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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 Top07-27-2010 09:56:10 AM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
Website

About the wandering prince...

Please forgive me if there is a similar thread about this elsewhere.  I will happily delete this if I'm repeating the same sentiments that all of you have already read.  I'm practically a virgin on this board.  I'm timid, so I need sweet words and lots of lube before I acquire any sort of skill.  Ha! 

Anyway, Utena wants to become a prince because she was so taken with the idea of nobility, right?   Princes appear to help fair maidens and shield them from harm.  To quote the genius Chris Farley in the epic cinematic masterpiece Billy Madison... 
"Everybody on?  Great.  Grand.  Wonderful.  No yelling on the bus!!!" 

Great.  Utena wants to be a prince.  See, my issue is that the wandering prince seeks only to save those maidens that capture his interest.  He's a selfish bastard in spite of his noble reputation.   He wants the pretty princesses that will make him look good.  He has standards, you see.  Princes do not save mediocre princesses.  That isn't how things are done.  The great tales NEVER involve the mundane or boring.  Cinderella and Snow White were common, but their beauty set them apart from the rabble.  They were saved by the brave prince.  What of the step-sisters or the step-mother?   Who saved them?  Where the bloody hell was Dios then? 

Where was he when it came time to save the Shioris or the Kozues of the world?  Where was he when it came time to raise Wakaba from the muck of everyday life?  Why is it that he doesn't try to save anyone except the beautiful or the skilled? 

Does the prince cease to exist if he doesn't create his own witches?

Ugh.  I don't even know where I'm going with this.  I suppose my question is whether or not true nobility even exists, especially when nice squishy minds like Utena's are so impressed with the idea that there is something pure within people.   Dios was never that far removed from Akio.  He was just a better actor.   So what does this mean for Utena?

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#2 | Back to Top07-27-2010 10:12:47 AM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: About the wandering prince...

sissyhiyah wrote:

Ugh.  I don't even know where I'm going with this.  I suppose my question is whether or not true nobility even exists, especially when nice squishy minds like Utena's are so impressed with the idea that there is something pure within people.   Dios was never that far removed from Akio.  He was just a better actor.   So what does this mean for Utena?

...or maybe that's just it. The wandering prince needs someone to believe in him. Think of how he must go in search of these maidens, instead of them coming to him. In Dios' case, we see a crowd of people come to his door demanding his power, though he is battered and broken. They don't want him, they want what he can do. Those people aren't seeing him as their savior, a real prince. They see him as a tool... a machination to end their own suffering.

I think it's interesting that Anthy is the one forced to look beyond the power of Dios because of her love for him as her brother. The reason she understood that enough was enough.


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#3 | Back to Top07-27-2010 10:41:07 AM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
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Re: About the wandering prince...

But isn't that what the prince is anyway?  He isn't human.   He isn't a person.  He's nothing but a tool.  They want what he can do because that is what he is.  Fairy tales are about princesses and witches, after all.  The princes are just ways for them to become what they should be.  (which kind of bugs me too.  We never learn anything about queens until they become witches.  There's this whole flippin' level that's skipped.)  He is for his people and nothing else.  The thing that gets me is that when it comes time to save the average person, he's had too much because all of 'him' has been spent on the special gals.  He searches for a reason to exist, but when he's really needed to exist, there's nothing left.  He's put all of his being into saving a few girls instead of saving all of them.  And when he's tired and broken, when he needs his own prince, there's nobody there but the witch he's created.  He puts all of himself into saving the ones that are destined to be saved instead of the ones that actually need to be saved.  I don't even know if Anthy really wanted to save her brother so much as save the one that created her and keeps her in the same sort of state.  Without a prince to kill a witch and save a princess, why should she stick around?  She needs him so she can exist in one state or the other.  Without him, she might end up the same as any other boring person.

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#4 | Back to Top07-27-2010 11:04:35 AM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: About the wandering prince...

This is a point. It seems that most in SKU want to escape their preordained roles. The only people who seem to do that (however ineffective) are Akio and Utena. Tenjou becomes this Princely figure through her own volition, though it was a notion conceived from a childhood moment. Akio's image has transformed from his origins as a prince into something almost entirely different.

Actually thinking about it now, roles were completely reversed. Utena, the young princess became a prince. Dios the Prince became Akio the Witch, as he seems to tamper with the nature of people. Lastly, Anthy the Witch seemingly changes into the one who needs to be saved; The Princess.

It does send the message that people are not useful to each other, but their roles. There is, however, something more. Otherwise these personal revolutions would not exist. There are so  many x-factors that it might be hard to single out, though the ones I'm thinking about are mostly about feelings of some sort. Anger, jealousy, empathy, joy, love. Yet, how many of those are based on societal roles anyway?


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v476/anthy_utena/rukasan.gif Believing in the power of Love and Justice since 1999
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#5 | Back to Top07-27-2010 11:19:39 AM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
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Re: About the wandering prince...

Hard to tell, ain't it?  All of those emotions are directly related to other people and their reactions, so it's hard to tell when someone does something for themselves or for someone else.  And even when they do something for someone else, is it really for that person or because it fits some idealized notion of what that emotion/drive/desire should be?  Is it because that's what should be done or because it's truly right or noble?  Are good deeds done because they're good or because  society thinks that they're good?  How much does selfishness affect nobility and how much does society affect selfishness?

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#6 | Back to Top07-27-2010 12:15:17 PM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: About the wandering prince...

I knew someone who said that love was a social construct. I always countered that the expression of love is a social construct, but as humans we will feel emotions inevitably. How we deal with them, or how they are provoked, depends entirely on our conditioned interpretation of the world around us.

In SKU we don't get to see many adults. We don't know what is appropriate and what is not in the character's world. All we can glean are the situations and subtle (also not so subtle) nuances of the individual.

...you know, I haven't put my thinking cap on in a looooong time...


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v476/anthy_utena/rukasan.gif Believing in the power of Love and Justice since 1999
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#7 | Back to Top07-27-2010 01:49:31 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: About the wandering prince...

sissyhiyah wrote:

Where was he when it came time to save the Shioris or the Kozues of the world?  Where was he when it came time to raise Wakaba from the muck of everyday life?  Why is it that he doesn't try to save anyone except the beautiful or the skilled?

I hope you'll forgive me, Sissy, but my first thought when I read this was "I bet the angry mob with the torches and pitchforks was thinking the same thing."  emot-biggrin  Remember, Dios was exhausted and passing out from overwork.  It's possible he was selectively saving only the beautiful, talented, clever people, but I don't remember the show establishing that, and he clearly doesn't have the resources to save everyone, much as he tries (and much as the world expects him to).  The only person we know Dios made a witch out of was his sister -- and the show does a good job condemning him for that lapse.  emot-smile  Your complaint seems to be targeted more towards fairy-tale princes in general than Dios in particular.

In general, I think one of the morals of the series is that the whole idea of saving other people is misguided.  Dios tries it and he ends up battered and ignoring his own sister.  Touga tries it and Utena beats him down for his trouble.  Utena tries it and Anthy stabs her.  In the end, people have to save themselves; they have to take that all-important step out of Ohtori by themselves.  The best anyone else can do is to be their friend, believe in them, remind them of what's best about themselves, help them see themselves as people worth rescuing.  Wakaba does this for Utena in episode 12, and Utena does it for Anthy throughout the last couple arcs.  But if you go around trying to save people, you're as misguided as Dios and first-arc Utena.  And if you go around expecting people to save you, you're no better than a Black Rose duelist.  (That's what happened to Cinderella's stepfamily.)

So for me, the series either lambastes the whole notion of princes and princesses, or urges us to redefine what it means to be a prince.  emot-smile

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#8 | Back to Top07-27-2010 05:13:00 PM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
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Re: About the wandering prince...

Forgive you?  So does that mean you don't want me to chase you around with a torch and pitchfork? 
Damn.  I was looking forward to a good old-fashioned riot and windmill burnin', but I guess I'll forgive ya.  Hee!

Oh yeah, I'm talking about fairy tale princes too, but since Dios seems to be the perfect fairy tale prince that represents all others, I think this goes for him.  Why save only the pretty special girls and leave so many unsaved?  True, they never quite say it, but I think it's implied that there has been nobody to save Wakaba, Shiori, and the rest of the unexceptional ones, so they try to save themselves.  I guess the problem pops up when they do this in the wrong way and end up wearing black roses and shaking swords.  Mistakes, learning from them, growing up, all that jazz...

Dios almost had it right with Utena.  He didn't save her so much as he gave her the desire to save.  It seems like where he messed up was planting this idea in her head that she should save someone else instead of herself. Of course, I don't know if I can blame that on him or on the idea that saving other people is what princes do.      Condition people to expect things like this, then snatch it away; next thing you know you've got a dead prince, a crazy witch, an unhappy mob, and frickin' swords flying out of the sky.  And that's no fun for anyone.

You're right about misguided ideas.  I'm all for redefining what makes a prince a prince.  After all, the prince saves the day, but he doesn't quite teach self-reliance.  Get lost in the woods and he may find you, he may even fight a dragon or a witch if you're special enough, but if you had taken a map or a compass you wouldn't have gotten lost in the first place.   But that's one of the things that makes this series fun as hell.

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#9 | Back to Top07-27-2010 05:27:52 PM

Android raptor
Rose Smilee
From: North GA, USA
Registered: 08-11-2009
Posts: 126
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Re: About the wandering prince...

A friend and I have the idea/hypothesis that the Dios that appeared before Utena was actually a projection Anthy was doing in an attempt to find someone to help her, since judging by Black Rose flashbacks there's a good chance Dios had long since become Akio at that point. And Anthy has magic and all, so she could do such a thing if she wanted methinks.

I dunno, it's possible? emot-aaa

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#10 | Back to Top07-27-2010 06:03:24 PM

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

Re: About the wandering prince...

sissyhiyah wrote:

Damn.  I was looking forward to a good old-fashioned riot and windmill burnin', but I guess I'll forgive ya.  Hee!

Yeehaw, I'll get to go on creatin' monsters another day!  emot-biggrin

Dios almost had it right with Utena.  He didn't save her so much as he gave her the desire to save.  It seems like where he messed up was planting this idea in her head that she should save someone else instead of herself. Of course, I don't know if I can blame that on him or on the idea that saving other people is what princes do.      Condition people to expect things like this, then snatch it away; next thing you know you've got a dead prince, a crazy witch, an unhappy mob, and frickin' swords flying out of the sky.  And that's no fun for anyone.

Yeah, dead on!  That expectation that someone else will save you, the expectation Dios fed, is the one that does so much harm.  There are a lot of other good anime that explore this idea too; Now and Then, Here and There leaps to mind.  Here's the thing, though...

True, they never quite say it, but I think it's implied that there has been nobody to save Wakaba, Shiori, and the rest of the unexceptional ones, so they try to save themselves.  I guess the problem pops up when they do this in the wrong way and end up wearing black roses and shaking swords.  Mistakes, learning from them, growing up, all that jazz...

These poor "unexceptional" people in the Black Rose arc -- all girls plus Tsuwabuki, which is interesting -- all live in expectation of princes.  Wakaba frames it in those terms explicitly.  Keiko's tagline is "Look only at me!"  They all expect someone else to come in and validate them.  If it's true that there's been no one to save them, the problem is not that the princes of the world aren't working hard enough, but that these characters (whom I love one and all) are making princesses -- and then witches -- out of themselves.  Criticizing Dios for not saving the less special characters is beside the point!  That's a little like criticizing a billionaire for leaving his whole fortune to his favorite son and not giving anything to the red-headed stepchild.  Yeah, it's a little callous, but no one should feel entitled to inherit a fortune, or be saved by a prince.  And as you point out, being saved by princes doesn't particularly teach self-reliance anyway.

Android raptor wrote:

A friend and I have the idea/hypothesis that the Dios that appeared before Utena was actually a projection Anthy was doing in an attempt to find someone to help her, since judging by Black Rose flashbacks there's a good chance Dios had long since become Akio at that point. And Anthy has magic and all, so she could do such a thing if she wanted methinks.

She probably could!  But at the beginning of the show it doesn't seem like Anthy has a lot of hope for being saved or helped; certainly she doesn't have any special fondness for Utena until the end of the first arc.  I lean more towards the conspiracy-theory-type feeling that it was Akio himself who found Utena in the coffin.  He took on his mock-prince persona and told baby Utena the witch story in order to set in motion the chain of events that led Utena to Ohtori; even then, he was laying the groundwork for the set of duels in the show.  He and Anthy have to do this every once in a while to keep the Ohtori Academy perpetual motion machine running.  Personally, I think he caused the car crash that killed Utena's parents, but I have absolutely no evidence to back that one up.  emot-tongue

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#11 | Back to Top07-28-2010 03:57:40 PM

RhythmFusion
Rose Smilee
Registered: 03-18-2010
Posts: 131

Re: About the wandering prince...

satyreyes wrote:

Personally, I think he caused the car crash that killed Utena's parents, but I have absolutely no evidence to back that one up.  emot-tongue

I don't know about that, mass manipulation is one thing, but premeditated murder? Watching the series, we can fathom that Akio probably cares very little for what happens to anyone involved in his game as long as he gets what he wants out of it, but somehow I doubt he'd go that far.


"But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail." ~ Lady Macbeth; Macbeth - Act One, Scene 7
"Crying is such hypocrisy. How can happiness cause the same reaction as sadness? Does pleasure share the same edge of the blade of life as pain?" - What His Crimson Eyes Believe in: Ch. 2

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#12 | Back to Top07-28-2010 09:51:12 PM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
Website

Re: About the wandering prince...

RhythmFusion wrote:

satyreyes wrote:

Personally, I think he caused the car crash that killed Utena's parents, but I have absolutely no evidence to back that one up.  emot-tongue

I don't know about that, mass manipulation is one thing, but premeditated murder? Watching the series, we can fathom that Akio probably cares very little for what happens to anyone involved in his game as long as he gets what he wants out of it, but somehow I doubt he'd go that far.

Well...

Maybe Akio wouldn't have the balls to do it, but what about the wicked witch?  I think Akio has far less desire to control the story as his female half.  It's the witch or the princess that serves as the catalyst for all the tales, isn't it?  The prince is just the prince.  He's a sword or a set of hyper-caffeinated lips.  Poor Utena never seemed to figure that out until the end, and I'm beginning to believe that Akio didn't see it either.  Anthy, just like the princess locked in a tower or the one condemned to sleep for eternity, seemed to have a lot more to gain by forcing these events.  Sure, Akio is a selfish prick, but so is Anthy.  And Utena.  And the ever-so-cheerful mob. 

I'm beginning to think the only noble character in this series is Chu-Chu. 

It sure as hell isn't the rapist frog.  That's the amphibian version of Akio.

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#13 | Back to Top07-29-2010 07:55:40 AM

Melancholic_Soul
Dancer Romancer
From: VA
Registered: 04-28-2009
Posts: 1513

Re: About the wandering prince...

^
Measuring nobility can be difficult. Think of the heroic prince slaying the frightful dragon. Sure risking one's own life for the lives of others is noble, but I bet that dragon had a family. They wouldn't be so pleased, or think the prince so noble. Nope in their eyes he's a murderer. I guess it all depends on point of view.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v476/anthy_utena/rukasan.gif Believing in the power of Love and Justice since 1999
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#14 | Back to Top07-29-2010 08:04:25 AM

sissyhiyah
Wakaba Wrangler
From: NC, USA
Registered: 07-25-2010
Posts: 10
Website

Re: About the wandering prince...

Yep.  You're totally right.

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