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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 Top07-09-2012 03:39:51 PM

Levi
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Midwest
Registered: 12-18-2006
Posts: 18

The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Hi Everyone,

I'm sure this subject has been beat to death, but I was wondering if any of you think this makes sense. Okay, so its summer and I decided to do my annual summer rewatch of Utena and one thing I can never figure out is what happens to Utena. I believe she lives, but I'm not sure how or why. So, I thought about it and I felt depressed because Utena was (supposedly) hit with the Millions Swords of Hate which previously tortured Anthy and I felt like this could've killed her. Then, the swords go onto destroying the arena, projector, etc. Yet, Akio is still miraculously alive later, and the projector is still intact as well as the tower where the duels where held, etc. So, I thought about it, and what if when Utena declared she couldn't be a prince, she was waking up from the fairytale she had been living (princes and princesses are, for the most part, just fairytales) and the swords were just destroying the illusion of her fairytale (the projector, her life at Ohtori, the tower, the dueling arena, etc.) and finally they came after her, but they weren't killing her, because she had woken up from her coffin, they were simply destroying the her of Ohtori, the "fairytale Utena", not the real Utena, because the real Utena was coming out of her coffin (just like how she got Anthy to stop living her fairytale moments before)? I'm not sure. Tell me what you guys think. Thanks. emot-smile

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#2 | Back to Top07-10-2012 08:33:53 AM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

My own interpretation of the events as follows:

The Power of Dios slumbered in Anthy (as was many times stated in the series)

The Swords of Hate (stirred at the sight of a Prince's sword according to Akio) will go after whomever they see as a prince, or whatever items related to a prince, unless the princes's witch/bride take the impaling on his behalf.

When Utena opened the Rose Gates that are doors to Power of Dios, she released the Power of Dios from Anthy (who had been using this power to support the arena in the sky, among many other illusions, through much of the show; she could only use scrapes of it, since the Swords of Hate largely weakened her control over the Power).  Utena, by her noble act of saving Anthy despite betrayal, became the embodiment of the new prince (thus why the Swords of Hate started going wild).  Akio knew the swords will go for the prince, and scream in fear, but the swords cared nothing for him, now that they sensed Utena as the new prince.

The Power of Dios transferred out of Anthy into Utena; the arena, no longer supported by Anthy, broke, leading to the girls getting separated.

Utena, gaining the Power of Dios yet also (incorrectly) thinking that she failed as a prince, got impaled by the Swords of Hate because she was the prince. 

Swords of Hate will torment her as they did Anthy.  Post-Revolution may not be quite the same person as she was in the show.

Anthy set out to find Utena for more than just tea and cookies; she was out to save Utena like Utena had saved her, and to thing things to a full circle.

And, being that SKU never did have a sequel to either validate or invalidate my personal canon, I'm now writing my own post-series fic to make sense of it all  (7 chapters and ongoing, baby!).  emot-biggrin


(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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#3 | Back to Top07-10-2012 01:14:59 PM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Shutin and I have argued about the "Utena becomes the new host of the Swords of Hate" hypothesis before emot-smile  My bottom line in that conversation was:

I wrote:

To me it's not much of a revolution if Utena has only perpetuated the cycle of one person suffering forever in another person's place -- Dios for maidens, Anthy for Dios, and now Utena for Anthy.  That would be an unsatisfying outcome to me.  It makes Utena just another prince or witch, when I think she's something entirely different and better than either.  I think Utena after the series is likely to be battered and distraught, but alive and sane.

I like your hypothesis much better.  Maybe the destruction in the final episode really is best understood as metaphorical: the swords are destroying illusions and fairy tales, not literal people and objects.  It's sort of a coming-of-age crescendo where instead of attacking princes and witches, the swords attack the idea of princes and witches.  Since the swords themselves are archetypal, the logical conclusion would be that they ended by destroying themselves, which is neat.  But that does leave the question of what happened to Utena!  emot-aaa  Any thoughts?

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#4 | Back to Top07-10-2012 01:38:36 PM

Saito Hoshikawa
Thorn of Death
From: Satan's armpit in Texas
Registered: 12-27-2010
Posts: 480

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Levi wrote:

/enter your Utena theory here/

That sounds really good!

My theory might sound a bit like that, but I don't normally make theories because all the shows I've watched had concrete conclusions. XD

I'd think that the world of Ohtori, being the clusterfuck of whatever that it is under Akio's control, is actually a dream world in Utena's mind, only in existence due to her being in such a shock due to the death of her parents that she's in a coma/catatonic state of mind in which she's mentally separated from the real world, and all this starts from right after her parents die, which fits in the whole Dios thing and getting the ring. Anyone she meets in the dream world is essentially a figment of her mind, and is a personified part of her real-world self, as her in-series self is like a princely figure that she strives to be, all cool and strong-willed and what-not.

But then she meets Anthy in her world. Right away she knows that there is something about Anthy that makes her much different than anyone else in the dream world. And that's true: Anthy's in the same mental breakdown state as Utena, though this stems from the abuse dealt by Akio in real-time, which manifests to the dream world as the Million Swords of Hate, plus his power over Anthy as her being more or less a puppet to him.

Lo and behold, the final duel comes, and Utena's done what she's done to help Anthy, with the Rose Gate and coffin and what-not. Akio's "power"/abuse towards Anthy, having lost their target, then takes to Utena, who is then pierces by the raging hate once directed at Anthy. This technical sacrifice puts Utena as the prince she was fully striving to be, and this also inadvertently puts her at peace with her parents' death, therefore waking her out of catatonia in the real world, making her disappear in the dream world.

Anthy is fully released of the hold on her held by Akio in both worlds, thanks to Utena, and goes to "leave" the Ohtori campus to look for Utena, which is actually signifying her return to her normal state of mind plus her leaving Akio behind in the real world as well.

Again, I'm not used to doing this kind of thing, so there may be a few holes here and there.

Alternate theory #2: Everyone's comatose in a mental asylum/hospital, and they're all having a collective dream together.


"You know I have to question your sanity when I realize your eyes are focusing in on the ass of what is supposed to be a steam train engine." "Yes, I know it seems weird, but you gotta admit; it's a damn fine piece of supposedly rusted iron ass."

"Note how amazing they look in the '87 pictures but then look like they're taking mugshots for prison in the '90 pictures."

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#5 | Back to Top07-10-2012 02:02:58 PM

Levi
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Midwest
Registered: 12-18-2006
Posts: 18

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

satyreyes wrote:

Shutin and I have argued about the "Utena becomes the new host of the Swords of Hate" hypothesis before emot-smile  My bottom line in that conversation was:

I wrote:

To me it's not much of a revolution if Utena has only perpetuated the cycle of one person suffering forever in another person's place -- Dios for maidens, Anthy for Dios, and now Utena for Anthy.  That would be an unsatisfying outcome to me.  It makes Utena just another prince or witch, when I think she's something entirely different and better than either.  I think Utena after the series is likely to be battered and distraught, but alive and sane.

I like your hypothesis much better.  Maybe the destruction in the final episode really is best understood as metaphorical: the swords are destroying illusions and fairy tales, not literal people and objects.  It's sort of a coming-of-age crescendo where instead of attacking princes and witches, the swords attack the idea of princes and witches.  Since the swords themselves are archetypal, the logical conclusion would be that they ended by destroying themselves, which is neat.  But that does leave the question of what happened to Utena!  emot-aaa  Any thoughts?

I'm glad that you like my hypothesis. I personally feel that since Utena realized princes and princesses were fairytales she grew out of her "prince" illusion and "graduated" into the adult world/real world. She vanished from Ohtori, like Akio said, but she isn't gone, she merely vanished from the world of fairytales and childhood and endless yearning/cycles, etc. Since Ohtori is a place for those, and Utena doesn't live by them anymore, she just vanishes. She grows up. Anthy graduates into the adult/real world as well. emot-smile Happy ending! emot-biggrin

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#6 | Back to Top07-10-2012 02:04:51 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

I'm not a big fan of the "it was all a dream" twist, so I like to think that most of the things actually happened while also being metaphorical, but I guess that is a matter of preference (and Nanami's Egg did do the whole "it was all a dream... or was it?"-twist, which is even worse. emot-tongue). Anyway, the ending makes it sound like Utena is alive, if a little worse for wear. In the end I think Utena's little revolution caused them to disappear, so no one will have to be the witch anymore, and Akio has no more excuses to remain as he is (which might be even worse for him).

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#7 | Back to Top07-10-2012 02:16:31 PM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Hi Satyreyes!

To me it's not much of a revolution if Utena has only perpetuated the cycle of one person suffering forever in another person's place

SKU operates on multiple levels of reality, where people/objects might not really exist; while mine is a "textual" interpretation of the events, other inerpretations might work too . . . or they might not.

Just 2 things I've noticed from the series and its director that may (or may not) make your hypothesis invalid:

the swords are destroying illusions and fairy tales, not literal people and objects.

But if that's the case, then Anthy fearfully begging Utena to run away and warning her about the swords will be pointless - even affected/pretentious  - if the swords pose no danger to Utena; in fact, Anthy should've welcomed the swords; but the Anthy in the scene did not show/say any of that.  That and why'd Anthy have to fall out of Utena's grasp (arena broke before the swords hit), and not exit the fairytale with Utena right there and then?  She was clearly moved to be on Utena's side by then . . . why the need to fall and make Utena misunderstood?
script:
Anthy:  Utena-sama!
Utena:  Himemiya...take my hand!
Anthy: You mustn't! Hurry and run away! The swords are...
Utena:  Take my hand! Come on, Himemiya!
Anthy:  You don't understand! If you don't run quickly...
Utena:  Himemiya! Hurry, take my hand!
Anthy:  I beg you.
Utena:  Hurry! Hurry up and take my hand!

Penguindrum, the show that got Ikuhara out of his 14 year anime slumber, is ALL about how there's always a price you must pay if you want to help others, that people sacrificed something of themselves when they help other people (money, memory, lifespan).  I think that says a lot about the director's view on the topic of self-sacrifice.

I myself always think that if helping others come at little to no cost to the helper, then it's not that big a deal at all is it?  For me, Anthy going after Utena to help her post series, such that finally they can both be free and things go "full-circle", is the most beautiful interpretation.  Miles may vary, of course.

Saito-san wrote:
she's in a coma/catatonic state of mind in which she's mentally separated from the real world, and all this starts from right after her parents die, which fits in the whole Dios thing and getting the ring. 

Say . . . this one actually managed not to go against too much of what the series has been show the viewers . . . in coffin=coma . . . hmm . . .


(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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#8 | Back to Top07-10-2012 05:33:19 PM

Saito Hoshikawa
Thorn of Death
From: Satan's armpit in Texas
Registered: 12-27-2010
Posts: 480

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Saito-san wrote:
she's in a coma/catatonic state of mind in which she's mentally separated from the real world, and all this starts from right after her parents die, which fits in the whole Dios thing and getting the ring. 

Say . . . this one actually managed not to go against too much of what the series has been show the viewers . . . in coffin=coma . . . hmm . . .

The theory could also be attached to the movie ending in a way, but that would take a novel of a paragraph to explain.


"You know I have to question your sanity when I realize your eyes are focusing in on the ass of what is supposed to be a steam train engine." "Yes, I know it seems weird, but you gotta admit; it's a damn fine piece of supposedly rusted iron ass."

"Note how amazing they look in the '87 pictures but then look like they're taking mugshots for prison in the '90 pictures."

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#9 | Back to Top07-10-2012 07:18:47 PM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

One of the things that truly bugged me about the Swords of Hate and Utena is that Wakaba was shown looking for (and clearly remembering, thus likely ruling out the enchantment to forget thingy) Utena even after the swords rushed our heroine; that, combined with the shadow talk gossiping over her then ending in "not like it matters" regarding Utena's disappearance, sounds to me like a lot of non-duel students had forgotten the popular girl by choice, and that none of the student council went after her despite the game of squash they had.  I know a lot of ppl say this symbolizes moving on and whatnot, but it's cruel to act genuinely friendly to someone, and then ignoring said person while knowing they'd likely be in trouble (that with them all knowing about the duel called revolution and all

And why is Kanae not shown post revolution when even the likes of aiko, yuuko, and the tree stooges were?


(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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#10 | Back to Top07-10-2012 08:10:54 PM

Aine Silveria
Pumpkin Bride
From: Allegan, MI
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 2098

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Kanae is dead/comatose by the end of the series, in my opinion. You remember the scene with the apples, don't you? Headcanon screams poison.

And the whole scene at the end actually reminds me more of the forgetting after the Black Rose Saga than anything.


http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m526/aines_pixels/mikageirgsig02-2012.png

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#11 | Back to Top07-10-2012 08:39:30 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

And the whole scene at the end actually reminds me more of the forgetting after the Black Rose Saga than anything.

Hi Aine Silveria:

If not for the way the shadows talk and the bit with Wakaba looking to do homework with Utena, I'd agree.  As it is, I think it's significantly different.  Even Akio talks like the students are forgetting Utena on their own, wherever he plainly states that Mikage never existed in the academy's current reality to begin with - I see a big diff. between the ways the two characters' exits.

And if Kanae is indeed dead/comatose, then she would be the only duelist Utena's revolution did not end up "saving" . . . when even the bully insect likes of Keiko gets to be courted playfully . . . argg!!!


(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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#12 | Back to Top07-10-2012 09:07:56 PM

Aine Silveria
Pumpkin Bride
From: Allegan, MI
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 2098

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Plainly put, Akio is a selfish, manipulative bastard. Of course he feels Utena is being forgotten by the students, all on their own. That's what he wants to believe, and that's what he sees, and what he's trying to trap Anthy into thinking. I would readily be able to discount everything Akio says as that said by a completely unreliable narrator. That's why I think it's more like a confused forget. After all, Miki was agonizing over having forgotten the Hall's name, because he knew something was supposed to be there. The generalized confusion of who Utena was at the end reminds me like stories of an urban legend, much like the Hall would have been, except to highly analytical types like Miki.

Keiko is more than just a bully. She's a lonely girl, looking for validation, affection, and love. Girls like that are often unable to see the pain in others because they're so self-absorbed. She's also young, and very much deserves a revolution to help her. Kanae does too, but she's the only one Akio has a serious hold on that's remotely like a Princess/Witch, and that's why I lean more to comatose. He needs something like her to try again after Anthy leaves.


http://i1130.photobucket.com/albums/m526/aines_pixels/mikageirgsig02-2012.png

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#13 | Back to Top07-10-2012 09:14:29 PM

Levi
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Midwest
Registered: 12-18-2006
Posts: 18

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Hi Satyreyes!

To me it's not much of a revolution if Utena has only perpetuated the cycle of one person suffering forever in another person's place

SKU operates on multiple levels of reality, where people/objects might not really exist; while mine is a "textual" interpretation of the events, other inerpretations might work too . . . or they might not.

Just 2 things I've noticed from the series and its director that may (or may not) make your hypothesis invalid:

the swords are destroying illusions and fairy tales, not literal people and objects.

But if that's the case, then Anthy fearfully begging Utena to run away and warning her about the swords will be pointless - even affected/pretentious  - if the swords pose no danger to Utena; in fact, Anthy should've welcomed the swords; but the Anthy in the scene did not show/say any of that.  That and why'd Anthy have to fall out of Utena's grasp (arena broke before the swords hit), and not exit the fairytale with Utena right there and then?  She was clearly moved to be on Utena's side by then . . . why the need to fall and make Utena misunderstood?
script:
Anthy:  Utena-sama!
Utena:  Himemiya...take my hand!
Anthy: You mustn't! Hurry and run away! The swords are...
Utena:  Take my hand! Come on, Himemiya!
Anthy:  You don't understand! If you don't run quickly...
Utena:  Himemiya! Hurry, take my hand!
Anthy:  I beg you.
Utena:  Hurry! Hurry up and take my hand!

Penguindrum, the show that got Ikuhara out of his 14 year anime slumber, is ALL about how there's always a price you must pay if you want to help others, that people sacrificed something of themselves when they help other people (money, memory, lifespan).  I think that says a lot about the director's view on the topic of self-sacrifice.

I myself always think that if helping others come at little to no cost to the helper, then it's not that big a deal at all is it?  For me, Anthy going after Utena to help her post series, such that finally they can both be free and things go "full-circle", is the most beautiful interpretation.  Miles may vary, of course.

Saito-san wrote:
she's in a coma/catatonic state of mind in which she's mentally separated from the real world, and all this starts from right after her parents die, which fits in the whole Dios thing and getting the ring. 

Say . . . this one actually managed not to go against too much of what the series has been show the viewers . . . in coffin=coma . . . hmm . . .

If Anthy frees Utena from the swords later on then who would take the swords? they'd have to go back to Anthy, because she'd be playing the part of prince! it'd go nonstop circles! Also, the point isn't that the swords don't cause any physical damage/pain, because we know that they can, but in this instance, they didn't. Utena had caused a revolution by opening the rose gate/freeing anthy, and part of that revolution is destroying the fairy tale illusion they live in.... not themselves and not transferring them onto Utena. Obviously there is more than one way to view this, but i agree with Satyreyes that if the swords simply moved from afflicting Anthy to afflicting Utena, then what is the point? Also, for the sacrifice part, Utena did sacrifice something of herself: her wanting to make the memory of her prince eternal. She chose to sacrifice all of that/her relationship with her prince and her relationship with akio in order to save anthy.

Last edited by Levi (07-10-2012 09:24:30 PM)

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#14 | Back to Top07-10-2012 10:06:18 PM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

but i agree with Satyreyes that if the swords simply moved from afflicting Anthy to afflicting Utena, then what is the point?

Hi Levi:

The point is that if no one is to fight and/or destroy the swords, then someone will always end up taking the swords.

In one of the laters eps, when Anthy and Akio are on the car driving, and Anthy was in pain, Akio told her that he's not the one hurting her, "It's the world."

The Swords of Hate, by my interpretation, are the hate-filled feelings of the world's common masses (who harbor "older" mindsets) against specific groups of people who falls outside the restrictive confines of traditional gender roles - ill Dios (a male who is revealed to be weak, thus falling short of the invincible male ideal the world demand of men up to this very day), lying Anthy (a female who dared to act against threats of violence instead of fearfully submitting ala the traditional submissive females of older generations, especially in Japan), and eventually, prince Utena (a female who dared to assume the power of a "savior/invincible male").  The swords - encompassing homophobia and misogyny and more - existed in older times due to the damaging worldview of many, and survived to modern times because many (especially Japanese) people in SKU's time period still harbor such views.

Note also how, in whatever setting, when you try and openly help someone who is unjustly attacked by the hostile masses (be they bullying students, rabid forumites, or power-tripping colleagues), the masses all ALWAYS turn their hostility towards you - it makes sense for me that the swords will hurt Utena for helping Anthy and being princely, whether that's what people want to see happen or not.  Utena is not a wish fulfillment anime, it forces the gritty truth of the world onto its viewers; to say that the clearly damaging Swords will just somehow disappear/spare Utena without Utena and/or Others doing anything to actively fight them head on just doesn't make sense to me.

Utena, as a single individual alone, likely cannot fight the ignorance of many all by herself, thus why Anthy needs to go after her so she can help - perhaps even gathering allies to help fight the swords' might (however they manifest in the real world).  If I'm the director, I'd have Anthy drag all the duelists along to help fight the swords, since the ignorant views of many can only be fought by numbers and solidarity; that's how gay rights activists and feminists managed to change parts of the world, and that's what the entire Utena gang needs to do to truly get out of their - quoting Saionji - coffins prepared by the Ends of the World (current world's restrictive, cynical negativity).

P.S.  Did you guys notice how the hair colors of the entire Student Council plus Anthy (when purple) make up all the colors of the pride flag?

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (07-10-2012 10:21:15 PM)


(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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#15 | Back to Top07-11-2012 04:58:07 AM

Stephen
Rose Bride
Registered: 02-19-2011
Posts: 102

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Levi wrote:

I'm glad that you like my hypothesis. I personally feel that since Utena realized princes and princesses were fairytales she grew out of her "prince" illusion and "graduated" into the adult world/real world. She vanished from Ohtori, like Akio said, but she isn't gone, she merely vanished from the world of fairytales and childhood and endless yearning/cycles, etc. Since Ohtori is a place for those, and Utena doesn't live by them anymore, she just vanishes. She grows up. Anthy graduates into the adult/real world as well. emot-smile Happy ending! emot-biggrin

This is essentially how I read things also. It satisfies a lot of what I saw as backstory on Anthy/Akio/Dios playing princes, princesses and witches, and gives one of those nice lessons that nice people like Utena have to learn as part of growing up:

That you can't solve other people's problems by charging in on their behalf.

Which of course, is a very painful, emotional lesson to learn when you care so much about people, as Utena does. Painful also for Anthy, to see someone she had obviously grown to care about, hurt and troubled so, by a situation she feels destined to, and had for so long accepted as such. But she did, and it destroyed her sense of being a prince that can charge in and save the day, and she grew up. This was perhaps the biggest thing in terms of her world-view, that hearkened from make-believe or "childish" mentality. The lesson learned kills our fairy-tale girl-prince Utena.

Akio dismisses the change of thought as futile, as it changes nothing as far as his own view is concerned. After all, she saved no-one, right? She revolutionised nothing, she just drifted off away from the school setting, leaving everyone (himself included) up to their same old thought-patterns and behaviour. Except Anthy, as we see. She's come to realise that she doesn't have to play big brother's games anymore, or do as she's told. It stands (I think) as the only time Anthy was directly instructed by Akio about what she is to do, and she doesn't comply, quite possibly the first time ever, given their very dominant/submissive sibling relationship.

This is for me, a very revolutionary (and empowering) turn of events indeed.

The idea that when you have finally grown up and moved on, seems to be reinforced by Mikage's duel, and how his own little world of illusion is torn down, ultimately ending in his disappearance (and him being forgotten / never even recalled in the first place). The remainder of the cast we have at the end of series, all seem to have plenty of their own hang-ups still, which I'd assume, following this, come from less than adult perspectives on their own situations, and so still keep them at Ohtori Academy.

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#16 | Back to Top07-11-2012 08:14:15 AM

Levi
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Midwest
Registered: 12-18-2006
Posts: 18

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

gorgeousshutin wrote:

but i agree with Satyreyes that if the swords simply moved from afflicting Anthy to afflicting Utena, then what is the point?

Hi Levi:

The point is that if no one is to fight and/or destroy the swords, then someone will always end up taking the swords.

In one of the laters eps, when Anthy and Akio are on the car driving, and Anthy was in pain, Akio told her that he's not the one hurting her, "It's the world."

The Swords of Hate, by my interpretation, are the hate-filled feelings of the world's common masses (who harbor "older" mindsets) against specific groups of people who falls outside the restrictive confines of traditional gender roles - ill Dios (a male who is revealed to be weak, thus falling short of the invincible male ideal the world demand of men up to this very day), lying Anthy (a female who dared to act against threats of violence instead of fearfully submitting ala the traditional submissive females of older generations, especially in Japan), and eventually, prince Utena (a female who dared to assume the power of a "savior/invincible male").  The swords - encompassing homophobia and misogyny and more - existed in older times due to the damaging worldview of many, and survived to modern times because many (especially Japanese) people in SKU's time period still harbor such views.

Note also how, in whatever setting, when you try and openly help someone who is unjustly attacked by the hostile masses (be they bullying students, rabid forumites, or power-tripping colleagues), the masses all ALWAYS turn their hostility towards you - it makes sense for me that the swords will hurt Utena for helping Anthy and being princely, whether that's what people want to see happen or not.  Utena is not a wish fulfillment anime, it forces the gritty truth of the world onto its viewers; to say that the clearly damaging Swords will just somehow disappear/spare Utena without Utena and/or Others doing anything to actively fight them head on just doesn't make sense to me.

Utena, as a single individual alone, likely cannot fight the ignorance of many all by herself, thus why Anthy needs to go after her so she can help - perhaps even gathering allies to help fight the swords' might (however they manifest in the real world).  If I'm the director, I'd have Anthy drag all the duelists along to help fight the swords, since the ignorant views of many can only be fought by numbers and solidarity; that's how gay rights activists and feminists managed to change parts of the world, and that's what the entire Utena gang needs to do to truly get out of their - quoting Saionji - coffins prepared by the Ends of the World (current world's restrictive, cynical negativity).

P.S.  Did you guys notice how the hair colors of the entire Student Council plus Anthy (when purple) make up all the colors of the pride flag?

I don't think the swords spared Utena. I believe they attacked her but didn't kill her or ensnare her, they simply destroyed the person she was, her childhood being, she was ready to move onto the real world, so the swords destroyed the childhood part of her-- that is the Utena of Ohtori academy. I just don't see how the swords could move onto Utena, I feel like that would miss the whole point of the anime. Utena is ambiguous though and we're all free to view it how we see it. emot-smile

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#17 | Back to Top07-11-2012 03:53:23 PM

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

Re: The Swords of Hate and Utena (spoilers)

Utena is ambiguous though and we're all free to view it how we see it. emot-smile

Yeah . . . for me, when I see Akio referring to the swords's effects on Anthy (while they're riding Akio Car) as the World, I kinda see them as rampant forces in the Outside World; whereas they'd be actual swords in Ohtori, they show up as other things in the outside world - ignorant viewpoints, phobias, discriminations . . . basically all the things in the real world that induces real world mob lynching (it's still happening in our world).  The way I see it, Akio's Ohtori actually "buffers" the ignorance-based hatred of the world, turning them into swords that can infest people; whereas in the real world, it will be the negative attitudes, hostilities, cruelities from the people all around that could damage/traumatize Utena and/or other characters.  I always figure Utena, her beliefs shaken by her misunderstanding that she failed Anthy, will easily fall prey to the hatred of the swords/real world ignorant people, and can only be empowered again when Anthy showed up in her revolutionized state showing her that she succeeded in saving her with unconditional friendship and love; that, and two against a hostile world stands a much better chance than just one.


(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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