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Gougai! Gougai!

Hey I know you have opinions, put them in here! Translation suggestions for episodes 25-39, thanks all for your help!

ALSO!!! After the Revolution is now translated, scanlated, and ready for consumption! Thanks to everyone that's helped out! Ayu, you're awesome. Download here!

#1 | Back to Top09-02-2016 06:20:32 AM

barafubuki
Touga Topper
Registered: 05-13-2016
Posts: 56

Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

NOTICE: The manga has been translated!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5st8xp9gek9qd … a.pdf?dl=0

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I happened upon this fan theory from yuuki101percent and believed it was just too interesting to not share with everyone on here.

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The 13th Month of Belladonna and Revolutionary Girl Utena (Mikage Souji x Chida Tokiko)

(I would like to warn you that this post contains spoilers in relation to the Black Rose Arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena as well as The 13th Month of Belladonna)

Souji Mikage (Professor Nemuro), who appears in the Black Rose Arc, of Revolutionary Girl Utena is a handsomely drawn and talented high school prodigy. In truth, however, he is not a high schooler at all, but in fact, a middle-aged man of many decades. Time has stopped for this man while he remains suspended in an illusion of memories of his beloved Chida Tokiko. He also becomes the puppet master orchestrating the strange incidents happening at the school.

Unable to forget his love from days long ago, Mikage has been immersed in his memories for years on end. You may think that this man is not the type of character to appeal to women, but if you speak with the Utena fandom, you will find there are many girls who really like Mikage Souji. And, of course, with such a nice character design and voice, it is easy to understand his appeal on a superficial level, but does the extent of the fascination truly end there?

According to Ikuhara Kunihiko’s episode commentary, the ending of the second arc was originally supposed to conclude with Chida Tokiko coming to call on Mikage, and after many years of clinging to the past, he would be released from his illusion of time. However, this idea was modified into the harsher ending we currently have. (These details derive from the BDBOX commentary.)

I love episodes 22 and 23 which pertain to Mikage’s backstory, and I have watched them countless times. However, at the very end of the arc, Mikage is rejected from the dueling game, and his existence disappears into the world of legend. While this was necessary for the theme of the work, I am still saddened that there was no one who came to rescue him in the end.

What kind of story would it have been if it had ended with Chida Tokiko coming to call on Mikage Souji?

I have envisioned my own ending, but I’ve also had a hunch that this ending has already been revealed to us. What I am referring to Saitou Chiho’s The 13th Month of Belladonna from her Love Stories anthology.

The 13th Month of Belladonna is found in the 11th book of the Love Stories collection. This short story features a father and son who share the same name of Mikage. The elder Mikage and his lover appear to be Mikage Souji and Chida Tokiko.

According to Director Ikuhara, Shoujo Kakumei Utena was inspired by Saitou Chiho’s work. And because Satiou often seems to reference Utena in her other works, it is very likely that The 13th Month of Belladonna was the inspiration for the original climax of the Black Rose Arc.

I have been told that this story was published in the 1997 February Volume of Petit Comic, but was written in the previous year of 1996. Nemuro Memorial Hall, the title of the 22nd episode of Utena aired just a few months later in August of 1997. The timing seems to have been back to back.

Summary:

The protagonist, Okuda Ema, is orphaned at the age of 10 when she lost both of her parents in a traffic accident. Ema happens upon Mikage Arness Japan’s young CEO Mikage Shou, and eventually marries him. But before she begins a life of blissful marriage, she learns that her aunt, Nogata Eiko, whom she hasn’t heard from in years, has suddenly died and left Ema an inheritance worth ¥1,080,000,000. At the same time, the management of her husband’s company is in danger. To top it all off, Ema learns that her husband has secretly sought the advice of a lawyer for a loan of ¥400,000,000. Ema begins to speculate that perhaps the reason this man married her was so he could fall back on her inheritance. Then, Ema learns that the medicine her husband provides her for her stomach pains is Belladonna. When Ema was a child, her aunt told her that Belladonna is a plant with enough poison to kill a human being. Ema refuses to drink his medicine. And then...

Later on in the story, Ema does drink a cocktail she believes her husband has poisoned with Belladonna, but she does not die. However, she has, in fact, consumed small amounts of Belladonna from this concoction. After surmounting this trial of love, she acknowledges that she is pregnant.

But before the story concludes, there is one final plot disturbance pertaining to Shou’s Father (who also shares the surname Mikage). This mysterious character rides around in a wheel chair and manipulates his son. He spends his time researching poison, and in his private room, he cultivates Belladonna, Castorbean, Foxgloves, and other poisonous plants.

http://cdn-ak.f.st-hatena.com/images/fotolife/y/yuuki101Percent/20140326/20140326225746.jpg

The elder Mikage attempts to kill Ema by placing Belladonna in her tea.

It is then revealed that long before Shou or Ema were born, Mikage the elder was involved in a romantic relationship with Nogata Eiko. However, one day, Eiko informs her lover that she is pregnant with the child of another man. Before she departs, he decides to poison Eiko, but it was not enough to take her life. Decades pass, and by a mere coincidence, the elder Mikage happens upon Ema and notices her uncanny resemblance to Eiko. At first sight, Ema appears to be Eiko’s child. And so, in order to keep her in his grip, he orchestrates the marriage between her and his son with the intention to kill his future daughter-in-law. When Shou and Ema realize they have been deceived, the father commits suicide by consuming his own poison. And just as the stories have told, the poison grants him ghostly visions, and an illusory apparition of Eiko appears before the elder Mikage to carry him away. Ema once again remembers her Aunt Eiko saying the phrase "to be loved enough to be killed" and "to be happy enough to die".

But I digress. With the same surname of Mikage, these two characters are both swayed by their feelings for their lovers from the past, and they both share an awakening experience pertaining to their lingering affections. Does it not seem as though Nemuro and the elder Mikage have numerous commonalities shared between them?

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There is a lot left written up from that website that I have not translated here, but the above is pretty much the core analysis. After reading this theory, I dug up some raw scans of The 13th Month of Belladonna, and sure enough, the similarities are very striking...to think that Saitou was writing a story about Mikage while Utena was in production...!

And the name Mikage is not simply a coincidence in sound only, the Chinese characters used to write the name are identical. Other things I noticed were the bank that Ema works at (and where Shou Mikage is the CEO), a very tall building lurks from behind with a crest that resembles an phoenix in flight. Hmmm...could this be a reference to the tower at Ohtori? All the scenes in the flower garden also seem to wink at you as if to say, "Yes, this is Utena". I also thought it was interesting that Tokiko's name means Child of Time, while Eiko's name meaning Child of Verse is composed of the radicals Speech and Eternity. These subtle nods toward Utena put a smile on my face.

From my understanding, there has never been an English version published of this short story, but I've been thinking about translating the manga and releasing it on here. Provided, there is enough interest in the material.

Last edited by barafubuki (08-10-2017 11:04:16 AM)

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#2 | Back to Top09-02-2016 11:38:22 PM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 682

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Cool material! Just to be clear, everyone, barafubuki translated this - the post is originally in Japanese. It's awesome to have any window into the Japanese fandom, and their thoughts & theories.


I can't say I'm very convinced by the essay, though. The names are a thing - maybe "Mikage" was a shout out to the Utena project that Saitou was involved in at the same time. But although the Mikages may both be "both swayed by their feelings for their lovers from the past, and they both share an awakening experience pertaining to their lingering affections," I don't see enough similarities between the stories to be able to directly compare the endings. For starters, Belladonna's Mikage knows exactly what he's doing the whole time, while the Utena anime's Mikage is defined by being delusional or in denial about his history.

Secondly, I think the premise "And because Saitou often seems to reference Utena in her other works..." needs support. Otherwise the conclusion that "it is very likely that The 13th Month of Belladonna was the inspiration for the original climax of the Black Rose Arc" falls flat. Does Saitou "often" reference Utena in her Utena-concurrent and post-Utena works? Because if so, that's news to me, and I need examples.

Finally, what about the fact that Saitou did indeed write her own version of Mikage's story? Admittedly, it was published the next year in the Spring of 1998, and the author's contention is that Saitou was responding to the Black Rose story that that just recently been produced, but if I was going to look anywhere for Saitou's spin on Mikage Souji's story, that'd be the obvious place to look. Are there any stronger similarities between "Belladonna of the 13th Month" and the manga Black Rose chapter? I don't own a copy of the manga to check.

It's an interesting connection, though.  I would absolutely love to see the Saitou story translated, if only to better judge any correlations for myself.

What are the rest of y'all's thoughts?

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#3 | Back to Top09-03-2016 12:58:40 PM

barafubuki
Touga Topper
Registered: 05-13-2016
Posts: 56

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Dallbun, you bring up some valid points. I haven't really read much of Saitou's work (apart from a little bit of Utena). I do not know to what extent Utena is referenced in her other serializations. It would be great if yuuki101percent was on here to defend them for us.

It is certainly true that Nemuro lives in denial about his own history while the elder Mikage is aware of his own actions, and skepticism is a valid stance, but I interpreted this as Nemuro and elder Mikage both being in denial about the reality of their relationships. What I see, is a strong correlation of jealousy between Nemuro and the elder Mikage. Nemuro appears to be "conscious enough" of the choices he is making in order to attain his selfish desires, and his delusion (whether it be the product of Akio or his own psychosis) seems to derive from his despair over Tokiko. In defense of his consciousness, I think there is evidence for that in his "sacrifices must be made" speech during the scene when Nemuro hall is aflame, as well as the scheming that takes place between him and Mamiya from the very start of Black Rose.

The next part of the essay (that didn't get translated above) refers to similarities between Eiko and Tokiko, and even compares the man with whom Eiko has a child with to Akio. (Woah! I know the theory regarding Mikage as Utena's father is a popular one...but Akio as Utena's father is even more chilling! While there is no evidence to support this anywhere in Utena, it was certainly an interesting idea to entertain for a moment.)

Of course, in Belladonna, the protagonist is not Eiko's daughter, she's Eiko's niece—but that is what the elder Mikage believes to be true. So we have an instance of mistaken identity in both Utena and Belladonna. Elder Mikage sees Ema as Eiko's daughter, and Nemuro sees Utena as Tokiko.

How deep does Nemuro's hatred toward Akio run? I was under the impression that it was considerable—enough to motivate him to kill the Rose Bride and drag several innocents along to that end. Likewise, the elder Mikage is so absorbed in his resentment towards the woman who he feels has betrayed him, that he exacts his revenge on innocents.

If I remember correctly, the essay also questions Eiko's desire for the elder Mikage. I think that is an important factor to think about here as well. Nemuro has a very entitled attitude towards Tokiko's feelings, and thinks that her affection should have gone to him. But Tokiko directly states to Nemuro that the man she fell in love with was Akio during their parting scene. Did she ever have feelings for Nemuro? I don't think the writing in Utena was ever truly clear about that.

I've only read through Belladonna once, but the parting scene that occurs between the elder Mikage and Eiko had a similar vibe to the one in Utena. Eiko left the elder Mikage to live with another man. This betrayal leaves him distraught. He believes that he was supposed to be the one to end up with Eiko, but who does Eiko truly prefer? In Utena, since we are seeing this all from the perspective of Nemuro's thoughts and feelings, we aren't given any real insight into Tokiko's mind. Eiko's motivations are not really explored either, but I would love to see this further debated.

When I have a little bit of time, I think I will post the remaining analysis from yuuki101percent's blog as a Part 2.

Last edited by barafubuki (09-05-2016 12:37:17 AM)

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#4 | Back to Top09-05-2016 12:19:07 AM

Arale
Ballgoer
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 143
Website

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Dallbun wrote:

Finally, what about the fact that Saitou did indeed write her own version of Mikage's story? Admittedly, it was published the next year in the Spring of 1998, and the author's contention is that Saitou was responding to the Black Rose story that that just recently been produced, but if I was going to look anywhere for Saitou's spin on Mikage Souji's story, that'd be the obvious place to look. Are there any stronger similarities between "Belladonna of the 13th Month" and the manga Black Rose chapter? I don't own a copy of the manga to check.

The manga Black Rose chapter is really short, so it doesn't go into Nemuro, Tokiko or anything. Summary off the top of my head - Mikage challenges Utena to a duel under the Memorial Hall, and during the fight Utena and Anthy notice that he keeps talking to somebody behind some curtains. That is, of course, Mamiya, but unlike in the show, there's no appearance of Mamiya, Mikage's just talking to nothing. When he realizes this, he freaks out and then the building starts to collapse, it kills Mikage and frees him from his "hourglass being stopped".

It's a good chapter, but super simple compared to the show.


im a shadow play girl irl

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#5 | Back to Top09-05-2016 12:31:04 AM

barafubuki
Touga Topper
Registered: 05-13-2016
Posts: 56

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Arale wrote:

The manga Black Rose chapter is really short, so it doesn't go into Nemuro, Tokiko or anything. Summary off the top of my head - Mikage challenges Utena to a duel under the Memorial Hall, and during the fight Utena and Anthy notice that he keeps talking to somebody behind some curtains. That is, of course, Mamiya, but unlike in the show, there's no appearance of Mamiya, Mikage's just talking to nothing. When he realizes this, he freaks out and then the building starts to collapse, it kills Mikage and frees him from his "hourglass being stopped".

It's a good chapter, but super simple compared to the show.

How interesting! I never got that far into the manga. I know that I read some of it in high school at the insistence of my friends, but I'm certain it wasn't more than a single book or two. This was back when it first came out (and the first year I started studying Japanese). I hadn't seen the anime, and honestly, had very little interest in the material at that time in my life.

I happened upon 4 and 5 plus the movie adaptation a few months ago at a used book store for a very good price. I've decided not to read any of the books I own until I acquire the rest, but the online selection is a bit too expensive for my budget.

Hopefully I'll come across the rest at another used book store soon, but if I don't, at least we have the new omnibus edition to look forward to!

Last edited by barafubuki (09-05-2016 01:15:27 AM)

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#6 | Back to Top09-10-2016 03:53:31 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8700
Website

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

bara--thank you so much for this awesomesauce! It's fascinating to get a window into the analysis done by Japanese fans of SKU. The two communities have pretty much no overlap, and I often wonder what interpretations in Japan look like, especially given obvious differences in perspective, right down to the popularity of characters. It's especially fascinating to see analysis by people who have the creators' entire libraries with which to draw from, and a broader context for material created before and since.

barafubuki wrote:

From my understanding, there has never been an English version published of this short story, but I've been thinking about translating the manga and releasing it on here. Provided, there is enough interest in the material.

I would absolutely be interested, and provided the material would be happy to do image editing for the raws and such.

It sounds broadly to me like while I don't necessarily agree with the essay's essential theory, that there are broad strokes of similarity in the style of story they're telling. (I would be very curious to see if the material reflects symbolism or imagery that appears later in the show.) The way she describes Mikage's popularity is curiously telling in a cultural sense, an emphasis placed on a middle aged man being absolutely unable to recover from a youthful obsession of his past, unable to grow into the more cynical perspective about women his peers outside of Ohtori will have.

I almost wonder if this story ultimately is represented not by Mikage's arc, but rather an idea reflected much later--the use of belladonna as a conversational plot point between Utena and Anthy. Ideas like mistaken identity and 'immunity based on exposure' sort of things have a lot of symbolic resonance there as well. Might be something to also explore.

Dallbun wrote:

Does Saitou "often" reference Utena in her Utena-concurrent and post-Utena works? Because if so, that's news to me, and I need examples.

I would need to do a lot of digging through my mountains of shit, and can't speak to post-Utena, but I do recall a lot of connections being made loosely between themes and symbols she uses often that appear later in SKU. A big one that I've probably got the most evidence to prove is the almost fetishizing of dark skinned characters. She uses them frequently as the 'exotic' love interest in a triangle, and uses it as short-hand to suggest a character whose thoughts and perspective aren't supposed to be accessible easily to the reader. Given how infrequently I've seen dark skinned characters in anime, Akio and Anthy likely come directly from this perhaps dubious tradition in her work. As I said, I'd have to see if I still have the comparison images, but way back in the day I also remember someone providing pretty good evidence to suggest 'Prince Lick' sort of imagery came from her, though it ultimately ends up elsewhere in the show--Akio's licking and biting off a flower petal later. Both of these ultimately only show a visual connection though, and I can't say much about deeper comparisons since Saito's work outside of SKU hasn't really been available to us. I even have one and I don't even know WTF it is, haha.

barafubuki wrote:

I happened upon 4 and 5 plus the movie adaptation a few months ago at a used book store for a very good price. I've decided not to read any of the books I own until I acquire the rest, but the online selection is a bit too expensive for my budget.

:koff: If there's a demand for this stuff with everyone, I can make it happen. emot-keke


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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#7 | Back to Top08-10-2017 11:02:20 AM

barafubuki
Touga Topper
Registered: 05-13-2016
Posts: 56

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Sorry it took so long. I'm not happy with the entirety of the translation...but I suppose it will just have to do.

Even though it does seem like bit of a stretch, this was still fun to work on and an interesting theory nonetheless.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5st8xp9gek9qd … a.pdf?dl=0

Last edited by barafubuki (08-10-2017 11:02:56 AM)

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#8 | Back to Top08-10-2017 04:17:37 PM

gorgeousshutin
Bare Footman
Registered: 04-11-2012
Posts: 1308
Website

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Thank you for sharing!


(SKU/MPD) Seinen Kakumei Utena (Updated to Part 42 as of Aug 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 Top08-10-2017 05:25:41 PM

barafubuki
Touga Topper
Registered: 05-13-2016
Posts: 56

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Also, here are the final two images for those who don't have the Utena manga:

http://i.imgur.com/VQpVVZ9.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/SJsQ5zs.jpg

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#10 | Back to Top08-10-2017 07:38:05 PM

DrCornelius
Saionji Slapper
Registered: 06-15-2010
Posts: 23

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

I was shocked to see that Utena straight up kills Mikage in the manga. It doesn't really carry over into the rest of the story, given the nature of it being a one-shot. But it does make me wonder what it would be like if that happened in the anime, and Utena has to deal with the guilt of having killed someone.

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#11 | Back to Top08-10-2017 10:09:19 PM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 682

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Awesome, barafubuki! I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it's really cool that you carried through and fully translated it. etc-love

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#12 | Back to Top08-14-2017 08:15:02 AM

LadyButterflyNebula
Rose Smilee
From: Arkansas
Registered: 03-23-2017
Posts: 121
Website

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

Thank you for sharing this!  I am trying to get a complete collection of English translations of Saito's works.  There are so many good points in conversation!

So something I have been mulling over; Is there a repository of translated works by Saito?  There are a few of her stories I have not been able to either find out right, or have only partially translated. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction in advance!

Back to the subject matter at hand:  I don't think It really counts as Utena killing Mikage in the manga.  She wakes him up, which breaks his Dorian Grey style hour glass. It was a return to reality, which broke his mental construct in which he had been living.  In truth he was dead long before Utena came along.  She just gave him the opportunity to be free of his construct. It's Mikage's choice to stay in the build, as Utena clearly tries to convince him to leave with Anthy and her.


Usubeni midarete manatsu no yo no yume yume
Tobitatsu kagerou koi kogarerou
Anata wo omoeba yume ni yume ni yume miru
Afureru yorokobi towa ni towa ni

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#13 | Back to Top08-14-2017 07:14:33 PM

gpink
Eternal Castellan
Registered: 11-21-2009
Posts: 265

Re: Belladonna of the 13th Month or The Original Ending to Black Rose

This is a good start for finding out if a scanlation exists and if it is complete.
https://www.mangaupdates.com/authors.html?id=141

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