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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 Top02-02-2007 06:32:46 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Like body language, symbolism is a very important aspect in SKU. There’s symbolism in every episode, and because of it, sometimes things can be very confusing. Personally, I’ve always felt that watching SKU without being aware the symbolism is like watching a movie without being able to see the screen.

I’m a symbolism-whore, so I love interpreting the symbolism in SKU. Hopefully some of you are interested in symbolism as well, which is why I made this thread so that I could ramble on about my views on some of the symbolism. I’ll be interpreting minor symbols, the Shadow Girl scenes, those wacky student council meetings, and even some of the duel songs. Keep in mind, however, that my interpretation might not always be accurate, and it’s usually very difficult for me to explain. Also, please feel free to add anything.


Let’s start with the items on the tables during the Black Rose Saga. They symbolize the reason why the duelist is fighting. (Keep in mind that this post isn’t as long as it first appears. It’s just because I added pictures.)

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/snaps152.jpg
The first duel is Kanae’s duel. Vases of lilies are on the tables during her duel. Lilies are a bit harder to place than any other, because we never see them during the episode. The first thing that you should notice is that they’re very similar to her hair color. They’re white flowers, the color of purity, yet they’re held inside of a black vase. In Christianity, lilies symbolize the resurrection of Christ, perhaps relating to how she is a pawn in the game to resurrect the Power of Dios. Generally, they symbolize purity, chastity, and innocence. Kanae is the daughter of the chairman, born into a wealthy family, and so she is expected to act in a certain manner. They’re flowers, and so they could also relate to the park in the picture of Akio, Anthy, and herself, which undoubtedly plays a big role in her motivation to fight.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/snaps161.jpg
Utena: “Kanae, what you said before, about swearing on the black rose to win the duel…”
Kanae: “To kill the Rose Bride!”
She shatters the vases of lilies, destroying her false self that she had been playing as all this time, or a gesture related to her battle to kill the Rose Bride.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-668898.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-672231.jpg
The milkshakes symbolize the childhood Kozue shared with Miki. Earlier in the episode, the two butterflies drinking milkshakes symbolize the two of them, and as we see in Kozue’s memories, the two butterflies eventually left the garden. The milkshakes also symbolize purity. During the present time, Miki offers Kozue a milkshake, but Kozue refuses, saying that she could never drink something that sweet.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-673721.jpg
Anthy drinks from Miki’s glass, because she is now the one who is together with Miki in that garden, rather than with Kozue. It also symbolizes Kozue’s fear that Anthy will rob Miki of his innocence.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/Tori.jpg
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1167719.jpg
(You’ll be hearing more about this from me later.)
The birds on the tables during Shiori’s duel symbolize her power over Juri. Early on in the episode, a bird flies over Juri as she stands outside the Student Council meeting room, with her hand on her locket. At that time, Shiori still has power over Juri. However, when Juri expresses indifference towards their past, a bird rams its head into a nearby window. Juri watches the dying bird as she explains to Shiori that she never had any feelings for that boy. Because Shiori has lost her power over Juri, the bird dies.

The bird also symbolizes Shiori. Notice that the bird is black and white, with an orange beak. In Juri’s memories, she recalls Shiori in black and white, and only the orange rose is colored. The birds on the table each face a different direction, each viewing the world in a different way.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-1175455.jpg
In this duel, Anthy symbolizes the part of Shiori that was living a miserable life in the shadow of Juri’s brilliance. Shiori is fighting to destroy that part of herself, but when she loses, the birds fly over her, casting the shadows over her that she had been trying to break free from.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-226869.jpg
The clay figures on the tables during Mitsuru’s duel symbolize adulthood, and the chocolate bars they hold symbolize his childhood. The first thing he does in this duel is swing his sword at Utena, hitting one of the clay statues instead. “Experience alone doesn’t make you an adult! With the experience, you defeat the adults and become one yourself!” By destroying the clay figure on the table, he also destroyed the adults that stood before him, as well as his childhood.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/vlcsnap-231080.jpg
“The Absolute Man: More than a sum of his parts.” His sword sliced the clay figure of an adult, reveling that inside, he is still just a child.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/PDVD_476.jpg
“You and that girl and the student council, too! You all look down on me! Without a care in the world, you use the special gifts you were born with, and without a second thought, trample the rest of us!”
The leaves on Wakaba’s table symbolize the student council, or rather, special people. Each of the leaves are the color of one of the student council member’s hair. While she was with Saionji, she was special too, and so she wore a brown leaf in a hair, which ended up being given to Anthy. Anthy is special, and so she stands in the way of a normal girl like her.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/PDVD_1121.jpg
For Keiko’s duel, I’m sorry, but I’m going to put more thought into her duel episode before I decide exactly what the umbrellas mean. I rewatched that episode today, and there’s a lot of symbolism that I haven’t interpreted yet. Her hair, for example, is very symbolic, but I don’t know what it symbolizes. All I can really say at the moment is that the umbrellas seem to symbolize her and her relationship with Touga, and that Anthy symbolizes Nanami.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/PDVD_846.jpg
The pictures of Tokiko and Mamiya on Mikage’s tables are rather self-explanatory. He stands her because of his illusion of Mamiya, and his desire to make his memories eternal.

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#2 | Back to Top02-02-2007 06:46:19 PM

Tamago
God of Comedy
From: Minami Goushuu
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 14280
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

You plan on creating another essay with this Razara?


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#3 | Back to Top02-02-2007 06:51:16 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Tamago wrote:

You plan on creating another essay with this Razara?

No, I don't plan on writing anymore essays. I just want to talk about symbolism in this thread.

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#4 | Back to Top02-02-2007 07:28:09 PM

Tamago
God of Comedy
From: Minami Goushuu
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 14280
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Razara wrote:

Tamago wrote:

You plan on creating another essay with this Razara?

No, I don't plan on writing anymore essays. I just want to talk about symbolism in this thread.

In that case, i will have to wait until I rewatch some of the episodes before I can contribute properly to this thread as my mind is a blank at this time.


http://i117.photobucket.com/albums/o50/spatulasama/DooDah.jpg

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#5 | Back to Top02-02-2007 07:50:25 PM

Alarm
Wakaba Wrangler
From: Atlanta
Registered: 10-29-2006
Posts: 12
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Yay!etc-love I like this kinda thread! I'm not that great at picking up the symbolism by myself... I was wondering if you could interpret these screencaps that I'm posting? I would like to hear other peoples' thoughts about them:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/shojomecha/RevelationCap0024.jpg
I believe this is when Utena is about to see the play~


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/shojomecha/Sequence057.jpg
I think everyone is familiar with this scene... when Utena is walking up to do a duel, and Anthy drops out of her clothes and grows back as bush! I've always just wondered what it meant....


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/shojomecha/TemptationCap0535.jpg




That's all for now~~ I will post more later! I hope to get responses on these!emot-biggrin


Fire * Soul * Love

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#6 | Back to Top02-02-2007 10:20:16 PM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I think it was in Dante's Inferno that they said if people who committed suicide ever came back, they'd be bushes with their corpses hanging off them, while everyone else could come back as people.

...I'm not sure if that was how it went or where it came from, but the dress on the branches always reminds me of that...


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a94/leeness/Ruka--Juri-banner-1.png

Only a lemming must be concerned with the ends of the world.

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#7 | Back to Top02-02-2007 10:25:28 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Alarm wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/ … ap0024.jpg
I believe this is when Utena is about to see the play~

Utena: “Uh, look. I don’t think this is such a good idea.”
A-Ko: “If you join us, I’m sure it’ll expand our drama club into a whole new realm!”
B-Ko: “Oh, it will! It will! More people will defiantly want to join just to be with you!”
Utena: “Um, but…”
A-Ko: “Don’t worry! We’re never wrong about these things!”
B-Ko: “Never! Never!”
Utena: “But I can’t act in a play! I have no acting ability at all!”
A-Ko: “Oh, that isn’t important! All you have to do is stand on the stage, and they’ll be throwing flowers at you!”
B-Ko: “They will! They will! A great star is born!”
A-Ko: “Anyway, come to see one of our plays tomorrow after school!”
B-Ko: “I guarantee it will be a story to bring tears to your eyes!”

The school’s Drama club refers to the duels going on at Ohtori Academy. Despite having never acted before, the Shadow Girls are certain that Utena will succeed, just as Akio is certain that she will win the duels. Like the duels, she is reluctant to join. “I guarantee it will be a story to bring tears to your eyes.” And it did, years ago, she cried when she saw that Anthy was suffering. The Tale of the Rose is what keeps her in these duels, and what will (metaphorically) make her join the Drama Club.

After the Shadow Girls leave, a boy walks by and says, “Hey Tenjou, we’ll be counting on you in the game next week.” Anthy is counting on her to save her. Also, Wakaba says that she didn’t know that their school had a Drama Club because the duels are kept secret from normal students like her.

Alarm wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/ … nce057.jpg
I think everyone is familiar with this scene... when Utena is walking up to do a duel, and Anthy drops out of her clothes and grows back as bush! I've always just wondered what it meant....

I’m not completely sure about this one, but here’s a guess.
The absolute destiny: Apocalypse
The absolute destiny: Apocalypse
Birth records, baptismal records, records of death

Once a person is born, no one can say for certain how that person will turn out. The only thing that is certain about their destiny is their death. A person who has been baptized will supposedly grow up to believe that the world will one day end by the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is the absolute destiny of this world.

The absolute destiny: Apocalypse
The absolute destiny: Apocalypse
My own birth, absolute birth
Apocalypse

We see Anthy standing inside of the elevator, but on the word, “Apocalypse,” she vanishes, leaving only her clothes behind. She exists, and her birth is absolute, but she vanishes because her death is absolute as well. Basically, this sequence symbolizes death. Notice how she vanishes in an instant. This is because our existence is only a fraction of an instant. The stairway and elevator lead to the dueling arena, but the dueling arena is symbolized as heaven, just as the Nemuro hall symbolizes hell.

Anthy appears again, first naked, as one would be during their birth. She is still the same person, but now she is wearing different clothes. This could refer to reincarnation. All the while, a sprout begins to grow from her remains. When something dies, it helps bring new life to the earth by returning nutrients to the soil. Without this process, plants would never be able to grow, and all life would eventually cease because of it.


I’ll work on a better interpretation later. I’m surprised that haven’t already.

How to explain this… Every time Utena thinks about Akio, she feels as though she is betraying Anthy and her prince, so the candle flickers. The first candle goes out when Akio offers to give Utena a ride to the hospital, just as she was going to say something important to Anthy. That candle goes out because she feels as though she has betrayed Anthy. As Akio is hitting on Utena in the car, the candles begin to flicker more strongly than before, just as her loyalty to her prince is wavering. At the beginning of the episode, she was thinking about how the kiss Dios gave her was her first kiss. The second candle goes out when Akio kisses her, because she has betrayed her prince.

Funeral bells sound, and we see that it is Anthy who was holding the candles…


My head hurts...

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#8 | Back to Top02-02-2007 11:46:01 PM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Are you sure you don't want to turn this into an essay, Razara? I think it would be an excellent addition to the analysis section, and all you would have to do is rewrod a bit so that it's an essay and not a forum post (take out things like 'you guys' or 'I have to think about this more').

I'd love to see it, you're great at the analysis.


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#9 | Back to Top02-03-2007 12:16:19 AM

Alithea
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From: Westminster, CO
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 1152
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

You know regarding the lillies in Kanae's duel...Lillies are often used in funerals going along with her father's ill health, but those particular lillies are Bella Donna Lillies. Bella Donna is a poison (althougb I do not beleive the Bella Donna lillies are poisonious) and so it could relate to the way Kanae feels about Anthy. That Anthy is poisoning her family, her father...after all everything started to go poorly for the old chairman once Anthy started hanging out. Or so Kanae mentions in her confession.


"The only reason to write is to write for love. Write for passion. If you have the privilege of being able to write, then don't do it for any other reason." - Stephen Sondheim

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#10 | Back to Top02-03-2007 01:21:17 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I love this thread *__*

Alarm wrote:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/shojomecha/RevelationCap0024.jpg

Ha, when I first saw this pic and the next one you posted, I thought of this:

(DEAD LINK)

Whether it has any connection or not, I don't know. But I'll think about it a bit.


Razara wrote:

This could refer to reincarnation. All the while, a sprout begins to grow from her remains. When something dies, it helps bring new life to the earth by returning nutrients to the soil. Without this process, plants would never be able to grow, and all life would eventually cease because of it.

Or, like Tokiko says in the end of episode 22: "Say, even you should know. To bear fruit, flowers have to cast off their petals."


Razara wrote:

How to explain this… Every time Utena thinks about Akio, she feels as though she is betraying Anthy and her prince, so the candle flickers. The first candle goes out when Akio offers to give Utena a ride to the hospital, just as she was going to say something important to Anthy. That candle goes out because she feels as though she has betrayed Anthy. As Akio is hitting on Utena in the car, the candles begin to flicker more strongly than before, just as her loyalty to her prince is wavering. At the beginning of the episode, she was thinking about how the kiss Dios gave her was her first kiss. The second candle goes out when Akio kisses her, because she has betrayed her prince.

Funeral bells sound, and we see that it is Anthy who was holding the candles…

I'll add a bit. emot-redface
The third candle goes out in the end of episode 33. This is where Utena gets completely side-tracked because of Akio. I think the candles also represent Utena herself and her aspiration to be a prince. Everytime the candles flicker she begins to doubt in herself and the way she's living her life. She begins to think that perhaps she cannot be a prince and that's why she feels she is betraying Anthy. Ironically, she doesn't even remember she's supposed to become Anthy's prince. The guilt comes from the fact that Akio is Anthy's brother and she doesn't even know if Akio was her prince or not. If Utena was to get close with Akio like that then she'd be betraying Anthy 'cause she can't have them both, as seen later on, she has to make a choice. Also, that choice wasn't only about Anthy or Akio, it was also about who she wanted to be as a person and how she would like to live her life.
So in short: the candles show how Utena is considering leaving her old self behind. The candles don't give any info about what would become of her, except the scene of candles going out feels very grim as it's connected to death (honestly, I don't know where I'm getting this from. I've just always thought like that about candles going out).



Also, here's my contribution. I've been thinking of posting this to the existentialism thread, but I guess it doesn't matter so much. And hey, there was no thread like this here yesterday!

Among other things, I'm going to discuss the most obvious and widely used symbol of the show....roses! A little warning though: this interpretation is based on existentialistic view-point and I'm going to bring in eternity again. school-devil


The way the roses are portrayed in the show made me think that there's definitely something special about it. Of course, the roses have other meanings, too, than the one I'm trying to bring out, but it's interesting to see how they are entwined in the story and visuals so often and they appear nearly everywhere.


Eternity is a very important theme in the show and the (DEAD LINK) are one of the ways to carry that motif. As known, eternity is everlasting, infinite -- that which never ends. One of the easiest ways to show something that is eternal is by making it repeat itself. Make it go in circles, endless cycles. 

Firstly, there's the duelling arena. Or more precicely, the stairway to the duelling arena. See how it's spiralled? Spirals are endless by their nature.

(DEAD LINK)

It's also important to note how Utena had to walk up those stairs many many times. What's more is that they actually show it to us over and over again every time she goes to duel. I think this greatly emphasizes that the path Utena walks can also be eternal as long as she's part of the duelling game. Note that when Utena goes to duel Touga for the second time they don't show us how she climbs those stairs like usual. I think the reason for this is the duel itself. This is the only time when Utena goes to the duelling arena for selfish reasons. The eternity in this scene is portrayed from Utena's point of view. If she was to fight for others then she'd end up doing that for a long time, hence the reason why they've made it look 'eternal' in most cases. And when she goes to fight for herself  then it's made to seem as if it's an alternate way of living, something that can be uneternal, or that which may end abrupty.
Why I said it was uneternal from Utena's point of view, is because acting on one's own behalf can also have an never-ending effect. Namely in Anthy's case.

Moving on, there's the gondola.

(DEAD LINK)

While the gondola itself isn't spiralling as the stairs are, the motif is still the same here. See how the edges of the staircase spiral on the walls of the gondola. This is because the gondola is spinning around (gah, don't they get dizzy? o_O) . And so is the rose symbol on the floor of the gondola (more about the roses below). The same story goes for this as for the stairs.

Next, the roses. Don't the spinning roses ever mess up your head? They do that to me whenever they appear in seemingly random places (excluding the rose framed scenes for now). The reason why I pointed out the spiralling staircase and the gondola above is because the spinning rose are just the same. I'm not going to get into the colour symbolism here, but here's what I think.
If the roses weren't spinning then they wouldn't have much to do with eternity here, but I thought that there must be a reason why the roses are spinning like that, especially in a way they're used in the show.

The single spinning roses that appear in certain scenes or on a certain moment are there to bring out the conflict between the reality and the illusions (and also dreams) that many characters are dealing with. Here's an example:

Episode 37 (the Cantarella scene)

Anthy:  What will you be doing in ten years?
Utena:  I dunno. But...
Anthy:  But?
Utena:  But I hope we can be together like this drinking tea then.
Anthy:  Yes. I hope so too.
Utena:  I'm sure that'll be great.
Utena:  Let's have tea and laugh together ten years from now, okay?
Utena:  Promise?
Anthy:  Yes. Definitely.


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-1250348.png
Here's where they are having a conversation about their future...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-1250232.png
...and here's where there's nobody having a conversation or drinking tea.

What does that mean? The way I interprete it is that the second shot is actually ten years later. This could either mean that
1) the promise they're making cannot be kept (Anthy's thoughts) or that
2) tens years later they are not there (Anthy's view point), but they might still be together drinking tea, just elsewhere (what Utena might think).

Most likely it's both. As for the eternity in this particular scene, it shows how Anthy is to remain what she is, that she cannot possibly keep that promise she's making. And this is all because Anthy believes that she should be like this, that she has no other option and that she deserves it. Her eternity is her mindset from which she is unable to break free herself. Utena on the other thinks anything's possible, that she can drink tea and laugh with Anthy in ten years. Ten years is a long time and many things can change, even the fact that you might not be friends with someone. She believes in her naivete that they can keep the promise. The biggest difference here is that she's ready to do anything to keep that promise. And by later attempting to do that she proves Anthy that Anthy doesn't have to be in her eternal and never-changing condition. The bottom line is that the spinning rose represents innerconflicts of certain characters, depending on the situation.

It's not just the roses, eternity is tied to so many things in SKU, the duel songs (just so I could mention "Spira Mirabilis" emot-biggrin), the memories that the characters have, etc. You know, I could go on about this for a long time but this post is already so long. I'll spare you. emot-redface

edit: gahhh, I suck at spelling. *shakes fist*

Last edited by Maarika (02-03-2007 01:58:37 AM)


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#11 | Back to Top02-03-2007 01:39:17 AM

ShatteredMirror
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From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 8858

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

This thread is nerdgasmic.


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#12 | Back to Top02-03-2007 01:42:27 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Don't spare us! Don't spare us, please!


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#13 | Back to Top02-03-2007 02:02:07 AM

MissMocha
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From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Oh god no, don't stop! I wish my dvds weren't on loan! I want to contribute so badly! emot-gonk


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#14 | Back to Top02-03-2007 02:15:29 AM

ShatteredMirror
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From: Sacramento, CA
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I know this is Razara's thing that she's grabbed, but if I may throw something out...

I think the umbrellas represent Keiko's ambition and desire. She desires more. She wants to be close to Touga, she wants to be out of Nanami's shadow, she wants to overachieve like a bandit. By offering to share her umbrella with Touga she's reaching for what she desires. Perhaps when I'm more awake I'll find some supporting evidence for this.


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#15 | Back to Top02-03-2007 02:18:45 AM

A Day Without Me
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From: in the tulip garden!
Registered: 11-17-2006
Posts: 1584

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I did not read most of the posts here, but the screencap with Utena having the Shadow Girls covering her mouth and ears makes me think of the whole 'Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil' deal. She's already seen evil, in a way, so why bother trying to shield her from it any more? But she shouldn't speak evil, as that would invalidate her as a prince, and she has yet to hear evil.

I'm probably just talking outta my ass, though.


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#16 | Back to Top02-03-2007 02:47:20 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
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Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

A Day Without Me wrote:

I did not read most of the posts here, but the screencap with Utena having the Shadow Girls covering her mouth and ears makes me think of the whole 'Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil' deal. She's already seen evil, in a way, so why bother trying to shield her from it any more? But she shouldn't speak evil, as that would invalidate her as a prince, and she has yet to hear evil.

I think she might have heard evil too, but the gesture suggest that she shouldn't listen to it. ;D Utena is indeed an unspoiled girl, so this whole scene could be interpreted as a warning. Utena is quite close to changing and when someone changes then there are usually different possible outcomes; in this case perhaps it's a warning that Utena shouldn't lose her purity.


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#17 | Back to Top02-03-2007 04:58:59 AM

iruka
Rose Smilee
Registered: 11-11-2006
Posts: 134

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I'm a retard when it comes to interpreting symbolism, so I LOVE reading other people's takes on it. etc-love May this thread live long and prosper. emot-biggrin

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#18 | Back to Top02-03-2007 05:44:41 AM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Anyway, I wanted to continue with the spinning roses thing and randomly picked episode 15 for that. There's also so much other stuff in it that I can't look past. Another long post... emot-gonk And eternity (sorry, I can't get over it!).

First off, this episode is about sibling relationships in general, and most of it is shown through Kozue. I hope I won't get side-tracked with all the stuff in it...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-668170.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-676104.jpg
Utena:  It's there, to be sure, and usually it's something useless and of little concern,
Utena:  but every now and then you look up to it and feel a certain degree of comfort, hmm?


I love the moon symbolism. etc-love You know you watch too much Utena when you can't look at the moon the same way again. emot-biggrin
Anyway, Utena was having a conversation with Akio earlier about sibling relationships and said she didn't understand it very well (I suppose it might be rather hard to understand if you don't have any siblings). Then Akio handed her a slide with a picture of the moon in it, and tells her the exact thing Utena quotes in the end of the episode while looking up to the moon. The moon is an allegory of a sibling. Even if we are not together with our brothers or sisters we know they're still out there and that they're our siblings no matter what. Does that sound eternal or what? You don't virtually lose your sibling in any way: not when you grow up, not when you get married, or when they do -- they'll always be the same for us.

Kozue's and Miki's relationship is a bit (haha) messed up. Both of them are stuck in the past they shared. When they were little, Kozue used to get all the attention from Miki that she wanted. As people grow older they start to notice others around them, Kozue didn't like that because Miki paid her less attention, her entire world revolved around her brother and the fact that she was starting to lose something that important caused her lots of distress.

Even though Miki and Kozue are twins, they are still two separate persons who walk their own path in life. Just like the wind - no one can tell where the wind will blow, it chooses its own path. Why should we expect our siblings to do as we please? They're not us nor do they belong to us, they're suppose to be free just like the wind. Kozue wished to be close to Miki and that's why she didn't want him to be with anyone else.

Gaah, before I get any more side-tracked, here's something about the wind symbolism:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-663006.jpg

Panned shot. Too awesome to post as an image

What did I say about the wind above? This is the scene where Miki goes to visit Himemiya to ask her to play the piano with him. They never showed us before that Utena and Anthy have a cool wind bell/chime (whatever it's called in English) on their dorm window. That's 'cause it's no regular wind bell, it's an allegorical/symbolic bell! What's symbolic about it are the moments you can hear it chime. When Miki finally asks Himemiya what he wanted, we hear a bell chime. The wind does blow where it wants, just like Miki wants to live his own life. Perhaps even include some other people in his life besides her sister.

Moving on! Ohh, this is interesting! Another one of those WTF moments during the Student Council meetings.
But I'm going to start from the beginning. As you know, Touga was in no condition to continue the Student Council (or any other) business so Nanami filled in for him.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667396.jpg

Nanami:  If the egg's shell does not break, the chick will die without being born.
Nanami:  The chamber of freedom and the cage of freedom...
Nanami:  ...without showing the vastness of the skies, they cherish the chick.
Nanami:  Break the world's cage!
Nanami&Jur:  For the sake of revolutionizing the world!


What's this? I don't remember this being in "Demian"! What's very cool about it, though, is that it fits perfectly with this episode. The point of it would be that people shouldn't cling to each other so obsessivly and selfishly. This means if we truly love others we should learn how to let them go. Everyone deserves their freedom, and without being free one cannot live their life as effectively as possible. This is about breaking useless chains and links we have on others. Also, what it tries to say is that by keeping someone away from the world and life, they might gain some security from it, but it definitely keeps them away from all the good and fun things too. In the end they'll remain the same and might not fit into the real world anymore. It goes well with the theme of the show too, I don't know how Nanami came up with this speech, but Kozue's definitely not the only one who should learn a few things from it.


So on to the point of the meeting:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667589.jpg
Nanami:  From now on, I will act as my brother's proxy.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667605.jpg
Nanami:  I do have the qualifications. Any complaints?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667626.jpg
Juri:  None here.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667640.jpg
Miki:  None here.

Juri:  Except...
Nanami:  Except...?


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-667709.jpg
Juri:  We don't seem to get letters from the Ends of the World lately.

Obviously, this has something to do with wind again. Compared to the previous example, it's not that simplified here.
So... Nanami decided to be Touga's substitute during his absence. She gets to be the Student Council president, and yet she never even was a member of the Student Council. One thing's certain though: she's the one who's running things around here now. Hence why she has the fan pointed at the direction where she's looking. Here I'd consider it a symbol of power, she's the one to decide what the others will be doing because she's the leader of the group. Notice how Juri and Miki have their backs turned to her when she talks to them. Is this how you treat the leader?

Could this mean that while they don't necessarily have anything against Nanami being superior to them, they also don't want to directly agree with her? That even though she is the President and everything, they can still do as they please. Or maybe this shows how people can ignore others even if the ones who are being ignored are someone important. This actually makes much more sense in this episode's context. After all, Miki had been ignoring Kozue several times because he had other people to deal with. Yay for allegory!

And then there's the last shot with Juri and the windmills (...are they called windmills? I'm not sure what they're called in English emot-gonk ). Windmills only work if there's some wind; in this case all the wind seems to be generated from Nanami's fan. In other words, you have to work really hard to get some result. See how this time Juri is paying some attention to Nanami while speaking to her. Even though she's facing her sideways shows that she isn't completely ignoring her, her pose makes it look that she's relaxed and probably really thinking about her own stuff. Is this a proper way to respond to your superiors? Now, in Miki's and Kozue's case this would be similiar: Kozue's trying hard to capture Miki's attention but Miki is so distracted by the world surrounding him that he doesn't want to give her it, or thinks it's not important.

More (yay, almost done with this...even though I skipped so many scenes):

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-670132-1.jpg

THIS is what I was planning to make my post about. All the other info above is very relevant though.
Anyway, this is the scene where Miki's about to walk in the piano class. Kozue had just previously visited the Nemuro Memorial Hall and was waiting for Miki in the piano room. She was playing "The Sunlit Garden" and as we know, that song is also symbolic.   When she's playing that song, the spinning rose appears. This song is what connects past and present and happiness for both Kozue and Miki. Miki's shining thing is almost the same in its nature as is Kozue's. We don't know what sort of eternity she's after, she never talks about it, but we do know that it's her brother's attention that means the most to her. For a brief time when she plays that song, both of them have their childhood happiness in their mind. Something that's been lost for them both in their present time...

Aaaaand before the last screenshot, here's some bonus stuff! Duel song analysis! (I won't get in too much detail though)

FPFE:  Time Machine
FPFE:  My childhood when I was so adorable.
FPFE:  Making a lotus carpet,
FPFE:  Playing with dolls,
FPFE:  A mysterious charm, Fi! Fi!
FPFE:  Candy
FPFE:  I wore a beautiful kimono
Utena:  Get a grip! You've lost yourself!

Yep, what it says. This is about Kozue's yearning for her past when everything was still nice and she was happy. Utena's line is very fitting in this context. Those who keep living in their past often lose themselves on the way; of course, that's not what Utena meant when she said it. I just happened to like this interpretation.... emot-keke;


FPFE:  Children's Festival
FPFE:  Oh, my dream machine...
Kozue:  I'm going to kill Anthy!
FPFE:  Flowerstorm
FPFE:  To the faraway ancient me,
FPFE:  Ten, two, one, zero... Take off!
Kozue:  Disappear, all of you!
Kozue:  Except for Miki and me, all other things are ugly.

Kozue (and all the other Black Rose duelists) thought she could make her memories eternal through the duels and by killing the Rose Bride. Here she openly confesses how she finds everything else meaningless but herself and Miki. And the only way to make everyone disappear is by going back in time. That's when Kozue was the only thing Miki had in mind, and she was happy like that.

FPFE:  Time Machine
Utena:  Her sword... what power.
FPFE:  To the past, to the future, whoosh, zip, zoom!
Kozue:  This is Miki's brilliance.
FPFE:  Time Machine
Kozue:  It ends now!
FPFE:  To the time of all my dreams and wishes

I suppose Kozue would love to have a timemachine. She'd take her childhood happiness and make it so that it would never end. It wouldn't just be the future that she'll shape according to her wishes. Given a chance, she'd make her happiness eternal. That's what she thought Mikage offered him, but as we know, they were both wrong about eternity.

[---]
FPFE:  Hair tied back,
FPFE:  toting a box lunch,
FPFE:  A mysterious charm, Fi! Fi!
FPFE:  Amusement parks
FPFE:  Surprise! Surprise!
FPFE:  These are all my soul
FPFE:  Oh, my dream machine...
FPFE:  Dreamstorm
FPFE:  To the faraway ancient me,
FPFE:  Ten, two, one, zero... Take off!

This is a relatively easy duel song (interpretation wise), I guess I've already brought out the main point. If you want to get all the details, feel free to watch the duel. Or better yet, do that and add it to this thread!



Finally, the last one. This is the scene from the end of the episode.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v212/maarika/vlcsnap-676035.jpg
Miki:  Take it easy and get some sleep.
Kozue:  Hey, would you make me a milkshake?
Miki:  Sure.


Miki giving Kozue a good-night kiss, how sweet! ^.^

While usually the spinning rose indicates someone's conflicts, in this case it's a bit different. I believe Kozue is quite happy that she has finally regained his brother's attention to some extention. The dialogue, however, gives us an impression that she's still yearning for her past (refer to Razara's post about milkshake). She doesn't even realise that she's still trapped in her memories, but at that moment it doesn't matter to her. What matters is that she is happy, even if it might not last forever.

In the end, I think it was Kozue herself who was restraining herself from evolving, from seeing the bigger picture. By clinging to Miki and her memory like that she wasn't only stopping him from doing what he wanted, but she was also keeping herself from seeing an alternative way of living. Those precious memories need to be let go.


You know, I can't really be a full-time analysis whore even if I wanted to. I don't usually have that much free time on my hands, but I love doing this every now and then. school-eng101

edit:  Oh yeah. I've been making good use of the BRS screens. Thanks so much for taking those, Gio!

Last edited by Maarika (02-03-2007 06:38:39 AM)


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#19 | Back to Top02-03-2007 09:56:09 AM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Yasha wrote:

Are you sure you don't want to turn this into an essay, Razara?

Sure. I might as well, once I go through the Black Rose Saga again.

Alithea wrote:

Lilies

That's good to know. The lilies always made me wonder...

ShatteredMirror wrote:

Umbrellas

The only problem is that it's a very complex symbol. The umbrella has a section of it that is a different color from the rest, and the direction that section of the umbrella points seems to be symbolic. When she pulls the sword out of Touga, the umbrella spins, changing the direction of that section. The umbrella spins again into its original place when she says that Nanami doesn't consider her to be human during her duel. Eventually, she slices one umbrella in half, sending the rest of them into the air, and Utena jumps as well, mimicing the movement of the umbrellas.

The question is, what does all of this mean?

Maarika wrote:

Symbolism

I love you. etc-love

To add something about the moon symbolism, I thought that it was interesting how the twins Apollo and Artemis in Greek mythology are related to the sun and the moon. Apollo is the sun (think of the Sunlit garden,) and Artemis is the moon. The connection between the sun and the moon always makes me think of how the moon cannot shine on it's own, and that it only reflects the sun's light, which was how things were when Miki and Kozue were growing up.


I'm going to add my thoughts about a few minor symbols.
http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/PDVD_141.jpg
Nanami: “That’s it! A party! Why didn’t I think of this sooner? We’ll have a grand party to cheer up my brother! Grander than any other! And I won’t leave out anyone! Everyone who’s anybody in school will be invited!”
Random boy: “Um… Kiryuu-san, it’s your turn to clean off the blackboards.”
Nanami: “I just know that doing this will make my brother feel better!”

Throughout the rest of this scene, the boy tries to get Nanami’s attention, but she ignores him and continues to talk about her party. This symbolizes that Nanami is ignoring all other duties to throw this party.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/snaps191.jpg
Anthy: “See you, Utena-sama… Utena-sama? I’m going out, so…”
Utena: “Oh, today’s when you visit your brother, huh?”
Anthy: “See you later.”
Utena: “Oh, uh, Himemiya? Is Kanae okay after what happened?”
Anthy: “Yes, she’s just fine now.”
Utena: “That’s a relief.” *Utena starts sorting vegetables into two piles* “But she still doesn’t remember anything about it?”
Anthy: “Right. Nothing that led up to the duel.”
Utena: “I see. So, I guess we can’t ask her the reason for it, huh?” *She stops sorting them* “Anyway, I’m really sorry for hurting someone who’s going to be your sister.

What Utena was doing while she was talking with Anthy symbolizes that she was trying to “sort out” what happened. I’m not surprised. Utena must be so confused throughout the entire Black Rose Saga.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/Temptation.jpg
Akio: “It looks like it baked fairly well.”
Utena: “Amazing! You can do anything, can’t you, Akio?”
Akio: “Shouldn’t the compliments wait until after you’ve tried it?”
Utena: “But it’s so rare to find a guy who can bake a cake!”

And then Wakaba comes along and does the same thing…

Wakaba: “Wow, Akio! You made this cake?!”
Akio: “Help yourself. I can’t guarantee it’s any good, though.”
Wakaba: “Amazing! You can do anything, can’t you, Akio?”
Utena: “I just said that.”
Akio: “Save your compliments until after you’ve tasted it.”
Wakaba: “But it’s so rare to find a guy who can bake a cake!”
Utena: “I just said that too.”

The cake symbolizes Akio. Notice how they assume that the cake is good by how it looks before they actually taste it, just as they’re going after Akio before they know what he’s really like.

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#20 | Back to Top02-03-2007 03:29:37 PM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2506
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

lovely lovely etc-love


...but why don't their show Akio and anthy licking the cake off the candles before they put them in the candelabra though emot-mad


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a94/leeness/Ruka--Juri-banner-1.png

Only a lemming must be concerned with the ends of the world.

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#21 | Back to Top02-04-2007 09:24:46 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/ … D_1121.jpg

I could be wrong but that may be the umbrella of Indian royalty. In any case it is no umbrella of a commoner.

***

http://www.ohtori.nu/gallery/akioarcseq … nce062.jpg

The Bible says Adam was made of earth. "Adam" means red clay. It looks as though Anthy is creating Utena. Perhaps the actresses are creating Utena also or least least shaping her. When Anthy vanishes from the gondola it seems analogous to her vanishing from Utena's grasp in episode 39. Perhaps Anthy vanishes because she is not really there in the first place. Notice that Anthy's last motion seems to gives life to Utena's sex organs and suddenly Utena's eyes flash. She looks like a bull about to give its first roar.  Suddenly rose buds appear. When Anthy first appears naked Utena seems to be almost leering at her.

When they appear at the top amidst whooshing rose petals the looks on their faces indicate that they are a team. They are not as much of a team as Utena imagines but one look into the faces of Utena and Anthy at that point must surely be enough to dishearten any opponent.

But there is so much of that gondola scene that is very puzzling yet.

Last edited by brian (02-04-2007 09:27:52 PM)

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#22 | Back to Top02-05-2007 12:15:00 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

Everytime Anthy disappears from her clothes, it's saying something important.  Anthy is not really there.  The walking, talking doll is not really Anthy.  It's an illusion.

So she disappears out of her clothes, which fall to the floor.  But there is a seed planted that could grow into a rose bush.  Which has both positive and negative connotations within the context of the series.

Everytime I see the bush begin to grow, I think of the tree of life.  It doesn't look like a bush at first (though God spoke to Moses through a burning bush).

Trees have huge symbolism.  There are the trees in the Garden of Eden, the world tree of Norse mythology, the Kabala tree.  Buddha sat under a tree when he achieved enlightenment.  It was fruit from the tree of knowledge that got mankind cast from the garden.  Many mythological systems have a world tree or tree of life that is the center, core, or actuality of the world.  There are the dryads of Greek myth, who were trees/lived in trees.  Trees bear fruit and flowers, spread into the air to reach for sunlight, burrow deep down into the darkness of the earth with their roots.  Trees know all the secrets of existance--the true nature of the world, ascension to heaven.  Understanding of the tree can grant immortality and apotheosis.


http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o165/absolethe/itrg_signature.jpg

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#23 | Back to Top02-05-2007 03:22:11 PM

tohubohu
Precious One
From: Boston metro area
Registered: 11-02-2006
Posts: 289
Website

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

I've seen a wall-of-pinwheels scene in two other anime: Oniisama E, which is where I assumed the reference had come, and, just a week or two ago, in Saiyuki

I'm wondering if this is a cultural reference that Japanese people would understand.  Or if it's just Utena referencing Oniisama E, and Saiyuki referencing Utena.

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#24 | Back to Top02-05-2007 05:11:05 PM

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

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

That Anthy-rose bush has puzzled me mightily. I think Rhyaniwyn's idea makes a lot of sense. I have been overly fixated on the more obvious sexual symbolism of that scene. Rose have thorns, Anthy is both sweet and dangerous, but she is also growing, perhaps unbeknownst to herself. It's interesting that they are pink roses though and not purple. Perhaps she is picking up some of Utena's personality or Utena is mistakingly projecting her rescue-fantasy ideals onto Anthy, not seeing Anthy's true colors. Or perhaps it supports the theory that they are the same person.
***
BTW notice the two white birds on the head boards of the beds of the Kaoru twins. Obviously they are the two young birds.

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#25 | Back to Top02-05-2007 06:27:16 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4692

Re: Interpreting Symbolism in SKU

brian wrote:

BTW notice the two white birds on the head boards of the beds of the Kaoru twins. Obviously they are the two young birds.

Of course. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love their room. The two birds on the headboards are flying towards the sun, which symbolizes that they both want to return to that Sunlit Garden, even though they can never truly reach it. (I wish that my room was symbolic...)



I think that Nanami would make a very cute cat-girl… Don’t you agree?

It’s amazing how out of all the sad things that happen in SKU, the episode, “Nanami’s Precious Thing,” always does the best job of making me feel as though I’m about to break down into tears at any moment. The first thing that I was told about Nanami was that she killed a kitten. I’ve heard countless stories of kittens being abused. People have let kittens starve to death simply due to neglect, and one man beat a kitten so badly that it had brain damage because of it. These people were adults. They knew what they were doing, and I find what they did to be unforgivable.

When I watched this episode, however, the situation was entirely different. Yes, she did kill a kitten, but it appears to have been an accident. Unlike those adults, she was only an eight-year-old girl, and she didn’t know any better. Rather than hating her for what she did, one of the things I admire about her most is that she actually feels bad about what she did, while most people would shrug it off. However, the meaning behind the kitten goes much deeper than that. The kitten symbolizes Nanami. It’s actually a very layered symbol, so please let me explain.

Let’s start off with the two most important scenes in this episode. The first being Touga’s birthday party.

The scene starts with a shot of Touga’s birthday cake. We see that the room is full of people that attending his birthday party, but all of them are adults. Judging by the way they address him, it seems as though they’re just servants. From this we can assume that perhaps Touga didn’t have many friends at that age, so Nanami was probably a very important part of his life at the time.

Nanami enters the scene, covered in dirt and with a box in her hand, to wish him a happy birthday. When the kitten comes into view, their mother comments on how filthy it is. The fact that they are both covered in dirt is one of the indications a relation between the two of them. Their parents try to take the kitten away from her, but Touga stops them. We see a single candle on the cake that has been blow out, indicating that perhaps Touga’s wish was for her to be there. Touga thanks her for the present and kisses her in the same manner that Dios had kissed Utena.

The second flashback beings with Nanami asking Touga to help her pick some apples from a tree. The apples are the only things in this scene that are colored, and they symbolize Touga. The concept of her being unable to reach the apples symbolizes the distance between her and her brother. Touga ignores her request because he is busy playing with the kitten, which is why Nanami feels that the kitten is the cause of the distance growing between them.

The kitten bites Touga playfully, and Nanami strikes the kitten because she thought that it was trying to hurt him. Touga yells at Nanami and tells her to go away. This makes Nanami feel as though Touga is choosing the kitten over her, even though it tried to hurt him.

“It was your fault… Because you came between Onii-sama and me… Big Brother is mine and mine alone!” The scene ends with the crow, which symbolizes death. Nanami frequently blames the kitten half-heartedly for its own death, but really, she’s blaming herself. So, how does all of this affect Nanami later on in life?

At the start of the episode, Nanami slaps Utena.
Nanami: “It’s your fault my brother got hurt! Your fault! Why don’t you say something?! Why did my brother have to get hurt on your account?!”
Utena: “I’m sorry. If I’d been more careful, none of this would have happened. I’m sorry.”
Nanami: “You’re not getting off that easy. Saying you’re sorry won’t heal my brother’s wounds!”
Nanami sees Utena as herself, and she is also symbolized as the kitten throughout the episode, just as Nanami is. The kitten died because of Nanami, even though it wasn’t really her fault, just as it wasn’t really Utena’s fault that Touga got hurt. She feels that Utena cannot be forgiven, just as she cannot forgive herself for what happened to the kitten. Because of Utena, someone precious to Nanami was hurt, and because of Nanami, something that she thought was precious to Touga was hurt. However, what she doesn’t realize is that the kitten was precious to him because she was the one who gave it to him.

The reason why Nanami always blames other people for how distantly her brother has been acting towards her is because she’s afraid that the reason why he’s acting that way is because there’s something wrong with herself, which is why she was so quick to assume that things would never be the same between them when she lost their only connection. Rather than tracing this line of though before then, she was quick to blame other people for this. In the episode, “Romance of the Dancing Girls,” what she had always feared finally came true. She found out that the reason why Touga was nice to her was only because he was told to do so.

Skipping ahead to Nanami’s duel, before long, Utena manages to defeat her. Despite having already lost, she continues to fight, until Touga puts an end to it. Nanami slices the wall, and the tip of the blade bounces off the wall, cutting off the braid in her hair. It’s then that we finally see Nanami push the box into the river. “It’s your fault. You came between Big Brother and me.” She finally notices the ominous crow that had been watching her as it flies away. When she turns around to look at the box, she gasps as it goes over the waterfall.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a133/RzMule/Nyanami.jpg
Back during the duel, Nanami’s hair is now worn down. Utena takes a step back from her in surprise, and looks down at her with a look of pity. It’s difficult to say what her hair symbolizes in this scene. Her hair is worn down like Utena’s, and in a wild and unconstrained style, like the kitten she had found. Whatever the change may be supposed to look like, it is related to when she realized that she had killed that kitten.


Unfortunately, I left a lot of stuff out of this analysis, but most of the symbolism gets pretty repetitive anyway. Even so, I just know that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and think, “How could I forget to mention that?!”

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