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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 Top08-12-2011 09:53:21 PM

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

Reconciling the Series and the Movie

This is based on a discussion that was had at Rosecon that I kept meaning to put up on the board. I am of the opinion that the movie was meant to highlight aspects of different characters that weren't presented as obviously in the series. They seem like they're very different, but it's more that Ikuhara brought out parts that were understated in the series.

Let's start with Anthy and Akio. Akio is really hard to understand at first because, as we all know, movie!Akio sucks pretty hard. But I want you to remember something about Akio: the couple of times he's not absolutely completely control of something in the series, he is PISSED. He's so used to getting what he wants and he can't handle otherwise. He's a control freak who has the luxury of having the godlike power to actually be in control the overwhelming majority of the time.

Remember in the movie when he loses his shit when he finds out that Anthy has been pretending to be asleep and unknowing when he drugs her and has sex with her? He screams, "I'm not that kind of person!" and it's OBVIOUSLY not about screwing his sister, which he doesn't seem to have any problem with until Anthy tells him she likes it too. Akio has realized that Anthy is allowing him the illusion of complete control over her. He's probably been gloating in his mind about how he can get away with doing whatever he wants, and it turns out no, she knows, almost thinks its downright cute. So he freaks out and stabs her out of a sense of needing to do something--anything--to be the one on top again. He's like any abuser; he's going to scramble to do something worse and worse to get the reaction and submission he craves. It just happens that in the series, nobody is able to challenge it much.

Ikuhara needed to show that their relationship isn't just one-sided abuse. Anthy is co-dependant as hell and has more power in the relationship than either of them can acknowledge. If you look at the relationship superficially, which a lot of fans do, then Anthy seems like this poor little victim. The two are just struck filling the same roles, playing the same games, because they don't know any other option. It's made much more obvious also that in order for Anthy to be saved, ANTHY has to decide to be saved. She's more in control in the movie because it needed to show that ultimately, Anthy is holding herself back. That's why there was such an emphasis on her turning to key and physically riding out herself--it's for those who didn't get in the finale that she needed to reach back. Anthy also gets a much more, uh, flirty personality because the fact that she's obviously been sleeping with victors was subdued by the fact that Utena's in denial and Saionji is...Saionji.

Speaking of Saionji, he's a bit more like how he was near the end of the series. Gio's gone over this in the one of her body language analysises(what is the plural of that) that Saionji is pretty well jaded with Anthy after his ride in the Akio Car and understand that she really doesn't give a damn about him. Saionji had touches of misguided affection with her early in the series, but the few times we see them together after the Black Rose Saga--it's obvious Saionji just sees her as a sounding board for whatever anger or lust he feels. And of course, he serves his purpose the same as the beginning of the anime as being the basic first asshole that gets her into the dueling game. I'm not going to talk about him much more because he wasn't exactly in the movie enough to really warrant it.

Now, Touga is another one that a lot of people this is irreconcilable between the series and the movie. Here's the thing: if you take him by the basic purposes he serves in the story, he's not that different. I want you to consider his proposal to Utena near the end of the series: he stands over her, arms closing her in, and demands that she be "his woman" if he wins this next duel. Now, Touga is very socially intelligent by everything we've seen in the series. And this would be a really, REALLY stupid thing to do if you're actually trying to get a girl to like you or go along with your plan. This actually being his plan would contradict everything we know about him.

But remember: Touga actually knows practically everything that nobody else does from being Akio's butt buddy. Any time he's participated in the dueling game, it has nothing to do with the Rose Bride--it has to do with Utena. He knows what being the victor actually entails and what the final duel will be like. Hell, from the extremely creepy and unchild-like way he acts when he sees Utena in a coffin is probably because he's met Akio already and knows that he's going to take care of it(it's pretty much unstated canon to me that Touga and Nanami had a short-term foster care situation with Akio and Anthy, because it's pretty much the only way his behavior in that scene makes perfect sense). He knows that not only is there no real power in the last duel, but that it's going to end nastily for the victor. That's why he insists everyone stay and watch; he's the only one who knows and needs them to witness it, to do the little they can.

In short, the only way Touga's actions make sense is if he's pulling a Ruka(which, by the way, they seem like they're about the same age and they have very similar hair--I don't think that's coincidence). He is trying to sacrifice himself to save her. That's why he does this right after that night he had with Utena--he seeks her out and takes her there specifically to help himself to get the courage and will for what he's going to do--and it's almost an apology for what he know he's going to have to act like tomorrow. What does he do in the movie? Sacrifice himself for her. Both times did not go quite as planned, and both times Utena ultimately has to move past him emotionally in order to make her final escape. Touga ultimately is trying to do right, but he's still caught up in the paradigm of princes and princesses. He doesn't understand that Utena has to stand and defend herself. The whole inner turmoil of Utena is the prince vs. princess paradigm, and she only wins in the end by slamming her ring into the arena floor and deciding fuck it, prince or no prince, its irrelevant. We are beyond those boxes. So, in recap: both Tougas have hollow and unfulfilling sex with girls, both sacrifice themselves for Utena, and both times Utena has to reject this in order to move on. It's just hard to understand because Touga and Akio are both pretty big on not revealing their weaknesses or plans, so we don't see much out in the open in comparison to the other characters.


However, I will admit some problems with this, to a certain degree. First, Shiori went from a girl who lashes out at whatever she can because of her low self-esteem to someone cartoonishly evil. The best I can think of is that Ikuhara is emphasizing that it's not that other people doing things to her are Shiori's problem, it's that she can't genuinely relate to anyone. They're merely tools for quelling her self-hatred, and she's too focused on that to care about what anyone else wants. So she can't escape with anyone. Although how self-possessed she is about it doesn't sit with me right. Also, Miki is weirdly power-hungry from what we saw from the scene with him and Juri and him in the garage. And I have absolutely no clue what's up with that. Maybe someone who is more partial to Miki and Kozue can see something in that, I don't know.

Anyway, thoughts?


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#2 | Back to Top08-13-2011 12:58:10 AM

PrettyPeopleWithSwords
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Registered: 05-26-2010
Posts: 131

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Nice post! Sorry that I don't have much to add, I'm not really much good at this analysis stuff . . . I agree that Shiori is really weird in the movie. In the series she's semi-sympathetic depending on the viewer but in the movie she's just horrible. Maybe Ikuhara was using her character in the movie to show how nasty she'd be given the chance? Maybe he just needed someone to stand in as the pessimistic masses?

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#3 | Back to Top08-13-2011 06:36:11 AM

thothptah
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Registered: 01-21-2010
Posts: 97

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I always thought that Miki's statement of wanting more power in the movie was a bit of a red herring. As he is speaking this line we see the "Kozue" car being lifted up behind him. In my opinion, this little bit of background art gives the lie to Miki's statement, he is saying what he thinks he should say, but his real motives lie elsewhere.

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#4 | Back to Top08-14-2011 11:17:25 AM

Davine Lu Linvega
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Registered: 06-08-2011
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Movie Shiori's inner nature is not so different from the series. Her liaison with Touga closely parallels her relationship with Ruka in the series, and you could actually say that movie Touga is a combination of series Touga and Ruka. He manipulates Shiori in order to carry out a selfless mission like Ruka, but his mission is based on a flawed belief and doomed to failure like series Touga's. Shiori yearns to be more than what she is and at the same time sabotages herself due to her inner self-hatred in both the movie and show. Her car crash is a magnificent (and funny) illustration of this. It would have been hard to capture the depth of Shiori and Akio's series personalities in the movie, so their characters were simplified and pressed into service as two sides of the same antagonistic coin.

Akio is the dream that can never be. Children imagine castles and princes on white horses, and as they grow up they stop believing in these things. But often they continue to be bound by the fetters of their childhood fantasies. Akio's character in the movie represents a dream that the dreamer realizes is hopeless and causing them pain but clings to anyway. Movie Anthy knew exactly what kind of man Akio was and showed no sadness at his death but she still remained in Ohtori and continued his dueling game, keeping him literally buried beneath the surface of her world. He was dead, but his memory perhaps held more power over Anthy than Akio himself did when he was alive. In order to overcome his power she needed to acknowledge him for the self-destructive illusion he was and dispel him. Ironically, Shiori helped with this.

Shiori is the dreamer of the dream that can never be. She dreamed of a prince who loved only her. As she grew up, she realized that this was a hopeless dream but clung to it anyway even as she doubted its truth more and more, sinking into despair. Her scene with Touga is a good example of how she wants to climb higher (by bedding the prince of her dreams) and at the same time wants to drag others down with her (by reminding Touga of his childhood trauma). Anthy is saved from her clones by her friends, showing that positive relationships can help counteract the effects of destructive relationships like the ones that Shiori creates.

Both of these archetypes are pretty close to the natures of Akio and Shiori that we see during the series. They just had some of their character development and agency removed and got some flashy supernatural powers bestowed on them so that they'd fit into the world and plotline of the movie.

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#5 | Back to Top08-14-2011 04:07:32 PM

KaleMarsh
High Tripper
From: Washington, DC
Registered: 06-13-2011
Posts: 245

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I watched the movie only once, and a few years ago, so I don't remember much about it, but in the anime, Miki is power-hungry.  His line before his duel with Utena is "I have to get that music back.  And, for that, I need the Bride, no matter what!"  After that, he follows with many lines about saving Anthy, but I think here he reveals his real intentions.  He wants the power to revolutionize the world, as climbing to the top is the only way to write his own rules.  Additionally, he wants power over Kozue, the way others seem to have power over Kozue, and this is something she knows and takes great advantage of.  Touga deliberately flaunts the power he has over Kozue as well to get Miki to duel Utena in the first place.

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#6 | Back to Top08-14-2011 11:10:10 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I'm not trying to prevent this thread from blossoming, but keep in mind that every version of Utena is different. Deliberately so. The TV anime, the manga, the film, and the manga for the film are all different from each other. The film isn't supposed to be connected to the TV series except in the basic idea of the Utena themes.

I wish I could remember where Ikuhara said this.

Last edited by Ashnod (08-14-2011 11:10:26 PM)


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#7 | Back to Top08-14-2011 11:16:52 PM

KaleMarsh
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From: Washington, DC
Registered: 06-13-2011
Posts: 245

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Many of the things we've touched on so far are about tracing some of the themes.  He's said several times that the show is about "relationships between characters."  Eva's original post traces the theme of Anthy and Akio's relationship as a power struggle and Touga's brand of chivalry, both ideas which are pretty fundamental in terms of SKU as an idea.

I guess the point of this post is--keep posting?

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#8 | Back to Top08-15-2011 11:00:26 AM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

KaleMarsh wrote:

Many of the things we've touched on so far are about tracing some of the themes.  He's said several times that the show is about "relationships between characters."  Eva's original post traces the theme of Anthy and Akio's relationship as a power struggle and Touga's brand of chivalry, both ideas which are pretty fundamental in terms of SKU as an idea.

I guess the point of this post is--keep posting?

Right. Absolutely. The only thing I was trying to point out was that Touga from the movie is not Touga from the series. The chivalry displayed by movie Touga comes from an entirely different character. The same applies to Akio and Anthy's relationship.


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#9 | Back to Top08-15-2011 12:10:55 PM

KaleMarsh
High Tripper
From: Washington, DC
Registered: 06-13-2011
Posts: 245

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Agreed.  Pages samed.

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#10 | Back to Top08-18-2011 03:32:48 PM

Davine Lu Linvega
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Registered: 06-08-2011
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I think one of the most interesting reconciliation ideas was posted here:

http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?p … 36#p111436

To paraphrase, the movie is a sequel to the series. When the series ended, Utena was expelled from Ohtori and into her own dreamworld where she is stuck reliving her experiences at Ohtori over and over. Anthy finds Utena and enters her dreamworld to save her. The movie begins as Anthy has taken control over the dream Ohtori Academy, and the other characters Utena encounters are phantoms that arise from her and Anthy's memories.

A lot of stuff in the movie makes sense when you see it this way. Saionji, Juri and Miki are shallow caricatures of their series selves because that's how Anthy saw them. Akio is dead to Anthy at the end of the series so he's literally dead in the dreamworld and stripped of all potency. Maybe Shiori took on such a villainous role because she represented many traits - self-loathing, jealousy, covert hostility - that Utena needed to confront and overcome to gain true freedom.

The movie Touga was another psychological hurdle for Utena to clear. In the series, it's apparent that the attraction between Touga and Utena was mutual but Utena rejected him because of her belief in the prince and her drive to free Anthy. Utena's longing for the prince was also never completely resolved in the series - she didn't reject the princely ideal at the end, instead saying she was "sorry for being just a make-believe prince." The movie Touga embodies a lot of the unresolved feelings Utena had at the end of the series.

It's not hard to see movie Utena and Anthy as older versions of their series selves - they're even stated somewhere to be 16 instead of 14 IIRC. Movie Utena has a more jaded attitude and seems to accept that she's attracted to women, flirting with Wakaba in her first scene. Movie Anthy is not tormented or disempowered; if anything, it appears to be Utena who needs help to escape the stunting environment of the school. When Utena becomes the vehicle for Anthy's escape, she learns a lesson she never quite grasped in the series, that only Anthy can free herself but that Utena can help.

This interpretation also provides an explanation for the "Tenjou Utena" and "Himemiya Anthy" tags on the straw dummies that used to be shadow girls at the movie's end. As the sort-of-narrators of the movie, the shadow girls were Utena and Anthy's subconscious selves who called attention to things the characters couldn't consciously acknowledge. When the castle was destroyed, the shadow girls' big Kage OS-powered control room was destroyed as well because Utena and Anthy had become fully conscious of their condition and no longer needed those little voices in the backs of their minds telling them that everything was not as it seemed.

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#11 | Back to Top09-03-2011 11:24:54 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I think it helps to take in Ikuhara's vocal appreciation of David Lynch and of the relationship of Fire Walk With Me to Twin Peaks. Fire Walk With Me was a feature film sequel, prequel, and sidestory to the the television show, Twin Peaks, but it was released in Japan before the TV show had been broadcast... and was a bigger success in Japan than it was in the States, which had already had the show (seeing as it was an American show). It is one thing to anticipate an audience already familiar with a setting and characters that you proceed with more allusion than direct introduction, but when that is combined with a high degree of symbolism and counter-symbolism, any vagueness or winking at the audience (hopefully) impels the audience to read in on their own.

In Adolescence Apocalypse, if you don't recognize the name on the car's license plate, when Juri and Miki are talking, you don't know that's Kozue as a car. But you know something's up because they emphasize car and license with name on it just as Miki is to answer why he does what he does. It begs significance.

Ikuhara, and Yoji Enokido (who has also spoken well of Lynch and of Fire Walk With Me in specific), have a notable appreciation of begging significance, of flagging the audience without further explication, in many of their works and also in interviews. It's a thing.

If you have the television series under your belt, already, the reversal of most of the character's goals or concerns is disorienting, not reassuring. What they have, ostensibly, learned in the course of thirty-some episodes is in fact new neuroses and problems, not answers to everything or cure-all. Juri is hobbled by the weight of trying to escape Shiori as much as by trying to live to earn her acknowledgement. A Touga who is the perfect (dead) boyfriend is as limited in perspective as the dominating force of the TV series. The transformation of characters to cars and the show's conflict to a racing game is to defamiliarize the audience that came over from the TV show and keep them on equal footing with an audience who had no previous Utena experience and is still, also, not expecting people to start turning into cars. There is no satisfactory prep for the movie. We all come in naked, or are made naked by the film.


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#12 | Back to Top09-04-2011 06:43:08 AM

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

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

As for what Ikuhara said, there are several perspectives of analysis that ask which is most important in determining meaning. Is it the author, the work itself, or the audience? Where is the meaning inherently created? It seems like a silly question because DURR, the author wrote it--but anyone who has written enough can tell you its not that simple. Sometimes the work gets away from you and you find you've put in subtext for lots of things you totally didn't mean. This is why the literary community still interprets "The Old Man and the Sea" even though Hemingway has explicitly stated that nothing in the book symbolizes anything, or still interpret the old lady in "The Worn Path" having a grandson that was actually dead the whole time--even though Eudora Welty has angrily said that it isn't the case. And really, I think Ikuhara might be the type to tell people to ignore what he says. After all, at least half the stuff he says about the series is obvious bullshit. I do mull over his statements about the series and think he's a genius, but ultimately I can take or leave anything he says. I do need to get into Twin Peaks though, for many reasons. But now I have the motivation of learning more about my favorite animation of all time. emot-keke

Still not all that convinced with Miki though. Sure, he has moments of resolve in wanting to take the Rose Bride, but his ultimate indecisiveness is what trips him up in. every. single. duel. Each character has something holding them back from becoming the winner of the duels, and Miki's is clearly just not having the resolve. His heart is closer to being in the right place than many of the others, but he doesn't have the balls to do it--which is why having a fencing foil is such the perfect weapon for him. Ugh, movie!Miki is so weird and wrong. emot-mad


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#13 | Back to Top10-27-2011 12:03:02 AM

Rotten Mooring
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Registered: 10-26-2011
Posts: 281

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I think one of the most interesting reconciliation ideas was posted here:

http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?p … 36#p111436

I actually disliked the movie because of how it clashed with the series, but this reconciliation is BRILLIANT etc-love and I'm happy to see it!

My problem with taking the movie seriously/canonically is that I've always gotten the impression that RGU was a pet project of Ikuhara's, an idea or concept that the creator is fond of and dabbles in excessively. Even after the story is told, the idea is still ripe for a re-telling in the mind of it's creator.

So it's always been easiest for me to pass off The Movie as just an Alternate Universe to the series. An official AU, may be, but still.

I'm not trying to prevent this thread from blossoming, but keep in mind that every version of Utena is different. Deliberately so. The TV anime, the manga, the film, and the manga for the film are all different from each other. The film isn't supposed to be connected to the TV series except in the basic idea of the Utena themes.

I wish I could remember where Ikuhara said this.

It's not just you! Not that I can remember when or where that was said either emot-redface.

Now, Touga is another one that a lot of people this is irreconcilable between the series and the movie. Here's the thing: if you take him by the basic purposes he serves in the story, he's not that different. I want you to consider his proposal to Utena near the end of the series: he stands over her, arms closing her in, and demands that she be "his woman" if he wins this next duel. Now, Touga is very socially intelligent by everything we've seen in the series. And this would be a really, REALLY stupid thing to do if you're actually trying to get a girl to like you or go along with your plan. This actually being his plan would contradict everything we know about him.

But remember: Touga actually knows practically everything that nobody else does from being Akio's butt buddy. Any time he's participated in the dueling game, it has nothing to do with the Rose Bride--it has to do with Utena. He knows what being the victor actually entails and what the final duel will be like. Hell, from the extremely creepy and unchild-like way he acts when he sees Utena in a coffin is probably because he's met Akio already and knows that he's going to take care of it(it's pretty much unstated canon to me that Touga and Nanami had a short-term foster care situation with Akio and Anthy, because it's pretty much the only way his behavior in that scene makes perfect sense). He knows that not only is there no real power in the last duel, but that it's going to end nastily for the victor. That's why he insists everyone stay and watch; he's the only one who knows and needs them to witness it, to do the little they can.

In short, the only way Touga's actions make sense is if he's pulling a Ruka(which, by the way, they seem like they're about the same age and they have very similar hair--I don't think that's coincidence). He is trying to sacrifice himself to save her. That's why he does this right after that night he had with Utena--he seeks her out and takes her there specifically to help himself to get the courage and will for what he's going to do--and it's almost an apology for what he know he's going to have to act like tomorrow. What does he do in the movie? Sacrifice himself for her. Both times did not go quite as planned, and both times Utena ultimately has to move past him emotionally in order to make her final escape. Touga ultimately is trying to do right, but he's still caught up in the paradigm of princes and princesses. He doesn't understand that Utena has to stand and defend herself. The whole inner turmoil of Utena is the prince vs. princess paradigm, and she only wins in the end by slamming her ring into the arena floor and deciding fuck it, prince or no prince, its irrelevant. We are beyond those boxes. So, in recap: both Tougas have hollow and unfulfilling sex with girls, both sacrifice themselves for Utena, and both times Utena has to reject this in order to move on. It's just hard to understand because Touga and Akio are both pretty big on not revealing their weaknesses or plans, so we don't see much out in the open in comparison to the other characters.

I'd say that setting Touga up as the drowning boy in the movie reinforces the parallel to Ruka school-sherlock.

Your analysis of Touga's character pleases me emot-keke And here I was beginning to think I was the only one who interpreted his motives that way!

So now I need to know, what do you think of Touga's new (or perhaps just extended emot-confused) back story in the movie? The Touga-as-rape-victim was something that never sat well with me, not because of the subject matter, but because of it's relative non-impact on his character. I know that victims of childhood sexual abuse or grooming can become sexually active at an earlier age, or act out sexually, but I don't really think that phenomenon would create a personality like Touga's. Moreover, the way it's played in The Movie leads me to believe it was a one-time, or at least irregular, occurrence. That sort of thing is more likely to cause PTSD than anything else. emot-frown

I suppose the reason I can't get my head around it is that I can't come up with a good reason for it to have been added in there. I can think of plenty of frivolous reasons for it: a misunderstanding our outdated take on psychology, a glaring reminder that "nobility", A.K.A. innocence, A.K.A. virginity, is one of the larger thematic things going on in Utena... And I can't help but think it might have been done because "Rape is the New Dead Parents" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M … eadParents). They cut sub-plots and whole characters from that film (they had to, of course) but someone chose to add that scene. Someone decided it was necessary where other things had to be cut.

Edit: for a smilie that didn't show up right~

Last edited by Rotten Mooring (10-27-2011 02:12:27 PM)

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#14 | Back to Top10-27-2011 01:04:35 PM

Atropos
Atropos Turretslayer
From: Hampden College
Registered: 10-22-2011
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

I think that the purpose of Touga's backstory was to make him even more heroic. As Utena says, he was a real prince, who retained his strength and nobility despite the nightmarish events of his childhood. And, of course, being a prince, he dies when trying to save everyone.

It's strange that movie-Touga shares so many traits with series Utena. Perhaps his black uniform was meant to be a reflection of this?

Last edited by Atropos (10-27-2011 07:02:41 PM)

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#15 | Back to Top10-27-2011 10:28:56 PM

OnlyInThisLight
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Registered: 01-15-2008
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Rotten Mooring wrote:

So now I need to know, what do you think of Touga's new (or perhaps just extended emot-confused) back story in the movie? The Touga-as-rape-victim was something that never sat well with me, not because of the subject matter, but because of it's relative non-impact on his character. I know that victims of childhood sexual abuse or grooming can become sexually active at an earlier age, or act out sexually, but I don't really think that phenomenon would create a personality like Touga's. Moreover, the way it's played in The Movie leads me to believe it was a one-time, or at least irregular, occurrence. That sort of thing is more likely to cause PTSD than anything else. emot-frown

Well, survivors of child sexual abuse can come out of it perfectly normal, happy human beings.  There's a lot of factors that come into play here, both individual and environmental.  Perhaps Touga meeting someone like Utena, someone he genuinely loved and wanted to be a strong, happy person for helped him.   Child abuse can have a number of effects on survivors.  Some of them are written about in my psychology textbooks, but some of them are not.  In a weird way it is good to see someone noble and loving and not plagued by PTSD present in media who has survived child abuse.  Some kids and teens who are or have been abused fear that they are destined to be afraid or fucked up for the rest of their lives, that they will have issues forming loving relationships or may become abusers themselves.  They need to see these role models and to be reminded that they are not damaged goods, that they have potential to grow up to be amazing, loving and happy people just like non-victims.

And what is interesting is that it is very believable that child sexual abuse create a personality like Touga in the series.  Seeing love and sex as tools and symbols of power.  The desire to to hold that power over another individual, even if it's just emotionally.

I suppose the reason I can't get my head around it is that I can't come up with a good reason for it to have been added in there. I can think of plenty of frivolous reasons for it: a misunderstanding our outdated take on psychology, a glaring reminder that "nobility", A.K.A. innocence, A.K.A. virginity, is one of the larger thematic things going on in Utena... And I can't help but think it might have been done because "Rape is the New Dead Parents" (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M … eadParents). They cut sub-plots and whole characters from that film (they had to, of course) but someone chose to add that scene. Someone decided it was necessary where other things had to be cut.

I mentioned this a lot on this forum, so I apologize for being repetitive.  I think the scene was there because it gave Touga (both series and movie) a new dynamic.  Because it parallels Dios and Utena's challenged nobility and innocence in the series.  It showed that he was the closet person in any of the adaptations to being a true prince (I stand that Series Utena became a revolutionary, not a prince)... hence why in Ohtori, he is dead.  Because fairytale princes don't exist.  They are a fundamentally flawed and unobtainable archetype.   

Plus, it also gives the movie a real sense of loss.  Touga wasn't just some dude who was really nice to Utena when they were younger and whom she loved; he was a person that despite his own shitty circumstances loved her and made her happy.  For all the comments others, including myself, have made about how Movie Touga is more a plot point than a personality, giving Touga his own backstory just made him that much more real to us -and we understood why he mattered so much to Utena.  Because he was person who had been through tough stuff, and even though we didn't see the process of it, had made some important, mature decisions about his life and who he wanted to be.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (10-27-2011 10:35:01 PM)

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#16 | Back to Top10-28-2011 09:09:49 AM

Rotten Mooring
Precious One
Registered: 10-26-2011
Posts: 281

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

I mentioned this a lot on this forum, so I apologize for being repetitive.  I think the scene was there because it gave Touga (both series and movie) a new dynamic.  Because it parallels Dios and Utena's challenged nobility and innocence in the series.  It showed that he was the closet person in any of the adaptations to being a true prince (I stand that Series Utena became a revolutionary, not a prince)... hence why in Ohtori, he is dead.  Because fairytale princes don't exist.  They are a fundamentally flawed and unobtainable archetype.   

Plus, it also gives the movie a real sense of loss.  Touga wasn't just some dude who was really nice to Utena when they were younger and whom she loved; he was a person that despite his own shitty circumstances loved her and made her happy.  For all the comments others, including myself, have made about how Movie Touga is more a plot point than a personality, giving Touga his own backstory just made him that much more real to us -and we understood why he mattered so much to Utena.  Because he was person who had been through tough stuff, and even though we didn't see the process of it, had made some important, mature decisions about his life and who he wanted to be.

I think you're right. And it's not repetitive, at least not when directed to a newbie like me~ emot-wink

I think I've figured out what my problem was: I wasn't holding the series and the movie as equals. Whether I meant to or not, I was holding the series in higher regard and criticizing the movie by comparison and not by it's own merits. Blatantly silly of me, but exceptionally so in a thread that's about reconcilling the two of them~ emot-redface

It's the "sense of loss" you mentioned that made me realize. And I have to agree. It's already been mentioned that movie!Touga is similar to the series' Ruka character and it's been said elsewhere that movie!Touga is a more princely character than his series counterpart (though I don't think those were the exact words used). If they had killed off series!Touga, who seems to have more growing to do as a person yet, it wouldn't have been as tragic because of the negative traits and actions still associated.

Also, I completely agree etc-love and have always been of the opinion that Utena was not a prince at the conclusion of the series. I didn't use the term "revolutionary" when thinking to myself about the situation, but I feel it fits rather well.

In a weird way it is good to see someone noble and loving and not plagued by PTSD present in media who has survived child abuse.  Some kids and teens who are or have been abused fear that they are destined to be afraid or fucked up for the rest of their lives, that they will have issues forming loving relationships or may become abusers themselves.  They need to see these role models and to be reminded that they are not damaged goods, that they have potential to grow up to be amazing, loving and happy people just like non-victims.

And what is interesting is that it is very believable that child sexual abuse create a personality like Touga in the series.  Seeing love and sex as tools and symbols of power.  The desire to to hold that power over another individual, even if it's just emotionally.

The only disagreement I would have is very slight, and with the idea that the creative staff on Utena meant for Touga to be a well adjusted, former victim of child abuse. It's cool that he can be interpreted that way, but movie!Touga drowned before he  had a chance to ever grow up. That the ghost that Utena sees is well adjusted and content (if it isn't her imagination or some illusion at play) would make that kind of a mixed message, wouldn't it?
As many morals and positive messages as there are in Utena, at the end of the day, Ikuhara and staff are in the entertainment industry, not social services. I find it more likely they would include a back story like that for it's dramatic value (that "sense of loss" again) than for such a philanthropic message (at least not on it's own).

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#17 | Back to Top05-22-2014 03:18:12 PM

Kita-Ysabell
Covert Diarist
Registered: 11-18-2012
Posts: 818
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

So, the relationship of the movie to the series to the creators came up in this thread, and I thought I'd take a stab at it.

See, I think the movie was a mistake.

As an artist, the goal of making art, at least as I see it, is to finish your damn piece and die already.  Yes, this is a Death of the Author thing.  The text is the text, no matter what you say about it, unless you go back and revise it.  In which case there are now two texts, you didn't make the first one go away or anything.  And when speaking about the text, the author is no more right about it than anyone else- having insider information, as it were, gives them an edge in introducing valid readings, but those readings are not inherently more valid because of their provenance.

But why is it so important to finish your damn piece?  Because the imaginary version, which is quite often impossible to realize, is so seductive.  Every artist can visualize their work before it's done, but a part of that visualization is indefinite: part of what makes it exciting is that, without realizing it, the artist is visualizing multiple versions of the work at once, existing in the same place.  The imagined version of a story, for instance, will have characters playing internally contradictory roles.  So making it actually exist means paring down those possibilities into a single actuality.  Spend too long in the space of the visualized work, and it never gets done.

This is one reason an author can be wrong about their work, and why their not-entirely-canon interpretations of it are no more or less valid than anyone else's non-canon interpretations of it: they are quite likely, actually, to refer to possibilities they have eliminated in the course of creation as true.  They are wrong.

When I see the Utena movie, I see an artist who decided to go back to a completed work (the series) and reopen the visualized possibility that it was born from, without admitting that's what they were doing.  And the thing is, a complete work is always better than an incomplete work.  We could maybe visualize the incomplete work as being better, but it doesn't exist, and is therefore a less clear lens of meaning and significance.  Just like an imaginary building can't hold people up or protect them from the weather, an imaginary work of art can't focus the audiences' interpretation through its narrative or visuals or what have you.

Likewise a sort of ur-Utena, a theoretical narrative which unites the manga, series, and movie, is definitely something that can be visualized and speculated on, just like talking to a writer in the process of writing can allow you to visualize and speculate on the novel they're writing.  But there's no way of knowing whether one person's ur-Utena looks anything like another person's ur-Utena, and no definitive text to refer back to in case of disagreement, if such a disagreement can even be formulated.

This is why English majors study texts that actually exist: in the case of Shakespeare, for example, you don't study "that copy that he totally meant to write, but we have no record of," you study "that version we pieced together from actors' notes" or "that version that Marlowe probably had someone steal."  There's no way to quote "that copy he totally meant to write, but we have no record of."  Or even "that copy we know he wrote, but have no copy of."  Anyone could say anything about it, and it wouldn't be demonstrably false.

Because when it comes down to it, there is no way to make a definitive statement about a text that doesn't exist.  And ur-Utena doesn't exist.


"Et in Arcadio ego..."

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#18 | Back to Top05-22-2014 04:14:32 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

See, I think the movie was a mistake.

You said a great deal of things after that, a good many of which I can agree with, yet in the end I don't see how they support this original statement. Why is its existance a "mistake"? Why is it bad or undesirable to have multiple derivations of an original idea? I could understand if the movie were being held up as a replacement for the series, but it isn't. The movie is never promulgated as a "more perfect" capturing of the true essence of Utena. It broadens that essence by intentionally introducing variations, creating new richness, not seeking to more "correctly" depict the old.

I can understand your point about, so to speak, "unborn" works. But the movie was "born". It is a real work that was given a formal existence. The series and the movie are siblings: born of the same origin, but each with different features and personality. How would it be better if one did not exist? Why is it bad for an artist to return to ideas that impassioned them and forge them into another similar-yet-dissimilar shape?

The only reason I can think that someone would want to do that is if they regarded the series as the only "legitimate" work, the only "real" version. But why should they? I absolutely adore the movie, and in many ways, prefer its version of events to those of the series - but that doesn't mean I don't also love and respect the series as a work with its own soul and its own unique rewards.

I for one am incredibly grateful there are two very different lenses through which to glimpse the ideas that birthed the works we were given to enjoy. As I once put it, the series and the movie are like a pair of eyes, and those differently positioned perspectives afford us the perception of depth. More is better, as long as it doesn't lead to internal inconsistency, and the series and movie are far too separate to cause that problem.

Last edited by Aelanie (05-22-2014 04:34:50 PM)

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#19 | Back to Top05-22-2014 07:55:02 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Kita-Ysabell wrote:

But why is it so important to finish your damn piece?  Because the imaginary version, which is quite often impossible to realize, is so seductive.  Every artist can visualize their work before it's done, but a part of that visualization is indefinite: part of what makes it exciting is that, without realizing it, the artist is visualizing multiple versions of the work at once, existing in the same place.  The imagined version of a story, for instance, will have characters playing internally contradictory roles.  So making it actually exist means paring down those possibilities into a single actuality.

I don't think that's necessary to "art" or "entertainment," it's just good for when someone's writing a series guide or a technical manual later.

Like the ring in Fire Walk With Me - and Ikuhara has talked about Lynch's influence on him before - some things are stronger for not being locked down. To quote from Masked & Anonymous, "Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean. Sometimes you have know what they don't mean, as well." And that's rarely, if ever, going to be objective.

I don't see any evidence that Ikuhara thinks he's making objective anime. Which, is why I support his collaborators sometimes strong influence, like Saito on the nature of the primary relationship, but also support Ikuhara indulging in reversals or incompatibility between the series and movie or even internally in series or movie.

(And, yes, it's not uncommon, in English/Literature/Media to study hypothetical versions or abandoned drafts, there are, in fact, entire genres of retellings for that purpose.)


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#20 | Back to Top05-22-2014 10:17:45 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Aelanie wrote:

See, I think the movie was a mistake.

I for one am incredibly grateful there are two very different lenses through which to glimpse the ideas that birthed the works we were given to enjoy. As I once put it, the series and the movie are like a pair of eyes, and those differently positioned perspectives afford us the perception of depth. More is better, as long as it doesn't lead to internal inconsistency, and the series and movie are far too separate to cause that problem.

At the risk of sounding overly technical, there are four lenses through which to glimpse these ideas.

The original series.
The series manga.
The film.
The film manga.

I wish I could remember where I read it, but Ikuhara (or someone from the Be-Papas) has come out and said that every telling of the UTENA story is deliberately different. Almost like a dream one has has more than once but never has it exactly the same way. If a fifth version of Utena comes out, it will be different from the previous four. The implication was this was also true for the musicals, but given the proliferation of different musical productions based on anime, I take that bit with a grain of salt.

However, as far as the primary mediums go I got the impression in the interview that this was supposed to mean that all of the various stories are equally valid while at the same time being independent of each other. 

Take that for what you will.

EDIT: Apparently I already posted this in past. Damn it. emot-frown

Last edited by Ashnod (05-22-2014 10:23:26 PM)


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

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#21 | Back to Top05-22-2014 10:49:16 PM

Aelanie
Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 377

Re: Reconciling the Series and the Movie

Ashnod wrote:

At the risk of sounding overly technical, there are four lenses through which to glimpse these ideas.

The original series.
The series manga.
The film.
The film manga.

Very true. I may not like the manga versions, but I acknowledge they exist, born of the same primordial energy and comprising their own unique elements, and I would never say "it would be more artistically elegant if they were never made". Also, I'm there sure are many people who were led TO the anime versions by the manga ones, who would otherwise never have arrived there. And that can only be a good thing. That's another good reason for multiple derivations to exist: each can lead people to the others, perhaps finding greater pleasure than they otherwise would have.

EDIT: Apparently I already posted this in past. Damn it. emot-frown

A common problem. A lot of contemporary discussions on this board can be effectively addressed by copy/pasting stuff you've said in the past, I find. emot-tongue

Last edited by Aelanie (05-22-2014 11:14:28 PM)

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