You are not logged in.

#1 | Back to Top04-06-2010 05:20:37 PM

what is left of love?
Touga Topper
Registered: 08-25-2009
Posts: 58

What is the point of the Nanami cow?

I was recently thinking about the segment in Adolescence of Utena where they show Nanami as a cow, being tortured by Chu-Chu and that small lizard creature that Shiori was doodling on Touga's back. I have some idea of what the point of that segment was.

A lot of people have stated that AOU tries to condense the entirety of the series into an hour-and-a-half long movie. Going with this idea, I think the purpose of the Nanami cow was to do just that - summarize Nanami's primary role in the series. I mean, yes, Nanami did have her serious moments, and I'm not saying that she's simply meant to be a comedic character. But many of the episodes involving her are comic relief - the Curry Powder episode, the one about the egg, not to mention little segments of other episodes throughout the series. I think the Nanami cow is simply the directors using her for comedic relief in the middle of the movie, so that it didn't feel too drama/symbolism heavy at times.

What do the rest of you think? Do any of you have any other ideas on why such a silly thing was put into the movie? Discuss.



#2 | Back to Top04-07-2010 04:14:25 PM

Rose Bride
From: Louisiana
Registered: 12-23-2006
Posts: 116

Re: What is the point of the Nanami cow?

I personally never read into it too much.  I think it was just a case of needing a nice comedy break, realizing it was hard to fit Nanami into the storyline anyhow, then remembering that Nanami was used almost entirely for comedy in the tv series.     Also, of course, you once again have Nanami causing her own downfall like in the tv series.  As a cow she gets angry, angrily inhales, sucks in Chuchu and Keropan(?), and suffocates.  Just like the tv series... she gets mad/jealous and causes her own problems when she does something.



#3 | Back to Top04-13-2010 08:57:13 PM

Saionji Slapper
From: Québec
Registered: 04-05-2010
Posts: 26

Re: What is the point of the Nanami cow?

[Apologies if this isn't as coherent as I'd like: I had barely woken up from a nap when I thought about this and began to write; also, I'm French.]

what is left of love? wrote:

I think the purpose of the Nanami cow was to do just that - summarize Nanami's primary role in the series. I mean, yes, Nanami did have her serious moments, and I'm not saying that she's simply meant to be a comedic character.

I suddenly had a flash that maybe it's to summarize that Nanami is a forgotten victim of the patriarchy.

The Shadow Girls say it was a mistake and not the right "scandalatious" video they wanted to show, but the Shadow Girls? making "just a mistake"? doing something unpurposeful? REALLY? First, why is this completely random story on Nanami-the-cow interrupting Anthy's tale? Why is it interrupting the plot point of Anthy's abuse by her brother (the obvious oppression)? To make us laugh at Nanami? (the covert oppression) If the film is SKU-as-seen-through-the-lens-of-fans, it involves us: it means we are also participating in the oppression of Nanami, hence why this bit would be shown as a video as part of the breaking-the-fourth-wall going on whenever the Shadow Girls are involved. It's speaking to us. Also, it must have something to do with Anthy and Nanami as opposing yet similar characters: beyond their common subjugation to their onii-samaaaaa~, both accept the rules of their own oppression and subordination to gain the highest role they think they can reach and both attack each other and seem thus to represent "women are rivals", "women are each other's enemies", etc.

Maybe we're meant to think how it's "scandalatious" that, even in a feminist film and series, we still lash out on a despicable (yet subordinate and not-so-dangerous) young woman in a deshumanising and humiliating way and never think of giving the same to the more damaging (and the real threats) but ~omg!hot~ male characters. (Note, I never condone deshumanisation and humiliation, but I'm pointing out the fact this malevolent thought could emerge... but doesn't.) For example, I remember how the comments on YouTube (as I was watching the series) were lashing out on Nanami and... nothing on Touga. Thus her brother goes from dick-in-apprenticeship-to-Akio-to-own-the-world in the series to Utena's Prince in the film. Yet Touga has a part (determine if it's big or small) of responsability in Nanami's state of mind:

considering he's always been with her,
he knows her very well,
he's older,
he's manipulating her -- episode 10 is particularly striking in his manipulation to keep her from emancipating herself:

Nanami:  I will win, Onii-sama.
Nanami:  I'm not beaten yet.
Touga:  Silly girl...
Touga:  Nanami...
Touga:  There's no need for you to fight anymore.
Touga:  I'll protect you.
Nanami:  Onii-sama!
Nanami:  Forgive me.
Nanami:  Onii-sama, forgive me.
Touga:  All right, all right already.
Utena:  I guess you can be brotherly, when you feel like it.
Touga:  I can't just watch silently when a girl is in crisis.
Touga:  I guess it's just the prince in me.

and he's fucking with her psychology since he "can't" literally fuck her -- though he eventually tries and dismisses it with a "Isn't this what you always wanted me to do?" and an annoyed, if not aggressive, "Then, what do you want?!" as if she's being whimsical -- ~aw, those silly whimsical women! they never know what they want~ -- for refusing him now that he's offering.

Maybe it's why even the "lowest sentient" on the show -- Chu Chu is still a monkey-mouse -- is allowed to triumphantly piss at her face. And it's not any sort of pissing. I never considered Chu Chu's gender, but if one thing indicates it, well, it would be this:

Or at least the representation of that gender: in case Chu Chu is really genderless or even female, it plays the masculinity rather well here, plus we know Chu Chu is sharing Akio's clothing attributes -- no one else! Comedic relief or not, this act means something and it's not pretty.

When I saw that scene, I was rather bothered. I dismissed it as "Japanese humor" (which is really not a clever thing to do, I'm aware, but since I'm not used to anime, I thought that was one of those cases where I shouldn't be "too bothered"), but now that I'm thinking about it... or overthinking it... Nanami-the-cow is first brutally grabbed and thrown away by one of her three male-stalkers/posse-turned-into-elephants before Chu Chu pisses in her face:

I find it rather violent.

One could ask why they're doing this to her. On a superficial level, one could think (or maybe it's just me who always imagines the worst): well, she annoyed those three guys by scorning and rejecting them? they deserve a revenge for her being such a bitch to them? she gets what she deserves, no?


This is a feminist anime, isn't it?

Giving these three stalkers a moment of revenge makes no sense, especially when you look back at the series: I don't think Nanami ever scorned them. I don't think she ever even noticed they existed.

No more is "let's just have a good laugh at the miseries of a girl-turned-into-a-cow, har har" making any sense.

Nanami may be a supremely annoying bitch, or a cow precisely (har har?), she's also seriously in need of psychological help, and the way I see it, she perfectly has the right to refuse or ignore the attention of these three guys, who are into a lot of stalking-her-in-the-back of many episodes, which is just plain creepy. They also seem to represent here (in the film) a little too well all the scorned-ignored-and-rejected-losers-of-the-world-and-their-apparent-need-for-vindication-and-revenge-against-those-beautiful-arrogant-girls. It's almost too perfect to be shrugged off.

I'm definitely reading too much into it.

However, if it's not a vindictive act (that's how I first interpreted it and I realise now I may be totally beside the point because I'm too used of seeing that sort of scenario described above and I'm particularly sensitive to violence/revenge plots on The Libby...or on any character emot-mad), I wonder what it is. Just a gratuitous act of violence because she ran into them...?

The elephant-posse and Chu Chu's act contribute to create a context of masculine violence here.

Also, anybody can think of what this represents, because I feel that's too abstract to mean nothing:

It would help to know what exactly is this weird lizard/crocodile thingie first.

Nevertheless, my attempt: I noticed that right before this happens, Chu Chu is looking at some sort of beetle: I don't know if "he's" planning to eat it, and I don't remember if Chu Chu ever eats an insect in the series along with eating cakes. However, if he's contemplating this, or if he's contemplating something philosophical on the existence of smaller creatures in this world, he's then shown being (almost?) eaten by the lizard-thingie. Seems to me like this is a take on the food chain, thus on the ecological pyramid, thus on the natural hierarchies, thus on the social order. And how Chu Chu's attempt at climbing up by pissing in Nanami's face just failed. Also, rather creepy how the "beak" of the lizard/crocodile is... growing. This is from the show with the Freudian duel arena.

However, I don't know why it's red and black.

I'm definitely reading too much.

Last edited by eleutheria (04-13-2010 09:02:53 PM)
"What I'm doing now is taking back what I used to be... I've taken back what I was."



Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement