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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 Top03-04-2009 12:11:31 PM

Prince_of_Stars
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From: The Hellsing Organization
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What Merits Princehood?

Ok, so I watched the last episode of Utena again, and once more, it has me thinking. I'm almost certain we've discussed this before in another thread, so if we have let me know. After Anthy falls from Utena's grasp, the swords go after Utena, and the swords only go after the prince (or in Akio's situation, the person that has been substituted for the prince). school-eng101

It has been negated that Utena's gender disqualifies her from being a prince, as the swords attack her anyway. So what makes her qualified to be the swords' target? And why exactly is the prince supposed to take the swords? Does it mean that a prince stands up for his princess no matter the danger? Is it a metaphor for doing what you feel is right and following your ideals, no matter the hatred or contempt the world gives you? Is it that a prince's love endures all? What is it? emot-confused

You guys have helped me out before with the Akio and why he can't save Anthy question, so please, lend your brains once more and give me your thoughts! emot-biggrin


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#2 | Back to Top03-04-2009 01:13:56 PM

hollow_rose
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From: Ohio
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

This is hard to discuss, because the Witch also takes the swords for the Prince. If Utena's goal is to save Anthy, as it seems to be, she may be a stand in not for the Prince, but for the Witch, and take the swords for Anthy in order to save her from that fate.

But ignoring that interpretation and assuming that Utena is the Prince, I think it is her act of selflessness and putting Anthy before herself that makes her a Prince. Akio's every action is defined by his wants and needs, not anyone elses. Also the other duelists are dueling not to save someone else, but for their own desires.  Utena in the end fights not to see her prince, which would be a selfish act, but instead she fights to save Anthy. It is her selflessness that I think makes her the Prince.


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#3 | Back to Top03-04-2009 01:21:14 PM

Mock Puppet
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

The only idea I have is that the swords are super-critical of any princes and they will attack any 'prince' they feel fail to meet up to Dios's standard.


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#4 | Back to Top03-04-2009 01:40:57 PM

Riri-kins
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Registered: 09-22-2008
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

I think princes have to have innocence. The series shows us that that's something the other student council members lack (through sex). That doesn't mean sticking to your ideals no matter what because if they're anything like, say, Touga's, you woudn't make a very good prince. You have to be untainted, and Utena's the only character like that.


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#5 | Back to Top03-04-2009 01:52:59 PM

Prince_of_Stars
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Is she really? She did have sex with Akio so doesn't that make her tainted?


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#6 | Back to Top03-04-2009 02:02:05 PM

Riri-kins
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Yes, but unlike the others, she eventually decides that she's not going to let lust control her.  Sex itself doesn't mean loss of innocence; letting it hold total power over you does.


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#7 | Back to Top03-04-2009 02:15:30 PM

Prince_of_Stars
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Ah, I see.


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#8 | Back to Top03-04-2009 02:21:51 PM

Stormcrow
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From: Los Angeles
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Riri-kins wrote:

I think princes have to have innocence. The series shows us that that's something the other student council members lack (through sex). That doesn't mean sticking to your ideals no matter what because if they're anything like, say, Touga's, you woudn't make a very good prince. You have to be untainted, and Utena's the only character like that.

This doesn't quite make sense to me. First off, so far as we know, Miki, Juri, Nanami, even quite possibly Saionji, are virgins. In fact, Miki and Nanami have serious reservations about sex. Looking at the end of the show, who is more innocent, Miki or Utena? I have to say Miki on that one. It seems to me that innocence is questionably related to princeliness...there's probably a correlation, but it might actually be negative. It is only after Utena's innocence is broken and reforged into something more like empathy that she is able to be the Prince Anthy can believe in. Granted, the loss of innocence is what cause Dios to fall, but I think that has more to do with his response than the actual disillusionment. Dios stopped believing in himself, and that was what his princehood was fundamentally based on. So what is the basis of Utena's princeliness?

Well, there has been a great deal of debate about whether or not Utena ever became a Prince. I tend to think that she became something better. So why did the swords go after her? Perhaps out of spite for denying them their target? They are haters after all. You could also say that the swords are swords of envy or pettiness, and as such, they attack the noblest thing available. This would also explain why they went for Anthy and not Akio. Of course, it fails to explain why they never went after Dios himself...are the swords a consequence of Dios' fall? Or did they exist all along, kept somehow in check by his efforts?

What do I think? I think Dios inadvertantly CREATED them. When he was a Prince, he took it upon himself to rescue everyone (every woman anyway, what a player) from...whatever. So the people became more and more dependent upon his valor, and less and less able to take care of themselves. Thus, the people that relied on him BECAME the swords of hate (or envy, or pettiness), not because they weren't hateful etc. before, but because they became used to putting those emotions onto him and letting him purge them. With him suddenly removed from the equation, they sought a new target. I would think that Anthy didn't see that coming. So this could also be the basis of a lot of resentment on her part.


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#9 | Back to Top03-04-2009 02:43:17 PM

Prince_of_Stars
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

And it is that particular idea that I had myself. That the swords of hate were actually the problems that the prince took care of for their princesses, and that once he was...'taken' away, they resorted to the person who was either just as noble or the person that took the prince away.


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#10 | Back to Top03-04-2009 03:00:13 PM

Stormcrow
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

I don't think the swords would have been SWORDS without Dios' intervention in the first place. He sharpened them and forged them so to speak. People in normal life have to just cope with things, but with Dios' help, they didn't. They relied on him like a drug...heh.

So I suppose I would say that the swords were kind of a consequence of withdrawal. A normal human who hasn't been taking heroin for example, produces endorphins to regulate pain sensation. But heroin does it better. So when a person becomes addicted, the body forgets how to make those chemicals on its own...and then when the drug is removed, the pain is worse than it would have been if they'd never taken it in the first place. Bleah, how depressing.

But I wonder now if you could perceive the entire situation with the duels as a kind of withdrawal process... would the swords ever "heal"? Would the people who cast them ever recover from their dependency on the Prince? Or was what Dios did for them so dramatic that they became premanently dependent? Will they just wander the world endlessly, seeking someone to punish for Dios' abandonment?...


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#11 | Back to Top03-04-2009 06:17:25 PM

Riri-kins
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Registered: 09-22-2008
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Stormcrow wrote:

Riri-kins wrote:

I think princes have to have innocence. The series shows us that that's something the other student council members lack (through sex). That doesn't mean sticking to your ideals no matter what because if they're anything like, say, Touga's, you woudn't make a very good prince. You have to be untainted, and Utena's the only character like that.

This doesn't quite make sense to me. First off, so far as we know, Miki, Juri, Nanami, even quite possibly Saionji, are virgins. In fact, Miki and Nanami have serious reservations about sex. Looking at the end of the show, who is more innocent, Miki or Utena? I have to say Miki on that one. It seems to me that innocence is questionably related to princeliness...there's probably a correlation, but it might actually be negative. It is only after Utena's innocence is broken and reforged into something more like empathy that she is able to be the Prince Anthy can believe in. Granted, the loss of innocence is what cause Dios to fall, but I think that has more to do with his response than the actual disillusionment.

Good point. I guess you'd have to have innoncence and complete selflessness.  Miki can't be Anthy's savior because he's too fixated on the simpler times with his sister.


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#12 | Back to Top03-04-2009 06:25:26 PM

Stormcrow
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Riri-kins wrote:

Miki can't be Anthy's savior because he's too fixated on the simpler times with his sister.

More importantly, Miki has absolutely NO idea who Anthy is. It seemed to me that that was true of Utena as well, and Anthy could only start to believe in her after Utena started to see how evil she was.


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#13 | Back to Top03-04-2009 09:07:52 PM

Aelanie
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Registered: 02-04-2009
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Anthy was never evil, just resigned to doing what Akio wanted. Ikuhara said once that while it's true that Anthy has "venom", he would never characterize her as having "malice", and I think that's a good way of putting it.

Anthy's number one motivator was guilt. She hated what her brother had become after sealing Dios, but she also pitied him, and felt responsible for it. So she gave up everything except doing what he wanted, as a kind of endless atonement.

Now, does that mean Anthy is not manipulative, deceptive, and even callous at times? Of course not. But in some ways, Anthy is the most innocent person in the series.

As for the swords, my own personal interpretation is that they never actually struck Utena. They might've gone after her, but I don't think a true Prince could've actually been touched by them, and that's what Utena is at the end even if she herself doesn't think so. Anthy thinks so, and that's the key.

Last edited by Aelanie (03-04-2009 09:12:01 PM)

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#14 | Back to Top03-05-2009 06:45:50 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

No malice? Ah, Ikuhara, what a strange strange little man you are. If you want to see the Malice in Anthy, you just have to check that scene where Akio asks why she tortures him. And she just smiles that creepy smile of hers...

And you know...I think I would say that Anthy is the single least innocent in the series. The reason she can't be freed is that there is no one she can believe in, right? If she ever had any kind of faith or optimism, she lost it long ago. She can't even trust Utena until after she literally stabbed her in the back, and Utena still wanted to be her friend. I think that the hope she used to have that a Prince would come to rescue her has become bitterness at the world, especially the children that surround her and naively think that she's a pawn in their game, or at best, just see her as some treasure to be won.

Seriously, if you were Anthy, would there be any words in any language that could describe the contempt you would feel for all of the people around you? I think this is one of the more overlooked reasons why Anthy stays with Akio. He's the closest anyone comes to deserving her respect, because he's the only one who knows what the world is really like. And what she is really like. The triumph of her story, as I see it, is that she turns out to be wrong.


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#15 | Back to Top03-05-2009 09:43:38 PM

Aelanie
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Registered: 02-04-2009
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Re: What Merits Princehood?

Ah well, it's just different readings of the character.

There's a diffence between antipathy and malice. Does Anthy despise the petty duelists with their self-centered ambitions? Without a doubt. It was true of Utena too, at first.

But there's a difference between that and actively seeking to do others harm. Regardless of her contempt for others, the person she believes deserves harm, far more than any of them, is herself. In her own eyes the enormity of her sin, and the degree to which she deserves punishment, are so much greater than anyone else's.

You were right to call them "children", and I'm sure that's how Anthy sees them. Obnoxious, selfish, loudmouthed children...and yet compared to herself and Akio they are innocent lambs, and I truly believe she pities them for being tangled up in Akio's web.

Never more so than with Utena. As Anthy comes to love Utena, her dislike for what she and Akio are doing, and her desire to save Utena from what's coming, grows agonizingly throughout the entire show. She starts to tell Utena the truth so many times...she begins, in the most feebly downtrodden way, to show resistance to Akio. This culminates in episode 36 and 37, where Anthy tries as hard as she's able to show Utena the abyss that's yawning in front of her.

So yes, I do think Anthy is "innocent", in the sense that she doesn't deserve her hellish fate, and really does not wish harm on anyone other than herself. She does what she does out of apathy and resignation, but she does not enjoy it, and Akio's self-justifying lies to the contrary are just that: lies, like everything that ever comes out of his mouth.

Anthy doesn't torment him, he torments himself - by wanting from her the only thing he could never gain: The same love and admiration that she had for Dios.

Last edited by Aelanie (03-05-2009 09:56:44 PM)

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