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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

#1 | Back to Top10-22-2006 06:17:10 AM

_ J _
Manly and Buxom = Manxome
From: Edmonton
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 318

Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

After a late night conversation I was encouraged (at knifepoint) to post this thread.

This part is history:

    A long time ago, around 170 BC or so, a Chinese general was instrumental in the conquering of modern-day Viet Nam.  He was known by several names, including Vu De, Trieu Da and Viet Da-Qi.  He ruled Viet Nam for a period of years up until his death, sometime around 130 BC. 

This part is semi-historic/semi-legendary:
   
   The Great General Trieu Da was unparralled in combat, but did not have the skill to rule a peaceful city.  To rule in peace, he had the assistance of an extremely wise and learned adviser, Ou Jia-Qi.  Over the many years of Trieu Da's rule, many other vassals and advisers came along, but they were all incompetent or corrupt or sometimes both.  As Jia-Qi was approaching his death, Trieu Da asked him "How can I find a complete (perfect) vassal to take your place?"

This part is amazing:

   Ou Jia-Qi had studied many books of wisdom, and while he was a student of Taoism, he also had great respect for Sun Tzu, and had studied 'The Art of War' throughout most of his life.   The answer he gave, according to legend, became Trieu Da's 'Treatise of Vassals and Loyalty'

   In this treatise, six types of vassals (followers) are described.  The first five are the most common, as they are all flawed in some way.  The final type is rare, and to be valued greatly, as a work of art.

The first type is the Empty Vessel. 
  This vassal is noted as being very adept in the physical arts and also capable of great cunning, if not great thought.  The Empty vassal, however lacks passion. 

The second type is the Callow Youth.
   This vassal is characterized by immaturity, despite great beauty or skill.  While they may have the potential for greatness, their lack of experience makes them rash, and easy to manipulate.

The third type is the Fanatic.
   This vassal is known easily by their passion and temper.  They are almost completely incapable of rational thought, and while their loyalty is unwavering, they easily become a liability instead of an asset.

The fourth type is the Broken Blade.
   This vassal is similar to the Empty Vessel, in that there is a lack of passion in thier personality.  The difference lies in that the Broken Blade has had something of thier life torn from them, such that while they will live their life, and perform tasks with skill, they have no real drive to excel.

The fifth type is the Wretched Man.
   This vassal is nearly perfect.  They have a balance of skill and passion. They have impeccable skills and learning and are nearly as valued as the Complete Vassal.  The only flaw they have is major however.  The only loyalty they have is to themselves, never to the leige they owe fealty to. 

The sixth, and last type is the Complete Vassal.
   This vassal is ideal.  They are as skilled as the Wretched Man, and they owe their life and loyalty to their liege lord entirely.  Without hesitation, they obey.  They also have the wisdom to not obey blindly, or foolishly, but with open eyes, and the interest of their lord first in their thoughts. 

So what, you patiently ask, does this have to do with SKU?

This is what is has to do with Utena:

Each of the vassals that are listed as an archetype corresponds with a member of the Duelists.

Saionji takes the place of the Empty Vessel.  While he has great skill in Kendo, and is very pretty, his heart does not seem to really be in it.  He certainly carries an interest in insulting Utena and slapping Anthy, towards the end, he just seems to be waiting for the finish.

Miki is easily the Callow Youth.  He has great skill and potential, but his inexperience and youth make him tragically easy to manipulate.  Touga does it, Kozue does it, even educated Bees do it (a little Cole Porter there for the fans).

Nanami is the Fanatic.  Her insane desire for Touga's affections and attentions drives her to get involved in a conflict that otherwise has nothing to do with her.  Her behaviour becomes embarrassing, as she can never seem to get the better of anyone, even Chu Chu, when she is in any form of competition.

Juri is the Broken Blade.  Her sense of loss over the Shiori and Ruka situation leaves her fighting for no other reasons than to grasp at what once was.  She still has the skill to be a worthy opponent, but she has very little actual drive.

Touga of course is the Wretched Man.  He sits like a spider, waiting for whichever fly is spinning into his web.  Whether it is some nameless, faceless piece of tail, or Utena being drawn into a fight she cannot win.  He is the most capable if the regular Duellists and the most dangerous.  Of course, he is in the game for himself, and for the power he thinks it will give him.

Before we move on to the final vassal (any guesses on who that will be?) we will take a brief look back at what Ou Jia-Qi answered when he was asked how to find the perfect vassal. 

According to legend, he replied that a man must be found who can defeat the Flaws within himself, before he can truly serve his Liege. 

The final vassal is of course Utena herself.  While she almost seems to stumble into the duels for the Rose Bride, she becomes the Complete Vassal in the end. 

She has to face each of the Seitokai (and Nanami) in turn, and defeat them.  While the parallels aren't perfect, they are very interesting to look at.

When Utena has to fight Saionji, she must learn that she has a passion for the thing that she is doing.  In this case it is fighting for the Rose Bride, although she doesn't really realize what she is doing or why. 

The battle with Miki as also a battle with her own youth.  She is older, and more self aware than Miki is.  While she does get manipulated during the series, she is somewhat more difficult to trick.  Playing Miki is like playing a bugle, simple and easy.  Manipulating Utena is more difficult, similar to playing a guitar while standing on your head.  It can be learned, but takes a special touch to achieve. 

When Utena battles Juri, she has to face the possible loss of what she is fighting for.  If she loses to Juri, she could become like Juri.  Living, but without reason. 

Nanami is a little harder to compare.  The fanaticism characterized in the Chinese example is more akin to a ridiculous adherence to the rule of law and family, to the detriment of life and happiness, while Nanami is just plain crazy as a shitweasal for Touga.  When Utena fights Nanami, she faces what she could become if she forgets that Anthy is a person, and not just the reason she fights. 

Touga is the best and worst of all of them.  If he were to have loyalty to something other than himself, he could easily win through the day, despite the fact that he would still be a total Bastard.  When Utena fights him, and initially loses, she is forced to realize that she cannot just stumble through, relying on luck and some kind of crazy light show (Dios) to win the day.

As Utena battles each of these characters, she grows eventually into the Perfect Vassal, ready to fulfill the needs of the Liege Lord who is responsible for her crafting.  Of course, the Liege Lord is Akio, but we can talk about him later...cool


I will always be here to listen, the question is, whether or not you can hear...

Proptre Qua Dictum

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#2 | Back to Top10-22-2006 06:26:07 AM

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

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

*applauds*
That's a very interesting comparision! I had never heard of this before.


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

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#3 | Back to Top10-22-2006 12:39:07 PM

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

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

Really good comparison *thumbsup*


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

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#4 | Back to Top10-22-2006 03:42:32 PM

Xu Yuan
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 189

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

Excellent comparison!I never heard that story before, did you find it in "Mastering the Art of War"?


Please check out the MTG Utena Set Progress we have made at http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?id=o … 103070805#

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#5 | Back to Top10-22-2006 03:57:30 PM

Suncat
Touga Topper
From: Minnesota, USA
Registered: 10-18-2006
Posts: 53
Website

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

This is great to know! Thanks for sharing it with us. I'd like to know more about your sources too.


Laurie

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#6 | Back to Top10-22-2006 04:09:17 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
Website

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

Wow now I know what you kids were talking about. emot-biggrin

Definitely very very interesting stuff, while I agree they don't always thoroughly match up, the comparisons are striking. It's one of those times you have to actually wonder if Ikuhara or anyone else knew about this. Usually I'd say 'lol ya rite', but there are so many confirmed references that the ambiguous ones get suspicious.

Actually most of these fit very well (Wowowow Touga and Juri). Saionji's I found interesting because it's only true in certain contexts. His skill in the physical arts is obvious, though his being a hothead in the duel arena damns him (a problem he obviously doesn't have in tournaments, which betrays how much he lets his emotions run away with him). I'd say he's capable of great thought far more than great cunning, though, and his passion is what got him in trouble in the first place. His heart's not in the duels by later in the series because by then, he realizes he's lost, but as a character trait I would say Saionji's very, very passionate. His problem is he can't find anything that counts to focus it on without setting it against Touga's coolheadedness, which gets him beat.

Also, you poopyhead, you're forgetting his 'interest' in insulting Utena and smacking Anthy stems very much from how overpassionate he gets.

I wonder if his willingness to calm down and watch near the end isn't very much because he realizes Touga's going to lose and that makes it okay to stop fighting that particular battle.

Edit: Seconding source request, a very very very quick google turned up nothing of note.

Last edited by Giovanna (10-22-2006 04:10:51 PM)


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#7 | Back to Top10-22-2006 06:23:32 PM

_ J _
Manly and Buxom = Manxome
From: Edmonton
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 318

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

There was an omission in the Empty Vassal description, probably becasue I did it at like 6 in the am or something.  The passion that Saionji "lacks" isn't passion for life or hotheadedness.  What he is missing is passion for the cause.  In this case, he doesn't have the fire needed to press on to attain victory in the face of adversity.  In the case of the actual series material, it is more his realization that he CAN'T win, as opposed to baring down and pushing through.  In the legendary archetypes the Empty Vessel bails out without the awareness that he could bear down and succeed.

Most of the source material was a semi-historical novel my chinese professer in college loaned me.  The english title is 'Treatise of Loyalty and Strength' The novel was fairly old, but I will look around for it.


I will always be here to listen, the question is, whether or not you can hear...

Proptre Qua Dictum

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#8 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:01:38 PM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

Hey, that's really cool. It's some real food for thought and it's also an interesting way of looking at something non-SKU related. I just might look for that book.


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

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#9 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:17:46 PM

Christi_Morelei
Touga Topper
From: South Florida, USA.
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 51
Website

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

This is very interesting. I've just recently started reading up on a related subject (I highly reccomend The Art of War and Mastering the Art of War for those also interested as a starting point), and now that I think about it, the parallels one can pull between ancient Chinese history and SKU are numerous. I've heard many different arguments for what each member of the Seitokai represents, but this one sounds the most convincing. Thank you for sharing.


"Illusion is the first of all pleasures." - Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

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#10 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:25:17 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

Damn you people! I need to start up a group for Art of War the way we have for Demian! Anyone interested?


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#11 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:29:01 PM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

That depends, would it be impossible to contribute without having read Art of War first?


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

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#12 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:45:39 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
Website

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.


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#13 | Back to Top10-22-2006 11:57:35 PM

Xu Yuan
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 189

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

The Art of War is a very simple read, but remember the translation you are reading though truly masterful is ony one man's interpretation, over the centuries people have analyzed and over analyzed the Art of War to no end. As well it is a must for anyone in business or in a high position in a company to read thoroughly. Demian.... that's the book that SKU is partially based off of, right? Maybe I should just go to the thread...


Please check out the MTG Utena Set Progress we have made at http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?id=o … 103070805#

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#14 | Back to Top10-23-2006 01:13:07 AM

ShatteredMirror
Yaoi Pet #1
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Chinese Vassals, SKU and you.

All right, I officially need to read both then.


Pride is not the opposite of shame, but its source.

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