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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 Top07-15-2013 12:26:39 PM

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

Relationship advice at Ohtori

A while ago I was about to make a mildly OT joke in another thread about how you wouldn't want to ask any SKU character for relationship advice.  But then I thought about it more and I wondered whether that's really true.  There are no SKU characters who are, themselves, in healthy romantic relationships, but it's perfectly possible to be smart about everyone's relationships except your own.  And indeed many characters in this show do have bits of wisdom that they just can't apply to their own issues.  (Miki, for instance, can be respectful to Nanami when she suggests that humans might lay eggs, but he can't be respectful to his own sister in light of the scandalous fact that she is dating.) 

So I turned that over in my head for a while, and I still think that none of these characters would give fantastic relationship advice, but I think some would be better at it than others.  If I'm a student at Ohtori and I want reasonably smart words about dating, I think I should go to Juri.

Again, don't look at her own personal life.  Forget about Shiori and Ruka.  Look at her professional strengths, and look at the way she treats her friends and acquaintances.  Juri is good at getting inside other people's heads.  We see her use that power to manipulate teachers, one-up Touga, build a trusting friendship with Miki (one of the few in the show), and draw out Utena's life story.  She is a person who, in a social situation, can size up another person, decide what she wants out of em, and present herself in a way that is honest and yet accomplishes what she set out to do.  Those are good skills to have if you want to date, and Juri is a smart woman who could articulate what she knows about them.  What's more, you just know that off camera Touga spends entire Student Council meetings talking about his sexual conquests, and Juri is sitting there rolling her eyes but learning all kinds of lessons.  She'd probably be able to tell you when to follow Touga's example and when not to follow Touga's example.  If you could get her talking about dating, I bet she'd have some insightful things to say.

Runners-up, in order:

Anthy - By far the most experienced member of the cast in forming relationships, and the best at getting what she wants out of people and at giving them what they want, but she's never done it by being herself.  You don't want Anthy's advice if you want an honest relationship between equals, but it might be useful for learning how to just talk to someone and form a bond in the first place.

Touga - He's a misogynist and frankly a misanthrope in general, but he shares some of Juri's interpersonal strengths.  He may be a cynic, but he knows the ballet of romance, at least with women, and that's worth something.  Most importantly, he's the only member of the cast who will tell you the crucial truth that relationships are hard work, and sometimes not worth the trouble.  That's why he doesn't like 'em. emot-biggrin

I contacted Utena herself to see what she would have to say.  She said, "Relationships?  Uh, I don't really know about that.  I guess maybe you should give them flowers?  I think you should do what you want."

Who would you go to for relationship advice at Ohtori? emot-smile

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#2 | Back to Top07-15-2013 01:37:55 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Satyreyes, I'm with you on Juri being the best expert when it comes to "relationship" (aka a conflict-free, pain-free way to interact romantically with others) advice.  I remember her advising both Miki and Nanami about how much easier things will be for them should they change who they love/fixate on (it's a BR Arc Ep, I think); too bad she is too fixated herself to truly live her own words of wisdom.

But if you ask me, I think only Ruka knows what "love" really is: limitless self-sacrifice on the lover's part for the benefit of the one beloved.  Ruka is willing to degenerate himself into the "bad guy" in Juri's eyes - going so far as to seduce and hurt a love-rival he found repulsive - just to set her free.  While not a "good person" (he'd ruthlessly hurt even non-relevant individuals for the sake of his beloved), I do find him a passionate, genuine "lover".  Anthy is a bit like that, but I rank her "love" of Dios/Akio inferior to Ruka, in that she seems ultimately aiming to "tie" her Prince down by encouraging him to "fall low" along with herself; Ruka, on the other hand, strives to set Juri free at the cost of losing her himself.

Those who do take relationship advice from Ruka are unlikely to be looking at happy relationships; most people, like Shiori-bound Juri, don't really want what they need.  I do, however, think the Ruka-route can allow for people to "give love" in the true sense of the word.


(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 Top07-15-2013 01:46:07 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Why don't we ask the characters themselves? They all have accounts here, don't they? emot-biggrin

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#4 | Back to Top07-15-2013 02:07:30 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

gorgeousshutin wrote:

Satyreyes, I'm with you on Juri being the best expert when it comes to "relationship" (aka a conflict-free, pain-free way to interact romantically with others) advice.  I remember her advising both Miki and Nanami about how much easier things will be for them should they change who they love/fixate on.

Good memory!!  Yes -- in fact, she goes even further than that and says it would be easier for all three of them if they could change who they loved.  She's aware of her own shortcomings.  Good for her.

gorgeousshutin wrote:

But if you ask me, I think only Ruka knows what "love" really is: limitless self-sacrifice on the lover's part for the benefit of the one beloved.  Ruka is willing to degenerate himself into the "bad guy" in Juri's eyes - going so far as to seduce and hurt a love-rival he found repulsive - just to set her free.  While not a "good person" (he'd ruthlessly hurt even non-relevant individuals for the sake of his beloved), I do find him a passionate, genuine "lover".

That's an interesting take on his character!  Ruka is one of the few people in SKU who at least tries to back up his romantic feelings with selfless action: in his mind, what he does is an expression of love.  But things get subjective here, I guess, because I don't agree with you that love -- for the purposes of a relationship, anyway -- involves limitless self-sacrifice, and I definitely don't think that what Ruka does is an acceptable way to express love for someone.  It is presumptuous, to say the least, for him to think that he can save another person from herself, to say nothing of what he does to poor Shiori.  Now, maybe Ruka knows that what he's doing is wrong, and if you asked him for relationship advice he would tell you not to follow his example.  You could probably argue that either way from the text.  But I think it would be dangerous to take relationship advice from him.  Still an interesting take, though!

Last edited by satyreyes (07-15-2013 02:10:06 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top07-16-2013 12:07:44 PM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

I agree that Ruka is the best one - he seems very altruistic, especially when compared to others. Also, he seems to know how to seduce a lady. But still, no one communicates its feelings - only poor Wakaba expressed her love in her letter to Saionji, but being interested in someone she doesn't really know... I dunno, there are no good role models in SKU when it comes to couples and stuff like that.

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#6 | Back to Top07-16-2013 12:20:30 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

dlaire wrote:

But still, no one communicates its feelings - only poor Wakaba expressed her love in her letter to Saionji, but being interested in someone she doesn't really know... I dunno, there are no good role models in SKU when it comes to couples and stuff like that.

Yeah emot-frown  Wakaba crossed my mind, but she'd be a lousy relationship advisor.  I mean, her advice would come from a place of enthusiasm and hope, which is more than I could say for people like Touga or Anthy, but she's neither experienced nor all that smart about people.  It would be like getting advice from an American junior high student who is an expert on relationships because she reads Cosmo every month.  Maybe in ten years.

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#7 | Back to Top07-16-2013 12:53:04 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1312
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Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

dlaire wrote:

he seems very altruistic, especially when compared to others.

*Nods*

only poor Wakaba expressed her love in her letter to Saionji, but being interested in someone she doesn't really know...

Satyreyes wrote:

Yeah emot-frown  Wakaba crossed my mind, but she'd be a lousy relationship advisor.

A problem with Wakaba is that despite displaying a degree of selflessness in her sheltering of Saionji, she's really treating him more like a teeny bopper would a celeb than a woman would the man she loves.  Instead of being a love-giver, she's really more like a "fan" who wants to make herself "feel special" via "a touch of greatness" with her "idol".  Thus, when said Idol ultimately reveals how he sees her as nothing more than a convenient support tool, she struck out at him in mad rage (while under BR influence).  I don't think the girl even fully understand what love is at 14.  Like Satyreyes suggest, give her ten years to stock up on life experience first.


(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 Top07-16-2013 02:18:53 PM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Actually - we can learn more from their failures than from their advices.
As you said, Wakaba treats a love as the confirmation of her value, she wants to feel special by feeling love of someone special. I think all Touga fans suffer from that. I also wonder whether the crush on a popular stranger is a sign of being afraid of love - when you love an idol, you experience beta love inside your head.
Juri is a terrible coward. She also confuses being weak with being a human being and her case shows us that being in love means being vulnerable.

Also, even couples talk in riddles, there are no real intimacy between them: they are incapable of expressing their needs, they are petrified of the idea of taking emotional risk.

The more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that C-Ko had the best relationship advices.

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#9 | Back to Top07-16-2013 11:03:28 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

satyreyes wrote:

Runners-up, in order:

Anthy - By far the most experienced member of the cast in forming relationships, and the best at getting what she wants out of people and at giving them what they want, but she's never done it by being herself.  You don't want Anthy's advice if you want an honest relationship between equals, but it might be useful for learning how to just talk to someone and form a bond in the first place.

Anthy would give great relationship advice. Instead of trying to coach you or change you, she would just point you right at someone she already knows who would be a perfect match for you. She'd tell you where and when to meet them, what to walk up and say to them and what to try for a first date. You and your new partner would hit it off immediately and find your personalities and interests to be an ideal fit, forming a bond that would bring you both closer to the people you've always wanted to be.

But Anthy would neglect to mention that you and your partner would also have a set of subconscious, complementary personality flaws that would be triggered and amplified by your relationship and drive it to a nightmarish meltdown, possibly culminating in a murder-suicide, confinement in a mental institution, or an even more entertaining outcome.

Then she would name two roses in her garden after you and your star-crossed lover.

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#10 | Back to Top07-16-2013 11:27:05 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

I missed you, Davine.  emot-rofl

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#11 | Back to Top07-16-2013 11:31:20 PM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

I'd like to strike Juri off the list; she's incapable of connecting emotionally to anyone in a healthy way, and she has a distinct lack of empathy for others. As for paitence with others she defines as inferior to herself...god, she'd eat them alive. Remember the way she went slappy on Anthy and tried to beat up Utena, when Utena made the mistake of bothering her in a foul mood?

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#12 | Back to Top07-17-2013 12:46:30 AM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

crystalwren wrote:

I'd like to strike Juri off the list; she's incapable of connecting emotionally to anyone in a healthy way, and she has a distinct lack of empathy for others.

Wow, that's harsh!  emot-aaa  Juri is self-absorbed (as is the rest of the cast; they are teenagers) and her relationships are troubled (as are everyone else's; they are teenagers).  But you're going beyond that and describing her almost as a psychopath!  There are people in the show who exhibit an almost complete lack of empathy, but I wouldn't have said Juri was one of them.  Juri has enough empathy to sustain a genuine mentorship and friendship with Miki, with scenes where she visibly attends to what he's thinking and feeling ("your sword has the force of your sincerity").  She has enough empathy, as shutin pointed out earlier, to be able to connect her own relationship troubles to those of Miki and Nanami.  She has enough empathy on the eve of the final duel to acknowledge out loud that Utena loves Anthy, even though Utena herself isn't quite sure about that at the moment, and to sympathetically compare Utena's feelings about Anthy to her own for Shiori.  Honestly, for someone so antisocial and proud, Juri seems to be able to connect to others pretty well -- as long as those "others" aren't Shiori or Ruka.

I hear where you're coming from.  At her worst, Juri is a terror.  You're quite right that she's impatient and doesn't suffer fools gladly.  She's also temperamental; how she treats you definitely does depend on whether she's having a good day or a bad day.  But the thing is, I don't see how those qualities affect her ability to give relationship advice.  I'm assuming that whoever is giving the advice is actually trying to give good advice, and is not brushing you off or trying to mislead you.  And if Juri has actually settled down to try and advise you, I think she's going to do a good job.  Or at least, a better job than the rest of the cast, which is admittedly a low bar.  emot-biggrin

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#13 | Back to Top07-17-2013 01:00:11 AM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Juri: "Hmph. I don't think that's an appropriate question for an upperclassman with whom you're not familiar." (Long pause.) "Be careful. But then, there's no point, since we can't pick who we fall in love with. So just let it happen and try to live with it." "

Utena: "Um, I don't know if I'm the right person to ask. But I think it's the kind of thing where you have to be honest. Just be yourself." (Encouraging grin.)

Miki: "Oh! Well, um...um..."(Deep blush, stares down at ground while clutching books.) "I think that's a good question for the school guidance counselor. But...I do think that if she or he is really the one, then you'll know. Your feelings will take you to times and places that have long been lost." (Clicks stopwatch.) "Excuse me." (Hurries off.)

Touga: (Turns away and closes eyes.) "Your heart will lead you to your prince or princess, everything you dream of, everything you wish to be. It will let you see what no one else can." (Turns back and smiles.) "I appreciate the question. Your sincerity is enchanting."

Nanami: (Eyes narrow.) "What's that supposed to mean?" (Points finger accusingly.) "You're trying to date my brother, aren't you?! How dare you ask his own sweet sister for advice! He would never look at a pathetic little insect like you! Give it up or you'll be forced to deal with the most beautiful and popular girl at this school!" (Sniffs with disgust, marches away.)

Anthy: (Smiles and waters the roses.) "These new blooms are very sensitive. They need lots of water and sunshine to grow. Relationships are like that too. If you love someone enough, you'll see them blossom and gr - oh no! An aphid!" (Squishes the bug between her fingers.)


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

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#14 | Back to Top07-17-2013 05:02:27 AM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

When it comes to Juri, let me remember you two scenes: one with Shiori and one with some girl from fencing club. She showed her empathy when Shiori begged Ruka to be with her in front of the school crowd. She tried to comfort her face to face so she didn't do that to show how good she is.  She also visits a wounded girl at the Ohtori nursing room so she feels responsible for people around her.
Still, I agree she has huge problems while interacting with others, especially when they want to talk about HER emotions. Everything is fine when you chat about your own problems - it might give her the feeling of being strong, mature and uh oh smart. So yes, she would enjoy giving advices, especially pessimistic ones such as: Don't believe in miracles.

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#15 | Back to Top07-17-2013 11:51:19 AM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

On Juri and empathy: she, like most other SKU characters, changes a lot throughout the TV show. I do think what Crystalwren says is true of the "Early SC Arc" Juri.   However, as the show progresses, Juri undergoes significant character development, to the point that she can be a nurturing sempai figure to the girl from her fencing team (EP Azure Blue Paler than the Sky), an admitter of her own mistakes in Ep 37 ("I've been so involved with my own problems that I haven't been going a good job as SC Treasurer."), and someone capable of being warm and friendly (see game of squash).  Ep 1 Juri is a very different person from the one we see in Ep 39.


(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 Top07-18-2013 09:39:48 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Davine Lu Linvega wrote:

Pure Awesome

Good to see you again! And I'm adopting your story into my personal canon. Anthy has a lonely hearts column under an assumed name in the school newspaper just for this purpose.


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#17 | Back to Top07-20-2013 01:25:05 PM

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

Re: Relationship advice at Ohtori

Haha, thanks. Something called me back here and it appears I've chosen a fun time to return, what with the exploration of Nietzsche's sexy side you have going in the other thread.

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