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 Top07-19-2016 02:18:40 PM

Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 07-02-2016
Posts: 13

The Chu-Chu Files

After a little poking around the forum I've found this great topic on (Chu-Chu).  Here's another to add onto the thoughts/theories on Chu-Chu's role, purpose, etc. in the anime.  For any who are intrigued, mystified, or plain stymied, it's my hope that we can all put together a compendium of sorts.  At first glance, an unlikely candidate for an in-depth analysis but then again, once the show's use of inversions became clear Chu-Chu suddenly was the number one subject of my interest.  I've detailed some of my interpretations and included noteworthy images.  Please feel free to add on and help me understand or at least gain more perspectives of Chu-Chu.     

Initially dismissed as a comic relief mascot creature, Utena would be a different show without this bizarre monkey creature offering a unique insight into both Anthy's character as well as the plot.  Is Chu-Chu a guide, accomplice, morale support, or a comic figure?  The short answer to me is that Chu-Chu forms a vital piece of the puzzle through functioning akin to the (Shakespearean Fool). 

Why is Chu-Chu even a monkey in the first place?  Was it an arbitrary choice or does it convey some significance?  Looking a bit more, it's interesting how monkey lore in particular exists in Eastern cultures. 

Monkey mythology is an important part of both Hindu/Buddhist lore (India) and Zodiac/Taoist/Buddhist lore (China). In the various tales presented below, the monkey is portrayed initially as foolish, vain, and mischievous. Yet, in each tradition, the monkey learns valuable lessons along the way, makes changes, and eventually gains redemption.

(Monkey Lore)  I don't know if or how monkey lore plays a part, but I lean towards it having some meaning.  In any case, here's some notes going through the Student Council episodes where Chu-Chu appears.     

Episode 2
- Meets Utena and takes an instant liking.  Possessive over cracker, tries to hide it behind himself.  Doesn't like sharing?  Doesn't usually get to have things and thus doesn't want to have to share or risk losing it?     
- Rallies Utena for help and brandished a fork at Saionji.  Recognizes Utena as a defender.  Talented at pantomime.   
- Gets stepped on = Saionji always "stepping on" Anthy and making her into a doormat.
- Kicks at pebble; dejected, resigned, and glum when Utena decides she'll lose the duel.
- Wants that cake and dives right in.  Looks enamored with Utena when she gives Anthy a wave in greeting. 
- Crams cheeks full of food in the same way that one would shove food in their mouth to occupy themselves to avoid conversation.  First clue that Anthy either has a lot to say and can't or chooses not to.

Episode 3
- Gets his face stuck in glass to highlight lack of impressiveness and cause Utena to doubt just how great a friend this creature could be, continued on to the card game scene.
- Eats bubble wrap? package tablet thing and drips vomit.  Anthy is nauseated by the dress and the whole party situation makes her sick?
- Utena still discounts Chu-Chu's friendship by insisting Anthy go to the ball because she believes Anthy needs more friends.
- Trips on the record player, face plants and goes in circles, clearly besides himself at the dancing going on.

Episode 4
-Tries to eat the eraser when Utena comments on how lucky Anthy is to have Miki correcting her math exam and says that she should get a logical boyfriend too...and bam! Chu-Chu throws the eraser in disgust/anger at that.
- Scribbles on paper in attempts to communicate but has a bump on the head to she how Anthy hurts herself to make Miki desire her?
*side note: Anthy's elephant doodle = Nanami's attempts to discredit Anthy aka the elephant in the room = karma elephants
- Eats shaved ice that is flavorless and gets strangled by octopus to support how Nanami thinks Anthy is odd while no one else does.  Anthy wants to say how right Nanami is but the octopus literally has to hold her back!  And the tears run down Chu-Chu's face and my own.
-Keeps time while Anthy plays piano.  Beginners use metronomes or when you're not familiar with a piece, or if it's technically demanding... fabricating a sunlit garden would be taxing and a metronome could help with that.  There's no notes on the sheet music.  Eerie.

Episode 5
- Cruising around on a skateboard (didn't come back to me until Touga and Saonji went on a motorcycle ride.  Vehicles are symbols for autonomy?) while presumably hanging out with Utena and later head tilts at the suggestion that Miki and Anthy have something to interrupt.
- Closes eyes in enjoyment/denial while Anthy plays piano. 
- Eyes metronome moving but there is no sound.  Do he and Anthy hear something else? Right, the conversation between Miki and Utena.  Later he mimics metronome with head bopping, everything is in rhythm and on pace.  First clue that this is all a plan of some kind unfolding and later confirmed when Anthy cheers for Utena to make Miki lose the duel.   

Episode 6
- Rings the bell rather eagerly and with relish when Touga knocks out the kangaroo.  Ah yes, sweet victory in setting Touga up to impress Utena?  and Nanami?  and Tsuwabuki? everyone?   

Episode 7
- Lunch stowaway to possibly orchestrate Utena's meeting with Jury?
- Clings to Utena's arm and seems to be afraid/uneasy of Jury.
- In the cutest scene ever, Chu-Chu is really milking it with his fear of the dark.  Perhaps it is genuine and suggests a fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by darkness.  It was only later with the black rose arc that I realized why he doesn't like nighttime and darkness T_T   
- Chu-Chu gets knocked off Utena and is completely undisturbed and sleeps right though the fight.  Must be used to violence.

Episode 8
- Chows down on cracker to keep truth of how Anthy really feels about the exchange diary and falls asleep, worry free once Utena decides that she'll handle the diary situation.
- Throws banana peel to foil Nanami and prevent the body swap from reversing, swiftly followed up by a karma elephant exhaling on Chu-Chu in karmic punishment.   
- Used for revenge against Saonji trying to force the diary exchange and dictate Anthy's feelings towards him.

Episode 9
- Torments roly poly (pill bug) with delight only to have its source of fun eaten by a frog, visibly (and audibly) upset and tantrum ensues until Saonji kicks them both aside.  Saonji is represented by the roly poly.  Didn't know what the frog meant until later.
- Inside a bag of chips steadily munching until Utena starts asking about Anthy's whereabouts then Chu-Chu frantically eats.  Avoidance behavior. 

Episode 10
- Drinks milk looking like it tastes bad when Anthy chooses to encourage Utena to go see Touga to thank him for saving her. 
- Mocks Touga's laughing.

Episode 11
- Gorges on Anthy's lunch.  Seems to indicate Anthy's feelings of inadequacy in preparing Utena a lunch in comparison to Wakaba's so he spares Utena having to eat it?
- Eats and does tricks to amuse everyone and make Utena laugh.
- Eats Anthy's unspoken words when Utena says that Anthy should befriend Wakaba, but Utena corrects herself once she realizes what she just did and declares Chu-Chu as a friend who is as fun as 10 people.
- Jumps for the cracker Utena's holding --> maybe mirrors Anthy wanting to have more friends or to at least become friends with Utena.  Not eating = Anthy being honest?   
- Not chewing on the cracker stuffed in his mouth, possibly stunned into stillness with the conversation happening?

Episode 12
- Bows in farewell in Utena's flashback, pack full of crackers and those eyes are odd! 
- Eats dark cracker when in the company of Utena but eats light cracker when he is the company of the student council --> denotes the weight of how much Anthy is holding back in respective company?

Episode 13
- Monkeying around with Utena and causes her to fall from the bunk bed, cue Anthy asking after her.  Well played, Chu-Chu.       

More to follow.



#2 | Back to Top07-19-2016 09:02:32 PM

Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
Registered: 02-22-2014
Posts: 172

Re: The Chu-Chu Files

With my icon, it might have been obvious that I'd be interested in this! Chu-Chu is both precious, and somewhat terrifying, and regardless of the surface appearance of small, marketable cute thing, one can find some really interesting visual symbolism. You seem to be doing a pretty through collection so far, but I'll help when I can.

airetam wrote:

Eats bubble wrap? package tablet thing and drips vomit.  Anthy is nauseated by the dress and the whole party situation makes her sick?

I'm guessing it's supposed to be a silica gel packet, since it came from presumably new dresses. It's said to be an irritant, so it makes sense that it could be used to show disgust in that situation while still maintaining an air of small animal antics. It's sad, but still impressively symbolic.



#3 | Back to Top07-30-2016 06:19:34 PM

Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 07-02-2016
Posts: 13

Re: The Chu-Chu Files

@ zeedikay:  Chu-Chu is indeed precious and somewhat terrifying, an intriguing mix of contradictions not unlike Anthy.  It makes sense that it's a silica gel packet that he eats from the dress boxes.  One less thing to be mystified over lol.  I appreciate any and all help you have to offer on Chu-Chu's behavior and possible meanings.   

The Student Council episodes introduces Chu-Chu as a friend to Anthy, a harmless, cute creature who lives to eat and be merry.  Of course, there's more going on than meets the eye here, and in the Black Rose episodes it becomes overtly apparent that Chu-Chu functions in a diverse manner and is actually quite important to understanding the story's layers.  So many nuanced details occur during this stretch of episodes and Chu-Chu is often right at the fore of many of them. 

Episode 14
- Really wants Utena's cake.  Falls out the window and just as he's almost back on his feet the blast from Anthy's info bomb knocks him back out the window.
- Chu-Chu is trying to act casual and seems stunned that his act didn't manage to fool Utena.  In the past maybe he would have been successful due to Utena's willingness to take things at face vaule.  Now she's more insightful and knows something is going on with Chu-Cu.  He has no defense against her questions concerning Anthy's whereabouts at the end of the episode and so hides behind a newspaper.  Looks so uneasy, sweatdrops and that little chu he says is so emotive.  It destroyed me!       
- Covered with the newspaper and sleeping besides Utena at the table with lights on --> very stark contrast to the scene before of Anthy and Akio.  The juxtaposition serves more to illuminate Anthy's character (which has been largely kept in the dark) and to show just how out of her depth in all this Utena truly is.   

Episode 15
- Chu-Chu is trying to keep his cracker away from a fly.  Miki encroaching on Anthy's time in Utena's company? 
- Eats a watermelon slice and rests.  Nothing Anthy can do about Miki so she's just got to go with the flow.  Miki asks her to play piano and Chu-Chu (still sleeping) seems to have somehow eaten a pile of watermelon slices judging by the rinds left behind.  Seems to indicate how Anthy doesn't want to lead Miki on but can't do anything about it.  First clue that Chu-Chu shown sleeping could be an sign that shows Anthy being unable to act.  In other contexts it strongly seems to mean that Anthy switches off her kill bill red alert klaxon and can relax from her danger mode. 
- And OMG Chu-Chu at the end killed me!  So Chu-Chu is not only sleeping (and in that position X_X), but wearing an eye mask (that shows eyes open) and has earplugs in. HOLY!  Anthy wants to be blind (eye mask pretends to have eyes open, likely disassociating) and deaf to what's going on and she is in a state of being unable to act.

Episode 16
- Chu-Chu hold ball of yarn while Anthy knits.  What a handy, dandy little helper.     
- Drinks a glass of milk and gets stuck in it aka betrayed by enjoying something too much.
- Wrapped up in a yarn burrito, sleeping while Anthy is nodding off.  It's only because I have a friend in a certain health profession that I took special note of this.  Some people on the Asperger's Spectrum feel more secure and calm when swaddled or confined during sleep.  In general, many people like weighted blankets or sleeping in a cocooned fashion due to similar feelings of safety and lowered anxiety.
- Swings on cow tail, happy and having fun.     

Episode 17
- Mimics Juri's fencing.  Likes the power of the image she presents? 
- Fake smiles at meeting Shiori?  He just didn't seem sincere to me because of how Anthy seemed.     
- LOL literally wrapped around Utena's finger.
- Clutching Utena's arm as they leave Shiori's dorm room.  All demonstrations of possessiveness? Perhaps sees parallels going on with the feels mess of Juri and Shiori?     

Episode 18
- Shields self from rain with leaf and watches a snail.  Snails are Anthy's friends, remember the pencil case incident.  Well, Chu-Chu decides it's worth getting rained on if that means he can play and have fun with the snail.  Mirrors conversation about Tsuwabuki putting up with Nanami's crap if it means he can bask in her attention.  Frog comes back and puts a stop to Chu-Chu's play date with the snail.  Froggy must mean something?  Is it pretty much confirmed that the frog is a play on the frog prince lore of fairytails and serves to signify Akio? 

Episode 19
- Pigs out while Wakaba tries to set Utena up with Kazami Tatsuya (the onion prince).  Anthy isn't pleased at all with this = Chu-Chu stuffing his face.   
- Deer in headlights look at meeting this guy; mocks his charming, pleasant, easy-going romeo status by melodramatically putting on a skirt costume and swooning, complete with coyness and red heart tail. Chu-Chu is a little shit confirmed. 
- Sleeps with a snot bubble snore when it's clear that Tatsuya isn't actually interested in Utena.

Episode 20
- no sightings

Episode 21
- Chu-Chu takes the invitation to Touga's cheer up party in Anthy's stead.  Did Anthy not want to have to accept the invite or did the planners not want to seek out and interact with Anthy?   
- Looks out the window at Keiko.
- "Chu-Chu kept you up all night with his crying."  CRYING????!
- Then he poisons himself with his own gas fumes --> a hint at what caused Chu-Chu to cry at night?  Self-poisoning. Whoop, there it is.  HOLY. The show slayed me once again here by how much Anthy said at the end and Utena's ongoing struggle to connect the dots.

Episode 22
- Wandering around Mikage's place presumably, as Utena's looking for him and Mikage has found him in a mousetrap.  A set up? 
- Chu-Chu inflates like a balloon.  Full of hot air?  Trying to show Utena that Mikage is bsing her?  Also another reading is that Chu-Chu resembles a lollipop that lures children to their doom a la Hansel and Gretel Grimm fairy tale style.  Mikage lures Utena with a Chu-Chu lollipop. 

Episode 23
- Chu-Chu climbs up on the watering can in response to Utena wondering where oh where Anthy has gone. Is he looking in there for Anthy?  He then falls into the watering can and loudly scrambles around at the suggestion that Utena has a friend going through some problems in life. 
- Appears to be sleeping but has no snot bubble snore going on.  Is Anthy faking sleep here?  The TV is on, playing static, and Anthy appears to have dozed off...maybe she was faking when she noticed Utena waking up and she couldn't risk a possible confrontation to spoil the peace of the moment aka scene of hands letting go.  Fake sleeping could be a thing. 
- Eats dry noodles while Anthy wonders why she's so tired.  Usually eats crackers, so why the pasta?  He's gone through all the crackers and has moved up to pasta?  Dry pasta takes more effort to digest than a cracker?  Does it denote a bigger lie?  Anthy is lying to herself: oh, why am I so maybe cause you're leading a multiple lives.     

Episode 24
- In a flashback to the ball episdoe Chu-Chu is chugging down some wine and getting flushed but chokes? turned blue in the face and presumably spits up on some random girl's orange dress.  orange = happiness and sadness.  Is Chu-Chu dissing orange?  Is he spewing out his drink on the illusion of happiness that the ball represents? 
- Feigns (?) hunger so Tsuwabuki gives him a banana souvenir to later use to cause Nanami to fall and foil the body swapping being reversed.   
- Chu-Chu's (fake) snooze and soft teeth grinding distracts Nanami so Utena can read the diary without her knowing.
- He's is eating something (?) to add to nananmi's weight as an subtle insult. 
- Rings a bell when Tsuwbuki's sheet falls, and then Nanami falls through a window and wakes up.  Incredible metaphor is incredible. 

And that ends the Black Rose arc. Major questions revolve around the snot bubble snore and its absence.

More to follow.



#4 | Back to Top08-15-2016 07:18:15 AM

Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 174

Re: The Chu-Chu Files

The mousetrap part jumped out at me when I watched that episode today, as I've been keeping a close track of Chu-Chu this time around.

Chu-Chu gets caught in a painful trap, and when Utena finds him, she tells him off for getting into trouble. Isn't that odd? Why would Utena blame Chu-Chu when he's the victim in the...
ah, yes.

Last edited by Arale (08-15-2016 07:18:28 AM)

im a shadow play girl irl



#5 | Back to Top08-15-2016 02:44:33 PM

Touga Topper
Registered: 11-23-2012
Posts: 57

Re: The Chu-Chu Files

It's always been known that Ikuhara loves to use animals to explain more of what's going on/symbolism/foreshadowing.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.



#6 | Back to Top08-20-2016 12:46:41 PM

Wakaba Wrangler
Registered: 07-02-2016
Posts: 13

Re: The Chu-Chu Files

Into the final stretch of the show Chu-Chu takes a back seat, his role in the story having peaked.  However, he still manages to get across some important details.  I am not a big anime watcher so I am not familiar to Ikuhara's MO and use of animals to convey symbolism.  It's a pretty fantastic tool and instigator to getting the audience thinking.  It's certainly gotten me thinking emot-biggrin.  I did a little digging into animal spirits and general animal lore, and the concept of the spirit animal offers a pretty solid view on Chu-Chu as a representation of Anthy.   

In pagan religions and systems, a spirit animal or totem is meant to be a representation of the traits and skills that you are supposed to learn or have.

If you're interested this is a good place for some info on the monkey as a totem figure --> … aning.html

Let's jump into it and finish up. 

Episode 25
- Playing on a vacuum cleaner and gets sucked up into the hose
- Busts out of the vacuum bag and appears to be gawking at Utena's legs, sneezing from the dust of the vaccum.  Does this indicate that Anthy is upset (sneezing from an irritant) with the general situation but since it also helps her get to stay close and possibly get even closer to Utena she'll tolerate it?  Is Utena the irritant here?  Where are the Cyrano de Bergerac AU fics or the espionage AU fics, writers?  Prompt: Anthy as a spy/mole/double agent who fell for her target emot-wink     
- Sprawled out on Utena's head, big smile, happy as can be and then startles when Wakaba goes about pouring tea for everyone.  Forgot everyone else was there?  In his own little world of happiness?   
- Big smile on Anthy's shoulder as she waters the roses.  Do smiles mean frowns?  Is Chu-Chu upset about Anthy's methods of caring for the roses?  Pretty clear the rose garden signifies Anthy as the cultivator of the duelists.
- Chu-Chu is next to Saonji on the car eating a dark colored cracker.  He knows about the car when no one else seems to see it and he won't be volunteering any info about it either, becuase whoops his mouth is full, can't talk.  And of course Saonji tosses Chu-Chu away with no regard for him keeping quiet about the car or how it's connected to Saonji being a "new man."
- Oh man, the eye mask and ear plugs come back...

Episode 26
- Balloon Chu-Chu makes a reappearance to note that Anthy's advice about caring for the birds has actually never been put to the test. 

Episode 27
- Chu-Chu has been away this whole time and now returns, sharing a look with a solemn Anthy.  Is he something like a child to her?  Nanami finds the egg after abandoning it and asks forgiveness for leaving it.  It fires a warning shot at her, the shell revealed to be cracked and broken.  Empty and gone.  Perhaps it means children and parents are always going to be separated by time, maturity, and death?  Anthy and Utena talk about reincarnation, elephants leaving the herd to die in secret, and ideas and emotions being inherited throughout generations and in doing so becoming eternal in a way.  Albert Einstein comes to mind - "Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life." 

Episode 28
- Chu-Chu enjoys a shower while Anthy waters the roses and is dazzled and blushing when Utena say how pretty...the flowers always look.

Episode 29
- no Chu-Chu sightings

episode 30
- Sleeping with a snot bubble snore and crumbs on his face.  Seems like he had the appetite Utena didn't.  Is he representing Utena's secret here? Anthy's subtext?  Both?     

Episode 31
- no Chu-Chu sightings

Episode 32
- Nanami glares and Chu-Chu eats a cracker
- Chu-Chu gets jammed, literally. 
- Floats and falls just like a popped balloon.
- Hands Nanami Touga's phone with End of the World on the line and collapses back on the bed. 
- Chu-Chu is "kidnapped" to force Utena to duel Nanami

Episode 33
- I wonder what Chu-Chu might have been doing if he made an appearance in this one. Inhaling more farts?  What's worse than a fart?  Would Chu-Chu vomit and then eat it?  What would Chu-Chu be doing this episode?   

Episode 34
- Chu-Chu helps in some reshuffling of where people are standing in the photo when Akio goes to put his arm around Utena's shoulder. 
- Anthy is in bed alone while he wears the eye mask, only this mask has one eye open and one closed.  Also no snot bubble snore.  Anthy can't ignore what's going on anymore. 

Episode 35
- Bed time Chu-Chu with one eye closed face mask reappears.
- He wants to see the earrings and perhaps he is admiring how Utena looks with those new earrings. 

Episode 36
- Sleeping with a giant snot bubble that pops all over himself, yet Chu-Chu sleeps on undisturbed.  Utena tucks him in a pink blanket...worried he'll catch a cold and if Anthy is visiting with her brother...HOLY. Does this mean Anthy is no longer in denial and is openly ill now at things? Does this mean that Anthy is out on the roof, cold and shivering?  Does the snot bubble mean anything at all or am I losing it here!?  That's rhetorical.     
- Utena ponders about Touga and looks over at Anthy in bed sleeping.  Chu-Chu isn't covered with the pink blanket anymore.  There's no sign of where that pink blanket even is.  The blanket is a lie and he doesn't want its false warmth! 
- He unearths a worm and either mimics it or directs its movements? 
- Chu-Chu is sleeping, this time with his own little green blanket. 

Episode 37
- Chu-Chu butters toast and Anthy tells him the toast is his not hers when he tries to get her to eat it.  Anthy buttered Utena up, Akio goes to take a bite, but Anthy is the one who should be eating?   

Episode 38
- a Chu-Chu sighting would have been helpful.

Episode 39
- Chu-Chu is on Akio's desk, his ears folded inward.  Not listening to whatever Akio has to say.  Not worth the listen.  Also is downcast and saddened to leave or just with Akio's stasis in general. 
- Struggles with fending off the frog and runs away with tears streaming down his face.
- Jumps up on Anthy's shoulder, packed and ready to go for an adventure emot-smile

That's it.  If you have an interpretation of Chu-Chu or his actions, please share it and help me out.  Chu-Chu is a conundrum of a riddle and easily the most confounding aspect of the show.



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