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 Top08-18-2015 12:16:34 PM

Thorn of Death
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 09-29-2008
Posts: 507

What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

So i was sitting outside thinking about what would happen if Juri had won the duels.... then it took me down a long path of wondering what would happen if each different character had won -- what the outcome would have been?

So if Utena never appeared at Ohtori.... or what if she just didn't win the duels?

Would Akio get bored of the duelists and start a new set (as is implied at the end?)

What if one of the other duelists had won?



#2 | Back to Top08-19-2015 03:36:03 PM

no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328

Re: What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

I kind of think Utena was always intended to win -- she's the wild card, seeded by Akio himself when she was little.  I don't think Akio would have proceeded with the Duel Called Revolution if anyone else had been the champion.  But let's say the duels were fair, and Akio let the chips fall where they may, and a different champion arrived at the final duel.  What would have happened?  Of course, we probably don't know half of Akio's evil plan -- but it's fun to speculate.

NANAMI stops at step 1: she doesn't show up to the duel.  In canon, she's taken her ring off before the duel is even over, while the other Student Council members are still wearing theirs.  Revolution doesn't have a particular meaning to Nanami.  She's fighting out of resentment against Utena and Anthy, not because she wants to achieve something.  So she gets the letter, she thinks about her busy social calendar, and she ditches.  Akio rolls his eyes, waits a couple years for the current senior members of the Student Council to graduate, then starts the game again.

RUKA also doesn't show.  He never wanted Revolution with a capital R; the duels were just a pretext to work on Juri.  He regards it as a bizarre joke that he won at all, and he certainly knows that Akio has nothing to offer him.  Plus he is too sick and/or dead to fight if he wanted to.  Possibly he can't win in the first place, because he loses by default to whoever challenges him after he's confined to his sickbed.

TOUGA shows up, but has no intention of dueling.  Like Ruka, he knows that Akio can't deliver on big-R Revolution; he's going for other reasons.  Akio offers him eternity so that Anthy will see him do it.  Touga declines politely, but has a list of specific suggestions about how Akio might use the planetarium to benefit Touga in the future.  Akio thinks this is funny and agrees.  They have a symbolically charged conversation, someone gets impaled on someone else's figurative sword, and Touga leaves.  He reports to the Student Council that he won the duel, and Akio doesn't contradict him.  Akio begins the duels again after this round has faded from memory.

JURI sticks around for Akio's All Glory To The Planetarium speech, then turns on her heel and leaves.  As she suspected, the Wizard of Oz is just a man behind a curtain, and she has no reason to stay if the power of miracles isn't on the table.  Rather than engage Akio on his own turf, she walks to the train station feeling... crushed, but not as crushed as she expected to feel.  She had already begun recovering from Shiori, though she's just now realizing it.  She steps down from the Student Council, and Akio starts the duels again soon.

MIKI fights Akio.  He rejects eternity for close to the same reason Utena does: because Anthy can't come, and it's not fair for her to stay a witch and in pain forever.  His duel goes a lot like Utena's, except that when Anthy stabs him in the back and delivers her verbal takedown, he doesn't get up again.  He believes that this is how she really feels and gives up on her.  No one ever sees him again.  Akio restarts the duels after the Student Council has turned over.

SAIONJI's decision depends a lot on Anthy.  In canon, by the end of the show he doesn't trust her at all and may not see her as a person.  If that's the way it is, he accepts Akio's proffered eternity and ascends to the castle.  Leaving Anthy behind doesn't bother him.  He has no idea what ascending to the castle means, only that it is victory.  I have no idea what happens to him next, though I think it would be deliciously ironic if he became the Rose Bride and experienced eternal suffering.  On the other hand, if Anthy has won Saionji over again and gotten his protective instinct up, then he goes the same way as Miki.

MIKAGE kills the Rose Bride, then wonders where Mamiya went.



#3 | Back to Top08-19-2015 03:55:54 PM

Black Rosarian
Registered: 02-04-2009
Posts: 378

Re: What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

Regarding Juri specifically, who I regard as the only other viable candidate, have a favorite repost of mine:

...the duels, even from the beginning of the show, aren't really about a contest of sword skill, it's a clash of wills. The strongest willed ALWAYS wins, and that's why Utena can win with ease over kendo stars, fencing club members, etc. etc. None of that matters. It's about the steel in your spirit, not your blade.

And this is also why Juri is the only one that Utena never technically defeats. Juri is the only Duelist besides Utena whose will is truly strong, and who resists the temptations that Akio plies the other Duelists with in his End of the World role. Even as Ruka is trying to tempt Juri with the power to obtain anything, she renounces it, saying she needs nothing but her own strength. In Utena, the people who lust after power the least are the ones who have it within them most. That's why Juri was undeniably Utena's most dangerous opponent.

Or rather, that Juri was perhaps the second most promising candidate to be Akio's sacrifice. While Juri can be haughty and cold at times, she is also strong, righteous, and honorable. However, unlike almost all the other duelists, she has no flaw or vice to be exploited. Her only weakness is an inability to let go of a tragic, hopeless love, and such an honest and sincere fault is not something Akio could successfully twist to his uses. That - and the appearance of a more easily manipulated candidate in Utena - are the reasons she was spared being put in that position.

Do I think Juri could've spiritually overpowered Akio as Utena did? Without a doubt. But, could she have cried tears of princely compassion and opened the gate? I'm less certain. Juri is at bottom a good and righteous person, but she disdains Anthy, as we see clearly early in the show, and with reason; I believe that of all the Duelists, Juri had by far the best insight into who and what Anthy truly was. She was not fooled by the Rose Bride. They are after all very similar, both allowing themselves to suffer in a twisted kind of loyalty to terrible people. The difference is that Juri has never used it as an excuse, either for herself or Shiori.

So while she may not know the details, nor fully understand the totality of Anthy's self-sacrificial commitment, she senses that Anthy is acting in a manipulative and conniving fashion on End of the World's behalf, and despises her for it. Yet for precisely these reasons, it's possible she could've been moved by the sight of Anthy at the climax, understanding how and from where the depth of her martyrdom arose.  It would've been very interesting to see her in that situation.

Last edited by Aelanie (08-19-2015 04:40:16 PM)



#4 | Back to Top06-07-2016 05:38:22 PM

Thorn of Death
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 09-29-2008
Posts: 507

Re: What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

thread necroing my own post to say -- what were the *other* final duels like? Did it happen every time or did Akio just wave his hand and make everyone forget everything when he realized no one was special. We are lead to believe this cycle has gone on so many times... but just how many people made it that far?

Was Nemuro/Mikage ever a duelist in the past life? was he marked as the winner because he killed everyone else >_> ?

Does everyone get to the final battle, see its Akio... and just give up to him, or lose... Do they see the same things Utena saw? I imagine everything is the same except the door opening to reveal the coffin... but then we also see Akio freak out "DONT YOU KNOW WHAT THAT DOES" type of freak out.



#5 | Back to Top06-07-2016 06:29:52 PM

Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 08-02-2009
Posts: 10

Re: What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

I may be misremembering something, and need to do some rewatching, but iirc:

In the last episode Akio attacked the Gate with Utena's soul sword, failed to accomplish anything with it, and said something about that sword apparently being no good just like the others before. That bit and Anthy's behaviour (dejected and unsurprised about the swords coming after her once again) seem to show that they'd been through this procedure multiple times before. Utena was meant to win the duels because she was the one "seeded" by Akio-pretending-to-be-Dios (or lingering shadow of Dios?) but it doesn't mean there had been no other similar candidates seeded for the previous cycles, only that Utena made it further than anyone before ever did.

That leaves me wondering whether the guy who seeded Utena by showing her Anthy's eternal suffering was neither purely Dios nor Akio but a strange entity of both of them overlapping, which might be supported by the fact that Dios's age is shown inconsistently - the older he looks in a given moment, the more of the Akio side he's representing? Or, if we go for the theory that Dios, Akio and Anthy are split aspects of the same person (my post about it was here, or that everyone relevant in Ohtori is a piece of Anthy's mind (as discussed elsewehere), then the unstable age of Dios might mean Utena was dragged into the story (or created by Anthy) because something in Anthy matured to the point of considering giving herself a chance to break the cycle.

Last edited by BlueRoseTree (06-07-2016 06:33:11 PM)

go fave my Utena fanart at



#6 | Back to Top06-08-2016 11:11:22 AM

Anthy Assailer
From: Barcelona [former epi]
Registered: 01-12-2016
Posts: 70

Re: What would have happened to Ohtori if someone else won the duels?

satyreyes wrote:

MIKAGE kills the Rose Bride, then wonders where Mamiya went.

omfg this one



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