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#1 | Back to Top02-07-2017 05:50:27 AM

SaigonAlice
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 41

A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

http://68.media.tumblr.com/10f6a794d57919f75530fde626404feb/tumblr_inline_myecwej29J1qiuh5y.png
http://68.media.tumblr.com/e0deaab7e9eaae63da91cf9d281da673/tumblr_inline_myecwuvVyG1qiuh5y.png
(Credit to tumblr user dragoplateau for the screenshots)

If we are to believe what is said, then it implies that every moment Utena shared with her best friend Wakaba, or her (kind of) friends Miki/Juri/Nanami, she never felt genuinely happy. Was this part of the benevolent, Princely image she attempted to project, like a Noblesse Oblige? To smile and nod to the peasants around her, feigning either enthusiasm or concern when required?

I'm probably overreading it, and the lines were written that way only to lend dramatic effect. But still. Why those lines specifically? Why imply that you weren't happy hanging with your other friends? It still seems odd to me.


Also did anyone analyse that scene where Chu Chu fights with the frog? I have some thoughts on that but don't want to drive an old point if its been done already, lol.


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#2 | Back to Top02-07-2017 06:09:59 AM

Arale
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From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

I always paid attention to those lines. What I got out of them was that Utena actually had really bad depression this whole time and never showed it. It's a pretty sad implication, but one I've always considered true since I first realized it.

Last edited by Arale (02-07-2017 06:10:10 AM)


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#3 | Back to Top02-07-2017 08:01:03 AM

malna
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From: Poland
Registered: 10-03-2011
Posts: 205

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

I remember reading somewhere on this forum that this translation is not the most accurate. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read that or what the more accurate version would be.


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#4 | Back to Top02-07-2017 01:17:40 PM

Dallbun
Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 660

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

malna wrote:

I remember reading somewhere on this forum that this translation is not the most accurate. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read that or what the more accurate version would be.

The  Chu... goes

Utena Translation Project wrote:

Utena:  Himemiya...you don't know...
Utena:  ...how happy I was...just being together with you...

There seems to be a transcription error for this line in  Chu..., and I can't currently access the otherJapanese script I use, but the UTP translation appears significantly more accurate.

Finally, SaigonAlice, I absolutely want to hear your thoughts on the frog. emot-smile


Longer Translation Projects:  Chu...Chu...Chu...Chu...Chu...

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#5 | Back to Top02-07-2017 09:08:15 PM

SaigonAlice
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 41

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Arale wrote:

I always paid attention to those lines. What I got out of them was that Utena actually had really bad depression this whole time and never showed it. It's a pretty sad implication, but one I've always considered true since I first realized it.

Actually this sounds a lot more probable then the theory that I had lol. What, with her parents having died and all...she's not bitter but I think she can get a little apathetic.

Dallbun wrote:

malna wrote:

I remember reading somewhere on this forum that this translation is not the most accurate. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read that or what the more accurate version would be.

The  Chu... goes

Utena Translation Project wrote:

Utena:  Himemiya...you don't know...
Utena:  ...how happy I was...just being together with you...

There seems to be a transcription error for this line in  Chu..., and I can't currently access the otherJapanese script I use, but the UTP translation appears significantly more accurate.

Awww...emot-frown thanks for the correction.

Dallbun wrote:

Finally, SaigonAlice, I absolutely want to hear your thoughts on the frog. emot-smile

https://68.media.tumblr.com/ce98863bd8af8243b77f3641d86c0387/tumblr_ol1e950Zks1rb11soo1_540.png
And I'll gladly try to analyse this scene ! emot-biggrin

1st of all, who the hell is this frog?! emot-confused We've never see it until now, but I think common consensus says that it's Akio's animal familiar, much like what Chu Chu is to Anthy. And in many ways, these familiars represent their masters... (EDIT: User Arale kindly pointed out that the frog has appeared in earlier scenes!)

Can you recall the fairytale of The Frog Prince, the one where the Frog swims down a pond to catch the princess' gold ball? As we know, the Frog in the story is actually a prince, fallen prey to a curse (by a witch, perhaps, but who knows). So, in essence, a frog symbolises a former (or imperfect) prince. That's pretty fitting for Akio!

Furthermore, have you heard of the expression "Frog in the Well"? It means that one has a limited perspective because of the limited world one lives in. One is perfectly comfortable remaining ignorant and cradled in the safety of the world they live in... It's basically mocking Akio! He, too, is someone too afraid to face the actual adult world - the consequences to his actions - and would rather continue manipulating troubled teenagers through his false planetarium.

I believe we see Chu Chu (a.ka Anthy) fighting off the frog (a.ka. Akio), struggling to do so, because Anthy herself is still struggling from getting away from her abusive relationship with Akio. Escape and recovery from abuse here is portrayed as a process, not a singular hurdle. I think this is a very important distinction to make.

Last edited by SaigonAlice (02-08-2017 01:15:30 AM)


Thân em như quả mít trên cây,
Vỏ nó sù sì, múi nó dày.
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Xin đừng mân mó nhựa ra tay. - Hồ Xuân Hương

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#6 | Back to Top02-07-2017 10:21:56 PM

Arale
Rose Bride
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Actually, I think we HAVE seen the frog before. I'm just not sure where. But I have memories of a scene at night with at least A frog.

"Overcoming abuse is a process" is a theme I think is very well-captured by the movie, both on its own and as a sequel to the show, so chu-chu having to "overcome" the frog being placed right at the end of the show fits with that. (And in case anybody doesn't know what I'm talking about, I mean how in the movie, Akio technically "dies" early on offscreen, but Anthy still runs into him when leaving the school. Akio physically dies, but the mental scar on Anthy still remains as the main antagonist; literally.)

Actually, speaking of the movie, I wonder if this frog evolved into the character of "Keroppon", who if you didn't know is the red animal thing that is Chu-chu's enemy in the Nanami tape. The commentary describes him as Chu-chu's "nemesis".

EDIT: Yep, there's a similar scene in episode 9.

http://ohtori.nu/gallery/var/resizes/Series/Episodes/Student_Council_Arc/09/Series_ep09_028.jpg?m=1380828283

Might show up more places too but here's one at least. Of course, this frog doesn't have markings on his back, so it may be a different frog. Saionji frog perhaps?

Oh, one last thing: This further cements the idea of parallelism between episodes 9 and 39.

Last edited by Arale (02-08-2017 12:49:16 AM)


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#7 | Back to Top02-15-2017 07:06:33 AM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8602
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Arale wrote:

Might show up more places too but here's one at least. Of course, this frog doesn't have markings on his back, so it may be a different frog. Saionji frog perhaps?

Oh, one last thing: This further cements the idea of parallelism between episodes 9 and 39.

Isn't this scene where Saionji says something like "Why you always getting in my way???" to Chu-chu, totally ignorant or uncaring to the fight Chu-chu is having with the frog that ate Chu-chu's toy bug?

Because based on that you could read it a few ways, especially given Saionji's habit of making connections he doesn't consciously process. The frog is Akio already consuming Anthy's attention by being a bigger asshole than Saionji, and Saionji is unaware of how right he is to ask about someone who is always harshing his Anthy pursuit buzz. Or the frog, like the episode 39 frog, is broadly a male aggressor on Anthy, and he's again, accidentally asking the right question: it is, after all, Anthy that makes access to Anthy hard for him, he just doesn't know it. He can blame it on the mouse thing and feel a lot better about life than he would be dealing with the fact that the love of his life doesn't want him.

I feel like we see the frog again, but I can't recall where! As for the translation of Utena's line about being happy, I didn't realize they translated it in such an absolute! But it does suggest a reading that stands up even without it; like you said Arale, Utena could very well be depressed, and it would make sense given her circumstances. She covers it up with I'd say a good half of Freud (and his daughter's) body of work, but it could certainly be there, and it's a reading I've never given much thought to!


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#8 | Back to Top02-15-2017 08:44:11 AM

crystalwren
Dark Whisperer
From: Brisbane
Registered: 04-21-2009
Posts: 1172
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Thing is, Utena's just as, if not more, isolated as anyone else in the cast. The only thing we know of Utena's background is that both of her parents died suddenly, and then a ghost decided to treat her to some shock performance art for shits and giggles. The only other people who never so much as mentions their family are Mikage and Saionji. Mikage is a mystery and he's meant to be that way; his tragedy is that he doesn't even know who he is beyond the Black Rose and the Dueling Game, courtesy of Akio and Anthy playing cat's cradle with his brain. As for Saionji, after he's expelled his entire life fits under the bunk bed of a high school girl's dorm room.

Utena is surrounded by hero worshipers, but really has only one friend: Wakaba. And her relationship with Wakaba definitely has connotations of a romantic friendship on Wakaba's side, which paradoxically makes it harder for them to be truly close. Wakaba doesn't confide in Utena, and Utena doesn't confide in her. Even Saionji confides in Touga, just like Mikage confides in Mamiya. Utena doesn't confide in anyone, and when you see her in uniform, you're effectively seeing her in armour. She's taken on an identity that's completely artificial, much like an actor in a play. It's hard to be truly happy when you are surrounded by fawning girls, who, let's be honest, would probably turn down any form of genuine affection you'd care to offer them.

At the start, Utena gets what she thought she always wanted: a princess of her very own to take care of. But as time went on, she realises that aside from wanting to be a prince, she really has nothing. It's really not surprising that she quickly fixates on Anthy, who is infinitely weirder than she is, and successfully pretends to be thoroughly two dimensional in a way that boots Utena into the fourth dimension.

Anthy appears at first to be everything that Utena has ever wanted, and then something completely unexpected happens: they become friends in a way that Utena hitherto had been incapable of. For the first time in a very long time, Utena finds herself caring for someone for their sake, not hers. It's a heady feeling, especially for a teenager.

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#9 | Back to Top02-15-2017 12:58:02 PM

Arale
Rose Bride
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 113
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Giovanna wrote:

I feel like we see the frog again, but I can't recall where!

I figured this out too; Mitsuru's Growing Pains!


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#10 | Back to Top02-15-2017 09:27:35 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8602
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Holy crap you're right!

Chu...

Utena: Man, but it's raining hard.
Utena: I bet the roses would like to see the sun, too.
Anthy: That's true.
Anthy: Roses are sensitive to seasonal changes, after all.
Utena: Nanami and Tsuwabuki-kun?
Utena: Tsuwabuki-kun sure manages to hang in there.
Utena: If that were me, I couldn't live that way more than three days.
Anthy: I'm sure he can because he loves her.
Utena: I guess so.
Utena: But it would be nice if she appreciated him.

Definitely feels like one of those 'but this is just as much about Anthy' scenes framed this way. They seem to crop up in the BRS every time I rewatch it, like more than elsewhere, Anthy is especially turned inward to her relationship with her brother. Maybe because it's still quite private and her 'own' compared to later when Utena's just downstairs? Or maybe the task of being Mamiya does it.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#11 | Back to Top02-15-2017 10:00:47 PM

SaigonAlice
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 41

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

crystalwren wrote:

Thing is, Utena's just as, if not more, isolated as anyone else in the cast. The only thing we know of Utena's background is that both of her parents died suddenly, and then a ghost decided to treat her to some shock performance art for shits and giggles. The only other people who never so much as mentions their family are Mikage and Saionji. Mikage is a mystery and he's meant to be that way; his tragedy is that he doesn't even know who he is beyond the Black Rose and the Dueling Game, courtesy of Akio and Anthy playing cat's cradle with his brain. As for Saionji, after he's expelled his entire life fits under the bunk bed of a high school girl's dorm room.

Utena is surrounded by hero worshipers, but really has only one friend: Wakaba. And her relationship with Wakaba definitely has connotations of a romantic friendship on Wakaba's side, which paradoxically makes it harder for them to be truly close. Wakaba doesn't confide in Utena, and Utena doesn't confide in her. Even Saionji confides in Touga, just like Mikage confides in Mamiya. Utena doesn't confide in anyone, and when you see her in uniform, you're effectively seeing her in armour. She's taken on an identity that's completely artificial, much like an actor in a play. It's hard to be truly happy when you are surrounded by fawning girls, who, let's be honest, would probably turn down any form of genuine affection you'd care to offer them.

At the start, Utena gets what she thought she always wanted: a princess of her very own to take care of. But as time went on, she realises that aside from wanting to be a prince, she really has nothing. It's really not surprising that she quickly fixates on Anthy, who is infinitely weirder than she is, and successfully pretends to be thoroughly two dimensional in a way that boots Utena into the fourth dimension.

Anthy appears at first to be everything that Utena has ever wanted, and then something completely unexpected happens: they become friends in a way that Utena hitherto had been incapable of. For the first time in a very long time, Utena finds herself caring for someone for their sake, not hers. It's a heady feeling, especially for a teenager.

This is a really well put-together analysis! Thank you! emot-dance

But hasn't Utena confided in Akio before (during the Black Rose arc, I believe)? Sure Akio had hidden intentions, but she confided in him nonetheless. It's said that even if the advice isn't apt at all, the act of receiving advice is still a great source of comfort...

Oh and I'd like to add that as lonely as Utena felt in her princely armour, it was still the state of form that she felt most comfortable in. This parallels nicely with Anthy; as anguished as she is as the Rose Bride - as a victim of Akio's abuse - she is more terrified of a world outside. Both girls are dissatisfied with the role they've been shoehorned (Anthy more so) but would much prefer that then the alternative, a world where they lack an identity to cling to, where they're not really anybody, really.  Note that we see both Utena and Anthy in coffins. They serve as both opposites and equals.

Exhibit A, Episode 12 (credits to tumblr user lemedy for the gif!):
http://68.media.tumblr.com/08297c842716f64a518705abcfe76d7e/tumblr_nvbtyq94NB1r717c6o5_250.gif
"I've taken back what I was"

This is probably one of the most "selfish-sounding" quotes from Utena. Again she wants to go back to her source of comfort, her prince identity.

Last edited by SaigonAlice (02-16-2017 12:43:46 AM)


Thân em như quả mít trên cây,
Vỏ nó sù sì, múi nó dày.
Quân tử có yêu thì đóng cọc,
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#12 | Back to Top02-17-2017 05:19:51 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 5954
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

SaigonAlice wrote:

Exhibit A, Episode 12 (credits to tumblr user lemedy for the gif!):
http://68.media.tumblr.com/08297c842716f64a518705abcfe76d7e/tumblr_nvbtyq94NB1r717c6o5_250.gif
"I've taken back what I was"

This is probably one of the most "selfish-sounding" quotes from Utena. Again she wants to go back to her source of comfort, her prince identity.

I don't really have much to add, but this is a point I have been hammering on for years. This is not a selfless act. This is Utena treating Anthy like a possession. A valued one, yes, but still a possession. Gio and I have often commented that even though this looks like a victory, this is her least princely moment.


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#13 | Back to Top02-18-2017 03:20:13 AM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8602
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Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Well there's also "I'll beat you all to shit to prove I'm better than you!"


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#14 | Back to Top02-18-2017 03:24:16 AM

SaigonAlice
Juri Jeerer
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 41

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

Yasha wrote:

SaigonAlice wrote:

Exhibit A, Episode 12 (credits to tumblr user lemedy for the gif!):
Chu...
"I've taken back what I was"

This is probably one of the most "selfish-sounding" quotes from Utena. Again she wants to go back to her source of comfort, her prince identity.

I don't really have much to add, but this is a point I have been hammering on for years. This is not a selfless act. This is Utena treating Anthy like a possession. A valued one, yes, but still a possession. Gio and I have often commented that even though this looks like a victory, this is her least princely moment.

And the fact of the matter is, if Utena could safely submit and become a princess, she would. She's quickly seduced by Touga, who she thought was her prince and by Akio, her original prince...both of which the viewer perceives as betrayals to Anthy. What happened to your noble feminist bravado before Utena?

But in my opinion it's understandable. Again as Arale and crystalwren have pointed out, she's been traumatised (but represses the memory), is depressed and likely still grieving for her parents. When you're in that deep of a psychological hellhole you feel helpless. You yearn for the help of a prince-like figure and cling to the idea of a romantic relationship.

Last edited by SaigonAlice (02-18-2017 03:27:39 AM)


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#15 | Back to Top02-24-2017 08:37:35 PM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2737

Re: A few thoughts on the final episode (Spoilers)

I think part of the reason the movie flips their readiness to move things forward is, in part, to highlight what the series could take thirty episodes to get across, or at least, twelve episodes at the beginning: Utena is depressed and has little self-worth that isn't a constantly reiterated facade.

We're invited to laugh, more, at Wakaba's undisputed title as Onion Princess, or at the little little kids' misunderstandings, but Utena isn't really clinging to a high moral ideal so much as childhood if childhood had been right and not the traumatic mess it was.

Which, not uncoincidentally, is probably why Anthy clings to her evil ass brother and his repeat abuse even if she's not totally into it all.

Two of the big concerns of older children's/tween entertainment is a) spying on your neighbors and, b) playing house. And, those are base driving forces in SKU. Learning that these, alone, are not maturity or adulthood is the leap that gets us out of the final episodes.


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