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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 Top04-12-2011 03:51:23 PM

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

Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

He wants to dominate others, but all he did when he was a prince was service the desires of the masses. One would think that he hates the people far too much to become their slave again. Why would such a (rightfully) misanthropic person care so much about being loved?

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (04-12-2011 03:53:17 PM)

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#2 | Back to Top04-12-2011 04:57:20 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

I think the point of Utena was that Dios is really dead.  He's a ghost, and Akio can't become him anymore, so he's trying to use others with the princliness quality including Utena as a replacement.  I don't really see the Dios to Akio evolution being something that could actually be reversed.  Akio is like the complete corruption of all masucline ideals I think.  He went from  the pure prince ideal powered by love to a pervered lust for power, which is what makes the adult world turn.  He still uses the prince story as kind of like a spider web though to lure people in.  I think this reflects how actual fairy tales in the past were used to indoctrinate children into societal norms like heterosexual marriage and a power structure where the woman is hopeless and only men have power.

Last edited by J-Syxx (04-12-2011 05:15:10 PM)

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#3 | Back to Top04-12-2011 05:00:30 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Corruption of masculine ideals

That's what fantasy monsters pretty much always are. Akio represents the aristocrat as a jaded, cynical predator, just like Dracula.

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#4 | Back to Top04-12-2011 05:13:03 PM

Stephen
Rose Bride
Registered: 02-19-2011
Posts: 102

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Well, if we go by a symbolic interpretation of that struggle, it would help to fix an idea of what his desire to become united with Dios represents. My personal best guess was caught either off this site, a blog of SKU essays, or through discussion with liarakon, and went as such.

The two characters are a representation of versions of one person, the caricature of a Prince if you will, in a young boy's eyes.  Dios represents a rather young, naive and well meaning boy who seeks to look after everyone. Within him you see compassion for all people. Ultimately this selflessness and constant unconditional care of others takes it toll, almost depicted as a form of well meaning action turned addiction during the scene we see him exhausted in the barn. I won't touch upon his relationship with Anthy, as although it is very interesting, I might lose my train of thought. Essentially however, Anthy closes Dios off from the world, and Dios, that facet of a boy's personality, "dies".

Then comes the rather wonderful subverting of the compassionate selfless boy, Akio. Akio to me, represents a definite maturing and warping of that previous personality. A compassion for people does not just "die", it changes. With his world consisting only of Anthy by her closing him off, his attention and compassion is fixated purely on her. The princely ideals of compassion and selflessness as portrayed in Dios are a very boyish representation of how some boys view the Prince's role. Akio has grown up, but his view of what is means to be a Prince does not, beyond his new "unpleasant" attributes.

How can you be a Prince, if you have no-one depending on you, no-one to look after, no Princess? With no problem to solve, no pain or distress to heal, Akio makes it, inflicting it on the only person he truly knows and truly feels worthy of his princely attentions. Even Akio-san has not been warped enough to believe this is an acceptable solution though, deep down. He is after all compassionate, has a sense of right and wrong and so on.

His desire to return to being the Prince Dios is perhaps the best representation of Ohtori's mental anchoring in an adult character, for me. He is the representation of a man who feels that in the process of growing up and learning the ways of the world, he lost something very dear to him, a part of his very self. Not just mere nostalgia, but actually attempting in vain to re-live his childhood. The secret personal thought that somewhere along the line, he "broke", he's incomplete and missing a piece of his mental puzzle, and will do anything to correct this and return to how he was. In a way, he never grew up, and doesn't really want to.

Or in short, I think Akio does love to service the desires of the masses, and receive their adoration in turn. Loves it so much in fact, he is willing to subvert them and make them wholly depend upon him.

---

I very much enjoyed the Dios/Akio connection, as it touched me personally. If you're not big on personal stories, then you best skip the rest of this post. Like all good SKU topics though, analysis reveals as much about the poster as it does the topic.

When I was 8 or so, I used to cry at the TV whenever Oxfam played commercials appealing for money to get water and food to people starving in Africa. I can't seem to dig up the 1990's commercials they put on, but they were very much shock commercials, like the current ones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBWDelvQ6TY but with no real positive ending to it. I don't recall much of how I was at the time, but I do recall the commercials themselves quite vividly. My father later recounted asking me what I was so upset about, and my boyish answer was "They need my help, but I can't help them, I can't do anything". Apparently I had quite the trait for wanting to help people I felt were struggling or suffering, and was a bit of a softie for helping kids who were hurt or worrying about them in primary school, usually more of a useless crying hindrance than a help.

In my teenage years though, or perhaps even earlier, I was both bombarded with needy "requests" for help both large and small, and well meaning friends telling me not to stand for it, look after myself more and so on. Like Dios, you do hit a turning point. I went through a rather childish phase at 15 where I believed myself to be subtle and controlling, and my "helping" of people was all part of some cunning non-existent plan of mine. Of course it was not, this was a justification for not setting proper boundaries and to help me square up my continued over-stretching with advice people had drilled into me. Almost a co-dependence, if you will. In my later teenage years however I grew an acceptance of my personality, how that facet can both be a strength and a weakness, and my need to watch out that I do over-do it. Same goes, the hard-nosed business world presents me with Akio's problem, have I lost a part of myself? My teenage years taught me that I am capable of terrible things that I would ordinarily not abide if in good spirits, and I could potentially do them against people. That sweet contradiction that makes us human. Growing the ability to bear no ill in my decision making process has been very important, and to set good boundaries according to how I believe the other person will take to asking favours of me.

My housemate has seen bits of SKU, and his reaction to Akio and Anthy's relationship in particular is most interesting indeed for me. As he's a lurker here, I will be a massive troll and be very brief. He is of the opinion that should SKU have an antagonist at all, it's Anthy. He too used to be the kind of child that felt morally very strongly about helping people, and I believe did hit that same turning point I did. Interestingly prior to our shared viewing of bits of SKU, he did maintain something of what we jokingly refer to as a harem, of women that he looked after, and I wasn't to talk to without his supervision. Scandalicious~~

Last edited by Stephen (04-12-2011 05:15:13 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top04-12-2011 05:30:21 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

I still don't see Akio wanting to become Dios though.  I think he's too corrupted for that.  He likes how things are, and he likes manipulating people over and over again.  He just kind of uses Dios as a tool to act out his schemes more than anything.

I think also a lot of Utena is feminist symbolism.  Akio's tower being a phallus symbol of course in the most obvious thing that should tell everyone that.  So I think what Akio really represents is the patriarchy.  The patriarcy isn't really male persay, but it's a masculine power system that works by dominating others.  Thus some of the gender and sexuality bending that goes on in Utena.  I think his power is shown as limited to the Academy though, becuase you can break free from it if you remain independent enogh to do so and choose to not be dominated by the machine.

Last edited by J-Syxx (04-12-2011 05:43:35 PM)

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#6 | Back to Top04-12-2011 05:40:41 PM

Stephen
Rose Bride
Registered: 02-19-2011
Posts: 102

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

I guess this depends on how you interpret the series, interestingly. I see perhaps you view SKU as a tale of independence (both male and female potentially) and a dialogue on our historic society. I see it more as a fairly neutral discourse on growing up in general, how some of us struggle with it, others don't quite manage it at all. There's definitely quite a lot to it, eh? emot-keke

Last edited by Stephen (04-12-2011 05:41:22 PM)

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#7 | Back to Top04-12-2011 05:59:19 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Anthy wanted him to think of himself, but all that did was cause him to scramble for his lost nobility.

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#8 | Back to Top04-12-2011 06:23:49 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Stephen wrote:

I guess this depends on how you interpret the series, interestingly. I see perhaps you view SKU as a tale of independence (both male and female potentially) and a dialogue on our historic society. I see it more as a fairly neutral discourse on growing up in general, how some of us struggle with it, others don't quite manage it at all. There's definitely quite a lot to it, eh? emot-keke

Well, I won't discount your interpreation.  But obviously symbolism, postermodernism, and deconstruction play heavily into what Utena is.  It is about growing up, but since it is symbolism though, it's about growing up and a bunch of other things as well.  Kind of like how the Wizard of Oz is a fantasy tale but also a commentary on the early 1900's US economy.  So it sort of appraoches growing up in a really dense multi-dimensional way that can apply to other things as well like society over all.   This nature of Utena becomes even more in your face during the movie where surrealism definitely flooded the whole thing a bit more and what is literal (or surface plot) and what is symbolic becomes a whole lot more confused.  lol

My housemate has seen bits of SKU, and his reaction to Akio and Anthy's relationship in particular is most interesting indeed for me. As he's a lurker here, I will be a massive troll and be very brief. He is of the opinion that should SKU have an antagonist at all, it's Anthy. He too used to be the kind of child that felt morally very strongly about helping people, and I believe did hit that same turning point I did. Interestingly prior to our shared viewing of bits of SKU, he did maintain something of what we jokingly refer to as a harem, of women that he looked after, and I wasn't to talk to without his supervision. Scandalicious~~

Don't really see Anthy being an antagonist.  She is more like the repressed party that is forced to put up with abuse, be dominateded, and be controlled like a puppet because that's her role in the prince/pincess duality.  This of course mirrors the feminist concept of the patriarchy/opresseed.  It also mirrors most fairy tales due to the fact the female victim is utterly powerless without her prince there to save her.  So it like takes that narrative and really shows the mysoginism and abuse that is inherent in that kind of narrative if you take it more seriously than just kids' stuff.  Which then takes us to the fact those stories did in fact reflect the role of men and women in most socities.  In fact, in some ways those stories were used to indoctrinate children into their gender roles they would have when they grew up.  So this is definitley why I see Utena as allegory for feminism, becuse she's the one that frees Anthy from this role.

Last edited by J-Syxx (04-12-2011 06:26:17 PM)

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#9 | Back to Top04-12-2011 06:46:04 PM

Stephen
Rose Bride
Registered: 02-19-2011
Posts: 102

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Quite so, that's what we all enjoy about it, I would think.

What particularly interests me is applying the rhetoric to individuals. I think the most miserable and lost I've seen an honest and caring middle-aged man was just as he lost his house, job, and family, as my father did. There's almost a built-in co-dependence in that whole setup, it seems, even among the most well-meaning men. Akio happens to show us just the slightest tip of that as Anthy leaves the school.

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#10 | Back to Top04-12-2011 07:55:33 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

I think Akio, like the human being he is (because that's part and parcel of his misery, he may still be immortal like when he was Dios, but just like when it was Dios, he was still human -which is part of what led to his downfall- human beings cannot be perfect, which is what the archetype of a fairy tale prince calls for) sometimes wishes he can go back to being Dios, just like we all sometimes wish to regress.  But does he truly believe he can?  No, and the show makes it a point that he, just like everyone else CAN'T.  Does he want it enough to put forth a genuine effort -no.  He, like Anthy (though moreso, for obvious reasons), has grown accommodated to his status and his power, and really only uses the HOPE affixed to regaining the power of Dios (notice the everyone in the series mentions gaining Dios' POWER, not reviving him) to keep he and Anthy's little terror balance charade going and to string along the people he needs to manipulate. 

Akio does not want to go back to being a prince and saving the day. I believe on the rare occasions he does miss the role, it's because he misses the happiness (though he's now aware that such happiness was dependent on his own ignorance, among other things) and fulfillment that went along with it.  Just like when we miss being a kid, we don't miss the curfews, or lack of sexual maturity, our small stature or cafeteria food, we miss how we saw the world when we were that age, the possibility and the beauty and the fun the world had to offer, untempered by our growing knowledge of the harshness of reality*. 


*Provided you had a really fun childhood, that is. 


And as for whether or not Utena is about feminism versus adolescence, it's totally about both.  And while what it does have to say regarding growing up is very profound, and can of course be applicable to men, lots of anime deal with this theme.  It's Utena's deep, dedicated and multifaceted look at feminist issues and what it means to grow up as a woman and reconcile all the conflicting roles we are pigeon-holed into in order to become the independent, self-chosen people we are that truly sets it apart.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (04-12-2011 07:57:33 PM)

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#11 | Back to Top04-12-2011 09:27:09 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

I have a comparatively simplistic take on the whole Akio/Dios relationship- that Akio really doesn't want or care about becoming Dios again, but uses Anthy's need for Dios to compel her to to stay with him. It's stated subtly in the anime and movie, and more outright in the two manga, that Akio's power comes from Anthy.

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#12 | Back to Top04-12-2011 11:15:07 PM

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

Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

Rewatching the last episode, the shadows of the swords of the commoners are indistinguishable from those of crucifixes. That's a nice touch. And when Dios is gloating over Utena after she's stabbed, his manner is pretty much identical to Akio's. They're trying to make it clear that Akio is really not very far removed from Dios in terms of character, which they make even more clear in the film.

And in the 2nd to the last episode, Akio didn't always view her as a witch, but rather as a woman who sacrificed herself for him. IOW, he comes to side with the rabble against her for no apparent reason other than that is the dominant belief, taking their beliefs as his own, because that was always his inclination, in favor of the rabble.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (04-12-2011 11:22:50 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top04-22-2011 06:44:53 PM

AnimentalCosplayer
Mikage Mistruster
From: Ohtori Academy
Registered: 07-13-2010
Posts: 66
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Re: Does Akio REALLY want to become Dios?

So this is just my interpretation on this...

I think Akio knows Dios is dead. In fact, he's one of the few ((if not the only one)) to realize that. I think he sees the desires that others have for Dios, that desire for a savior. && I think Akio wants to be the one to fill that place. Unlike Dios though, he fills it with control && corruption because that's what he knows. Even when Dios met Utena as a child, he explained Anthy's suffering. Even as that "Prince", he knew that there was not happiness behind the fairytale everyone else saw. For that reason, it seems like Akio sometimes doesn't realize what he's doing is so wrong, simply because that is what he knows. && when he sees that he's in the wrong, he doesn't care or pushes it off onto others, despite the fact that he's typically the instigator. ((Ex: Utena accuses him of being wrong for the things he did && he retorts back that she knew he had a fiancee && didn't push him away)). All it shows is that he has the mentally of a immature child stuck in a grown man's body. ((I don't know why but re-reading that sentance kind of made me laugh for some reason XD))


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