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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 Top12-22-2010 08:59:00 AM

monica
New Student
Registered: 12-22-2010
Posts: 9

Anthy as Puella Aeterna

Hi!

I'm new here, my name's Monica. I've been a big fan of RGU for many years now.

I found this little article about puella aetterna archetype some time ago and recently after rewatching Utena for n-th time, it suddenly hit me that the description of puella aeterna seems to fit Anthy's personality quite well.

Here is the passage I'm referring to, from the article:

“The “eternal girl,” or puella, is a woman who psychologically has remained a young girl, even though chronologically she may be sixty or seventy years of age. She remains a dependent daughter, tending to accept the identity others project upon her. In doing so, she gives over to others her own strength as well as the responsibility for shaping her identity. Quite often she marries a rigidly authoritarian man and becomes the image of woman he wants. Often she looks and acts innocent, helpless, and passive. Or she may rebel, but in her rebellion remains the helpless victim caught in feelings of self-pity, depression, and inertia. In either case, she is not directing her own life.”

You may ask, why I even bother to discuss this?
Well, because many times, when I come across a more in-depth description of Anthy people seem to assume that Anthy is very mature (more mature than Utena or even the most mature character in the series), experienced, understands how the world works and what the humans really are, etc. and I don't quite understand that point of view.

For me, Anthy is as childish (if not more) as most of the characters in RGU. I agree that she kind of has this aura about herself (especially towards the end of the series) that makes  her look a sage or wise(wo)man, but for me it's just a part of the illusion she creates about herself (the other part maybe her acting like an innocent virgin or nurturing mother etc).
I found her to be mostly on the same level of maturity as Akio. Of course, she chose to redeem herself at the end, which probably makes a lot more likeable (and there's the whole issue with Dios, but that's a bit more controversial, as there seems to be no consensus on whether her actions were purely selfish or purely selfless and another issue of her neverending suffering), but the fact is that throughout the series she wasn't all that better than her brother (and he himself is quite a tragic character - I admit, I'm not really fond of him, he's creepy, but I sort of understand his reasoning and actions, not that I agree with them, but the same I can say about Anthy).

In my opinion, Anthy is just a child. As long as she's in Ohtori she's not her own person, just a bunch of different masks she's playing with like a kid in a kindergarten.

Please, don't get me wrong, I ADORE Anthy, but there are many things that bother me about her or her fandom (the same applies of course to many other characters). I's ok if you don't agree - that always makes the discussion more interesting^_^.

So, what do you think about it?



And here's the link to the whole article if someone's interested:
http://radmilasuggests.wordpress.com/20 … e-leonard/
(Note: besides this one version of puella aeterna, the author describes also another one, which, in my opinion fits Utena's personality a bit).

Thank you!

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#2 | Back to Top12-23-2010 04:40:05 PM

Neva Caruso
Tenjou Tilter
Registered: 03-10-2008
Posts: 87

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

Interesting analysis! I don't think that Anthy is completely naive or ignorant of the way that the world around her, and the people in it, work; she wouldn't be able to manipulate them quite as skillfully if that were the case.  I think that she has the potential to access that knowledge/wisdom and become the sage that you described, but is trapped (has trapped herself) in a holding pattern that keeps her from doing so.

I found her to be mostly on the same level of maturity as Akio.

Yes! For most of the series, this is indeed the case.  The defining difference is that Anthy can change, chooses to change, while Akio plays the same game over and over and over again.

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#3 | Back to Top01-04-2011 09:19:39 PM

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

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

I don't have the knowledge of Jung that this post requires, just of couple of thoughts.

Cynicism is not necessarily a mark of maturity. It can often be worn as a cloak of pseudo-maturity by the young.

Rhyaniwyn pointed out a long time ago that Anthy does a number of age-inappropriate things; but when Utena opens the Gate, the Anthy she sees blinking back at her is much younger than 14.

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#4 | Back to Top01-05-2011 03:41:31 AM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
Website

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

Hmm...

Anthyanthyanthy...
It's one thing to experience the world. I actually think she has experienced a lot more things than anyone else in Ohtori (save Akio).

It's another thing as to how one goes about using that information they've learned from their lessons in life, and how they go about dealing with future issues in life.

I can't say Anthy is exactly mature (otherwise she wouldn't be so passive aggressive, like the way she treated Miki, Utena, Kanae, and Nanami, especially during that toast episode. That was blatantly an attack directed at Utena.) But I can't say she's naive and childish either. Unlike Utena, Anthy is anything but romantic. When Utena asked Anthy if Wakaba and Tatsuya will finally get together, Anthy replied, "Who knows? Romance is something that happens or don't." A big thing about the Utena series is the stark difference between the fairytale vs. the reality (childhood vs. adulthood). Anthy's response shows that she's aware that life isn't all sweets and roses. Women don't always get carried onto the white horse by their prince in the end.
She's seen how the world works. Even though she has much growing up to do as is everyone else, in my opinion, she's a step ahead in that aspect, as well.

Cynicism, I feel, is what Nanami is doing moreso than Anthy. After witnessing that incidence with Akio and Anthy, she became rather distrusting about everything that goes on around her, even her own brother at one point (except Utena, whom she knew has no idea what's going on). Anthy, I don't know if she's cynical. I think she found the duelists' ideals to be somewhat childish and impossible to achieve in reality, and that's why she's mocking/testing them. But, I'm not sure if that's categorized under cynicism. (EDIT: actually, now that I think about it... maybe it is. And, that it was Utena's leap of faith (lol pun) that helped her regain faith) Because otherwise, she wouldn't have had those nights with Utena where they had these little heart-to-heart chat. She wouldn't come between Utena and Saionji when he was about to cut the rose from Utena's chest. She may not completely trust Utena, but at least I feel she is trying to, at least.

Last edited by Hiraku (01-05-2011 03:43:46 AM)

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#5 | Back to Top01-05-2011 12:18:39 PM

monica
New Student
Registered: 12-22-2010
Posts: 9

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

Hiraku: But don't you think that the more Anthy seems to deny anything good about life and even belittles other people (passively) for holding onto their little illusions, the more she's really waiting for some kind of miracle and someone to ultimately save her from her suffering?
It's kinda similar to Juri - she keeps denying any belief in miracles but the overall impression I have of her is that she desperately wants any kind of miracle to happen.

At least I've got an impression that the more Anthy tries to appear cynical and disillusioned the more I sense that deep deep down she really is idealistic and still carries that grain of hope and faith in life, in general, but the more she allowes herself to feel it the more she hates herself for feeling it.
And that, I see as something very childish - because in a way she just keeps deceiving herself, just like everyone else (like Utena, for instance, when being ignorant about certain things that are right in front of her).

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#6 | Back to Top01-05-2011 01:34:29 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6340
Website

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

mm... give me some more time to digest.

I... don't know if she's "looking down" on the duelists? She doesn't think they are qualified because she is aware of how their ideals can be their undoing. How their ideals had essentially created a coffin for themselves, and block them from obtaining the power of revolution. Having seen reality, she has become more pessimistic (sometimes you'd hear people saying that they're just being "Realistic"). I don't think she's denying herself the chance to be rescued because she hates herself for recognizing the possibility for a miracle. (if you remembered, if there's anything she hated herself for, it was contributing to the destruction of that possibility, by robbing Utena of her innocence namely). She wanted to commit suicide because she knows Utena has come the closest in achieving something wonderful, and now it's gonna be ruined because her brother wanted it to happen.

Rather, she is afraid of reaching out for that leap of faith on her own because she has seen the cruel side of reality. I actually think she's a victim of domestic abuse. She can't leave because she's afraid of the risk she's gonna take. The kind of things she'll leave behind. Her ties to Akio as a family might have done the trick. When Akio asked her, "Why do you hesitate? Because you betrayed your friend?" He showed her his tears, and then told her he loves her. This led Anthy to believe that in spite of all the shit he put her through, deep down, the love between them that gave her the determination to protect Dios at all costs is what's gonna be worth it in the end. So, family ties proved stronger than her friendship with Utena.

This is so far off tangent, but this is why I don't think Anthy is "childish", per se. She evaluates the situation laid out before her during the duels. Like in Episode 12 and 25. And I think she did see things for what they are for the most part. When Utena proved stronger than she believed, she didn't deny that Utena will win. She was distracted, robbing Touga of the Rose Bride's power in the process, and she also intervened to protect Utena from Saionji. She stabbed Utena in the end, though, because when it comes to her friend and her family, both of whom were dear to her, she chose the man who told her "I love you"

Of course, in the end, friendship won out because the one who showed up at Anthy's doorstep was Utena, not the brother who told her he loved her. Utena, who never uttered "love" to Anthy, proved stronger than Akio's "love". Anthy saw this plain in sight, and that probably gave her the resolution to leave it all behind. I think in this respect, she's a fairly objective judge of things.

Last edited by Hiraku (01-05-2011 01:47:55 PM)

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#7 | Back to Top01-05-2011 02:42:13 PM

monica
New Student
Registered: 12-22-2010
Posts: 9

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

I think that if Anthy is really so weary and jaded she doesn't delude hersel fanymore that her brother loves her, so I don't think she stays with him because of that.
I see it more like a mix between fear, habit and low self-esteem. But mostly fear.
So I still think that she is childish.

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#8 | Back to Top01-14-2011 03:15:07 PM

dlaire
A Whole Orange
From: Poland
Registered: 04-08-2007
Posts: 2322

Re: Anthy as Puella Aeterna

Anthy at some point gave up and stopped trying to rescue herself. Instead of this she wanted to be rescued by someone else. If something went wrong she could blame someone else instead of herself. She didn't loose control over her life, she gave it away. She was killing all her hopes simply to calm her anxiety and remain passive. Silence and passiveness are easy. Doing something is risky - we may fail.

She stays with Akio just because she has completely forgotten what she wants and who she is - she has gotten used to be a puppet and now she's frightened of decisions and freedom. She's a puppet master simply because Akio wants her to be one. I guess in the end of SKU she is still depending on each other's expectations. The only choice she has made is whose expectations she will fulfill.

Adults are responsible for themselves so yes, I find Anthy infantile.

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