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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

#26 | Back to Top02-05-2007 06:54:10 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I never noticed any of those things before. I always hated the kitten episode and ignored it as much as possible. I think though that Nanami was old enough to start to know right from wrong and to have a sense of death and murder, but I am no expert on child development.

In the episode, “Romance of the Dancing Girls,” what she had always feared finally came true. She found out that the reason why Touga was nice to her was only because he was told to do so.

I always imagined that Touga's love grew cold under Akio's influence. But if he knew about the kitten it may have started much earlier. He does seem good at reading her.

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#27 | Back to Top02-05-2007 10:55:41 PM

Romanticide
Cow Bellhop
From: Mazatlan
Registered: 10-18-2006
Posts: 447

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Alarm wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/ … ap0024.jpg
I believe this is when Utena is about to see the play~

I have always find the movement of the shadow  girl hands a mirrwr of the "transformation" scene but I find really interesting the "speak no evil" comparation you have done guys etc-love


Alarm wrote:

That's all for now~~ I will post more later! I hope to get responses on these!emot-biggrin

Every time I rewatch that scene I can remember this story I heard once. There was once a maiden known all  over the region because of her goodwill and purity, but every knight she was tormented by "unclean" dreams  ( (poor girl!!! She was just horny and was venting her frustation emot-gonk) She asked for advice to her confesor, he told her that it was probably an incubus trying to seduce her. He gave her a blessed candle and told her to light it at knight, that way the demon wouldn't be able to get near to her (and her chastity)
She did as she was told and was able to rest peacefully(and probably more sexually frustated) for 3 days, the third day the candle consumed completely and the demon ravished.

Utena is a goodwiled girl and conserving her purity was needed to turn into a prince, in this case the candles were but it works the same way. Utena was able to resist the incubus(Akio... how fiting) avances for a while but the doubt was already planted in her heart and there came a moment each of the candles lost it's light. When all where consumed she was seduced. (Only simbolically the sex scene was just the next step school-devil)

And I sure many of you didn't light the candles when you needed to school-devil school-devil school-devil


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#28 | Back to Top02-05-2007 11:17:54 PM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

Rose have thorns, Anthy is both sweet and dangerous, but she is also growing, perhaps unbeknownst to herself. It's interesting that they are pink roses though and not purple.

Am I the only who thinks Anthy would have a red rose representing her?

Razara wrote:

Back during the duel, Nanami’s hair is now worn down. Utena takes a step back from her in surprise, and looks down at her with a look of pity. It’s difficult to say what her hair symbolizes in this scene. Her hair is worn down like Utena’s, and in a wild and unconstrained style, like the kitten she had found. Whatever the change may be supposed to look like, it is related to when she realized that she had killed that kitten.

Hehe... when her hair is down like that it almost looks as if it was wet. Maybe that's a reference to the kitten that drowned. Either way it's quite symbolic.

Also, nice analysis about the Nanami episode! I always found it a rather depressing episode, but it was interesting to see that side of Nanami.


The Saionji Support Squad:
Believing in True Friendship Since 2008.

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#29 | Back to Top02-06-2007 12:17:10 AM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I've heard that the cutting of one's hair can also be an act of entering a new stage of life. I think I looked it up ages ago, but I can't find anything on it at the moment.

Anyway for examples; Cecilia from Wild Arms cuts her hair to symbolize she's giving up her status as a princess (in order to save the world and such.) In Final Fantasy IX, Garnet cuts her hair near the end of the game, when she's finally decided to stop being emo about everything.

Although I don't think this relates much to Nanami. It's not as if she's moved beyond her brother fixation or let go of her anger towards Utena or Anthy. (Plus she somehow gets her hair back perfectly to how it was the next time she's on screen.)

Thought I'd mention it, though!


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#30 | Back to Top02-07-2007 10:15:47 AM

Nico
New Student
Registered: 01-25-2007
Posts: 4

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Egg-cellent topic (Haw haw). I always viewed the fans and paper windmill fans as representing caged freedom. "Wind" in a metal cage.

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#31 | Back to Top02-07-2007 02:13:57 PM

Musachan
Saionji Slapper
From: Saudi Arabia
Registered: 01-31-2007
Posts: 27

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Actually, I killed a chick when I was around Nanami's age without understanding, so I've never really held that against her. emot-keke;
I felt really sick and horrified afterwards.

Great topic! I don't understand a lot of the symbolism in the show, so this topic really helps with interpreting it.

The butterflies/milkshake thing still confuses my sister.


Favorite characters: Musashi/Jessie, Kojiro/James, Nyasu/Meowth, Haruka/May, Hikari, Kiryuu Nanami, Tsuwabuki Mitsuru, ChuChu, Rakka, and Reki.

'This time we’re going together! Partners have to be supportive and trusting! Absolutely, unconditionally!' Musashi in Love and The Origin of Youth hoso special.

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#32 | Back to Top02-08-2007 07:02:43 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

The milkshake thing seemed to me to represent childhood but also in Miki's case, childhood marred by the thing he did with Kozue. Milkshakes are very sweet, the kind of thing you're more fond of/get more as a child. People often have fond childhood memories of sipping at milkshakes on the way back from school or at the pond or whatever. However, Miki and Kozue's memory of childhood includes their periods of sexual exploration. The incest that Anthy rather shamelessly indulges in, hence why she's drinking the milkshake Kozue refuses. Kozue refuses it because Miki offers her the throwback without the part she missed, which while incestuous, might have been intimate and comfortable without the knowledge of their 'sin' that Miki dotes on. She asks for it later perhaps in an attempt to find some sense of intimacy that she misses, even if it's not in the form she was familiar with--Maarika covered her end pretty well, I think. (Glad you're making good use of the caps! That's what they're for.)

etc-love etc-love etc-love This thread. More more! The symbolism itself isn't often my specialty, although I could wax Freudian for about a month about either of the ascension sequences. emot-redface (Hay guyz water = vag lol)


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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#33 | Back to Top02-10-2007 08:33:38 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I overdid it a little… Or a lot.

This post was originally so long that I came to the very wise conclusion that I should tone it down a bit. It took quite a few hours to write, but even so, I had a lot of fun writing it. Watching the episode and writing about it while I did so gave me a nice reminder of just why it is that I love Shiori so much.

The episode begins with Juri inside of Anthy’s greenhouse, looking at the picture of Shiori inside of her locket. It’s quite an unusual place to find her. Just as it does for Anthy, the greenhouse symbolizes a birdcage, in which Juri is trapped by her feelings for Shiori. She recalls when Shiori said, “Believe in miracles, and they will know your feelings,” and states that her words are cruel, because the miracle never happened. To believe in miracles means to believe that her wish will come true. In other words, it means to believe that Shiori will one day return her feelings. Juri does not believe in miracles, which means that she does not believe that Shiori will ever return her feelings, but she yearns for miracles/for her feelings to be returned, even though she does not truly believe that they ever will be. 

Let’s skip ahead to the second scene, where Juri is practicing fencing. We see that Chu-Chu is brandishing a small object that looks like a sword. Chu-Chu’s presence in each episode is often symbolic, and in this episode, he has a small role in symbolizing Juri later on. Utena and Anthy are both watching Juri fence. It made clear later on in the episode that both Utena and Anthy symbolize Shiori. Utena symbolizes how Shiori was early on in their friendship, before she was scheming and against Juri. Anthy, on the other hand, symbolizes the part of Shiori that was living miserably in Juri’s shadow.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1147325.jpg
When Shiori appears, Juri knocks the sword out of Miki’s hand, and it lands nearby where Anthy and Utena are standing. When Anthy drops the sword down to one of the boys nearby, Juri notices Shiori, and stares at her with a shocked expression. Shiori looks down at her and smiles. The level on which the two of them stand is very important. Shiori looks down on Juri because she is above her, and she continues to stay on higher ground than Juri throughout the episode. Shiori smiles because she is happy to have power over Juri, but when Juri glares at her coldly and turns her back to her, she looks sad. Though she was happy to have power over Juri, in the end, she’s still not happy because Juri hates her because of it. Utena, who witnessed the whole thing, stares at her with a confused expression, because she doesn’t understand why Juri hates her. Anthy, however, continues to smile, because she symbolizes that a part of Shiori is still happy to see that Juri hates her.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1148875.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1148926.jpg
Utena and Anthy seemingly become quick friends with Shiori, and accompany her back to her dorm. Her room is on the second floor, because even now, she is still on higher ground than Juri, who is sulking in the locker room. She explains that she went to this academy until middle school, and only just transferred back. Utena says that she is pleased to meet her, and Anthy says that Chu-Chu, who is resting on top of her head, is glad to meet her too. Utena taps Chu-Chu on the head to make him bow, which symbolizes Juri’s reluctancy to give her a proper greeting. Chu-Chu clings to Utena’s hand as she asks her if she has known Juri for a long time, and spins Chu-Chu around three times, which is the number of years that they had last seen each other. Shiori begins to tell them about how the two of them grew up together. She places her arms on the windowsill that she is sitting next to as she says, “Juri-san was always so wonderful.” She looks out the window as she says, “So strong, so imposing.” “Yeah, I can almost see that.” By gazing out the window, she’s looking back into her memories of the two of them. The two girls that she is looking at symbolize the two of them before all of the chaos between them occurred. The light that shines through the window is significant, because it shows that at the time, they were both shining. She looks away from the window as she says that she no longer deserves any of that.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1149533.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1149633.jpg
Shiori remains silent for several moments, and then smiles half-heartedly when Utena says her name, trying to act as though everything is alright. The final picture we see of her, she says, “I don’t have a roommate, so please come visit me again.” The lighting in the last two pictures is very interesting. It’s now evening, so the light from the sun is orange, yet the orange light casts purple shadows. Shiori is left all alone in her room. Once again, even though she has beaten Juri, she has been left with no one. Anthy lags behind Utena to look up at Shiori’s window, because in a way, Shiori is still living in that darkness.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1150185.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1150232.jpg
Mikage: “I said to be careful, didn’t I? A rose may be most beautiful when it blooms, but that’s also when its thorns are most dangerous.”
Mamiya: “Um, senpai…?”
Mikage: “You did it on purpose.”
Mamiya: “We need this rose’s thorns, don’t we?”
Mikage: “Correct.”
Mamiya: “With rose thorns more beautiful and more dangerous than anyone else, we’ll defeat Tenjou Utena.”
Mikage: “But how will we harvest the thorns? You saw what happens if we carelessly try touching it.”
Mamiya: “That’s simple. The rose has a natural parasitic enemy.”
Mikage: “We use the parasite’s poison, then? Will it work on this rose, though?”
Mamiya: “Things are already set to go.”

Mamiya symbolizes Shiori. He knew that touching the rose would hurt himself, but he did it because he wanted Mikage’s attention, which he got when Mikage kissed his wound. The thorns in the title, “Thorns of Death,” are often interpreted as Shiori’s thorns that she uses to trap Juri, but really, they are Juri’s thorns. Usually, the roses are black, but in this scene, the rose that is, “more beautiful and more dangerous than anyone else,” is orange. Shiori is the parasite, because even the strongest rose has been affected the poison which slowly eats away at her.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1152042.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1152309.jpg
Even as Juri is at a place as high as the student council meeting room, a bird flies over her, casting its shadow on the ground below. The bird symbolizes Shiori. Juri has her hand on her locket, which is what keeps her below Shiori. There are several shots of Juri’s chest in this episode, because it symbolizes her hidden feelings, which is her weakness. After Miki and Nanami finish arguing, Juri excuses herself from the meeting. We see her going down in the elevator as she looks at Shiori’s picture. Once again, the concept of going down means that this is what puts her below Shiori. Her memories of the incident that were once faded are now clear. As she recalls when Shiori said, “You must hate me for what I’ve done,” we see Shiori smiling again as she did when she first saw Juri again. It shows that because she is happy that Juri hates her.


Damnit, that was still really long. emot-frown

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#34 | Back to Top02-10-2007 10:12:22 PM

SleepDebtFairy
Revolutionary
From: Virginia
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2095

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

That's a very good take on that episode. emot-keke Some of the things I did notice, some I didn't, such as Shiori being "above" Juri, and the birds in the student council meeting. I noticed the thing about the thorns and parasite, too, and I thought the thorns belonged to Juri and the parasite was Shiori. After all, Juri is so closed off and tries to come off as cool, but really she's very protective of her feelings, thus the thorns around the rose. And her feelings for Shiori very much eat her away, slowly, like a parasite.


"There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you've just gotta keep on keeping on"

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#35 | Back to Top02-11-2007 12:55:37 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

You never, ever cease to amaze me Razara. etc-love

I guess I'll contribute to some of this madness! Over the past few days, I've been attempting to write an essay on Kozue, and for reference I've been going back through all my DVDs to watch all scenes she appears in. Of course, there is plenty of symbolism, but while rewatching episode 26, Miki's Nest Box, I noticed something that I had never made note of before, but it isn't rare in SKU: symbolism covering more symbolism.

While in the music room, Touga comes to visit Miki, and gives his "Can you hear it?" speech. The chick symbolism always seemed to me like a reference to Anthy. But as I re-watched, it seemed more like Touga was referring to Kozue.

Touga: It's almost dawn. How long do you plan on staying here?

Soon will be the final duel. A revolution is drawing closer and closer, the dawning of their new lives. By "staying here," he could have meant staying in the innocence of his memories with Kozue, in the sunlit garden, which so happens to be the song Miki was playing.

Touga: I believe you know that there's something you can't have unless you take it for yourself.

It's implied that Anthy is what he must take for himself, but it could also mean the pure world he dreams of, his shining thing. Rather than locking himself away within his music and studies, he should ruthlessly grab at what he fights for; what binds him to his status as a duelist. He worries over Kozue, but never tries to reach out to her, the one thing she wants from him. He can admire Anthy from afar, and pretend that he is the only one who wants to save her music and her soul, but he never puts himself out there, taking the risk to harness what he believes can take him back to the sunlit garden. That is, until he duels for her.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/10804-2/Series_ep26_110.jpg

Touga: Reached an impasse?

What keeps him from having the perfect world of his memories? Where does his childhood go downhill? His music. It was the beginning of the separation between the twins. Therefore, the music bench can be seen as an impasse to the sunlit garden he and Kozue once had, before it "all went to seed."

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/10810-2/Series_ep26_113.jpg

Touga: Such a beautiful melody.
Touga: But it can't sustain that beauty by being beautiful alone.

Yes, I took it as this entire scene revolving around the sunlit garden. A beautiful tone could represent a beautiful fantasy, soon becoming just a beautiful memory. The fact that Miki can hold it dear and wish for it (fantasy) does not mean that it can be that way forever (memory.) Their parents divorced, Kozue gave up music, gave up on their perfect life together; Miki is being forced to realize that nothing can last forever, unless he makes it last forever. Eternity in his pure world can only be gained if he takes it for himself. It isn't really Anthy that he wants. Miki is similar in many ways to Mikage; living life on a shattered memory. While Mikage may have already found his means of "preserving memory," Miki is still too trapped by fantasy.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/10812-2/Series_ep26_114.jpg

Touga: Oh my, it hit the wall already.

For Miki, this seems like a dead end. Kozue will never become what she was-- as Miki states in the movie, "We can never go back to that garden, where we could be together." And now, with his supposed abandonment of the duels, what is left? How can he keep his shining thing from tarnishing? Que random wind and missing buttons, Ends of the World has arrived! This could also be foreshadowing; it could show that Miki's readiness to try his hand at dueling again for his own selfish reasons would only end in the failure that audience knew was coming. The wall. It's interesting to note that in the official dub, instead of stating that "it hit the wall already," Touga states that "we hit the wall already."

Of course, in SKU, you can interpret one single line tens of thousands of ways, so I guess I can't really clarify anything without confusing myself.

Last edited by dollface (06-09-2010 03:57:00 PM)


ah, man does not exist; ah, within the darkness; ah, the sound of the waves

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#36 | Back to Top02-11-2007 03:24:26 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

That's a really good interpretation. emot-aaa


http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1153297.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1153355.jpg
When Shiori confronts Juri, it finally puts the two of them on the same ground. However, the lighting contrast puts Shiori in the shadows, whereas Juri is in the light. By crawling back to Juri and apologizing, she is putting herself below Juri, and back into the shadows. When she tells Juri that there’s something she wants to talk to her about, three children run by, which shows that she wants to discuss their past. Despite her attempts to speak with her, Juri ignores Shiori and tries to walk away, so Shiori resorts to begging her to listen to what she has to stay.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/Watashine.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/San.jpg
Shiori apologizes to Juri, who still has her back turned to her. “You’ll never forgive me for it, will you?” As she asks this, she has a sort of pained looking smile. She’s happy that Juri will never forgive her, because that way she will never forget about her either. When she says that she wishes that they could go back to those days, Juri’s expression looks pained as well, because what Shiori doesn’t realize is that Juri wants to return to those days more than she could ever imagine. Shiori stands next to Juri, and begins to talk about how she wishes they could go back to those times. The similarity between their stances suggests that they both feel the same way on the matter. She looks down at the academy of two groups of friends that are hanging out, each of them travel in groups of threes, just as they did when they were younger, with that boy.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1154513.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1154654.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1155206.jpg
When Juri shows indifference towards their past friendship, a bird rams its head into the window and falls to the ground, twitching and flapping its wings. Notice the color of the bird. It is black and white with an orange beak, similar to how in Juri’s memories of her everything was back and white, with the exception of the orange rose. The bird symbolizes Shiori’s power over Juri. Juri stares at the bird on the ground as she explains to Shiori that she never had any feelings for that boy. Because of this, she has lost her power over Juri. Not only that, but she ruined their friendship for nothing. Since she has lost her power over her, the bird dies.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1155479.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1155830.jpg
Juri walks down the stairs, leaving Shiori behind, and runs into Utena. Utena asks her if she was talking to Shiori, and it abruptly shows Anthy looking out of a window up at the sky. This is because even though she’s lost, she still longs to have power over Juri. Utena says that she doesn’t know what happened between them, but she still thinks that Juri should forgive Shiori for whatever it is that she’s done. It’s this that raises the term, “Cruelly innocent.” This does not mean that she is innocent, yet cruel, but what it really means that her innocence is cruel to Juri. She was too innocent to realize Juri’s feelings for her, and that innocence was cruel to Juri. Utena encourages forgiveness without realizing that what she’s saying is only hurting Juri further, just as Shiori didn’t realize that saying how much she wished that she could go back to the way things were hurt Juri.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1156196.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1157070.jpg
Utena: “Arisugawa-senpai is so narrow-minded! I mean, she didn’t have to speak to me like that!”
Akio: “You’re just like Ganymede, the boy of the constellation Aquarius. Innocent and pure. But such innocence can hurt other people. Be careful.”
Utena: “She sorta said the same thing to me.”
Akio: “Everyone has something they’d rather not let other people touch.”
Utena: “I guess that’s life.”
Ganymede, in Greek mythology, was the cupbearer of the Gods. Though he was only a mortal, he was so beautiful that Zeus fell in love with him on sight. He then either took the form of an eagle, or sent an eagle to kidnap Ganymede. In order to protect Ganymede from his jealous wife, he gave him eternity by placing his form among the stars. Because they shared an intimate relationship, this story was often used as justification for homosexuality in Greek times. Unless you squint, there isn’t much of a relation between Ganymede and Shiori. In fact, there isn’t much emphasis placed on Ganymede being innocent and pure. The only thing worth noting is that Ganymede is the symbol of water. If water symbolizes Shiori, then this could explain why Juri is always drawn to water, such as the shower she takes in the next scene.


I think I hurt my wrist from typing all of this...

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#37 | Back to Top02-11-2007 07:02:11 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

This thread makes me happy in my panties, and I would be contributing more but I wanna pound out more screencaps for just this purpose. etc-love

Razara wrote:

Ganymede

I woke up five minutes ago, which means I have a half sleeping thought about this. emot-biggrin

Perhaps consider the story from the standpoint of forced change. Ganymede, a regular human being (even happily married), by merit of existing at all draws the attention of the great, powerful Zeus, whose force of will leaves him capable of changing Ganymede, consenting or not. After all, is a human supposed to be drawn away from the earth and made the cupbearer of the gods? Is a human supposed to be a star? Whether Ganymede wanted this is or not, it's a disruption in the natural order of things, he's become something he isn't.

Shiori, though unaware, is changed by Juri's infatuation with her. In the context of the series, in a most severe way, after all, it's the finding Juri's locket and filling out the missing pieces in her mind that leads her to becoming a Black Rose duelist. But also this is in Juri's mind, which takes Shiori as she naturally is and warps her to become something she is not because it's what Juri wants. (Double points for the happily married becomes gay lover and straight Shiori becomes in fantasy lesbolickalot Shiori.) Juri is our Zeus here, because she is the creature that desires and Shiori is helpless to fight it off. Though unlike Zeus, she does not get her prize or even attempt to get it, Shiori's life is nevertheless veered off course on account of the desires of a creature more powerful than she is.

However, Akio's also calling Utena Ganymede. Again, another creature who through the touch of someone more powerful will be made into something that is not what she is. Whether we're going with the prince or the woman being her unnatural state, it's through Akio's influence either happens to her. Either way, though consenting, this is done without her having any real say.

Also amusing that Akio would reference a story where a god makes a human into a star, given this is his favorite little metaphor and it's harped on repeatedly in the story where Akio uses the night sky and the bodies therein as representations of the people around him. But his sky is a projection, a fake, and because of it the stars go where he wants, just like Zeus, who by being Zeus is able to manipulate the map of heavenly bodies in a way no one else can. To bring Shiori back into it, you could almost say the locket Juri carries is much the same as the star Ganymede becomes, a device to hide and keep to herself what Juri wants. Zeus has his star that is Ganymede, and Juri has her locket that is Shiori, but neither are quite what they should be to be what Zeus and Juri wants.


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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#38 | Back to Top02-11-2007 07:52:31 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

It is interesting that this scene:
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/ … 149533.jpg
anticipates all the funeral shrouds surrounding Shiori in the movie.

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#39 | Back to Top02-11-2007 08:32:55 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

It is interesting that this scene:
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/ … 149533.jpg
anticipates all the funeral shrouds surrounding Shiori in the movie.

Ikuhara likes to portray everything like he made the movie completely on a whim and it's all off the wall, but a lot more references are out there than people realize. Such as that one.


ah, man does not exist; ah, within the darkness; ah, the sound of the waves

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#40 | Back to Top02-13-2007 12:32:05 PM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 963

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

emot-gonk This one still stumps me:
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/Puff-tans/vlcsnap-94521.png
Its from ep.26, Miki is talking with his father about his getting remarried and supposedly the one inthe Rose Bride dress is his new mother.


Now I've heard two theories about it. One theory says that she's not actually Anthy and the dress is a symbol of her being like the Rose Bride in some way, the other is that she is Anthy. Its never even brought up again. I've been reading far too many of the threads around here (which is why I finally signed up) but never came across anyone discussing this one, so...Anyone have their own thoughts on this?


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#41 | Back to Top02-13-2007 08:45:49 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

AFAIK I am the one who came up with the notion that any trophy wife is a Rose Bride. Anthy said that in the end every girl is a Rose Bride so so it's reasonable to guess that all of the characters are archetypes; some of them play multiple archetypes. Utena and Anthy play quite a number just between the two of them.

I have my own symbolism question:
Does anyone have any thoughts on what this symbolizes?
http://www.ohtori.nu/gallery/misc/E-Graphic09.jpg

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#42 | Back to Top02-13-2007 08:53:30 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

I have my own symbolism question:
Does anyone have any thoughts on what this symbolizes?
http://www.ohtori.nu/gallery/misc/E-Graphic09.jpg

I always just pawned it off as "smashing the worlds shell". Though that simple idea can be taken many ways. If you'll notice, Utena is breaking out of the armor she wears in the opening theme song. This could symbolize that "the worlds shell" is really Utena's princely ideals. "If we do not break its shell, the chick cannot be born." This picture, if it is indeed referencing back to the chick speech, could mean that A) Utena needs to break from her hopes to become a prince in order to become a princess, or B) Utena must break free from the will of End of the World in order to be a revolutionary girl. I mean, come on, the title is there for a reason I should imagine.

Though that didn't really all add up well, but it's late over here, and I don't feel like going into a big analysis.


ah, man does not exist; ah, within the darkness; ah, the sound of the waves

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#43 | Back to Top02-13-2007 09:35:51 PM

Alithea
Dark Whisperer
From: Westminster, CO
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 1152
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

It's probably a bit of a moot to point out that Shiori is in fact an Aquarius. Her birthday is February 2nd. Aquarius the water barrier... yadda yadda... and etc. *grin*


"The only reason to write is to write for love. Write for passion. If you have the privilege of being able to write, then don't do it for any other reason." - Stephen Sondheim

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#44 | Back to Top02-14-2007 05:30:33 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I can't believe that I forgot mention that. emot-gonk

YamPuff wrote:

emot-gonk This one still stumps me:
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/ … -94521.png
Its from ep.26, Miki is talking with his father about his getting remarried and supposedly the one inthe Rose Bride dress is his new mother.

I'm going to go over all of the crazy symbolism in that episode next.

Giovanna wrote:

Ganymede

I'm glad that there's a deeper meaning to it after all. emot-keke


Shiori's elevator scene has some of the most interesting symbolism out of all the Black Rose Duelists. I love it so much. etc-love
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1157989.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1158691.jpg
We find Juri near more water in the next scene, her locket is visible as she looks sadly down at the water. She removes the locket and throws it into the water. “Not throwing your picture away was my weakness. But I don’t believe in miracles!” The following scene actually seems to be symbolic of Shiori figuring out Juri’s feelings on her own. As she walks towards her dorm, we abruptly see that bird again, alive, and looking alert. (For a human, it might almost look as though she were realizing something.) The door to her room opens on its own, and her attention is directed towards three girls talking nearby. (Notice the number three again. She was thinking about their past.) Her room symbolizes that she alone is suffering, yet she wonders if someone else had come in there. (She’s wondering if perhaps Juri was alone and suffering as well.) The curtains on the window, which she had gazed out of as she recalled their past, knock over the vase of orange roses on her desk. As she goes to pick up the vase, she finds Juri’s locket. (Now she’s finally realized her true feelings.)

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1161918.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1162241.jpg
Shiori: “I’ve hated Juri since we were children. She’s talented, beautiful, popular with everyone. I was jealous of Juri. That’s right. I did love him, but I also wanted to take something precious away from her! That’s all I wanted. And so… And so…”
As she says all of this, the butterfly still has its wings, which means that what she just stated isn’t her real problem. As she says that she was jealous of Juri, we see that the elevator is going down, indicating that her jealous is one of the major things that has brought her here.
“Deeper… Go deeper.”

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1162837.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1163261.jpg
Shiori: “Juri was always so kind to me… But she was just making a fool of me! I thought that she was being kind to me out of sympathy for not being as great as she was! That’s what I thought. It seemed so pathetic! That’s why I wanted to change the relationship we had. But what I did with him made me feel even more pathetic than before! I thought I wanted him for me!”
Shiori looks up at her own reflection, which always reminds me of the first few lines in her duel song. “The eternal opposing relationship, between the two sides of a mirror, the ever-growing ambitions, and the fickle cruel lies.” The light around her becomes darker, indicating that this is what leaves her in the shadows. The butterfly has now been reduced to a chrysalis. The elevator begins to go down even faster as she says, “It seemed so pathetic!” All the while, she continues to lower her head, sinking deeper and deeper into her misery.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1163709.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1163750.jpg
Shiori: “But now… Now, she and I are equal! No, I’ve beaten her! I’m the one who’s always been there in her heart! I’ve beaten her in the end!
Oh, what to do. Knowing my friend’s secret makes me so happy I can’t stand it! I can just see her, alone and miserable, looking at my picture. Poor Juri. Poor, pathetic Juri.”
When Shiori opens the locket, the water from inside trails down her arms like tears. The chrysalis is now a caterpillar. She giggles in a manner that sounds as though it is far from pure happiness.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1164105.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1164234.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1164428.jpg
Shiori: “It’s no use! It’s just no use! Why do you look at me like that?! Why?! Why does it have to be this way?!”
Shiori’s eyes widen as though she doesn’t really like what she’s seeing. She jumps up from her chair, throwing her locket into one corner of the elevator, and backs into the opposite end of the elevator. She looks down at her locket, which she has cast aside into a forgotten corner as she asks how Juri could look at her that way. The elevator is now going down at a rapid rate, and the caterpillar is now just an egg. When the elevator comes to a halt, she is now sitting on the ground in the same place as the locket had once been.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1165147.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1165538.jpg
Shiori walks towards Juri, who is, for some reason, standing alone in the fencing room. The orange light shines through the windows into the room, which casts shadows of both of them. When Juri asks what she wants now, Shiori holds up the locket for her to see. Juri steps forward, as though she were about take the locket from her, but Shiori hides it behind her back, keeping it out of her reach, just as Shiori has always been out of Juri’s reach. When she asks if she looked inside, Shiori responds by saying that if she had asked, she would have given her a nicer picture. Juri gasps, and then looks away from her as though she was ashamed. Shiori redirects Juri’s gaze so that they’re looking at each other eye to eye. “So pretty. I loved the look in your eyes when I hurt you.” Shiori is happy because now they are finally seeing things eye to eye.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1165862.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1165993.jpg
“You’re supposed to be stronger than anyone, and yet now you seem so weak.” She trails her hand down to Juri’s chest, which is the core of her weakness, because it’s where her picture once was. She smiles as Juri falls to her knees, and giggles sadistically as she watches her. This, we can assume, does imply that she enjoys seeing Juri suffer. Also, because Juri was on her knees, this also symbolizes that she is happy that Juri is beneath her. The smile she wears does not recede as Juri screams in agony. Once the sword is in Shiori’s hands, we see that Juri’s shirt undone, which symbolizes that Shiori ‘exposed her weakness.’

C-ko: “Extra! Extra! Extra! I’m doomed! My secret is known to everyone!”
Angel C-ko: “There’s nothing to be worried about!”
C-ko: “I’m going to die!”
Angel C-ko: “There’s no one who would ever call it embarrassing.”
C-ko: “You think so?”
Angel C-ko: “Of course. You’re not the only person who wears woolen underwear.”
Devil C-ko: “But most people don’t wear three pairs at once!”
C-ko: “You see? I’m doomed! I, well-known as a fashionable dresser, wear woolen underwear!”
Devil C-ko: “Three pairs at once, no less!”
C-ko: “No one will marry me now! Whatever shall I do?!”
This one is pretty easy to figure out. Wearing woolen underwear refers to how Juri secretly wears that locket with Shiori’s picture inside. The light and dark sides of C-ko represent Shiori. She also cared for Juri, but she didn’t wear her picture inside of a locket, for three years, no less.

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#45 | Back to Top02-15-2007 09:17:49 AM

Yams
Nest Boxer
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 963

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

I can't believe that I forgot mention that. emot-gonk

YamPuff wrote:

emot-gonk This one still stumps me:
http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/ … -94521.png
Its from ep.26, Miki is talking with his father about his getting remarried and supposedly the one inthe Rose Bride dress is his new mother.

I'm going to go over all of the crazy symbolism in that episode next.

You deserve cookies for that. emot-biggrin


Another intereting thing; what's with the flying horses and armor only shown in the opening credits? I kept waiting for them to appear in the show but it never happened. emot-frown


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#46 | Back to Top02-15-2007 10:44:48 AM

iruka
Rose Smilee
Registered: 11-11-2006
Posts: 134

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

YamPuff wrote:

Another intereting thing; what's with the flying horses and armor only shown in the opening credits? I kept waiting for them to appear in the show but it never happened. emot-frown

When I first saw Utena I thought I was missing some episodes... 'cause when I reached the end of the series there was still no sign of the horses and armour... emot-redface

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#47 | Back to Top02-15-2007 12:09:21 PM

brian
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

It's too bad because it looks like they had some really interesting ideas there. It's proof positive that the creators changed their minds while they were making Utena and will in turn create intractable analysis problems forevermore.

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#48 | Back to Top02-15-2007 12:27:34 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I remember wondering about that too. However, I don't think that they ever intended to add it. The theme song has some amazing symbolism that describes the series from beginning to end.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/Ouji-sama.jpg
"And so the Prince flew to the castle to defeat the witch in order to save the light of the world." (Or whatever it was that she said.) The horses that they ride on symbolize them going to the dueling arena for the last time, which is why the next scene is of them being torn apart, as they were at the end of the series.

I would like to write about all the symbolism in the theme song when I get the chance... So much symbolism, so little time. emot-gonk

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#49 | Back to Top02-15-2007 12:47:53 PM

Romanticide
Cow Bellhop
From: Mazatlan
Registered: 10-18-2006
Posts: 447

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

In the finale dvd Ikuhara and Chiho Saito were discusing abougt how they wanted to have epical an ending with them goingt to the inverted castle and al that stuff. I'm sure it was because it would have been terribly espensive to animate but I don't it would have  been better other way.


http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/1390/firmautenaji0.jpg

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#50 | Back to Top02-15-2007 02:12:07 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I've never watched the interviews. I know that he doesn't say much, but I still wouldn't want to risk that he would explain even a minor symbol... That ruins the fun for me. :3


Rewatch Shiori’s duel. If you don’t have access to the DVDs, then click here. There's way too much going on at once for me to include a picture for every single line.

Keep in mind that I tend to skip around with translations for this interpretation. For this episode, I have several different translations memorized. I don’t come up with my own, but I know enough Japanese to tell when something isn’t accurate every now and then.

This is only one way to interpret it. To this day, I still debate with myself over whether or not this duel symbolizes her own internal conflict, or if it symbolizes her battle for dominance over Juri. For this post, I decided to interpret it as though it was a battle between Juri and Shiori. I still don’t know which is correct, especially since Utena symbolizes Shiori earlier in the episode, making it seem more likely that it symbolizes another side of her feelings in this battle as well…

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1167812.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1167956.jpg
Shiori: “I shall win this duel and then kill the Rose Bride! Upon this Black Rose I do swear!”
Utena: “Why are you…?”
Shiori: “This is me. The real me! Not the pathetic loser who cowered in the shadow of Juri’s brilliance! The real me, lost in that brilliant glare. Yes. The one who controls Juri is me!”
It shows Anthy as Shiori says, “Not the pathetic loser who cowered in the shadow of Juri’s brilliance,” or depending on how you want to translate it, “The underdog that was living a miserable life in the shadow of the bright shining Juri.” This is what has led me to the conclusion that Anthy symbolizes that part of herself. Shiori is fighting this duel in order to destroy that part of herself forever. If she remains as this stronger part of herself, then it will be she that controls Juri’s emotions, rather than Juri that controls hers.

The eternal opposing relationship,
Between the two sides of a mirror,
The ever-growing ambitions,
And the fickle, cruel lies,
Ahh…

The first line begins with Anthy summoning forth the Power of Dios. Keep in mind that Anthy symbolizes Shiori. A mirror reflects a person’s own image, which suggests that the opposing relationship is her own internal conflict. Anthy is shown during the first line because it relates to her conflict. In this duel, Utena symbolizes Juri. The sword appears from Anthy’s chest as it says, “The ever-growing ambitions,” because Juri draws forth those ambitions from the part of herself that lived in the shadows, leading to the fickle, cruel lies that ended their relationship.

Ah, people are nothing,
The birds are shown during this scene, and as I mentioned before, they symbolize Shiori, as well as her power over Juri. Shiori attacks Utena from behind, just as she had ‘stabbed Juri in the back.’

Ah, within the darkness,
Once again, it shows Anthy, relating to how she was living in the darkness of Juri’s shadow. “Why do this? I thought you loved Juri!” Juri/Utena are unaware of what it is that causes Shiori to fight. The song lyrics answer Utena’s question. She did this because she was living a miserable life in the shadow of Juri’s brilliance.

Ah, the sound of the waves,
Shiori: “Because now I see.”
Utena: “See what?!”
This line is rather difficult to interpret, but waves in the ocean are cold, and draw towards you and then pull away. They can also be very destructive. The fact that she can only hear the waves suggests that it is something unseen, such as Juri’s feelings for her.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1171222.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1171374.jpg
Shiori: “Juri isn’t the person everyone thinks she is!”
The two of them clash swords, displaying equal power. Shiori thinks that because Juri had feelings for her that have been eating away at her for the past three years, that that makes her weak. After she says the line above, they clash swords and draw back, showing a view of the birds, which symbolizes how that gives her power over Juri.

Even light casts shadows, making a pair out of me and me,
Isolation outbreak, that’s the reason making a pair out of me and me,

Juri’s light shone onto Shiori, and that light casted a shadow of herself. The Shiori we see fighting in this duel is that darker part of herself. “And I’m stronger than I thought I was.” The reason why she thinks that Juri’s feelings for her make her weak is because she relates it to herself. She thought that it was pathetic of her to care about Juri when she supposedly only pitied her, and now Juri is going through the same thing. As it says “Isolation outbreak,” it shows Utena asking what Shiori means. This refers to how she felt that even though the two of them were so close, that they really lived in two different worlds.

Twins,
Their swords clash, each striking at the same time, and then Shiori lungs at Utena. The concept of twins represents equality, and Shiori’s struggle to become Juri’s equal.
Twins by duty,
Utena is shown during this line. Shiori thought that the only reason Juri ever treated her like an equal to begin with was simply because she felt obliged to do so.
Twins by schemes,
Through Shiori’s schemes to steal that boy from Juri, she thought that she could become Juri’s equal.
Twins who are absent,
Even after Shiori did something that would finally make them equals, it didn’t matter, because they were no longer friends.

Utena: “Those moves… They’re just like Juri’s!”
Shiori: “Looks like you’ve figured it out! But for you, this is the end!”
After a long battle, Utena/Juri finally recognizes her as an equal.

To see what can’t be seen,
A false world surfaces,
Made of props and painted backdrops,
A false world surfaces,

The title of this song is, “Earth as a Character Gallery.” Each bird on the table faces the different direction. They each view the world in a different way, and so they each have a different personality. Because Shiori falsely assumed that Juri only pitied her, she developed a personality contrived of means to obtain power over her.

When Dios appears from the castle, all the birds face one direction, and look up at him. The birds may be able to fly, but in the end, they’re still below the Power of Dios, just as Shiori is still below Juri, and it is that which defeats her.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1175455-1.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/ChikyuuWa.jpg
Earth is a museum of personalities,
Earth is a curio box of personalities,
Earth is…

The birds fly away, and pass over Anthy, casting the shadows over her that she had been trying to escape from. They also pass over Shiori as she screams. When the song ends, Shiori goes silent, and falls to the ground off screen. Now all that we can see is Anthy and the empty bird perches. This means that now she’s lost her power over Juri, and all that she has left is her misery.
(It’s not Wakaba’s duel, but personally, I thought the ending was pretty sad.)

After the duel, Juri finds that Shiori has left the locket on the ground in front of her, and so she decides to start wearing it again. The next day, Shiori is found talking with some other girls about why she broke up with her old boyfriend.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1177702.jpg
Utena: “Shiori seems like a whole different person.”
Anthy: “You think so?”
Utena: “Huh? But, she’s…”
Anthy: “She hasn’t changed. Not a bit.
Notice how the light is shining on Anthy, as well as Shiori. This means that she still feels as though she is being left in the shadows, even though she doesn’t show it.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1177972.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1178061.jpg
Shiori gasps softly in surprise as she notices Juri, who has once again chosen a very unusual place to stand. Shiori walks under the shadow of a pillar as she cheerfully greets Juri, who half-heartedly greets her in return.

Random Girl-A: “So, then what happened?”
Shiori: “So I said this to him. ‘What the hell are you doing?!’”
Random Girl-B: “Seriously?!”
Shiori: “Does that make me a brute?”
Random Girl-C: “Nah, the jerk deserved it!”
It could be that this implies that though Shiori’s actions were rash, they weren’t completely out of line.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1178562.jpg
Juri: “And once again, you’ve come back at me. Even after I was able to let go of you once. Why can’t I be stronger?”
The locket symbolizes her weakness. Until she can stop wearing her locket once and for all, she’ll never truly be able to let go of her.


Thus ends my explanation of all the symbolism in episode 17... Actually, I forgot a few. Oh, well. Hopefully understanding everything will be easier than it was for me to explain it.

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