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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 Top02-22-2011 12:54:04 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Ohtori Academy is essentially a place for Anthy to create and judge various heroes. This may seem obvious due to the centrality of the Rose Bride duels, but this pattern runs much more deeply than that.

Dios was the first true hero candidate. He "failed" Anthy because

1. His role would force him to contradiction due to the conflicting prayers given by the people

and

2. He paid her so little attention that his focus turned to her only after she sacrificed herself to absolve the human race, causing him much anguish.

Dios then became Akio, a man who possessed all the qualities that Dios did not: worldliness, cunning, physical stature, and an obsession with Anthy.

Mikage Souji was the second hero candidate, even though he could be more of a prototype or a test subject than a true hero candidate. He had the single-minded devotion to his beloved that Dios did not, but lacked his strength of mind and body and was too dependent on others.

Utena, of course, is the third hero candidate. She possesses both Souji's focus on those closest to her and Dios' nobility and strength, someone whom Anthy could look up to while still being loved back. She is perfect for Anthy, and that is why Anthy leaves the Academy to search for her: she has found her ideal companion.

Also, Dios/Akio could be seen as an author avatar for Ikuhara himself, representing his own artistic transition from idealism into worldly cynicism. Anthy could represent shojo manga's audience, explaining her paradoxical status as a hapless victim and as a demiurgic force whose ability to manipulate events transcends that of any other character.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (02-23-2011 04:58:56 AM)

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#2 | Back to Top02-22-2011 07:22:25 PM

Kohakusama
Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 11-09-2009
Posts: 14

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

that was really deep


In death and only death do we understand life

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#3 | Back to Top02-22-2011 09:53:25 PM

Orchidee
Saionji Slapper
From: MN
Registered: 02-20-2011
Posts: 23

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Very interesting; I don't know if I agree, but that's a really great interpretation.

How would Touga fit into this interpretation (or doesn't he)?

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#4 | Back to Top02-22-2011 10:10:34 PM

Chrome Homura
Poor Saionji :(
From: Oregon, USA
Registered: 06-07-2010
Posts: 517

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

I must also chime in with the query above mine...

And what about the rest of the Seikotai? How do they fit into this? Are they just considered tools to test the candidates and nothing more? I mean, I hate to sound like an obnoxious fanboy and sort of put words in your mouth at the same time, but that kind of idea really frustrates me... a lot...

Sorry if I sound confrontational here, as it is not my intent to duel with you in such a manner, but... well, I really like the Seikotai as characters (moreso than Utena herself to be perfectly honest) and uh... your post kind of excludes them entirely. Just saying.


"My blood is steel, my heart is glass... I have emerged unvanquished from many battles... Never have I been put to flight, but neither have I stood victorious... This bearer stands here alone, forging steel atop a hill of blades... for that reason, my life has never needed meaning. My body has always...

been made of infinite swords!"

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#5 | Back to Top02-23-2011 04:29:32 AM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

They're all Anthy's pawns. Dios, Ohtori, Utena, the Seitokai, every one of them.

The Seitokai aren't there to test the candidates, they're to help Utena specifically grow as a character. This is made much more obvious in the film, where they help her out from under the castle using the jeep. It's understandable that you'd find them more interesting than Utena herself, since they all have more "features" than her, but Utena is the only one who has the purity and transcendence that would make her a suitable mate for a divine being like Anthy. (I mean "divine" in a pure, amoral sense) She allows all of them to have some sort of free will, since she has SOME regard for them, but ultimately their climb out of darkness begins only once Anthy herself is saved. Notice that Ohtori only starts seducing them once they start to make progress on their own issues; no one's happy unless the Rose Bride is happy.

Ohtori's function was to destroy Utena's "princeliness," since that same princeliness made Dios incapable of caring for Anthy. She stabs Utena in the back once it becomes obvious that Utena can not give it up, and Utena goes free of the Academy only once she is given Dios' fateful decision to allow Anthy to suffer and chooses differently, showing once and for all that Utena would not mirror his failings in spite of her shared nobility and distance. His own status as a pawn is also made much more obvious in the film.

The movie as a whole serves to make the character relations more obvious. People say that it's cryptic, but really, the symbolism could not be more blatant. Ohtori is ultimately just a buffoon who Anthy plays with and then throws aside, Utena is basically the key to Anthy's own salvation, and Anthy's status as a manipulator and the real power behind the school is apparent throughout.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (02-23-2011 04:56:50 AM)

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#6 | Back to Top02-23-2011 05:10:00 PM

taiki
Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 15

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Ohtori's function was to destroy Utena's "princeliness," since that same princeliness made Dios incapable of caring for Anthy.

I don't understand how Dios was incapable of caring for Anthy.  From my interpretation of it, Dios was caring about everyone but himself, and it was Anthy who had to care for him.   It's why she locked his soul in the castle.

emot-confused

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#7 | Back to Top02-23-2011 07:46:23 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

But he wasn't focused on her. The fact that he bore the weight of the entire world on his shoulders meant that he couldn't focus on her.

Plus, I'm laboring under the theory that Utena the TV series and Utena the film are thematically identical. In the film, Dios is mentioned only as a hoax that Anthy perpetuates to keep her brother sane.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (02-23-2011 07:47:44 PM)

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#8 | Back to Top02-23-2011 08:27:17 PM

taiki
Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 15

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Overlord Morgus wrote:

But he wasn't focused on her. The fact that he bore the weight of the entire world on his shoulders meant that he couldn't focus on her.

Plus, I'm laboring under the theory that Utena the TV series and Utena the film are thematically identical. In the film, Dios is mentioned only as a hoax that Anthy perpetuates to keep her brother sane.

What about Dios taking over Utena's body in her duel against Juri?  I have to rewatch the movie now and get the context in which Dios is mentioned as a hoax. 

More of Anthy's illusions?

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#9 | Back to Top02-24-2011 03:36:44 PM

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

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

The ultimate puppet-master was Akio, he pulled Anthy's strings, she pulled Mikage's etc, etc.

The setokai were recruited just to challenge and mold Utena and turn her into a princess who would replace Anthy and help Akio complete the process of replacing Dios. The wheels had been set in motion from the time Dios saved her life and gave her the ring. No one else but her had a chance of becoming the final victor. The ambition and pain of the Setokai served no other purpose from Akio's point of view except perhaps a bit of fun on the side.

Frustrating indeed, but armies have gone on the march for reasons not much better than that.

Last edited by brian (02-24-2011 03:42:26 PM)

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#10 | Back to Top02-24-2011 06:02:52 PM

yuzukelly
Rose Smilee
Registered: 09-22-2010
Posts: 130

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

taiki wrote:

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Ohtori's function was to destroy Utena's "princeliness," since that same princeliness made Dios incapable of caring for Anthy.

I don't understand how Dios was incapable of caring for Anthy.  From my interpretation of it, Dios was caring about everyone but himself, and it was Anthy who had to care for him.   It's why she locked his soul in the castle.

emot-confused

i think he was incapable, because she's his sister and sisters cant become princesses, so she had to become a witch, and, in fairy tales, who really cares for the witch? or something like that, is what you were aiming at?

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#11 | Back to Top02-24-2011 09:14:49 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

More of Anthy's illusions?

Yes.

The ultimate puppet-master was Akio, he pulled Anthy's strings, she pulled Mikage's etc, etc.

Then why is he so blase about Anthy leaving the school at the end? And why did Anthy stab Utena in the back when she basically became a prince while fighting Akio?

i think he was incapable, because she's his sister and sisters cant become princesses, so she had to become a witch, and, in fairy tales, who really cares for the witch? or something like that, is what you were aiming at?

No, it's because there are 7 billion people whose prayers Dios had to answer, and Anthy was just one of them.

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#12 | Back to Top02-25-2011 12:41:33 PM

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

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Then why is he so blase about Anthy leaving the school at the end? And why did Anthy stab Utena in the back when she basically became a prince while fighting Akio?

1. He was shocked and not at all blase. In the movie and two mangas he died rather than let Anthy go. Or more accurately they had to kill him.
2. She stabbed Utena because Akio wanted her to. She also had her own reasons.

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#13 | Back to Top02-25-2011 05:27:34 PM

taiki
Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 15

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

yuzukelly wrote:

taiki wrote:

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Ohtori's function was to destroy Utena's "princeliness," since that same princeliness made Dios incapable of caring for Anthy.

I don't understand how Dios was incapable of caring for Anthy.  From my interpretation of it, Dios was caring about everyone but himself, and it was Anthy who had to care for him.   It's why she locked his soul in the castle.

emot-confused

i think he was incapable, because she's his sister and sisters cant become princesses, so she had to become a witch, and, in fairy tales, who really cares for the witch? or something like that, is what you were aiming at?

What I don't understand is at what point her being taken care of part of her own motivations?  Miki could've taken care of her, or even Saionji. 

It always seemed like she could take care of herself, it was Dios who couldn't take care of himself.  He was exhausted, and it killed him.  My interpretation of things was that Anthy wanted Dios' nobility and power back, and she got that in the form of Utena.

I don't think this is about her wanting to be a princess, or her being a witch.  I think that the allegory of a fairy tale within the series reenforces the overall theme of growing up and seeing the world as more complicated than as we see the world as children.  Fairy tales about princes, princesses, and witches give way to intrigues about who's sleeping with who, what's the latest gossip, etc.  I think Anthy's motivation was to move on from the fairy tale and grow up.  Utena saw the truth for what it was and despite that, held on to her noble spirit  This allowed her to  sacrifice herself so Anthy could be free. 

Once Utena freed Anthy from the bonds of the swords of hate, she could find Utena elsewhere and continue on with life.

Of course, I also subscribe to the theory that the story between the anime, the manga and the movie are all one after the other(Unless that's been debunked by the Word of God).

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#14 | Back to Top03-01-2011 03:15:13 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

brian wrote:

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Then why is he so blase about Anthy leaving the school at the end? And why did Anthy stab Utena in the back when she basically became a prince while fighting Akio?

1. He was shocked and not at all blase. In the movie and two mangas he died rather than let Anthy go. Or more accurately they had to kill him.
2. She stabbed Utena because Akio wanted her to. She also had her own reasons.

#1 weakens the idea that Anthy was under Akio's control, and you don't really specify what her own reasons may be in #2. They could very well be the ones I outlined.

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#15 | Back to Top03-01-2011 07:55:22 PM

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

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Control is a tricky word. Anthy did Akio's will because she truly loved him, he was all that was left of the Prince that she had had a hand in destroying, she may have shared his contempt for the people they were able to manipulate and she may have once really believed that that duels would turn him back into a Prince. Better to be Akio's love slave than to have no love at all, better to be his Rose Bride than a nobody, better to live in their dream world than in the outside world which hated her, better to do penance for killing Dios than to live with her guilty conscience, better to watch him ogling fake stars in a planetarium than to be exposed to the reproach of the real stars from which they had fallen. In some mythologies gods marry their sisters, it may have seemed proper to her. She may well have been the ultimate power that he was using, better to let him use that power than her, as far as she was concerned.

It took 39 episodes for her to change her mind and find the courage to leave.

Last edited by brian (03-01-2011 08:58:17 PM)

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#16 | Back to Top03-10-2011 08:27:39 PM

Azure
High Tripper
From: South Kackalacky
Registered: 12-18-2010
Posts: 259
Website

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Anthy and Akio have a complicated relationship. They treat each other with a mixture of love, lust, revulsion, and faith. When Anthy stabbed Utena, she did it for two main reasons. (imo)

A) It was Akio's will. Anthy cannot bring herself to disobey him, because deep down she does love him. They are also partners in crime in that they alone truly orchestrate the dueling game of Ohtori. Why go back and turn on your closest companion/lover/sibling right in front of their face after all that time? She hasn't quite broken off from him yet (see reason B)

B) Anthy doesn't believe in Utena. She wants to, very badly, but she sees both the heroism and foolishness of Dios in Utena. Dios was a fool in that he constantly sacrificed himself for the good of others, a martyring attitude that ultimately killed him. After watching that happen once, why would you want to see someone else fail the same way? Anthy knows that should Utena continue this way she will die. Here is the pity. In this scene, I also see Anthy's pity for Utena, and the sick reasoning that Anthy should be the one to kill her rather than have her torn apart by others. It's the same sort of principal when a cynical person encounters someone so nice, they doubt how genuine they are. You think "people this kind don't exist in the real world".

As for Anthy leaving, Akio was definitely surprised at her sudden decision to leave Ohtori. However, there's some part of him that doubts Anthy can leave him, that eventually she will come crawling back, if she can leave at all.

In short, Anthy and Akio are die-hard cynics whose only source of real comfort is in each other.

Last edited by Azure (03-10-2011 08:29:35 PM)


Indefinite. Empty. Mythos & Eternity

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#17 | Back to Top03-10-2011 10:30:08 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Azure wrote:

Anthy and Akio have a complicated relationship. They treat each other with a mixture of love, lust, revulsion, and faith. When Anthy stabbed Utena, she did it for two main reasons. (imo)

A) It was Akio's will. Anthy cannot bring herself to disobey him, because deep down she does love him. They are also partners in crime in that they alone truly orchestrate the dueling game of Ohtori. Why go back and turn on your closest companion/lover/sibling right in front of their face after all that time? She hasn't quite broken off from him yet (see reason B)

B) Anthy doesn't believe in Utena. She wants to, very badly, but she sees both the heroism and foolishness of Dios in Utena. Dios was a fool in that he constantly sacrificed himself for the good of others, a martyring attitude that ultimately killed him. After watching that happen once, why would you want to see someone else fail the same way? Anthy knows that should Utena continue this way she will die. Here is the pity. In this scene, I also see Anthy's pity for Utena, and the sick reasoning that Anthy should be the one to kill her rather than have her torn apart by others. It's the same sort of principal when a cynical person encounters someone so nice, they doubt how genuine they are. You think "people this kind don't exist in the real world".

As for Anthy leaving, Akio was definitely surprised at her sudden decision to leave Ohtori. However, there's some part of him that doubts Anthy can leave him, that eventually she will come crawling back, if she can leave at all.

In short, Anthy and Akio are die-hard cynics whose only source of real comfort is in each other.

I agree with most everything here.

Another bit of evidence to support the idea that everything, Dios, the world, even his punishment at the hands of the rabble, was her doing, is that when Anthy was impaled on the swords of the people's greed, she didn't lose her power, Dios did. This doesn't make any sense if she's the one bearing the brunt of their disapproval, since Dios is being spared.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (03-10-2011 10:38:04 PM)

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#18 | Back to Top03-11-2011 03:36:03 PM

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

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Well written Azure!

I want to suggest a variation of Azure's posting. Perhaps Dios was not a fool after all. Perhaps it was his simple duty to die. It is possible that a "True Prince" is actually a kind of human sacrifice and perhaps Utena finally took a similar route.

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#19 | Back to Top03-12-2011 02:31:26 PM

Frau Eva
Voodoo Queen
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 803

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

brian wrote:

Well written Azure!

I want to suggest a variation of Azure's posting. Perhaps Dios was not a fool after all. Perhaps it was his simple duty to die. It is possible that a "True Prince" is actually a kind of human sacrifice and perhaps Utena finally took a similar route.

Here's my partial interpretation of the dueling games, briefly summarized here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough

Here it is for the link-phobic:

The Golden Bough attempts to define the shared elements of religious belief. Its thesis is that old religions were fertility cults that revolved around the worship of, and periodic sacrifice of, a sacred king.

This king was the incarnation of a dying and reviving god, a solar deity who underwent a mystic marriage to a goddess of the Earth, who died at the harvest, and was reincarnated in the spring. Frazer claims that this legend is central to almost all of the world's mythologies.


SOUND FAMILIAR?

Dios(who, remember, is Spanish for God) was always supposed to die. For Anthy. For everyone. The fact that Anthy is associated with gardening and growing things(and sex) makes it a pretty easy correlation to a fertility goddess, especially adding to the fact that gods and goddesses were brother and sister honestly more often than otherwise(like someone up there mentioned; I mean, who ELSE are you going to bang if you're immortal?). And if someone stops the cycle of the god from happening? Well, clearly, someone will have to take his place. Anthy's fall from grace mirrors the corruption of more female centered pagan fertility cults into being demonic forces with the arrival of Christiandom, i.e. gods were demons, their practitioners were witches.

I see all sorts of religious allegory in this series, from multiple religious perspectives. Its just that awesome. etc-love


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#20 | Back to Top03-12-2011 04:30:06 PM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Anthy's fall from grace mirrors the corruption of more female centered pagan fertility cults into being demonic forces with the arrival of Christiandom, i.e. gods were demons, their practitioners were witches.

Or, one could see her punishment by the rabble as the triumph of a Nietzschean slave morality, and Ohtori Academy as a capsule world in which their aristocratic mores can dominate in a modern, secular setting. Dios was insufficient as a companion, as he was essentially a slave to his lessers, while Utena is too focused on her peers to fall into such a trap.

Or, you could see them as representations of premodern, modern, and postmodern hero archetypes. Dios is hero as god, Souji is hero as bourgeoisie, Utena is hero as wandering shonen protagonist which she becomes at the end when she leaves the Academy in spite of her imprisonment.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (03-12-2011 04:45:30 PM)

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#21 | Back to Top03-22-2011 12:23:42 AM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

Also, Holy Trinity. Dios is the Holy Spirit, Mikage Souji is the Father, and Utena is the Son.

And Mikage Souji's ordeal is a process whereby Akio Ohtori and Anthy subvert the core of secular authority at Ohtori Academy, allowing their premodern morality to flourish without interference from modernist patterns of behavior. This explains Anthy's unflinching complicity in bringing about his demise.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (03-22-2011 12:27:46 AM)

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#22 | Back to Top03-24-2011 08:24:06 PM

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

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

brian wrote:

Perhaps Dios was not a fool after all. Perhaps it was his simple duty to die. It is possible that a "True Prince" is actually a kind of human sacrifice and perhaps Utena finally took a similar route.

This might be tangenting off into the wrong direction, but that reminds me: Shinya Hasegawa, the animation supervisor for Evangelion, was a member of Be-Papas; Eva rather famously has a lot of Christian imagery incorporated into its visual/story elements. Perhaps he brought some of that with him while working on Utena-as Dios and Utena's similar martyring of themselves has always vaguely reminded me of the story of Jesus (in a purely secular way school-devil ). In addition to all of the betrayal on the part of those they trusted.

^Not sure what this proves, it's just a (most likely arbitrary) observation.


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

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#23 | Back to Top04-06-2011 08:11:25 AM

Overlord Morgus
Ruthless Deflorist
Registered: 02-22-2011
Posts: 310

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

I remember reading that they wanted Ikuhara on Eva and incorporated some imagery just to attract him, but I can't for the life of me figure out what.

And Dios is kind of the archetypal shoujo manga dreamboat, the prince who takes the normal girl out of her normal life, someone who appears in pretty much every shoujo manga. Imagine if you were that one dude who had to cater to the whims of every babbling schoolgirl out there; wouldn't that fucking wear on you over time?

And when it's revealed that he's not the Prince but the Lord of the Flies in the film, that's a way of saying that Dios didn't really appeal to the higher virtues of humanity the way a god ideally should; rather, he catered to that which was most mediocre and undifferentiated in them, whether it was their lust, or their greed, or their vindictiveness, or their fear, which is what gods actually do. That's what differentiates Utena from Dios/Akio, Dios/Akio's focus is on exploiting the weakness in others, while Utena's is on augmenting her own virtue. So maybe Dios' "fall" wasn't a fall so much as a personal blossoming, a stage of personal growth.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (04-06-2011 01:21:54 PM)

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#24 | Back to Top04-08-2011 04:56:50 PM

J-Syxx
Banned
Registered: 04-25-2007
Posts: 102

Re: My own interpretation of Utena *HUGE SPOILERS*

brian wrote:

Control is a tricky word. Anthy did Akio's will because she truly loved him, he was all that was left of the Prince that she had had a hand in destroying, she may have shared his contempt for the people they were able to manipulate and she may have once really believed that that duels would turn him back into a Prince. Better to be Akio's love slave than to have no love at all, better to be his Rose Bride than a nobody, better to live in their dream world than in the outside world which hated her, better to do penance for killing Dios than to live with her guilty conscience, better to watch him ogling fake stars in a planetarium than to be exposed to the reproach of the real stars from which they had fallen. In some mythologies gods marry their sisters, it may have seemed proper to her. She may well have been the ultimate power that he was using, better to let him use that power than her, as far as she was concerned.

It took 39 episodes for her to change her mind and find the courage to leave.

I don't think Anthy loved Akio.  She loved Dios.  Akio is like a corruption of the pure Dios.  This transformation is what happens to all masculine ideals when they become corrupted when applied to the real world (thus the fact he is an adult).  Anthy only thinks she's in love with him I think.  She's really not.  It's kind of like a girl who starts dating a gentleman, but after she marries him, he becomes an abusive douchebag.  She's still in love with the gentleman, she just doesn't realize that was an illusion I think, and puts up with the abuse for that reason.

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