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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 Top07-31-2007 12:46:12 PM

Quiet Israfel
Saionji Slapper
From: Austin, TX
Registered: 12-31-2006
Posts: 21

Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Sorry if anyone saw this in General Discussion; accidentally posted to the wrong window that I had open on Firefox, and tried to delete as soon as possible ::sweatdrop::. Ha ha, good times. In any case...

On Wikipedia, after watching the movie, I noticed on the wiki for the Utena series said, “The general agreement is that the movie takes place in the land of the dead.” What do you all think of this? It’s been the only theory closest to satisfying me on many points on the movie -- such as why Touga is able to be running around the campus after dying so long ago -- but at the same time, it almost feels like an over-simplification. It seems purposely written to have Touga to not interact with anyone but Utena, Anthy and Shiori, as if to imply he‘s some kind of ghost. I also wish that they had a source for that bit of information on the page, as I’d like to read it; it doesn’t look like any of it took place in the wiki discussion page.

Also, anyone else wondering why, if Touga died so young, is he an adolescent when we see him for the majority of the movie? Could it be a reflection of the other characters’ imposing how they would see him, if he lived to be older? Or just the simpler answer in that “adolescence” is in the title, so everyone pretty much has to be around that age? emot-tongue

But going back to the previous point of whether Touga is a being superimposed by the other characters’ reflections on him (or maybe just princeliness in general), that does make it interesting to suppose that Shiori could have been making up his childhood backstory, as it were. It also gives me an easier time seeing why he would be spending time with her in the movie, when he seems to have good intentions toward Utena in the end.

I do admit I have to rewatch the movie again, though, to be more certain of things… I say all of this without having a copy at the moment. Thoughts?

Last edited by Quiet Israfel (07-31-2007 01:09:07 PM)

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#2 | Back to Top07-31-2007 12:53:03 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Interesting this would be brought up; I was just reading my section of my old parody-fic that covers the movie (don't ask XD). I'm not sure about the whole academy being the land of the dead. Then, it doesn't seem to make sense that almost no one can see Touga. But as you said yourself, I may need to rewatch; it's been a while.

Last edited by Baka Kakumei Reanna (07-31-2007 12:53:21 PM)


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#3 | Back to Top07-31-2007 03:10:09 PM

Recompense
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From: How should I know?
Registered: 07-23-2007
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

WHAT? Land of the Dead?! I thought it was simply a retelling of the original story (albeit quite a bit darker and with more sexuality). I was not aware of the fact that it was truly occurring anywhere else than Ohtori Academy. Then theres the rule that at Ohtori Academy, no one simply JUST dies. So, IMHO I doubt whether Touga truly died or if he simply.....vanished.


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#4 | Back to Top07-31-2007 04:18:59 PM

Archambeau
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Registered: 11-20-2006
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I think that everyone is dead to some extent -- I see it as the dead aspects of the characters' personalities post-revolution, which explains why the characters seem so exaggerated in comparison to their series counterparts.  The difference that determines whether you remain in "Death Ohtori" or escape to the outside world is whether you've effectively cast off those debilitating aspects of your personality or whether you've merely let them lie dormant.

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#5 | Back to Top07-31-2007 04:30:35 PM

Pandora
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Registered: 04-05-2007
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I didn't really know what to think of dead!Touga. I was too busy thinking how hot he looked in that black uniform etc-wankgirl

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#6 | Back to Top07-31-2007 05:18:31 PM

Recompense
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From: How should I know?
Registered: 07-23-2007
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

But if I remember correctly, the revolution failed. Hence Akio's preparation to start the duels again.


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#7 | Back to Top07-31-2007 05:29:11 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I always saw it as a kind of purgatory between series-Ohtori and the so-called outside world -- Akio's last-ditch attempt to control the rapidly disintegrating illusionary castle, accounting for a) his loss of power b) Anthy's gain and of and c) General Crack. It's...I don't know, an interstitial space between realities, by necessity more fluid and peculiar than anything it exists between.

Or it's just that's it's half-past-midnight and I've worked nine and a half hours and need sleep. You know. emot-gonk


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#8 | Back to Top07-31-2007 06:28:09 PM

Archambeau
Muffy, the Forums Trophy Wife
Registered: 11-20-2006
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Recompense wrote:

But if I remember correctly, the revolution failed. Hence Akio's preparation to start the duels again.

The revolution failed according to Akio's perceptions.  I think the end of the series indicates quite a positive change in the major players.

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#9 | Back to Top07-31-2007 07:14:31 PM

Imaginary Bad Bug
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From: Connecticut, USA
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

This isn't my theory, and I'm not sure if I completely agree with it, but I've heard it speculated that the movie is Anthy's attempt at controlling Ohtori to gain revolution after Akio's initial failure.  Something along the lines of after Anthy left Akio's Ohtori, she created her own - reduced to only essential parts, such as the fencing club having a stage, but no room to be played in.  It was reduced to this skeletal form because Anthy's goal was more focused than Akio's... she didn't want to play the rest of the school as pawns, only to draw Utena into the fold.  She only needed the parts of Ohtori that were necessary to get Utena into her grasp.

Again, this is not my theory, but one that I've read elsewhere and seems to make some valid points.  I'm just not sure if I am on the same page 100% as to that being the plane of existence (such as there is) for Adolescence Apocalypse.

Personally, I find it to be more of an alternate telling of the series, reduced to its core elements and taking place more in the realm of metaphor and the abstract than any actual tangible world.

Last edited by Imaginary Bad Bug (07-31-2007 07:15:34 PM)


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#10 | Back to Top07-31-2007 08:42:18 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Clarice wrote:

I always saw it as a kind of purgatory between series-Ohtori and the so-called outside world

I think it's a kind of purgatory as well, but not in relation to the series. I don't think there's any tie-in between the series and the movie, Touga having died so many years ago messes that up too much, among other things.

Movie!Ohtori seems to act like a bridge between the outside world ('normal' life that we're used to) and the land of the dead. Students at Ohtori aren't dead, but they aren't precisely alive either. They have the potential to come alive by going to the outside world (growing up) but so long as they stay at Ohtori they don't age (such as with Mikage in the series) which is a kind of death. They're "living corpses" because they go around as if they're alive, while lacking the actual vitality to really change and grow.

Touga is visible to Utena because of their past history together and because she forgets that he's supposed to be dead. Once she remembers he swims away and I get sniffly.

He's visible to Anthy because she's Anthy.

Shiori seems to be able to delve deeper into the world of the dead. When we see her with Touga it's in the room covered in white sheets. Shiori never interacts with Touga in Ohtori proper (based on my memory, which is known to be flawed.)


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#11 | Back to Top07-31-2007 08:59:14 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

At least three people (Utena, Anthy & Shiori) are so obsessed by the dead that they have become possessed by the dead. I am not sure if that also applies to Juri and Miki. Utena and Anthy free themselves and re-join the outside world of the living whence they first came and somehow Shiori fails for no obvious reason. Perhaps Shiori and Kozue fail because they think that happiness and freedom are zero-sum games.

(HP7 got me to thinking along these lines.)

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#12 | Back to Top07-31-2007 09:12:48 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

*Slighty off topic.*

Well Shiori isn't looking to escape to the outside world, her goal in following Utena and Anthy was to prevent them from escaping. Hence her failure.


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#13 | Back to Top07-31-2007 09:17:39 PM

dollface
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From: North Carolina
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I think it's all rather odd. Utena, Shiori, and Anthy can definately see Touga, while Miki definately can not. But what about Juri? We never see her with Touga, but when Shiori speaks of him, Juri seems to know him. She also mentions his name during her duel with Utena... I wonder, can Juri see Touga? I always assumed so, because he died trying to save her [in reference to the "Juri in the boat?" thread, yes, I am almost positive that it is Juri.]. I think that this act enables her to see him. I'd like to put it into a neat little package, saying that seeing Touga is a sign of why Shiori was not able to escape. Seeing the dead is a good indication of remaining in your coffin, no? But, obviously, Utena and Anthy escaped despite him... perhaps because Utena knows he is dead, and makes peace with that? Because Anthy has always known, and she was using her relationship with him as means for getting closer to Utena? Anthy always seems to be an exception to most rules, because she is one of the master players [the master in the movie, IMO, because Akio was a dead pansy.], and certain things do not apply to her, because she is the one pulling the strings [I understand all the things wrong with that statement, but run with me for a moment, I don't feel like typing up lots of explanations.].


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#14 | Back to Top08-01-2007 02:44:02 AM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
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Registered: 04-08-2007
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

dollface wrote:

She also mentions his name during her duel with Utena... I wonder, can Juri see Touga? I always assumed so, because he died trying to save her [in reference to the "Juri in the boat?" thread, yes, I am almost positive that it is Juri.].

In 39th episode Juri talked about her sister who was rescued by the boy. When Nanami asked her "did he die?" she didn't answer. So, I think that it was Touga and Juri's sister. Adolescence Movie is very messed up, I have to watch this again to be sure about it emot-confused

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#15 | Back to Top08-01-2007 02:52:38 AM

ShatteredMirror
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From: Sacramento, CA
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I think it was Juri in the movie despite it being her sister in the series because that was the cause of Shiori's bitter resentment of Juri in the movie - she loved Touga and he died saving Juri.

But it's been a long time for me too.


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#16 | Back to Top08-01-2007 02:58:03 AM

dollface
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Well, the movie and series are not connected. Also, as Shiori tells Touga the story about her prince, she says that he drownded trying to save a girl, and now, she will never forgive her. It very clearly shows a girl who looks an awful lot like Juri, and given that the movie does not ever say Juri has a sister, I think we can assume it was her.


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#17 | Back to Top08-01-2007 09:50:04 AM

abraXas365
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From: 35° 0'45"South 138°46'32"East
Registered: 06-04-2007
Posts: 92

Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

The drowning and water theme is pretty strong in the movie... I'm not sure I ever asked myself who was in the boat. The whole rescue affair is mirrored in the manga, with Utena falling into a raging stream instead. I obviously need a rewatch (again). I saw Ohtori as a illusion, the kind of delerium that someone whose lungs are filling with water would have. A near death experience where devoid of oxygen your mind  is stripped back to raw consiousness - where the lies you tell yourself to make you forget fall away. That final drawn-out moment when you can choose to be rescued or to be drowned.

So what about Touga? Does he exist there because he drowned himself, or because Utena forgets that he's dead?


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#18 | Back to Top08-02-2007 08:09:31 PM

Razara
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From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I finally have enough time to post this. (There's a lot more I want to say in this post, but it mostly involves other characters. I really need to write an analysis on the movie...)

I think that Touga is mostly seen by those who still long for the prince. In this movie, there is no true prince, and the two people who were most like a prince are dead. Touga drowned while trying to save Juri, and Movie-Akio fell out of a window. None of the other members of the Student Council really qualify as princes either. Miki supposedly killed his sister, and with Saionji, I shouldn't really have to explain.

Movie-Shiori, like Anthy, is a witch. "A girl who cannot become a princess is doomed to become a witch." Touga was her prince, but he drowned in order to save Juri. Why did Shiori become a witch, and not Utena? Because Utena became her own prince. I think that Shiori's more aware that there isn't a prince in this world than anyone else, and perhaps that's also why she clings onto her memories of Touga more than anyone else.

Unlike Shiori, Utena lost her prince, and decided to become her own prince. It seems as though Touga first appeared in front of her because Wakaba mentioned to Utena that everyone calls Juri the prince, which reminded Utena of her own prince. Whether she had forgotten him all together or not, it's certain that she did forget one very important thing about Touga... He's dead, and so he can no longer continue being her prince. Once she remembers this, that's when Touga finally leaves her.

I don't think that Juri's connection to Touga is as strong as the others, and it's hard to say if she still believes he's alive. "She's in love with Touga Kiryuu. That's why she stubbornly dresses as a boy. So she can become a prince." "Playing prince because of some guy?" She mentions Touga during the duel, but it could just be that she knows of him because of that.

Overall, I view Touga's existence as something that seems to play along with their imagination more than anything. When he appears, it's usually because the character he visits was thinking about him in the first place. The character is usually just thinking out loud to him, and what he says never gives any new information. His questions tend to go unanswered, like a question that the characters ask to themselves which they can't seem to answer, either. The only new information he ever gives is about his childhood, and it could also be that he had told Shiori that before. Even so, I can imagine most of the conversations with Touga to just as easily be their own thoughts.

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#19 | Back to Top08-02-2007 08:34:21 PM

Imaginary Bad Bug
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From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Razara wrote:

Miki supposedly killed his sister

Though we see a Kozue car (one of the black masses) in the parking garage when Juri and Miki are talking.  The rubber duck is there too, actually...  I don't think Kozue was killed per se, but she became just another obstacle to those who wish to move on to the adult world after Miki rejected her advances, since she could not seem to move past seeking Miki's attention.  (All of this is of course conjecture based on series Kozue and her 8 second appearance in the movie. emot-wink )

Hmm.. and now I see that I have veered off topic. emot-redface


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#20 | Back to Top08-02-2007 11:31:41 PM

Shiva Indis
Juri Jeerer
From: Kashira-sei
Registered: 07-08-2007
Posts: 46

Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Gaining the wherewithal to rid oneself of one's deceased prince seems to be an important theme in the movie. Utena says goodbye to Touga and then decides to leave the Ohtori. Anthy can't leave until she faces down Akio (impotent though he may otherwise be). As far as Utena and Anthy go, Touga and Akio share the same role - the figure that was meant to relieve them of responsibility for themselves, but ultimately cannot.

I don't know if this train of thought holds up if we introduce Shiori into the mix, and I'm really wondering if I even want to find out. emot-tongue

...And to digress briefly:

Imaginary Bad Bug wrote:

This isn't my theory, and I'm not sure if I completely agree with it, but I've heard it speculated that the movie is Anthy's attempt at controlling Ohtori to gain revolution after Akio's initial failure.

Bah. Linear timelines are for suckers.


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#21 | Back to Top08-03-2007 12:14:16 AM

Jellineck
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From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Whoo. Here is my popping my posting virginity. Actually, this is my second account here, but after disappearing into the oblivion I thought it best to reincarnate myself into new form. ANYWAY.

The sad thing about arguing Utena is that even the creator agrees that he adds certain elements just to add to the surrealism of the show. I prefer to take my Utena like I take my Lynch - let the logic slide and enjoy the subconscious dreamlike bizarreness. Now that in any way I'm detracting from the discussion of symbols in Utena because Akio knows there are a good many of them. Just that its hard to get a coherent overall interpretation. Which I'm sure is deliberate.

I had never actually seen the movie version of Ohtori as a realm of death, but it is very interesting now that you mention it. I know the two versions are separate realities, but both of them have to do with the transition of fantasy to reality, youth to maturity, and dreams to awakening. Death to life is more directly covered in the series with the coffin motif, but no characters (besides Ruka) actually die throughout its course. A good number of people are dead in the movie. Perhaps if one dies within the fantasy world of Ohtori, they are bound to stay there. I always imagined at the end that Shiori was going to transform into a version of Touga, as indicated by her death and foreshadowed by the fact she alone could see Touga.

However, Anthy herself was dead, and eventually came to the "outside world". Here's a thought - maybe they're all dead. It's a version of the afterlife. Oooooo! But whatever it is, it is clear that the lines between life and death are somewhat blurred. After all, how can they all see Anthy? Because she's a witch? What is the primary difference between Anthy and Touga, or Akio for that matter?

Some interesting points I noticed...

1) Ohtori, although perhaps a realm of death, is portrayed as a lush and fertile (albeit weirdly designed) place. The outside world (or perhaps the path to the outside world, it was never made completely clear) appears to a land long destroyed and ravaged, with no life in sight. Pretty ironic. Maybe that is how it is after the witch ravaged it?

2) In the series, the Akio car is associated with...well, sex....but also with the transitions made in the lives of the various characters. The cars have a much more prevalent role in the movie. Cars are also traditionally associated with maturity and rites of passage. Both make a lot of sense in the context. And, the sex. Anthy and Utena were pretty much doing it on the car, yeah.

3) Akio dresses like Elton John. Not sure what that represents.


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#22 | Back to Top08-06-2007 11:38:53 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

I definitely don't think the movie takes place in any common linear timeline with the series.  It's more along the lines of an alternate dimension or re-interpretation of the same characters and themes.

That being said, the series can (and intentionally does) inform the movie.  For example, a major plot point from the movie is based on an aside comment by Juri during the Duel of Revolution. 

I believe we have discussed before whether Ohtori is literally populated by ghosts.  There are certainly several major ones hanging around.  But ultimately it's all symbolic.  I've heard talk regarding zombie movies and why it is that zombies are supposed to be scary, the general feeling with which I left that conversation influences my thoughts on movie-Ohtori. 

Most of the students in Ohtori, the ones who become cars, are "living corpses."  They aren't ghosts, but they are clinging to an illusion built by a dead "Prince" (who was never much of a Prince in the first place).  They are clinging to "ghosts" of dead dreams, they are happy to accept shallow illusions as an excuse to stay in the beautiful, safe world of Ohtori.  But at the heart of that beauty is rot and deceit.  The price they pay is that they live only half-alive.  Ohtori is a rotten egg which can no longer nourish them.  They are choosing to let this egg stifle them, choosing not to enter the real world, choosing not to be truly "born."  (A subconscious or sublimated decision, except in Shiori's case.  And the other duellists are on the way to leaving when they're ready.)

That's why they live alongside ghosts and why Ohtori is so beautiful while the "outside world" is so barren.  Because growing up is scary and reality can be ugly, but a false reality is still only beautiful on the surface.  If you insist on living in a world where you only see what you want to, you are denying life.  That's where the symbolism of the end of the car race comes in: Utena and Anthy enter the darkness of the womb (under the castle) during their journey out and fight their way through the birth canal (the metal tunnel) into the real world.

Who does see Touga?  Akio talks to him, so do Shiori, Anthy, and Utena.  Miki does not seem to see him.  I've always felt Juri's comments were telling.  You can interpret them to be about Touga specifically, but she doesn't seem to know who he is in person.  She doesn't even necessarily seem to see him.  It's a subtitled translation, but she says "over some guy" not "over Touga" or "over that guy" or "over a dead guy".  She knows his name only because Shiori says it.  And I do not see any evidence that she makes a connection to the boy that drowned.

In the series, the person who almost drowned is Juri's sister and the boy who died is not Touga.  In the movie, the girl who almost drowned is almost certainly Juri and Touga is the one who died saving her.  But in both versions, the girl forgot the boy's name. (This is a reference back to the manga, in which the Prince saves a young Utena from drowning.)

Utena and Touga knew each other and were childhood "sweethearts."  Strangely, though the movie-Touga is presented as being less of a player, he apparently was Shiori's childhood sweetheart as well.  According to Shiori, anyway.  I question whether she actually knew the same Touga as Utena.  Maybe.  But Touga's ghost, seeking to become the Prince upon which the existance of Ohtori depends, is usurping what would have been Akio's role--he plays the Prince for everyone who longs for or remembers one.  He seems a bit more benevolent than Akio, but his motives aren't entirely transparent (much like the existance/purpose of Dios in the series).  He, at least, can let Utena go when she is ready.  Whether his prior  actions are meant to goad her into being ready, hinder her progress, or fulfill his own agenda is debatable.

Land of the dead?  No.  Land of the half-alive.  U & A's entrance into the real world isn't a literal reincarnation, it is a symbolic rebirth.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (08-06-2007 11:47:28 PM)


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#23 | Back to Top08-08-2007 12:47:54 PM

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

Re: Thoughts on the reality of the Utena movie… in terms of Touga

Quiet Israfel wrote:

Also, anyone else wondering why, if Touga died so young, is he an adolescent when we see him for the majority of the movie? Could it be a reflection of the other characters’ imposing how they would see him, if he lived to be older?

That's a good question!

Rhyaniwyn wrote:

[Touga] at least, can let Utena go when she is ready.  Whether his prior  actions are meant to goad her into being ready, hinder her progress, or fulfill his own agenda is debatable.

Debatable indeed but towards the end Touga wants to be released. In the manga he says he cannot feel Utena when they touch. In the long run that can't be much fun for either of them. Akio does not want to release Anthy. But since they are both dead perhaps they are simply reflecting the desires of their mistresses. Anthy is described as having such power to love that she can change physical reality and create princes out of people like Akio, Touga, and Utena, but she is apparently not powerful enough to change the fundamental character of Akio.

Or perhaps it comes down to how they were corrupted. Touga had a dreadful childhood and sought power to become a grownup at all costs. Akio was corrupted by being so spoiled that he cannot even understand good and evil or know what being a grownup even is.

Come to think of it perhaps the power-hungry Touga is Shiori's Touga; and the wiser Touga is Utena's.

The movie would be better if it did what the movie manga did and got rid of Shiori, Kozue, Nanami, and that stupid Keroppan. Still, to be fair, perhaps Shiori and Kozue are meant to be vampires; Shiori vampirizing the dead and Kozue the living. It doesn't work for me but that may have been Ikuhara's goal if he had a better reason than fanservice.

edited to add further thoughts:
In the first manga Touga announces to Utena that he wants to double-cross World's End. He is rather easily out-maneouvered. He does not make such a blatant announcement in the anime but his behavior indicates that he has pegged Akio as a double-crosser and is trying to imitate him in that as in so many other things. Oddly, in all versions he come closer than the other duelists to almost breaking through and understanding, or almost understanding, what it is that Utena finally did or has to do. Perhaps he understands better than many others, including Utena at times, the difference between running away and running to something.

It is also interesting that his sister Nanami shares one significant advantage with him. They are both a little better at seeing through propaganda than many other characters. Their cynicism and power-hunger lets them both see the strings being pulled and the string-puller, although they don't quite figure out how to cut the strings. They both figure out that the game is phony but don't quite make the final step in the anime of realizing how to escape the game.

In the movie perhaps Touga makes a more decisive breakthrough in deciding to not cling to life as a vampire or zombie but to let the dead and the living go their separate ways.

Last edited by brian (08-10-2007 09:58:06 PM)

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