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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top04-21-2012 12:09:33 PM

Atropos
Atropos Turretslayer
From: Hampden College
Registered: 10-22-2011
Posts: 906

Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

The central message of the show is self-revelation, and revolutionizing one's own world. Both of these seem to be related to themes about growing up.
But if you look at the series, you'll find that Utena is not the subject of these messages: Anthy is.
Anthy is the one who has been trapped in her coffin and needs to revolutionize the world. Utena has already revolutionized the world by choosing to become a prince, and she inspires Anthy to reject the path Akio has created for her.
By analogy to Demian, it seems that Anthy is Sinclair and Demian is Utena.

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#2 | Back to Top04-22-2012 08:22:50 AM

MemorySpice
New Student
Registered: 04-22-2012
Posts: 2

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

Thank-you. I have been trying to convince people that Utena is a second person show, because in the end, Anthy is the one who has revolutionized the world. Utena is stuck there with a thousand swords in her back. Everyone in that show becomes a rosebride at one point or another, but Anthy is the only one who breaks the cast. Of course, you could argue that it's all Utena's doing, but it's like she gave Anthy a boost, and Anthy took control. I feel the movie demonstrates this way better, but I still adore the show most. emot-keke If you look at SKU, all the things are displayed literally, but should be taken symbolically. Anthy broke away from the arena, but Utena was left behind. I think this is a good place to bring in the idea of the Dalai Lama, who supposedly is the reincarnation of Buddha, staying on earth until everyone makes it to enlightenment. By becoming a prince, Utena has decided to take Dios' role of supporting others. She has to become selfless.

Last edited by MemorySpice (04-22-2012 08:24:57 AM)

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#3 | Back to Top04-22-2012 06:21:06 PM

jmie5
Precious One
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 296

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

Anthy being the true protagonist is not an argument I've seen before. emot-smile 

I'm almost sorry to say I disagree.  Though Anthy is a major player in the series, one I'd argue as having the most power, I'd say she's overshadowed by Utena's actions.  If you can still use this term, I see Anthy is more of a deuteragonist.

Maybe Anthy would have left her coffin on her own, but at the end of the series Anthy stabs Utena in the back (out of what I always imagined was fear and resignation,) and is retreating back into her shell.  By comparison, Utena drags her battered body across the arena to help Anthy out of her coffin.  Only then is Utena skewered and locked away.  Only after that shell is broken is Anthy ready to leave.  Though once Anthy is ready to leave, she's the only one that we see stepping out of Ohtori for good, suitcase packed and a smile on her face.   I think all we can do is speculate what happened to Utena, herself, but on a side note, it's a sad that Utena wasn't able to join her.  Unlike Anthy, I don't think she had a choice in her entrapment -- or rather, Utena would choose to leave, unless somehow it would mean that Anthy would have to take her place.

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#4 | Back to Top04-23-2012 12:36:25 AM

Rebel Prince
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 10-24-2006
Posts: 61

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

Anthy as protagonist does seem to follow the Hesse tradition of assisted self-discovery - the main character is shown the way and more often than not is spoon-fed new ideas by more polarized and spiritually/intellectually potent characters. It is understandable as both SKU and a sizable amount of Hesse's work (Siddhartha, Demian, Beneath the Wheel, for example) deal with adolescents.
I guess it calls for a fundamental review of what a protagonist is; I tend to see him/her (at the most basic level) as a hero/heroine. Personally, I have always found Utena's symbolic victory more impressive than Anthy's, even though Utena's literal fate was much worse. That she was the vehicle for change makes me think of Utena as the true protagonist, the true "revolutionary girl," even if the forces that drove her were potentially misguided. Anthy reaping the benefits of this is just, well, good for Anthy (over-simplifying, I know).
SKU, which so often likes to remind its viewers that a revolution is also just the completed turn of a wheel, may be indicating a cyclical nature in the end when we see Anthy venturing out of Ohtori to (I believe) find and save Utena. In this next chapter, I would imagine Anthy as the protagonist. Being inside or outside of Ohtori is irrelevant to me; Ohtori is simply the binding setting of one of these cycles, an empire rising and falling. The prince/princess relationship, and the endless handing off of these roles, to me, is the core of the SKU universe.

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#5 | Back to Top04-25-2012 10:16:14 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
Website

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

Rebel Prince wrote:

Anthy as protagonist does seem to follow the Hesse tradition of assisted self-discovery - the main character is shown the way and more often than not is spoon-fed new ideas by more polarized and spiritually/intellectually potent characters. It is understandable as both SKU and a sizable amount of Hesse's work (Siddhartha, Demian, Beneath the Wheel, for example) deal with adolescents.

This is hard to ignore with Hesse's work being so clear and prominent in the show. But it is only at the last, when Utena shows Anthy that she can make the choice herself, that Utena takes on the role of the spiritually potent teacher of Hesse's works. It's been a while since I've read my Hesse, but Akio acts out the role of the mentor much more typically. He turns out to be a false prophet, and if he's round one and Utena is round two in the journey of self-discovery, it definitely paints Anthy as the leading figure. She's also, I think, the person who changes more. Utena lives up to who she wanted to be. Anthy's entire approach to the world has to get rewired to reach the point she does at the end.

Still, from a strictly narrative perspective, it's harder to argue she's the main character. The show frames its events around Utena, even nearer to the end. But really, can't they both be protagonists? The show certainly has more than one antagonist. etc-saiowank


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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#6 | Back to Top05-23-2012 06:05:59 PM

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

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

To me, Anthy is clearly the main character; SKU is her story more than anyone else's. So why is Utena the series' namesake and why does the main narrative follow her? Because if Anthy was the protagonist in the traditional sense, the show wouldn't work. It would be totally inaccessible. Anthy is a tortured, magical being whose nature is far removed from everyday human experience and common narrative tropes. If the show was "Revolutionary Girl Anthy" and it followed her adventures, can you imagine how it would play out? "Anthy follows Saionji, saying nothing. Anthy gets slapped. New girl challenges Saionji. Anthy gets slapped again. Wait, new girl wins! Anthy moves into her new digs, scrubbing floors and sleeping through classes while her new friend defends her honor before bullies."

For the show to function within its medium and narrative structure, it needs to build a bridge between our expectations and Anthy's reality. So we get a boisterous protagonist who enters the plot without understanding what's really going on, just as the audience does. We learn about Anthy's history once our minds are primed for its impact, instead of hearing "Once upon a time, there was a little witch, and she got stuck with a million swords because she tried to do her brother a favor" as the prelude to the first episode.

One theory I'm fond of is that the entire story plays out in Anthy's mind, with every character embodying a component of her consciousness. So Utena is really her long-buried sense of self-worth or what have you re-emerging to guide her to self-actualization. I could write whole volumes about this interpretation, and the meaning of Utena's disappearance at the end, but that can wait for another time.

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#7 | Back to Top05-29-2012 07:50:52 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

In the novel Master and Margarita Margarita is much more important than the Master. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest the mind of the voiceless narrator is usually more interesting and significant than whatever is happening in Randall P. MacMurphy's mind. (I hope I spelled his name correctly).

Anyway, it's much more interesting to try to figure out what is happening in Anthy's mind than Utena's.

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#8 | Back to Top05-29-2012 08:09:24 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
Website

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

Well, Anthy is the one whose character changed the most from beginning to end of the show, the one whose self was revolutionized in the most dramatic way; with her large portions of screen time, I'd definitely see her as a protagonist, if not THE protagonist.


(PSOH/SKU) Revolutionary Human Leon (Updated to Part 3 as of Sep 26, 2017) / (SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 43 as of Sep 08, 2017) / (NGE) The End of Hedgehog_s Dilemma (Updated to Part II Chapter 6 as of May 17, 2016) / (BananaFish) Medusa (Updated to Chapter 3 as of Mar 1, 2016)
http://archiveofourown.org/users/gorgeousshutin/works or https://www.fanfiction.net/u/3978886/

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#9 | Back to Top05-29-2012 10:01:31 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

I've got nothing fancy to say, but I too believe that the show may be named Revolutionary Girl Utena, but the main character is Anthy.  It's Anthy's story more than anyone else's.  It ends with her, her revolution is the climax.  Even though the framing doesn't initially acknowledge it, it all started with Anthy as well.  Utena's a close second, but still second.

We had a cool thread one time talking about whether Anthy might, in fact, have been The Prince which brought up a lot of pertinent points.  Really turns the series on its head to look at it that way -- totally worth it.


http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o165/absolethe/itrg_signature.jpg

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#10 | Back to Top05-30-2012 07:35:33 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Anthy is the real protagonist of SKU

You could say that Utena forgets too much and Anthy remembers too much.

The movie manga implies that it all starts with Anthy and that she might have even created Ohtori and the duels.

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