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#1 | Back to Top11-03-2011 09:07:44 PM

Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102

Nemuro, Akio and Tokiko's Phone Call

This comes from a different thread Gio and I were contemplating derailing; it's essentially wandered into a discussion about the very end of the Black Rose Arc and what it tells us about Akio.

Giovanna wrote:

Clarice wrote:

...and now I'm remembering the way Akio hung up on Nemuro at the end of the Black Rose Saga, when his voice went kind of quiet and he didn't let him answer. Was that just Akio being Akio? Or was some part of him almost jealous that Nemuro was now free to go and change and grow up?

I know, a mini derail, I'll stop after this. emot-redface

Honestly, I took it for Akio being Akio. I never got any impression Akio had the slightest interest in what's on the outside or growing up. His interest, for example, in Tokiko's life is so perfunctory as to be insulting--even the way he goes about it is meant to direct her back to the present, which was really the only thing interesting to him about her.

BUT. I post because this very subject came up last night while I was reading the booklet packaged in the second box set. I even told Yasha 'WHOA I WONDER WHAT CLARICE WOULD SAY ABOUT THIS' until I remembered I have your copy of said booklet! But I'll write it out for you, and if it's something for you to tear up, we can....START A THREAD. emot-dance

Ikuhara, notes for episode 23 wrote:

(...) I agonized over the dialogue between Mikage and Utena, and over Akio's dialogue in the last scene. I edited it over and over, right up until the eleventh hour, just before recording began.

The last scene. The original plan was for it to be Tokiko on the phone with Akio.

"Why hello, Tokiko. Have you thought about what I said? That's right...about Professor Nemuro. He was lying to himself, clinging to his past with you."

It was all an illusion that Mikage himself had created for his own sake.

"Yes.... that dream that he let the 100 boys die seems to be another lie he told himself to keep himself in the past. It's just like magic, isn't it? Why do you suppose so many people believed a false rumor like that? Perhaps they wanted to believe...that miraculous power dwells within friends."

The illusion Mikage wanted to see. Were the Black Rose Duelists people his illusion resonated with?

"While you cling to your memories, time stops. Perhaps that was the eternity he found, thought. Yes...good idea. If you'll come and fetch him. I imagine he'll be released from his memories."

Tokiko symbolized the lost "real time." And she said she would come for Mikage. The time had finally come for him to be released from his illusion of his lost time.

Just somethin' to chew on. It's literally the only coherent thing he says in the whole booklet. emot-biggrin I think it changes the equation a lot for 1. Tokiko to be the one Akio speaks with, 2. for her to be willing to come get him, and 3. for Akio to say clearly that he needs to be picked up. Isn't the whole point that people leave the school on their own two feet...or never at all?

Oh, Ikuhara, you bastard. emot-dance I find this really fascinating, in light of Tokiko...mostly because of her narrative position. When you think about it, why WAS Tokiko even there in the first place? She's there for the viewer, and no other reason I can identify. She doesn't ever talk directly to Mikage herself, and her conversation with Akio doesn't have a lot of point except to give the viewer some exposition. Which brings into question Akio's knowledge of the fourth wall, ha ha ha O_o. Because really, the only other reason I can think of is that Akio wanted to gloat. And Akio doesn't strike me as the gloating type. I think you have to have a sense of low self-esteem to need to do so. Akio doesn't think himself superior to others. He KNOWS he is superior to others. He might tease, but he doesn't gloat. The only vulnerability I think we ever truly see in Akio is the moment Anthy walks out of his office.

I suppose we can argue that Tokiko came to visit her brother's grave and then for whatever reason decided to visit Akio -- because he is a charming magnificent bastard -- but the timing is too coincidental. Ikuhara having Akio use her as an escort for Nemuro gives her presence in the school at that time a purpose that my brain really latches onto, but otherwise I really think he made the right decision. The overall arching theme of the show was that you have to walk on your own two feet, as you said; anything else would have undermined Juri's failure to do so even when Ruka killed himself to show her the way, and then Utena's ultimate perceived failure to do the same to Anthy. At least this ending had some hope to it, which I think was the purpose because it helped to underline that Utena's ending also has considerable hope. If Nemuro had been taken out of Ohtori I think his mind would still have been there, making Mikage even more (or less?) of a ghost than he already was. I personally think Nemuro would have been insane. So, Ikuni got it right, I think; had Tokiko walked Nemuro out of there, it would have implied anyone could drag anyone else out of Ohtori; unless we'd seen the negative consquence of that, which wouldn't have worked thematically as the viewer is also trapped within Ohtori until Anthy leaves, it would have undermined Ruka and Utena later.

...oh, I am looking forward to getting these boxsets and thinking up new analysis during the rewatch. emot-dance

It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves



#2 | Back to Top11-03-2011 10:01:54 PM

Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8797

Re: Nemuro, Akio and Tokiko's Phone Call


I'm about to watch PD with Yasha here so I can't post a complete reply. I will, now that I have time to grok and think and marinate on this issue. I do think though that it's also worth keeping in mind that Tokiko appearing in episode 22 is much more...sensible, if you consider she was supposed to be the person Akio spoke with here. It gives her more validity as a character, almost an accomplice. Between her meeting Akio before and this conversation that never happened, it almost sounds like Tokiko would have been very consciously aware of Akio's power. She already knows the nature of Ohtori, although we don't know for sure with that one scene whether she attributes it to Akio. Had that phone conversation taken place, it would have removed all doubt--Tokiko not only would have known what Ohtori Academy was, but who controlled it.

While that's an interesting twist to play on things, the possibility that adults looking into Akio's 'garden' know exactly what it is, I think ultimately it would have been a dissonant note. The show puts so much effort into the sense of isolation from everything else, and that would have been Akio linked too strongly to the world outside. It also, as said, would imply that people can be 'dragged' out of Ohtori. Not the point the show wanted to convey. As it is, we're left with this strange run in Akio has with an outsider. Between her and his contact with Kanae's mother (and Anthy's contact with Miki's father) the message is clear that even people who aren't IN the school are still bound by the power of it when they set foot there.

I think also I like Akio speaking to Mikage more because it shows how intimately informed Mikage really was. Akio doesn't explain things to Mikage as if he had no background information--Mikage deluded himself, but at the close of that delusion, see how little context Akio needed to provide to be understood? Between Mikage and Touga, we see that even the most 'informed' of Akio's playthings are still only that. You can know exactly what he's doing and still stumble anyway.

Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)



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