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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 Top12-07-2007 09:52:35 PM

Emiemipoemi
Troublesome Insect
Registered: 12-10-2006
Posts: 649

Utena and Akio

I apologize if this has already been discussed.

I've been rewatching the series and I just got to episode 36. I am AMAZINGLY disturbed by Utena's behavior about Akio. I have a few questions about it.

1) Is she like, not bothered by the fact that she's 14 and he's like five million? Like, at all? I would imagine if I was 14 and some guy started hitting on me, regardless of if I liked him or not, I would feel uncomfortable by that kind of age gap.

2) WTF, Utena? People are asking her all the time, "Are you in love with the Chairman?" and she's always like "CAN IT BE?" Now, okay, the first couple of times, before she got FUCKED BY HIM, I can understand. But in episode 36, Touga asks her in the the dueling arena and once again she's like. "What? But he's engaged!" HONEY, YOU FUCKED HIM. I DON'T THINK ENGAGED HAS A SAY ANYMORE. I could understand if she answered "I dunno" or something. But bringing up that flimsy "he's engaged" argument has nothing to do with anything.

Is it part of her "cruelly innocent" thing? Is she in denial? Is she just being dense again? I'm really not sure. I just know that as the series goes on, I am more and more uncomfortable with the way she handles the whole Akio situation.

Again, I apologize if I come off as a little blunt, I'm just extremely perplexed by her right now. emot-confused

[EDIT] Lol I also just realized this is the episode where Touga looks like an alien. I'm rolling on the floor because of the poor intern that got stuck drawing Touga.

YOU CAN DO IT. DRAW HIM.
But I don't know what he looks like!
HE HAS RED HAIR. DRAW! *whip*
DDDDD: *draws*

Last edited by Emiemipoemi (12-07-2007 09:54:29 PM)

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#2 | Back to Top12-07-2007 10:35:12 PM

Adrasteia
Memorial Hollerer
From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
Posts: 694
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Re: Utena and Akio

Oh man, do I ever want to jump into this topic... I wish it wasn't so late. emot-frown

The utena/akio thing was intensely disturbing to watch, and in that respect incredibly well done. I think there's an entirely different side of utena which is weakened by him, a part of her which, perhaps, remained as a child in her coffin unable to wake. Akio preys on those insecurities... I know this sounds vague, I'm so tired, but this is a great topic for discussion and I'm going to pounce on it tomorrow for sure. emot-smile

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#3 | Back to Top12-07-2007 10:58:17 PM

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

Re: Utena and Akio

Is she like, not bothered by the fact that she's 14 and he's like five million? Like, at all? I would imagine if I was 14 and some guy started hitting on me, regardless of if I liked him or not, I would feel uncomfortable by that kind of age gap.

Age plays a very strange role in the series. For example, some characters that are very young act in expressively mature manners. For example, Tsuwabuki is particularly crafty and philosophical despite his youth. Adulthood is essentially synonymous with power rather wisdom and responsibility, which I think was intentional. But notice how there is a distinct lack of positive adults in the series. In fact, I don't think I can name a single one. What separates adults from children in Ohtori is more a mindset than it is a matter of pure age. The jaded materialists who seek out only their own gain are seen as far more mature than their idealistic peers. This could either be a reflection of Japanese society or Akio's will (or most likely a combo of both).

Utena pissed me off in this arch. I really feel they sort of re-wrote the characters towards the end to suit their glorification of the new ones. Shiori went from dark yet interesting girl to a vapid horny idiot whose only purpose was to compliment Ruka. Am I the only one who saw a complete lack of consistency? She went from being bitter and secretive to completely transparent. To the point, I think that applied to Utena. She went from strong and a bit naive to a complete oblivious dumbass. Why would she not be able to see through Akio? Hell, I'm pretty clueless, but even I could pick up on that. It feels like elements of her character were rewritten for the sake of drama.


"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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#4 | Back to Top12-08-2007 03:23:11 PM

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

Re: Utena and Akio

Blink wrote:

When you think about it, love is actually a form of mental retardation.

The "but he's engaged" excuse kind of makes me wonder what would happen if Kanae hadn't showed up at the worst possible time and Utena never found out that he was engaged. Would she not even bother to use his age or the fact that he's much older than her and her best friend's sister?

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#5 | Back to Top12-08-2007 05:47:42 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Utena and Akio

Jellineck wrote:

Utena pissed me off in this arch. I really feel they sort of re-wrote the characters towards the end to suit their glorification of the new ones. Shiori went from dark yet interesting girl to a vapid horny idiot whose only purpose was to compliment Ruka. Am I the only one who saw a complete lack of consistency? She went from being bitter and secretive to completely transparent. To the point, I think that applied to Utena. She went from strong and a bit naive to a complete oblivious dumbass. Why would she not be able to see through Akio? Hell, I'm pretty clueless, but even I could pick up on that. It feels like elements of her character were rewritten for the sake of drama.

Well I would point out in this situation, Shiori and Utena have something in common: the presence of a male love interest. Especially one that has something less than their best interests at heart. In Shori's case, it seemed to me that part of her character was how lonely she was and desperate she was to find value in herself. Prior to Ruka she had no way to do so; he appears and she jumps the opportunity. Utena met Akio right after Touga jaded the fuck out of her. You'd think this would help matters here, but it distracted her. All her suspicions and wariness center on the dueling game and people like him circulating around it. Akio, a school admin with apparently no idea about the big fucking arena in the back, must have seemed fairly innocuous. And by the time he wasn't, she wanted him too much to let it stop her.

edit: FUCK. I dicked up and exed out my other window with the rest of this post. emot-frown Emi, the short summary is thus: 'He's too old for me' can be negotiated down, you can make excuses until it seems alright. 'He's engaged' is harder to turn your back on. No matter the excuse you make, at the end of the day he is still engaged and it is still wrong.

Last edited by Giovanna (12-08-2007 05:49:28 PM)


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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#6 | Back to Top12-08-2007 06:13:30 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Utena and Akio

Utena's ideals and morals are becoming seriously undermined and she does not even know it. The way she's treating Anthy towards the end is getting seriously worse but she is too distracted by everyone else's sins and hangups and game playing to notice how she is changing. Instead of being Anthy's liberator she is becoming her prison-keeper and does not fully realize it until the very end of episode 38, or really the start of the last episode when Anthy explains a few things to her.

Last edited by brian (12-08-2007 06:17:31 PM)

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#7 | Back to Top12-08-2007 07:00:24 PM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
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Re: Utena and Akio

Emiemipoemi wrote:

2) WTF, Utena? People are asking her all the time, "Are you in love with the Chairman?" and she's always like "CAN IT BE?" Now, okay, the first couple of times, before she got FUCKED BY HIM, I can understand. But in episode 36, Touga asks her in the the dueling arena and once again she's like. "What? But he's engaged!" HONEY, YOU FUCKED HIM. I DON'T THINK ENGAGED HAS A SAY ANYMORE. I could understand if she answered "I dunno" or something. But bringing up that flimsy "he's engaged" argument has nothing to do with anything.

I wonder if perhaps it is something to do with the fact that Utena has cottoned on to the fact that she doesn't love him, if that makes any sense. In which case the "engaged" line works to keep him at a distance, when the truth is he's so close to her that she can't see the forest for the trees. I think Utena was able to kid herself in the beginning that it was okay because it was love -- which is, generally speaking, a positive force. She wasn't doing anything with Akio in order to hurt anyone...even though it obviously would hurt Kanae, if she were to know of any of it. Towards the end of the relationship, however, Utena starts intentionally rubbing it in Anthy's face, for a variety of reasons that are bit complex for me to go into now (my face is sunburned, I need to go find some aloe vera). Which is why Utena gets so upset in the end and says she betrayed Anthy...well, that's one of the reasons. I think Utena realised fairly early on that she didn't love Akio and therefore that made the entire affair wrong, but she found it hard to accept that she had gotten involved with an older, engaged man for all the wrong reasons. But even though she doesn't love him, he still intrigues the fuck out of her and she can't let go of that. I think she's just trying to distance herself, even though she's about as far into the web as she can get.


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#8 | Back to Top12-08-2007 08:55:08 PM

Adrasteia
Memorial Hollerer
From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
Posts: 694
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Re: Utena and Akio

Emiemipoemi wrote:

1) Is she like, not bothered by the fact that she's 14 and he's like five million? Like, at all? I would imagine if I was 14 and some guy started hitting on me, regardless of if I liked him or not, I would feel uncomfortable by that kind of age gap.


2) WTF, Utena? People are asking her all the time, "Are you in love with the Chairman?" and she's always like "CAN IT BE?" Now, okay, the first couple of times, before she got FUCKED BY HIM, I can understand. But in episode 36, Touga asks her in the the dueling arena and once again she's like. "What? But he's engaged!" HONEY, YOU FUCKED HIM. I DON'T THINK ENGAGED HAS A SAY ANYMORE. I could understand if she answered "I dunno" or something. But bringing up that flimsy "he's engaged" argument has nothing to do with anything.

I don't her age is an issue - it seems like Utena is consumed by her feelings for Akio due to her natural insecurity in her identity. In the first episode, we are shown that the protagonist has intense ambition to become a prince. Why? To meet a prince. Already, her reasons seem skewed, and it almost seemed like her nobility is in question. Utena had forgotten her initial reason for wanting to be a prince, which was to take the place of the useless Dios and save Anthy, and constructed a belief for herself that she was striving to meet a great prince, and not become one.

The confusion of the character is a apparent, and that is the sole thing which makes it so believable to watch Utena be seduced by Akio(that, and... it's Akio). Utena is torn between a strong set of morals, and a child's set of morals. As independent as she seems, she's just a parent-less 14 girl, and Akio appears as a strong male figure. Not to intentionally add any more drama to the mix, but I think it's possible that Utena, in part, views Akio as a father figure, and therefore finds it difficult to question his adult morals. Although she states that he is a 'playboy', and she believes it is wrong because Kanae, Akio's unwavering view on his relationships keeps Utena in his grasp. In her youth she is unable to completely discern on her own where to draw the line between right and wrong, because she doesn't have a stable model on which to rely for her views.

Seeing Saionji hit an passive woman appears to be such a strong example of 'wrong' to Utena, and this is an opportunity to be noble and prince-like, and defeat 'evil'. Utena's innocence prevent her from seeing the gray area of 'evil', as it is so often shown in SKU, and that probably amounts to much of her conflict in the series. Akio doesn't fit the 'bad' mould as easily or visibly as Saionji, so although he is cheating on his fiancee, Utena is still unable to recognize him as being an immoral person. She can remark about his promiscuity, but despite that, she will still give herself to him because she can't fully convince herself whether he stands in the 'good' or 'evil' catagory.

This again comes up when Utena sees Akio with Anthy - although this is clearly something that would fit into her concrete perception of 'bad', in the entire picture she is still unable to confront the gray areas of the situation and remains entwined with Akio.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Utena can't separate herself from Akio despite knowing about his fiancee, because she can't separate her admiration of Akio from his 'evil' deeds. It's that defining innocence of the character which keeps popping up, keeping her vision of the world in strict black and white, good and bad fairy tale terms.

Sorry if I've repeated what's already been said, I didn't manage to read all of the replies.

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#9 | Back to Top12-08-2007 11:57:45 PM

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

Re: Utena and Akio

Well I would point out in this situation, Shiori and Utena have something in common: the presence of a male love interest. Especially one that has something less than their best interests at heart. In Shori's case, it seemed to me that part of her character was how lonely she was and desperate she was to find value in herself. Prior to Ruka she had no way to do so; he appears and she jumps the opportunity. Utena met Akio right after Touga jaded the fuck out of her. You'd think this would help matters here, but it distracted her. All her suspicions and wariness center on the dueling game and people like him circulating around it. Akio, a school admin with apparently no idea about the big fucking arena in the back, must have seemed fairly innocuous. And by the time he wasn't, she wanted him too much to let it stop her.

Yes, yes. These are things that I can logically recognize, but still it makes me wonder. Shiori's role in the whole Ruka arc was primarily that of a catalyst, her presence reduced to accentuating the tension between the two. So I'd say it's part a product of her personality and the fact the emphasis was on Ruka. Which annoys me a little, but still. Utena was able to catch onto Touga very quickly - then again, Touga wasn't very subtle. But...well, Akio appreciation aside at all, he wasn't exactly subtle either.

Eeehhh. Cast this feminist streak aside, accept that both men fucked both girls over. In every sense of the word.


"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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#10 | Back to Top12-09-2007 06:56:54 AM

Iris
Queen of the Video Box
From: The whispers of twilight
Registered: 12-28-2006
Posts: 2124

Re: Utena and Akio

Emiemipoemi wrote:

1) Is she like, not bothered by the fact that she's 14 and he's like five million? Like, at all? I would imagine if I was 14 and some guy started hitting on me, regardless of if I liked him or not, I would feel uncomfortable by that kind of age gap.

2) WTF, Utena? People are asking her all the time, "Are you in love with the Chairman?" and she's always like "CAN IT BE?" Now, okay, the first couple of times, before she got FUCKED BY HIM, I can understand. But in episode 36, Touga asks her in the the dueling arena and once again she's like. "What? But he's engaged!" HONEY, YOU FUCKED HIM. I DON'T THINK ENGAGED HAS A SAY ANYMORE. I could understand if she answered "I dunno" or something. But bringing up that flimsy "he's engaged" argument has nothing to do with anything.

Adrasteia wrote:

Akio= Daddy

I don't think Utena really is in love with Akio at all, but rather feels very close to him, sees him as a father figure, and her emotions are clouded with that.  Saying that he's engaged is a very easy way to distance Akio from her as a lover or boyfriend; she's a very confused girl.  She's not used to having feelings of sexuality, so she wants that attention from him, but she also needs the comfort that he can offer as a brother or father.  The best way to have these two things together is to be a 'mistress' of sorts, the girl on the side.
As far as the age gap, I don't know about other people, but when I was fourteen, attention from older guys was very attractive, it seemed they saw me as special.  Unique.  Hell... I know a lot of people who still consider someone older then them showing interest to be a big compliment.  The age gap probably helped a good deal in the seduction.
Her fucking him and still bringing up him being engaged....  She knows that other people like Touga separate sex from emotion, so she attempts to do it herself, but she's been told by both Wakaba and Anthy that love can grow in any place.  The all charming Akio is always there, so she's now susceptible to the idea of falling in love with Akio, or Akio falling in love with her.  She's never really been in love before, so she has no idea what love feels like.
I think if Wakaba had never said her little lines about it not mattering when it comes to love, Utena would've been much stronger against Akio's attacks.


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#11 | Back to Top12-09-2007 02:37:55 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Utena and Akio

Adrasteia wrote:

Akio as a father figure

I'm so glad someone opened that can of worms for me. emot-dance Strangely I don't recall seeing Akio explicitly encourage her to make a father connection in the beginning, I think he threw her familial intimacy and let her sort them out, since any answer would have suited him. She seems to change back and forth between seeing him as a brother and seeing him as a father, with a slight leaning toward the latter in the Akio Arc, but by this point he does keep doing things that would encourage it. In the BRS, he makes the brothers=moon speech, yaps on about Anthy and generally establishes himself as Anthy's BROTHER GOD DAMN IT and maybe yours too baby what do you think emot-wink. In the Akio Arc he moves them into his home (much more a fatherly act than a brotherly one), cooks repeatedly (maybe more motherly than fatherly but it's still a nurturing act one more associates with parents), etc. The scene where Touga comes to take Nanami home places Akio in the position of a father to them, in a way. He brings in one sibling for the 'purpose' of having them sort out their disagreement, kinda like how my dad would dump me and Robert in the back of the car when we were arguing and make us stay there till we stopped. emot-redface Of course by that point he's already swapped spit with Utena so uh, yikes.

As for seeing him as a moral person, she was never looking in the right direction. (Quite on purpose on her part, one of those snags in her character that make her something less noble than she should be.) Take Touga. Utena saw Touga with floozies, Touga with Saionji, Touga with Nanami. She disapproves of the first and conveniently ignores it the more interested she gets in him. She gains some vague impression of the second because Saionji blurts right out that they're not exactly buddy buddy, but the lack of information and its complexity makes her write it off. The third is the one Touga manipulates her with, because for just a moment, he could successfully convince Utena that he's a good brother, but even that is on shaky ground, so there's never a relationship in the series she can observe him in that seems essentially good. Akio's main points of contact that Utena sees are Kanae and Anthy. Initially these both seem to be positive relationships; she finds Kanae and him necking like teenagers (well one of them is I guess rite), and as best she can tell, they're quite in love. (emot-rolleyes) Eventually this fudges up a little, not by what she sees but by how he acts; something's not right with his relationship with Kanae if he'll hit on her the way he does, and that Kanae shows up bitching right after he kisses Utena only drives the point home. However, there is always another direction she can look in. Akio and Anthy. They care about each other, right? They only ever get along completely, right? They're a model of the perfect sibling relationship! Utena has a direction to focus her attention on to 'prove' to herself that Akio is a great guy. Because it's what she wants to believe, and unlike Touga, Akio is giving her an easy out.

Jellineck wrote:

Utena was able to catch onto Touga very quickly - then again, Touga wasn't very subtle. But...well, Akio appreciation aside at all, he wasn't exactly subtle either.

I'm not so sure about that. Touga starts with a bad reputation in Utena's eyes and turns it around. Of course he promptly fucks it right up all over again, but once he had the prince as ammunition, Utena didn't fight very hard, and it says a bit of his ability to manipulate women and her ability to be grossly deluded that he could have such a reputation in her eyes and still also have her blushing and freaking out in the garden. Akio never had that poor reputation to have to improve on, he started out high in her regards, polished that position over the course of the BRS, and let her desire not to see him any other way sustain that position through all the crap he pulls later.

Iris wrote:

I think if Wakaba had never said her little lines about it not mattering when it comes to love, Utena would've been much stronger against Akio's attacks.

I think I agree here. Wakaba seemed to me the straw that broke the camel's back; Utena was tempted enough before but Wakaba just pushes and encourages, in a way Akio himself could not, until Utena allows her morals to be Wakaba's morals, which ironically aren't Wakaba's morals outside of fantasy. (I strongly doubt she'd have been so cheerful had Akio seduced her during that car ride.) It's adorably feminine of Utena to get so up in arms over that car ride, by the way. 'YOU SHOULD WANT HIM HAY HAY etc-wankgirl' 'He's engaged. emot-frown' 'FINE I'LL GO RIDE WITH HIM emot-dance' 'HEY FUCK YOU GIVE THAT BACK emot-mad'


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#12 | Back to Top12-09-2007 03:30:28 PM

Adrasteia
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From: Newfoundland, Canada
Registered: 11-15-2007
Posts: 694
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Re: Utena and Akio

Giovanna wrote:

Wakaba seemed to me the straw that broke the camel's back; Utena was tempted enough before but Wakaba just pushes and encourages, in a way Akio himself could not, until Utena allows her morals to be Wakaba's morals, which ironically aren't Wakaba's morals outside of fantasy. (I strongly doubt she'd have been so cheerful had Akio seduced her during that car ride.)

What Akio did, or didn't do, with Wakaba during the car ride was definitely one of his craftiest moments. I thought for sure that he would molest her or something, but discovering that he didn't just showed that, although Akio is a huge playboy, he knows how to use sex only when needed.

That's also probably what makes him a more appealing candidate to Utena than Touga. Touga, like Giovanna said, already had a negative reputation, and instead of trying to pull the suave, mature role with Utena, moved in on her instantly - which ruined any possibility of a second chance after the first arc. He was playboy before gentleman, and Akio was the exact opposite.

Edit: by the way

'YOU SHOULD WANT HIM HAY HAY etc- etc-wankgirl ' 'He's engaged. emot-frown ' 'FINE I'LL GO RIDE WITH HIM emot-dance' 'HEY FUCK YOU GIVE THAT BACK emot-mad '

this = win at life.

Last edited by Adrasteia (12-09-2007 03:33:15 PM)

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#13 | Back to Top12-09-2007 06:48:48 PM

Ragnarok
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From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
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Re: Utena and Akio

The thing that bugs me about Akio's cheating on Kanae with Utena is that it's used to make her look bad, but than him. When Utena gets on his case about being incestuous, he counters it by saying she's just as bad for having sex with an engaged man. And she doesn't argue any of the reasons why he's more responsible for that than she is. Or even that he was in the wrong to have been involved.


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#14 | Back to Top12-09-2007 11:26:58 PM

Iris
Queen of the Video Box
From: The whispers of twilight
Registered: 12-28-2006
Posts: 2124

Re: Utena and Akio

Ragnarok wrote:

The thing that bugs me about Akio's cheating on Kanae with Utena is that it's used to make her look bad, but than him. When Utena gets on his case about being incestuous, he counters it by saying she's just as bad for having sex with an engaged man. And she doesn't argue any of the reasons why he's more responsible for that than she is. Or even that he was in the wrong to have been involved.

In that scene, Utena seemed to be biting her tongue, for whatever reason.  That part always bugged me, how subtle it was... the words she didn't speak.  Perhaps she's recalling parts of the conversation with Anthy?  Perhaps her confidence is shaken so she doesn't have the power to say what she's actually thinking? 
Not only is it incest, it's the guy she's interested in fucking her best friend.  The blow is against her, although it's hard for her to place why she feels so hurt... Akio isn't 'hers', but Anthy feels like she is.  A person with pure emotion would be upset on the incest part, but Utena is anything but pure.
She does say 'That's different!' but doesn't explain herself how... I don't blame her.  Who wants to get into a direct battle of logic with someone like Akio?  Especially when doing so would reveal her as being even less pure.

Also... the other part of it, the gender battle.
Men are aloud to be sluts.  Although it's still looked down upon, it's not seen as harshly.  The difference between Kozue and Touga shows it the most.  Kozue is viewed as slightly off; a slut, a bitch, ect, while Touga is your standard Playboy Extraordinaire. 
This interaction between Akio and Utena is a bigger part of that.  A girl can try to be a prince all she wants, but when it comes to trying to handle sex in social reactions, she returns to the standard gender perceptions.


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#15 | Back to Top12-10-2007 01:20:18 AM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Utena and Akio

I've always looked at that exchange as a matter of Utena being forced to confront the choices she's made.  Up until that point in the series, Utena has been extremely self-righteous in the face of everyone else's flaws or mistakes, and really hasn't had to confront any of her own. When she apologizes to Anthy prior to going to meet Akio, she isn't apologizing for her involvement with Akio but instead her own self-centered view while ignoring Anthy's own problems. This isn't the same as admitting conscious wrongdoing, where you know ahead of time that you shouldn't be doing something and then do it anyway.

When Akio turns the tables on her isn't a matter, in my opinion, of her retreating into traditional gender roles as much as it is Utena suddenly coming face to face with the lapse of her ideals and the loss of her own supposed nobility.

Utena: You're evil!
Akio: If I am, then you are as well.
Utena: Well.....

What I find interesting, is she essentially decides to deny this happened; ergo, that she has in someway fallen. By the end, she still manages to use the "Oh, but what about this" (where this=Anthy) method to determine that she is the righteous party and Akio the one in need of punishment.

She isn't capable of seeing it any other way, being so accustomed to thinking she's in the right.


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#16 | Back to Top12-10-2007 03:57:33 PM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
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Re: Utena and Akio

Well, I don't really know about the age difference, since they claimed Akio to be a third year college student.  And in my book, if you can be decently aged siblings, its okay. I've known many people who've had an age difference that great at that age, though I guess it is still kinda creepy. I myself will admit to having proportionally larger age gaps. emot-gonk


I think Utena's in denial. I think she just doesn't want to see herself as being the bad one. I mean, she IS the princely duelist who's going to save Anthy, and th prince is always good and right.


I think the whole I have a fiancee thing from 38 was more to show that she KNEW she was doing something she considered wrong by her standards, but to Akio, its nothing.

In my own personal opinion, it should be much more important to live to your own ideals, more so than anyone else's. Which is exactly what she didn't do.


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#17 | Back to Top12-11-2007 02:07:37 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Utena and Akio

I don't have long, so I wanted to comment on Akio vs. Touga.

I believe that Utena was genuinely attracted to Touga as much as Akio, but Touga made some grave mistakes because he wasn't as experienced a manipulator as Akio.  Touga, from the first, set himself up as a sexual and romantic figure--he touched Utena the very first time he met her and flirted.  For some girls, this wouldn't be a problem, but Utena is conflicted about a lot of things.  Touga's patently sexual and romantic interest in her as a girl necessarily places Utena in a gender-loaded role that makes her lash out defensively.  (I have always felt that she OVER-reacts to Touga because she is tempted.)

Akio, on the other hand, puts himself in another role.  He plays the accepting, but wise advisor.  An older brother, a suave gentleman who is, after all, engaged and couldn't have any sexual interest in Utena.  He makes Utena comfortable first, lowers her defenses.  By the time the seduction occurs, Utena already likes Akio and has had time to become fascinated with him.

Regarding the reasons for Utena's behavior in the last arc--which is bad, and she knows it--I think Adrasteia and Gio have made the points I might make if I had time. 

The mention of that scene in ep 36 when Akio confronts Utena with her bad behavior made me think of something... I think it's funny that Utena's major concern about her less-than-admirable behavior is its effect on Anthy.  When Akio confronts her with that moral delimma and she turns her face away...well, she's ashamed, but all she really cares about is Anthy.  She cries and apologizes to Anthy for her lack of understanding about the situation with Akio.  It seems like, as far as Utena is instinctively (not necessarily consciously) concerned, Anthy's welfare is far more important than Utena's own moral rightness.  I think that harkens to satyr's comments in our recent thread about Princedom.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (12-11-2007 02:09:46 PM)


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#18 | Back to Top12-11-2007 02:31:52 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: Utena and Akio

If there is one thing about this show that I don't care for, it's the attitude toward sexuality. It's portrayed so negatively in so many situations, but I can't think of a single time in the show that it's actually shown in a positive light. Ep 33 is a prime example. This is the great fall, this is what throws Utena from the path. There are two moments where she stumbles badly, and both of them are sexually induced. She doesn't actually do anything with Touga probably, but it's not so different. And with Akio, we see a mature man, well-versed in the art of manipulation, carefully persuading her to have sex with him. And yet she comes off as a villain. I mean, yes, he's attached, and she should have had more resolve, but is this what has been reserved as her ultimate sin? Opening her legs? Honestly, after I first watched it, I very nearly couldn't continue with the show. I'm sick and tired of media showing sexuality as the downfall of innocence.emot-mad


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#19 | Back to Top12-11-2007 02:46:06 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
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Re: Utena and Akio

I definitely empathize with that sentiment...it's annoying and really negative.  I know you hate Heinlein, but one of his characters commented that nowhere is culture more sick than in its attitudes toward sexuality.  In my opinion, history tends to show that culture is overly restrictive and puritanical toward sex... and then it makes a pendulum swing toward overly permissive (while still retaining the same negative attitudes toward sex in general, making a lot of sex acts emotionally self-destructive for those of us who retain cultural indoctrination...which is most of us).

But Utena's case I think it's just a convenient metaphor.  It's not so much that she HAD sex: it's with who, how she reacted to it in respect to Anthy and her own personal identity, and the events that surrounded her choice.

Last edited by rhyaniwyn (12-11-2007 02:46:31 PM)


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#20 | Back to Top12-12-2007 12:40:05 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Utena and Akio

I have to agree with rhyaniwyn on this one, with a bit of a different twist. Given that Akio relies on sex in his manipulations, it's practically a foregone conclusion that that's how he would cause Utena to fall from grace, so to speak. One gets the impression that if he were to use love-- romantic love without a hint of sexuality-- it would have worked just as well, and may have even been easier for him.


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#21 | Back to Top12-14-2007 09:55:47 PM

brian
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Registered: 10-22-2006
Posts: 588

Re: Utena and Akio

To put a different twist on it, Utena previously belonged to herself. Afterwards less so.

The other thing is that he was deliberately prepping her for the guilt she would feel if she called him on his behavior.

Also, lust can make people ruthless and cruel. She would henceforth feel less sympathy for Anthy, and would start to feel rivalry instead.

When she is riding back in that car she is looking rather quizzical, unable to make up her mind about how she felt about the experience. Several episodes later he reminds her of it and her first reaction is a little grin with furtive guilt following afterwards. Earlier she might have felt the guilt more than the pleasure.

The sins of others are always more outrageous than our own sins: Utena is on the road to discovering this and becoming more mature and/or more corrupt.

edit: Also, if it is true that there are Gnostic influences in this story, it should be no surprise that sex is shown negatively. Much Gnosticism was even more anti-sexual than classical Catholicism. I've read claims that the anti-sexual attitudes of Western Christianity came from the Gnostics at least in part, but I don't know how true that is.

Last edited by brian (12-14-2007 10:09:49 PM)

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#22 | Back to Top12-17-2007 05:07:34 PM

Giovanna
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From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Utena and Akio

Stormcrow wrote:

And with Akio, we see a mature man, well-versed in the art of manipulation, carefully persuading her to have sex with him. And yet she comes off as a villain. I mean, yes, he's attached, and she should have had more resolve, but is this what has been reserved as her ultimate sin? Opening her legs?

Was a perfectly reasonable and intelligent course of action if you ask me. emot-dance

I've often wondered what was going through Utena's mind prior to their getting in the bed. She does a lot of yapping, and while they're alone in a hotel room. She's dim, but I don't think she's quite that dim, she must have had some idea of what was coming. Her decision was to distract herself. She could have accelerated things in an attempt to release the nervous tension faster. She could have expressed at least some real reluctance to be alone in this place with him. (She doesn't; her body language is especially ah...inviting. Yes yes loller waving legs in the air, but she leans toward him when she speaks, and she maintains eye contact when she's not trying to concentrate.) She chooses to engage herself in as many distracting activities and 'conversations' as possible, instead. Does she think if she ignores this it'll go away? Does she not want it to, but still lacks the nerve to initiate or move it forward? Or could it possibly be she's drawing the evening out in hopes that it'll be too late for naughty play, or, haha, that Akio might take pity on her innocent ass and leave her be?

As for the negative portrayal of sex...I think in this case it ties in a lot with the more general negative view of adulthood in the show. Sex is a big part of being an adult so it's going to get just as bashed in. Still, the series is brutal to sex. I wonder though how successfully they could have given us a positive sexual situation? The only positive sexual relationship the series could reasonably have offered us working with what it had was...maybe...Saionji and Wakaba. And that's a longshot. Very long. And very hard.


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#23 | Back to Top12-20-2007 06:09:05 PM

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

Re: Utena and Akio

Ultimately, as negative as sexuality is portrayed in Utena, I prefer it's dynamic to shows where sexuality is absolutely devoid of any psychological ramifications. It's either as inconsequential and casual as a handshake, or cloyingly sentimental and overly sweet. Utena is in many ways a cautionary fairytale: don't be deceived by appearances, and beware the predators that disguise themselves as princes. Akio is symbolic of the teenage perception of adulthood - power, selfishness, and ultimate manipulation. In this way, the Utena representation of sex is more realistic than most spun works of fantasy. Often, the critical role that sexuality plays into psychology and emotional health is abused. Yes, it's exaggerated in this series due to the circumstances of the plot, but it's based on truth. After all, how do women gain attention in the media?

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...I apologize.

As for positive sexual relationships in this series, I wonder how it might have played out between Saionji and Wakaba. I was downright disappointed when the series didn't elaborate more on them. After all, Wakaba practically defused a ticking time bomb. Did anyone else notice that Saionji mainly began the process of overall calming down and wising up after Wakaba? Not completely, but it began the process. But I wouldn't say it was potentially the only healthy relationship. What about Tatsuya and Wakaba? And...hm...Utena and Wakaba? In fact, give Wakaba her own dating show.

Some people argue that Touga and Utena, towards the end of the series, might have worked out. I disagree. I think the that the elimination of sex from their relationship was crucial to Touga's rather grudging respect and open admiration for her. I won't get too much on the topic, but suffice to say Touga will never have a happy relationship with anyone. Hah.

Last edited by Jellineck (12-20-2007 06:10:17 PM)


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#24 | Back to Top12-21-2007 12:31:42 AM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
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Re: Utena and Akio

Jellineck wrote:

the Utena representation of sex is more realistic

emot-frown

If only this weren't totally true...this is definitely the point I was forgetting. Even if I think sexuality and sexual interaction is normal and healthy, the inescapable fact is that our society views it in a fairly negative light. The same goes for Japanese society, though not as much, and in different ways. Darn it, why can't people appreciate their bodies as the magnificent machines they are?

Gio, you also raise an interesting point that I was only dimly aware of. I did find Utena's behavior prior to "the deed" to be a little odd, but I sort of assumed that was for dramatic reasons, building tension. But then I often think of Utena as a sort of intellectual void with absolutely no perception of what's going on around her. Seeing her trying to avoid the situation, unable to initiate, but unwilling to say no makes the scene considerably more poignant. I can feel for her a little more this way.


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#25 | Back to Top12-21-2007 06:02:14 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8728
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Re: Utena and Akio

Jellineck wrote:

It's either as inconsequential and casual as a handshake, or cloyingly sentimental and overly sweet.

My god, you're right! emot-aaa

SKU doesn't treat sex as casual by any means, but it doesn't insult us with any ideals about sex always requiring love or even care for another. Perhaps the above cases are the extremes of fantasy, and why they're so common in media. Most people would like sex either to be free and easy and fun or the grand ultimate display of love and closeness and blah blah. No one really wants to see it as something that means a lot, although not always the same thing to both partners, and can happen completely without any sense of romance or love. Even the opposite. Sex can be an aggressive, unkind act, even without the display of force. That is far closer to reality than your garden variety male-oriented story about free blowjobs and bitches and your female-oriented mushfest.

Although it's still a fairly pessimistic view of sex. One has to wonder if that's not completely justified given how people are about the act. emot-frown


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