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GUYS GUYS I JUST UPLOADED THE 1997 UTENA MUSICAL IN HIGH DEFINITION straight from the Japanese Blu-rays! i am now very tired goodnight

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#1 | Back to Top03-09-2007 07:21:56 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
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Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

I couldn't really make up my mind whether to post it in the symbolism or the body language thread, and since it has too much philosphical view points in it, I decided to make a new thread for it. emot-mad


Warning: This whole thing is rather long and it's full of philosophy that will most likely mess with your head, so please take your time if you intend to read it. And good luck. This is the longest analysis I've typed so far and I wouldn't be very happy to read something that long. (At least not in one sitting, I'm so easily distracted. Especially if it involves philosophy. emot-gonk )

To start off, the ending theme will be analysed from two main aspects: the symbolism and body language. I found it hard to ignore all the body language in this because there appears to be at least just as much body language in it as there is symbolism. I'm a noob at analysing body language, so if someone has anything to add or correct me, please do so!
Also! Most of these interpretations are just thoughts and ideas I've got, and in most case I couldn't even decide in which way to interprete them.

Another thing, I won't be analysing the song, although I know it is an important part of the ending theme, but here's a link to a nice analysis on that song: http://www.ohtori.nu/analysis/07_kiseki … yology.htm I'll be talking about the visuals mostly.



http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_070.jpg

Anyway, in the beginning of the scene we see Utena standing in the gondola, going up to the duelling arena. If you remember, I talked somewhere about how riding the gondola was a way to represent the recurring theme of the show - eternity. Here, however, there's nothing that makes it seem that it represents eternity. This is mostly because in this scene the gonodola appears to be going straight up to the duelling arena (more on this later). Of course, it also went straight up to the duelling arena during the show too, but we were given a whole different perspective on it.

Moving on!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_121.jpg

Anthy holding a rose. Two things to note: the rose itself and the body language. First, I'll talk about the body language. The way Anthy is holding the rose looks like she's offering it to someone. This certain gesture here seems to say something like "Would you take this rose?" rather than "Here's your rose", as she's holding the rose like that despite the throns (hard to tell though, but I suppose every rose has thorns in SKU). Remember how Utena was often offered roses like that by other duelists? This made me think that offering a rose is some sort of an invitation/proposal. Anthy is the one who is constantly manipulating Utena and though this scene can be interpreted in different ways, I think here it mostly shows that despite everything, Anthy is the one pulling the strings (well, Akio is too, but they're quite alike and depend on one another).
As for the rose, it is a constantly used symbol of course. The rose Anthy is offering Utena is pink. The rose Utena wears during the duels is white (except during Touga's second duel), the only pink roses we see during the gondola ride are the ones that sprout from Anthy's clothes. Pink roses aren't as pure as white, but they seem to carry similiar characteristics, such as grace and gentle feelings of love. Another parallel to the actual gondola ride is that the roses were shown growing from buds to blossoms, and the similiar symbolic theme is used here as well. In this shot, Anthy is holding a rose bud but as you can see, it'll change later on.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_128.jpg

There's a parallel in this one with the actual gondola scene, too, where Anthy changes Utena's outfit. Here Utena doesn't seem to be wearing anything. Nudity is quite symbolic and you can't look past that when you watch SKU. It represents how Utena isn't hiding herself behind any masks and she faces the world as her true self, not as a projection of something. I think it could be considered as one of the purest forms of existence. BUT if you take abother look at it, you'll notice that Utena has her eyes closed, this shows that she's oblivious about it, that in reality one has to project something out of oneself to fit in their everyday life/situations. It's a philosohpical matter so take it as you like. I'm tempted to draw another philosophical parallel about embryos and such, but I think it'd keep it more simple if I didn't.
And about the body language. Utena's arm seems to be held out quite freely, but it also seems as if she's trying to reach out or offer her hand. More on this a bit later, before that there's also this:


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_138.jpg

Utena's hand is on Anthy's, and in this context it's mostly reflecting acceptance to Anthy offering the rose. But Utena doesn't take the rose, so it probably means that it wasn't actually the rose Anthy was offering her, but something else instead. Another thought: the rose could also symbolise Anthy. We don't ever really see a specific rose that would represent her. A pink rose would suit her in this certain context, since like I said it's not as pure as the white rose, but it shares similiar characteristics. Anthy isn't pure, in fact, she's quite far from being pure. However, here where they're both stripped down to nothing at all, Anthy can be portrayed a bit differently, too. Meaning that her ideas and beliefs also have the potential to be similiar to Utena's. And if you take a look at rose again, you'll notice it has evolved a bit compared to the previous shot.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_152.jpg

It's the same conceptual shot as one with Utena above, the only difference is that Anthy is facing in the opposite direction. Everything else is the same. I believe the previous shot and this one here together form a whole. This makes quite a lot sense since Utena and Anthy together complete one another. Also, it seems that Utena is reaching out for Anthy and vice versa, this shows that there's a bond between them. The reason why Anthy and Utena are portrayed on their own like that, is to emphazise that the bond between them does not have to be visible or one that you can easily notice. It's there and that's it. We can't really see their hands linked directly in these two similiar shots, but if you consider the one with the rose then they should be linked through the rose. What does that mean? If you look at it from the symbolic point of view, then this is definitely something they both have in common. For Utena, the roses symbolise her prince and the same could be said about Anthy.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_162.jpg

Throughout the series, Utena's and Anthy's relationship is shown to be very close, but there is still enough room to debate about how far it actually went. In the ending theme, as you can see, they've taken away all borders. This shot here is quite like the other one with the rose, again with some differences to note. This time they have their hands entwined, which is another step forward from the previous shot. The rose is blossoming, it is a symbol of (r)evolution in this context, which is a major theme in SKU as we know. Then again, here it might also reperesent Anthy's/Utena's feelings toward one another since it's rather hard to ignore that in these scenes. Or perhaps it's just Anthy's feeling's if the rose in question really represents her. That's 'cause if you take the prince/princess archetypes then here Anthy could just be trying to  be a princess, but you need a prince for that and Utena is here playing that role for her. And last thing, at this point they both are assigned into their roles. They're wearing their clothes again which symbolises that Utena is in her prince role again and Anthy can either be seen as a princess or the Rose Bride or both.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_171.jpg

These are the roles I was talking about and they'll be used pretty much to the end of the ending theme. Now they're both pictured directly together, and Anthy's rose is gone. Instead, we have Utena's rose, which is quite symbolic in many ways. Firstly, the white rose is the symbol of purity and nobility, or in other words - the prince. This is what Utena strives to be. Moreover, this is Utena's rose and I think it's very clearly implied that Anthy wants it.
As for the body language, it's quite hard to break it apart and tell what exactly they meant by it but I suppose anyone could tell this shot has some serious sexual undertones. The way Anthy is touching Utena's rose is very delicate, it's a sign of a careful approach and Utena seems to display no resistance. In fact, she even seems to go along with it just as much. Utena's eyes are still closed, I don't know if this is very symbolic here, but it mostly implies how she's about to give herself to Anthy and that she has placed her trust in Anthy.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_182.jpg

The biggest difference between this shot and the previous one is that here we get a better shot of Anthy. We could't really tell much about her based on the previous shot, since we only got a shot of her hand, but here we have a better pic of her which shows much more.
Another thing that immediately strikes me about her, is that this the only shot among these where she's wearing her hair like that. At first when she appeared she had her hair loose, and now she doesn't anymore. If you view this from the series context then this is her regular Rose Bride appearence. Having one's hair tied up in some way is a way of restraining oneself. I've heard that it is believed that hair is part of us where our (spiritual?) energy is stored and by tying the hair in certain way influences the amounts/directions of how that enegry will flow. If anything at all, I suppose this supports the fact that tying her like that is a way to show that Anthy has restrained herself. This fits very well with the Rose Bride's characteristics too. After all, Anthy is playing the role of the Rose Bride among other things. Her eyes are half closed and she seems to be looking either at the rose or in the distance. This can mean several things. From a physical level, this could be a sign of arousal. But on a more philosophical viewpoint, it may also show how Anthy is never actually there. She's filling her task as the Rose Bride, but Anthy is not in her essence the Rose Bride. If you compare this with the previous shot then you'll also notice Anthy's position has drastically changed. She's leaning close to Utena in this one. Although Anthy is often portrayed as a very passive character, she's very possive at the same time too. The way she has placed her hand on Utena's chest just around the rose is saying something along the lines of "This is mine!". If you go with that interpretation then you also have to take note on how she's almost obsessively looking at the rose. I already talked about the rose symbolism and that it's Utena's rose, but here it is, in fact, Anthy's. She wants to make it her own. And I think this is where the whole "Rose Bride" stuff originates from. Additionally, this is another proof that Anthy really did choose all that for herself.

As for Utena, she's practically the same as before. Still has her eyes closed too, which can imply that she's unaware of Anthy's manipulation and her true intentions. Her back is still arched and now her fingers are stretched out which seems to be a reaction to Anthy changed position. But she also doesn't seem to mind it a bit. I don't really know what else to make of the hand, it's still a bit of a mystery to me. :/



http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_189.jpg

More changes!
This time Utena has finally opened her eyes and is looking straight into Anthy's eyes. Anthy is looking at her in the same way. Both of them have their eyes half closed and have that dreamy, longing look in their eyes. I'm quite sure you don't give that look to just anyone, it's usually shared between lovers. Are Utena and Anthy lovers? Just try to ignore all the subtle hints from the previous shots!

Anyways, that's not a very simple question to answer because as a lot of other things, it can be interpreted in many ways. Here's what I made of it in this given context. The Anthy we see here is the Anthy that Utena sees at that moment. Anthy's hair is loose again and she isn't wearing her glasses anymore. Think about the prince/princess archetypes again. Here they are both put to these roles; Anthy has shifted from being the Rose Bride into her princess role and Utena is continuing playing the prince. That makes a nice premise for them being lovers, doesn't it? But I feel I have to stress it once again: they are both merely playing the roles of a prince and princess - it is just an act. The prince and a princess are fairytale, they're fake and therefore Utena and Anthy cannot really be what they think they are. I'll come back to this a bit later.

I also wanted to point out how Utena has placed her hand on Anthy's cheek and seems to have taken hold of her. That's such a dominant gesture coming from Utena. In all the romantic/sexual situation throughout the series she's portrayed as the submissive one (or maybe she just happened to get involved with the most dominant guys in Ohtori), but here she seems to be dominating Anthy. And here it is completely natural if you think about the archetypes I mentioned earlier. Sort of ironic though, I've always considered Anthy as the dominant one of the two. Then again, Utena could only be dominating Anthy because Anthy wants it. Anthy is the reason why Utena decided to become a prince and Utena is Anthy's prince.

AND TO FINALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION, Utena and Anthy can, indeed, be lovers in this given context.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_196.jpg

So here's a pic of them kissing. You have to be pretty blind to deny that they have no romantic/sexual feelings in these scenes. The question is, was this what happened during the actual series too? I think if it had happened then it would have made things even more complicated. And if it had happened then we would have seen it 'cause there really is no point hiding it. So no, I doubt it really happened during the series. Then why?! Well, to put it short, all the stuff I've been rambling about here so far should give you the answer. It's called SYMBOLISM. I believe Utena and Anthy kissing in this pic is completely symbolic. As is the entire ending theme.

And now on to the details! Without a doubt, they both are playing their part very well and seem to be enjoying it just as much. Utena has wrapped her arms around Anthy to pull her closer to her and it also appears that she was the one who made the first move, too (especially if you consider the previous shot), since Anthy is a "helpless princess". And Anthy reacts in a natural way. Two things to support that. Firstly, she has placed her hand on Utena's shoulder as if taking a hold of her (possibly a hint to her possessiveness?). Anthy most likely considers Utena to be hers. And secondly, her expression (yeah, we never really see her expression in the actual ending theme but whatever) doesn't reflect any surprise/dislike etc, she's going along with it without any objection.

Another thing, it may seem as if Utena is taking advantage of Anthy, but I think it's not true at all. In fact, Anthy appears to be taking advantage of Utena. Yes, Utena is kissing her, but considering all the previous scenes and never forgetting what sort of person Anthy is, it's safe to say that things are going just the way Anthy wanted.

Oh! I nearly forgot. There's a parallel of this in the manga too, if you've read it. The manga storyline was a bit different but even so, Anthy kissing Utena was part of the ceremony, meaning that it was in symbolic nature, just like it is here.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_202.jpg

This scene is very interesting in so many ways. I'll start by drawing a parallel from the series. This shot resembles quite a lot to the sword pulling scenes before the Akio Arc. Anthy has leaned over just like she did when someone was about to draw the Sword of Dios from her. Utena has raised her left arm like she normally did before she drew the sword. And now the interesting details. When someone was pulling the Sword of Dios from Anthy, and before she leaned over, then whoever was there held out their right arm to support Anthy. Here there's no such thing. Furthermore, I have no idea where Utena put her right arm or why. And that's why Anthy has no other choice but to float. To be honest, I have no idea why she's floating like that. However, if we draw another parallel from the manga again (I don't especially want to mix the series and the manga... :/) then it might make a bit sense. After Anthy had kissed Utena in the manga, Utena fell in some sort of trance and she was floating just like Anthy is in this shot. The point was that she was completely under Akio's and Anthy's power. If this is not what they meant by it here too, then I've got no clue.

Anyway, you can also see Utena leaning over Anthy, but it's hard to say whether she is kissing her or not (most likely yes, since it seems to be the continuation for the previous shot) and this is also similiar to the actual sword pulling scene. Except then she never kisses Anthy. But don't tell me you never had thoughts about it! (Ohh, someone want to make an analysis on the sword pulling scenes?)



http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_225.jpg

Here we have Utena and Anthy just standing in the gondola going up to the duelling arena. They're holding hands which is fitting, considering everything else that had happened before this. There's not much to analyse here from the body language aspect 'cause there's nothing out of ordinary here. But I'd still like to point out how they're again portrayed as a prince and princess. This is probably the way Anthy would like to see themselves. I guess you could say the same about Utena if she'd get past that "I gotta find my prince!" thing and actually started being a prince on her own. According to SKU logic, girls can only be princess because of the prince, so this is what Anthy would most likely dream of even though she's the Rose Bride in 'reality'. If Utena was her prince then she could be a princess. Is this the sort of "happily ever after" that Anthy wants? Possibly yes, until both of them realise that what they're dreaming about is just a fairytale and that reality is a whole different deal. Along with that comes the realisation that one doesn't necessarily  have to play certain roles that are meant for them or set by society, but that they can create their own identy.

On a bit different angle, this shot shows again how Anthy and Utena are meant to be together. By that I mean they are cosidered to form a whole. I'd say you can choose whatever way you want to look at them from this angle, since the whole thing is still very ambigiuous and I can't really tell you what you should think of it.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_279.jpg

YAY, THE LAST ONE!

I really really love how this whole thing ends. The last scene we get is of a bird flying towards the castle. Not so exciting I suppose. But symbolic as hell! Wheee, I can bring in Hesse again! etc-love

Um. Anyway, the whole break the world's shell thing gets the answer here. I'll try to explain it a bit more. The bird struggling out of the egg is a symbol of breaking away from all things that restrain ourselves. By "all things" I mostly mean society, ethics and morals and everything that shapes us to what we are. In reality, it is not possible to comleteley get rid of all these things, but in theory, however, if such thing was to happen, we would go back to our true essence. I can't say become our true essence, because our essence is the base of our existence - this is from where we start shaping our identy. So the essence is always there, as is our true self. But in time it gets buried so deep that we may not even find the way back to it. This is just what happened to Anthy (Utena too and the others, but I think Anthy is the best example) from a philosophical aspect.

[Oh yeah, and if I'm not mistaken, there was a philosophical theory that claimed that our essence was instead based on existence. I thought it would be easier to exaplain and understand it if I used it the other way around. Then again, philosophy = utter confusion and ambiguity.]

SO ANYWAY, the bird flying freely towards the castle represents that true self of a person. Nothing binds it and it can soar in the skies whereever it wants. The bird doesn't think of becoming a prince or a princess because it only knows of being a bird - and that's exactly what it is! Also, while the bird is flying towards the castle, it loses a bunch of its feathers. This is an allegory to peeling off the layers from ourselves to reavel the core - that essence I was talking about. What is that essence like? I'm thinking that the Buddhist beliefs can explain it quite nicely. In our essence, we are uncorrupted, pure, and part of the whole entity that is formed from all living beings. That's because in that state we have the potential to make anything out of ourselves. Also, I believe it's impossible to go back to our essence all the way because we inevitably lose some of our purity but we can get closer to it which is still good. For that we need to throw away all the lies and standars set by the society. This is what Utena and Anthy did. Utena realised she couldn't be a prince so she gave up on attempting to be one. Just the same way, Anthy threw away the Rose Bride/witch/princess stuff by seeing that she wasn't like that in her essence. If a bird finally struggles itself out of the egg, we can say it was born, and in the same way we can say how Utena and Anthy were either reborn or awakened. This is also what the [r]evolution ultimately meant. Ok, I'll cut this philosophy stuff for now, it's already been way too long. emot-gonk

And so there's left one last thing - the castle. The inverted castle is a fairytale symbol, I think it's inverted to make the viewer feel that something's not right about it. Simply put, it should show that fairytales that several characters chase are wrong. I'm not getting into depths about this 'cause it should be quite easy to understand.

But what I found interesting was the Muslim symbolism.  The moon cresent at the top of one of the towers is a Muslim symbol if I'm not mistaken. And the other constructions that are at the top of the other towers look somewhat like Minarets. I might be totally wrong with this interpretation though. Moreover, I can't really make much sense out of it. I think Muslims consider their sacral buildings to be very important as this is where they pray to god. Then again, the same goes for any other church/temple/etc. :/ I was thinking about the "Demian" quote "The bird flies to God. That God's name is Abraxas.". I can't really think of any other connection.



To your delight, I'll finish now. YAY! (I hope I didn't forget anything important)

Maybe I'll add that other philosophical theory I mentioned somewhere about embryos and such. But I need to gather some thoughts before.


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#2 | Back to Top03-09-2007 10:52:44 AM

Hina the Prince
Friend, Perhaps
From: Israel
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 320

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Don't try to figure out the weirdness in this picture. It's just badly drawn. I mean, Utena's body is broken into, like, FIVE, and her torso is fat and not bent which makes absolutely no sense. God, I never realized how bad this picture was. o_o

But anyway, all-in-all, it was a great read. Some parts in the beginning I couldn't quite tell what you were trying to say, but it got better very quickly. My favorite part is the bird analysis, although I find it to be the most confusing part. If the bird symbolizes the person's true essence, without dreams of becoming one with the ideal, why the heck is it flying towards the castle?! Perhaps it's because you can never really shake away the walls set by society as well as your dreams [of becoming a prince/ss], no matter how impossible you know they are. I don't know. emot-gonk

I love how in the ED Anthy is using Utena's dream of being a prince so she can get what she wants, which is exactly what happens in the series. Heck, the ED themes ruin the whole series, but they do it in such a clever way you wouldn't realize it until you've watched the whole thing.

Last edited by Hina the Prince (03-09-2007 10:54:33 AM)

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#3 | Back to Top03-09-2007 11:50:18 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6020
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Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Maarika wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/PDVD_182.jpg

I don't really know what else to make of the hand, it's still a bit of a mystery to me. :/

If I might put my two cents in on the hand...

Think about the position that hand is in. The fingers are spread wide, to the point of being showy, but in this cause I would say it's a ritualistic showiness. I didn't notice you mention it although I may have missed it, but Utena's closed eyes are symbolic of innocence; a display like the position of her hand is out of place on an innocent character unless it is ritualistic in nature. At this point, we have to turn to the symbolism of the rose itself, and why it would be the focus of a ritual, especially one so sexually laden.

I may be contradicting you here, but who says things can't have more than one meaning? The rose itself is love. Red roses are for passionate love, white roses are for pure love, and pink is a mix of the pure and the passionate. The progression of the pink rose's development mirrors the progression of the love between Anthy and Utena (and while I interpret it as nonsexual, or at least not yet sexual, it can be both-- passion isn't sex). Anthy is the one to offer love first, and while that may seem surprising, think about it for a moment. Anthy first realizes that she cares for Utena in episode 12, when she imagines Utena sitting across the table from her. I would argue that, at this point, Utena's feelings for Anthy haven't deepened in quite the same way, as she's still fighting to regain a part of herself and not fighting for Anthy, the person, at all.

The rose on Utena's chest is a white rose, representative of the purity of her love. Is it any wonder that Anthy, who's engaged in a twisted mockery of love for so long, looks at the rose so obsessively? Pure love, something she can almost touch-- and here is where the positioning of the hand comes into play, as well as the ritualistic aspect of it. The rose is an offering. Hold your hand like that-- doesn't it feel as if you've just given away something precious that you'd still like to protect? It's as if she's cupping her hand, not to prevent Anthy from taking the rose, but to catch it if it should fall and give it back to her. This ties in with Utena's sacrifice of herself for Anthy-- to literally give of herself, even though Anthy may falter, until there's nothing left to give. This is also reflective of the ritualistic nature of the sacrifice made by the Prince; hence the ritualistic positioning.


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#4 | Back to Top03-09-2007 12:32:45 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
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Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Maarika wrote:

Anyway, in the beginning of the scene we see Utena standing in the gondola, going up to the duelling arena.

Or could they be going straight to the castle? Perhaps all duels are behind them.

Maarika wrote:

She's leaning close to Utena in this one. Although Anthy is often portrayed as a very passive character, she's very possive at the same time too. The way she has placed her hand on Utena's chest just around the rose is saying something along the lines of "This is mine!".

The last time Anthy wanted to possess another it turned out badly. It must have been hard for her to look at anything again and decide that she wanted it all for herself.

Maarika wrote:

they are both merely playing the roles of a prince and princess - it is just an act. The prince and a princess are fairytale, they're fake and therefore Utena and Anthy cannot really be what they think they are.

You could also look on those roles as archetypes that all people enact. They are not bad in themselves as long as you see them as archetypes.

Maarika wrote:

Oh! I nearly forgot. There's a parallel of this in the manga too, if you've read it. The manga storyline was a bit different but even so, Anthy kissing Utena was part of the ceremony, meaning that it was in symbolic nature, just like it is here.

It's good to know that others appreciate the usefulness of looking to all four versions.

Maarika wrote:

I have no idea were Utena put her right arm or why. And that's why Anthy has no other choice but to float. To be honest, I have no idea why she's floating like that.

Here it may be purely esthetic, a bunch of limbs may have cluttered it up too much. Or Anthy could be seen as floating blissfully.

Maarika wrote:

But what I found interesting was the Muslim symbolism.  The moon cresent at the top of one of the towers is a Muslim symbol if I'm not mistaken.

Oddly enough I saw a documentary about Chartres Cathedral recently. It has two towers, a sun tower and a moon tower with a cresent on it. So it may not be particularly Islamic. Many Christian churches have structures that resemble minarets. Europe and the Middle East have overlapped each other for centuries.

The romantic/sexual symbolism is hard to overlook but you could see it as the creation of a new being or a Dioscuri. It could also symbolize the melding of idealism and judgment that should happen in any person. It could even represent the essence of friendship.

Old pictures of Moghul and Ottoman rulers often depict them at repose sniffing a flower. I don't know what that symbolizes but Anthy seems to be doing something similar.

Last edited by brian (03-09-2007 12:34:53 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top03-09-2007 12:48:23 PM

Mai_Kanzaki
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From: Left of Nowhere, Ohio
Registered: 02-18-2007
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Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Pretty cool I must say. I'd love to see what your view of the previous ending and compare the two. It should be interesting if nothing else.

Weee philosophy such wonderful confusing fun! You can argue two sides at once with philosophy!

If you take these scenes in an Utena, Anthy, Utena, Anthy pattern it seems to emphasize different developments for the characters. Utena going from noble idealist to a living caricature of a prince (that second "kiss" image is very theatrical and tended to be used in old movies) and Anthy going from being the unrevealing restrained Rose Bride to the caricature of a head over heels princess. The very last scene with the castle seems very much the fulfillment of "cracking the shell" to be not what they are but what they want to be.


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#6 | Back to Top03-09-2007 02:56:31 PM

Imaginary Bad Bug
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

*thunderous applause*

That was a fantastic read, Maarika.  It's my favorite of the ED sequences, both visually and songwise. etc-love


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#7 | Back to Top03-10-2007 03:20:22 AM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Hina the Prince wrote:

But anyway, all-in-all, it was a great read. Some parts in the beginning I couldn't quite tell what you were trying to say, but it got better very quickly. My favorite part is the bird analysis, although I find it to be the most confusing part. If the bird symbolizes the person's true essence, without dreams of becoming one with the ideal, why the heck is it flying towards the castle?! Perhaps it's because you can never really shake away the walls set by society as well as your dreams [of becoming a prince/ss], no matter how impossible you know they are. I don't know. emot-gonk

I didn't want to bring in too much stuff at first so I kept it rather short. I thought too much info at once would've become too confusing. Also, I have to say I deliberately skipped most of the castle analysis. That's 'cause it was getting so complex and the whole thing was so long already. You have nice thoughts on this, though. I especially like what you said about dreams.

brian wrote:

Oddly enough I saw a documentary about Chartres Cathedral recently. It has two towers, a sun tower and a moon tower with a cresent on it. So it may not be particularly Islamic. Many Christian churches have structures that resemble minarets. Europe and the Middle East have overlapped each other for centuries.

That's very interesting, thanks for pointing that out. The first thing I thought of when I saw the castle was the Muslim symbolism. And now that I think about it, many Gothic cathedrals have similiar structures. Either way, the bottomline seems to be that the castle is connected to religion. Religion in SKU is mostly represented to us by the ideals of the characters.

So ultimately, the castle should symbolise those ideals that everyone was following. Some of the ideals (such as Utena's wish to become a prince) were unrealistic. So then there's a reference to the fairytales in the form of a castle. What's interesting, is that the bird seems to be the only one who can reach the castle in the sky. If you remember, in the manga the "Demian" quote was paraphrased a bit differently. Touga said something along the lines of "I want to be able to fly". This is 'cause only after "breaking the world's shell" can we really go for their dreams because then we have a better persepective of our life and ourselves.

brian wrote:

The romantic/sexual symbolism is hard to overlook but you could see it as the creation of a new being or a Dioscuri. It could also symbolize the melding of idealism and judgment that should happen in any person. It could even represent the essence of friendship.

I was thinking something like that too. I find it so hard to separate Anthy and Utena, there's definitely a lot of Dioscuri symbolism.

Yasha wrote:

Stuff about the hand and the rose

Ohh, I like that interpretation. I think it makes sense in this context too, especially if you look at the previous shot too. You could say Utena was offering her rose to Anthy, sort of like Anthy was offering hers a bit earlier.

Imaginary Bad Bug wrote:

*thunderous applause*

That was a fantastic read, Maarika.  It's my favorite of the ED sequences, both visually and songwise. etc-love

Why thank you! I think this ED is a carefully constructed piece of art. I've never seen any cooler ending theme for other animes. etc-love


And Mai_Kanzaki, do you mean the "Truth" ending theme? I can't really compare this ending theme with the others. :/


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#8 | Back to Top03-10-2007 04:29:32 AM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Most interesting to read.

I feel that Anthy's floating may be just an animator's error, though - Utena's missing right arm seems to indicate that way. There is a similar minor error in the last shot of the two - look at Utena's feet.

That's very interesting, thanks for pointing that out. The first thing I thought of when I saw the castle was the Muslim symbolism.

The crescent moon is originally the symbol of the Turkish Ottoman Empire and has no religious connoctations, in itself. I believe other Muslims than Turks only started using the symbol around the 19th century and even today many refuse to consider it as true symbol of Islam.

I think that in the spire of the Castle, the crescent moon holds more pagan/mystical symbolism, than Islamic.


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#9 | Back to Top03-10-2007 05:41:10 AM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Maarika wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/ … VD_202.jpg

This scene is very interesting in so many ways. I'll start by drawing a parallel from the series. This shot resembles quite a lot to the sword pulling scenes before the Akio Arc. Anthy has leaned over just like she did when someone was about to draw the Sword of Dios from her. Utena has raised her left arm like she normally did before she drew the sword. And now the interesting details. When someone was pulling the Sword of Dios from Anthy, and before she leaned over, then whoever was there held out their right arm to support Anthy. Here there's no such thing. Furthermore, I have no idea where Utena put her right arm or why. And that's why Anthy has no other choice but to float. To be honest, I have no idea why she's floating like that. However, if we draw another parallel from the manga again (I don't especially want to mix the series and the manga... :/) then it might make a bit sense. After Anthy had kissed Utena in the manga, Utena fell in some sort of trance and she was floating just like Anthy is in this shot. The point was that she was completely under Akio's and Anthy's power. If this is not what they meant by it here too, then I've got no clue.

Anyway, you can also see Utena leaning over Anthy, but it's hard to say whether she is kissing her or not (most likely yes, since it seems to be the continuation for the previous shot) and this is also similiar to the actual sword pulling scene. Except then she never kisses Anthy. But don't tell me you never had thoughts about it! (Ohh, someone want to make an analysis on the sword pulling scenes?)

What always struck me most about this particular visual was Anthy's skirts, more than anything else -- they remind me of a blossoming rose (which I remember someone else saying something about how blossoming roses are close to death, which is what the duellists wear, which could imply an end or a beginning, and my head is spinning -- literally -- so I can't say anymore without being ill). What does this mean in terms of the symbolism of this scene? Well, I could take it metaphorically or literally myself, but what does everyone else think? school-devil


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#10 | Back to Top03-11-2007 06:58:59 PM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Why didn't I notice this thread earlier?! emot-aaa

*much, much squealing* I knew I loved the ending theme. etc-love It's so beautiful.

Very interesting symbolism. emot-keke Especially at the bird at the end. The rose that Anthy offered to Utena is also very interesting. We never do see Anthy with a purple rose.. perhaps her rose is actually a pink one? Like Yasha said, it's a mix of passion and purity. Somewhere in between. This reminds me of the pink dress Anthy wears at the end of the series when she leaves Ohtori. Normally, as the witch or rose bride she wears red. But here she choses the lighter, softer version of red, pink, when she picks her clothing at her own free will. Hmm. emot-keke I'm starting to think that Anthy's colour is pink, not purple or red.

Very nice. etc-love


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

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#11 | Back to Top04-18-2007 05:39:47 AM

Pandora
Pathtracer
Registered: 04-05-2007
Posts: 351

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Hooray for finding threads by digging them up!
Brilliant analysis! I love that particular ending theme, Virtual Star is an amazing song and the visuals are gorgeous too, so its great to see them analysed and so well too! You get poptartpoptartpoptart for this emot-smile

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#12 | Back to Top04-18-2007 07:53:35 AM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Them standing alone repeats the theme from the opening credits.  "Even if the two of us are ever torn apart, I swear I'll change the world."  In the full song, it's obvious the singer is really writing from the future, when she is living on her own and remembering a previous time.  The friendship she is recounting gave her the strength to be who she is today.  Utena and Anthy's bond gives them the strength to fully be themselves, even if they have to do it alone.

brian made this great metaphor (which he edited out!!) about Anthy as the rose.  Blooming in this context is Anthy revolutionizing herself.  The calyx has protected her until she is ready to bloom into her full glory.

And, remember, after breaking out of the world's shell, the bird flies to god.  That god's name is Abraxas.  Abraxas doesn't symbolize a shedding of ethics.  Abraxas is a god of both light and dark.  A god that doesn't require us to deny one half of our nature.  A god that allows us to be all of ourselves.

The pink rose, mixing passion with purity, echoes that.  Anthy is neither a helpless Princess, nor an evil Witch.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (04-18-2007 07:59:31 AM)


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#13 | Back to Top04-18-2007 10:39:28 PM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

Maarika wrote:

The way Anthy is touching Utena's rose is very delicate, it's a sign of a careful approach and Utena seems to display no resistance. In fact, she even seems to go along with it just as much. Utena's eyes are still closed, I don't know if this is very symbolic here, but it mostly implies how she's about to give herself to Anthy and that she has placed her trust in Anthy.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/ … VD_182.jpg

Also Yasha was making some points about the same shot having multiple meanings. Take a look at the background space being framed by Utena's hand. Aside from all the symbolism it is a not-so-symbolic (and yet delicate) depiction of what she is offering Anthy.

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#14 | Back to Top05-26-2007 04:10:34 AM

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

Re: Virtual Star Embryology [ending theme]

This analysis was actually GREAT!!!

I usually suck at interpreting symbolism but it is one of the things in SKU that I like more - and while reading I always go: "Come to think of it, that's so true!"...
Speaking of Virtual Star, the visuals alone are stunning, but as it is the relationship between Utena and Anthy we are talking about - that is, one that during the series remains of a non-sexual nature -, I just knew that there was more about the ED sequence than meets the eye.

I also totally agree with the whole bird parallel, but this should also be applied to almost all the other characters in the series, I think: it is not only Anthy and Utena getting rid of their external "layers of feathers" to find the purity/freedom beneath, I guess this would also work for the Seitokai members, at least after Utena brings the revolution and they are able to break the self-created chains that are binding them...

Anyway, I don't know if this makes much sense, but thank you very much, it was worth the read!


Seeking eternity!
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