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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 Top01-17-2013 03:46:20 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Interpretation- East versus West

The story that I keep hearing is that Be-PAPAS wanted to see Westerners interpret Utena differently from the Japanese. Anyone have any ideas what this would be? I’ve been roughing out an essay on a slightly alternate take to a lot of what I’ve read, but I’d be interested in seeing what everyone else thinks of it.

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#2 | Back to Top01-17-2013 04:10:33 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Could the way few English sources have addressed how Akio's mukoyōshi (婿養子/"adopted husband")status as one that put hims in a socially stigmatized position be part of what you want to explore?  If so, I (who am Asian) got a thread about this issue right here: http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3338

There is also how westerner fans seem to think of abusive Saionji as being "unforgivable/criminal", while back in the 90's Ikuhara has stated that Saionji is supposed to be seen as simply the "traditional, post WWII Era Japanese male"  with Rated M for Maleness views.

Also, Japanese fans easily recognize the "prince delusion" of Ohtori as the delusion of real Japanese Society, since Japanese popular media label rich+handsome+elite young males "princes".  There is also a prevalent belief in Japan that "every girl is a princess", and that is considered a "positive message" to inspire girls to have something to aspire to (being sweet-mannered and pretty leading to being loved).  Basically, Asians see Ohtori as being the "mystical embodiment" of the warped values prevailing in the "Real World/Actual Society", while western fans mostly treat Ohtori as a cartoonish Disney-lite horror house with no connection to the real world.

Hope this helps!


(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 Top01-17-2013 04:36:14 PM

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

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Eastern fans are more likely to see the show as a Buddhist metaphor, whereas Western fans go for Gnosticism. Funnily enough, they're similar enough that both interpretations use the same evidence.

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#4 | Back to Top02-06-2013 09:18:25 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Saionji is definitely received differently outside of Japan. I think several members of BePapas have discussed that.

Ikuhara has mentioned Western allusions or names tend to get more recognition from that audience, while the Eastern allusions are readier received by a Japanese audience (naturally). Someone (Newtype?) made a case for this being one of the unifying factors of mid-90s TV anime like Utena, Eva, Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop, etc.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#5 | Back to Top02-07-2013 09:45:22 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

Saionji is definitely received differently outside of Japan. I think several members of BePapas have discussed that.

Saionji = pompous macho man in (90s) Japan = abusive psycho outside of Japan


(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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#6 | Back to Top02-07-2013 10:02:32 AM

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

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

I think there are definitely Western fans who can sympathize with Saionji, though. Idk how sympathetic he is to Asian fans.

Actually, I'm curious if there's any difference between which characters are more popular/unpopular in the Asian fandom, compared to the western fandom.

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#7 | Back to Top02-07-2013 06:31:04 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Lurv wrote:

I think there are definitely Western fans who can sympathize with Saionji, though. Idk how sympathetic he is to Asian fans.

Actually, I'm curious if there's any difference between which characters are more popular/unpopular in the Asian fandom, compared to the western fandom.

It's not exactly that Saionji was sympathetic in Asia (that's in the 90s, nowadays even Japan is intolerant of woman-hitting from men), but that they saw him as more ham than criminal. 

As for other notable differences in fan reception:

Touga's attempt to make Utena his princess near the end of the TV show was considered manly and gallant by a lot of Asian Fans (while many IRG fans see it at his being a chauvinistic douche); it was likely one of the reasons that the creators gave him his saintly prince character in the fan-pleaser that's the Movie.

Akio lost a lot of his "cool"l to Asian fans after kneeing for Mrs. Ohtori in EP30.  Asian fans of the 90s want male characters who can take charge (like Touga at the end for Utena); they frowned upon those who resort to sly seduction for selfish/insincere reasons.  Men who has to rely on women's finances/power are frowned upon, as males are expected to provide (and dominate) women with their own finances/power.  In fact, gigolos/hosts were often ridiculed as "soft-legged crabs" (too weak to stand on own legs) by Asian society.   Akio's kneeing + shin kiss was seen as his "sucking up" to a woman of power in a wimpy manner.  Mrs. Ohtori's "only Prince" line signifies not his dominance over the woman, but rather, his being someone has to resort to providing sexual pleasure in exchange for power/financial security - aka a "whore" by Asian standards.  The knee scene was not considered one where Akio display his power in Asia; rather, it was interpreted as one showing the dirty/impure reality behind the seemingly chivalrous gesture he performed for Utena earlier on, with Akio being seen as unmanly/lowly.  This fan view is no doubt also partially responsible for MAkio's eventual creation.

That's all I can think of so far.


(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 Top02-07-2013 06:44:26 PM

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

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Hmm, that is rather different from the impression I got from that scene. Not just 'cause he seems pretty calm and cool in those scenes, but I'm used to female sexuality being tied to "surrendering" so if a guy can bring a woman pleasure, he's an alpha. Or something. I don't know if I can explain this very well. :/

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#9 | Back to Top02-07-2013 07:08:12 PM

gorgeousshutin
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Lurv wrote:

Hmm, that is rather different from the impression I got from that scene. Not just 'cause he seems pretty calm and cool in those scenes, but I'm used to female sexuality being tied to "surrendering" so if a guy can bring a woman pleasure, he's an alpha. Or something. I don't know if I can explain this very well. :/

In the 90s Asian mindset, a guy can only be an alpha is if he can "dominate" a woman, as it is believed that even a castrated dog can waggle its tongue to pleasure its mistress.  If the sex act simply pleasures the woman without overwhelming her into giving that"beg for mercy" reaction, then it was considered some kind of weakness on the guy.  That is why in classic Japanese porn, the actresses were almost always shown uttering "itai itai yamate" ("it hurts it hurts don't) during the sex scenes.  On top of that, Akio's being there is based on his engagement to Kanae, which heightens his inferior status in that scene.

Edited to add: If Akio used his "EP25 to Anthy" approach on Mrs. Ohtori, and with Mrs. Ohtori then saying the "prince" line with more agony/desperation, then the scene might have come off differently to the 90s Asian fan view.  Via SKU's execution, Akio in EP30 was pretty much the personification of the disappointing "soft-legged crab" in that scene.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (02-07-2013 07:45:43 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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#10 | Back to Top02-08-2013 03:47:02 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
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Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2788

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

It's also that, for the post-war generations, the "Children Who Don't Know War," Saio was what boys were raised to see as properly masculine, a real man, and isn't it sad that you can't be that anymore? Saio is, in essence, acting as a prince should, and the world's simply bypassed that.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#11 | Back to Top02-08-2013 05:03:12 AM

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

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

It's also that, for the post-war generations, the "Children Who Don't Know War," Saio was what boys were raised to see as properly masculine, a real man, and isn't it sad that you can't be that anymore? Saio is, in essence, acting as a prince should, and the world's simply bypassed that.

Hrm, that does make Wakaba crushing on him make more sense (besides "girls like bad boys" I mean).

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#12 | Back to Top02-08-2013 09:24:14 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Decrescent Daytripper wrote:

It's also that, for the post-war generations, the "Children Who Don't Know War," Saio was what boys were raised to see as properly masculine, a real man, and isn't it sad that you can't be that anymore? Saio is, in essence, acting as a prince should, and the world's simply bypassed that.

To be like exact-exact, Sai was a "cartoonish" representation of the "properly masculine/ take charge/ make woman submit" WWII ideal male.  The mid 90s was a time when such kind of men were going out of style fast, even in Japan, thus why chars like Saionji (and Ranma's Kuno) started popping up as comedic relief in popular media, including anime.

Edited to add:

It is interesting to note how Saionji, Touga, and Akio are all depicted as “pretenders” of three different kinds of archetypal Japanese male ideals, and are all shown incapable of being the “real deals” themselves.

Saionji: Aims to be the Macho Japanese Man.  While capable of domineering ways and violence, he is shown lacking the “courage” and “character” of the true Macho Man.  His showing of fear in Ep09 when the castle collapses (a fear that hinders his saving Anthy himself – Utena, shown to have no such fear, gets to open Anthy’s coffin and thus lay claim to true bravery), his “unbecoming” asking for help from Touga (after the humiliating stabbing accident) in Ep10, and his hiding in a girl’s room in Ep20 all disqualify him from being a true Macho Japanese Man.  In the end, he is shown to be just a mere boy with delusions of macho grandeur.

Touga: Aims to be the Gallant Playboy.  While capable of using sexual charms and manipulation, his is shown lacking the “mental strength” (see BR Arc room of emo), “guts” (see EP25’s hesitance to drive while underaged), AND “bottom-line male pride” (see Ep25+ bottoming for Akio) prerequisite to being a Playboy.  While his final duel with Utena shows him attempting to go back on the “right male track”, his losing the duel – and then doing nothing further to save Utena from Akio - again disqualifies him from the Gallant Playboy route.  In the end, he is shown to be more “Cunning Courtesan” than “Smart Playboy” – where “Courtesan” is seen by Asians as “powerful but ultimately whorish/sell-out”, unlike the “smart, manly, free, in-control” playboy.

Akio:  Plays at being the Prince to be looked up to by society, but is in fact just a “soft-legged crab/manwhore” to be looked down upon by that same society (see http://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=3357 for full details). The “prince- disqualifying” qualities of this character show up first in mere hints (his adopted-husband/ non-birth-heir status at Ohtori), then blatant facts (the “freakish/gross by Asian standards” nature of his sexing his sister), then eventually the self admission that he is not/no longer the Prince (EP 39: “Maybe if I tried to be a Prince like in the old days, no one would have had to suffer. <skip> “I've taken enough risks to buy the power to change the world (according to my selfish wishes).  That's how the world works.”)  In the end, Akio shown to be someone who is only out for Power, and not Strength/Nobility.   He is much like the corrupt politicians/big shots prevailing in the real world - the Devil/Morning Star who cunningly “cheats” vast sums of undeserved adoration/power from his world to fuel his impressive “might” (look how big the Projector is shown to be in his final scene), but his character/soul itself is unimpressive compared to his material might (look how small he is posed against his Projector).

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (02-08-2013 12:39:41 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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#13 | Back to Top02-08-2013 11:29:56 AM

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

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

gorgeousshutin wrote:

He is – much like the corrupt politicians/big shots prevailing in the real world - the Devil/Morning Star who cunningly “cheats” vast sums of undeserved adoration/power from his world to fuel his impressive “might” (look how big the Projector is shown to be in his final scene), but his character/soul itself is unimpressive compared to his material might (look how small he is posed against his Projector).

Yup. I'm too lazy to look up which episode it was right now, but when Utena is first introduced to Akio, she (jokingly, I hope) asks if the projector is Anthy's brother. Well, it sounds like a silly joke, but in a way she's right. emot-tongue

Last edited by Lurv (02-08-2013 11:30:49 AM)

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#14 | Back to Top02-24-2013 07:11:30 AM

MikoGalatea
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From: England, UK
Registered: 02-25-2012
Posts: 115
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

Lurv wrote:

Actually, I'm curious if there's any difference between which characters are more popular/unpopular in the Asian fandom, compared to the western fandom.

From what I can tell, Akio is markedly less popular with Japanese viewers than he is with English-speakers. I'm guessing J-fandom is more disgusted by him on the whole and is thus less likely to give him the Draco-in-leather-pants treatment, but since I have nowhere near enough Japanese comprehension to follow discussions or anything, I can't be sure.

I also get the impression that Eastern fans tend to view SKU in a more heteronormative light. I've actually read somewhere (I believe it was on okazu) that they don't even see the movie as truly lesbian, despite the naked makeout at the end; IIRC, they see Anthy as feeling "gratitude and deep admiration" for Utena, but not romantic love. Needless to say, that's not how most of us took the movie, myself included, and I'm pretty sure Be-PaPas (Ikuhara especially) did very much intend it to be romantic.

Come to think of it, "gratitude and deep admiration" is more-or-less how I'd sum up Utena's feelings for Touga in the movie, but I doubt the same Eastern fans who claim there's nothing romantic about Anthy/Utena would write that off in the same way. =/

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#15 | Back to Top02-24-2013 08:41:25 AM

gorgeousshutin
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Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Interpretation- East versus West

MikoGalatea wrote:

Lurv wrote:

Actually, I'm curious if there's any difference between which characters are more popular/unpopular in the Asian fandom, compared to the western fandom.

From what I can tell, Akio is markedly less popular with Japanese viewers than he is with English-speakers. I'm guessing J-fandom is more disgusted by him on the whole and is thus less likely to give him the Draco-in-leather-pants treatment, but since I have nowhere near enough Japanese comprehension to follow discussions or anything, I can't be sure.

Oh, that's because Japanese (and Asian) culture disdain male gigolos/gold-diggers/poor-man-who-wed-rich-girl; they outright despise those who act "disloyal" towards their wealthier female partners.

I also get the impression that Eastern fans tend to view SKU in a more heteronormative light. I've actually read somewhere (I believe it was on okazu) that they don't even see the movie as truly lesbian, despite the naked makeout at the end; IIRC, they see Anthy as feeling "gratitude and deep admiration" for Utena, but not romantic love. Needless to say, that's not how most of us took the movie, myself included, and I'm pretty sure Be-PaPas (Ikuhara especially) did very much intend it to be romantic.

Intense romanticized non-coupling friendship is very common in Asian media, and less so in NA.  Examples include Pet Shop of Horrors and GetBackers.

Last edited by gorgeousshutin (02-24-2013 08:57:00 AM)


(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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#16 | Back to Top03-24-2013 11:11:23 PM

zevrem
Banned
Registered: 03-23-2013
Posts: 387

Re: Interpretation- East versus West

I do have one interpretation of Dios that would work for both East and West, namely that he represents the ideal paternalistic society. The dominant narrative in all the industrial societies is that if you work for the system, the system will work for you. This is the idea behind the New Soviet Man, this is the idea behind The American Dream, and this is the idea behind the Japanese corporate system. And after the 90's, this system began to fade everywhere. The Soviet Union fell apart, Japan entered a Lost Decade, and the US industrial sector was gutted. It was a transition from a Hugo Gernsback view of the future, in which science and consensus and central government dominated, to a William Gibson style future, in which every man is out for himself, and hopefully, finally, to a Richard Stallman style future, in which people collaborate freely, but can more or less stand on their own two feet.

Last edited by zevrem (03-25-2013 02:01:37 PM)


The real purpose of elections is to make the people hate each other more than they hate their government.

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