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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 Top07-28-2013 10:05:11 PM

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

Dios and the mythology of fascism

My dad once reflected on his youth in Maoist China. He talked at some length about the irrationality of the regime, but then said that if Mao did one thing right, he really made the people believe in themselves.

While thinking on this recently, I realized that this is the basic psychological tactic behind all dictators who have any degree of popular support. They tell the people that they are not just people, but The People, that by coming together under his banner, they can accomplish great things. Hitler's theory of the "master race" is an obvious iteration of this simple technique. And of course every religion ever to exist uses this exact method. Follow Christ and you will be "saved!" The meek shall inherit the earth! Read these sutras and attain enlightenment!

And of course Dios is the exact same way. Fight in the Rose Duels, and you will bring the world Revolution! What Revolution is exactly, nobody really knows, but it sounds pretty cool. The people he tries to appeal to are the psychologically insecure, just as most famous dictators take power when the people are at their most uncertain.

Isolating the active ingredient behind the appeal of Dios allows one to realize the nature of the "revolution" that quietly takes place in the last episode. Before Utena's death, every character seemed to really look up to another character, to in a way worship him/her as a god. Touga had Akio, Saionji and Nanami both had Touga, Miki and Kozue had each other, Shiori envied and resented Juri. Each character "knew" their place and did not seriously attempt to displace their object of worship. (This is probably the real reason they lost their duels: to win would be to smash their idols, to destroy their reason to exist.)

After Utena's disappearance, this all changes. They no longer view their sempai from a distance. They either strive seriously to become their equals, like Saionji or Nanami or Kozue or Shiori, or they abandon them altogether like those three girls at the end. And Anthy, the ultimate passive admirer, goes out into the world and takes steps towards emulating Utena's fearlessness.


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

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#2 | Back to Top07-29-2013 05:20:07 AM

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

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

(Yeah, this is gonna end badly...)

I think that applies more to Akio/End of the World than Dios; he seemed to treat all 'princesses' as equal. Akio, on the other hand, firmly believes in a divide between the special people and the extras.

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#3 | Back to Top07-29-2013 08:38:43 AM

zevrem
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Registered: 03-23-2013
Posts: 387

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

At the end of the series, there are no more princesses. There are no more passive admirers. Those gossiping girls at the end of the series who've forgotten who Utena is are just as much a sign of this as Shiori joining the fencing club. I guess this is what the Revolution is once you frame it in terms of the show's symbolism. They don't necessarily get rid of "princes," since they've retained kendo and fencing and other "princely" customs, what they get rid of is schemers.

And Dios becoming Akio I think is a sign of what all populist ideologies must become. In Umberto Eco's [ulr=http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html]14 Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt[/url], he states that in fascism, the people must be "weak" and in need of a leader, that they must become privileged through association with the group or idea. By becoming associated with that group or idea, they then become privileged "aristocrats" of a sort, which implies that there must then be serfs. To be "saved" is to be privileged. Marx even admitted this aspect of populism, declaring his ideology to be a "dictatorship of the proletariat."


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

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#4 | Back to Top07-29-2013 09:15:14 AM

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

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

zevrem wrote:

They don't necessarily get rid of "princes," since they've retained kendo and fencing and other "princely" customs, what they get rid of is schemers.

There's not a would-be or actual "prince" in that show that isn't a schemer.

And pretty much everyone in the show who has dialogue picks up a sword to fight at least once, including Shiori, long before Utena gets out of Ohtori.

(Have fun, all. Have fun.)


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

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#5 | Back to Top07-29-2013 09:36:31 AM

zevrem
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Registered: 03-23-2013
Posts: 387

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

All the would-be princes are also princesses in their own way. Nanami is an obvious example, but like I said, Touga has Akio, Shiori has Juri, etc.


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

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#6 | Back to Top07-29-2013 09:38:42 AM

zevrem
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Registered: 03-23-2013
Posts: 387

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

And Akio has Anthy. He clearly envies her power over human psychology and the forces of nature. Since he's the only one who doesn't give up his status of "princess," he's the only main character who gets screwed.


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

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#7 | Back to Top08-18-2013 09:24:21 PM

zevrem
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Registered: 03-23-2013
Posts: 387

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

I think it's enlightening to hearken back to the basic symbolism of fascism.

The central image of fascism is the fasces, a bundle of sticks. Individually, the sticks are weak, but collectively, the sticks are strong. This belief is more or less universal among the cast of Utena, except, perhaps, for the fillete revolutionaire herself. Akio and the Seitokai might be fairly strong individually, but all of them cling to the group out of fear and uncertainty. The only thing that separates them from the faceless masses is that they are more concerned with being the cord that binds the fasces than being one of the sticks.

The swords of hatred embody a peculiar form of this ethos. They're not bound by any external factor; they are bound, instead, by a common emotion, and orderly group behavior emerges naturally from it. This enemy is everything that is "soft" and "human" and enduring nonetheless, which is represented by Anthy. This hatred doesn't really emanate from a central processing unit the way religion or political ideology does; it's something reflexive and "natural," and thus, when the object of hatred appears, they organize themselves without prompting.


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

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#8 | Back to Top08-18-2013 09:34:35 PM

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

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

This "fear and uncertainty" is more precisely the fear that they can accomplish nothing by themselves.


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

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#9 | Back to Top08-18-2013 11:56:00 PM

spoon-san
Someday Shiner
Registered: 03-18-2009
Posts: 3423

Re: Dios and the mythology of fascism

I interpreted Dios more as trying to free princesses from being princesses, or from being the Rose Bride, to be specific.  However, the intentions of Dios were warped from the beginning as illustrated in the very first scene in the anime with that recycled fairy tale.  Of course, this is rather banal for anyone who has seen the series through even once.  And of course, what the power of Dios meant to each character was molded according to the character's own motives.  Hence why Utena was initially chosen to become the champion who would wield that power since her motives were most true to that of Dios'.

There was nothing intrinsically wrong with revolution because revolution, after all, freed everyone from rejecting their own agency. 

Because SKU is so ambiguous, you can certainly look at the series in context of political ideology since political ideology deals with the balance of power in both a large scale economic and psychological sense.  So in regards to fascism, patriarchy, religion, and personal power in relationships (because really, it's all the same when you get down to the root of it all), it's all relevant to the duels, the motives behind the duels, the power to revolutionize the world, Dios, and so forth.   It's a psychological anime, after all.

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