was a novel, you'd be studying it in college." -- EM site info

We're patient for now, and we're patient for tomorrow, when the past will redeem all the toil extreme and all the sorrow.

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#10 | Back to Top12-09-2009 03:32:27 PM

winksniper
Qualified Duellist
From: Under the Cherry Moon
Registered: 09-11-2009
Posts: 764

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

I feel like there's a million ways you could interpret his purpose, and be right just about every time.  One way I look at it is that he sorta represents past-Anthy's behavior and personality.  I noticed how he didn't want to have anything to do with Anthy or Akio when they were sexing, and Anthy wasn't enjoying it at all, clearly.  I dunno.  emot-confused

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#11 | Back to Top12-11-2009 09:14:35 AM

cscratch
Mikage Mistruster
From: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Registered: 07-07-2008
Posts: 68
Website

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Katieryn: The only time I ever remember seeing him near Akio (aside from just being on the table next to him) was in the final episode, and he looks terribly sad to go. If he's an extension of Anthy's feelings, why would he be that sad if she isn't? Even if she still felt the need to hide her feelings (which I don't believe at all--she leaves behind the glasses, which I've always taken to be the barrier between her real feelings and what she must appear to be) wouldn't he be expressing more fear than sorrow, if anything?

In the frame that ChuChu is a mirror for Anthy's true feelings, I would think Anthy would be a little sad leaving at the end of the seires.  After all, Akio & the world in which he created for them to exist is all she has ever known, &, depsite all the awful things they may have done to each other, he is still her brother, which is why she was compelled to save him so long ago.

I think Chuchu's sorrow is more that Anthy can't cry in front of Akio -- she needs to show Akio that she is strong enough to go, even though she might be scared.   Maybe she is also a little sad that he will never be able to follow her into the real world & shed the shackles that keep him tied to his illusions?

I like the the idea also that Anthy's glasses are a representation of the barrier between what she shows the world & what she is truly feeling.  It makes sense -- but if that is the case & ChuChu is the represenatation for her true feelings, why would she still need him at all after leaving Ohtori?

Thinking myself in circles today!

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#12 | Back to Top12-11-2009 11:51:58 PM

sharnii
Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416
Website

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

cscratch: I think Chuchu's sorrow is more that Anthy can't cry in front of Akio -- she needs to show Akio that she is strong enough to go, even though she might be scared.

I agree with this interpretation. Nicely put.

I like the the idea also that Anthy's glasses are a representation of the barrier between what she shows the world & what she is truly feeling.  It makes sense -- but if that is the case & ChuChu is the represenatation for her true feelings, why would she still need him at all after leaving Ohtori?

In my opinion it's not that simple. Sure Anthy's glasses are a barrier in a way. But they're also a sign of submission and imprisonment - like a chain if you will. Thus putting them aside is an illustration that she's choosing to follow Utena to freedom.

I think what makes SKU so confusing (and similarly so fascinating) is that every symbol can be (and imnsho should be) interpreted in multiple ways. SKU is postmodernism gone wild! etc-love Thus you can apply logic to come to some mind-spinning implications and you can enjoy them, but you shouldn't rely on them...there is no world-explaining schema that fits SKU exactly. There's not meant to be; it's not written with concrete answers in mind. To me it seems more written to provoke questions, to fill with emotion, and to inspire.

Katieryn: But he's packed his little sack (probably full of cookies again) like he did when he and Anthy first moved in with Utena. Which shows human-like forethought. This is not a characteristic of normal little monkeys.

Definitely not. emot-tongue And as such ChuChu doesn't follow any normal rules. I don't think entering the 'real world' to find Utena means ChuChu gives up his magical and mysterious nature - anymore than Anthy gives up hers. In a sense they become more real sure. But in a sense they are beyond being real anyway. Or 'merely real' if you will. As is Utena, since she has turned out to be the prince after all (according to at least one possible interpretation) and has achieved the power to revolutionize the world (whatever the heck that is!).

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#13 | Back to Top05-28-2010 05:52:21 PM

Zabel Z
Ohtori Paramouri
From: Brazil
Registered: 05-18-2010
Posts: 91

Re: What is Chu-Chu doing in the show?

Just passing by to tell something you may want to know...

http://img121.imageshack.us/img121/7240/chuchu1.jpg(uknown doujinshi artist)

of course, Didn't you realize? emot-winkemot-biggrin


Damm kids, get out of my lawn!!!

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