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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 Top07-08-2010 09:51:54 PM

Catbazaar
New Student
Registered: 07-08-2010
Posts: 2

New poster rants about the ending

Hi there, this is first post on the forum which I found by googling after being totally confused at the anime and the movie (what were they smoking?).


Anyhoo, after a bit of thinking, is it possible Utena has visited Ohtori before - as in the anime is her second visit? I was thinking that 'revolutions' talked about - and the duels by extension, as well as the want for the Rose Bride is that Anthy has the power to let the person who wins all the duels and gets through the coffin/castle, whatever was happening in episode 39, gets back out into the outside world, out of the timebubble/temporal disturbance/alternate universe that Ohtori is? By my thinking Ohtori is a place where the same events play out over and over again - the duels, etc. Anthy is the sister of Dios, now Akio, that Dios/Akio has sealed in his dimension when he created it. The Duelists are people from the outside world interned by Akio in his alternate dimension, because they hurt him when he was Dios. The other students, such as relatives, Tswuabuki, Shori, Wakaba,Ruka etc, were the love interests/relatives etc in the outside world that were interned with them in the alternate dimension of Ohtori. All the other characters - such as the random 'extras' or the students in the school and the teachers, are created by Akio to keep up the fascmile of a school, and something of a town/outside world. The Shadow Girls, in my thinking, would be 'witches' from the outside world that want to get rid of the alternative dimension that Akio has created, and thus seek out someone to stop Akio - this would be Utena.


Utena's first visit would've occured pre-anime, and been by accident - perhaps led there by the ring given to her by Dios at her parents funeral - or that she went to the alternate world at the behest of the Shadow Girls, and won all the duels and escaped to the outside world, without Anthy. Wanting to rescue the people that she found there, she returns a second time - however, having someone outdo him, and escape, Akio has begun to degenerate mentally, and the world is quite different than what it was to before - and Utena no longer has her memories of her first visit  when she arrives for her second in the anime, and is now stuck aged 14/15. (possibly due to the Shadow Girls messing up, explaining them trying to remind Utena of what is happening, or by Akio's intereference). The anime goes along its path, with only the Shadow Girls the one influence from the outside world that is in the alternative dimension of Akio. Utena, due to having lost her memories, falls prey to Akio, and fails in her mission at Ohtori - she manages to only rescue Anthy and ChuChu, who finds Utena in the outside world(and judging by the movie, have lots of yuri too), but does set the stage for her third and last visit - she has changed the dynamics of the Ohtori Academy for the people stuck there - events happening start changing and Touga catches on to the fact that Ohtori is not real, thus explaining his behavoir in the movie,  and the two plot to go back and rescue everyone else. The movie is their third visit - and the major differences and the archtectural craziness, as well as Akio's petty behavior, can be explained by Akio's mental state deteroriating further becuase he's been outdone twice and Utena, in the anime, has altered his world beyond his control. In the movie, Utena and Anthy succeed, and rescue the Duelists stuck in the Ohtori universe.


Mamiya, Nemuro, Tokiko, and the '100 Duelist Boys' would've been the original creators of the dimension for Akio - only for the 100 boys, to be sacrificed to create it, and in Nemuros case, stuck there with a fake Mamiya, who would've been killed in the creation of the dimension. Tokikio has free access to the dimension from the outside world, and is bound to come at the same time, every time the same events play out in Akio's alternative dimension.  She does not appear in the movie because the events have changed drastically. Nemuro experiences the same thing as Touga - upon realizing his Mamiya is just an Anthy fascmile, he figures out that Ohtori is merely an alternative dimension, and goes back to the outside world. Touga merely delays his going back until he knows the people stuck in the dimension have a route out - Utena, in the movie.

Yeah, there is my fanwank. Feel free to tear it apart, I just felt like sharing :>.

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#2 | Back to Top07-08-2010 10:52:42 PM

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

Re: New poster rants about the ending

Hey, welcome to the forums! Always happy to see new posters, especially new posters who bring lengthy interpretive essays. emot-smile Hope you'll stick around and share some more!

I know that other folks disagree, but I think the movie and the series are pretty clearly their own things, and attempts to integrate them into a whole tend to sacrifice almost all individual events in favor of broad cosmological sweeps. I feel the same away about theories that the characters are stuck in a time loop of some sort. They leave me very unsatisfied.

For instance: under a theory like you describe, what does it mean that movie Touga drowned saving Juri's life as a kid? Nothing - it's meaningless, a mere arbitrary fiction created by a deteriorating reality... but then why does it weigh on movie Utena's memories so much? If Tatsuya... clearly a non-important personnel, completely useless to Akio or Mikage... is a mere illusion, could Wakaba have pulled him aside when they were kids and dubbed him the Onion Prince? Why on earth would such an insignificant detail exist? If Ohtori is so thoroughly fictional and Akio in such control of it, why is he engaged to the chairman's daughter, and why is would Kanae's mother show up to remind him of his position and complain about the lack of (ahem) attention? And perhaps most importantly: the characters change and grow as the TV series progresses, often in ways unrelated to Utena herself. Do we just assume that they've been though such growth repeatedly, and been rebooted every time? What's the point?

Meanwhile, on a less cosmological note: if the TV series Shadow Girls have an anti-Akio agenda, why is he so cordial towards them? ...and if they have any in-world agenda at all, why do they spend most of their time performing whimsical shadow plays for the audience, with no other characters around?

P.S.

Catbazaar wrote:

(what were they smoking?)

Cars. emot-tongue

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#3 | Back to Top07-09-2010 02:20:13 AM

Catbazaar
New Student
Registered: 07-08-2010
Posts: 2

Re: New poster rants about the ending

Dallbun wrote:

Hey, welcome to the forums! Always happy to see new posters, especially new posters who bring lengthy interpretive essays. emot-smile Hope you'll stick around and share some more!

Thanks!

Dallbun wrote:

I know that other folks disagree, but I think the movie and the series are pretty clearly their own things, and attempts to integrate them into a whole tend to sacrifice almost all individual events in favor of broad cosmological sweeps. I feel the same away about theories that the characters are stuck in a time loop of some sort. They leave me very unsatisfied.

Personally I feel that the movie/anime are two different reflections of the same thing - except the movie is Ohtori changed by the anime - just Ikuro was smoking LSD for the anime, and speed for the movie. I found the ending to anime Utena very unsatisfying - no real resolution to what actually happened to Utena, except we know that she's likely alive and Anthy has gone looking for her. But thats it, really.


Dallbun wrote:

For instance: under a theory like you describe, what does it mean that movie Touga drowned saving Juri's life as a kid? Nothing - it's meaningless, a mere arbitrary fiction created by a deteriorating reality... but then why does it weigh on movie Utena's memories so much? If Tatsuya... clearly a non-important personnel, completely useless to Akio or Mikage... is a mere illusion, could Wakaba have pulled him aside when they were kids and dubbed him the Onion Prince? Why on earth would such an insignificant detail exist? If Ohtori is so thoroughly fictional and Akio in such control of it, why is he engaged to the chairman's daughter, and why is would Kanae's mother show up to remind him of his position and complain about the lack of (ahem) attention? And perhaps most importantly: the characters change and grow as the TV series progresses, often in ways unrelated to Utena herself. Do we just assume that they've been though such growth repeatedly, and been rebooted every time? What's the point?

I thought the childhood memories, if my theory holds, would just have been fakes, I dunno, generated by Akio, to make the world seem more real. I take Utena to be an 'invader' - she's not intended to be there by Akio's planning, but she turns up there anyway - and stands out from the crowd, e.g - uniform, not being on the student council yet owning the rose signet - and since they all tend to be negative memories, they are used to torment the prisoners interned by Akio. Note how many of the characters don't change without Utena - it seems to stand, that pre-Utena Ohtori they didn't really work out their problems, and only after Utena changes the dynamics in the anime, do things start to change.  I'd say Kanae and her mother are trapped there by Akio, either willingly or unknowningly, like the rest of the cast. In my theory, Akio doesn't want people to figure out he's stuck them in this alternate dimension where they can't escape. I'd say the point of rebooting everytime is so that no one gets close to the truth of the matter - that they are imprisoned by Akio. Utena finds out the truth, despite having no memory of her original purpose there - but the fact that the dynamics have changed despite Ohtori forgetting Utena shows that Akio's world has been permantently changed, despite Utena's faliure to rescue anyone but Anthy in the anime, which leads to the reset Ohtori of the movie when Anthy and Utena come back, where Akio is starting to lose it because people have figured out the secret and are working to subvert  - like all the Duelists except Touga running off in the Wakabamobile - Touga leaves in the movie because he has already figured out and is making sure the rest are rescued by Utena.

Dallbun wrote:

Meanwhile, on a less cosmological note: if the TV series Shadow Girls have an anti-Akio agenda, why is he so cordial towards them? ...and if they have any in-world agenda at all, why do they spend most of their time performing whimsical shadow plays for the audience, with no other characters around?

I'm not quite sure - I didn't think of this. Perhaps Akio does not know they are anti-Akio? Perhaps the whimsical plays are intended for Utena, to pick up what is going on?

P.S.

Catbazaar wrote:

(what were they smoking?)

Dallbun wrote:

]Cars. emot-tongue

Damn, I thought it was pot.

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#4 | Back to Top07-09-2010 02:52:17 AM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: New poster rants about the ending

Catbazaar wrote:

Dallbun wrote:

Meanwhile, on a less cosmological note: if the TV series Shadow Girls have an anti-Akio agenda, why is he so cordial towards them? ...and if they have any in-world agenda at all, why do they spend most of their time performing whimsical shadow plays for the audience, with no other characters around?

I'm not quite sure - I didn't think of this. Perhaps Akio does not know they are anti-Akio? Perhaps the whimsical plays are intended for Utena, to pick up what is going on?

You'll have to excuse any rambling on my part, I'm sitting here drinking tequila. And yelling at my cat, which is sleeping on my giant over-sized cardigan. I should be watching a cheesy UK celebrity ice skating programme or writing out analysis notes for a time-travelling romance novel. Now that you're assured of my status as a FREAK, we can continue. school-devil

I don't think the Shadow Play Girls had anything against Akio. And I'm going to stick to the series in this respect, too, because I'm not enough of a fan of the movie to really let it influence my intepretation of the show (I see the movie as alt-canon, really, or perhaps the space between series!Ohtori and the real world). Personally I also saw the SPG as an outside influence, though they were merely observers. Admittedly they do get involved at one point when they actually appear in a scene with Utena in "human" form, although they're pretty inhuman for all that. From a narrative point of view they're there to tell the audience what is going on. They also do explain things to Utena, but she tends to ignore them. And in that respect, it tells us something about ourselves as an audience -- it's easy for us to yell at the screen and wonder how Utena or any of the other characters can't see the situations they're in and the easy way out. It's because in real life? We're in the same boat. The SPG, to me, felt like a personification of the audience of a story. Because without an audience, what is a fairytale but a bunch of words?

...yeah. That made no sense. ...MORE TEQUILA! emot-rofl


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

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#5 | Back to Top07-09-2010 11:55:24 PM

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

Re: New poster rants about the ending

I like the way you think, Cat!  Welcome to IRG!  emot-smile

Catbazaar wrote:

I thought the childhood memories, if my theory holds, would just have been fakes, I dunno, generated by Akio, to make the world seem more real. I take Utena to be an 'invader' - she's not intended to be there by Akio's planning, but she turns up there anyway - and stands out from the crowd, e.g - uniform, not being on the student council yet owning the rose signet - and since they all tend to be negative memories, they are used to torment the prisoners interned by Akio. Note how many of the characters don't change without Utena - it seems to stand, that pre-Utena Ohtori they didn't really work out their problems, and only after Utena changes the dynamics in the anime, do things start to change.

I like this last part: Utena is definitely the catalyst for change at Ohtori for almost all the characters, to the extent that they change.  A lot of standing conflicts get resolved because of her, usually by accident.  I don't think, though, that this necessarily means Utena is an unplanned fly in Akio's ointment.  In fact, it seems to me that Akio led Utena to Ohtori on purpose.  Why else would he give her the ring?  And given his near omnipotence over campus, why wouldn't he eject her if he didn't want her there?  No -- instead of ejecting her, he leads her on, enmeshing her more and more deeply in the campus's mysteries, and capping it all off with Anthy's betrayal.  He wants to mold a convincing fake prince so that he can break her sword against the gate, shrug, and tell Anthy he tried.  I really think that throughout the series, almost everything goes according to Akio's plan.  He makes only two mistakes.

A) Utena is slightly more true to her ideals than he anticipated, and
B) Anthy hasn't lost the capacity to hope, as he believes.

His blind spot with Utena is rather small.  He pegs her pretty well.  (That's what she said!!)  It's really not until the last episode that she shows Akio something he didn't expect to see, when she pulls herself off the ground and stumbles to the gate.  Even then, his reaction is one of surprised amusement, not of real bewilderment.  We don't see that until Utena does something that, we presume, no one has ever done before: she begins to pull open the gate.  The swords stop in the air.  The gate's transformation is a reflection of Utena's resolve.  Akio's blind spot here comes about because he doesn't believe in real princeliness, though he pretends to for Anthy's benefit; he would never have expected that her "strength or her nobility" would persevere after her friend's betrayal.  Even now that he sees it, he doesn't recognize it: he yells at Utena, "Stop!  You don't know what you're doing!"  (That's also what she said!!)

But in the end, Anthy has to take Utena's hand.  Here, Akio's blind spot is gigantic.  It's fair to say he's almost completely oblivious to the importance of his sister's emotional growth.  Akio, in the end, makes the same mistake about Anthy that everyone else but Utena does: he thinks she doesn't have feelings, or at least doesn't act on them.  He abuses her (and she him, for that matter) throughout the series, while Utena always treats her like a friend, to the best extent that Utena understands friendship.  Anthy even begins to chafe a little; something about pulling the sword out of Utena during Saionji's third duel made Akio do a double-take, and he dealt with Anthy afterward through... well, rape, to call a spade a spade.  But Akio nonetheless continues to assume that the bond he shares with Anthy is enough to keep Anthy from betraying him.  He was right that Anthy would stab Utena in the back, just as he's been right throughout the series that Anthy would continue to lead Utena on through his labyrinth, all the way to this final chamber.  But at this pivotal moment, when she could defeat Utena in spite of Utena's unforeseen perseverance just by rejecting her hand, Anthy takes a leap of faith -- and lands hard.  (That's what... never mind.)  Akio didn't expect this.  He's been through a lot of "revolutions" with Anthy before -- with different casts each time, I believe, perhaps with occasional repeat appearances by people like Ruka or Mikage -- and she's never failed him yet.  Utena is the first one to win his rigged game, because she's the first one to care about Anthy enough to get up off the floor, and even after all this abuse, Anthy has kept enough of herself alive to notice this and trust.  Though she has to see Utena discard her own betrayal of her with her own eyes before she'll believe it, Anthy finally trusts her, and it's this trust that gives her the strength to walk out on Akio afterward.

That's how I read the last episode, and I think it's quite beautiful.  emot-smile  Your mileage may vary, of course, and there's something to be said for the decisiveness of the movie's ending: yes, they escaped for real; yes, they're together; yes, the other students will follow them.  The series makes you draw your own conclusions and refuses firm answers.  We only get hints.  I share Dallbun's feeling that it's perilous to conflate the anime with the movie, or either one with the manga.  Many characters -- especially Touga, but also all of the others except possibly Utena herself -- mean something different in each of the three media.  I find it's better to think of them as reimaginings of each other, though for fic and personal canon purposes I'm happy to break this rule when the result is sufficiently awesome.  emot-smile

Clarice wrote:

The SPG, to me, felt like a personification of the audience of a story. Because without an audience, what is a fairytale but a bunch of words?

I see what you mean, and I think that what I'm going to say means about the same thing, but I conceptualize it differently.  I feel like the Shadow Girls (in the anime) are somewhere between a Greek chorus and an author insert.  They watch; they reiterate; occasionally they push along.  And clearly they know everything and are giddy at getting to point it out as it happens.  They break the Fourth Wall.  Their agenda is to make you and me giggle and goggle.  Akio has no power over them, but that's all right because they don't really have anything to do with him; they expose much more of the plot to us than they ever do to Utena, if only because Utena is oblivious to all symbolism and metaphor.  You could take them out of the series entirely without materially changing what happens, but we, the audience, would lose the very special kind of immersion that the Shadow Girls encourage.  They are three of my favorite characters!

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