This is a static copy of In the Rose Garden, which existed as the center of the western Utena fandom for years. Enjoy. :)

#1 | Back to Top10-28-2017 12:12:53 PM

Ends of the Fandom
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8797

The Prince that Runs Through My Night... Some thoughts.

So tonight I watched episode 33 with a couple friends from the Discord. (Hey Sen!) Given we are both shameless raving Akio fans I was curious how it would strike us, and I have to say that every time I see it I find a new detail and something else to appreciate even more.

Things like the sound mixing when Akio is speaking to Anthy. They cut back and forth so that one minute it's Akio and the revving engine, and the next it's Anthy and a mostly silent projector hum. The degree to which the timing and sudden silence emphasizes the distance between them was striking.

In fact many parts of that conversation, and then another he has with someone? Touga? Anthy? are also only audible from one side. The show is pretty consistent elsewhere in letting you hear both sides of phone conversations, and the lack of it here is yet another disarming element that gives an uncomfortable menace to the episode.

The masterful acting from Tomoko Kawakami, whose voice subtly climbs in pitch as Utena becomes more nervous, her statements beginning by the end to sound like questions, her uncertainty making her voice turn up at the end of sentences even without the query. Finally in the car after, her voice is utterly feminine, soft and hesitant and confused.

Also... I didn't know that when the SPGs ask for something eternal, canned peaches wasn't just a random answer, but a likely reference to immortality in Chinese mythology:

And most of all, every time I watch this episode I realize a little more how completely in Akio's shoes you are. Like when the frame includes the table but at a distance, so you know he's leaning back, against something, quietly watching Utena talk herself in circles. Compared to when they're playing Othello and he's leaning in, enough that Utena has to look up at him though they're sitting.

The way Utena's lips become pink after her shower, and she looks more and more feminine the closer to the act she gets.

That now.. How absurd it becomes to ask why doesn't he put her out of her misery? In the bed she keeps talking and getting visibly and audibly agitated and uncomfortable...and it's shocking how easily the show slips you into Akio's state of mind, so that instead of seeing a girl in distress, you see her turning more and more beautiful as her state deteriorates. Her voice starting to shake, her hesitant brief glances, her words so clearly an attempt to establish normalcy from the situation she finds herself in. This is all arousing to him. He's absolutely enjoying it, and you are forced into that point of view, so that you also see her become more and more lovely as her peace of mind is stripped away.

It's enough to leave you queasy after. What you see and what you're put through is draining and uncomfortable. And I think what struck me most this time around is that by forcing you into his perspective, you're indeed being made the aggressor... But you are also, now, a victim. You are denied an unobstructed experience of empathy for what is happening to Utena. Your perspective is invaded and taken over by Akio's, so that what you know is gruesome and horrible becomes beautiful, riveting... So much so that not once will you glance away.

It's one thing to have such a thing happen to your heroine. It's another to see it through the eyes of the one doing it. And it's yet even more when you realize you've just become part of his pleasure. There are not many ways you can be victimized by a character on a screen. But this fucking show.

This fucking show manages it.

This isn't very articulate. I'm sorry. I'm half asleep. But it's just one of those things that makes me realize why this show is so important to me. You don't have the luxury of being a passive recipient, and I'm always impressed by how thoroughly the show drags you through hell with these characters. And if it takes a detour through heaven, the conditions make that even worse.

Akio, you have nice turns of phrase, but your points aren't clear and you have no textual support. I can't give this a passing grade.
~ Professor Arisa Konno, Eng 1001 (Freshman Literature and Composition)



#2 | Back to Top10-29-2017 01:17:35 AM

Tenjou Tilter
Registered: 09-13-2016
Posts: 80

Re: The Prince that Runs Through My Night... Some thoughts.

Hi  I'm SaigonAlice, better known as Sen, and I completely and utterly agree with my fellow Akio fucker here. It was one hell of a night lollers and we ended up watching End Of Evangelion after that so no wonder Gio is tired. xD

My additional notes:
- Ferris Wheels in the background. A symbol of not only eternity, but an eternity of childhood innocence and ignorance, of sweet but unfulfilled promises.
- Akio and Shadow Girls both openly mocking each other. They get a rise out of him but not nearly to the same extent that Anthy could.
- Utena constantly stretching her body, unaware of her own sexuality and of Akio's eyes all over her
- Utena constantly talking about food before and during having sex with Akio, which brings to mind the Food vs Sex dichotomy. Both biologically necessary but also extremely pleasurable functions.
- That awkward obstructiveness of the camera framing - denying the audience of any kind of relief - as already mentioned by Gio, which reminds one of the scene in Evangelion where Asuka and Rei are in the elevator for five minutes before escalating into a fight.
- Utena going with Akio to "deliver roses" only to end up spending the night with him..considering that roses are a yonic symbol, what did she actually deliver?

Last edited by SaigonAlice (04-15-2018 07:53:29 AM)

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