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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 Top12-11-2011 07:43:36 PM

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

Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

So there are some episodes that I am watching for the first time in Japanese, since my originals were VHS dubs. As I am showing the series to my boyfriend, we get to "The Castle Where Eternity Dwells." I had always wondered why the series put such a strange emphasis on the word "kidnapped," and now that I've heard it in Japanese, I know why. I briefly searched the forum to see if anyone noticed this, but didn't see anything.

They used the term "kamikakushi," which literally means "god-taken." The Japanese had this idea back in the day that people who disappeared mysteriously were taken by various spirits of nature. You can see this come into play in the film "Spirited Away," which has the literal Japanese title of "Sen and Chihiro's God-Taking." If you're interested in this and have access to JSTOR(if you're a university student, most likely) there's a GREAT creepy article about it I used for a Japanese culture class back in the day. Most of the people who were actually reported as being 'kamikakushi' were women--many escaping from abusive situations, and if they were found wandering in the woods years later, they mostly talked about being married to demons of the woods and have obviously gone insane. Those not so lucky were usually immediately shot by hunters out of fear--probably thinking they would have turned into a yamamba, or mountain witch.I would reproduce it here, but alas, I no longer have access. I only have the essay I wrote referencing it.

Now, there's obviously a lot I could read into if I thought Ikuhara would happen to have read that old Japanese register of kamikakushi that the article was based on. But even though he probably didn't, they are definitely emphasizing that Utena and Anthy have both been taken by some negative supernatural force--both to the dueling arena, and at the church that day. This could serve as a metaphor for Ohtori in general, really.

So uh, thoughts? I wasn't sure where to put this without writing a whole goddamn essay about it.

Last edited by Frau Eva (12-11-2011 07:44:42 PM)


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#2 | Back to Top12-11-2011 10:24:05 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

This made me giggle -- I wrote an essay for a university thing about Japanese film which was principally about "Spirited Away," and as an opening quote I used a remark made by the translator of the SKU scripts on...what was it, duellists.tj? Whatever it was, waaaaaaay back in the day. ...ah, yes, the comment was:

Man2:  She couldn't have been spirited away, could she?
"kamikakushi" means "a phenomenon that a person, especially a child, suddenly disappears, which is believed to be by a work of a tengu (long-nosed goblin), Kakushigami (the God of Hiding), an oni (ogre), a fox, etc." The only common English translation for that seems to be "spirit away."

I was absolutely charmed by this note when I first read it back in 1999, and still like the connotations to this day. school-devil


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.

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#3 | Back to Top12-11-2011 11:39:25 PM

Katzenklavier
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Back of your thoughts.
Registered: 09-13-2008
Posts: 1120

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

I don't know etc-saiowank about Japanese folklore and mythology, so it's fascinating to read about these forest spirits/demons. Gives me a little more perspective into that one Anime where the raccoons kill people with their inflated nutsacks. SKU is certainly an interesting amalgamation of European and Japanese mythos; in that sense, I feel it's truly unique in the medium. Wish I had more to contribute. Thanks for the cool analysis, Frau Eva.


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#4 | Back to Top12-12-2011 03:05:55 PM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Katzenklavier wrote:

Gives me a little more perspective into that one Anime where the raccoons kill people with their inflated nutsacks.

(Not exactly Studio Ghibli's brightest moment, while we're on the subject. emot-rolleyes )

I wouldn't put it past the creators of Utena to do something like this...Since the series is so heavily inspired by more Western themes and motifs, to Japanese audiences this was probably one of the more obvious bits of symbolism.

On a semi-related note, Akio's last name is very much a reference (or so I believe) to the fenghuang, the chinese phoenix (called ohtori in Japanese). It's a pair of birds, the feng being the male and the huang being the female, and in some versions of the myth they can merge into one bird and split from each other at will (hint hint). In most modern versions, though, it's a symbol of femininity opposite the dragon, which represents masculinity. Weirdly enough, I've studied the Shinto mythos a lot more than I have any of the Chinese folklore, but I can't think of anything off the top of my head that seems connected. =_=

Argh, now I have this urge to rack through the whole damn series for references to Asian mythology.


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

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#5 | Back to Top12-12-2011 04:33:19 PM

crystalwren
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From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

CoffinBreaker wrote:

On a semi-related note, Akio's last name is very much a reference (or so I believe) to the fenghuang, the chinese phoenix (called ohtori in Japanese).

That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm uncertain about the Chinese version of the phoenix, but according to Auntie Wiki, there is a phoenix in Japanese mythology that is also an immortal bird. Interpreting the phoenix purely from a western perspective, the phoenix dies in fire but rises up renewed from the ashes. Dios died, and Akio rose up from the ashes of Dios. Works for me. Although it seems unusually straight forward in comparison to the rest of Utena's many themes and references...

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#6 | Back to Top12-13-2011 01:51:40 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Frau Eva wrote:

Now, there's obviously a lot I could read into if I thought Ikuhara would happen to have read that old Japanese register of kamikakushi that the article was based on. But even though he probably didn't, they are definitely emphasizing that Utena and Anthy have both been taken by some negative supernatural force--both to the dueling arena, and at the church that day. This could serve as a metaphor for Ohtori in general, really.

What a great catch.  I'm sure Ikuhara is familiar with the myths surrounding kamikakushi, whether or not he's read your specific article, and I'm sure he put that word in the show confident that audiences would be familiar with its connotations.  And that they would be able to apply just the appropriate connotations to the situation.  I remember that in Boogiepop Phantom, a main character with a supernatural alterego hints at her condition to a friend with the single word "kitsunetsuki" -- fox possession.  She's clearly not literally possessed by a fox, and historical cases of kitsunetsuki definitely didn't involve the ability to transform into an urban superhero vigilante, but the word carries enough culturally understood baggage to a Japanese audience that they can say "Oh, I see what she's getting at."  SKU's use of kamikakushi, I'm sure, works the same.

Apropos of nothing, "kitsunetsuki" is a palindrome in Japanese.  emot-smile

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#7 | Back to Top12-13-2011 02:26:05 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Frau Eva wrote:

they are definitely emphasizing that Utena and Anthy have both been taken by some negative supernatural force--both to the dueling arena, and at the church that day. This could serve as a metaphor for Ohtori in general, really.

I really love this! The idea of running off or disappearing has come up in enough anime that I noticed the word they used was different, but I never knew why. Eerie how true it is, without anyone knowing why. Saionji in particular seemed rather stunned by the term. I always figured it was a response to just the whole 'running away' thing, but his reaction makes more sense in the context of a Japanese kid having superstitions.

Frau Eva wrote:

If you're interested in this and have access to JSTOR(if you're a university student, most likely)

....satyr? emot-wink

crystalwren wrote:

CoffinBreaker wrote:

On a semi-related note, Akio's last name is very much a reference (or so I believe) to the fenghuang, the chinese phoenix (called ohtori in Japanese).

That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm uncertain about the Chinese version of the phoenix, but according to Auntie Wiki, there is a phoenix in Japanese mythology that is also an immortal bird. Interpreting the phoenix purely from a western perspective, the phoenix dies in fire but rises up renewed from the ashes. Dios died, and Akio rose up from the ashes of Dios. Works for me. Although it seems unusually straight forward in comparison to the rest of Utena's many themes and references...

The phoenix is one of those things that supports the idea of a collective unconscious. Pretty much every ancient culture has some form of the phoenix in their mythos--almost always a multicolored or golden bird, almost always immortal through self-immolation. Interestingly, what that means varies from culture to culture, but the story is startlingly similar whether it's the Chinese mythos, Egyptian, any number of Native American, etc, etc. It's a story people like, and probably a better way to say he's important than for Akio's last name to be 'Christ'. emot-gonk


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#8 | Back to Top12-13-2011 04:10:17 PM

Orikan
Touga Topper
From: Massachusetts
Registered: 12-03-2011
Posts: 57

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Oh God (heh). Akio Christ is officially the funniest thing I've seen on the forums today. Question is, who would his disciples be? And is Anthy Peter or Judas?


"Perhaps there is a universal, absolute truth. Perhaps it justifies every question. But that's beyond the reach of these small hands."

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#9 | Back to Top12-13-2011 07:56:57 PM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

I think this might explain Saionji's weird jump-to-conclusion about what brought her out of the coffin. He could have just thought that an adult gave Utena a rousing speech or something. But the consistent use of the term kamikakushi put it in his head that something supernatural actually occurred--something that Touga has some sort of access to. And the weirdness that is Ohtori just cemented this idea that there is something supernatural out there he does not yet have access too.


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#10 | Back to Top12-14-2011 07:14:27 PM

Dani
IRG Messiah
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 361

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Frau Eva wrote:

I think this might explain Saionji's weird jump-to-conclusion about what brought her out of the coffin. He could have just thought that an adult gave Utena a rousing speech or something. But the consistent use of the term kamikakushi put it in his head that something supernatural actually occurred--something that Touga has some sort of access to. And the weirdness that is Ohtori just cemented this idea that there is something supernatural out there he does not yet have access too.

And right after I read this thread, I was rewatching Episode 25 and realized THIS is exactly why Saionji is re-energized to join the duels again, when he realizes Touga never had this power and is not actually his superior after all. Maybe he can have that Eternity-thing he's looking for! He regains his confidence...until Utena beats him...again. Poor guy. emot-wink

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#11 | Back to Top12-15-2011 11:29:51 AM

Katzenklavier
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Back of your thoughts.
Registered: 09-13-2008
Posts: 1120

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Giovanna wrote:

The phoenix is one of those things that supports the idea of a collective unconscious.

As is the vast amounts of mythology describing an unnatural place held in stasis, manipulated by deific personifications of nature and illusion. Of course, that one has a far more obvious explanation; people going missing everywhere all the damn time. Rather than considering the worst, it was often more convenient to imagine a sort of dream world waiting room that contained absent souls. Scottish folklore has a wealth regarding the Unseelie. Fallen princely characters from the ranks of the Sidhe populates those tales, and they tend to specialize in snatching off the young and idealistic to adjoining time-static realms. There's one very interesting story where a prince's consort must go to bed every night in her own coffin. An influence? Probs not, but the disappearance into the magic realm archetype is prevalent in both these and the Japanese myths. No doubt Ikuhara was inspired by at least some versions.

Giovanna wrote:

It's a story people like, and probably a better way to say he's important than for Akio's last name to be 'Christ'.

And hey, wouldn't you know, believers in the Trinity and thus the hypostatis of Jesus (essentially meaning his pre-birth existence) refer to him as the Logos. Logos is a Greek word for, well, words. In the rhetoric of Aristotle, it connotes a persuasive argument from reason, the other two being pathos (influencing the listener's mental state) and ethos (affecting their emotions and trust). Akio adeptly uses all three. Okay, so it's a bit of a stretch, but school-eng101etc-wankdude.


We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

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#12 | Back to Top12-21-2011 11:50:07 PM

CausalityStar
Caretaker
From: Idaho
Registered: 09-12-2010
Posts: 215

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

I was looking at the booklet for the third boxset and it makes a note that Ohtori means Phoenix. Also, according to the booklet, the Utena series is set in Hou'ou City, which I know is another word for Phoenix. (I learned that from watching Katanagatari.)

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#13 | Back to Top12-23-2011 01:48:52 PM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1107

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Reading, rereading and rewatching....

The prince may use the power but he is used by it, the latter being true for the princess and witch (and Akio)-but the witch uses that which uses her but in a negative way. Utena seeks to use power without being used by it yet not be a tyrant.


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#14 | Back to Top12-30-2011 01:46:09 PM

Love
New Student
Registered: 09-29-2011
Posts: 6

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

A lot of references like this were lost in the English subs/dub. I'm watching the series again with my friend and I keep pausing every now and then to explain the subs are losing an important nuance or just plain wrong. It was easier to just translate it to "kidnapped" than to explain what one word meant to a Western audience. Translator notes ruin the flow. You still get the general idea. But a better Westernization would have been "she was kidnapped by the boogeyman." (Or did they say it that way? I don't actually remember. I don't watch it with subs unless I'm watching it with someone else.)

And the Ootori thing, to me it is a reference to opposites and opposites combining into one. Light and dark. Utena and Anthy. The anime and manga reference that a lot, but it gets lost in the translation and cultural differences sometimes.

They should have made translator notes. Even if it's as an extra.

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#15 | Back to Top12-30-2011 09:11:28 PM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Love wrote:

The anime and manga reference that a lot, but it gets lost in the translation and cultural differences sometimes.

They should have made translator notes. Even if it's as an extra.

It was published in the US in the late 90s in a mangazine called "Animerica". In the era of flipping and name-changes. What did you expect?

crystalwren wrote:

That makes a lot of sense to me. I'm uncertain about the Chinese version of the phoenix, but according to Auntie Wiki, there is a phoenix in Japanese mythology that is also an immortal bird. Interpreting the phoenix purely from a western perspective, the phoenix dies in fire but rises up renewed from the ashes. Dios died, and Akio rose up from the ashes of Dios. Works for me. Although it seems unusually straight forward in comparison to the rest of Utena's many themes and references...

...That works too! emot-keke

The thing about the collective unconscious is new to me, but that would make sense. In general, the names of all the characters are much more deliberate than any other series I've seen; I'm pretty sure there's a name-dissection thread around here somewhere, tho.

Some of them are actually quite straight-forward (relatively). There aren't many like that, since they didn't want us getting lazy with our vast Oriental foreknowledge, but some.


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

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#16 | Back to Top02-01-2012 06:01:50 AM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

This is an extremely small thing, but as I'm easily amused-

-the prince in Episode 19: A Song for a Kingdom Now Lost, the one that Wakaba is cuddling up to is Dios.

Of course, the show being what it is, the prince could only be him. But still. I like these small things.

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#17 | Back to Top02-04-2012 01:58:18 PM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

The Ohtori=Phoenix thing isn't as straightforward as people think. He's getting the name by marrying into what seems to be a fairly matriarchal family. In essence, he's exploiting the feminine element to reclaim his masculine pride, a pattern and contradiction we see in every aspect of his life. A fairly deep result, IMO.

IOW, he's a hipster. :p

Also, I don't think I would have thought of this on my own, I love these forums.

And I miss webrings, archive.org makes me sad.

Edit: Maybe not, duellists.tj is incredibly primitive even by 14-year-old-me standards.

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (02-04-2012 02:15:11 PM)

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#18 | Back to Top02-04-2012 04:52:21 PM

Crystalline_Dream
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
From: Beneath a starry sky
Registered: 01-17-2011
Posts: 180

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Anthy hesitates slightly during the game of rock, paper, scissors for the bed. She puts her hand out as "rock" only after observing Utena and Nanami's hands. I wouldn't have noticed this if I didn't pause the screen at the exact moment that only Utena and Nanami's hands were in the frame.

Last edited by Crystalline_Dream (02-04-2012 04:57:42 PM)

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#19 | Back to Top02-05-2012 03:52:00 AM

Katzenklavier
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Back of your thoughts.
Registered: 09-13-2008
Posts: 1120

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Crystalline_Dream wrote:

Anthy hesitates slightly during the game of rock, paper, scissors for the bed. She puts her hand out as "rock" only after observing Utena and Nanami's hands. I wouldn't have noticed this if I didn't pause the screen at the exact moment that only Utena and Nanami's hands were in the frame.

There are two Anthies. The impression from the initial run-throughs, and the creature that arises after the repeated viewings of the hopelessly obsessed. The more you know it's there, the more you notice the tiny little details that hint at her near-omnipresence. For instance, in Keiko's BR episode, there's a point where the henchwoman is longingly staring through a window at Touga. Look closely, and you'll see Anthy glancing at where Keiko will be BEFORE she even appears in the frame.

Last edited by Katzenklavier (02-05-2012 03:52:48 AM)


We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

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#20 | Back to Top02-19-2012 03:40:54 PM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

At the end of the first OP, Utena's the only one spinning on a rose when Masami Okui sings "I swear that I will change the world," in a break with the feeling of solidarity in the earlier scenes. That shows a divergence in their interests, that their friendship may not be as perfect as it appears.

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#21 | Back to Top02-19-2012 10:10:09 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Something that I noticed my last rewatch, and is really obvious this most recent rewatch: Anthy's subtle kindnesses as opposed to her more overt passive aggressive malice.

First it comes across that the only thing she cares a flying fuck about are her animals, her brother, and Utena, but if you're watching closely you can see that there are times when she's almost compassionate. The most obvious is her regret over Mikage, but when it comes to Miki, for example, she's almost tender with him. She uses and manipulates the fuck out of him of course, but afterwards she's downright gentle with him. When Kozue makes the move on her she's obviously sad. I'd argue that it's for Miki's sake. And I've no doubt that she had a hand in both 'miracles' that put Juri out of the equation. Anthy could have been a hell of a lot nastier about getting her to lose the matches. And it's rather amazing that bad things didn't happen to Juri, considering that she slapped the crap out of Anthy just before the first duel. Anthy sure as hell went after anyone else that pissed her off. It's understandable that she was extremely cruel to Nanami, but her cruelty towards Kanne was just horrific.

It's interesting that the more I go over SKU, the more layers of Anthy I see.

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#22 | Back to Top02-29-2012 11:36:32 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

From the "how dense do I have to be to miss something like this for almost a decade" department...

Nemuro Memorial Hall is literally Nemuro Memorial Hall.  It is constructed part and parcel out of Nemuro's memories.  Hence the name.  school-sherlock

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#23 | Back to Top03-01-2012 06:55:30 AM

HonorableShadow
Cow Bellhop
From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 471
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Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

I've noticed that guys in Ohtori have a tendency to not dress up for parties. I don't mean the main cast, but just look at the extras in some party scenes. The girls are wearing dresses like you would expect them to at a fancy party, and the guys are just hanging out in their uniforms.

Like here, for example:
http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/4506-2/Series_ep10_074.jpg

And here:
http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/6552-1/Series_ep16_013.jpg

Last edited by HonorableShadow (03-01-2012 06:59:56 AM)


Rose tint my world...
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#24 | Back to Top03-03-2012 11:28:58 AM

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

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

Ohtori can also mean "decoy" in Japanese. A little too obvious...

I only noticed this after going through Mobile Suit Gundam and hearing them say "Ohtori" in connection with "Decoy."

Last edited by Overlord Morgus (03-03-2012 01:05:42 PM)

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#25 | Back to Top03-04-2012 12:12:35 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Little things you realized after watching this show too damn much

HonorableShadow wrote:

I've noticed that guys in Ohtori have a tendency to not dress up for parties. I don't mean the main cast, but just look at the extras in some party scenes. The girls are wearing dresses like you would expect them to at a fancy party, and the guys are just hanging out in their uniforms.

I think obviously the explanation is that the boys' uniforms are so gorgeous and flattering that no further decoration could possibly be needed or desired.  emot-wink

Overlord Morgus wrote:

Ohtori can also mean "decoy" in Japanese. A little too obvious...

I only noticed this after going through Mobile Suit Gundam and hearing them say "Ohtori" in connection with "Decoy."

Close, but not quite emot-smile  The word you're hearing is "otori," with a short O.  To Japanese ears, that's going to sound rather different from "ohtori," with a long O.  English doesn't really have a vowel length distinction, so any comparison is ill-fated, but you might compare it to the difference between words like "era" and "error" in American English -- they sound similar, but anyone who's paying attention can hear the difference.

Still, they do sound similar, and the "otori" meaning is obviously pretty awesome, so hey, if you like it, run with it!  emot-smile

Last edited by satyreyes (03-04-2012 12:15:20 AM)

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