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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 Top09-25-2011 02:35:02 PM

Louchan
Rose Bride
Registered: 11-08-2006
Posts: 100

24 questions I have about Utena.

I've been a fan of Utena for about 10 years, and not once has any other anime ever rivaled it's spot as my favorite. etc-love But now after I recently rewatched it again I've realized that, while I do consider myself as someone who gets the show pretty well, I still have a number of questions, both big and small, that I just can't seem to find answers to on my own. So what better place to turn to than you guys? I know that they're many, but I'd really appreciate if anyone would take their time to answers some of them. emot-smile Alright, here we go...!

1. Is Dios truly dead? If so then what is the figure of Dios that's seen giving Utena the power to win her duels? Is it just some form of essence of Dios' powers that's still left in the world?
2. Why did Akio want to make Utena fall in love with him? I do understand that it's a way of gaining control over her, but wouldn't her increased "girlyness" potentially ruin her prince's sword that Akio was after all along?
3. Was the Dios that utena met during her childhood the real Dios, or was it Akio? It's suggested later in the show that it was Akio, but then why? Why seek out Utena and show up Anthy like a circus animal? Did he consider Utena to have special potential, or was this something he generally did with a lot of sad kids?
4. Why did Touga burn Saionji's exchange diary? What was the point of such a dick move?
5. Many questions in one here, but what exactly were the 100 boys of Nemuro Memorial Hall researching about? It was said that they found the way to the dueling arena and the castle that would hold eternity, but what does that mean when both those things were just created by Akio? It was also suggested that they were the first duelists, is that true? And also, why did they have to die?
6. At the end of the Black Rose arc, Akio says that just like Mamiya, Mikage never existed in the first place. What does that mean?
7. What does it really mean when a character takes a ride in Akio's car and gets to see "the ends of the world". I know the car itself is just a giant sex symbol, but surely it doesn't mean that all characters who jump into it have a giant orgy... or does it? Because I can't really see Juri or Miki doing that. And yeah, what do you see when you see "the ends of the world"? Why does it have such a huge impact?
8. What did Akio mean when he said "there never was a prince to being with"?
9. What was the point in letting Mikage create Black Rose Duelists who all had the intention of killing Anthy? I know the duels were meant to breed Utena into the perfect prince, but it seems rather risky to put Anthy's life on the stake for it.
10. Why was Anthy so openly against Akio's seduction of Utena? Was it out of some kind of possessiveness? And in that case was it towards Akio or towards Utena?
11. Why did Akio cry in the two last episodes?
12. Did the older Tokiko have sex with Akio? Kind of a lulzy question, but the fact that Akio's room went dark the same way it does whenever he's doing it with Anthy made me wonder...
13. Why did the planetarium, the castle, and Dios' statue crumble when Utena said Im gonna become a prince! to Akio?
14. What the heck was going on in that scene when Akio was driving with Anthy? Anthy's in the pain, Akio's angry, she sprouts swords, they're both naked for a second... whaaaa-?
15. During Rukas duel, he sees Anthy in a sort of praying position with her eyes closed and he says to himself now I get it. Immediately afterwards the power of Dios comes down. What was that all about? Is Anthy channeling the power of Dios?
16. Why did Mikage ignore the real Tokiko?
17. Was the short haired woman Mikage was seen speaking with Tokiko? If so, then why was her hair so short during that scene?
18. What does it mean to pull out a sword from someone? Because along with the Black Rose arc, everyone was suddenly doing it!
19. Why did Shiori tell Juri to believe in miracles? From Juri's flashbacks it seems it happened quiet randomly. She was dueling with that one guy who I don't even think had a name, she won, Shiori comes up, hands her a rose, and tells her those unforgettable words. What did she even mean?
20. When Akio spoke with Dios in episode 13 (as well as the final episode), was he just speaking to himself? Or to the power of Dios? Or what?
21. Why did Utena rip the final letter into pieces after Anthy said "My brother seems to love you. Wouldn't it be great if these days could continue on forever?" to her. And for that matter, what did Anthy even mean when she said those things?
22. So yeah, what was up with Akio having a drink with Dios in the final episode? emot-tongue
23. Why did everyone forget about Utena in the end? Was it same way everyone forgot about Mikage, do they just forget about people after they leave the school?
24. What does it mean to be trapped inside your coffin?

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#2 | Back to Top09-25-2011 03:54:27 PM

Leeg
Juri Jeerer
From: Spain
Registered: 02-10-2010
Posts: 49
Website

Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

I'm going to answer only some of them :S


4. Why did Touga burn Saionji's exchange diary? What was the point of such a dick move?

To make him fight against Utena (?) I mean, Touga is like Akio's apprentice. He's manipulative. He enjoys this "game".

6. At the end of the Black Rose arc, Akio says that just like Mamiya, Mikage never existed in the first place. What does that mean?

Well, I think he actually existed, but by staying this, he never existed, then in the next scene none of the characteres remembers anything from the whole arc. Yeah, Akio's power. It's like "I'm going to say that he was never here and *magic*, nobody remembers."

7. What does it really mean when a character takes a ride in Akio's car and gets to see "the ends of the world". I know the car itself is just a giant sex symbol, but surely it doesn't mean that all characters who jump into it have a giant orgy... or does it? Because I can't really see Juri or Miki doing that. And yeah, what do you see when you see "the ends of the world"? Why does it have such a huge impact?

What he does is exactly what Dios did when saving Utena when she was a child. He shows them something they want to get, or a kind of miracle, you know, as Akio says, "teenage people love that stuff". And the purpose is, of course, to fight for it, fight Utena to get the rose bride.

8. What did Akio mean when he said "there never was a prince to being with"?
All the old story-tellingpart of Utena is fake.  All was a lie to make the duelists fight.

9. What was the point in letting Mikage create Black Rose Duelists who all had the intention of killing Anthy? I know the duels were meant to breed Utena into the perfect prince, but it seems rather risky to put Anthy's life on the stake for it.

Utena couldn't lose, because of Anthy's magic (she's a witch).

10. Why was Anthy so openly against Akio's seduction of Utena? Was it out of some kind of possessiveness? And in that case was it towards Akio or towards Utena?

I don't know why, but most of the people think Anthy is a "good" character when she's actually a pure bitch. She's involved in the worst things that happen in Ohtori, and she enjoys that, well, she's no choice, because of being the rose bride. The "good Anthy" is the one inside the coffin in the last episode.

11. Why did Akio cry in the two last episodes?

I have no idea, and also Saionji cries during the opening of Utena, any idea? :S

13. Why did the planetarium, the castle, and Dios' statue crumble when Utena said Im gonna become a prince! to Akio?

A girl can't be a prince.

15. During Rukas duel, he sees Anthy in a sort of praying position with her eyes closed and he says to himself now I get it. Immediately afterwards the power of Dios comes down. What was that all about? Is Anthy channeling the power of Dios?

She's using her witch's power to make Utena win, yeah, the duels are tricked to make Utena win from the black rose saga onwards.

16. Why did Mikage ignore the real Tokiko?

I don't think he ignores her, I assume he doesn't recognise her because she's old, so I prefer to ask: Why Tokiko ignores Mikage?

18. What does it mean to pull out a sword from someone? Because along with the Black Rose arc, everyone was suddenly doing it!

This is explained in the series, during the Student council saga none of the duelists could win because they couldn't manage to hold their feelings, so other person has to do that, how? pulling their swords out emot-biggrin

22. So yeah, what was up with Akio having a drink with Dios in the final episode? emot-tongue

Ikuhara said that meant "draining Utena's power".

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#3 | Back to Top09-25-2011 07:29:43 PM

Ashnod
La potesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
Website

Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

Forgetting for a moment that there is no "True" answer to any of these questions, as Ikuhara isn't talking and the series seems to crafted deliberately to have no definitive answers...

1. Is Dios truly dead? If so then what is the figure of Dios that's seen giving Utena the power to win her duels? Is it just some form of essence of Dios' powers that's still left in the world?

Depends highly on honest you think Akio is. Personally, I will say that no, Dios is not dead, and the conversation Akio has seemingly with himself at the end of the Student Council Arc is meant to be directed at Dios, even if Dios is incapable of listening to him. This is especially true if you take the perspective that Akio is Dios after a fashion, and not some separate entity although he may be separate from Dios' power.

2. Why did Akio want to make Utena fall in love with him? I do understand that it's a way of gaining control over her, but wouldn't her increased "girlyness" potentially ruin her prince's sword that Akio was after all along?

That does seem to contradict itself, doesn't it...unless the point of the entire love/betrayal aspect of Akio's plan is to instead strengthen Utena's resolve for the final battle. Remember, if the rules of the Rose Seal must be followed, then the Duel Named Revolution must be fought. It has to be fought. And everything Akio was doing up to that point was trying make sure it would be fought.

3. Was the Dios that utena met during her childhood the real Dios, or was it Akio? It's suggested later in the show that it was Akio, but then why? Why seek out Utena and show up Anthy like a circus animal? Did he consider Utena to have special potential, or was this something he generally did with a lot of sad kids?

If it was Akio, consider it to be an experiment. Can you install nobility, and a sense of eternity, in someone young enough that it is not lost by age or maturity? That would be an ideal candidate for the sword Akio seems to need.

If it was Dios, I would consider it a special case. Saito's manga certainly makes it appear this way. I tend to think it was Akio, however.

4. Why did Touga burn Saionji's exchange diary? What was the point of such a dick move?

A lot of room for interpretation here. One reason is that he is protecting his friend from End of the World and his sister. Burning the diary helps to sever Saionji's connection to Anthy. This is seemingly contradicted later by using his influence to get Saionji to duel again in the final series of duels, but it is something to consider.

Another is that he simply wanted to bury Saionji's remaining influence on the duels in the first arc. Burning the diary is more of a symbolic gesture at that point.

5. Many questions in one here, but what exactly were the 100 boys of Nemuro Memorial Hall researching about? It was said that they found the way to the dueling arena and the castle that would hold eternity, but what does that mean when both those things were just created by Akio? It was also suggested that they were the first duelists, is that true? And also, why did they have to die?

This is my interpretation of this. First, Akio didn't create the Dueling Arena. That's a fabrication on his part. The dueling arena is real, as much as a fairy tale location like that can exist, as much as a fairy tale prince like Dios could have existed. Secondly, the 100 boys were working on the means to open the Rose Gate that leads to the Dueling Arena. They did this with the promise that they would be the Duelists who would compete for the miracle power. Thirdly, they were the first Duelists in name only. I don't believe any duels were fought between them in the Arena. Fourth, they had to die to set things in motion. Take Mikage at his word when he says that dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures died so that we could have fossil fuels. It is a sacrifice necessary to set the miracle power in motion - the price that has to be paid in order for the miracle power to obtainable at all. It doesn't have to make sense in a scientific paradigm. We're speaking of magic swords and fairy tale princes, and this kind of old magic demands blood.

6. At the end of the Black Rose arc, Akio says that just like Mamiya, Mikage never existed in the first place. What does that mean?

Mikage never existed. Nemuro existed. Mikage was a pretty illusion crafted by Nemuro, and thus never truly existed.

7. What does it really mean when a character takes a ride in Akio's car and gets to see "the ends of the world". I know the car itself is just a giant sex symbol, but surely it doesn't mean that all characters who jump into it have a giant orgy... or does it? Because I can't really see Juri or Miki doing that. And yeah, what do you see when you see "the ends of the world"? Why does it have such a huge impact?

We're never going to get an answer to this. Personally, I agree with you. I don't think anyone actually had sex with Akio. It's possible that the Duelists didn't necessarily SEE anything. Juri already had agreed to duel as a condition with Ruka, so the car ride is really irrelevant for her, for example. I don't think Shiori needed any particular epiphany to be Ruka's Rose Bride. Still, some people come out changed by the experience, so...it's possible they were able to glimpse some small facet of the truth. Similar to what Utena saw in her youth, but incomplete.

8. What did Akio mean when he said "there never was a prince to being with"?

Depends on how honest Akio is being. It could mean that Utena is mistaking that she saw a prince in her youth, when all along it was Akio trying to create a prince. It could be that he considers Dios's existence flawed and his fall inevitable, therefore the idea of an eternal prince does not exist. It could also be that Akio is telling the literal truth, that Dios, the Dueling Arena, and everything is complete fabrication - but that calls into question why the duels take place and who Akio and Anthy really are.

9. What was the point in letting Mikage create Black Rose Duelists who all had the intention of killing Anthy? I know the duels were meant to breed Utena into the perfect prince, but it seems rather risky to put Anthy's life on the stake for it.

From Akio's point of view, I don't think he viewed that as any less dangerous than the duels in the Student Council Arc. After all, all of them were competing with real swords and any one of them could have lost their temper or poise and used it with deadly force, i.e. Saionji before being expelled. They still would have had to defeat Utena, and they all complied with this minus Wakaba who had a personal vendetta with Anthy. And I don't think Akio honestly felt that any random duelist holding the Heart Sword of another duelist had a chance at beating her.

10. Why was Anthy so openly against Akio's seduction of Utena? Was it out of some kind of possessiveness? And in that case was it towards Akio or towards Utena?

BOTH.

11. Why did Akio cry in the two last episodes?

If you think that Akio honestly loves his sister and in his own twisted way has been doing all of this for her, it makes sense. If you think that he's only crying to manipulate Anthy, that makes sense, too.

12. Did the older Tokiko have sex with Akio? Kind of a lulzy question, but the fact that Akio's room went dark the same way it does whenever he's doing it with Anthy made me wonder...

Especially if you think that Tokiko might have been complicit with manipulating Nemuro during the early years, which she might very well have been. Either that, or it's meant as yet another demonstration of just how seductive Akio can be and how much power he can hold over women who should by all rights hate him.

13. Why did the planetarium, the castle, and Dios' statue crumble when Utena said Im gonna become a prince! to Akio?

If you think that the castle and statue are an illusion from the projector, and that the projector is merely reflecting the desires of those present, it could be this is symbolic of Utena's desire to destroy the illusions. It could be the precursor to Dios' awakening, much in the same way that any dream world trembles when the dreamer begins to stir. Or it could just be really cool effects. ;)

14. What the heck was going on in that scene when Akio was driving with Anthy? Anthy's in the pain, Akio's angry, she sprouts swords, they're both naked for a second... whaaaa-?

SYMBOLISM!

15. During Rukas duel, he sees Anthy in a sort of praying position with her eyes closed and he says to himself now I get it. Immediately afterwards the power of Dios comes down. What was that all about? Is Anthy channeling the power of Dios?

I think in that moment, Ruka understands what he is competing against and understands that he doesn't have a chance at beating Utena with just his skill. Whether this is because his bond with Shiori is based on deception, because he lacks the conviction, or because he understands that his skill alone isn't enough to do it isn't clear. It seems, though, that he does believe that Juri CAN do it, and her two duels make a compelling argument that yes, she COULD and SHOULD have done it. Whatever it was, it didn't dissuade him from thinking Juri had a better chance at winning than he did, and from that, you might infer that his entire reason for dueling was so that he could get a first-hand sense of what the duelists were facing.

16. Why did Mikage ignore the real Tokiko?

Because Tokiko, to him, is a much younger, idealized woman. The adult walking by him is a stranger that he does not recognize.

17. Was the short haired woman Mikage was seen speaking with Tokiko? If so, then why was her hair so short during that scene?

I confess I don't know who you're speaking of, here.

18. What does it mean to pull out a sword from someone? Because along with the Black Rose arc, everyone was suddenly doing it!

If you follow Mikage and Mamiya's conversation, a Heart's Sword would be the physical manifestation of their nobility and conviction.

19. Why did Shiori tell Juri to believe in miracles? From Juri's flashbacks it seems it happened quiet randomly. She was dueling with that one guy who I don't even think had a name, she won, Shiori comes up, hands her a rose, and tells her those unforgettable words. What did she even mean?

I don't think this is meant to be important except to understand who Shiori is, and by way of extension, who Juri has become. Ruka says that Shiori is someone who longs for miracles but doesn't understand that miracles come at price others must pay, and despite that, is paradoxically the kind of person miracles are just given to. Juri, on the other hand, is someone who would just give Shiori a miracle and willingly bear the penalty for doing so (much like Utena did for Anthy), and at the same time deny that a miracle could (or should) ever happen for her.

20. When Akio spoke with Dios in episode 13 (as well as the final episode), was he just speaking to himself? Or to the power of Dios? Or what?

See above.

21. Why did Utena rip the final letter into pieces after Anthy said "My brother seems to love you. Wouldn't it be great if these days could continue on forever?" to her. And for that matter, what did Anthy even mean when she said those things?

IMHO, she was sick of the deception at that point, especially with Anthy and Akio bouncing each other behind her back while simultaneously trying to manipulate her. As far as Anthy goes, if she's being honest I think she's trying to say that she wants a simple life with a true friendship, and that if things progress forward as they must that will become utterly impossible. If she's being dishonest, it's a means to make Utena seek a resolution to the conflict for her to progress.

22. So yeah, what was up with Akio having a drink with Dios in the final episode? emot-tongue

SYMBOLISM! They're the same person, after all.

23. Why did everyone forget about Utena in the end? Was it same way everyone forgot about Mikage, do they just forget about people after they leave the school?

I'm not sure if they literally forgot about her or not. Obviously, the Shadow Girls have not forgotten about her as they make mention of her while talking about Wakaba. I think it's more along the lines of life has moved on, and as things move on, it can appear as though they have lost their hold on the things they once touched.

24. What does it mean to be trapped inside your coffin?

It means being unable to move beyond your problems, our hangups, or your trauma. It means retreating from the world rather than going out into the world and facing them.

Last edited by Ashnod (09-25-2011 07:32:27 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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#4 | Back to Top09-26-2011 04:02:55 AM

Davine Lu Linvega
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Registered: 06-08-2011
Posts: 88

Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

My answers to some of these...

Louchan wrote:

Questions about Dios

Dios does not truly exist at the time of the story, he is an aspect of Akio. All of Akio's power stems from illusion, and Dios is the greatest of Akio's illusions. Utena gets her power to win the duels because it's Akio's will for her to win; his will is made manifest through the appearance of Dios. If Dios did really exist at one time, he fell from grace and became Akio long ago when Anthy "took him away". Since then, Akio has been using the illusion of Dios to sway people to his will by appealing to their dreams. In some ways, Akio himself is subordinate to the illusion of Dios, because he wishes - and yet does not wish - that he could reclaim the nobility of Dios. This is why he talks to Dios like Dios is another person, sheds tears over Anthy's condition, etc. He's such a good bullshitter has has to believe some of his own bullshit, else he won't be able to keep up the charade.

Louchan wrote:

5. Many questions in one here, but what exactly were the 100 boys of Nemuro Memorial Hall researching about? It was said that they found the way to the dueling arena and the castle that would hold eternity, but what does that mean when both those things were just created by Akio? It was also suggested that they were the first duelists, is that true? And also, why did they have to die?

The research project was another self-sabotaged attempt by Akio to reclaim his nobility. It as many parallels to the dueling game - invite ambitious young people into an exclusive club with a promise of ultimate power that will fulfill their dreams. Just like the dueling game, the research project's objective, "eternity", is an unrealistic fantasy. Its true purpose was to create an individual who could further Akio's goals - that was Mikage, Nemuro's shadow self. Akio ended up using Mikage as a tool to catalyze Utena's growth - I suspect that a lot of Akio's plans build on each other like that. As for the hundred dead students, I'm of the opinion that no one really died in the fire and that the dead students are all in Mikage's head.

Louchan wrote:

9. What was the point in letting Mikage create Black Rose Duelists who all had the intention of killing Anthy? I know the duels were meant to breed Utena into the perfect prince, but it seems rather risky to put Anthy's life on the stake for it.

Anthy's life was never in danger, she was playing the part of Mamiya after all and she worked with Akio to orchestrate the whole thing. The Black Rose Duelists could never have won because it was Akio's will for them to lose to Utena. The purpose of the Black Rose duels was to refine Utena's princely nature by confronting her with the shadow selves of the people around her and then pitting her against Mikage, who was basically a twisted mirror of Utena, representing the darker side of her own nature.

Louchan wrote:

13. Why did the planetarium, the castle, and Dios' statue crumble when Utena said Im gonna become a prince! to Akio?

When Utena said that, Akio started to lose control of his illusion. Utena's mind was still stuck in the fairy-tale world when she said those words, but with her force of will she began to wrest control of the illusion away from Akio.

Louchan wrote:

14. What the heck was going on in that scene when Akio was driving with Anthy? Anthy's in the pain, Akio's angry, she sprouts swords, they're both naked for a second... whaaaa-?

That scene is one of the only ones where we see Akio visibly distressed, because at that point in the story the reality of Anthy's continual pointless suffering for his sake was becoming uncomfortably apparent. Akio needed Anthy to keep believing in him and fueling his dreamworld, and her friendship with Utena was posing an increasingly serious threat to their relationship. Let's take a look at the last shot from that scene...

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/15770-1/Series_ep37_175.jpg

Their nudity represents their true selves briefly showing, unfettered by illusion. Anthy is in pain, impaled by swords while Akio, at the wheel of the car, stares blithely ahead as if indifferent to her plight. Note that in the nude shot Akio looks more relaxed than he did before - his left arm is hanging out the side of the car, whereas before he was tightly gripping the wheel. I think his face is more relaxed too, though the backlighting makes it hard to read his expression. This shot represents the reality of Akio's lack of regard for Anthy. Try as he might, it's getting harder for him to hide that he doesn't truly care about her.

Giovanna posted at greater length about this scene in her old body language thread:

http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?pid=33091#p33091

Louchan wrote:

23. Why did everyone forget about Utena in the end? Was it same way everyone forgot about Mikage, do they just forget about people after they leave the school?

It's the same as Mikage. When one of Akio's projects to relieve Anthy's suffering fails, the people involved cease to be part of his world. Of course, Akio's true will is for all his projects to fail so he can stay in his coffin and keep living a carefree life while Anthy suffers in his stead. The real aim of his Quixotic efforts is to convince Anthy to stay with him.

Louchan wrote:

24. What does it mean to be trapped inside your coffin?

Read a biography of Michael Jackson sometime.

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#5 | Back to Top09-26-2011 02:44:03 PM

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

Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

Louchan wrote:

7. What does it really mean when a character takes a ride in Akio's car and gets to see "the ends of the world". I know the car itself is just a giant sex symbol, but surely it doesn't mean that all characters who jump into it have a giant orgy... or does it? Because I can't really see Juri or Miki doing that. And yeah, what do you see when you see "the ends of the world"? Why does it have such a huge impact?

IMO, it's pretty much what Touga refers to as their destination: "The world which you desire!" ...Except that the vision is likely limited to what one stands to gain should they achieve victory in the duels. Kind of a "You could have this!" kind of deal. We get a glimpse of it from Miki's perspective as Kozue's tie goes over his eyes, and I'd imagine the rest "see" their own take on what it is they want from the dueling game. I also think the reason we get to see Miki's is because he's the only one who could literally sum up his entire perspective into a 15-20 second clip.

Btw, I wouldn't say the car is "just" a sex symbol. It symbolizes Adulthood in general, sex is just one of the more obvious facets of it.


"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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#6 | Back to Top09-26-2011 03:34:27 PM

Atomic Lightbulb
Miki Molester
Registered: 01-03-2011
Posts: 35
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Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

Louchan wrote:

2. Why did Akio want to make Utena fall in love with him? I do understand that it's a way of gaining control over her, but wouldn't her increased "girlyness" potentially ruin her prince's sword that Akio was after all along?

I think there are a couple reasons he would do that.

First, Akio was obviously getting uncomfortable with how close Anthy and Utena were becoming. His seduction of Utena was a nice wrench in their relationship. It brought out Anthy's jealousy and also reaffirmed her belief that no one could ever want her when they have a prince waiting for them. On the dueling side of things, I think Akio wanted to make sure he had enough power over Utena to win the duel. Yeah, Anthy could just stab the duelist in the back but honestly I don't think that's ever happened with any of the other Duels named Revolution. Akio was visibly disturbed at how well Utena was kicking his butt. It seems to me with previous duelists he always gave them a secret flaw he could exploit and then win the duel.

But I think the main reason (either conscious or sub-conscious) was self-sabotage. Akio doesn't want the games to end. He doesn't want a prince's sword to break the seal. He likes things the way they are. All the duels are a big show for Anthy and his own personal lulz.

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#7 | Back to Top10-26-2011 08:59:37 PM

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

Re: 24 questions I have about Utena.

Code:

22. So yeah, what was up with Akio having a drink with Dios in the final episode? 

Ikuhara said that meant "draining Utena's power".

Before we begin, I need to put on record that you really shouldn't trust anything Ikuhara says. He enjoys messing with people and is also on record as saying that EVERY interpretation of the symbolism in Utena is correct. (I think the truth is, Ikuhara encourages viewer interpretation school-sherlock, giving us any "official" explanations would hinder that. That's why he revels in giving fans contradictory information. )



Now for my take on answering the ten-set! My interpretation falls into the Freudian category and lacks the religious (both Hindu & Gnostic) affectations. Also, it will only be pertinent to the anime series. I've never read the manga and I'm not as fond of The Movie.


1. Is Dios truly dead? If so then what is the figure of Dios that's seen giving Utena the power to win her duels? Is it just some form of essence of Dios' powers that's still left in the world?

I don't have a solid theory for this one because there's a couple of things I think it could mean: 1. "The Power of Dios" is not Dios' power. Rather, "The Power of Dios" is the power of a true prince. In which case, Utena can access said power by virtue of her being most like a "true" prince. 2. Dios is dead and Utena is a reincarnation of him. Somthing to consider, but not the best theory. 3. Dios and Akio were the same person, but now they are not (bear with me) and they have different opinions on Utena's progress. Dios, who has little influence, wants Utena to win and therefore grants her his power to achieve this end. Akio doesn't want Utena to win, he just wants her to succeed far enough for him to take her sword (alternatively, The Prince's Sword) and get the Power of Revolution for himself. Dios does not want Akio to succeed, so Akio needs to get hold of The Prince's Sword by other means.

2. Why did Akio want to make Utena fall in love with him? I do understand that it's a way of gaining control over her, but wouldn't her increased "girlyness" potentially ruin her prince's sword that Akio was after all along?

As above, I don't think Akio ever wanted Utena to win, not entirely at least. He gets more emphatic about not wanting Utena to win as the series moves into the third arc. He'd like one of the other Duelists to defeat her, but they've all lost to her before. Akio needed a back-up plan, something to hold over to her in case she made it far enough to rival him as prince. (Which she did.) Creating an avenue to get her to become his princess rather than a rival prince was a good tactic to keep her from rivaling him.

Also, what Atomic Lightbulb said!

3. Was the Dios that utena met during her childhood the real Dios, or was it Akio? It's suggested later in the show that it was Akio, but then why? Why seek out Utena and show up Anthy like a circus animal? Did he consider Utena to have special potential, or was this something he generally did with a lot of sad kids?

I could just reiterate the Akio=Dios sentiment, but I'm actually of the opinion that it was Dios. He only looks like Akio sometimes because they are identical (what with being the same person and all). The only reason we can tell them apart, most of the time, is because Dios chooses to appear as a child (symbolic, as he is the innocent one of the two) and Akio chooses to appear as a full adult (jaded, non-virgin thing that he is).

I argue that it's Dios that Utena met because of how he talks about the Rose Bride. Dios is still fond of and wants to save his sister. Akio would just as well leave her to the swords. I imagine that both Akio and Dios can select Duelists. (It'd be a fun aside to try and work out who selected who~) Dios didn't go out of his way to select Utena, didn't seek her out specifically, but after they'd spoken, was willing to admit it was possible Utena could succeed as a Duelist so long as she retained her nobility.

4. Why did Touga burn Saionji's exchange diary? What was the point of such a dick move?

Better question: How do you know Saionji didn't mean for it to be burned? emot-tongue

Couple reasons for this line of thinking. To begin, Saionji has been friends with Touga for a long time. Even if he still agonizes over the state of their friendship, he's got to have picked up some understanding of his so-called friend over the years. He is aware of Touga's faults, after all, even calls him on them a couple times.

Second point, this happened after Saionji had his eye-opener about the Rose Bride. It's a relative aside, but I'm fully of the opinion that Saionji did not, prior to this episode, fully understand what the Rose Bride was, not the way that Touga is shown to. During the period that Touga was The Engaged, he's fully aware that Anthy will follow both his orders and his expectations. The larger part of the episode when he wins her is about him showing Utena the truth about the Rose Bride- that she will follow along with The Engaged, not necessarily be true to her own desires and opinions. Saionji never had that explained, or if he did, he didn't absorb it well. Saionji believes that Anthy stays to him because she chooses to stay with him. This is shown by the way he expects to remain in a relationship with her even though he is no longer The Engaged.

In conclusion, Saionji wouldn't be the first person in a high-school romance to burn his old love letters after having broken up. He doesn't do it himself because he's too much of a sweetheart (too sentimental, might not be able to bring himself to do it even though he know's Anthy wasn't writing her true feelings) and he knows Touga (and thus, what Touga's likely to do). There is at least the possibility that when Saionji told Touga to take care of it, he meant it in the same way mafioso's do.

5. Many questions in one here, but what exactly were the 100 boys of Nemuro Memorial Hall researching about? It was said that they found the way to the dueling arena and the castle that would hold eternity, but what does that mean when both those things were just created by Akio? It was also suggested that they were the first duelists, is that true? And also, why did they have to die?

Can't attempt much of an answer here for two reasons: 1, I hadn't heard that they might have been trying to research their way to the dueling arena and 2, the framing device for the Black Rose arc was not my favorite portion of the series and thus gets less of my devotion.

The only bit I can contribute is that while I don't necessarily believe that they were the first duelists, I do believe the boys in Nemuro Hall were one cycle of duelists. As well I believe that there have been multiple if not many cycles of duelists previous to the events of Utena as Akio repeatedly made attempts to unlock the Power of Revolution for himself. It's possible that the "duels" didn't always take the literal form as Akio experimented with different ways to try and bring about his revolution.

As for why they had to die, there was more than an implication that the 100 researchers shared the same goal. More than simply sharing the desire to obtain the Power of Revolution, these guys had the same intentions for that power; they all wanted some variation on immortality, possibly "eternity".

Now, I don't know whether they had to die as far as Akio or Mikage's plans went, but considering that they appear as ghosts setting the table at the conclusion of that arc, I'd say there was a good chance that they succeeded in their quest for eternity (just in a very "be careful what you wish for" way~).

6. At the end of the Black Rose arc, Akio says that just like Mamiya, Mikage never existed in the first place. What does that mean?

Mikage is, likely, a ghost. Akio, Dios and Anthy's collective state of being is up for debate. They may be ghosts themselves, they may be gods. Either way, the distance between a ghost and an illusion cannot be so very far. What Akio says doesn't necessarily mean that Mikage has never been there ever so much as it means that he wasn't really there during the events of the Black Rose arc. This is reinforced by the evidence that while characters remember much of what happened to themselves and between each other during the events of the Black Rose duels, none of them remembers Mikage's seminar. This is hammered home when the young genius, Miki, fails to recall what the collapsed building at the end of the episode was called.

7. What does it really mean when a character takes a ride in Akio's car and gets to see "the ends of the world". I know the car itself is just a giant sex symbol, but surely it doesn't mean that all characters who jump into it have a giant orgy... or does it? Because I can't really see Juri or Miki doing that. And yeah, what do you see when you see "the ends of the world"? Why does it have such a huge impact?

I already said I'd take a more Freudian approach, so you won't be surprised when I say that a ride in Akio's car could be equated to the beginning of a sexual relationship between characters if not a sex act itself. What will have more meaning is that I don't believe "orgy" is an appropriate term for what goes on in The Car. Not just in terms of the classical definition of "orgy", I also mean I don't think everyone in the car were collectively engaged in the sexual act. Or, to be more to the point, I don't think Akio was engaged in the sex act with the other people in the car. You can make a case for his inclusion for several occurrences, but not all. I site both his tenancy to flip onto the hood, away from the other passengers and his tendency toward voyeurism, as seen both with the photo-shoot imagery and as an aspect of his character as a manipulative observer of events.

I do retain, however, that both a ride in The Akio Car and the act of pulling someone else's sword are analogous to sexual acts. During the Black Rose arc, these of these things are comparable to "date rape" and during the Apocalypse arc, they are comparable to a consensual sexual act.

8. What did Akio mean when he said "there never was a prince to being with"?

Well, when characters in this series sight a prince, meaning a specific prince, or the idea of the first prince, they're usually siting Dios. In fact, rather than being refered to by name, Dios is referenced as "the prince" rather often. If Akio used to be Dios (or, one with Dios, whichever is less brain-breaking) then his comment about there never being a prince to begin with is largely self-deprecatory, meaning he believes that even when he was Dios (innocent, uncorrected) he still wasn't the ideal prince. When Akio and Dios were one, they were still lacking in some way.

Alternatively, Akio is making a comment on either Dios or Utena's vision of the Unknown Prince as a separate entity that himself. In this way, he's either making a disparaging comment about Dios, or making a generalization about the princes that exist in other people's hearts; that they are illusions created by the one perceiving a prince. The real person that the one perceiving a prince is based on is, inevitably, human and therefore fallible. The prince that they create in their fantasies is perfected and idolized and therefore an illusion. So, there are no princes, meaning ideal princes (because this is Utena so they always mean ideal princes), because we're all human.

I'm a fan of the generalization, myself emot-keke

9. What was the point in letting Mikage create Black Rose Duelists who all had the intention of killing Anthy? I know the duels were meant to breed Utena into the perfect prince, but it seems rather risky to put Anthy's life on the stake for it.

I'm not gonna answer this one because Davine Lu Linvega already has emot-biggrin

10. Why was Anthy so openly against Akio's seduction of Utena? Was it out of some kind of possessiveness? And in that case was it towards Akio or towards Utena?

You can make a case for possessive feelings either way (depending on where your ship sails), but I would say Anthy is aware of Akio's intentions in seducing Utena, both that the seduction is more of a manipulation on his part than a serious romantic gesture and that he means for Utena to ultimately fail by way of losing the princely qualities that endeared her to Anthy.

Even if, at this point in the series, Anthy would rather be with Akio than Utena, she was still fond of Utena as a friend. If Akio's influence was changing Utena, then Anthy was in danger of losing both her romantic interest (Akio) and her friend.

11. Why did Akio cry in the two last episodes?

Depends on when.

The relationship he has with Anthy is unhealthy (if not outright abusive) and Anthy isn't the only person hurt by the association. Also, both of them have changed since they were children. Dios became Akio outright and I don't believe Anthy's passive-aggressive nature was something she was born with. Akio may be the Big Bad of the series, but Anthy likes to take her pot shots at him to. Within all that bitterness, Akio probably mourns the loss of the Anthy he remembers as much as Anthy mourns the loss of Dios.

12. Did the older Tokiko have sex with Akio? Kind of a lulzy question, but the fact that Akio's room went dark the same way it does whenever he's doing it with Anthy made me wonder...

I would say yes. Casual sex between consenting adults is something that happens. Even if one or more parties is married/taken/engaged, that has never been shown to be much of an inhibitor for the characters in the Utena universe.

13. Why did the planetarium, the castle, and Dios' statue crumble when Utena said Im gonna become a prince! to Akio?

Shattering illusions. Same as Ashnod said.

14. What the heck was going on in that scene when Akio was driving with Anthy? Anthy's in the pain, Akio's angry, she sprouts swords, they're both naked for a second... whaaaa-?

Well, if a ride in The Akio Car is the equivalent of a sexual act, I would say that what's happening in that scene is equivalent to "hate-sex". It's unpleasant, but there it is and really, what about that relationship is ever pleasant? The blink-and-you-miss-it clothing loss just serves to drive home the metaphor and make sure that we've got the sexual possibility in mind.

18. What does it mean to pull out a sword from someone? Because along with the Black Rose arc, everyone was suddenly doing it!

Answered in the response to #7.

Code:

19. Why did Shiori tell Juri to believe in miracles? From Juri's flashbacks it seems it happened quiet randomly. She was dueling with that one guy who I don't even think had a name, she won, Shiori comes up, hands her a rose, and tells her those unforgettable words. What did she even mean?

Shiori thought that Juri had a crush on the boy. She was encouraging Juri to confess her feelings to him because she knew that if and when Juri did, she would discover that Shiori had gotten the boy first. Juri took Shiori's words just as they were intended and had the same heartbreak of realizing the person she wanted was already taken, it just didn't happen exactly the way Shiori thought it would. (There's a variation on the same idea in the Onion Prince episode with Tatsuya playing Shiori's part, Wakaba as Juri and Saionji as "the boy from the fencing club".)

How much worse would it be for the person you liked to encourage you to confess your feelings with the reassurance that the feelings would be requited only to find that they had never meant for you to confess to them in the first place? You can see why it would have made an impact on Juri.

20. When Akio spoke with Dios in episode 13 (as well as the final episode), was he just speaking to himself? Or to the power of Dios? Or what?

Talking to himself. Both figuratively (musing aloud) and literally (talking to Dios who is now a separate entity from himself).

21. Why did Utena rip the final letter into pieces after Anthy said "My brother seems to love you. Wouldn't it be great if these days could continue on forever?" to her. And for that matter, what did Anthy even mean when she said those things?

Anthy is offering the possibility that they could continue to live in a lie. It would be easier, no challenging The End of the World, no Swords of Hate. The lie would be that Anthy was not having unhealthy relations with her brother and that Akio could be Utena's prince. Utena tore the letter in frustration with the entire scenario; Possibly anger at Akio as well. She would say later that she had suspected, if not known, that Akio was The End of the World before she saw him in the dueling arena. Discovering Akio's falsehood and then receiving a challenge to a duel from "The End of the World" would sour anyone to playing along with the man.

22. So yeah, what was up with Akio having a drink with Dios in the final episode?

Better question: Why did Dios walk off? (I don't think there was a whole lot of symbolism going on with the drink itself, not anymore than the reclining positions and the unaffected speech anyway. I think it was more an excuse to line the two of them up for a mirror shot.)

23. Why did everyone forget about Utena in the end? Was it same way everyone forgot about Mikage, do they just forget about people after they leave the school?

It was the same way they forgot about Mikage and the same way they forget about everyone that "graduates".

My pet theory is that the Ohtori campus is exempt from the progession of time. Characters who are there are trapped at one time, unable to progress or move on from the thing that trapped them. That even ghosts remain implies that death is not enough to free someone form Ohtori. So every year, the students repeat. They don't move up a grade, they don't change. Everyone's stuck there. The only way to get out is to move past whatever issue or hang-up the character is holding on to that is keeping them there.

When someone manages to leave, it would be strange, something remarkable and of note to the remaining students. So instead, they forget. The rumors singer, but fade and become inexact, as rumors do.

Also, there's the implication that Utena dies at the end when all the swords come down. Everyone forgetting about Utena is the same as everyone forgetting the boy that drowned.

24. What does it mean to be trapped inside your coffin?

To be trapped inside your coffin is to be trapped by your own narrow view of the world, your perspective. As Saionji observed, we're all stuck in our own coffins. emot-keke

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