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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 Top11-26-2007 02:18:43 PM

Jellineck
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From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
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Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

That brings me to the definition of what a prince is. I think the basic word here is sacrifice. A prince is someone who can relieve the pain of another. Everybody interprets this vision differently, but this is its most essential premise. A source of comfort and relief from pain. In the world of Ohtori, this very basic concept is perverted. Instead of the prince bearing pain, the image of the prince is associated with benefiting from the sacrifice of another. Hence, the creation of the Rose Bride. The characters mature when they abandon the idea of a savior, and instead seek internal strength.

I maintain that there never was a prince. There was only an ideal. Clearly, Akio existed within Dios even before Anthy's influence. Something seldom comes from nothing. Even more than Utena, he represents the selfish glamour of the Prince as a title rather than reality. It is held by Akio's perspective that ideals and morality belong in the world of children. Those who strive for material gains, status, and power have matured. Additionally, he relies on being saved by Anthy. In many ways, Anthy is the prince in their relationship. Akio does little to nothing to support or protect Anthy, while Anthy willingly sacrifices all of her happiness to complete his. She protects him from the swords of hate and supplies him with all he needs to build a world of his desires. Anthy becomes the prince and the bearer of suffering, while her brother reaps the benefits. I think this dynamic, more than any other, reflects the unnatural perversity of Ohtori better than any other (their many sex scenes perhaps excluded).

The one who truly represents princely status is enslaved by her own sacrifice and reduced to mere chattel. The hollow superficial cut-out of the prince, the one who claims the title through illusion alone, receives all of the rewards. And in turn punishes Anthy for supposedly being the true subversion of his former self (whom, even to him, is only an ideal). It is only when the illusion of the prince is removed that this changes. Utena, in my mind, is not a prince. Rather than 'save' Anthy, she inspired Anthy to save herself. Anthy was the one who cast off the shackles of being a sacrifice and leaves. And rather than maturing like many of the other characters do, without his sacrifice, Akio has nothing to supprot his illusion and materialistic happiness on. In my opinion, Anthy was critical to his survival. Despite my little RP prompt, I believe he becomes obsolete.

Irony, irony, irony.


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#2 | Back to Top11-26-2007 03:59:42 PM

Jellineck
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

This comes down to the definition of a prince. The idealized prince is one of strength and nobility, internal power that is used to motivate others. But this prince does not exist in the series. The one that comes closest to it is Utena, who betters exemplifies these characteristics than the rest. But in the end she can only be princelike, not a prince. The idealized prince does not exist. And more importantly than strength, the prince represents the relief of pain for most of the cast. It is that last characteristic that Anthy's function fulfills.

I agree with you in part that the Rose Bride is a part of ceremony. But I also disagree with your view of Anthy. Anthy shows again and again that she is not a pawn and a puppet, but rather someone who dons that facade in order to establish control when a person least expects it. The chains that bind her is both her dulled acceptance of her role and her devotion to Akio. At the point of the series, I am willing to say that the relationship has lost most of its charm, and it's been degraded into a routine. Both recognize (to some extent) that they are mutually dependent and deeply resent the other. Yet they are unwilling to leave. Akio needs Anthy for his purpose based on ego and an empty mission to obtain what he lost, and Anthy needs him to create a purpose for her suffering.

Anthy was the only one who took it upon herself to save Dios when she thought he needed it. In other words, she played prince to the prince. Although not entirely dedicated, she took upon every sacrifice to sustain Akio's illusion. In the definition of the prince I gave, related to the negative context of the show, I found that Anthy actually best fits that role.

Just an interesting little contradiction to the common perception. Of course, this is a very difficult point to argue since it is mostly based upon a very specific and flexible definition.

Last edited by Jellineck (11-26-2007 04:10:22 PM)


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#3 | Back to Top11-26-2007 04:02:13 PM

BioKraze
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From: Yuma, Arizona (USA)
Registered: 11-26-2006
Posts: 8280

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

You have to remember that Anthy wasn't always without free will. She genuinely cared for Dios, more than the princesses of the world and the people Dios tried to save from misfortune. When she assumed the identity of the Rose Bride, she resigned herself to the fate of a seeming vacuous and impressionable mentality, all for the sake of assisting Akio in becoming a Prince again. Even by that token, she is more of a Prince than either Utena or Akio.

Those are my two cents, and you may feel free to disagree all you wish. We're not stating solid facts, we're analysing symbolism and expostulating theories. Opinions, my friend, just opinions... emot-keke


Roses have thorns to stop those who would dare deny their right to live.
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#4 | Back to Top11-26-2007 05:52:57 PM

Rae
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Registered: 01-10-2007
Posts: 390

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Well, it's no surprise that Anthy does indeed become a sort a prince at the ending; just not one of a sword or armor.

This thread does make one realize that out of all the other characters in the series, Anthy is the one that the people seek for salvation, need, and lust. Anthy herself might be the princess, but she gives the others that feeling, that glory of being prince-like. Utena rediscovered her nobility in Anthy; Touga and Akio found power in her; Miki found his "shining thing" in her, etc.

In the series's definition of prince, we do see that Anthy is deserving of the title. Because she does not seek it for herself (meaning the sense of selflessness), however, that's what doesn't make her a prince. She herself doesn't want to be a prince, rather, she's searching for the one that can become hers (for her own selfish reasons). Perhaps, maybe, Anthy is the only person that truly knows just what a prince is. The others, except Utena, could not succeed in understanding that role.

Last edited by Rae (11-26-2007 09:41:22 PM)

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#5 | Back to Top11-26-2007 06:39:58 PM

Adrasteia
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From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
Posts: 694
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

I was going to write a post completely agreeing with Jellineck's until I read what Dyepez wrote. I had forgotten that, no, Anthy isn't as much of a sympathetic character as we'd like to believe. Her initial actions with Dios were definitely sacrificial and prince-like, according to the series' image, but most of her actions from then on were anything but that. It seems like Anthy shone for a moment in that position, and was then pushed back into a submissive position of princess... or, perhaps, as the hordes initially labeled her, a 'witch'.

Anthy manipulates any and all around her, and displays an apparent loss of normal human emotion. It's as if she's allowed herself to assume the position delegated to her by the admirers of Dios; a witch-like, inhuman character. A prince never loses nobility; that is the one trait Dios claims Utena must retain to accomplish her dream. Anthy loses every ounce of her nobility - she gleamed of it when protecting Dios, and her actions at that time were truly regal and selfless. But throughout the series, she allows herself to be belittled and hurt by others, including her brother. Although they work together, he is clearly using his past image and her devotion to make her act in his little scheme. She cannot be a prince because she's lost the prime qualities a prince must have.

But, at the end of the series, I definitely think she regains that prince-like status. I wouldn't say, though, that she's more of a prince than Utena. Utena has her ups and downs, and her nobility definitely falters quite a few times. In the end, however, it's Utene who exhibits prince-like behavior before Anthy does. She sacrifices her love for Akio in fighting and, unlike Anthy who allowed herself to remain entrapped after sacrificing herself, doesn't lie down and stay put after being stabbed by the one she wishes to protect. Anthy let Akio destroy her, even if she did save him. Her prince-hood hit a peak, and then was lost. Yet, when Utena meets her peak when choosing the save the Rose Bride, she doesn't give in even after being betrayed by her object of affection like Anthy. She does what Anthy could not; protect an individual, and save them at the same time. Anthy couldn't save herself or Akio, but Utena keeps her own being in check and manages to save the Rose Bride as well.

Anthy does, though, finally attain that nobility at the very end. And, as the opening sequence initially leads us to believe(they're both in armor riding horses), she meets Utena on her prince level and continues to live her life as such.

Last edited by Adrasteia (11-26-2007 06:40:30 PM)

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#6 | Back to Top11-26-2007 07:00:48 PM

Jellineck
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
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Registered: 08-02-2007
Posts: 894

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Anthy manipulates any and all around her, and displays an apparent loss of normal human emotion. It's as if she's allowed herself to assume the position delegated to her by the admirers of Dios; a witch-like, inhuman character. A prince never loses nobility; that is the one trait Dios claims Utena must retain to accomplish her dream. Anthy loses every ounce of her nobility - she gleamed of it when protecting Dios, and her actions at that time were truly regal and selfless. But throughout the series, she allows herself to be belittled and hurt by others, including her brother. Although they work together, he is clearly using his past image and her devotion to make her act in his little scheme. She cannot be a prince because she's lost the prime qualities a prince must have.

Again, the definition you're giving is the idealized prince. The definition I set was very specific to the negative connotation of the series. But I think this brings me to another interesting point: how we all associate certain qualities with the very concept of a prince. You noted nobility, regality, and selflessness. I think these definitely apply, but the theme that I found to be most consistent with the series was sacrifice.

Dios sacrificed himself to save the princesses of the world, exerting all of his energy to save them. At that point Anthy upset the balance by saving him. In this way, she is actually taking a very positive step, as she forces the people of the world to mature to the point where they can defend for themselves. Her punishment is the ultimate irony on many levels: where she was the one taboo forbid to become a princess, she became locked into the mocking title of one forever. Where she was the catalyst of change before, so she must be only a preserver of an endless and hopeless cycle. Again, the theme is sacrifice. Ruka brings it up very pointedly in his conversations with Juri. One's happiness can only be built on the sacrifice of others. From this constant theme, I took what I believe to be the most essential characteristic of a prince.

Now, that brings me to the point that sacrifice is not a good thing. The prince, again, does not really exist. People can princelike, that is, they can possess the qualities most commonly associated wtith princes. But the prince is much like the concept of perfection. You can never obtain perfection, but you can come closer (depending on your own and societal standards). Although the prince in his many forms is idolized by the cast, he represents illusion. It is only in the end where Utena recognizes that she cannot save Anthy that she realizes this. The very best she can be is a friend who provides inspiration. Anthy has to take the step to save herself.

By the definition of sacrific and put in a negative context, Anthy fits the bill. Rae really brought this up well, I think.

This thread does make one realize that out of all the other characters in the series, Anthy is the one that the people seek for salvation, need, and lust. Anthy herself might be the princess, but she gives the others that feeling, that glory of being prince-like. Utena rediscovered her nobility in Anthy; Touga and Akio found power in her; Miki found his "shining thing" in her, etc.

Like the ideal of the prince, Anthy's "mystery" allows the characters to interpret her as what they want. Much like the prince reflects the desires of those who seek that ideal, so too does Anthy.


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#7 | Back to Top11-26-2007 07:25:10 PM

Adrasteia
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From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Hmm, yes I do see what you mean, and as you said, the series is very interpreted. However, if you are going to claim that Utena is not a prince, it is difficult to support that Anthy instead deserves that role.

Sacrifice is a possible trait for defining a prince, but you are saying that Utena's sacrifice was less prince-like than Anthy's, which doesn't seem fair. Even though Utena didn't liberate Anthy in the expected sense, nobody's actions before her's could relieve Anthy of her position. Utena's inspiration was in fact shown through her own sacrifice; she, like Anthy, took a sword for the one she loved, and moreso, by the one she loved. Utena may not have experienced the same trials as Anthy, nor the same level of suffering associated with her sacrifice. But she took one sword for trying to protect and save the rose bride and then, like Anthy, took many swords at the end. The only difference between the two characters in this respect is that one sacrificed herself and reaped nothing for it, only a deluded and cruel sibling, and the other sacrificed herself with successful results. Instead of being trapped in Ohtori, Utena was cast out of it - she lost her ideals, her hopes, and her few friends. That in itself is a massive sacrifice - Anthy did experience pain, and entrapment, but Utena had to sacrifice her whole identity of being a prince. I believe that actually made her a true prince in the end; through saving Anthy with inspiration and unhampered loyalty, she showed that instead of being princesses, all girls have the potential to be princes. That is why I believe they are both princes of equal caliber at the end. Utena gave a different kind of sacrifice, but it is cruel to rob this character of her final status. Although I don't necessarily think she became a prince according the the initial series definition, she did in her own right become one.

It is only in the end where Utena recognizes that she cannot save Anthy that she realizes this. The very best she can be is a friend who provides inspiration. Anthy has to take the step to save herself.

What you've said about Anthy is true - she saved herself after witnessing Utena's example. But Utena metaphorically sacrificed her own life to provide that inspiration. She took the thousand swords, previously Anthy's burden, so Anthy could finally be free to make her own decision and be free from her bondage. Utena took her place as the sacrifice, and would have chosen to become a sacrifice for Anthy as Anthy did for Dios. Again, the difference between these two characters is not that one made a sacrifice and the other didn't, but one's sacrifice amounted to something meaningful. Had Anthy not redeemed herself and reclaimed her individuality, I believe Utena would be trapped in the same position as the Rose Bride had been before.

[I don't mean to crusade over your thread - I love debating this and absolutely respect your opinions. emot-smile]

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#8 | Back to Top11-26-2007 09:20:46 PM

satyreyes
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From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

What a thought-provoking topic!  Jellineck, you've outdone yourself.  This series keeps surprising me, as do its fans.

I think the comparison of Anthy to Utena may be misplaced.  If we want to know whether Anthy is a Prince in the negative sense of the series, then we need to compare her to Dios -- the embodiment of this negative Prince -- not to Utena, who becomes a prince, if at all, only in a very different sense.

And there are at least two important ways that Anthy's sacrifices differ from Dios's.  First, Dios is defined by his exclusive altruism, his devotion to strangers and inattention to his own sister.  Anthy's big sacrifice is just the opposite.  In imprisoning Dios, she inconveniences hordes of angry strangers to protect the person she cares about.  This is closer to the spirit of the positive Prince of the Utena mold than to the negative, Dios-like Prince.  Similarly, even if you're right that Anthy's character is defined by sacrificing her happiness for Akio's, at least it's sacrifice for a brother and a lover, not for a stranger.

And yet I don't think Anthy's character is all about sacrifice, which brings me to the second difference between Anthy and Dios.  Dios gets nothing out of his sacrifices.  That's what gives him his fake nobility; he wouldn't be altruistic if he reaped any reward beyond the satisfaction of a job well done.  But all of Anthy's "sacrifices" are primarily designed to capture something for herself -- usually someone's attention, whether it's Dios's or Akio's or Saionji's or Utena's -- at the expense of the person she's supposedly sacrificing for.  I think it's this passive-aggressive, "selfish" sacrifice that earns her the title of Witch from the Shadow Girls.

As for Utena, she contrasts with both Dios and Anthy.  Unlike Dios, she sacrifices to help a friend; unlike Witch!Anthy, she's doing it primarily for her friend's sake and not her own -- "enlightened selfishness," as it were.  Does that make sense?

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#9 | Back to Top11-26-2007 10:09:46 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Sacrifice...it's something most of the characters in the show do in some way or another, though it's often quite twisted. Even Saionji sacrifices his relationship with Wakaba for his triumphant return to campus, though that one's a bit of a stretch. The closest any of the other characters come to the kind of selfless sacrifice that is so widely admired is probably Ruka, because he actually gives up one thing he desperately wants, Juri, for the sake of someone else, Juri. Here we also see how sacrifice can be pretty fucked up. Utena gives up her lust for Akio for the sake of her friendship with Anthy, Anthy gives up a life without a million swords piercing her for the sake of her brother, Dios gives up his family, and it might even be said his identity, for the sake of the women of the world. I'm not sure when I'll get near a point here.

If the prince is someone who puts the needs of others before their own, then it seems that Dios was indeed a prince. He's the ultimate expression of the faceless chameleon that kind of attitude requires. He expends every drop of his spirit, holding nothing back for himself (Nietzsche). Seen in this light, Anthy does indeed become a witch. Perhaps Dios was strong enough for his sacrifice on his own, but when Anthy tried to shoulder some of his burden, he lost his nerve? Perhaps even out of pity for her, his sister?

Of course, we don't see Dios at work much...although I think of Dios as merely a state of being that any character COULD achieve, by demonstrating nobility, but none of them do. During the actual show, Anthy is certainly the one carrying the load, Atlas-like. No, I'm not going to get objectivist here, I can't help it if it's a great image. The difference between her and Dios seems to be one of consciousness. Dios knows full well that he is the prince, and acts accordingly. Anthy makes her sacrifices out of a sense of obligation, expecting curses in return. Not exactly prince-like in my opinion, but it certainly has more pathos. To me, a prince is less inclined to make certain moral compromises than Anthy, which may be why she is more effective. Anthy also lacks the panache expected from a prince, but that's more of my personal opinion I suppose.


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#10 | Back to Top11-26-2007 10:15:39 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Stormcrow, you view Dios as a positive character and influence?  Interesting!  I'd be interested to hear what you think of this thread.  In a few words, the conclusion seemed to be that Dios is not in fact held up as a positive example, and that truly selfless sacrifice -- Atlas-like, accepting pain for the sake of people one doesn't even care about -- is, if not condemned, then at least looked upon with suspicion. 

On a side note, I certainly don't think Ruka makes a selfless sacrifice, for two reasons: it's not selfless, and it's not sacrifice.  He loves Juri, so her happiness is tied with his own, hence he's not being selfless; and he's not sacrificing anything, since he has no chance with her anyway (she's gay, and he's dying).

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#11 | Back to Top11-27-2007 12:11:38 AM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

I think Jellineck makes an interesting point, but I must respectfully disagree. For one thing, I view the concept of the prince in SKU as generally a good (albeit unrealistic and self-destructive) ideal.

Jellineck wrote:

In many ways, Anthy is the prince in their relationship. Akio does little to nothing to support or protect Anthy, while Anthy willingly sacrifices all of her happiness to complete his. She protects him from the swords of hate and supplies him with all he needs to build a world of his desires.

That doesn't strike me as saving someone, or even helping someone. By assisting Akio in this fashion, she is just an enabler. Even if you believe that she willfully makes sacrifices to allow her brother to continue with his derranged life, she doesn't do it because it's the right thing to do for him or anyone. That isn't princely, it's a textbook case of codependency.

Then again, if you view Dios as someone who lets humanity become weak and dependent from saving them from all their ills, I could see where you're coming from.

Utena, in my mind, is not a prince. Rather than 'save' Anthy, she inspired Anthy to save herself. Anthy was the one who cast off the shackles of being a sacrifice and leaves.

If not for Utena's genuine sacrifice, do you think Anthy would have ever broken out of that endless cycle of torment? Personally, I doubt it. Anthy is effectively just another victim in an abusive relationship, powerless to make the simple decision to get up and leave, and can only lash out at others in response to her own frustration. Utena saved her as surely as if she flew in on a jetpack and carried her away. (Except, even that wouldn't work.)

Anthy was the only one who took it upon herself to save Dios when she thought he needed it. In other words, she played prince to the prince. Although not entirely dedicated, she took upon every sacrifice to sustain Akio's illusion. In the definition of the prince I gave, related to the negative context of the show, I found that Anthy actually best fits that role.

Sure, Anthy only had the best of intentions when she saved Dios. Anyone can sympathize with that. But after all, the result was far worse than if the prince had simply died. (Who knows if that's even possible?)

That's my take on it, anyway.

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#12 | Back to Top11-27-2007 02:55:17 AM

Jellineck
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
Posts: 894

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Oh dear. How am I ever going to reply to all this? Argue with each other a little! Oh well. Here's my condensed version.

I think Jellineck makes an interesting point, but I must respectfully disagree. For one thing, I view the concept of the prince in SKU as generally a good (albeit unrealistic and self-destructive) ideal.

How can an unrealistic and self-destructive ideal be a good one? Oh, the prince is perceived as good. But more often than not the impact of that ideal is negative.

The only difference between the two characters in this respect is that one sacrificed herself and reaped nothing for it, only a deluded and cruel sibling, and the other sacrificed herself with successful results. Instead of being trapped in Ohtori, Utena was cast out of it - she lost her ideals, her hopes, and her few friends. That in itself is a massive sacrifice - Anthy did experience pain, and entrapment, but Utena had to sacrifice her whole identity of being a prince. I believe that actually made her a true prince in the end; through saving Anthy with inspiration and unhampered loyalty, she showed that instead of being princesses, all girls have the potential to be princes.

And here comes a dispute about one of the vital points of the series. Does the prince actually exist? I say no. The prince is only something people can dream of and try to obtain. I interpreted the ending sequence as that Utena realized that she could not be a prince because it did not exist. Instead, she chose to be the friend. As for fitting into my definition of the prince having a negative connotation, Anthy fits it better because she reaps negative results. Utena made the greatest sacrifice, yes, but she does not fulfill the series' negative portrayal of princes.

Sacrifice...it's something most of the characters in the show do in some way or another, though it's often quite twisted.

I'd say that most of the definitions in this show are very different from the vernacular conceptions, which is why I took care to establish mine. And yes. They are bloody twisted. But that's why we love it. emot-dance

Of course, we don't see Dios at work much...although I think of Dios as merely a state of being that any character COULD achieve, by demonstrating nobility, but none of them do. During the actual show, Anthy is certainly the one carrying the load, Atlas-like. No, I'm not going to get objectivist here, I can't help it if it's a great image. The difference between her and Dios seems to be one of consciousness. Dios knows full well that he is the prince, and acts accordingly. Anthy makes her sacrifices out of a sense of obligation, expecting curses in return. Not exactly prince-like in my opinion, but it certainly has more pathos. To me, a prince is less inclined to make certain moral compromises than Anthy, which may be why she is more effective. Anthy also lacks the panache expected from a prince, but that's more of my personal opinion I suppose.

Here I'll play devil's advocate and say that Anthy is morally superior in this respect because she makes the sacrifice despite the negative results. She continues to do so at the cost of her own suffering. Dios only fulfills a role - he cannot truly comprehend its meaning. I justify that by the example of Akio. Something seldom comes from nowhere, and I see Akio as his latent force. Anthy was the catalyst in bringing him forth, as she is for so many things. True, Dios suffered when he tried to push himself beyond his limits to continue being the prince. But his ghostly image in the end, ineffectual and powerless against Akio's power (or an illusion created by Akio) demonstrates his lack of depth. He is the ideal incarnate, fulfilling a role with as much empty resolve as Anthy does her position of the Rose Bride. satyreyes brought up the point that Anthy sacrificed despite the punishment quite well. Which brings me to another deduction of his...

And yet I don't think Anthy's character is all about sacrifice, which brings me to the second difference between Anthy and Dios.  Dios gets nothing out of his sacrifices.  That's what gives him his fake nobility; he wouldn't be altruistic if he reaped any reward beyond the satisfaction of a job well done.  But all of Anthy's "sacrifices" are primarily designed to capture something for herself -- usually someone's attention, whether it's Dios's or Akio's or Saionji's or Utena's -- at the expense of the person she's supposedly sacrificing for.  I think it's this passive-aggressive, "selfish" sacrifice that earns her the title of Witch from the Shadow Girls.

Now that brings up a question about something very essential about Anthy's character. Is Anthy, in fact, so masochistic to the point that the pain is a reward for her? There are elements of it in the series. For instance, she often provokes attacks against her. Out of enjoyment or the necessity of manipulation, it's hard to say. If I established that Anthy's sacrifice was due PURELY to masochistic selfishness, then my argument would be very different. But I would say she tries to enjoy the pain as a coping mechanism. She has a tremendous amount to deal with. It is the only way for her to survive. I'd say that she predominantly suffers, more to the extent than gaining pleasure from her position. While she might enjoy finally playing princess to her brother, she also recognizes her own imprisonment and pain. And in that is the pain inherent to true sacrifice.

I don't mean to crusade over your thread - I love debating this and absolutely respect your opinions

Don't worry about it emot-keke. I'm flattered you would put so much time into thinking about it. I love a good discussion/debate. Defending my own theories forces me to inspect them more closely and make corrections when I personally see them as necessary.

What a thought-provoking topic!  Jellineck, you've outdone yourself.  This series keeps surprising me, as do its fans.

Utena is a most surprising series, and the fandom reflects that trend. And thank you very much! Do I get poptarts?


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#13 | Back to Top11-27-2007 04:00:46 AM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Jellineck wrote:

How can an unrealistic and self-destructive ideal be a good one? Oh, the prince is perceived as good. But more often than not the impact of that ideal is negative.

Because that ideal is helping others. The only thing I see wrong with the prince archetype is that pure altruism cannot last. A hero who sacrifices everything for others will soon have nothing left to give. Everyone who benefits from such heroism will perceive it as good, though. If there is some other negative impact that you're talking about, I have no clue what it is. Can you give me an example?

Here I'll play devil's advocate and say that Anthy is morally superior in this respect because she makes the sacrifice despite the negative results.

I'm afraid I have to strongly disagree here. Sacrifice that yields negative results is at best pointless, at worst completely immoral. To use a real world parallel, say a woman's husband comes home drunk and beats the crap out of her daily. She refuses to do anything except cover for him. "Oh, I fell down the stairs. No, he really loves me; I'm just not good enough." She only perpetuates her own suffering, and she allows his evil to continue unabated. Anthy does exactly that. How is that moral?

Utena is a most surprising series, and the fandom reflects that trend. And thank you very much! Do I get poptarts?

This is indeed a fascinating topic. I'm not qualified to hand out poptarts (I had to dig deep in the threads to even get the running joke), but here's a school smiley, since you've provided different points of view to learn about. school-eng101

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#14 | Back to Top11-27-2007 04:58:58 AM

Alexandra
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

It's interesting to note with the fairy tale roles of Utena is that they are flexible enough to fit any character in conjuction with certain characteristics, as well as a definition which suits the situation (even though within the series itself these roles appear to be assigned).  The problem with defining Anthy, though, is that she is nearly impossible to define.  Her ambiguous nature works both for and against her, and she falls short of embodying any particular role because there will always be at least one instance where she contradicts it.  It makes sense, then, that she would choose to leave Ohtori not as a prince, a princess, or a witch, but as herself, because that is the only role that encompasses her entire persona.  A witch is continuously persecuted, a princess is helpless and relies on a prince to save her, and a prince can only do so much.  These are what brings so much pain into these roles, and Anthy has suffered from all of it.  That's why I believe she could learn quickly what it means to shed these fairy tale ideals: none of them ever work.  In my opinion?  Anthy came out better than a prince.  She came out as her own person.

Edit: Sorry if this sounds jumbled, I have thoughts but it's hard for me to explain sometimes, lol.

Last edited by Alexandra (11-27-2007 04:25:15 PM)

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#15 | Back to Top11-27-2007 07:56:13 AM

Stephanie
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Well, just a short babble.. After reading one of the first few post, I just really have to say I disagree of Anthy being prince.

Yes she did sacrifice her happiness, and everything else for the one she loves, namely her brother.. But I don't think that what defines a true prince.. In my opinion, she is the "Rose Bride" and really nothing else..

Like Japanese women, Anthy said she thinks that all girls in the end are "Rose Brides", following whoever they are engaged to, sacrificing everything they are.. And they become a lifeless doll.

News in Japan? I heard a news a boyfriend killed his girlfriend because he was jealous of her when she talks with other men.. And guess what? They let the guy go free.. emot-mad
THERE IS NO JUSTICE!! emot-gonk

So, she was acting as Akio's engaged wife.. Or for the matter also, every winner in the duelist's whims and desires..
They get to have Anthy the key to their illusionary dreams because she is like a lifeless doll, so they can play "dreamworld" with the doll..


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#16 | Back to Top11-27-2007 04:23:33 PM

rhyaniwyn
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From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Jellineck wrote:

- At that point Anthy upset the balance by saving him.
- where she was the one taboo forbid to become a princess, she became locked into the mocking title of one forever.
- Now, that brings me to the point that sacrifice is not a good thing.

You turn things on their head the moment you start to wonder if Anthy isn't the primary Prince of the series, but with some very very interesting results.

Imagine for a moment that Anthy does assume (or almost assumed) the mantle of a Prince the moment she tried to save Dios.  In trying to save him, she destroys him more thoroughly than death would have.  The series states MANY times that girls can't be Princes--I tended to hear this and simply take it as a message about gender equality (Like: Oh yeah, well, why NOT?). 

But look what happened when a girl who couldn't be a Princess tried to be noble and sacrifice herself for someone else!  Her sacrifice was in vain, mostly.  She caused only her own suffering and was labeled a Witch, not a Prince.

That's a new way for me to look at that story and it answers a question I've long had--what would the sibling of the Prince, essentially the incarnate God of the world, be?  Well, really, that person ought to be a deity too.

Sacrifice is a good thing, martyrdom is not.  Dios sacrifices until he is at the point of death, which was not fair at all to his sister.  Anthy sacrifices and becomes like Prometheus, suffering eternal pain and degredation.... Anthy is the ultimate martyr in her role as the Witch and Rose Bride.  Martyr and scapegoat--like Christ, she takes all sins onto herself--but unlike Christ she isn't viewed as clean of sin, she becomes a target that personifies and adopts all sins.

So Anthy is, in a lot of ways, the most unhealthy incarnation of the Prince.  Perhaps because she is a girl (considering the inflexible way the series presents the Prince archetype) Anthy becomes a twisted Prince when she attempts to step out of her boundaries.

Since I feel the series rejects the Prince archetype and that Utena doesn't become one, this is a hugely interesting angle that doesn't conflict with anything for me. ;-)

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (11-27-2007 04:25:15 PM)


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#17 | Back to Top11-27-2007 04:36:07 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

satyreyes wrote:

On a side note, I certainly don't think Ruka makes a selfless sacrifice, for two reasons: it's not selfless, and it's not sacrifice.  He loves Juri, so her happiness is tied with his own, hence he's not being selfless; and he's not sacrificing anything, since he has no chance with her anyway (she's gay, and he's dying).

This makes me note a difference between the sacrifices, princely or not, that Anthy, Utena, and Ruka make. Only Ruka knows what the consequences of his actions are, he knows what he's doing will work, at the cost of any care Juri may have ever had for him, and probably his own already failing health. Anthy is slightly closer to this, I think she must have understood on some level there would be consequences, because she makes no effort at all to lessen the blow she's dealing to those that would seek to punish her for it. No doubt this is fueled by spite and hatred, but I don't think it can be easily argued that Anthy realized what was coming. Probably suspected it wouldn't be pleasant, but no more than that. (After all if all these assholes have swords why don't they kill the fucking dragon?) Utena acts from a state of almost complete ignorance. She hasn't a clue in hell what her actions are leading up to, and she doesn't understand a sacrifice must be made here, or that it'll be her. (I don't think Akio realized that either, I always got the impression his fear in the last moments was that the swords would come after him.)

That said, Utena's actions are clearly princelike, by the most standard definition. She's suffering for the one she cares about, but she isn't approaching it as a sacrifice to make, but a battle to fight. Anthy's 'sacrifice' was really more of an enraged open rebellion and kidnapping that resulted in a lot of punishment. (If you don't entirely go with the SPG version, at least in both versions we get Dios consistently resists Anthy's holding him back.) I've never looked at her actions in the flashback as noble or sacrificing. However, the rest of her life considered, I really love what Jellineck's suggesting here. emot-biggrin

If the purpose of this whole thing is to suffer on behalf of another, Anthy gets eight Oscars and ten Emmys. Question, as you should, the wisdom of laying so great a sacrifice on an altar like Akio's, but if sacrifice makes for a prince, Anthy is most certainly one. Utena didn't know she was about to sacrifice anything but the pain and danger involved in a fight. (The threat of death is there, but since she assumes hope of winning, she's not really sacrificing so much as taking a risk.) Ruka is making a sacrifice somewhat cheapened by that it will not change his very, very immediate fate much anyway. Anthy wakes up day after day, knowing full what what she sacrifices, how, and for what and yet continues to do it.

Jellineck wrote:

Now that brings up a question about something very essential about Anthy's character. Is Anthy, in fact, so masochistic to the point that the pain is a reward for her? There are elements of it in the series. For instance, she often provokes attacks against her. Out of enjoyment or the necessity of manipulation, it's hard to say. If I established that Anthy's sacrifice was due PURELY to masochistic selfishness, then my argument would be very different. But I would say she tries to enjoy the pain as a coping mechanism. She has a tremendous amount to deal with. It is the only way for her to survive. I'd say that she predominantly suffers, more to the extent than gaining pleasure from her position. While she might enjoy finally playing princess to her brother, she also recognizes her own imprisonment and pain. And in that is the pain inherent to true sacrifice.

Well, I don't know if I buy this, but here's an offering: Anthy sacrifices herself to sustain Akio's existence, which he in exchange pretends is devoted somehow to attempting to alleviate this weight she must carry. So in theory, and potentially in her mental operations, Anthy associates sacrifice with the promise of reward, so that the sacrifice she makes, which is very much a punishment inflicted on her, carries with it the potential of peace. Sacrifice leading to reward, punishment leading to peace. In her mind then would be the idea that she must continue to suffer if she has not earned her freedom yet. Spill that over into her life beyond the swords and you could easily have someone who doesn't enjoy pain, isn't truly masochistic, but seeks out pain, seeks out punishment and suffering. Maybe as nothing more than trained habit, maybe in the hopes that adding to the immediately suffering will shorten the length of her imprisonment. That's a small but distinct difference from her using pain as a coping mechanism.

On the flipside, with a case like Saionji or Nanami, it's so very easy to relate her behavior not to an interest in the pain it leads to, but rather a sadistic glee in irritating and bringing out the worst in people she hates, that remind her of those that cast the swords on her. Perhaps that is her function as the 'witch', and was all along. Saving Dios made the world focus all its hatred on her, it brought out the worst in one million people, that would sooner stab a child over and over for all eternity than take on responsibility for themselves. Saionji and Nanami are certainly at their worst as people when dealing with Anthy, and this is even the case for Miki, if you lower the standards to account for his relative innocence. Juri, who almost always prefers to brood, lashes out at her. And if you really wanna play with it, look at the influence she's had on her brother. emot-wink

OnionPrince wrote:

Because that ideal is helping others. The only thing I see wrong with the prince archetype is that pure altruism cannot last. A hero who sacrifices everything for others will soon have nothing left to give. Everyone who benefits from such heroism will perceive it as good, though. If there is some other negative impact that you're talking about, I have no clue what it is. Can you give me an example?

This made me think of the old 'Give a man a fish and he'll be fed for a day, teach him to fish and he'll be fed for the rest of his life.' The danger in a prince, as an archetype, as someone that sacrifices everything, is also that it protects people too much. Under the care of a prince like Dios, people never learn to fight their own battles or sort out their own priorities. I think this is illustrated very well by the French restaurant bit. This girl is lonely, but rather than letting that lead to self-exploration or an honest attempt to find a partner, Dios jumps in with the temporary fix, though ultimately it won't alleviate her loneliness because he has other things to do that focus all attention on her. It's the difference between constantly depending on an outside source to save your ass over and over, and what Utena does in using the prince as her ideal, as a source of inner strength. She chose to emulate the prince, what was admirable about him, rather than be a princess waiting for him to save her again. What it really such a good idea? Maybe, maybe not, but it was a much better application of free will.

Anyway I should probably shut up. I'm out of practice at the analysis. emot-frown BTW, Jellineck, you most certainly get poptart. Many. poptart poptart poptart I'm really glad to see analysis kicking around on here. emot-smile


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#18 | Back to Top11-27-2007 06:28:44 PM

satyreyes
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From: New Orleans, Louisiana
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Don't forget the other reason that altruism can be bad: as Anthy was made so painfully aware, the more time you spend helping strangers, the less time you spend with the people you love.  I harp on this theme in more detail in the "Did Utena become a prince?" thread; to me, it's central to that question, and peripheral but relevant to the current one.

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#19 | Back to Top11-28-2007 07:15:20 PM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Giovanna wrote:

(After all if all these assholes have swords why don't they kill the fucking dragon?)

...Yeah! I never thought of that! What the hell?
Knowing humans, though, they were probably using those swords on each other most of the time. emot-mad

This made me think of the old 'Give a man a fish and he'll be fed for a day, teach him to fish and he'll be fed for the rest of his life.' The danger in a prince, as an archetype, as someone that sacrifices everything, is also that it protects people too much. Under the care of a prince like Dios, people never learn to fight their own battles or sort out their own priorities. I think this is illustrated very well by the French restaurant bit. This girl is lonely, but rather than letting that lead to self-exploration or an honest attempt to find a partner, Dios jumps in with the temporary fix, though ultimately it won't alleviate her loneliness because he has other things to do that focus all attention on her. It's the difference between constantly depending on an outside source to save your ass over and over, and what Utena does in using the prince as her ideal, as a source of inner strength. She chose to emulate the prince, what was admirable about him, rather than be a princess waiting for him to save her again. What it really such a good idea? Maybe, maybe not, but it was a much better application of free will.

Thanks, that makes a lot more sense now. I had almost forgotten about the message behind that scene. The Prince is a simple ideal from simpler times. Hmm, now I'm starting to wonder if Dios intervening in Utena's duels was the same sort of help-- a temporary fix without consideration of the long term consequences...? school-sherlock

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#20 | Back to Top11-28-2007 09:52:30 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

satyreyes wrote:

Don't forget the other reason that altruism can be bad: as Anthy was made so painfully aware, the more time you spend helping strangers, the less time you spend with the people you love.  I harp on this theme in more detail in the "Did Utena become a prince?" thread; to me, it's central to that question, and peripheral but relevant to the current one.

Amusing story: After hurricane Andrew, I wanted to be a good girl scout and so I helped my neighbor move rubble and clear spaces and such. Later on I told mom how I was such a good girl scout and she was like '...why didn't you help pick up our rubble then?'

emot-keke

Anyway that made me think, Jellineck, does the element of selfishness at all factor into the prince as a creature of suffering?


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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#21 | Back to Top11-28-2007 11:06:12 PM

Jellineck
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
Posts: 894

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

I've never looked at her actions in the flashback as noble or sacrificing.

The problem with arguing Anthy traces back to this - http://www.ohtori.nu/analysis/07_azusa_anthy_mirror.htm.

Even in terms of symbolism, which are often fairly consistent in this show (Akio's car, Juri's locket, etc.), Anthy is a myriad of various interpretations. Her glasses occasionally represent an innocent schoolgirl entrapped within her confines, at other times a faintly glowing and ominous symbol of malicious intentions. Even her body proportions change drastically based on what role she fulfills.

My point is that it is immensely hard to establish any sort of interpretation of her that has enough support. I would say that she could potentially be acting from the selfish desire to possess her brother as prince and thus turn herself into a princess. But I don't agree that she wasn't aware of the consequences. After all, this was an enormous mob practically clamoring for blood. They had pitchforks, torches, and were in a state of rage and panic. I don't think that by declaring herself to be the one who took their beloved prince away, standing before them with absolutely no protection, that she was believing she would escape punishment.

The series Anthy feels the need to be punished because it is all she knows, though I'd say it is still mixed with some devotion to her brother that slowly degenerates with Utena's influence. I do, however, believe that Anthy's sacrifice was genuine. Not that Akio states that it might be true, though there is doubt. Pain changes a person. It could be that she started out an innocent, filled with the fiery dedication that we see later in Utena. But later she understandably develops into someone who must be selfish in her way to survive.

Anyway that made me think, Jellineck, does the element of selfishness at all factor into the prince as a creature of suffering?

Let me make sure I understand that. Are you asking if the trait of selfishness would detract from someone being a prince?

So Anthy is, in a lot of ways, the most unhealthy incarnation of the Prince.  Perhaps because she is a girl (considering the inflexible way the series presents the Prince archetype) Anthy becomes a twisted Prince when she attempts to step out of her boundaries.

I really like what you brought up, and I agree. By calling Anthy a prince, I am not putting her in a more positive light. She represents the consequences of a sacrifice, the eternal enduring of her own pain, the repetitive surface to others, and the fulfillment of a meaningless role. Her outfit itself is a feminine mockery of the prince uniform. But despite her actions, she could never considered the prince in the series. Because she's a girl.

And thanks for the poptarts, Gio!


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#22 | Back to Top11-30-2007 01:08:58 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Jellineck wrote:

Anyway that made me think, Jellineck, does the element of selfishness at all factor into the prince as a creature of suffering?

Let me make sure I understand that. Are you asking if the trait of selfishness would detract from someone being a prince?

Yep! Anthy, Utena, and Ruka all suffer, but the degrees of selfishness there differ. (As do the degrees of suffering, I suppose.) Was just wondering what your take on that is. emot-keke


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#23 | Back to Top12-02-2007 10:54:21 PM

Jellineck
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
Posts: 894

Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Ack! A posting here! emot-keke'

I think that the nature of sacrifice is deeply dependent upon the degree to which one suffers. Whether they have willingly accepted that suffering is also critical. Clearly, it is Anthy who suffers the most out of the three. True, Ruka apparently dies, but I've always taken that to refer to the graduation that Akio mentions in Mikage's case. Once someone serves their purpose and has no reason to remain at the school, there is some method by which they leave. After all, Ruka had already left once. He openly doubted his ability to defeat Utena - the only person to realize the blatant fact that the odds were stacked very heavily in her favor and defeating her was damn near impossible. And he seems to have a passing familiarity with Akio, but the man doesn't to faze him much. And finally, he duels perfectly several times with no sign of illness.

Utena takes the swords at the very end as well, but she does not become the new Rose Bride. Once she has freed herself of her illusion of the prince and rescued Anthy from her coffin, there is no reason to stay at Ohtori. She may have died within the world of Ohtori, as Ruka did, but the seemingly omniscient Anthy states that she is somewhere outside. Therefore, she did suffer, but her suffering was not equivalent to that of Anthy's.

Anthy was held both by her sacrifice and her willingness to bear the pain. After all, she could have just done as Utena eventually did and leave Ohtori. We see at the end there is nothing stopping her. But she makes the decision to remain, to suffer. She is not entirely happy with it, as it is pointed out, and it becomes a routine after a while. However, it is still a sacrifice. Since suffering characterizes sacrifice, and sacrifice characterizes the prince, and Anthy suffers and thus sacrifices the most...I think it goes further to support my argument.


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

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#24 | Back to Top12-07-2007 05:13:51 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Anthy: The True Prince of Ohtori?

Oh, I'm not sure if I expressed myself as well as I could have.  I just had a thought that I think says it a bit better.  :-)  When Anthy is called a Witch, isn't what she becomes very much a negative Prince?  The Prince, everyone loves, idolizes, and depends on.  The Witch, everyone despises and makes into a scapegoat.  (And, either way, they are pushing all responsibility onto someone else.)


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