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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 Top12-11-2009 01:48:17 AM

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

Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

They were best friends as kids, they're friends (frenemies?) during what I presume is their last or second-to-last year of school together. Neither treats the other very well, and frankly, neither seems to like the other.  So why are they still friends? Are they friends? Or is their relationship more like a dysfunctional, platonic marriage? Here are the theories I can come up off the top of my head.

1. They're both popular, talented student council members. Although Juri says in one episode "We're (student council members) not exactly what you'd call friends, right?", Touga and Saionji have a history together which means their relationship, whatever its real nature, would have the outward appearance of a friendship.
2. Each needs something (what?) from the other. They both strike me as sort of lonely people, in the sense that none of their relationships are built on any deep connection.
3. Inertia. Their past has trapped them in this pattern and neither has the courage to break free.
4. Deep down, Saionji wants a real friendship with Touga, but he can't admit it. Touga's content to string him along because it works into his plans, whatever those are.
5. Same as theory #4, except Touga actually wants a friendship with Saionji as well, although he can't admit it to himself either.
6. They're sexually attracted to each other.
7. Some combination of the above.

Last edited by minervana (12-11-2009 01:50:41 AM)

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#2 | Back to Top12-11-2009 08:50:22 AM

randomprojects
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 12-07-2009
Posts: 42

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

I've wondered about that as well - I thought that Kid Saionji seems to treat Kid Touga more like a friend than Kid Touga did to him. Maybe it was just personality differences, I dunno.

My best bet would probably be a mixture of 2, 4 and 5, with 4 being the main bulk the series, 2 and 5 in the Apocolaypse Saga. I think one of the reasons Saionji seems to hate Touga so much is that he wants to idealize Touga - but his image of Touga is trampled to the ground whenever he sees the other and forcing him out from his fantasy-world where he can be happy eternally. Being Saionji, he can't see beyond his immediate circumstances; so the thought of just forgetting about Touga and find other friends has never crossed his mind. (Come to think of it, it's a lot like his feelings towards Anthy. A part of why he smacks her around is because his idealization of her (they luv each other 4EVA!) is shattered whenever he noticed that she does not share these feelings despite pretending to.)

TL;DR: Saionji puts people on pedestals and gets angry when they're not as perfect as he'd like.
Addenum: ... But I wish they are sexually attracted to each other:(

Last edited by randomprojects (12-11-2009 08:55:01 AM)

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#3 | Back to Top12-11-2009 09:17:56 AM

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

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

I don't have much to say cause i'm leaving right now, but I know a LOT of people who have been friends since they were kids, and no matter HOW they hate eachother, they never break it off.

For all we know, they could be stuck together. They could have not signed up for school together, and got to the student council and been like FUCK. emot-gonk

Really, I think they never did un-friend, and Touga just turned EVIL, but Saionji never left him, even if he greatly disapproves.


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a94/leeness/Ruka--Juri-banner-1.png

Only a lemming must be concerned with the ends of the world.

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#4 | Back to Top12-11-2009 11:28:30 AM

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

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Touga likes to have perceived control over people. I think he likes continuing to be Saionji's friend, exploiting Saionji's fondness of their childhood memories together, as something he can manipulate in Akio's game. At least until the last arc when Touga realizes what a dick Akio is being, how they're all being played, Touga himself included, and he returns to more of a real friendship with Saionji. I think after being screwed over in every way possibly by Akio Touga eventually realizes what a good friend Saionji is in the last arc, and their relationship becomes more genuine.


20 threads dead so far.

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#5 | Back to Top12-12-2009 12:02:00 AM

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

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

randomprojects: Saionji puts people on pedestals and gets angry when they're not as perfect as he'd like.

Oooh I like this thought. poptart

I think Saionji was friends with Touga in the past, but doesn't consider him his friend in the present.

EPISODE 9: "THE CASTLE SAID TO HOLD ETERNITY"
Touga:  Don't look at me so grimly... my dear friend.
Saionji:  Who's your dear friend?
Touga:  How heartless...
Touga:  Aren't you my one and only friend?
Saionji:  Enough!
Saionji:  I'll NOT be defeated by the likes of you!

I think Touga calls Saionji his 'friend' because it pushes a button. He calls him his 'one and only friend' because he's hinting that Saionji wishes for their friendship to be so much more, while knowing through Touga's actions that Touga doesn't feel to the same extent (about anything really, at least up until the very end). And Touga likes to push buttons, and be in control, like hollow said.

I think of them being in that horrible position of being 'meant-to-be somethings'. Let me explain. school-eng101
In a different life, with a different past (without coffin girl ruining everything, at least in Saionji's warped interpretation), with a different present, under different circumstances etc etc etc...

They could have been best friends. Or best somethings. Something special and amazing of some sort. Who knows what. school-devil

And they both sense that, but the tragedy is that in THIS life, with THESE choices that they've both made, and their opposing goals and clashing egos...
They are 'frenimies' instead. (Great word minervana!).

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#6 | Back to Top12-12-2009 03:41:08 AM

SexingTouga24/7/365
is on a BOAT!
Registered: 12-10-2006
Posts: 2267

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Short answer they are best frienemies...long answer their history just makes them fit well together. Touga may appreciate the company of someone whom doesn't fawn/try to have sex with him??? What? that fawning stuff can get kinda of annoying and if one is looking for a straight shooter Saionji is not a bad choice... among the main cast members. As for Saionji it could be a case of battered friend syndrome or a case of keeping an eye on Touga (that whole idea of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer). Perhaps he is  just waiting for an opening to finally take Touga ass to task and beat him at something. After all he is talented a kendo (I hope that I spelled that right) fighter so biding his time and waiting for an opening is in his nature.   

Although I can see somehow in the, distant  future them being friends...perhaps their relationship (fucking or non) can be something eternal. emot-rolleyes Don't pay any attinsion to that last sentence for sanity sake.


"If all the world is a stage and all the people players"...then I demand a less shitty part or the ability to get off of the stage. Slowly my sanity slides, slipping, swirling, spiraling...Save Me I need Sleep...Shattering Soon. school-devil "RukaxTouga equals the Fourth of July" MY patriotic celebration...FUCK ME TOUGA AND RUKA NOW!! etc-wankgirl etc-wankdude

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#7 | Back to Top12-12-2009 12:39:41 PM

Katzenklavier
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Back of your thoughts.
Registered: 09-13-2008
Posts: 1120

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Adding to your thoughts on power and control, sharnii and hollow_rose, I think that Touga's feelings towards Saionji have two very different dimensions; the beginning and end of the series. In this aspect, I think this analysis is very deeply connected to the question of Touga's feelings towards Utena. As she inspires him to question his status as a dashing superficial playboy, his association with Saionji actually becomes more of a real friendship. In the beginning, we see him pretty much treating Saionji like a pet, just like Nanami. Only it's manifested much more as a relationship between men. Where Nanami is a spoiled infatuated princess to use and abuse, Saionji is the wannabe rival. Therefore, his actions are a lot more focused on domination, rather than reinforcing a childlike infatuation. Touga would never pretend to be his childhood friend's prince - primarily due to gender restrictions, but also targeting the specifics of Saionji's weaknesses.


We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

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#8 | Back to Top12-20-2009 10:47:08 PM

oldboy
Miki Molester
Registered: 12-20-2009
Posts: 38

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Don't forget that Touga stole Saionji's innocence. When they find that girl in the coffin, that one comment of Touga's - "Then show her something eternal" - is too much for little Saionji to process. He realizes that nothing eternal exists, and the difference between him and his best friend suddenly reveals himself. Perhaps, in some semi-subconscious way, he thinks that if he can show himself something eternal, he can reclaim his innocence and his friendship with Touga--to go back to how things were.

http://www.ohtori.nu/galerie/d/4136-1/Series_ep09_084.jpg

Poor little Saionji.

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#9 | Back to Top12-21-2009 05:46:58 PM

Riri-kins
World's End
From: Cloud Nine
Registered: 09-22-2008
Posts: 2346

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Well, the simple answer is that they have stuff in common no matter how much they try to deny it. They're both confident, competitive, and passionate about swordsmanship.



allegoriest wrote:

Really, I think they never did un-friend, and Touga just turned EVIL, but Saionji never left him, even if he greatly disapproves.

I agree, and I was always confused about that because Touga seemed like a nice kid. Yeah, he clearly led Saionji around at a young age, but at least he cared about him then. Why did he turn into such a jerk? He obviously still wants to be friends with Saionji as seen at the very end of episode nine when he cynically tells EOTW he was foolish to believe they ever really were. He's also  sounds hurt after Saionji tells him he doesn't believe in true friendship for the umpteenth time in Akio's car. Was Touga just destined to become a bad guy who tortured poor Saionji for fun?  emot-frown


Proud Saionji and Mikage fangirl
My Utena fanfiction: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2000115/Riri-kins

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#10 | Back to Top12-26-2009 08:44:01 PM

randomprojects
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 12-07-2009
Posts: 42

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Riri-kins wrote:

He obviously still wants to be friends with Saionji as seen at the very end of episode nine when he cynically tells EOTW he was foolish to believe they ever really were. He's also  sounds hurt after Saionji tells him he doesn't believe in true friendship for the umpteenth time in Akio's car. Was Touga just destined to become a bad guy who tortured poor Saionji for fun?  emot-frown

I kinda read it the other way round - I've always thought the phonecall meant that Touga thought Saionji was stupid to believe that they were ever really friends (as seen in episode 10, Saionji does seem to consider Touga as the closest thing he has to a friend, imo). As for sounding hurt, I kinda heard it as a taunt; Touga is mocking Saionji by pretending to be hurt, thus fostering the facade that 'hey, you're still a good friend to me! Why are you so mean to me?' whereas his delivery totally gives his true intentions away - on purpose. I'd imagine Saionji is a relatively straightforward guy. It really bothers him when people say something that they don't mean, and of course Touga knows this, that's why he's constantly pushing Saionji's buttons by saying one thing but doing another. It might also be a way to get Saionji more receptive to the 'Rosebride = mindless doll, therefore if I win I can have everything I want!' mentality to get him to duel again, as the feeling of 'everyone is just toying with me, I'm weaker than them' is more prominent (so the desire to dominate increases).

Last edited by randomprojects (12-26-2009 08:45:44 PM)

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#11 | Back to Top12-26-2009 11:17:27 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Riri-kins wrote:

Well, the simple answer is that they have stuff in common no matter how much they try to deny it. They're both confident, competitive, and passionate about swordsmanship.

Agreed.  (But don't forget chauvinism, they have that in common as well. :p  ) When they both pull their heads out of their respective rears they are good for each other.  Saionji sees around Touga's personal blinders and Touga sees around Saionji's.  They both tell each other some harsh truths when the other needs it, and overall, when not fighting, Touga is a safe outlet for Saionji's aggression when they practice together, because Touga can and will ably defend himself, and Saionji provides Touga a challenge, and isn't interested in the things about Touga everyone else has been interested in -his looks and his money.  (He just liked having a friend.)

Saionji didn't care about those things when they were kids, though he may have felt proud to have someone of the upper class as a friend, and over time they weren't what he valued about Touga, they became a part of that unbeatable facade that Touga carried and that he envied.  He came to despise Touga because they were worlds apart.  Every time Touga bests him he reminds Saionji of this, and unlike when they were children, Saionji cannot accept being in a relationship in which he is the weaker, because people get hurt and used that way (Touga's betrayal as children is proof of that).  And every time Touga flaunts his own easy sexuality and confidence, it reminds Saionji how different this older Touga is from the younger, even if some of that difference is defined by his own changing perception (which he eventually comes to realize.)

Saionji doesn't put Touga on a pedestal in terms of morality or perfection, he's too observant to have any illusions about Touga's chastity or good will; he puts him on a pedestal in terms of power.  He's too proud to try and bring Touga down (at least on a conscious level) so he strives to instead bring himself up.  But the manner in which he would have to do this disgusts and cows Saionji... he doesn't want to change who he fundamentally is or risk defeat and scorn...so he doesn't try to tally up his own lists of sexual conquests or perfect his ability to manipulate others, instead he plays out this battle in the dueling arena.  Katana's are more in his comfort zone.  cool

riri wrote:

I agree, and I was always confused about that because Touga seemed like a nice kid. Yeah, he clearly led Saionji around at a young age, but at least he cared about him then. Why did he turn into such a jerk? He obviously still wants to be friends with Saionji as seen at the very end of episode nine when he cynically tells EOTW he was foolish to believe they ever really were. He's also  sounds hurt after Saionji tells him he doesn't believe in true friendship for the umpteenth time in Akio's car. Was Touga just destined to become a bad guy who tortured poor Saionji for fun?  emot-frown

Touga himself changed probably because he did not have enough people like Saionji in his life.  People who didn't care if he was handsome or rich or charming, who liked him for other things.  His adoptive parent's treat him like a trophy child, and doubtless adults have been fawning over him in an attempt to get into his family's good graces.  Nanami's love for him was real, but due to their upbringing she mirrored her parents methods of showing affection, and thus Touga mistakenly dismissed it as conditional love just like their's.  Thus, to Touga, love had little meaning other than a means of exchange.  Someone loves you because you provide them something -sex, money, power, a desired role.  As he grew older Touga learned that he could use this to his advantage.  By being the one loved he could get things from other people, set the terms for a relationship and hold the power.  To be needed instead of needing, unlike his foolish friend Saionji.

And he was good at it.  No one ever told him otherwise until Utena showed up, and he truly believed that this was the way that the world worked.  Bits and pieces of this philosophy rubbed off on Saionji as they grew up, who struggles to create an equal give-and-take relationship with Touga in his textbook fudged up way, and his treatment of Anthy showcases a great fear of being the one who loves, and is thus used.  And yet he can't help but seek that unconditional love, and so while he declares his love for Anthy he also vehemently tells himself and anyone who will listen that she loves him back, deep down knowing that this is only because he, as the engaged, has the power in their relationship.  When Anthy subtly implies otherwise and takes away even that security...SMACK... he tries throwing firewood at a flame to put it out, and re-asserts his control.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (12-26-2009 11:20:44 PM)

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#12 | Back to Top12-27-2009 04:00:36 AM

oldboy
Miki Molester
Registered: 12-20-2009
Posts: 38

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

Touga himself changed probably because he did not have enough people like Saionji in his life.  People who didn't care if he was handsome or rich or charming, who liked him for other things.

I agree with this. This is why he torments Saionji: The mask is stuck to his face, and he doesn't like people who can see underneath it. Maybe that's why he and Anthy set Saionji up. They both have a good reason to get rid of him.

Towards the end of the series, it almost seems like he's getting off on Utena rejecting him. Maybe that's not the right word exactly. Well, he enjoys the experience of not getting something he wants. Then he starts asking himself: "Well, what do I want?"

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#13 | Back to Top01-01-2010 02:01:02 PM

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

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

Touga is a safe outlet for Saionji's aggression when they practice together, because Touga can and will ably defend himself, and Saionji provides Touga a challenge, and isn't interested in the things about Touga everyone else has been interested in -his looks and his money.  (He just liked having a friend.)

There's a very good post/mini-essay by you, OiTL, where you analyzed that scene between young Touga and Saionji. You pointed out that when Touga said "Well, you're the only one good enough to practice with after school," what he was really saying was "Well, nobody else will practice with me after school" (I'm heavily paraphrasing here). Little Touga didn't seem like a kid with a lot of friends. Even now, he doesn't really have any friends, when you think about it. The student council aren't exactly friends; Saionji tells him they're not friends, to his face; Nanami thinks he's perfect; his floozies can't command his respect; Utena may be attracted to him, but she dislikes him; and with Akio, it's all about power and manipulation and pretending to be grown-ups. He's the most popular person in school and he has no friends. Not for nothing--he's a royal bastard--but that's a chicken-egg question.

In a weird way the closest thing he has to a friend is Anthy, because there's a certain implicit, nonsexual understanding each has of the other. They have the same nemeses (Saionji and Nanami). They both wear a mask in public. They're both fucking the same guy (do they compare notes?). They're also two of the most sexually experienced members of the cast. Even if oldboy's hypothesis is correct, and the rose bride makes it somehow impossible for the engaged to have sex with her, Anthy's been having sex with Akio for decades, if not centuries or millennia.

Of course, Saionji doesn't have any real friends either.

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#14 | Back to Top01-01-2010 02:40:35 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

Well, I wouldn't go so far to call Anthy a friend, friendship is about more than having situational things in common - Anthy is where she is for different reasons than Touga, and his freedom and the way he uses it acidifies the similarities she and him have.  If she had his kind of power (being male, no responsibilities.... Anthy is bound to her mistakes and those she once loved, while Touga rarely suffers any repercussions and drops people and their emotional baggage without remorse.....ANTHY WANT...)   Add to that his treatment of Utena, and I'd wager she hates him even more than Saionji; though as you brought up, some of that hatred may be hypocritical.

(Actually, if we're talking similarities here, everyone has something in common with Anthy, which I believe is totally intended.)

Ha, and I wondered if anyone read that....it's not my best piece of analysis, but it has pictures, so at least it's pretty.  I can't see Touga growing up with many real friends.  Admirers and flatters at most.  emot-frown

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#15 | Back to Top01-01-2010 03:26:03 PM

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

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

I agree with you, OiTL, I wasn't trying to imply they were friends, but they did seem to have a connection. Not a connection that could become friendship, but...Think of when Anthy and Touga are plotting to kill the aphids in the rose garden, and when Touga "kidnaps" the rose bride. Or when Touga asks her "which one do you want to win" (I forget which duel). That's very far from friendship, but there is something there that isn't there with, say, Juri or Kozue. Of course, they could both just be obeying Akio...in which case, never mind.

If she despises him, he's smart enough to pick up on it; as someone who's been flattered and adored all his life, he might get off on it in a weird way. The source of his power hates him, and everyone else admires him. That's like something out of Arabian Nights, or one of those fairytales by Hesse.

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#16 | Back to Top01-01-2010 07:22:39 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Why are Touga and Saionji friends?

I agree with you, OiTL, I wasn't trying to imply they were friends

Oh, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to say that you were.  DX

I think the reason behind Touga's nonchalance with Anthy is that he gains nothing from either hurting or being nice to her, so he is just that, neither.  Plus, it isn't her he desires, he's well aware that she is just a tool to get what he wants but is less so aware of the amount of sway she has in who wins or loses the duels.  So, why waste time on her when Utena isn't around?  I don't think he has any kind of real understanding of her though, or respect.  She's a nonissue.  (In a weird way, he is literally treating her like an object, only it's more in the way of how a person reacts to a vase versus a person using something like a chair or utensil.)  He probably acts much the same way around people who he has no interest in, such as an unattractive stranger whose opinion of him will not amount to anything in regards to his reputation at Ohtori or for his parents; here's your directions to so and so.  Have a nice day.

It's implied that he has history with Miki, and aside from that the two of them are both duelists and come from wealthy or prestigious families, so he does have something to gain from them. 


(I'd say he was in the rosegarden concerning the aphid problem because Anthy put in a complaint to the council, since it is school property (ALL A PART OF HER PLAN, MWAHAHA), and, wanting to look kind and helpful in front of Utena, took it upon himself to look into the matter personally, as Anthy probably expected him to.  He later doesn't have sex with Anthy much for the reasons Gio has mentioned; it's obvious she has no interest in him, because she's a doll, and Touga needs to be needed, so he doesn't bother and pursues other women while they are engaged, which has the added bonus of rubbing his victory in Utena's face - his disregard for Anthy is in a weird way worse than Saionji's treatment of her, because he's drilling in the idea that she's a doll, that she nothing to be desired, for any reason, that she is worthless.  Even for sex. )

Though I can imagine before Utena showing up Touga making one or two Casanova passes at Anthy.  They probably didn't work and he when finds out that she has no will of her own he probably happily accepts it.  No wonder she isn't interested in him; she isn't interested in anybody or anything.   Winning her for sex would havea ll the satisfaction for him like winning a dating sim game.  Utena is a tad different, since her blushing and the knowledge that she once had a prince makes it obvious there is at least the capacity for attraction there.  Something to work with.

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