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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

#76 | Back to Top02-22-2007 04:53:56 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

(I would like to apologize to Mitsuru for what a half-assed job I did interpreting this episode, especially near the end.)

The symbolism in Mitsuru’s duel episode is easy to pick up on, because there isn’t really much debate over what his motives are, nor are they particularly difficult to understand. The desire to be an adult is something that almost everyone experiences at some point in their lives.

The easiest, and surprisingly effective way to find symbolism is simply to assume that everything that happens is symbolic. Look at any event that may seem meaningless, and try to think of how it could relate to the plot in some way. If there’s a connection of some sort, then it was probably put there on purpose. Rather than assuming that everything is symbolic, symbols are usually most noticeable when something unusual is happening on screen that is out of the ordinary. Also, if the camera angle is unusual, such as when it changes to another character abruptly zooms in at an odd angle, that could have a deeper meaning as well.

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The scene begins with Chu-Chu watching a snail as it slowly climbs up a wall. Why is it that he’s watching a snail, and not some other animal? Snails are very slow animals, which relates to how Mitsuru feels as though he is growing up slowly. (Also notice that the snail is climbing up.) Utena is reading a book while Anthy waters the roses. Reading a book is something that someone might do while they’re waiting for something, and Mitsuru is waiting to grow up. It rains throughout the episode, and though rain is universally recognized as a symbol for sadness, Utena mentions that Anthy’s roses need lots of sunlight to grow. The rain keeps the sun from shining, and so Mitsuru is unable to grow up. The idea of one person being above another is symbolic in this episode as well. Utena is sitting in a chair, and so Anthy is above her, because she’s more of an adult than Utena is.

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Once again, Mitsuru is sitting down while Mari stands above him as she lectures him for doing everything that Nanami says. When he says, “You’re no different from me,” he stands up so that they’re on the same level.

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Later on, Mitsuru is unpacking some food for Nanami’s lunch. The fact that he bought a lot of food be because children are always being told that they need to eat to grow up big and strong. The first thing that he takes out of the bag is milk. (“Milk helps build strong bones!”) Mari is eating a bar of chocolate, which is considered to be something that children eat more often than adults. Mari compares Nanami to a Black Widow Spider, which is a type of spider that bites off the male’s head after mating. “If she just eats this, I’ll be satisfied,” He says as he takes a banana out of the bag. Mari comments on how that’s dirty, and Mitsuru doesn’t get it. (No, I will not spoon-feed the answer to you.)

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Girl-A: “Where should we eat lunch?”
Girl-B: “Stupid rain…”
As Mitsuru runs to bring Nanami her lunch, he passes two girls who are unable to eat lunch outside because of the rain, just as he soon learns that he can’t eat lunch with Nanami because she’s going to eat with Mikage.

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Utena and Anthy run into Mitsuru at the library, and he asks Utena what it means to be an adult. Nanami’s three stalkers in the background seem to symbolize Mitsuru’s reactions to hearing all of this. Utena hesitantly responds by saying that being an being an adult means that you have to be experienced in certain things. Mitsuru asks if she’s done those things, and Anthy says, “There are lots of grown-up things about us. Right, Utena-sama?” (I always turn it to English at that part to hear Anthy say, “I think you and I have done some adult things together. Right, Miss Utena?”) Of course, the adult things that she’s referring to is the duels, but how is that fun?

The filmstrips that Mitsuru watches have some symbolic meaning, but I’m not really sure what the movies that he’s watching are about, though most of them seem to be universal.

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Mitsuru is sitting in his room, thinking of things people have said earlier that day to imply that he isn’t an adult. The picture of the car on his wall is there because it’s a very small type of car. He’s already thrown away the bentou that he made for Nanami, and as he’s about to take a bite of the bar of chocolate, he throws that away too. The bar of chocolate symbolizes his childhood.

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When Nanami comes to question him about Mari, the fact that the two of them are standing is different rooms is very apparent. This symbolizes the distance between them, and how Nanami lives in the “Adult World” that he’s not apart of.

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In Mitsuru’s elevator scene, the picture of him and Nanami is important, because the way you can only see the top half of his head in the picture comes up again later on. (Wow, that’s really all I have to say about this?) o_o

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Nanami meets Mitsuru in the movie theater. She sits down next to him, and he holds her hand, and then pulls two swords out of her chest. “And with this, I will be an adult.” By now, we should already know what it feels like for someone to pull a sword out of their chest. Light shines down onto Mitsuru. Outside, the sun is shining, and a young rose has bloomed now that the sun has come out, just as Mitsuru has.

C-Ko’s scene is rather self-explanatory.

Interpreting duel songs is very difficult. It’s best to read the lines, and try to imply what you know to the song. In Mitsuru’s duel, for example, it talks about breathing. Respiration is the process of taking in energy. Energy is the ability to do work. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but it can change forms, the most common of which is in the form of heat. This is why people get hot and sweat a lot while running or having sex. (The last of which applies strongly to being an adult.)

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After the duel, Nanami’s attitude has changed significantly. She is now seeing him as an adult. She’s viewed in the same camera angle as Mitsuru was in the picture because now he’s more of an adult than she is.

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#77 | Back to Top02-22-2007 10:42:00 PM

Maarika
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From: Estonia
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I don't think Nanami sees him as an adult. She might view him as equal to herself or at least not a little kid she thought he was. Also, she's probably embrassed by the fact that he pulled swords out of her too, just like the other duelists.


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#78 | Back to Top02-23-2007 10:39:46 AM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

(I always turn it to English at that part to hear Anthy say, “I think you and I have done some adult things together. Right, Miss Utena?”) Of course, the adult things that she’s referring to is the duels, but how is that fun?

She was referring to the duels? That never occurred to me.

Razara wrote:

and he holds her hand, and then pulls two swords out of her chest. “And with this, I will be an adult.” By now, we should already know what it feels like for someone to pull a sword out of their chest.

Mitsuru's two swords are clearly Nanami's "pirate" swords, not his own. That makes me wonder, when someone pulls a sword out of someone else is that a clue that they are not using their own power, and their own self-hood, but instead borrowing or parasitizing someone else? I am not sure how Ruka/Juri fits that pattern but Utena's ability to eventually draw her own sword seems deeply significant. Even so it is Anthy who actually draws the sword and I am not sure yet what that means. In the end Akio steals her Sword of Nobility and it's interesting that the Sword of Nobility cannot break the Rose Gate. Akio fights his duel with a sword of hatred.

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#79 | Back to Top02-23-2007 12:08:18 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

Mitsuru's two swords are clearly Nanami's "pirate" swords, not his own.

They're Middle-Eastern style scimitar and dagger, not pirate cutlass.

In the end Akio steals her Sword of Nobility and it's interesting that the Sword of Nobility cannot break the Rose Gate.

I can't remember that term ever being used. Akio calls it only the "Prince's sword".

Akio fights his duel with a sword of hatred.

And Akio's sword is definately not one of the Swords of Hatred - they all share the same design, plus that Akio clearly can't control them. Since it's drawn from Anthy, I'm guessing it's the Sword of Dios in it's true current visage - it has become corrupt, like Akio, but appears bright to the Duellists - like Akio.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#80 | Back to Top02-23-2007 08:54:03 PM

bella
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 11-04-2006
Posts: 581

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Wow, Razara, you're wonderful. emot-keke Do you think you could help me with a scene from the last episode? I'm sorry I don't have any scrrencaps for you, but I'll describe the scene as best as I can. After Utena was run through with the sword of Dio by Anthy, and Anthy disappears, Utena gets up and starts to limp toward the place where Anthy's cofifn is. She's really badly hurt, and on the way she almost falls, but Akio, while telling her that her efforts are no good, grabs her, seemingly trying to prevent her from falling. She pushes him away from her, out of her way. My question is, why would Akio do something like this? Isn't he aware by this point that Utena sees through him and has lost faith in him? Is there an exterior motive for Akio (I'm sure there must be.), and if so, what do you think it is? What is this scene symbolic of?

Thank You.


Happy Holidays Everyone! :3

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#81 | Back to Top02-23-2007 09:54:25 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Well, I don't know what Razara will say but I'd guess it's just a reflex. Besides why shouldn't he grab her? He does not want to kill her, he wants to drink her blood and add her to his stable. He is completely confident of her total defeat; at that point she does not know herself what she is going to do or how to do it. At that point it costs him nothing to even spare a bit of pity for her.

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#82 | Back to Top02-24-2007 12:02:01 AM

Razara
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From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Hmm... I rewatched that scene just again.

What I can't help but be reminded of in this scene is Dios. Utena is stumbling forward, and it's obvious that she will fall soon. Akio runs forward to catch her, for a reason that I do not know Akio well enough to define. He tells her that the seal cannot be broken, but she knows that opening that door is the only way to save Anthy. She refuses to give in, and pushes him away. She stumbles forward and falls to the ground. She is a "fallen prince." It makes me think of how Dios fell because he wanted to help the girls of the world, even though he would die if he continued.


I need to start interpreting these episodes more. emot-gonk

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#83 | Back to Top02-24-2007 01:25:18 PM

bella
Atlantean Singer
Registered: 11-04-2006
Posts: 581

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Thank you. etc-love I can see the Utena/Dios parallel there, but Utena is seperate from Dios in some ways, right? Although they are driven by the same force, Utena is the one who succeeds. In the scene with Dio, Utena, and the carosel, it almost seemed to me as if Dios was mocking her. I tend to see Dios himself as not so much of a pure and true prince as he seems.

Maybe I should ask Gio about Akio's motivations in the scene I mentioned before.


Happy Holidays Everyone! :3

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#84 | Back to Top02-24-2007 06:48:15 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

BTW I noticed that before the duel begins Akio pronounces Utena to be his princess. It is at that instant that Anthy vanishes from inside her body and dress and is seen slumped on the staircase looking thoroughly discarded and deposed. A couple minutes later she regains her Rose Bride gown because she has yet another Rose Bride task to do after all, stabbing Utena.

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#85 | Back to Top02-26-2007 01:24:23 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

(Did I break the server? It broke when I tried to post this. emot-frown)

Anthy vanishes from her dress like that on two occasions. The first time she vanishes is when Akio says that he is the prince, and that Utena is the princess. The second is when Anthy tells Utena that she can never be her prince because she's a girl. The Rose Bride dresses look like a dress that a princess would wear, and she vanishes out of it and reappears as witch. Perhaps the reason why this happens is because, "A girl who can never be a princess is destined to become a witch."

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#86 | Back to Top02-26-2007 02:15:07 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

Hmm... I rewatched that scene just again.

What I can't help but be reminded of in this scene is Dios. Utena is stumbling forward, and it's obvious that she will fall soon. Akio runs forward to catch her, for a reason that I do not know Akio well enough to define. He tells her that the seal cannot be broken, but she knows that opening that door is the only way to save Anthy. She refuses to give in, and pushes him away. She stumbles forward and falls to the ground. She is a "fallen prince." It makes me think of how Dios fell because he wanted to help the girls of the world, even though he would die if he continued.


I need to start interpreting these episodes more. emot-gonk

She only falls the once, right? This is just a rather blasé thought on my part (which comes about because I was walking through the crypt of Sacré-Cœur the other day and it has some sort of "pilgrimage" following the path of Christ), but I am reminded of Christ carrying the cross to his own crucifixion. Now, I am by no means religious, and most of my knowledge of the Bible comes from the occasional reading of the Old Testament for amusement/studying James Joyce and gawping at fourteenth/fifteenth/sixteenth century art, but...he fell three times while carrying the cross, yes? And once was helped up by a discipline? Damn, I can't remember. I also don't know how likely Christian symbology is in a Japanese series, but the thematic similarity is there...Utena falls, and must rise again in order to save Anthy. Akio helps her, and she rejects him -- she later accepts the help of Dios, although in a different manner. In fact, the way Dios aids her reflects a major theme of the series, and that is the fact that you cannot pick someone up yourself and save them; you can tell them which way to go, but they have to walk the path themselves. Which...aw, hell, I am going to go on a massive tangent here about the symbolism of the Akio-Car and its "easy ride" status (the pun was not...entirely intended). So, I will shut up.

Except for noting that Dios is cruel in the way he helps Utena. Is that reflective of all of the Christian god? (As I am assuming the Spanish word for "God" (i.e. Dios) is implying the same God as the term does in English.) I mean, depending on the source, you get a lot of "God is cruel" in Christian texts. But he is cruel to be kind, and to aid the Christian in their process of maturation...which is really what this show is all about.

And now that I have spouted off a load of nonsense, I shall go back to Paris. Joy!


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#87 | Back to Top02-26-2007 05:05:39 PM

Hiraku
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

That was the most informative explanation for symbolism on the Mitsuru episode.  Thanks, I learned stuff about Utena even when it's been a while since I watched the series.

To Razara:
The "adult" thing about dueling... I think Anthy's talking about that moment when Utena pulls the sword out of Anthy's chest. Honestly, though, the FIRST TIME I watched Utena, I saw that scene when Saionji pulls the sword out of Anthy, and I was so scared for her because I felt like I just saw someone raping another person. It's always reminded me of Sailor Moon when Daimohn or Lemures were either ripping Pure Hearts or Beautiful Dreams out of people's body. Taking stuff out of somebody in magical realms usually means taking out something VERY personal. And, Ikuhara DID direct Sailor Moon before doing Utena...

The REALLY disturbing part is when I saw her just there standing as if nothing has happened. What made me feel disturbed about the scene later at that time was Anthy's response to the sword-pulling-out-of-her-chest-dealio. Her lack of expression makes her so inhuman. Of course, the Tales of the Rose explained where that's coming from, so now I know.

At this point, though, my biggest confusion about the symbolism is Miki's stop-watch and the timing. Ikuhara, I believe, said that that stopwatch holds the answer to the secrets of the universe, and even he doesn't seem to know, or maybe he does, but he's not telling.

And the other confusion from Utena I had was Nanami's egg. Ikuhara said that it holds the disturbing answer as to why we're here on this planet, and he said it's too disturbing to know. Does anyone know why it's disturbing?

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#88 | Back to Top02-26-2007 06:03:32 PM

A Day Without Me
Still Drunk in the Morning?
From: in the tulip garden!
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 1584

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Hiraku wrote:

At this point, though, my biggest confusion about the symbolism is Miki's stop-watch and the timing. Ikuhara, I believe, said that that stopwatch holds the answer to the secrets of the universe, and even he doesn't seem to know, or maybe he does, but he's not telling.

And the other confusion from Utena I had was Nanami's egg. Ikuhara said that it holds the disturbing answer as to why we're here on this planet, and he said it's too disturbing to know. Does anyone know why it's disturbing?

Honestly, in both of these instances, I think it's Ikuhara just screwing with us - he seems to enjoy that a LOT.


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#89 | Back to Top02-26-2007 06:38:52 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Clarice:
Most of the "Stations of the Cross" is post-Biblical and not actually in the New Testament. I get the impression that the Japanese are really fascinated by Christian iconography but don't necessarily understand it. But Be-papas, at least, seem to know quite a bit about Western iconography.

That is an interesting contrast that you pointed out between Utena's path versus the car or even the gondola. And of course, what open the gate is not a sword.

Everyone:
I am quite confused by the monolog Dios has with Utena. Someone suggested that he is deliberately provoking her into action but maybe he has given up hope just like Anthy.  But I don't understand the carousel symbolism or why Dios hops on and off it.

Last edited by brian (02-26-2007 06:42:35 PM)

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#90 | Back to Top02-26-2007 07:45:56 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

Clarice:


Everyone:
I am quite confused by the monolog Dios has with Utena. Someone suggested that he is deliberately provoking her into action but maybe he has given up hope just like Anthy.  But I don't understand the carousel symbolism or why Dios hops on and off it.

I personally see the carousel as another example of the whole illusion thing is for the Prince and the Castle of Eternity. Little kids ride on the fake ponies on the carousel to pretend that they're princes. For me, it means that Dios reveals himself to be a "fraud" prince, an figment of fantasy that Akio shall never aspire, in comparison to Utena, who has not lost hope even when reality crushes on her.

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#91 | Back to Top02-26-2007 09:52:29 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4694

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Hiraku wrote:

At this point, though, my biggest confusion about the symbolism is Miki's stop-watch and the timing. Ikuhara, I believe, said that that stopwatch holds the answer to the secrets of the universe, and even he doesn't seem to know, or maybe he does, but he's not telling.

And the other confusion from Utena I had was Nanami's egg. Ikuhara said that it holds the disturbing answer as to why we're here on this planet, and he said it's too disturbing to know. Does anyone know why it's disturbing?

I started taking notes on Miki's stopwatch, but I forgot all about it.

As for the egg episode, it has some very, very interesting symbolism. I'll write about that next. emot-biggrin

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#92 | Back to Top02-26-2007 10:42:08 PM

Teapot
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From: San Diego, CA
Registered: 02-20-2007
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

The thing with Dios talking to Utena at the end, well... the whole riding off on a carousel horse just reminded me of childhood. And that's what the princely ideal may be, just some childish dream. As Akio said, "There never was a prince to begin with." He could have been right. 'Prince' is an ideal, but not an existence. And you can't sustain yourself on ideals, because in the end they won't be able to help you.

Dios couldn't save Utena, because in a way, he didn't even exist (at that point, anyway). He was the embodiment of everyone's hopes and dreams, but if you've ever heard the story of Pandora's Box where the box was shut before Hope could escape from it, or something along those lines-- that's what I'm talking about. Hope is one of, if not -the- most painful of demons to defeat, because so many people rely on it just to keep on living, even though they may very well just be lying to themselves, telling themselves that someday, someone or something is going to make everything better. When it narrows down to that, it's running away from responsibility. As so eloquently put in the Rocky Horror Picture Show: Don't dream it, be it. (Hey, it works in this situation too). Utena, having realized that, forgot all about her desires to be saved and set her priorities to what she felt was more important to her: saving someone else. I think just that one moment in time, that one truly selfless act, is what made her become a real prince.

That's what I got out of it the first time I saw that scene, anyway... there's more to it, but it's really difficult for me to explain. The end of Utena hit a very, very personal chord with me, somehow (I actually was depressed and wouldn't stop crying for a week afterward because it was like a huuuuuuge wake-up slap in the face for me). I can handle it a lot better, now, but I probably haven't seen it enough times to make a proper analysis, but that's how I felt about it.

Last edited by Teapot (02-26-2007 10:42:18 PM)


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#93 | Back to Top02-26-2007 11:13:47 PM

alexielnet
Unfulfilled Juror
From: Arizona
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 236
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

The carousel makes revolutions but it never goes anywhere. It's an illusion of movement (or Empty Movement) without any change. I actually have a lot of thoughts about that so if I wasn't so busy with school work, I would talk more extensiviely. I like to come here sometimes when I am having trouble with an essay, because you guys inspire me to look at things from a different angle. Also, this isn't the first time this board has inspired me to write new essays for my sites. emot-keke Thank you.

Last edited by alexielnet (02-26-2007 11:15:23 PM)

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#94 | Back to Top02-26-2007 11:29:56 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Clarice wrote:

Except for noting that Dios is cruel in the way he helps Utena. Is that reflective of all of the Christian god? (As I am assuming the Spanish word for "God" (i.e. Dios) is implying the same God as the term does in English.) I mean, depending on the source, you get a lot of "God is cruel" in Christian texts. But he is cruel to be kind, and to aid the Christian in their process of maturation...which is really what this show is all about.

Dios=God you are correct emot-smile
And in the catholic faith God is supposed to be a father figure that let his children do mistakes so they could learn... in Bible reality he manipulats the circumstances so I don't think so. 

And now that I have spouted off a load of nonsense, I shall go back to Paris. Joy!

I loved Paris etc-love, enjoy it all you can emot-smile


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#95 | Back to Top02-26-2007 11:41:32 PM

MissMocha
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From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

alexielnet wrote:

The carousel makes revolutions but it never goes anywhere. It's an illusion of movement (or Empty Movement) without any change.

So are ferris wheels. "The Prince Who Runs in the Night," anyone? emot-biggrin


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And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
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#96 | Back to Top02-26-2007 11:57:31 PM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

BTW I noticed that before the duel begins Akio pronounces Utena to be his princess. It is at that instant that Anthy vanishes from inside her body and dress and is seen slumped on the staircase looking thoroughly discarded and deposed. A couple minutes later she regains her Rose Bride gown because she has yet another Rose Bride task to do after all, stabbing Utena.

I wouldn't say stabbing Utena is her task. In fact, Anthy's the one to be stabbed by those swords -- that's her destiny as the Rose Bride.
Anyway, I've been wondering about that scene too. I think it's yet another good example of twisted fairytale symbolism. It's made to be seen that Anthy fits the princess role in that context 'cause Utena cannot even define herself. But Anthy is no princess and the way she disappears looks like she collpses/dies, which is symbolic 'cause Anthy couldn't become a princess and thus she couldn't take the role.

Razara wrote:

The second is when Anthy tells Utena that she can never be her prince because she's a girl. The Rose Bride dresses look like a dress that a princess would wear, and she vanishes out of it and reappears as witch. Perhaps the reason why this happens is because, "A girl who can never be a princess is destined to become a witch."

Actually, the second time is after she's already stabbed Utena.

Utena:  Hime...miya...you mustn't...Hi...me...
Anthy:  My meddlesome hero. Thanks for a small taste of what you call "friendship".
Anthy:  Farewell.

This one's a bit different than the previous. The second time she seems to disappear on her own will, she simply moves on to accomplish her task, I think the second time isn't as symbolic as the first. Except that disappearing like that she, indeed, bids farewell to Utena and at that moment she completely disappears from Utena's grasp too, which is the reason why Utena is left on her own.


Clarice wrote:

Akio helps her, and she rejects him -- she later accepts the help of Dios, although in a different manner. In fact, the way Dios aids her reflects a major theme of the series, and that is the fact that you cannot pick someone up yourself and save them; you can tell them which way to go, but they have to walk the path themselves.

No, actually the scene with Utena and Dios is before Utena rejects Akio.
I don't think Dios really could/wanted to help her. It is then that we are to realise the point of the show which you pointed out. Dios didn't really intend to help Utena, or Utena didn't think he did because as you could have noticed, it wasn't Utena who needed help. Utena didn't seem to care much about being wounded, she was desperately trying to help Anthy. I think Utena would have considered Dios helping her only if he had helped Anthy, which he didn't.
Hehe, then again, it's so relative depending on how you look at it. The scene with Dios also points out another thing: if you want something done, do it yourself. Nobody was going to do a thing to help Anthy so Utena had to do it herself. She resolved to that right when she realised that Dios wasn't going to offer her anything but his pity and consolation. How is that going to help anyone? Utena rejected his consolation and decided to do it all herself. So in a way, Dios did help Utena to strive forward. Although I don't think it was his conscious intention to make Utena decide that way.

Teapot wrote:

The thing with Dios talking to Utena at the end, well... the whole riding off on a carousel horse just reminded me of childhood. And that's what the princely ideal may be, just some childish dream. As Akio said, "There never was a prince to begin with." He could have been right. 'Prince' is an ideal, but not an existence. And you can't sustain yourself on ideals, because in the end they won't be able to help you.

Dios couldn't save Utena, because in a way, he didn't even exist (at that point, anyway). He was the embodiment of everyone's hopes and dreams, but if you've ever heard the story of Pandora's Box where the box was shut before Hope could escape from it, or something along those lines-- that's what I'm talking about. Hope is one of, if not -the- most painful of demons to defeat, because so many people rely on it just to keep on living, even though they may very well just be lying to themselves, telling themselves that someday, someone or something is going to make everything better. When it narrows down to that, it's running away from responsibility. As so eloquently put in the Rocky Horror Picture Show: Don't dream it, be it. (Hey, it works in this situation too). Utena, having realized that, forgot all about her desires to be saved and set her priorities to what she felt was more important to her: saving someone else. I think just that one moment in time, that one truly selfless act, is what made her become a real prince.

I like really your interpretation. One thing though, if you say that "Prince" is an ideal and thus there really is no prince, then why'd you say Utena became a real prince? I don't think she could've become a prince, since there is no prince. And what I really liked about the ending was the fact that Utena finally realised that she couldn't become a prince -- the prince ideal consists of nobility and bravery, but at the same time it is also one-sided. Dios was a noble prince but he completely buried his own self. He gave everything he had for the sake of others and destroyed himself by doing that. Dios's main flaw was that he didn't care for himself. Nobility is a virtue, but is it right at a cost of selfsacrifice? It is possible to think about others while not repressing your own self at the same time, a balance exists between the two and that's what Utena had to realise. Also, Utena seemed quite devastated in the last scene with her. Anthy, on the other hand was the exact opposite. While I think Utena has a new view on life after the end, she still needs some proof about her actions and what she caused. Does she even know she revolutionised someone? This made me think that perhaps Utena wouldn't be able to find her peace of mind until she's reunited with Anthy. Ahh, the Dioscuri symbolism again. school-eng101 Only then would she finally be able to find out what she really did. For some reason, I think Utena knows about the revolution about as much as Akio does.


(hey, perhaps we should make a new thread for the ending analysis? There's a lot of things to talk about, as it's there when all things are finally revealed and concluded. Of course, this thread works too, but it'd be more organised this way ;D)


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#97 | Back to Top02-27-2007 12:12:27 AM

Teapot
Sensei of Sense
From: San Diego, CA
Registered: 02-20-2007
Posts: 198
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

If you relate the carousel to the whole revolution movement, it reminds me of Buddhism... SKU has a lot of death-rebirth themes throughout the story (even with Chu Chu!), being born again, and again... of course, that observation has probably been done to death.. (and rebirth.. bah!)

A lot of people seem to believe Dios was in a way cruel to Utena, but I didn't really see it. When people place all their belief in something, be it a person, religion, childhood dream etc etc, it can only take you so far. It can't actually DO the work for you, while it may be an inspiration or whatever, one must take charge of their own actions. I feel the same way about Utena and Anthy at the very end. Did Utena actually save Anthy? If you look at it, their hands slipped away from one another... but I think even that is similar to what Dios gave to Utena. A realization. Through Utena, Anthy realized that she had a choice. That she, too, was able to take matters into her own hands. I dunno, I'm not a very spiritual -or- technical person (my head is full of pudding and empty thoughts...), on top of that I'm pretty solitary, so I saw the whole thing as a 'save yourself' kind of thing. Of course, that could just be my subconscious lying to me again. -shuts self back in coffin-

Really, I saw the whole series of Utena AND the movie as some kind of gigantic, glamorously drawn-out representation of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, if you put it in simple enough terms. I noticed that even before I finished the first 14 episodes. I mean... the SHADOW GIRLS. Omg, it's so obvious.

In the allegory, Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire.  Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_cave <-- Another good link.

Another more simplistic interpretation of the Allegory is the process and consequence of enlightenment. First one has to awaken from the dream we call life (breaking the bonds); then we become aware of the webs that influence and move us (shadows on the wall); and finally we see the truth for what it truly is (the sun and world outside the cave). Our instinct and natural desire is to free others and awaken them to the truth, but doing so is futile for they cannot see past the illusions and will only attack the truth bearer.

Last edited by Teapot (02-27-2007 12:17:01 AM)


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#98 | Back to Top02-27-2007 11:12:08 AM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I'll just bet that one of Be-papas has a fascination with stop-watches and the others decided to have some fun with that quirk.

Somebody said once that Dios is also the Greek word for hero. I don't know if that's true.

That's a great observation on the ferris wheel.

Maarika wrote:

Dios was a noble prince but he completely buried his own self. He gave everything he had for the sake of others and destroyed himself by doing that. Dios's main flaw was that he didn't care for himself. Nobility is a virtue, but is it right at a cost of selfsacrifice?

Perhaps by then Dios had learned his lesson, that he could rescue Utena only by setting a good example as she did in turn with Anthy.

In the manga Dios and Akio were a Dioscuri, twin brothers sharing the same body. There at least Utena was faced with a very cruel dilemma, Dios had been murdered by Akio. His last words to Utena were "...we will meet again -- and you will save us!" Utena had forgotten the second clause. The Prince cannot save her, she must save him; and the only way to save him is to kill him. It's ambiguous what Dios meant by Us, he and Akio, or he and Anthy or perhaps all three. Anthy tries to stop Utena at the end by warning that she will cease to exist. Utena does not pause long at her final hurdle, but she smile serenely and kills Akio even though she has come to love him. I can imagine many reasons why Utena smiled. But she frees Anthy of Akio's baleful influence and leaves her on her own to do what she will with her new freedom.

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#99 | Back to Top02-27-2007 02:27:23 PM

dollface
Postmistress Elf of Subtext
From: North Carolina
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 5086
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Teapot wrote:

Allegory of the cave

Ah! So I'm not the only one who noticed it. I was going to make a thread about the connections between SKU and Plato's allegory, but I never got around to it. Now that more people see it, I suppose I will. emot-biggrin


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#100 | Back to Top02-28-2007 12:33:16 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I don't know if this counts as symbolism but there are also the various musical leitmotiv's. One  is always used to show Anthy in pain; it shows up when Nanami wrecks her gown and it also shows up as one of the elements of the incest theme. It shows up when Utena is reaching for her in the coffin but most interesting it shows up when Utena deposes her as the Princess and she is left bare-foot on the stairs.

Changing the subject entirely another example of twisted fairytale symbolism is Akio and Mrs. Ohtori. The way he caresses her feet is a mockery of the Prince fitting the slipper on Cinderella. (What an enviable talent he has for making girls melt just by caressing their feet!)

Speaking of Cinderalla, it's possible that Anthy's dark complexion is symbolically soot -- the neglected soot-covered girl sitting in the corner.

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