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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 Top12-25-2006 09:31:05 PM

Giovanna
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Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

I just watched episode 9, which I admit, with some shame, falls into the arc of the series I pay the least attention to. Yes yes, HURR AKIO HADN'T SHOWN UP YET. Shut up. emot-mad

Anyway, despite my slight bias against the arc, this is one of my favorite episodes of the series. Yay backstory for Saionji! Yay Touga being a complete jerk! Yay! But it's always confused me on the point of who knew what about who.

What I mean is, you've got three characters who all take part in the backstory given, but a whole lot of blurred memories and lack of recognition. Saionji speaks to Utena outside the rose garden, but there's no proof the recollection he narrates is spoken out loud to her then, the only lines we see him speak directly to her are ambiguous in this. Utena never does glance at the boys in the flashback, so it's very possible she doesn't know his face and doesn't recognize him, and similarly doesn't recognize Touga. However, Saionji doesn't recognize Utena and he was staring right at her the whole time. His ignorance to her identity is proven later on; Touga reveals to him in the Akio arc that Utena is the girl in the coffin, and it's a complete surprise. (As is the fact that Touga had nothing to do with her being saved.)

Now...does Touga know who she is? There's support for either argument. I tend to think he didn't recognize Utena and doesn't know who she is at this point, though he obviously does later. The prince story is new to him, so he also doesn't know the guy on the phone at the end of the episode is the memory he's using against her. And yet, the fact that Touga was there, part of the same traumatic event in Utena's memory, becomes a great advantage to him. It's entirely possible some vague recollection of Touga is left in Utena, enough that she can connect the boy that touched her hair with the boy that kissed her. Same place, almost same time.

Another thing I find interesting is how Utena reacts to the show Touga puts on. Namely, that she doesn't. The whole circus in the duel arena is clearly set up to lead to Touga's move on Utena. She's the end goal. However, given directorial control over the illusion machine, Touga aims the scenario squarely at Saionji. The girl in the coffin (the girl Saionji desires, no less), the coffin creaking open without Saionji being able to stop it...Touga doesn't set this all up in any way to appeal to Utena's point of view. Obviously there's a need here to antagonize Saionji, but shouldn't this all ring a bell for Utena, even though the point of view isn't hers? It doesn't appear to. A scenario that should have at least a little emotional sway over her doesn't budge her at all, where it lands on Saionji harder than the castle does. Why?

I've run my mouth instead of doing what I meant to do. Just pose the question. What are our thoughts on this episode? Who remembers what? There's so much here for so many characters that impacts a lot of how one interprets not just this arc, but the whole series. Touga's awareness or lack thereof relates directly to how much Akio has told him, which could relate to how far back they go. Saionji comments on the knowing look on Touga's face when they see the girl out of the coffin, and Saionji's usually pretty accurate about these things. Is it possible Touga knows, this far back, who saved her? How clear is Touga's understanding at this point in the series of the nature of the Rose Bride and the Power of Dios, if he's able to control part of the illusion himself? Why do Utena and Saionji suck so much at recalling faces?

DISCUSS. Please? emot-keke


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#2 | Back to Top12-25-2006 10:13:25 PM

MissMocha
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

I think this is the episode where it really starts to get established just how whack this show is gonna get.

I've always thought that Touga had an idea who Utena was, that she was the girl in the coffin, but wasn't sure until much later -maybe Akio told him? I'm not really sure... Saionji, though...I think he was too preoccupied with the thought of a girl in a coffin wanting to die, and wanting eternity then to really care about the girl herself. Saionji seems so...he gets caught up with the ideas of things then what they really are. His delusion about his relationship with Anthy is a perfect example, I think... Touga on the other hand...he wants to know the girl, and touching someone's hair, especially the way he let Utena's hair run through his fingers is a pretty intimate gesture. That has alwys been one of the eeriest scenes from the show, imho.

As for Utena, well...emot-rolleyes ... I really doubt she ever remembered the two boys. She never makes any big deal about them, as least as far as I recall. I think she was far too awed to remember anything that came before Dios -hell, she barely remembers Dios and Anthy, and that's a defining moment in her character, and it's development. Why would she remember the two boys?

Dunno. Just a thought.


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#3 | Back to Top12-25-2006 10:24:18 PM

angelicreation
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

I think Utena doesn't recall Touga or Saionji because, at the time, she was a traumatized little girl.  She didn't actually see either boy and I think after she vowed to be a prince and began to grow up, she repressed the memories of being in the coffin and gher encounter with the boys.  Because she wanted to be strong and noble, just like her prince, having her emotional breakdown, hiding in the coffin, only served to remind her of her own weakness.  She denied the incident to herself so often, trying to convince herself she hadn't been weak, she managed to repress the memories. 

The reason Touga's presence in the first arc gives her that odd "prince" feeling is that even though she repressed the memories, Touga did touch her hair, he did have a more direct connection to her than Saionji did.  Perhaps it was just the rhythm of his voice that sparked some recollection of that time, allowing her to confuse him with her prince.  Perhaps it was the repeated motion of Touga running his fingers through her hair.  it was the exact same motion and I don't think Utena slapped his hand away because she didn't want the contact.  I think she did it because it caused a piece of that memory to come forth about that day in the coffin.  She doesn't merely slap away his hand, she does it with a closed fist, a representation of anger, with the signet ring right in Touga's face.  She lashed out at him, not because she didn't want the contact, but because it reminded her of how weak she'd been.  She was angry at herself more than Touga.  The displaying of the ring was something akin to a security blanket reminding her of her promise to be a prince; and princes aren't weak.

As a side note on utena's emotional reactions throughout the series: If something is really bothering her and it concerns someone else, someone else is the focus, she gets really emotional.  I think when it comes to something that is really upsetting her or bothering her deep inside that has to do with her own character, she shuts the emotion off.  it's not until Akio comes around and starts playing with those strings that Utena starts to display emotional reactions to her OWN predicaments and feelings.

Saionji's lack of recognition is the easiest, in my opinion, to explain.  He has always been focused on Touga and his rivalry.  It didn't matter WHO it was that was in the coffin.  During the course of the series, especially during the Seitokai Arc, he sees anyone but Touga and Anthy as insignificant and not worthy of his attention or recollection.  As the years went by, the girl in the coffin stopped being the sad and lonely girl he wasnted to show eternity to, but became just another girl, another situation, where Touga bested him. 

Now Touga, on the other hand... he's a little tougher to explain.  I don't think he met Akio when he was a child.  I think he was just good at reading Utena's emotional state and his favorite game was baiting Saionji.  I think he just made it seem like he knew more than he did to get to Saionji.  I think Touga was brought into the Seitokai through Ruka and that's when he met Akio.  From the way Ruka, Touga and Akio all acted during the calling of the car and all with Juri leads me to believe that Ruka was possibly the president and when he got sick, it got passed onto Touga.  I don't think Touga knew for certain that Utena was the girl in the coffin during the Seitokai Arc - again, I believe he's really good at reading people.  He might have had an inkling, gut feeling you could say, and he ran with it.  Out of the three of them, Touga would have the best memory of the past encounter.  The moment when I believe Touga knew for certain that Utena was the girl was during their first duel.  Touga might be a cocky bastard, but I don't think he would have left himself so utterly vulnerable to Utena's blade unless he knew he had her.  If he didn't make the connection between Utena and the girl in the coffin, he wouldn't have exposed himself.

Just my take on things.

Last edited by angelicreation (12-25-2006 10:36:22 PM)


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#4 | Back to Top12-25-2006 10:31:55 PM

Giovanna
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

morosemocha wrote:

Touga on the other hand...he wants to know the girl, and touching someone's hair, especially the way he let Utena's hair run through his fingers is a pretty intimate gesture.

I wondered a bit about that when I watched it this time around. Watching it again, I had a thought that Touga looked almost distracted. Entranced even, by this girl's hair in his fingers. He's staring at it and stroking it while she speaks, and though he plainly hears her, a huge chunk of his attention seems to land on what's in his hand.

I absolutely agree that Saionji was more preoccupied with the idea of her than her identity, but I wonder if Touga was so different there. She's not her hair, and though it is an intimate gesture...I don't know. It was almost like Touga was preoccupied with the girl as an idea. Especially a weak girl. His comment about being an ally to all girls suggests he's already well on his way to the school pimp we see in the series, but I wonder if this event didn't, in some way, push him faster down that road. There's long, silky hair all over the cast and he's the worst offender there, but how often is a woman's hair looked at almost symbolically as her femininity? How often it's mentioned in romantic poems, or doted on when you want a girl to blush?

I dunno, I'm talking out my arse and don't even know if I buy that, but it's a thought to throw out there. emot-keke


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#5 | Back to Top12-25-2006 10:40:14 PM

angelicreation
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Oh yes, Touga was definitely fascinated with the girl in the coffin.  More along the lines that before then he didn't know girls could be like that.  Perhaps because of this encounter with Utena, Nanami turned out the way she did.  Perhaps Touga started protecting Nanami so fervently after the encounter with Utena and that's where Nanami gets her brother worshipping from.  If that's all she knew from a young age, it makes sense that she'd never imagine her life without it.


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#6 | Back to Top12-25-2006 10:41:19 PM

skewed_tartan
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

I think its possible Touga and Saionji met Akio while they were children, or younger than they are at the start of the duels, but I don't believe it was the same day they encountered Utena. No, that was the first break in the friendship and while I think Akio was aware he was planting those seeds for their later animosity, I think he probably waited longer for those seeds to take root so to speak.

I think the whole scene was aimed at Saionji and the only show for Utena was the possibility of playing prince again. Touga wanted Saionji out and possibly with Akio's and Anthy's help he orchestrated Saionji's explusion. Though if it was Touga's idea entirely or if it was suggested to him by Akio in a letter, I'm unsure. Though its very likely even then Akio was the master puppeteer even then.

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#7 | Back to Top12-26-2006 04:07:19 AM

Clarice
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Giovanna wrote:

morosemocha wrote:

Touga on the other hand...he wants to know the girl, and touching someone's hair, especially the way he let Utena's hair run through his fingers is a pretty intimate gesture.

I wondered a bit about that when I watched it this time around. Watching it again, I had a thought that Touga looked almost distracted. Entranced even, by this girl's hair in his fingers. He's staring at it and stroking it while she speaks, and though he plainly hears her, a huge chunk of his attention seems to land on what's in his hand.

I absolutely agree that Saionji was more preoccupied with the idea of her than her identity, but I wonder if Touga was so different there. She's not her hair, and though it is an intimate gesture...I don't know. It was almost like Touga was preoccupied with the girl as an idea. Especially a weak girl. His comment about being an ally to all girls suggests he's already well on his way to the school pimp we see in the series, but I wonder if this event didn't, in some way, push him faster down that road. There's long, silky hair all over the cast and he's the worst offender there, but how often is a woman's hair looked at almost symbolically as her femininity? How often it's mentioned in romantic poems, or doted on when you want a girl to blush?

I dunno, I'm talking out my arse and don't even know if I buy that, but it's a thought to throw out there. emot-keke

I think that's an interesting thought right there -- Touga focusing on Utena's hair as a symbol of her femininity. I mean, in the good ol' days of princes and white horses and damsels in distress, said damsels always had long hair (and in the case of Rapunzel, a scalp attached to her head with iron staples). Touga seems to be focusing on her hair, which as we've already shown draws the viewer's attention to it. Does it emphasise that she is a girl to us? Perhaps. It certainly demonstrates to us an Utena who is far "weaker" than we have seen before, which is a bit of a shake-up for us. (And also a preview for Utena's falling-apart two-piece yet to come.) So yes, perhaps Touga is focusing on it as he is seeing her as a helpless girl, but of course that brings up the question...Touga wants to save Utena, apparently. He calls himself an "ally to all girls." But he doesn't. The thing is, Touga and Saionji must have LEFT her there, which makes me curious. Saionji knew he was out of his depth -- you could see that in his eyes. Yet Touga left her...and was glad to see someone else had saved her later.

OH CRAP I HAVE CONFUSED MYSELF ALL OF A SUDDEN.

I think what I am trying to say, though, is that I find it slightly odd that Touga was able to let her go when he saw that he couldn't save her...which may account for his obsession with her hair rather than her face (and excuses somewhat his inability to recognise her later, when this surely is a critical point in his childhood friendship with Saionji). Touga doesn't look at her, but focuses on her hair, because he knows he can't save her. And he later lies indirectly about it to Saionji because he felt guilty for it...and this perhaps shows why he becomes what he does. He wants to save girls, but the only person he saw was capable of it was Akio...big man-whore on campus. Which may account for Touga's chivalrous bullshit act. Hmm.

...that does of course imply to me that Touga knew from fairly early on that Akio had saved Utena.

As for Utena and Saionji, I agree with what has been said. Utena's shut away the details of her memories (I think the Shadow Play Girls' intepretation of the story is the PG-Disney version that Utena runs on) so she scarcely recalls the boys who found her first (she may not even remember them at all; her echoed thought of "why does everyone go on living if they all have to die anyway?" tends to come to her in fragmented dreams, the way the true nature of Anthy's eternity does). Saionji probably didn't even get a good look at her; as Touga talks to her, Saionji backs further and further away from the coffin. And then focuses entirely on his friend. Which as has been said earlier, is Saionji in a nutshell; he can't actually deal with the emotional minefield of that, so he focuses on Touga and releases his anger and frustration...emotions he can understand, if certainly not control.

And Gio, I etc-wankgirl this thread! This ep is totally my favourite from an arc I also pay very little attention to, except when I need backstory for some godforsaken latter series essay...


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#8 | Back to Top12-26-2006 12:05:53 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

angelicreation wrote:

Stuff about Utena close-fisted whacking Touga's hand away when he touches her hair.

I really like your take on that, and it was definitely of note here. That always struck me as especially vicious of her because it sparks that memory. Also, as mentioned in other threads, there's the whole her fighting the behavior of certain men in the series who feminize her. That's the first open example of this happening, and it's especially invasive for her, though I suspect it was rather a surprise to Touga to get swatted away quite like that. Most girls would either let him touch their hair or 'smack' his hand away in a show of 'displeasure' while they 'soak their panties'.

skewed_tartan wrote:

I think its possible Touga and Saionji met Akio while they were children, or younger than they are at the start of the duels, but I don't believe it was the same day they encountered Utena.

See this I wonder about. It strikes me as wrong to assume they knew him, no doubt he was pulling strings even then, he likes to keep his victims all in one place and this is no exception, but Saionji doesn't appear particularly familiar with Akio, not so that their interaction would date that far back. Touga...is harder. He obviously was speaking to Ends of the World directly from early on, but I wonder how 'friendly' they got and when. For some reason I've always taken the whole 'That was an indecent suggestion, Chairman.' dialogue to somehow represent the beginning of their sexual relationship, though that certainly might not be the case. For some reason I also take it for granted their sexual relationship lines up with when Touga finds out the Chairman and Ends of the World are the same man. Seems to me when he'd be most likely to jump into bed with him, all that power in one place, and all.

skewed_tartan wrote:

Touga wanted Saionji out and possibly with Akio's and Anthy's help he orchestrated Saionji's explusion. Though if it was Touga's idea entirely or if it was suggested to him by Akio in a letter, I'm unsure. Though its very likely even then Akio was the master puppeteer even then.

Either way...what do we gain by Saionji disappearing? The only person Saionji's presence directly impacts is Touga, so Touga is the only reason Saionji would leave, whether it was his idea or Akio's. But...why? Did he not want Saionji around during the events that unfold right after? I would imagine for several reasons this could be the case, perhaps Saionji would have been a problem in one way or another. He might have mucked up Touga's seduction of Utena. He might have thrown a fit over Touga's using Nanami like that, at that point. (I bet he wouldn't approve, anyway.) Or...maybe maybe maybe, Touga was getting Saionji out of the way to spare him. Maybe.

I have to wonder how things would have unfolded for Touga if Saionji had stayed. Even that early on, despite everything, there's a hint of Saionji being Touga's Bitchy Voice of Reason. The kind of voice of reason that would say something vicious and rude and pissy about Touga hiding in his room an entire arc. Maybe something bitchy enough to snap him out of it. Or, perhaps, he might have gotten snarky and disapproving of Akio's deepening (HURR) relationship with Touga early enough to slow or tamper with it. It just seems odd that by his own hand, Touga sends away the one person with any, remote as it was, regulating influence over him at a point where he probably could have used it.

Clarice wrote:

So yes, perhaps Touga is focusing on it as he is seeing her as a helpless girl, but of course that brings up the question...Touga wants to save Utena, apparently. He calls himself an "ally to all girls." But he doesn't.

I think it's telling that he calls himself an 'ally to all girls' instead of a 'prince'. He doesn't choose for himself language that suggests he's supposed to save her, or that he can. Only that he'd root for her. (I could swear I heard the word 'feminist', but I can't confirm how it's being used since I don't know the Japanese. This is all backed up if it's actually what he's saying.)

But Touga never does present himself as a prince to girls. Except for when he's manipulating Utena, but other than that, being a prince isn't quite part of his routine. It's suggested. It's danced around. It's hinted at. But we never see Touga behave with his floozies in a princely manner. He's something else that doesn't quite involve saving girls. Or he only does it halfway. The French restaurant? Oh hell yeah. But he ain't gonna slay any monsters for you. He's too busy with his three girl pileups. But the point is I think from the very beginning Touga's assuming he can't save the girl. It's Saionji that's going on and on about saving her, which figures. Saionji in his innocence would believe something like that could happen. That someone can save that girl for her. Touga? I don't think, even this early, believes that things can work that way. She doesn't want to get out of the coffin. What's he supposed to do?

Clarice wrote:

Saionji probably didn't even get a good look at her; as Touga talks to her, Saionji backs further and further away from the coffin. And then focuses entirely on his friend. Which as has been said earlier, is Saionji in a nutshell; he can't actually deal with the emotional minefield of that, so he focuses on Touga and releases his anger and frustration...emotions he can understand, if certainly not control.

I know I keep coming back to this, but only because it drives me nuts and interests me. I agree completely on that. I want to know WHY. Why does Saionji cower when he's afraid? Why is anger the emotion he understands? I know you could say some of this is just his disposition, but good lord he reeks of abused child. Seriously. Touga? I don't think he was abused so much as neglected. Even this far back there's an air about him that suggests he's been very independent. Saionji...I dunno. If it wasn't him getting hit in his house, it was someone else.

I always get this mental image of that adorable boy standing just off a doorway hiding from the sight of his mother getting sent across the kitchen. Maybe she was kissing his cheek a moment ago, and he can feel her lips there still, and he touches his face, shaking, but he doesn't know what to do. emot-frown Poor baby. emot-frown emot-frown emot-frown


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#9 | Back to Top12-26-2006 12:38:27 PM

Clarice
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Giovanna wrote:

See this I wonder about. It strikes me as wrong to assume they knew him, no doubt he was pulling strings even then, he likes to keep his victims all in one place and this is no exception, but Saionji doesn't appear particularly familiar with Akio, not so that their interaction would date that far back. Touga...is harder. He obviously was speaking to Ends of the World directly from early on, but I wonder how 'friendly' they got and when. For some reason I've always taken the whole 'That was an indecent suggestion, Chairman.' dialogue to somehow represent the beginning of their sexual relationship, though that certainly might not be the case. For some reason I also take it for granted their sexual relationship lines up with when Touga finds out the Chairman and Ends of the World are the same man. Seems to me when he'd be most likely to jump into bed with him, all that power in one place, and all.

It's bloody hard to work out how long Touga has known Akio, and for how long he's understood what Akio is, but I agree that the sexual relationship likely as not started during the series. Although Akio's a hedonist, I think he knows well enough that to get Touga into bed too soon would have been a mistake (and I decide that from his behaviour with Utena, and how long he waited to get her into bed; different reasons for the delay in each case). What would the mistake be? I guess I am thinking of sex as a tool, but a tool that can be a bit heavy-handed. In the case of Utena, I guess I think he'd worry about making her too dependent on him; in the case of Touga, too independent. If you can see where I am going with this ramble. O_o

But in short, I guess I'm really just showing that I haven't the slightest idea when they met. You could assume perhaps from Touga's little smile when Saionji asks him the next day if the girl has been saved that he knows for a fact that someone else did -- and met him -- or that he's just glad somebody did. Hmm.

Giovanna wrote:

Either way...what do we gain by Saionji disappearing? The only person Saionji's presence directly impacts is Touga, so Touga is the only reason Saionji would leave, whether it was his idea or Akio's. But...why? Did he not want Saionji around during the events that unfold right after? I would imagine for several reasons this could be the case, perhaps Saionji would have been a problem in one way or another. He might have mucked up Touga's seduction of Utena. He might have thrown a fit over Touga's using Nanami like that, at that point. (I bet he wouldn't approve, anyway.) Or...maybe maybe maybe, Touga was getting Saionji out of the way to spare him. Maybe.

I have to wonder how things would have unfolded for Touga if Saionji had stayed. Even that early on, despite everything, there's a hint of Saionji being Touga's Bitchy Voice of Reason. The kind of voice of reason that would say something vicious and rude and pissy about Touga hiding in his room an entire arc. Maybe something bitchy enough to snap him out of it. Or, perhaps, he might have gotten snarky and disapproving of Akio's deepening (HURR) relationship with Touga early enough to slow or tamper with it. It just seems odd that by his own hand, Touga sends away the one person with any, remote as it was, regulating influence over him at a point where he probably could have used it.

I always wonder why Touga orchestrated Saionji's expulsion myself. Strangely enough I tend to go for the idea that Touga did it because Saionji had served his purpose in the duelling game and now wished to take him out of it as his "reward," but that assumes two things: firstly, that Touga would listen to Akio when Akio tells him Saionji is no longer needed (either because Touga still has some affection for Saionji, or because Touga figures perhaps Saionji's useful shelf life isn't over), and secondly that Touga actually gives a damn about Saionji. Which is...debatable. I think there are vestiges of a real friendship still there, which brings me into the next bit nicely.

I agree that Saionji acts somewhat as Touga's "conscience," in that he's the only person in Touga's peer group with the balls to point out when Touga's being an asshead. Touga knows this, and thus has to remove Saionji from the game in case Saionji tries something that screws things up. Curious thing is, though, that surely Touga ought to have realised that he couldn't get Saionji out of the game without Akio approving...and perhaps this ought to concern him. That Akio wants Touga's so-called "even keel" out of the picture. Hmm.

Giovanna wrote:

I know I keep coming back to this, but only because it drives me nuts and interests me. I agree completely on that. I want to know WHY. Why does Saionji cower when he's afraid? Why is anger the emotion he understands? I know you could say some of this is just his disposition, but good lord he reeks of abused child. Seriously. Touga? I don't think he was abused so much as neglected. Even this far back there's an air about him that suggests he's been very independent. Saionji...I dunno. If it wasn't him getting hit in his house, it was someone else.

I always get this mental image of that adorable boy standing just off a doorway hiding from the sight of his mother getting sent across the kitchen. Maybe she was kissing his cheek a moment ago, and he can feel her lips there still, and he touches his face, shaking, but he doesn't know what to do. emot-frown Poor baby. emot-frown emot-frown emot-frown

No, I think you're probably on to something there -- I'd be fairly certain that Saionji has had something happen to him in his past that has made him end up like that. He does strike me as that type, particularly when he's that young. The way he reacts when the whole thing goes down makes me think it was probably his mother getting abused; just...the expression on his face as Utena talks of losing his parents. And the way he claps his hands over his ears and closes his eyes and hunkers down when something he doesn't like starts happening. It also would sit with his later behaviour, in that he decides he doesn't want to be "weak" and behaves in the only way he knows to be "strong." And it's funny how we were talking about Saionji being something of a "calming" influence on Touga (calming in the way that he'll tell Touga straight up when he's being a dick). I think Touga was something of a good influence on Saionji too, in that he showed Saionji that strength can also be found in a disciplined sport like kendo...in which violent emotions are tempered and controlled. Which is what Touga is most of the time.

As for Touga, he was independent as a cat from an early age, I think. Hell, he probably half-raised Nanami, which is why she's so dependent on him/screwed in the head. emot-tongue


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#10 | Back to Top12-26-2006 01:03:04 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Clarice wrote:

You could assume perhaps from Touga's little smile when Saionji asks him the next day if the girl has been saved that he knows for a fact that someone else did -- and met him -- or that he's just glad somebody did. Hmm.

I think he is glad or relieved that someone stepped up to the plate, since he couldn't. At the same time, I wonder if his smile was specifically to make Saionji think he'd been the one to save her. The point of the story (through Saionji's perspective) is that Touga's always one step ahead, he always manages to come out on top. I think a huge factor in that is Saionji's belief in Touga's abilities exceed what Touga is actually capable of. It's a great tool to make someone think you're better than you are, because in their mind you become that much better. Even at that early age, I think Touga would see this as a smart thing to do. And it also could make him feel as if he was partially responsible for saving the girl. Sometimes a lie is a very stable foundation to build upon.


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#11 | Back to Top12-28-2006 07:52:29 AM

Giovanna
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Clarice wrote:

I guess I am thinking of sex as a tool, but a tool that can be a bit heavy-handed. In the case of Utena, I guess I think he'd worry about making her too dependent on him; in the case of Touga, too independent. If you can see where I am going with this ramble. O_o

That sounds about right to me. I think in Touga's case it had a lot to do with a promotion. (Sex with boss = MANDATORY!) But what I mean is when Touga finally shows up again, his role is no longer as the seitokaichou, but his new position is much closer to Akio and so much more informed, and that access to information is what fuels him, and in the naughty bad bad language Akio and Touga speak, sex is almost part of that. Touga literally and figuratively gets into bed with Akio.

Clarice wrote:

Curious thing is, though, that surely Touga ought to have realised that he couldn't get Saionji out of the game without Akio approving...and perhaps this ought to concern him. That Akio wants Touga's so-called "even keel" out of the picture. Hmm.

I would say Touga wasn't aware of it. He wouldn't, especially at this point in the series, think he needed an 'even keel'. His duels in this arc come down on his head and knock some of the wind out of his sails, but he's better in the end for it because he calculates more afterward, and relies less on being cocky. He needed that kick in the ass to really start listening to Saionji. I don't think Touga would have thought to question that in particular if Akio gave the go-ahead to lose Saionji. After all, there are a million justifications for it that either could have provided.

Clarice wrote:

The way he reacts when the whole thing goes down makes me think it was probably his mother getting abused; just...the expression on his face as Utena talks of losing his parents. And the way he claps his hands over his ears and closes his eyes and hunkers down when something he doesn't like starts happening.

Yes, exactly. See I had that mental image before I tried to figure out why, but he responds to trauma in a way that just suggests that. I would imagine he wasn't spared the rod as a kid, but he behaves as someone that witnesses abuse, and combine that with his habit of hitting people...that's a learned behavior. He saw that happen, and repeatedly, until it was normal enough to him that he finds himself doing even when it bothers him to do so. But the hunkering down...definitely witness to abuse. And in the home; Saionji doesn't physically attempt to retreat. He could have run but he assumes he can't get away and just hides as best he can.

Clarice wrote:

I think Touga was something of a good influence on Saionji too, in that he showed Saionji that strength can also be found in a disciplined sport like kendo...in which violent emotions are tempered and controlled. Which is what Touga is most of the time.

Absolutely. They pair well with each other, each having a flaw the other checks, and an ability the other needs access to. Saionji has intuition and perspective but not control, and Touga has ambition but so much that it gives him tunnel vision. Touga was definitely a positive in Saionji's childhood, which is why he goes so berserk over the change in their relationship. Saionji needed that, and Touga took it away before he'd been exposed enough to not need it anymore. Like taking the training wheels off too early; Saionji might have absorbed some of the traits he admired and needed from Touga, what could have brought him a bit out of his shell, but the process hadn't finished.

Strangely I'm reminded of Wakaba. 'Just a little bit longer, and I would have been reborn.'

Ragnarok wrote:

I think he is glad or relieved that someone stepped up to the plate, since he couldn't. At the same time, I wonder if his smile was specifically to make Saionji think he'd been the one to save her.

This sounds about right to me. I don't think he knew Akio or what happened to Utena. Part of it was glad she got out, the rest was letting Saionji think it was him. An unnecessary barb but done anyway.

Anyway I was flipping through the episode again (don't ask), and a few things caught my attention. Most of them involving body language. (Touga closes his eyes when he's waiting for the right moment to do something, almost meditative. I saw it twice.) However a bit more important here...Saionji runs at Anthy first. I thought that was interesting, it took a false manipulation of circumstance to put Utena ahead of him, without the platforms shooting up, he'd have 'saved' Anthy first. Motives and such aside, it took an artificial edge to get Utena there first. I think this says more about Utena's position as a 'prince' right now than it says about Saionji though.


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#12 | Back to Top12-28-2006 04:04:26 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

(I kind of don't want to bring this up, because I'm sure it's an animation error, but...)

All throughout the arena scene, Saionji isn't wearing his rose signet. He has it on when he's with Anthy and I believe he still has it when Utena wakes him up. But as soon as they get to the Arena it's missing. I would dearly love an in-series explanation for that.


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#13 | Back to Top12-28-2006 11:40:07 PM

CMK
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Registered: 11-12-2006
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Ragnarok wrote:

(I kind of don't want to bring this up, because I'm sure it's an animation error, but...)

All throughout the arena scene, Saionji isn't wearing his rose signet. He has it on when he's with Anthy and I believe he still has it when Utena wakes him up. But as soon as they get to the Arena it's missing. I would dearly love an in-series explanation for that.

Well, Occam's Razor suggests that the animators failed to put it in.  If the show's budget was as horrific as described it makes some sense that a detail like that would be forgotten.

If we assume it was intentional, though...hmm...I need to check on something.

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#14 | Back to Top12-28-2006 11:51:49 PM

CMK
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Registered: 11-12-2006
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

...and having checked:

Episode 25:  Saionji has a rose signet.

Episode 26:  Miki has his signet.

Episode 28:  Ruka isn't wearing his ring during the entire duel.

Episode 29:  No ring for Ruka, Juri has hers.

Episode 36:  Touga has his ring, Saionji, for some reason, lacks his.

I see a pattern here.  Duelists seem to lose their rings when they're not in the arena specifically for the purpose of dueling (Ruka's debatable, but I come down on the side that he never was playing the Duel Game, but rather a game of his own devising, where no one but him really knew all the rules, in a dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, while smiling the whole time.)school-devil

Okay, joking aside....I really don't know what to make of it beyond that.

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#15 | Back to Top12-29-2006 12:18:24 AM

Giovanna
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

emot-gonk emot-gonk emot-gonk emot-gonk emot-gonk

They totally fucked up Saionji. Seriously.

There are shots in his first duel where he has it, then suddenly he doesn't. Episode 9 is a total mess, he's wearing it when he busts into the arena, but not when he's in it. When he's shaking his fist at the castle? No ring. The shot of his hand against the glass of the rose garden is his left, but he's not wearing the ring.

This looks like sloppiness, as much as I hate to say it. Saionji would be the last one of them on earth to take off their ring for any reason at all, and aside from that, I doubt he paused in the middle of dueling Utena to take his ring off, even with his seriously underestimating her.

Bad, BAD animators. Spankings for you!

I just checked the first arc, though, I can't say if this improves any later on. By episode 36, I would say there's a reason the ring's off. Saionji backed out of the game before anyone.

Flipping through I did notice Touga seems to always have his on. The only exceptions are a couple shots that are from far enough away to justify it not being drawn.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#16 | Back to Top12-29-2006 02:04:55 AM

Lightice
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From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

It's implied in the episode 38 that the duellists have all worn their rings up until that moment  - Nanami took hers off when she gave up her Student Council position, but all others still have theirs and Touga even forbids them taking them off, before everything is over. Yeah, the animators - most propably the key-animators, have made a mistake or few when creating the character-models...


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#17 | Back to Top12-29-2006 06:16:57 AM

Giovanna
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

It strikes me so odd that they'd make an error like that, but manage to put accurate body language in. emot-confused

That said, I am finding the first arc is less heavy on the body language accuracy than latter arcs, though actually the animation quality is much higher. (Though they obviously had a bitch of a time deciding how to draw the older male characters, I'm kinda glad Akio didn't go through the same miserable 'HOW DO I DRAW FACE' problem Touga had.)

Apparently this was the maiden voyage for the animation studio, their first full length anime series, and well...it shows. They also couldn't make up their minds which hands the characters dueled with, though that one I tend to think has an explanation that if not deliberate, is fitting. I understand them not drawing the ring from a distance, but there are plenty of shots in the first arc where they really should have been there but are not. I'll see how it goes in the BRS soon...


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
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#18 | Back to Top12-29-2006 12:00:45 PM

Ragnarok
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Aww, come on!  Somone pull an explanation out of thier butt! emot-frown

Like, you know... The rings aren't real, they're given to the duellists by Akio. Plus the arena is full of crazy illusions. So if a ring isn't appearing on someone's finger, it's because Akio doesn't want them to be wearing it. Saionji enters the arena against the rules and he's fallen out of Akio's favour, soon to be expelled. Clearly the absence of his ring is FORESHADOWING! emot-dance


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#19 | Back to Top12-29-2006 01:22:54 PM

Clarice
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

Ragnarok wrote:

Aww, come on!  Somone pull an explanation out of thier butt! emot-frown

...um...the silver was tarnished and the ring was out being cleaned? (Yes, DURING A DUEL. That's what we call DOOR TO DOOR SERVICE. Or maybe that was Chu-Chu's day job. Y'know, he's small enough not to be seen down there with his little rag...)

I'm sorry. You'd think that with an ass like mine there'd be something in there worth pulling out. emot-gonk

Giovanna wrote:

Ragnarok wrote:

I think he is glad or relieved that someone stepped up to the plate, since he couldn't. At the same time, I wonder if his smile was specifically to make Saionji think he'd been the one to save her.

This sounds about right to me. I don't think he knew Akio or what happened to Utena. Part of it was glad she got out, the rest was letting Saionji think it was him. An unnecessary barb but done anyway.

I think this whole thing is really kind of scary. I mean, I am not Touga's biggest fan -- in fact the only place I really like him is in the movie, and I bawl my eyes out at that damn elevator scene every gorram time -- but the implication is that even before The Game got started for them, he was willing to dick over his rather fragile friend for an advantage. And the thing is, it was the first time he did it -- the trust between them before the coffin and the church was palpable, and then one little lie by omission and BOOM NO MORE BIKE RIDES TO RANDOM PEOPLE'S FUNERALS BOO.

Although I think it demonstrates something other than Touga's inclinations towards being a twat -- something fairly significant. We're discussing here who knows what, yes? And though we could debate for hours whether this is when Touga met Akio or not and never get an answer, I think Akio at least became aware of both Saionji and Touga at this stage...and of their potential use to him. It can't be a mistake that these boys became one of Utena's later catalysts, after what the three of them went through in that church. Question is, did Akio draw them in? (Possibly using those two men and that mildly creepy story of the girl was was "spirited away"? Which is, I think, the worst mistranslation of the show; "kidnapped" doesn't echo the sentiment at all to me...particularly not in light of Saionji's reaction to it. It looks strange as hell that Saionji is actually kind of charmed by the "perhaps she was kidnapped!" theory until you realise the Japanese phrase is a bit more whimsical instead of being as sinister as it sounds in English.) Was Akio gathering his pieces even then? And did he know that Touga would chose to play his hand the way that he did, thereby creating a rift between two childhood friends that he could exploit the fuck out of later?

Akio has a lot of patience in setting up his gameboard -- just look at poor Professor Nemuro. Which really begs the question (the answer to which being beyond this thread) of: how did everyone get drawn into this round of the game? Utena drew in Touga, Saionji and Nanami...what about Juri? Through Ruka? And what about Miki?

And of course, was Utena deliberately chosen or was she just convenient? Hmm. This episode confuses me. I need more chocolate before I can go on. emot-frown

Giovanna wrote:

Anyway I was flipping through the episode again (don't ask), and a few things caught my attention. Most of them involving body language. (Touga closes his eyes when he's waiting for the right moment to do something, almost meditative. I saw it twice.) However a bit more important here...Saionji runs at Anthy first. I thought that was interesting, it took a false manipulation of circumstance to put Utena ahead of him, without the platforms shooting up, he'd have 'saved' Anthy first. Motives and such aside, it took an artificial edge to get Utena there first. I think this says more about Utena's position as a 'prince' right now than it says about Saionji though.

I agree. I think the whole seitokai arc is about Utena deciding she wants to save Anthy, and not the ideal of Anthy. The irony being that she then wants to save the false Anthy (which gets even more ironically hilarious when you realise Utena does this against a backdrop of Mikage and Mamiya!Anthy...ah, the masks that girl wears somedays...). Utena doesn't want to save the REAL Anthy until Anthy attempts a 10.0 swandive off the roof of the school. And even then Anthy turns on her in favour of her brother. [coughs] But my point is that I think you're entirely correct -- Saionji goes about everything the wrong way, but at this stage his need/want/desire to save Anthy is a little bit more solidified than Utena's, possibly because he knows Anthy (somewhat) as a person, while as to Utena she's still a bit of an enigma. Thing is, though, the One Engaged usually doesn't have a clue who Anthy really is nor what she really wants because she reflects better than the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Whee. emot-tongue


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#20 | Back to Top01-08-2007 10:53:29 AM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
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Re: Who knows what in The Castle Said to Hold Eternity?

THREAD NECROMANCY. I honestly wanted to reply, I did, but I got distracted by a UFO or a kitten or something. emot-frown

Clarice wrote:

I'm sorry. You'd think that with an ass like mine there'd be something in there worth pulling out. emot-gonk

More to grab. emot-wink

Clarice wrote:

I think this whole thing is really kind of scary. I mean, I am not Touga's biggest fan -- in fact the only place I really like him is in the movie, and I bawl my eyes out at that damn elevator scene every gorram time -- but the implication is that even before The Game got started for them, he was willing to dick over his rather fragile friend for an advantage. And the thing is, it was the first time he did it -- the trust between them before the coffin and the church was palpable, and then one little lie by omission and BOOM NO MORE BIKE RIDES TO RANDOM PEOPLE'S FUNERALS BOO.

That would appear to be exactly what happened. It wasn't gradual, but rather a sudden stab otherwise out of nowhere. I wonder whether Touga quite understood at the time how heavy-hitting this act would be. I get the impression Saionji and Nanami were guinea pigs for him, and that he tested and developed his manipulative skill on them, in Saionji's case, at the cost of the depth of their friendship. I'm the last person on the planet to try and paint Touga as a good guy, but I do wonder if he would have so easily paid that price right then, had he known the sum of what he would be charged. His intentions with that lie by omission were certainly not good for Saionji, but Touga is young here, and even for him, still  inexperienced. Did he realize his aim was going to be so fatal?

Clarice wrote:

Question is, did Akio draw them in?

I always imagine Akio treats the school and the surrounding population as kinda a breeding ground. He doesn't monitor every little thing that goes on, but keeps his eyes open and picks out potential and then nurtures it. It's entirely reasonable to me to assume he's perhaps seen the two, but they weren't really quite catching his eye until this point. Did he know Touga was about to play a winning (for Akio) hand? I don't know, but Akio didn't need to see the aftermath to know there was potential. That much became obvious the moment Touga pushed the coffin open.

Clarice wrote:

"spirited away"? Which is, I think, the worst mistranslation of the show; "kidnapped" doesn't echo the sentiment at all to me...particularly not in light of Saionji's reaction to it. It looks strange as hell that Saionji is actually kind of charmed by the "perhaps she was kidnapped!" theory until you realise the Japanese phrase is a bit more whimsical instead of being as sinister as it sounds in English.

God damn amen to that. Remember that weird Touga and Saionji thought I had? Kinda relates to this. Why would Saionji seem almost...jealous...of the prospect of some girl being kidnapped? Kidnapped is bad. Spirited away is more ambiguous. It could be something nice, depending on who did it and what you were being spirited away from.

Clarice wrote:

Saionji goes about everything the wrong way, but at this stage his need/want/desire to save Anthy is a little bit more solidified than Utena's, possibly because he knows Anthy (somewhat) as a person, while as to Utena she's still a bit of an enigma. Thing is, though, the One Engaged usually doesn't have a clue who Anthy really is nor what she really wants because she reflects better than the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Whee. emot-tongue

The whole scheme is set up to make Utena look good, but we know that especially at this point, Utena and Saionji both want to save the wrong Anthy for the wrong reasons. Strangely, there's much their reasons have in common, but that's that other thread...

Should really write the blasted thing.


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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