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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 Top10-31-2010 08:44:58 AM

CoffinBreaker
Rose Bride
From: Here and Now
Registered: 10-28-2010
Posts: 117

Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

I'm currently working on dissecting the allegories behind "Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku" and I'd like you guys' thoughts on it. Here's the translation I managed to work out (My Japanese isn't quite good enough yet, so bear with me).

~~~
Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

Birth records, baptismal records, death records

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

My own birth, absolute birth

Apocalypse

A shining place in a dark desert

A gold-gilded Shangri-La

Day and night turning back on each other

A time-gilded Paradise Lost

Darkness of Sodom

Darkness of Light

Darkness of Distance

Endless darkness

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

(random meaningless syallables...)


~~~

So, yeah, this might be just as fruitless as trying to figure out "I am the Walrus" but I'd like to give it a go anyway.

So far, all I've got is that the Apocalypse is completely unavoidable; "zettai" can also mean "absolutely, for sure", "unmei" implies that it's destined.

Some good input would be much appreciated, thanks!


You don't need to understand Revolutionary Girl Utena to understand it.

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#2 | Back to Top10-31-2010 10:58:01 AM

Tenjou_sailorsaturn
Someday Shiner
From: Floating Castle
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2417
Website

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

I believe the line 'Darkness of Sodom' should be 'Darkness of Solomon' -- the wise king in the bible, otherwise the translation is quite okay.


生命是奇蹟,但是為什麼生活是痛苦的?

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#3 | Back to Top10-31-2010 01:39:21 PM

CoffinBreaker
Rose Bride
From: Here and Now
Registered: 10-28-2010
Posts: 117

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

Really? I thought "Sodom" made more sense in this context, plus the syllables match up and that's what (I think) I heard...

I was thinking along the lines of Ohtori being sort of similar to Sodom, like being a wretched place of lies and sin and being eradicated by God (Biblically speaking; I'm an atheist school-devil ) who would be Dios or Utena perhaps.

It's relevant, I know that, I'm just not sure how exactly.


You don't need to understand Revolutionary Girl Utena to understand it.

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#4 | Back to Top10-31-2010 01:57:45 PM

Tenjou_sailorsaturn
Someday Shiner
From: Floating Castle
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2417
Website

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

Ouch! You are right and I'm wrong. I just checked the romanji of the lyric (I happen to own the soundtrack myself) and it is SODOMU, not SOROMU. So it IS Darkness of Sodom. Sorry for my previous post. emot-redface


生命是奇蹟,但是為什麼生活是痛苦的?

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#5 | Back to Top11-04-2010 01:48:21 PM

liberrrty
Miki Molester
From: The land of the white rose
Registered: 08-31-2010
Posts: 39

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

For some reason I always consider this as Anthy's duel song.

For me, some of it is about her being immortal and watching life go by her "birth records, baptismal records, records of death" juxtaposed with "my own birth, absolute birth" showing her own immortality compared to the fleeting life of all those around her. Her birth is absolute, there is nothing else to her. She has no baptismal records or death records, she is stuck in a state of being alive but not being. She doesn't have a name, she is a non-person, and she cannot die. It also shows her feelings towards mortals. To her they are just names on bits of paper being added to the ever growing list.

She also talks about Ohtori. On the one hand it is her haven isolated from the rest of the world "a shining place in a dark desert" and "a gold-gilded Shangri La." Here she is safe from other people (specifically adults (I'll talk about that later) and thier hate.) However outside of this world she can see nothing else for her and she doubts she would be able to survive (ie "a dark desert" without light or neccessitites, she is stuck in this "oasis".) However she still reocognises some of its value, it is a paradise to her, shining and golden. However Shangri-La is a fictional place, not even a legendary or mythical one. It definately was created by an author, as Ohtori was created by Akio and Anthy. In reality no real such place exists but in Lost Horizon (the book from which it originates) the locals are said to age so slowly that there are immortal. It is also said to be vaguely located somewhere in the Himalayas, between India and Tibet. Sounds like anyone familiar? It could also simbolise Akio's quest to free Anthy or the duels. Searching for Shangri La is a metaphor for one's ultimate but unobtainable goal. In Ohtori you are given that chance to fight for just that but you will never obtain it. Anthy knows this is true for Akio too, he will never free her but he prefers to live in Shangri-La.

However paradise also has it's pitfalls. Ohtori is without a real sense of time, " day and night turning back on one another". Everyone there is mentally "stuck" in past events, they never move on from thier bad memories, they never really stop reliving the same events in thier heads over and over. They just go round and round the same day, that night just turns back into the previous day. Anthy also feels this. For her, day and night have blended into one another, time just seems to go on forever and ever. Living as long and monotonously as she has, every day and night has just become one big blur to her. She could be living the same day over and over and it wouldn't make any difference. I can't be sure on this one without the literal translation and a dictionary, but it could also be a metaphor about how she no longer has a clear sense of morality and her internal struggle about it. Day/good and night/bad have become mixed up, good things turn out to be bad things and vice versa. Dios becomes Akio, and doing what she once thought was good (saving Dios) became a bad thing. She used to ponder this but it the end she decided it didn't matter, "day and night turning back on each other." She has turned her back on the question, day and night are inseperable, everything is twilight/a shade of grey now anyway.

The darker side of Ohtori is further highlighted by "a time-gilded Paradise Lost." She knows that Ohtori isnt as good as it seems (or could be), basically it is there to take the innocence away from adolescents and manipulate them for Akio's gain, closed off to adults who could protect them (ie. those who have already sinned). (Paradise Lost is a allegorical book about the biblical Fall of Man). Here I think the metaphor being implied is that Ohtori is the garden of Eden, Dios/God has gone leaving Akio/Lucifer/the snake and Anthy/Eve to tempt Adam/the Ohtori students/Utena specifically. It could have been paradise once, (with their power and experience don't you think Akio and Anthy could create a really good school, where the students are happy and live up to thier futures instead of constantly reflecting on things past?) but now that is lost, it is a place of unfufilled potential. (On an intersting side note: In the book Paradise Lost, it is the opposite to the Bible in that Eve/Anthy was unwitting in being tempted, and Adam/the students/Utena was the "sinful" one as Adam knew what he was getting into and sinned anyway. It was also possible for Adam and Eve to have a full sexual relationship without sin, just saying emot-rolleyes )

"Time gilded" is a strange lyric here. I think it means that what makes this place so special is its "eternal" properties, the garden where noone grows old, and it shows that Anthy recognises this is a precious quality even if it is what makes it so painful to her, gilded being something you do with a precious metal. Anthy can manipulate the students using thier past memories to make them emotionally stuck in that time. Constantly reminding them of hurtful memories (ie. Juri and orange roses, Saionji and his exchange diary, Miki and the Sunlit Garden) gives them the motives to duel. Changing the perception of time is Anthy's apple to tempt them into duelling. Time is the thing that allowed her to perfect these techniques, without bountiful time she would not be as manipulative as she is. Maybe she is even being sarcastic. (In fact you can say that for the Shangri La bit too, given her mixed feelings about Ohtori.) For Anthy, time is nothing but plentiful, not rare and precious, not something you would gild something with. She is often seen watching rubbishy game shows, playing card games with Chu-Chu in other words just killing time. Also I think it fits in with the Shangri-La bit, so the writer just put it in to sound pretty.

"Darkness of Sodom." The darkness of the real Ohtori. The darkness of her and Akio's excess and manipulation and also that of the students once they have lost thier innocence. The people of Sodom in the Bible are described as arrogant, unconcerned and overfed. They did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and detestable things. I think you can say that most students in Ohtori are a bit like that given thier privilage and self obsession. Sodom is a place abandoned by God (well destroyed by fire and brimstone) as Ohtori is a place abandoned by Dios. It is unhospitable to strangers as Ohtori is to outsiders (ie adults) and even it's own students who don't have much of a reputation (ie Aiko). It is also forshadowing Akio's/the school's downfall, Sodom was eventually destroyed.
(side note: I always misheard this as "sodomy no yami", I know its completely wrong but its sooo much more fun to sing it that way emot-tongue )

"Darkness of Light." Behind Anthy's sunny smile there is a lot of pain. Behind the facade of normal happy schoolchildren there is a lot of hurt adolecents. Anthy knows that light and happiness is really just hiding darkness and sadness. Another interpretation: In the light she can be seen, she can be scrutinized, she can be judged and hurt. She wants to be locked away in her coffin, where she doesn't have to pretend, where she doesn't have to act. Light is just pain in another form. It could also be hope. Keeping on hoping is painful to Anthy. Hope only leads to more darkness. Or it could also be innocence and goodness, knowing that she will only have to turn it to darkness in the end.

"Darkness of distance." Anthy feels lonely. No matter how "far" she goes she will always be distant from everyone else but Akio. She is unreachable. She can only watch as everyone goes by and never touch them. However the distance is also there for a reason. Noone ever getting close to her makes her all the more dangerous. It allows her to manipulate people so well. Distance is a weapon to hurt people with.

"Endless darkness." Anthy feels that her pain will never end, that the corruption will never end. She will go on leading children astray for eternity and be forever alone. She will be forever trapped in her coffin.

Finally "Absolute destiny apocalypse" is all about the duels. Anthy knows that the winner of this duel is irrelevant, they are all rigged and the winner is predetermined and destined to face the End of the World/Akio. Then the only thing they can do is fail, they cannot win against Akio. Losing the final duel is like an apocalypse to the student. The illusion of Ohtori is broken, thier faith is shattered and they are thrust out of this world, "graduating" from the school. To them it is the end of the world. This is all that can come out of the duels, an "apocalypse." It is fitting that this is the song played when Utena is going to the duel. She is the chosen one this time. She is the one which will have her world shattered. Her absolute destiny is an apocalypse. Or so Anthy thinks emot-wink .

Wow i never meant for my crappy analysis to be so long, but this is what I think anyway, hope it kinda helps emot-confused. Now im going to have to listen to this song for a bit.

ps. CoffinBreaker nice name!

pss. ZETTAI UNMEI MOKUSHIROKU


Bishonen's back babies!

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#6 | Back to Top11-06-2010 09:28:28 AM

CoffinBreaker
Rose Bride
From: Here and Now
Registered: 10-28-2010
Posts: 117

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

Firstly:

Wow. Just. Freaking. Wow. That was probably the best possible answer I could have hoped for, it answered basically every single one of my questions. Thanks so much! I tend to give overly-long analysis-es (don't know the plural for that one...) as well sometimes =_=;

Secondly:

I never misheard it that way, but I figured someone would. I sang it that way sometimes for fun too emot-biggrin

Thirdly:

Aww, thank you etc-love

Lastly, I think since this turned out so well I'm going to try it with Virtual Star Hasseigaku, because that one confuses me even more. I don't know scientific terms in Japanese, I just like watching the yuri and listening to guitar solos D'X


You don't need to understand Revolutionary Girl Utena to understand it.

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#7 | Back to Top11-06-2010 02:44:05 PM

liberrrty
Miki Molester
From: The land of the white rose
Registered: 08-31-2010
Posts: 39

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

Aww thanks! I'm so glad you like my analysis (I too have no idea what the plural of that could be) and that you could make sense of the ramblings emot-dance. I'm sure some other people on this site have a much better explanation than I do though. I love this song so much. I can picture Anthy singing it to herself in the gondola and Utena joining in after a while, but not thinking about what she could mean (bless her little cotton socks emot-rolleyes .)

But wait! I'm not done emot-tongue

I forgot to add that the "darkness of light" could mean Dios too. Given the right circumstances Dios turned into Akio. To Anthy at this point no-one is ever purely good, even Utena has times when she does bad things. A 'good' person just hides the bad one that they will eventually become. Light/goodness is just a lie.  In fact good/light people could be more painful to Anthy than people with a more obvious badness/darkness to them, as they remind her of Dios and then him turning into Akio. So this lyric could also be about her painful memories brought on by pure hearted/"light" people.

This is a bit of a crack theory, but I think the syllables at the end could be emphasising the cyclic, never ending nature of the duels. Try saying a phrase, and repeating it getting faster and faster. It turns into a jumbled up mess of syllables doesn't it? That's what the duels are like to Anthy, they've all just become one mess of duels>apolcalypse>duels>apocaypse>duel>apocal>due>apo>du>a>duappoduaclyaduapodu (sorry the the only way I could describe it was visually.) They are just one big blur of duellists and fights. It could also be a kind of psuedo primal war chant, showing that Anthy and duels have been around from the beginning of time.

Can I ask a question? Does back (the body part) and back (as in the opposite of front) have the same word in japanese, and does the saying 'to turn your back on something/someone' exist? Otherwise parts of my theory are invalid etc-saiowank.

I've not really thought in depth about Virtual Star Hasseigaku yet, but I can give it a go if you like.


Bishonen's back babies!

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#8 | Back to Top11-06-2010 03:13:05 PM

CoffinBreaker
Rose Bride
From: Here and Now
Registered: 10-28-2010
Posts: 117

Re: Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku

Again, thank you, your analysis is fantastic; secondly, I had to fill in that part with the English lyrics I found online, because I wasn't really sure. I'm nowhere near fluent, but I at least managed to do most of it without translations school-eng101

I just wanted to start a discussion on that one because it's the one I understand the least. It's one thing to know lots of poetic words in Japanese, but it's a whole other deal to learn a bunch of scientific/mythological words...It makes the Japanophile in me sad emot-frown


You don't need to understand Revolutionary Girl Utena to understand it.

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