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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

#526 | Back to Top09-07-2008 12:21:06 AM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

*Quick-analysis*

Episode 33 (The Prince Who Runs in the Night) is a giant reference to adult visual novels. Actually, the entire Akio arc could be compared to visual novels, but episode 33 is most direct about this. A visual novel is like a giant book you read on your computer or PS2/Sega Saturn/etc. with options that determine what the hero does. As you read, beautifully illustrated images on the screen correspond with the story. It's not uncommon for these to have over 50 hours of game-play.

The episode is set up from Akio's point of view. During what would be considered Utena's scenario, we see her talking without actually seeing the person she's talking to. In a visual novel, the camera angle is in first person. Whoever the protagonist is talking to will be facing the camera, which is meant to give the reader the feeling that he or she is the protagonist. In this case, it just establishes the reference.

During the interview with the Shadow Girls, he uses "End of the World" as his pen name, rather than his own name. In particular, dating-sims completely based around "getting the girl" will allow you to choose your own name. There are still many plot-based visual novels that will allow custom names as well.

One of the biggest similarities are the questions he's asked by a shadow girl. Imagine watching the Akio Arc for the first time, and being given a series of questions that will determine what Akio says and does. (Disclaimer: Visual novels are usually from first person point of view, not second person.) You've got Utena all alone at dusk. The perfect opportunity to ask her out on a date... Suddenly Wakaba appears out of no where and begins to antagonize Utena about being alone with you. The annoying girl who has ruined your plans to hit on Utena asks to go driving with you. (Accept. > Decline.) Of course you say no! Upset at the sight of her heartbroken friend, Utena bravely kicks you in the shin and never speaks to you again. Now you'll never have a chance with her because you upset her friend. On your way home, a truck crashes into your car. "You are die."

DEAD END.

Akio is good at making the right decisions, which is how he managed to get this far with Utena. When asked by the shadow girls what eternity is, he hangs up without answering. He knows the correct option, so why does he refrain from answering? There are some awful people out there who get a sadistic pleasure out of choosing the wrong answer and seeing people get hurt. (Er... No! Of course I don't mean myself! *Shifty eyes*) At the end of the episode, Utena asks him "What is eternity?" Akio has the answer, but does he give the correct one? Probably not.

1. A beautiful memory is eternal
>2. Who knows?
3. Shut the hell up

All these things are in some way related to visual novels. What's the number one trait in this episode that brought on all of is? Utena and Akio have sex. Visual novels often have H-scenes set up so that so that only the girl is visible, and if the guy does show up in the CG, you'll either see the back of his head, or his eyes won't be visible. Akio answered all of the questions right, and so he unlocked Utena's H-scene, along with a few CGs. Go him! Now he just needs to remember to save his progress on Day 39 in case he gets a Bad End, and the Power to Revolutionize the World will be his! That comes with more CGs!


I think that visual novels would be better off without the H-scenes, but I think that it's safe to say that if Akio had one, he would be way better at it than Shirou. *Goes back to reading Fate/Stay Night*

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#527 | Back to Top09-08-2008 01:05:01 PM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1107

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara, that is awesome. Beyond measure.

Princely Tragic Hero and Princely Anti-Hero

This is Anime-only

In the world of SKU, the would-be “prince” Utena is a simple girl and would be simple if it weren’t for that wish to be prince. Anthy, the Rose Bride, the Witch, is far from that word. You can easily divide Utena into a number of Arcs, but you can also divide it into a number of tales, the tales of the Duelists, the tale of the Shadow Girls and lastly, the tale of the Rose Prince and Rose Bride. In that, Anthy and Utena are given multiple roles. The tale you do not hear, is of how (or indeed if) Anthy and Utena meet again.

The tale of the Rose Prince and Rose Bride is one where Anthy is the tragic heroine. She tries to save her brother from eventual death from the exhaustion of saving the Princesses of the world and is cursed for it-a million swords of hate, piercing her forever. Her sacrifice is in vain-he makes her words “I have sealed him away where your hands may not touch him...” come true; he seals away his power to save and his heart and swears to set Anthy free and none other ever again. She is the tragic heroine, her brother becoming the anti-villain.

By the time Utena meets Anthy and Akio, there is still happiness in the relationship between the two; Anthy has her brother and Akio has her and they have a world of influence where children are both ruler and subject: Ohtori Academy. It is however, when Utena and Anthy are separated between the Duels Conviction and Self that she is reminded of the tale of the Rose Bride’s origin and the original nature of her brother. The relationship between Anthy and Akio quickly pales before the purity of Utena’s care and friendship. The sibling’s relationship begins to go sour and these inner-conflicts would make Anthy into an anti-heroine; however, she has already been defeated, she is not actually defeated by these inner confluences and she becomes ready for her rebirth as a true hero through her struggles with her feelings.

Utena is the protagonist and is defeated by two things: Her wishes and her desire. These inner-conflicts make her an anti-heroine in that she is literally beaten bloody by them. Her wishes are conflicting and due to her wishes, she is not ready to deal with her sexuality, her desire. She at once wishes to be a prince (to be protector) and to be rescued by her prince (to be protected by another). She finds herself attracted to Akio and perhaps Touga as well; they are both attractive, seemingly noble and “princely”. However, she quickly finds this to be an illusion on Touga’s part but she fails to recognize this until late on Akio’s part. She is trying to enforce a black and white perspective on a world of greys and Akio prods her into doubt about her convictions and tempts her away from her resolve of meeting her prince and her vow to protect Anthy and be a prince. It is commonly held by fans that it could be read as a chastity vow on the former and a vow of faithfulness on the latter. Read that way, Utena is defeated on both counts from within, with Akio as catalyst and gadfly.

Utena betrays her self and finds her inner turmoil be enacted upon her; and as she was defeated within, she is technically defeated from without. However, Utena’s actions do triumph from within Anthy, who is able to leave her role as Rose Bride and leave Akio, making her the only one to “revolutionize the world!” No matter that it was a small, personal revolution, she made change in the changeless world of Ohtori and it was enough.


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#528 | Back to Top09-13-2008 11:23:03 AM

bea
Saionji Slapper
From: Milan, Italy
Registered: 05-24-2007
Posts: 27

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I was randomply rewatching ep. 17 and found myself wondering: after Juri gets back from the Seitokai balcony, she is stopped by Shiori in what I assume is oneof the campus facilities' courtyards:

http://www.ohtori.nu/galerie/d/7034-1/Series_ep17_063.jpg

Now, why do they have to go straight up another tower (which, come to think about it and correct me if I'm wrong, I don't recall ever seeing again in the whole series - nor could I find it on screenshots of the campus overview) to talk, when they could have gone anywhere else?

http://www.ohtori.nu/galerie/d/7042-1/Series_ep17_067.jpg

Considering the fact that Juri noticeably wants to make this as quick as possible because of the reason we all know so well, I can't really come up with a decent answer.

Edit: Ok, ok, I know about there's always the bird crashing against the window, and maybe this couldn't have been possible somewhere lower than that, but it still looks weird to me... I mean, it's not even a matter of Shiori looking down on Juri, as they are both on the same level...

Last edited by bea (09-17-2008 04:18:53 PM)


Seeking eternity!
[take my r-evolution]

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#529 | Back to Top09-17-2008 12:56:54 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Sorry to interrupt Bea's question, but I wanted to share this link about the name Anthea. It says that it was once popular with 17th Century poets as a symbol for Spring. Sure enough I quickly found a poem of that era addressed to Anthea.
http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Anthea

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#530 | Back to Top12-31-2008 09:08:53 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I can't think of a better thread than this one. Was there ever a discussion about the symbolism of the grave of Movie-Akio? Its shape and the dirt around it seem to be deliberately suggestive of a woman's vulva. Anthy's I suppose. Did they just do that because it seemed cool or is there well-thought-out symbolism?

Last edited by brian (12-31-2008 09:10:47 PM)

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#531 | Back to Top12-31-2008 09:32:37 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

I can't think of a better thread than this one. Was there ever a discussion about the symbolism of the grave of Movie-Akio? Its shape and the dirt around it seem to be deliberately suggestive of a woman's vulva. Anthy's I suppose. Did they just do that because it seemed cool or is there well-thought-out symbolism?

Wait, can you find a screencap of that? Last time I remembered, I just saw that as a... emot-aaa I'll never look at the movie the same way again, lol

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#532 | Back to Top01-05-2009 02:23:06 PM

Esmenet
Tenjou Tilter
From: Illinois
Registered: 12-04-2008
Posts: 83

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Does anyone have any thoughts about Akio's little nickname? It'd probably important that he calls himself Ends of the Earth, Sekai no Hate, rather than The End of the World (or Sekai no Owari), but I can't think how.


The bird is struggling out of the egg. The egg is the world. Whoever wants to be born must first destroy a world. [The bird is flying to God. The name of the God is called Abraxas.]

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#533 | Back to Top01-05-2009 02:53:56 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Esmenet wrote:

Does anyone have any thoughts about Akio's little nickname? It'd probably important that he calls himself Ends of the Earth, Sekai no Hate, rather than The End of the World (or Sekai no Owari), but I can't think how.

I've always liked to think that it relates how he (according to Anthy) chose his path, knowing all of the world. I think it signifies that from his own viewpoint he's passed through every possible option, and found no alternative, but in actuality it means that he's stuck and can go no further, limited by his narrow viewpoint.

Possible connection also to the Lucifer-angle - Lord of this world, unable to pass its bounds.

If I had time, I could write an essay on this...


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#534 | Back to Top01-05-2009 07:49:28 PM

pojypojy
Miki Molester
From: Italy
Registered: 01-05-2009
Posts: 33
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Esmenet wrote:

Does anyone have any thoughts about Akio's little nickname? It'd probably important that he calls himself Ends of the Earth, Sekai no Hate, rather than The End of the World (or Sekai no Owari), but I can't think how.

I always assumed it was related to the fact that he is in control of Ohtori, and Ohtori *is* the world in Utenaverse. Or better: it's what Akio wants the whole world to be. The nickname is his way of saying "I know all you need to know; I am all you need to know".

I don't know if it really changes anything re: the subtlety in the translation you pointed out, which I didn't know of. I think it's still working, because if we take Earth as a physical place and the World as an abstract concept, the characters aren't just stuck with the laws, written and unwritten, of Ohtori, such as the duels and everything - they are physically never leaving it, or its area of influence for that matter (after all the academy, being on a hilltop and all, dominates the whole landscape). Akio's grip on the school isn't just "spiritual"; it's very tangible and connected to time and space. Well, some times more tangible than others, what with him boning half of the characters school-devil

...aaand this whole "being stuck in a place out of time with obscure laws of its own" makes me want to draw parallels with Lost but you don't want to get me started on that emot-smile

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#535 | Back to Top01-10-2009 05:52:08 PM

kuyaii
New Student
Registered: 01-10-2009
Posts: 1

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

wow i haven't finished completely reading the analysis but reading them made me look different and solve some of the symbolism it contains in the anime @_@;;

one thing i notice is the opening when Utena and Anthy spinning. Utena is spinning clock wise while anthy is spinning counter clock wise. I came upon this site..not really accurate but it explains the spinning. http://www.flickr.com/groups/swastika/discuss/101287/

"That branch of knowledge asserts that the counter-clockwise swastika will lead to permanent victory, while the clockwise-rotating symbol will lead to annihilation."

I was thinking that if anthy was spinning counter clock wise it meant that she was able to defeat her "coffin" and realize that she doesn't need to be a rose bride thus having a choice. While Utena...it may seem to her that she "failed" being a prince causing her to annihilate? i don' tknow just something i was searching through online.

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#536 | Back to Top01-10-2009 06:00:35 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

kuyaii wrote:

wow i haven't finished completely reading the analysis but reading them made me look different and solve some of the symbolism it contains in the anime @_@;;

one thing i notice is the opening when Utena and Anthy spinning. Utena is spinning clock wise while anthy is spinning counter clock wise. I came upon this site..not really accurate but it explains the spinning. http://www.flickr.com/groups/swastika/discuss/101287/

"That branch of knowledge asserts that the counter-clockwise swastika will lead to permanent victory, while the clockwise-rotating symbol will lead to annihilation."

I was thinking that if anthy was spinning counter clock wise it meant that she was able to defeat her "coffin" and realize that she doesn't need to be a rose bride thus having a choice. While Utena...it may seem to her that she "failed" being a prince causing her to annihilate? i don' tknow just something i was searching through online.

Have some poptart for finding out about this!
I think Utena successfully annihilated not herself, but the conception of the Prince in general. This would explain the crumbling of castle and the collapse of the Prince statue when she cries, "I will be a prince!"

Then, upon her own realization that she can't be a prince, she broke away from her obligation to be one, ridding the conception of the prince ultimately from herself. You are your own worst enemy, isn't it?

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#537 | Back to Top01-11-2009 05:47:30 AM

Notebook Darling
Black Rosarian
From: The Netherlands
Registered: 12-21-2008
Posts: 372
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

kuyaii wrote:

wow i haven't finished completely reading the analysis but reading them made me look different and solve some of the symbolism it contains in the anime @_@;;

one thing i notice is the opening when Utena and Anthy spinning. Utena is spinning clock wise while anthy is spinning counter clock wise. I came upon this site..not really accurate but it explains the spinning. http://www.flickr.com/groups/swastika/discuss/101287/

"That branch of knowledge asserts that the counter-clockwise swastika will lead to permanent victory, while the clockwise-rotating symbol will lead to annihilation."

I was thinking that if anthy was spinning counter clock wise it meant that she was able to defeat her "coffin" and realize that she doesn't need to be a rose bride thus having a choice. While Utena...it may seem to her that she "failed" being a prince causing her to annihilate? i don' tknow just something i was searching through online.

emot-aaa .

That's deep. Deeper than I could ever go with a story.  Wowie.

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#538 | Back to Top01-30-2009 10:49:34 AM

TawnyAngel
Juri Jeerer
From: Wales
Registered: 05-08-2008
Posts: 47

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

So, hello there everyone, only a very brief post from me and I apologize if this has already been discussed!

So, I want to talk about umbrellas. Shame on me, I’ve forgotten the episode number but you all know what I’m talking about; Keiko’s black rose duel. Now, I may be imagining this, but I believe I was once told that umbrellas are... a sort of a symbol of love in Japan. Sharing an umbrella makes it acceptable to be closer to the one you love than would normally be allowable, so is this why the Touga in the rain > Keiko with umbrella scene was chosen rather than some other way to get them close? It might also explain why Namami is so very pissed when she sees them together; just walking side by side would certainly have got Keiko into trouble but maybe the umbrella drove nanami over the edge, into completely ostracizing Keiko? (On the other hand, maybe Namami just just that batshit-crazy when it comes to her big brother.)

Moving onto the duel itself, we have the umbrellas flying away at the end! If I am right about the symbol of love thing (rather than just a crazy person) then this could symbolize Keiko’s hopes of a future with Touga slipping away from her. Indeed, when we see her again after the duel she is back to being Namami’s loyal henchwoman, hiding her feelings for Touga once more. 

Something I’m not sure about from this episode is Anthy’s umbrella. Does she just have it for aesthetic effect, or could her standing alone under an umbrella display her distance from other people? Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated!

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#539 | Back to Top01-31-2009 12:44:50 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Has anyone mentioned the connection between Sodom and Mikage's past? Kealdrea brought it up, and I think she raises a good point. Homosexuality existed, and they weren't very kind to Mikage while he was a guest in their presence... And Akio told Mikage what was going to happen before it did, just like how God told Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom.

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#540 | Back to Top01-31-2009 02:21:26 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

Has anyone mentioned the connection between Sodom and Mikage's past? Kealdrea brought it up, and I think she raises a good point. Homosexuality existed, and they weren't very kind to Mikage while he was a guest in their presence... And Akio told Mikage what was going to happen before it did, just like how God told Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom.

Wait, are you referring to the two gay students (amongst the 100 who died) who were supposedly working for Nemuro's project to revolution? emot-confused

Or are you referring to Mamiya and Mikage and their... subtle, subtle friendship?

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#541 | Back to Top01-31-2009 02:32:39 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Hiraku wrote:

Razara wrote:

Has anyone mentioned the connection between Sodom and Mikage's past? Kealdrea brought it up, and I think she raises a good point. Homosexuality existed, and they weren't very kind to Mikage while he was a guest in their presence... And Akio told Mikage what was going to happen before it did, just like how God told Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom.

Wait, are you referring to the two gay students (amongst the 100 who died) who were supposedly working for Nemuro's project to revolution? emot-confused

Or are you referring to Mamiya and Mikage and their... subtle, subtle friendship?

The two guys holding hands. I thought that Kealdrea meant Mamiya and Mikage when she said it, too.

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#542 | Back to Top01-31-2009 03:18:19 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

Has anyone mentioned the connection between Sodom and Mikage's past? Kealdrea brought it up, and I think she raises a good point. Homosexuality existed, and they weren't very kind to Mikage while he was a guest in their presence... And Akio told Mikage what was going to happen before it did, just like how God told Abraham that he was going to destroy Sodom.

...that strikes me as just the kind of delicious irony Akio would find...well, delicious. Y'know, having someone condemn and kill a bunch of people for a sin they then go on to commit themselves. emot-gonk


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

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#543 | Back to Top05-19-2009 01:31:45 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Episode 34: The photography scene:
- While the three leads are having their photo taken the Japanese subtitles have Utena saying: "Want to go threesome?" (Poor thing doesn't know yet that they already are.)
- While they are waiting for the camera timer it flashes a sinister red eye just like like the monster that is seen later in the Tale of the Rose. Also the beeper beeps with a protracted urgency that seems unlikely in a real camera as if implying that time is rapidly running out for someone.
- This has been mentioned before but when Akio puts his arm around Utena, Anthy says "Stop that!" (technically she is talking to Chu-chu.)

[Thanks Satyreyes for making this thread easy to find.]

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#544 | Back to Top05-19-2009 01:59:45 PM

hollow_rose
Egghead
From: Ohio
Registered: 10-26-2008
Posts: 1074

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

Episode 34: The photography scene:
- While the three leads are having their photo taken the Japanese subtitles have Utena saying: "Want to go threesome?" (Poor thing doesn't know yet that they already are.)
- While they are waiting for the camera timer it flashes a sinister red eye just like like the monster that is seen later in the Tale of the Rose. Also the beeper beeps with a protracted urgency that seems unlikely in a real camera as if implying that time is rapidly running out for someone.
- This has been mentioned before but when Akio puts his arm around Utena, Anthy says "Stop that!" (technically she is talking to Chu-chu.)

[Thanks Satyreyes for making this thread easy to find.]

The red eye also reminds me of the red lights on the cars in the movie.

Bwahah I didn't know that about the Japanese subtitles before. That is awesome.


20 threads dead so far.

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#545 | Back to Top06-09-2009 12:27:25 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Here’s an analysis that I wrote entirely during school! The English teacher who advised my study during last period must have either been a very nice person not to quick me out, though that it was for school, or perhaps he let me write this because he thought it was a good use of time? Either way, hurray for many study periods spent on SKU analysis rather than actually studying.

Please forgive me if there are any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or sentences that seem to end suddenly. I need to read this over more carefully, still.

Existence, Wonders, Alchemy
 
The first part of the song refers mostly to Miki. Existence can be thought of as something precious, or even miraculous. Every man and woman capable and willing to use complex thought has likely questioned the meaning of existence. In a more primitive sense, the existence of an individual is usually of the highest importance. Humans and wild animals alike feel compelled to protect their existence as living beings. It’s unlikely that the existence of life would be of great concern to Miki in Kozue during their youth. There are, however, other things that can exist which need to be protected from inexistence. What would matter most to them is the manner in which they exist. The beautiful sunlit garden where they played together during the happiest days of their childhood is a personification of their happy memories. A garden is a living thing. The beauty of a garden can survive and even flourish into something even more beautiful, or it can die and turn into something unpleasant to look at; the viewers see that the very garden of their childhood and how it has completely wilted. It still exists—the spot were the garden had been outside their house was not turned into a void of empty space—but it isn’t the same shining existence. In the same way, the two of them continue to exist as brother and sister, yet their existence together is not as beautiful a sight as it once had been.
 
Miki’s existence is an existence more wondrous than most. He’s blessed with extraordinary intelligence and skilled at playing the piano, among other things. To understand the meaning of this song, it’s necessary to have a basic understand of why it’s significant enough to appear several times. Upon the mention of alchemy, the first thing that comes to mind will likely be the Philosopher’s Stone. Alchemists once strived to obtain both wisdom and immortality through the transmutation of elements, but how is that relevant? Firstly, there is a desire to become something else, something better than before. Alchemists strived to turn metal into gold, but why bother? Metal is by no means useless. Metal is still used for crafting today just as much, if not more than it once was. Gold’s rarity and beauty is what makes it seem useless in comparison. The student council members are like the rare and desirable gold, whereas all the “normal” students are like metal. The normal students may wish to shine like gold as the student council members do, but such is not an easy task. Miki may certainly wish to “improve” himself to shine in Anthy’s eyes, but Kozue does not openly express a desire to change. Secondly, the ultimate goals of alchemy come with a defiance of the laws and order of the world that comes with living forever. Kozue is not one to play by the rules, and Miki’s ideal of remaining pure forever would mean making his purity eternal. Eternity is touched upon so much in the series that there is not much more than I can add. Thirdly, there is the essence of corruption. Creating gold at will is indeed a task that could corrupt anyone, including Miki. By the end of the episode, Miki has already proven that he is capable and willing to do things he consciously views as corrupt. He has viewed the duels as corrupt from the very beginning, yet he caves in and fights in them in order to obtain his “shining thing.”
 
Base metals, precious metals,
Right to left, Beginning to end,

 
These are comparisons to Miki and Kozue, as well as their existence in comparison to one another. Much of these lyrics are based on a comparison of the two, so forgive me if my explanation becomes somewhat repetitive. As I was saying, base metals and precious metals extend the comparison of metal and gold. Just as Miki and Kozue are two similar beings, base metals and precious metals are both metals. Precious metals, however, are of higher and even religious value. This represents the inequality of Miki and Kozue’s corresponding existence. Miki was born a genius that Kozue, as someone with average intelligence, could never compare to despite the general expectation that she must be equal to her brother. The direction right, being a holy direction as it is desirable to be at the right hand of God, represents Miki. Left is less favorable and perhaps even unholy in certain cases, symbolizing Kozue. Being a righty or a lefty in terms of hand use is also an intriguing comparison. To a right handed person, Miki would be to your right hand what Kozue is to your left. The left hand just isn’t as good as the right, but it could be with some practice. A preferable state of coexistence for Miki and Kozue would be if they were ambidextrous. Interestingly enough, Miki is right handed and Kozue is left handed, or at least they fight with those hands during their duels. A “beginning” is generally more positive than an “end.” At the Earth’s beginning, God declared that the world was good. It’s only when humanity falls to absolute immorality that the world will come to an end. At the beginning of a child’s life, they have not had a chance to sin. The longer a person’s life, the more sins they will commit. To live forever would mean committing infinite numbers of sins. That doesn’t mean that beginning is better than an end in all aspects. For example, the good aspects of a beginning can be contradicted. Human beings are said to be born with original sin, so people don’t necessarily start without sin. There are also times when the end of something can be a good thing, such as an end to a stressful period in one’s life.
 
Destruction, Dancing, Hunting, Feasting
 
Such represents Miki’s life as a duelist. Fighting in the duels is considered immoral Miki’s eyes, but some would not see it that way, just as the four actions mention are judged by the perspective of an individual. Destruction is not corrupt is some cases, a strong comparison would be the destruction of Jericho during the crusades, or even the destruction of Sodom . The duels he fights and fencing matches he partakes in are very much like dancing in their very essence. However, some religions in the past and modern times view dancing as sinful. There are lots of people who find hunting inhumane, yet some people must hunt as means of survival. Likewise, feasting may seem harmless, but it creates the sin of gluttony. The destruction of his opponent, the dance of the duel, a hunt for the prize, and the feast that comes with victory. These are the aspects displayed within his duel.
 
Birth, Invisibility, Alchemy
 
Now the song moves on to words that hold regard to Kozue. Rather than a wondrous existence, this song speaks of birth and invisibility. What I find to be the best comparison of Miki and Kozue’s relationship as twins is the birth of Apollo and Artemis. Nearly, if not all Greek myths describing their birth speak in detail about Apollo’s birth, and how everyone celebrated at the birth of the goddess’s incredible son. “Wait, doesn’t he have a twin sister?” some might think. The birth of his sister Artemis is mentioned as a mere after note, as though not noticed at all or unworthy of mention. Apollo’s birth was the cause of rejoice, yet there was hardly a mention of Artemis. Surely this was not the case at Miki and Kozue’s birth, but as time progressed enough to make Miki’s superiority clear, it may have been as though she didn’t exist, or as if she was invisible in her brother’s presence. Surely, this is the reason why she grew up to so desperately seek negative attention from her brother. On the other hand, some Greek gods were born so cunning that they could steal, trick, and lie just a few short hours after their birth. Kozue’s “superior” blood is noticeable in this way. After all, it’s unlikely that even End of the World was such a skilled manipulator at her age.
 
Books, Pseudonyms, Licention, Disgrace
 
Honestly, “books” is rather unspecific… The first thing that comes to mind would be Miki’s intelligence, but since following the pattern would mean that it’s about Kozue…Perhaps it is referring to books that have been condemned and burned throughout history? Or how knowledge learned through books can change perspective for better or worse? What is learned from books varies in as many ways as it can change how we look at things. A few years ago, there was a mother who wanted all stories without a happy ending to be banned so that children would grow up with a positive outcome on life. Books contain truths that we cannot escape, and knowledge of past mistakes that are likely to be repeated over and over again. Pseudonyms means “nameless” just as some authors choose to hide their identity. In Kozue’s case, she is nameless because she rejects having anything to do with her parents, claiming to be a “wild animal” instead. As if there weren’t already enough connections between Kozue and Artemis, she just so happens to be the goddess of wild whings, and is, as with Miki, involved with music. Kozue sees herself as being one of the baby birds she saved from a tree that was scheduled to be cut down outside the school. Her parents abandoned them after their divorce to be raised far away, and they may or may not return again. If birds had the means to name their young, then whose to say that their separation wasn’t so soon that there was no time to give them a name? Licention means to be both unrestrained sexually and by the law, which Kozue becomes after her parent’s divorce if not long before then, and such behavior is naturally viewed as disgraceful to her brother, who values purity.
 
An unchanging world, I am,
I am an unchanging world,
Un cha ng cha ing,
Ng ing un ing un cha,

 
To understand this verse, we must first answer the question of what aspects of the world have not changed, and shall not ever change. First and most important is that life and death will and always shall exist in this world. This is a necessary cycle that cannot be broken. Miki and Kozue’s life, family, traits, beliefs, and all things of or relating to them have a starting point and a destined end. The story of Adam and Eve teaches that mankind is born in sin from the time of the first two humans, and as such, it is likely that humanity shall always be corrupt, creating and adding to the corruption of the world. A corrupt world can corrupt a general population, as well as the individual. In fact, two of the first sons of man, Cain and Abel, ended up with a dispute that resulted with Cain taking Abel’s life. Many centuries later, this trend of sibling dispute still exists within brothers an sisters like Miki and Kozue. Then again, a change in perspective, as always, raises an argument. Indeed, sibling disputes still exist, but do they end less often now in violence than before? Has humanity progressed enough so that most sibling disputes are dealt with more humanely than thousands of years ago? Or has the population increased so much that the number of siblings killed by their own sibling vastly overrides that amount in the shadows of those vast numbers? Has humanity progressed forward, stayed the same, or moved backwards?
 
What I find to be the most substantial is how these verses contradict the theme of world revolution. If a world does not undergo change, revolutions of any sort cannot exist. Strictly speaking, change is a good thing. We seek change in hopes that it will better our lives. Therefore, a speaker must have a rather negative outlook on the world to claim that there is no way for things to get better. It indicates a loss of hope and acceptance of an undesirable situation. Miki and Kozue may very well be in this state of hopelessness for their dreams to come true. Kozue will never play the piano again. Their parents will never get back together. Their sunlit garden will never be the enchanting sight that it once had been. Anthy will never return Miki’s feelings, and the corruption within the student council will always continue. These are things that seem hopeless to fix, and yet here they are fighting in a duel for the power to revolutionize the world. Either they have entered this duel knowing full well that the outcome will be defeat, or somewhere inside them is a flicker of hope that has yet to be extinguished.
 
**
 
Around this time, Utena asks Miki, “Why are you doing this?! I thought you and I were friends now!” To which Miki replies, “Your sword will never defeat my sword!”
 
Now, this should strike the viewer as odd. Miki is a duelist, and like all duelists, he is expected to fight duels to win the Rose Bride. It’s a duty that all student council members have in common, and clicking his stopwatch doesn’t exempt him from that duty. Utena has known this all along, having even faced the one she believed to be her prince in a duel as well as her best friend Wakaba. What’s more, this isn’t even her first time facing him in a duel. Miki has fought Utena in order to win Anthy in a duel before when they were by no means on unfriendly terms, so why does Utena speak up as if the friendship they’ve developed should have kept Miki from dueling her to win the Rose Bride?
 
I’m really and truly awful at identifying one of the most overused symbols in this entire series—phallic symbols. For that, I hate them. However, I’m getting better at finding them. Obviously, Utena is a girl so she doesn’t technically have a phallus, but the line “your sword will never defeat my sword” still gives off the impression that this battle is a dispute between two boys that ended up fighting over a girl that they both fell in love with. Whether or not either of them is truly in love with Anthy in a romantic way is debatable, but a shattering friendship over the sake of a love interest is what this battle boils down to. (I won’t be writing about the actions in the rest of this duel because I’m fairly certain that I’ve written about it already in the earlier pages of this thread.)
 
**
 
Stop! The birds and the fish are interconnected!
Stop! The egg and the bed are cheating each other!
Stop! The ancient dance of ship and coach!
Stop! Send the sea and the waterfall ahead!

 
Of all the weird stuff that J.A Seazar has put in these songs, these four lines have to be the strangest, and the most frustrating to interpret, due to their seeming obscurity. To begin with, there are the birds and the fish, which are internally connected. The animals themselves are not important—it’s their habitat that must be noted. If heaven is above the Earth and hell is below, then the sky is to heaven as the depths of the ocean are to hell, and the land is still the land we live in. The sky and the ocean are two very different worlds. Few can experience these wonders outside of a dream, and that makes it a safe place where only other birds can attack. Many people yearn to be like Miki just as much as they might desire to grow wings and fly The Ocean, on the other hand, is consisted of fatal amounts of water that human being cannot drink without becoming thirstier. The lowest depths are a mysteriously hellish place where the sun does not shine, and where fish as ferocious looking as a mythical monster lurk. What’s more is that large amounts of water create more pressure than humans can withstand. Kozue’s situation probably places her under pressure of strong as the oceans depths to be as skillful as her brother. Birds not only resemble angelic beings, they truly are considered holy in certain religions, including Christianity. But what becomes of a bird that had no one to teach it how to fly? Could Miki and Kozue be two birds stuck in a flightless world because there was no one there to teach them to spread their wings? Or are they like an unborn bird and fish, still trapped inside their egg, but one having a harder shell to crack than the other? In spite of the differences between the birds and fish, the two are somehow interconnected, despite being from very different worlds. This is the case with Miki and Kozue. Miki has a seat in the student council, high above the rest of the school, whereas Kozue was brought down far below the Nemuro Hall to be recruited as a Black Rose Duelist. Yet now, both of them are fighting by the orders of the End of the World, with both of their purposes either more pure or corrupt than in their previous duels. A koi fish commonly symbolizes love within this series and much of Ikuhara’s other works, because the word, “koi” means, “love” in Japanese. In that sense, for the birds and the fish to be interconnected, it may imply that their relationship involves some more than sibling feelings, hence the reason that it must stop. Of course, this is debatable, and I’d prefer to think that’s not the case. The relationship between the birds and the fish could also represent the conflictions that take place when two siblings struggling to break out of their shell fall in love with other people.
 
Once again, birds and eggs are related to one another. More importantly, the egg symbolizes a state of being unborn. Touga says many times that if they cannot break out of the world’s shell, they will die without being born, and thus during the state of existing inside an egg, it is important to break that shell so they can truly live. To put it bluntly, certain activities preformed on a bed can result in an egg being fertilized, thus beginning the struggle to prevent a death before birth. Like everyone else at Ohtori Academy , Miki and Kozue are still unborn, and they need to smash the world’s shell before they can leave the Academy, and be truly alive. How they go about smashing the world’s shell are quite contradictory. Miki participates in the duels to win Anthy and the power to revolutionize the world, while Kozue supposedly sleeps around to attract her brother’s attention. Both of these means of smashing the world’s shell stir feelings of disapproval between the two of them, hence it being a cheating love. Beds play just as much of a role in this series as eggs. There are few characters whose beds we never get a chance to see. Much of our lives are spent in an essential state of unconsciousness. Miki and Kozue’s beds happen to match each other, each decorated with a white bird flying flying towards the sun in a mosaic sky. Everyone has to sleep, and it’s a necessity that leaves us completely vulnerable to attack. Sharing a room, as Miki and Kozue do, implies complete trust and confidence in their ability to remain safe in the other’s presence. Utena and Anthy often share their deepest thoughts and feelings just before drifting off into slumber, and it’s likely that the of them share their thoughts or recollections of events from the day as well, even if they share their feelings less often than before their relationship collapsed. “The bed” that the song speaks of represents the safety and trust in their relationship. To betray that trust, especially by seeking comfort in another person’s bed, completely betrays that trust.
 
“The ancient dance of ship and coach.” It’s easy to see that the duels themselves bare a visual resemblance to a dance, and the duels have supposedly been going on for a long time. Ships and coaches are both means of transportation that could theoretically lead to the world’s end, just as Akio’s car does. While they’re both means of transportation, their uses are not at all alike. The coach, for example, requires a clear path to use. There is generally not too much risk involved, but as a coach would specifically be an older means of transportation, there were no doubt cases of attacks from wild animals and bandits. While the ocean may be beautiful, traveling across the sea by ship can be incredibly dangerous. The sea is wild, unpredictable, and carries the threat of attacks from pirates. Either means of transportation include danger and the threat of being robbed of something precious. In the duels, as well, the duelists must attempt to move forward in their life at the risk of losing the Rose Bride to another duelist.
 
 
Shining dreams, Shimmering images,
Withered Fantasies, Fragile Conceptions,

 
It’s extremely vague, but let’s assume these are aimed at Miki, and that they are in order from Miki’s past to his present. The power to revolutionize the world is said to offer eternity, miracles, and shining things. The shining thing that Miki wishes to obtain may sound like the most complex desire of the three, but it’s really not much more complex than “eternal friendship” and the “miracle of love” are. It’s more like a combination of the two. In a general sense, imagine a shining thing as a sole source of light in a dark world, like an angel or a star meant to guide a person through his or her life. Navigating through the night can be difficult, but not as difficult as it would be to find one’s way without the moon or stars. A shining thing acts as comfort even in the darkest times, making it a necessity to get through life. Everyone shines, but some can shine more brightly in the eyes of others. Even with all the people who care about him in his life, Touga tells Miki that he has yet to find his shining thing, which goes to show that they are not easy to come by. Miki was born with his shining thing. Kozue was his shining thing, a person who he could talk to and understand who would always remain by his side. His piano playing was never the same after Kozue stopped playing, as though he were “out of tune”, and Kozue could never play to begin with. In this way, a person can only shine when the other person is near, or if their mentality is convinced that the person is with them in spirit. (For example, Utena’s ring is a connection to her prince.) Miki continues to shine without Kozue, but he wishes to reobtain that shining thing he lost so that he may become as he once was before he lost it. As the years have passed, Miki’s childhood has likely become what seems like a dream to him.
 
Rustling delusions, Flickering thoughts,
Fluttering ideas, Exciting supposition,

 
Sometimes, Miki’s intelligence and innocence make him seem like a Mikage case waiting to happen—occasionally, he seems just a tiny bit insane. His memories of the past are so vividly altered to replace Anthy with Kozue that it’s clearly a delusion. Yet the thoughts and ideas of her supposed similarities lead him to suppose that there may be a chance that Anthy could replace his twin sister, and become what Kozue refuses to be.
 
Birth, Immortality, Alchemy,
 
As I’ve already said before, birth is a beginning of life that starts with ignorance, and alchemy can be used to defy the laws of nature by achieving immortality. One who is immortal could be assumed to have lived a long time
 
Time, Space, The Cosmic Egg,
 
Time and space seem like two separate things, but the theory of general relativity suggests that time and space co-exists with one another. It is thought that time and space are dependent on one another, a theory that is particularly interesting when twins are involved. The idea is that everything is moving at the speed of light when standing still, and because nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, time must be slowed down while the person is moving so that they will not be traveling faster than the speed of light. In that sense, two twins could be born at the same time, but if one is much more active, then the active twin would be physically younger than the inactive twin. Miki is a very talented member of the fencing club. Even though Miki was born before Kozue, as we can tell by how she refers to him as “big brother,” Miki might still be younger than Kozue physically. Even if not physically, Kozue still acts like she is older than her brother when it comes to certain aspects of the adult world. On the other hand, the cosmic egg, which is everything in the entire universe, could represent their childhood, meaning that outside of the universe that is their childhood would be the outside world. They are both mature in their own way, and working together, or even becoming one, would give them the qualities needed to be an adult.
 
Philosophy, Crystal, Rosae Crucis
 
There are many different views pertaining to philosophy. Miki’s personal philosophy are ideals of doing what is right and living a pure, noble life. He seems to believe that these ideals are seldom present within the older generations, and that adults cannot be trusted. Of the two sides in the nature versus nurture argument, he views are based on nature. The world itself is not taken into account. He simply thinks that all adults will, without exception, be overcome by human nature and revert into an untrustworthy person when they come of age. Kozue takes the side of nurture. “When everything around you is impure, you have no choice but to become impure yourself.” She believes that it is the influence of the world around them that breaks down impurity over time. Overtime, something beautiful will become dirty because the world itself is dirty. A crystal may be beautiful, but it is often a very jagged and even frozen substance. The Rosae Crucis was a philosophy that dealt much with the idea of a complete reformation of mankind.
 
Purity, Harmony, Perspective,
 
The line in between purity and impurity is, somewhat ironically, based much on perspective. I will neither claim that Miki is pure now, nor will I claim that Kozue was ever pure, as it depends on many questions. What causes impurity? At what point is purity lost? Are human beings ever truly pure? Does original sin make us impure beings from the moment we are conceived? If so, then is Miki pure, on the road to becoming impure, impure, or was he always impure? Is Kozue impure for having sex and attempting murder, or must an impure person commit great acts of evil to be considered impure. If you asked Kozue, she would almost certainly say that she is impure, and that Miki is impure as well. Miki would insist that he is pure, and perhaps that Kozue is still pure as well. It’s similar to the question of if a glass is half empty or half full, yet so much more significant in meaning that the contrasting answers are perceived as a great difference in their selves for the two twins. It is this, perhaps, that brings conflict to their ability to live with harmony. In turn to this contrast, Kozue chooses to associate with others who impure, and Miki remains with those whom he believes to be pure. On a critical note, many of the student council members are portrayed as impure, so is Miki himself impure?
 
I am past, present, future,
I am past, present, future,

 
The line is repeated twice, so it can be assumed that it applies to both of them. This goes back to the concept of an unchanging world, and a static personality. Kozue cannot change for Miki, and Miki will not change to Kozue. That is how it is, how it always will be, and how it always has been, supposedly. Miki lost in a past duel, and soon he’ll be losing another duel. That’s simply the way things are. He may not like adults who tell him what to do, but Akio surely saw all of this coming.
 
Shining creation, Shimmering isolations,
Withered maze, Fragile dimension,

 
I hate writing about these parts. Let’s assume that they’re referring to Kozue. Rather than shining dreams, this time it’s shining creation, and instead of images, it’s shimmering isolation. A shining dream would be more of an idea set on the future, whereas creation suggests something important from the past or present. Shimmering isolation is as if being isolated were somehow something tolerable if the light, meaning Miki, continues to shine. For a maze to be withered, one could assume that the obstacle itself and of life would be easier to pass, if not more depressing to look at. A fragile dimension is like an entire universe that is threatening to collapse.
 
Rustling reflections, Flickering memories,
Fluttering evaporation, Exciting immortality,

 
Rustling reflections could mean could suggest that they are beginning to become more like each other, if not less, a change brought memories that they recall and lessons that have been forgotten, yet they’re slowly evaporating. If they win this duel, in turn, they could also win the power to be immortal. Gosh, isn’t that exciting? (I’m just guessing here. The amount of time I’ve spent analyzing this part is small compared to the rest.)
 
I am past, present, future,
I am past, present future,


Let's all hope that their past and present won't remain static, and that after the revolution comes, they'll live in a much better future.

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#546 | Back to Top06-09-2009 05:11:19 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Nice analysis!  :applauds:

Razara wrote:

Secondly, the ultimate goals of alchemy come with a defiance of the laws and order of the world that comes with living forever. Kozue is not one to play by the rules, and Miki’s ideal of remaining pure forever would mean making his purity eternal.  Eternity is touched upon so much in the series that there is not much more than I can add.

Then let me add something emot-smile  For many alchemists, the ultimate goal of alchemy wasn't really either literal immortality or literal transmutation of base metals to gold; they understood their art as something more esoteric, concerned with inner transformation and self-awakening.  The chemical processes of alchemy were something like a metaphor for the refining and purifying of the soul.  This philosophical side of alchemy improves the metaphor.  The answer to Miki's dilemma is not to turn Anthy or Kozue into a shining thing; it's to find a shining thing within himself.


An unchanging world, I am,
I am an unchanging world,
Un cha ng cha ing,
Ng ing un ing un cha,


What I find to be the most substantial is how these verses contradict the theme of world revolution. If a world does not undergo change, revolutions of any sort cannot exist. . . . Either they have entered this duel knowing full well that the outcome will be defeat, or somewhere inside them is a flicker of hope that has yet to be extinguished.

The duel songs are full of this kind of paradox -- lines about an unchanging or cyclical universe in a series that's supposed to be about revolution.  I always take it as a reference to the cycle of duels, which promise the kind of revolution that comes from the word "revolt," but in fact deliver only the kind of revolution that comes from the word "revolve."  The wheel turns, but ends where it began -- at least up until Utena takes it off its axle.

Miki and Kozue both seem to want to rewind the tape to their childhood and just play that bit over and over.  They don't want to confront change.  But it's neither healthy nor possible for a person to be an unchanging world, and I think these lines are meant ironically where Miki and Kozue are concerned.  All the lines about Stop! are pointing to the necessity of breaking such a cycle of stagnation.  You touch on this later in the essay, but I think that achieving a revolting-revolution rather than just a revolving-revolution is the central concern of most of the song (and the series as a whole).

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#547 | Back to Top06-11-2009 12:20:38 PM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1107

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Speaking of Miki's duel: this line actually refers to a real book:

Suki Pio no Yume
Scipio's dream

...or is it 'Dream of Scipio'? I found info on it on accident. I shall post the relevant text, as I think it's interesting.

The Dream Encyclopedia, 2nd Ed. by James R Lewis and Evelyn Dorothy Oliver
(From Introduction) (Emphasis mine)

"Macrobius was a fourth-century Christian writer whose Commentary on the Dream of Scipio became the most influential dream book of Medieval Europe. Compared with his contemporaries, Macrobius had a negative and superstitious interpretation of dreams. Clearly indebted to the Oneirocritica, the dreambook of the great pagan dream interpreter Artemidorus, Macrobius added material on apparitions and nightmares-topics not explicitly covered by Artemidorus. Macrobius also included a discussion of incubi and succubi... [and] appears to have been the person to introduce them into Christianity."

I find that passage very, very interesting.


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#548 | Back to Top01-03-2010 03:07:02 PM

Malacoda
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 07-26-2009
Posts: 180

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Necro~

I was watching the Utena movie recently that there's a castle and a church in the background of Utena's flashback. What does it mean (if it means anything?).

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#549 | Back to Top01-03-2010 03:42:19 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

The death of a fairytale -Touga in Utena's past, or at least her memory, was a Prince.  And, like in the series when Utena hid herself away in a coffin that was both and figurative (within a church), the church is there because Utena hides away in a similar sense in the movie.  She denies Touga's death and stagnates, despite her high goals still believing or hoping deep down that he will come back and rescue her.

But how does a Prince save you from the grief his own death caused?

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (01-05-2011 11:36:13 PM)

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#550 | Back to Top06-05-2010 11:31:18 AM

poetoffire
Mikage Mistruster
Registered: 01-27-2010
Posts: 65

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

A few members touched on the similarities between SKU and Othello the play, but since Othello is my favorite play and I'm a Shakespeare freak, I thought I'd do a little analysis of Episode 33.

The Rambling

To start off with, it's probably been mentioned before, but Utena's rambling seems to be a "Shadow Play Girls" style explanation of the previous clipshow.

Such as, right after episode 25, the Saionji Akio car episode:

Shadow Girl:  That challenger just barely lost.
Shadow Girl:  Well, the champion's fighting style was truly magnificent.
Shadow Girl:  Now the King of Impersonation has been on top for the last eight weeks!
Shadow Girl:  Just four more matches and it'll be time to fight the glorious Grand Champion of the Kings of Impersonation!
Utena:  That champion is so amazing.
Utena:  I wonder if he'll be able to challenge the Grand Champion of the Kings of Impersonation?
Utena:  I hope he makes it.

This is, pretty obviously it seems, Saionji and Touga.  The King of Impersonation is Touga, and the title fits him all too well.  And the challenger who keeps trying to best the King but always is just barely behind is Saionji.

Then, for Miki's first episode:

Utena:  I swear, she just won't quit!
Utena:  She's got the nickname "alum". Why it's "alum" I don't know,
Utena:  but before that was "teacup". And before that was...what was it?
Utena:  What was it?

In the other subs they make it clear she's talking about a teacher.  Utena is Miki, Alum is Kozue.  Kozue torments Miki, just like Alum torments Utena.  But the important part comes with the nickname.  It symbolizes Miki's memory, and how Miki clings to an ideal time that's distorted by his memory.  Also, in the episode, Miki analyzes why he wants to duel and just how he wants to possess Anthy.  He forgets that he is not the pure ideal he holds himself to.

Utena:  Oh, damn it! I left the rolls sitting out from this morning.
Utena:  I wonder if Himemiya'll put them in the fridge okay.
Utena:  If they don't get put into a plastic bag, they'll start smelling like the stuff around them.

This is explained in the next clipshow, for Miki's Akio car ride.  Miki wants to be pure in an impure world, and Kozue says that this is impossible and he's going to have to sink to the standards of those around him to get what he wants.

The Murder of Desdemona

The "recipe" conversation has already been analyzed and linked to Juri, Shiori, and Ruka, but now we come to the Othello game:

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/13914-1/Series_ep33_079.jpg

Utena:  Huh? The tables got turned.

This establishes Akio as Othello, black, and Utena as Desdemona, white.  Good and evil work as well, and again, the mechanics of the game have been analyzed, so I'll focus on the play.

So, we get the beautiful Duel Area Rains scene ("It'll be all right, Juri," and all that), then...

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/13918-1/Series_ep33_081.jpg

Utena turns out the lamp.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/13924-1/Series_ep33_084.jpg

And turns to look at Akio.

Okay, that's turning out the light much like the lowering of the blinds in Akio's observatory, right?  It symbolizes sex.  Her hand is limp.  Straightforward.

Well:

Yet she must die, else she'll betray more men.
Put out the light, and then put out the light:
If I quench thee, thou flaming minister,
I can again thy former light restore,
Should I repent me:--but once put out thy light,
Thou cunning'st pattern of excelling nature,
I know not where is that Promethean heat
That can thy light relume. When I have pluck'd thy rose,
I cannot give it vital growth again,
It must needs wither:--I'll smell it on the tree.--

That's from Othello, More of Venice (Act V, Scene II, to be exact).  He's holding a lamp, looking on the sleeping Desdemona, and wondering whether he'll kill her.  In plain English, he's saying, "I'll put out the light, then put out her light.  If I put out my lamp, I can light it again, but I can't give her life again."  He compares her to a rose, and killing her to plucking the rose.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/13776-1/Series_ep33_010.jpg

Anthy:  Have you received tonight's roses?

Obviously, the roses stand for her virginity.  But in using Othello, light, and plucked roses, there's a little bit more going on.  It stands for her death, the death of her princely character.  Akio murders her in the bed.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/14012-1/Series_ep33_128.jpg

She is Desdemona, an innocent, faithful girl underneath a strong black man far older than her.  Akio is Othello in this situation.  But it isn't Akio that turns out the light, and it isn't Akio who delivers the roses.  Other than her body language in the asparagus sandwich scene, it's ridiculous to assume rape; Utena puts out the light and lets a part of herself die.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/14036-1/Series_ep33_140.jpg

The next scene reinforces this, where her eyes are glazed over, and she is still, uncannily still.  A part of her has died.

Villainy, Villainy, Villainy!

But we know that Akio isn't much like Othello.  Othello was passionate, jealous, and straightforward.  Akio is much better suited to the "motiveless malignity", Iago.

Iago manipulates everyone behind the scenes.  He's crudely sexual and gets pleasure out of putting people against each other to wreck their lives, but puts on a mask of being the kind, mature, wise, trusted adviser.  In the end, he accomplishes a great part of his goals, but he's done in when the woman he lives with and abuses betrays him.  Sound like anyone?

That makes Anthy, in this scene, Emilia, Iago's wife.  Emilia and Iago have a loveless marriage, based on sex more than anything else, and she knows him better than anyone, how he can be manipulative and how little of the personality he shows is real.  She doesn't realize exactly how messed up he is until the very end, though, and by that time her mistress Desdemona is dead.

Anthy:  Have you received today's roses?
Akio:  Yeah, I received them.
Akio:  Thanks for your help.

Emilia's importance in the play is that she brings Desdemona's handkerchief to Iago when Desdemona drops it, because Iago's been pestering her about it.  Iago plants the handkerchief, which is Othello's prized family heirloom, in Cassio's room, and has Othello spy on Cassio when he gives the handkerchief to his lady of ill repute, Bianca.

In this, Emilia is a large cause of the death of Desdemona, by going along with her husband.  She finally betrays him and explains the truth, so he kills her.

http://ohtori.nu/galerie/d/14018-1/Series_ep33_131.jpg

Here, it establishes Anthy as a conspirator in the murder of Utena, even though she has personal feelings for her Desdemona (Emilia is Desdemona's handmaiden, and is most loyal to her).  She lets herself be used by Akio, but it also foreshadows that, in the end, she may not be as loyal as he thought.

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