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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 Top04-11-2010 02:54:57 AM

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

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic irony is when the full significance of a character's words/actions are clear to the audience (or reader) but obscured from the character him/herself. Think of Anna Karenina, when (spoiler alert!) she has nightmares about a peasant muttering in bad french, and is filled with fear––only to have a peasant muttering some nonsense right next to her as she's crushed to death by the train. (end spoiler) It doesn't necessarily foreshadow an event, it can be something like a perspicacious comment whose value the commenter doesn't know.

I've noticed this a few times in Utena. More than a few times, actually. Look for a second at this quote from "Azure Blue Paler Than the Sky" (from the Ruka arc):

You're misunderstanding something. I don't care if my wishes don't come true. And even if I obtained the Power of Miracles, the only thing I'd wish for...is freeing her from you. That's all.

Who said that? If you guessed Juri, you're right. But didn't she just describe Ruka's viewpoint to a tee, down to the "her" in the last sentence?

Now look at this quote from "The Prince Who Runs In the Night":

Utena:  You always try to do just what it says in the book, right? You do just what it says and the flavor always seems to come out wrong, doesn't it? I wonder why...Huh? The tables got turned.

This isn't so much about cooking as about Utena's attempts to live up to an impossible ideal. She, and all the other characters, have some fantasy which comes apart on impact with reality...while they're focused on that, the tables are turned against them by people like Akio.

I can think of more examples, but not right now. What about you?

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#2 | Back to Top04-11-2010 03:07:54 PM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

That's interesting. I've certainly noticed a few going on -- and participating to my mind-blowing -- but I'd have to rewatch to think of the particular ones. emot-gonk

However, the thing that really strikes me -- although I don't know if it quite qualifies -- is the whole "you're just a girl" thing. I remember it comes very early, but I don't remember in what episode... I think it's before Episode 11-12, when it's played all the way through. And then it doesn't seem to come up as much: Utena is no longer defeated, and it's almost as if she had truly realised her wish to be Anthy's Prince. The relationship she develops with Akio starts subtly eating at it (more subtly than how Touga did it, which in my view explains why Touga failed), but I feel it's really meant to fire back in our faces in the final episode. Seriously? Anthy's "You're just a girl"? Double backstab, anyone? Even when I had read before (yeah, spoiled myself) that the backstabbing occurred, I didn't expect it to come with that "justification".

Also, Dios' mockery/taunting is so ambiguously ironic when you look at it: yes, he told her once as a child that she was just a girl (as you see with the complete flashback), but he still gave her the ring to come back to him, and when she finally succeeds... tells her again that she's just a girl, repeating what Anthy just said. It feels like some big ironic trap, "I told you....".


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"What I'm doing now is taking back what I used to be... I've taken back what I was."

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#3 | Back to Top04-12-2010 09:29:29 PM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

Basically every line of Utena's dialogue is dramatic irony.

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#4 | Back to Top04-13-2010 02:07:14 AM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

So true, minervana. etc-love God I love the script...

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#5 | Back to Top04-13-2010 07:03:51 AM

haelsyx
Caretaker
From: sunlit state
Registered: 10-09-2009
Posts: 211
Website

Re: Dramatic Irony

minervana wrote:

Basically every line of Utena's dialogue is dramatic irony.

But you'd probably only ever catch it on rewatch... (I swear I had no idea what was going on for most of the series first time around.)

It's amazing what that script does though etc-love gotta love genius when you see it.

On another note...school-eng101
I don't think there's such a thing as spoilers for Anna Karenina; its like Titanic. We all have a passing familiarity with what happens in the end.

Last edited by haelsyx (04-13-2010 07:05:13 AM)


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Its an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be in San Francisco-Oscar Wilde.
Anyone get the feeling finding Utena is going to be a lot like where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

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#6 | Back to Top04-13-2010 08:47:20 AM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

There's also Mitsuru's line "As long as she eats this, I'll be satisfied"...while he's holding a banana.

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#7 | Back to Top04-18-2010 01:38:29 AM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

haelsyx wrote:

I don't think there's such a thing as spoilers for Anna Karenina; its like Titanic. We all have a passing familiarity with what happens in the end.

I thought so. But I thought I should put a spoiler alert up just in case, so nobody jumps down my throat.

Here's another line of dramatic irony, this one from Episode 14:

Kanae: (to Akio)  Really, you're such a hopeless guy.

Truer words are seldom spoken.

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#8 | Back to Top04-22-2010 11:05:47 PM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

oldboy wrote:

Who said that? If you guessed Juri, you're right. But didn't she just describe Ruka's viewpoint to a tee, down to the "her" in the last sentence?

Almost. If you switch around "you" and "her" she's describing Ruka's desire, to a tee as you say.

The Demain speech is another example of dramatic irony. I wonder how it got started. Some letter from Ends of the World, perhaps? It's funny that these characters recite the same speech, over and over again, about how they're going to "smash the world's shell." It's like they're marionettes who are made to mime themselves "breaking free" of their strings. This thought is not fully developed.

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#9 | Back to Top04-24-2010 12:28:59 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Dramatic Irony

minervana wrote:

I wonder how it got started. Some letter from Ends of the World, perhaps? It's funny that these characters recite the same speech, over and over again, about how they're going to "smash the world's shell." It's like they're marionettes who are made to mime themselves "breaking free" of their strings. This thought is not fully developed.

You have touched on one of the core ironies. Most of the characters are rebelling against the World, especially the Adult World but their path of rebellion has been prepared for them by the character who exemplifies what they are rebelling against.

It's hard to find much in RGU that is not full of dramatic irony. In fact the real challenge is finding simple sincerity completely untainted by irony. Utena herself perhaps.

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#10 | Back to Top04-26-2010 08:06:17 PM

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

Re: Dramatic Irony

brian wrote:

minervana wrote:

I wonder how it got started. Some letter from Ends of the World, perhaps? It's funny that these characters recite the same speech, over and over again, about how they're going to "smash the world's shell." It's like they're marionettes who are made to mime themselves "breaking free" of their strings. This thought is not fully developed.

You have touched on one of the core ironies. Most of the characters are rebelling against the World, especially the Adult World but their path of rebellion has been prepared for them by the character who exemplifies what they are rebelling against.

Exactly. It's like teenagers buying a can of Sprite because the marketing campaign says something like "be yourself." What could possibly be less rebellious than that?

It's also telling that they're doing this in a school. School is often described as "life in miniature," only unlike life there are rules, regulations and a structured path towards a concrete goal. Outside "there are no roads." It kind of reminds me of college, when I met a lot of people who wanted to "revolutionize the world" in some idealistic way, but were absolutely terrified of graduating, when the structure stopped and the "real world" (their phrase, not mine) came calling.

I have a theory that nobody in the series actually cares about changing/revolutionizing the world. Everybody (with a few exceptions) wants to regress and eternalize some earlier, happier time in their lives, because they think it will solve some interpersonal problem that they'll probably outgrow in three years. The exceptions are Touga (maybe), Utena and Akio, who is content to play at God in his little sandbox, under the (probably futile) hope that he can someday reclaim the princely power and become God of the entire world.

It's hard to find much in RGU that is not full of dramatic irony. In fact the real challenge is finding simple sincerity completely untainted by irony. Utena herself perhaps.

Irony is broader than dramatic irony, but you're right. Irony is when you express your meaning by using words that typically mean the opposite of what you want to express, or when the situation is the opposite of what you expect (a fire extinguisher factory burning to the ground). The principal characters are really good at this, especially Anthy. Sarcasm is basically irony + contempt. Miki is pretty straightforward though, and Saionji is too stupid (and too temperamental) to play wordgames.

There's another form of irony, where the meaning is unknown to the audience but clear to the characters in the story (or the speaker). For example, the day before the Columbine school shooting, a friend of Eric Harris (one of the shooters) managed to get him some ammunition. This friend asked Harris if he was going to go hunting that evening. Harris said "Maybe tomorrow."

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#11 | Back to Top04-26-2010 09:48:18 PM

iluvmichaeljackson
Wakaba Wrangler
From: US
Registered: 04-24-2010
Posts: 11
Website

Re: Dramatic Irony

Ooh! I remember when Saionji told Utena something about respecting the rules back in the early part of SKU, episode 2:

Utena:  That's insane. I'm not about to fight a Duel for no reason.
Utena:  Yesterday, I fought for my friend, Wakaba.
Utena:  I don't care about any of this "Rose Bride" stuff.
Saionji:  However, I do.
Saionji:  And if you intend to stay engaged to the Bride as a Duelist,
Saionji:  then you cannot refuse.
Saionji:  Those who disobey the rules of the Student Council will be expelled from the Academy.
Saionji:  That's a school regulation

The irony, of course, is that Saionji gets expelled from the Academy for breaking the rules. emot-biggrin

Saionji, of course, wasn't to see the irony of his statement until a little bit later in the series.

Last edited by iluvmichaeljackson (04-26-2010 09:50:22 PM)


I am an imaginary living body come to its end.

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