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HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top02-12-2008 07:06:54 PM

Like Autumn
New Student
Registered: 02-28-2007
Posts: 4

Deciphering the Shadow Plays

I know there's already a topic discussing what, exactly, the Shadow Play Girls really are, but I thought I'd make a topic to analyze their individual plays and what they mean in the context of the greater plot. Include any thoughts you may have and post the script when possible. I've only seen a few of the episodes so far (though I know what happens right up to the end so don't worry about spoiling me) so I can only post my opinions of the plays as I see them. I'll try my hand at the first couple of skits.

1. The Rose Bride

A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder... do you know what I wonder?
B-ko:  I hear there's going to be another duel out back in the forest today!
A-ko:  Oh, brave warrior, you're going to fight for your friend, meddlesome brave warrior!
B-ko:  But beware, brave warrior...
A-ko:  They fight by a Code, there in the forest.
B-ko:  Do you know that, I wonder?
A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder...
Both:  Do you know what I wonder?

I assume by "Code" they are referring to the duelists fighting for control of the Rose Bride and thus her powers and their hope to reach the Castle in the Sky. I feel like A-ko is being somewhat sarcastic when she says "meddlesome brave warrior," kind of like how Juri mocked Utena during their duel when she called her "prince."


2. For Whom the Rose Smiles

A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder... do you know what I wonder?
B-ko:  There's going to be another duel out back in the forest today.
A-ko:  The time has come to settle things once and for all.
A-ko:  I'm done for...
A-ko:  But it's okay, 'cause I lost on purpose!
B-ko:  But beware, brave warrior,
A-ko:  do you know how difficult it is...
B-ko:  ...to lose on purpose?
A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder...
Both:  Do you know what I wonder?

In this skit they're playing the role of cowboys in a Western-style duel. (And whose hand carrying the cactus passed by the screen, there?) Obviously this is referencing the fact that Utena says she'll lose on purpose during her duel with Saionji. When A-ko gets shot by B-ko and says it doesn't matter because she lost on purpose, is she saying that she's still dead because she was shot, even if she meant to be? Why do they say it's difficult to lose on purpose?


3. On the Night of the Ball

A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder... do you know what I wonder?
B-ko::   Ma'am, did you know...
B-ko:  ...the whole town is talking about the upcoming ball?
A-ko:  Calling it a "ball" sounds nice enough, but it's really just a place for hunting boys.
B-ko:  Young ladies today are so low.
Both:  How shameless!

This is one of my favorite of the plays in the Rose Collection vol. 1. In this one the girls are two town ladies gossiping. Most of it is straightforward, except I'm not quite sure of its relation to the episode except in how it references a dance. I also am confused about the symbolism of the dogs. When A-ko is just a town girl, she has one dog on a leash. When the scene cuts to her twirling B-ko (in the roles of Prince and Princess--Utena and Anthy), she has two dogs on a leash. Does this mean that the Prince has the Princess on a leash? I love the reference to dances as a "man trap." This seems to be Ikuhara's sarcasm on modern society more than any relation to the plot.


4. The Sunlit Garden--Prelude

A-ko:  I wonder, I wonder... Do you know what I wonder?
B-ko:  In elementary school, my first boyfriend was the best math student in class.
A-ko:  Oh, I never knew. Even then you had a boyfriend?
B-ko:  But...
B-ko:  when he found out that pro wrestling
B-ko:  and super sized garlic ramen
B-ko:  were my favorites...
A-ko:  "Now I know what kind of girl you are,"
B-ko:  he said, and with that it was over.
A-ko:  Oh, women in love, you young people dreaming of love...
B-ko:  Are you aware of...
A-ko:  ...love's true colors?

This brings up some questions about the SPG's identity, but that's a topic for another thread. This is one of the more straightforward of the skits, and it's clearly about Miki's crush on Anthy although it can have a broader message for the series as well. The "boy who was best at math" could be a direct reference to Miki or it could mean any logical person who loves someone. I like the translation on my DVD better, because it lends a slightly different interpretation. A-ko says "He went here even back then" or something like that, which seems to imply they were in school a long time ago, as though they were once real students, as opposed to B-ko having a boyfriend at a young age. Once B-ko's boyfriend found out she had unusual interests, he left her. A-ko's response is different in the script and in my DVD subtitles. In the script, she warns women and young people that they don't understand what love is really like. Perhaps referencing Utena's or Wakaba's innocence on this topic. In my DVD, she seems to address Miki directly, implying that once he learns what Anthy is really like he wouldn't like her anymore. It's foreshadowing of what we learn about her later in the series.


5. The Sunlit Garden--Finale

A-ko:  Behold this vast expanse of ocean!
A-ko:  Bringing a hundred men with me, I have set sail on the seven seas!
A-ko:  I am a pirate.
A-ko:  All the world's riches are now in my hands.
B-ko:  I wonder, I wonder, but Boss?
B-ko:  Why's your treasure chest missing ONLY what you want?
A-ko:  What I really want?
B-ko:  Cos... That's why ya can't quit being a pirate boss, ain't it?
A-ko:  What I really want...
B-ko:  Boss, what you really want... what you really want is...
A-ko:  What I really want is....
B-ko:  Oops! Boss, we've sprung a leak.

Another one I really love, which has relevance to almost all of the characters in the series. In this episode I think it specifically refers to Miki's dilemma between Kozue and Anthy. Touga's line at the student council meeting seems to relate a lot to the theme of these two episodes, especially considering episode 4's shadow play. "Sometimes youthfulness is such an obstacle, that you can't see what you want." A-ko represents Miki, and I suppose B-ko is his subconscious. The pirate has obtained many riches, but still isn't satisfied. Perhaps this represents Miki being unsatisfied about his music playing and thinking it is Anthy who can get him back his "shining thing," when it's really his childhood innocence and relationship with Kozue that he wants back. By the time the pirate leader thinks about what he wants, it's too late. In the episode, Miki tries to attain Anthy by force, but loses.

On the surface, most of these seem pretty simple, but each of the plays can have multiple meanings when considered as a general statement or a reference to a specific character dilemma.

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#2 | Back to Top02-12-2008 07:16:54 PM

Imaginary Bad Bug
Revolutionary
From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2168
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

The plays are one of my favorite parts of each episode, and of the series as a whole. emot-smile

I find that they encapsulate the theme of each episode in a handy little surreal minute. A parallel if you will.

The Black Rose skits that Utena appears to respond to take it a step further.  She is responding to the dilemma posed, not seeming to realize that she is so close to understanding 'the game', since the Shadow Play girls seem to be in-the-know with the inner workings of Ohtori.



...and then there's the whole monkey-catching-robot thing. emot-biggrin

Last edited by Imaginary Bad Bug (02-12-2008 07:19:28 PM)


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#3 | Back to Top02-12-2008 07:28:15 PM

Like Autumn
New Student
Registered: 02-28-2007
Posts: 4

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Um, could someone explain the monkey-catching robot thing to me? I sort of understand it, but then again, most of C-ko's plays are beyond my comprehension.

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#4 | Back to Top02-12-2008 08:25:07 PM

Scortia
Rose Bride
From: Louisiana
Registered: 12-23-2006
Posts: 116

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

C-ko is indeed the acid-dropping member of the shadow play girls... it's why no one will work with her anymore. emot-tongue

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#5 | Back to Top02-12-2008 08:40:47 PM

Baka Kakumei Reanna
Atlantean Singer
From: Wisconsin
Registered: 07-31-2007
Posts: 572
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

I maintain that the Shadow Girls are a Greek chorus of sorts in the series. This is true on a general level, but I decided to take a look on a bit more specific information of that particular literary device:

The Greek chorus (choros) is believed to have grown out of the Greek dithyrambs and tragikon drama in tragic plays of the ancient Greek theatre. The chorus offers a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance. It comments on main themes, and shows how an ideal audience might react to the drama. It also represents the general populace in any particular story. In many ancient Greek plays, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their fears or secrets. The chorus usually communicated in song form, but sometimes spoke their lines in unison. The chorus was an essential, primary component of early Greek theater during a time when tragedy and comedy were lyrical works. Before the introduction of multiple, interacting actors by Aeschylus, the Greek chorus was the main performer in relation to a solitary actor.[1][2] The importance of the chorus declined after the 5th century BC, when the chorus began to be separated from the dramatic action. Later dramatists, such as Sophocles depended on the chorus less than their predecessors. In the Theban plays of Sophocles, the chorus serves as a body of omniscient commentators that often reinforce the moral of the story. The chorus will switch between the roles of "commentator" and "character". When the chorus is acting as a character, they often provide other characters with the insight they need.

The Greek chorus had to work in unison to help explain the play as there were only 13 actors on stage who were already playing several parts each. As the Greek amphitheatres were so large, the chorus' actions had to be exaggerated and their voices clear so that everyone could see and hear them. To do this they used techniques such as synchronization, echo, ripple, physical theatre and the use of masks to aid them.

Note that besides the obvious commentary and exposition of the themes of the story, the chorus also "represents the general populace in any given story." The Shadow Girls all wear normal girls' school uniforms.

Also, "the chorus expresses what the characters could not say, such as their fears and secrets." Nearly every play put on by the Shadow Girls is about a concern that can relate to some kind of anxiety or conflict that one or more of the episode's characters are having.

"The chorus usually communicated in song form, but sometimes spoke their lines in unison."

Also, I think this final point is the most interesting:
"In the Theban plays of Sophocles, the chorus serves as a body of omniscient commentators that often reinforce the moral of the story. The chorus will switch between the roles of "commentator" and "character". When the chorus is acting as a character, they often provide other characters with the insight they need."

This happened later throughout Greek history. The chorus went from a set of omniscient characters separate to the story to being a part of the story, able to interact with the characters. Recall the Utena episode in which it is implied that the Shadow Girls are actually girls at the school who are part of a drama club, put on a play for Utena, Anthy and Akio and offer Utena a spot in the club.

And I'm spent.


We see things not as they are, we see things as we are.

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#6 | Back to Top02-13-2008 03:17:32 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Um, could someone explain the monkey-catching robot thing to me? I sort of understand it, but then again, most of C-ko's plays are beyond my comprehension.

Speaking of robots and monkeys, I once came coincedentally across this, while looking for the answer for exactly the same question. I wonder if there's a connection of some sort? I wonder, I wonder... school-sherlock


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#7 | Back to Top02-14-2008 03:31:02 PM

junior
New Student
Registered: 11-18-2006
Posts: 9
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Like Autumn wrote:

Um, could someone explain the monkey-catching robot thing to me? I sort of understand it, but then again, most of C-ko's plays are beyond my comprehension.

I think there were two episodes with the monkey catching robot.

Just from memory (I haven't checked), I think the first was about Mikage being a hollow man who just works all the time, while the second one was just random and didn't mean anything.

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#8 | Back to Top02-14-2008 03:59:26 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

junior wrote:

Just from memory (I haven't checked), I think the first was about Mikage being a hollow man who just works all the time, while the second one was just random and didn't mean anything.

Shame for you for thinking that there's a Shadowplay that doesn't mean anything! You just need to look harder. emot-wink


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

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#9 | Back to Top02-14-2008 09:16:13 PM

NajiMinkin
Hacker Ringleader
From: The Incredible Edible Egg
Registered: 06-23-2007
Posts: 2537

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Well, really. What kind of a robot chases after monkeys? That probably mocks his dream of finding eternity through high school students or something.


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#10 | Back to Top02-14-2008 11:38:08 PM

Tamago
God of Comedy
From: Minami Goushuu
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 14280
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

I have been looking up the internets trying to find out if there is any meaning to the monkey catching robots and from what I hate learned, monkeys and robots have been battling each other since robots began...emot-aaa

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#11 | Back to Top02-14-2008 11:39:25 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Maybe one's the evolutionary step forward that makes us useless? Kinda like we were with monkeys?

Maybe? emot-confused


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 Top02-15-2008 05:40:33 PM

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

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Maybe indeed! That calls for an essay on how SKU relates to transhumanism, which I would totally write if I wasn't so lazy.

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#13 | Back to Top02-20-2008 01:44:17 PM

Minato
Saionji Slapper
From: Redmond, WA
Registered: 10-19-2007
Posts: 28

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

....
In the Mikage Episode, the robot represented Mikage. The Monkey would have represented those he "counciled" and that because he's a "robot meant only to catch monkies" he was never meant to actually partake in the duels (he never wanted to and never did until that episode, right?) 

I don't really remember the other one... =/


I made a vow that I would never need another person, ever. Turned my heart into a cage, a victim of a kind of rage.

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#14 | Back to Top08-16-2008 01:24:06 PM

Like_Autumn
Network Ninja
Registered: 07-18-2007
Posts: 639
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Thought I'd throw a few more interpretations in here.

6. Take Care, Miss Nanami!

B-ko:  The real pleasure of camp is making curry and rice in a messtin.
Both:  Let's eat!
A-ko:  This rice is pretty hard in the center.
B-ko:  And the bottom is scorched.
A-ko:  Besides, the curry is too runny without enough powder.
A-ko:  Do you really like it?
B-ko:  Oh, c'mon! This fresh air has a better taste than any food!

The first few times I watched this, I had no idea what it was about. Now I think I'm starting to grasp the basic idea, although I'm still not sure what exactly in the plot this play refers to. It seems to be about looking forward to something or admiring someone and thinking they're perfect, and then you find out they have their flaws too, or maybe you're not aware of the flaws even though they're still there. But you still make excuses and tell yourself that it's wonderful, basically being in denial and fooling yourself. The other interpretation is that it's about enjoying something or someone's company despite all their flaws. It could refer to a lot of things in this series, but I think this episode especially relates to it. Mitsuru didn't turn out to be the heroic, handsome savior Nanami expected. Likewise, both Nanami and Mitsuru admire Touga for being a brave protector, even though he's incredibly flawed himself.

7. Juri's Unfulfillment

B-ko:  Good thing I've caught a cold. I was thinkin' an outing's a drag.
B-ko:  Why should someone my age have to go to a zoo?
B-ko:  Besides, the animals don't seem willing.
Bko:  To begin with, that zoo doesn't have great animals, ya know...
B-ko:  Doves,
B-ko:  wolves,
B-ko:  deer,
B-ko:  ostriches,
B-ko:  giraffes...
B-ko:  They've got to be kiddin'!
B-ko:  Can't they show any stuff like pandas?
A-ko:  So, you wanted to go that badly.

This one is fairly simple. Juri keeps saying she doesn't believe in miracles and dislikes others for relying on destiny. But the truth is, she wishes for a miracle so that Shiori will know her feelings. But she denies that it will ever happen and so says they don't exist, even though she wants one more than anything.

Last edited by Like_Autumn (08-16-2008 01:24:38 PM)


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#15 | Back to Top09-14-2008 10:47:50 AM

bea
Saionji Slapper
From: Milan, Italy
Registered: 05-24-2007
Posts: 27

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Like_Autumn wrote:

7. Juri's Unfulfillment

B-ko:  Good thing I've caught a cold. I was thinkin' an outing's a drag.
B-ko:  Why should someone my age have to go to a zoo?
B-ko:  Besides, the animals don't seem willing.
Bko:  To begin with, that zoo doesn't have great animals, ya know...
B-ko:  Doves,
B-ko:  wolves,
B-ko:  deer,
B-ko:  ostriches,
B-ko:  giraffes...
B-ko:  They've got to be kiddin'!
B-ko:  Can't they show any stuff like pandas?
A-ko:  So, you wanted to go that badly.

This one is fairly simple. Juri keeps saying she doesn't believe in miracles and dislikes others for relying on destiny. But the truth is, she wishes for a miracle so that Shiori will know her feelings. But she denies that it will ever happen and so says they don't exist, even though she wants one more than anything.

Yeah, that is one of the most "understandable" (even though I admit it took me at least a couple of rewatches to think it sounded so obvious).

On the other hand, I don't know if this was discussed already but I was wondering why there is no shadow play on Juri's second duel episode (ep. 29, we only see Shiori sitting against the wall): any thoughts about that?


Seeking eternity!
[take my r-evolution]

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#16 | Back to Top09-14-2008 11:13:42 AM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4693

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

bea wrote:

On the other hand, I don't know if this was discussed already but I was wondering why there is no shadow play on Juri's second duel episode (ep. 29, we only see Shiori sitting against the wall): any thoughts about that?

We do get a shadow girl play at the very end of the episode, when they say that Ruka died. Juri stood there and listened like Utena does in front of her locker. Like all of the shadow girl plays, I don't think that Ruka's death can be taken literally, but maybe not.

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#17 | Back to Top09-14-2008 11:46:51 AM

bea
Saionji Slapper
From: Milan, Italy
Registered: 05-24-2007
Posts: 27

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Razara wrote:

bea wrote:

On the other hand, I don't know if this was discussed already but I was wondering why there is no shadow play on Juri's second duel episode (ep. 29, we only see Shiori sitting against the wall): any thoughts about that?

We do get a shadow girl play at the very end of the episode, when they say that Ruka died. Juri stood there and listened like Utena does in front of her locker. Like all of the shadow girl plays, I don't think that Ruka's death can be taken literally, but maybe not.

Oops! You're so right, I don't know what I was thinking!


Seeking eternity!
[take my r-evolution]

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#18 | Back to Top09-14-2008 05:11:11 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

I never knew whether or not to take that play completely for face value either.  I tend to go ahead and do so anyway, because of how nicely the idea fits into the story, and because unlike many of the shadow girl's plays, there isn't as much vague or abstract symbolism, it's all pretty straightforward and precise.

In a weird way, though, in my own personal canon, Ruka died before he ever really had a chance to return to Ohtori.  The SG play says he only wanted to go back to school and insisted that he do, not that he actually did.        He may have been there in only in spirit, like Mikage.

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#19 | Back to Top09-14-2008 10:59:24 PM

sharnii
Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Shocking admission:
I always was tempted to (and sometimes even did) fast-forward the shadow-plays. Because after awhile I felt like I was on drugs when I watched them. emot-aaa Maybe my brain doesn't work that way, but they often seemed like gibberish! emot-gonk

(I felt like I was on drugs for the entire Utena movie too, but at least there was overt yuri to make it better! emot-tongue)

So, the above thread is educational for me. I'm learning a LOT. emot-redface

Last edited by sharnii (09-14-2008 10:59:41 PM)

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#20 | Back to Top09-15-2008 12:46:40 PM

Like_Autumn
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Registered: 07-18-2007
Posts: 639
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

sharnii wrote:

Shocking admission:
I always was tempted to (and sometimes even did) fast-forward the shadow-plays. Because after awhile I felt like I was on drugs when I watched them. emot-aaa Maybe my brain doesn't work that way, but they often seemed like gibberish! emot-gonk

(I felt like I was on drugs for the entire Utena movie too, but at least there was overt yuri to make it better! emot-tongue)

So, the above thread is educational for me. I'm learning a LOT. emot-redface

They are very confusing at times. But they're one of my favorite Utena things, so I could never go without them. I enjoy rewatching them and trying to figure them out, and wondering if Ikuhara is laughing at me somewhere. Damn that man and his amazing but mindboggling narrative tools!

Feeling like I'm on drugs is only a nice byproduct haha.

I still haven't seen the movie, but I bet it won't disappoint in the OMFG what IS THIS? Department. I'll enjoy showing it to friends who are into the more popular and sense-making anime.


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#21 | Back to Top09-15-2008 11:33:15 PM

sharnii
Pharaoh of Phanstuff
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: 08-10-2008
Posts: 2416
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Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Like_Autumn wrote: I still haven't seen the movie, but I bet it won't disappoint in the OMFG what IS THIS? Department. I'll enjoy showing it to friends who are into the more popular and sense-making anime.

I bet you much money that you will say OMFG at least five times out loud, just to get through the movie. And maybe WTF even more than that. emot-aaa
Then you'll probably go back and replay the naughty scenes. emot-redface

LOL showing it to friends into other kindsa anime...please please do. And then report to us all the heart attacks they have had! school-devil

Last edited by sharnii (09-15-2008 11:33:41 PM)

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#22 | Back to Top09-22-2008 03:28:45 PM

Riri-kins
World's End
From: Cloud Nine
Registered: 09-22-2008
Posts: 2346

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

To me episode twenty's shadow play represented Wakaba's short time to be special. The fox and rabbit girls only have a limited time to get married just like she only had her fifteen minutes with Saionji. Plus, weddings are always big occasions.  But can somebody explain their idea of the one with the tire salesman? I never got that.


Proud Saionji and Mikage fangirl
My Utena fanfiction: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2000115/Riri-kins

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#23 | Back to Top09-22-2008 04:32:37 PM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4411

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

You can't make a meal out of tires, just like you cannot make a relationship if the other person involved isn't in love with you.

C-ko drops the tires after hearing Utena state that you cannot cook with them, and she foreshadows Tatsuya, in that both he and her were in their own ways deceived (Tatsuya because he thought Wakaba was in love with him/ C-ko because she believed you could cook tires), and her pose after she drops the tires is mirrored by Tatsuya at the end of the episode after Wakaba obliviously spurns his advances. 

The salesman represents Wakaba, because the salesman never told C-ko that you could cook with tires -she, like Tatsuya, assumed too much on her own.  Neither can really be blamed.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (09-22-2008 04:33:39 PM)

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#24 | Back to Top09-17-2009 09:41:57 PM

spoon-san
Someday Shiner
Registered: 03-18-2009
Posts: 3423

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

I guess this would belong in this thread, so I'm reviving it for this purpose.  When I was last re-watching SKU, I sort of analyzed, or had begun to analyze until I started delving into other themes and perhaps lost my train of thought, the ep 34 play (where Utena, Anthy, and Akio all watch the play): [edit:  Ep transcript including play and watching the actual play probably helps since I didn't take too many actual concrete details into the account as I had just watched it and focused solely on the ideas.]

The play clearly describes the SKU backstory as well as the current events to that point and beyond very accurately. However, the facts are distorted (on purpose, perhaps)(1). It's true that Anthy was the cause of Dios becoming Akio, but we know that the reason for this was because the world's demands were taking their toll on Dios and he was about to die. Anthy merely diverted the outrage that would have been directed at Dios (for not being invulnerable and perfect) to herself by taking the blame for his decay. This was done out of love, not out of spite, I don't think.

However, the play depicts the witch as being the cause of this and of doing so out of malice. The prince ascending to the castle in the sky is none other than Utena and the witch lulling the prince to the castle is none other than Akio (using Anthy). But in the spirit of what had formerly transpired, the play depicts Anthy as being the true antagonist to be in line with the world's projections of her role. Despite Ends of the World being the manipulator in trying to steal the light (because he no longer can be the prince versus the play depicting it as the witch being unable to be the princess), Anthy is the one taking the swords of blame and accusation as is the role of the Rose Bride (take the swords meant for the prince if the true story of the prince would be known to the world versus the world believing the lie). (2).

And despite the blame, Anthy really is the one who saves Utena from becoming another Rose Bride (through her suicide attempt which results in her revealing the truth of her plight which motivates Utena to push for the revolution despite the odds. Otherwise, she would have fallen in defeat before Ends of the World.). It's not unlike how even though the prince is credited for saving Utena, it really was because of Anthy that Utena decided to pick up her will to live. The prince was merely the one to explain what's going on and give her some advice and moral support in her quest to become the prince. (3).

[edit: notes I just added because I realize most people will likely have no clue what I'm getting at.  Hopefully those will help uncover my intentions.]

(1).  I said that because I thought that for the play to distort the actual story was in the spirit of SKU as I interpret the prince story and most of the going ons of Ohtori to be related to illusions and distortion of truth as such is an essential theme in SKU.

(2).  To rephrase, the idea of Akio being the real witch in the play though using Anthy to play the witch and take the blame belonging to him was a direct parallel to how Anthy in the same way was the one to play the witch (or actually become the witch) in order to take the swords which could easily represent the blame belonging to who is now Akio.

(3).  I wrote that originally to illustrate how again, Anthy is the one who is wrongly portrayed, in my opinion, at least.  Everyone thinks it's because of the prince that Utena wanted to live again and so on when we discover that it was the revelation of Anthy's suffering that Utena gained the courage to live and to fight with nobility, not to meet the prince again, and if she intended to meet the prince, it was for Anthy's sake and not for the sake of meeting the prince, in how I have interpreted the series.
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I admit, the themes kind of go here and there, delving into character motivations and such aside from focusing on the play itself, but these were some initial thoughts I had when I watched that episode last (which was a while ago, but this is what I documented.).

Last edited by spoon-san (09-17-2009 10:10:49 PM)

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#25 | Back to Top09-18-2009 04:30:08 PM

Malacoda
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
Registered: 07-26-2009
Posts: 180

Re: Deciphering the Shadow Plays

Out of all the moments in SKU, the Tale of the Rose has to be my favorite and I agree with most of your analysis, Spoon (though any disagreement probably comes from my different interpretation of Anthy's character).

On a slightly related note, am I the only one who first thought B-ko was portraying a prince!Utena for the entire play? I thought B-ko was prince!Utena at first because, when the narrator (C-ko?) first mentioned the prince, the camera flashes to Utena instead of Akio and because B-ko's prince costume (http://www.ohtori.nu/galerie/v/series/e … 4.jpg.html) looks a lot like Utena's flashback prince costume (http://www.ohtori.nu/galerie/v/series/e … 5.jpg.html).

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