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 Top04-25-2010 09:54:11 PM

Saionji Slapper
From: sacramento
Registered: 04-25-2010
Posts: 26

Akio/Anthy and Iran

The rose thing is much more Iran than it is India, but as far as google can tell me no one has ever mentioned it as that might relate to Akio.

Unless there's any glaring reason that they can't be from Iran, that's how I plan on viewing the show from now on.

don't think twice



#2 | Back to Top04-26-2010 01:17:12 AM

Tour Guide to Crawling Chaos
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 719

Re: Akio/Anthy and Iran

Hey, welcome to the forums. emot-smile

I think the India thing has been brought up before on other threads like this one, but it's certainly worth talking about some more. Here's my take.

The only real clue to Akio/Anthy/Dios's potential geographic origin are the tilaks (?) on their foreheads. That's the major thing that makes people say "I guess they're probably Indian or something?" (Well, that and the fact that Chiho Saito, who was influential in the character designs, has been known to use Indian characters before, such as in "Waltz in a White Dress"... but that's not textual.)

However, I don't think that many people argue that they're actually from India (or Iran, or anywhere) in any real sense. When the show tells us of their background, the visuals are very mixed. Dios and Anthy are in some kind of hut, but it has a fax machine. An angry mob is pounding at their door, but they're wearing suits. (The angry mob's skin is blacked out as is usual for flashbacks, but their hair is all pretty light, if you wanted to argue that that means anything.) The deliberate timelessness of their origin suggests that we aren't supposed to try and define them too strictly. (As for the shadow play, I think we can rule that out as a source of solid information.)

There's also their names. There's nothing to suggest that the names "Ohtori Akio" and "Himemiya Anthy" are actually their original names... Akio apparently changed his last name readily enough when it suited him. However, Dios's name has more weight. Not only does it have heavier symbolic/religious connotations, but it's also used in Anthy's incantations. And, of course, it's Spanish, right?

(Now that I think about it, you could argue that "Anthy" is indeed Anthy's real name, or close enough... Akio seems very used to calling her by it, even when they're alone. Anthy, tellingly, doesn't really refer to him by name. After all, what would she call him? "Dios"?)

Finally, the symbolism behind their origins... prince, princess, evil witch... is deliberately European.

So what does all this tell us? Not much. To the viewer of the show, Akio and Anthy's ethnicity only seems important in that it marks them as exotic... somehow different from the rest of the people at Ohtori. (Racist? Perhaps, but there it is.) That's the conclusion I draw, and it seems to be a fairly popular one among fans.

As for the rose thing, I think the creators were trying to play with he symbols of the shoujo genre, not trying to invoke connections to a specific place. Rose of Versailles always gets referenced here, and with good reason... it's hard to imagine that Utena would have pushed the rose motif so hard (or had such vaguely military-looking uniforms) if not for its influence. So if anywhere, I'd say the rose motif suggests France, which, of course, has its own history of roses.

That's not to say that you can't approach the show with that way, of course. Out of curiosity, how does your interpretation of Akio and Anthy change if you place them as coming from Iran?

Last edited by Dallbun (04-26-2010 01:18:15 AM)



#3 | Back to Top04-26-2010 11:32:03 PM

Saionji Slapper
From: sacramento
Registered: 04-25-2010
Posts: 26

Re: Akio/Anthy and Iran

well..  there's a lot of things.

for one, the boss of iran gets an Akio smile whenever he's saying anything on the news.  Joking around about that makes watching the series a little different.

Another thing about SKU that I thought was weird for a long time was the "rose sugar pickle" Mamiya had or the jam Anthy did.  The only person who has ever talked with me about cooking with roses is from Iran, and she brings back bags of them once or twice a year to eat.  I think she's in her 60s.  I might send the show over to her sometime soon to see what she blurts out.

don't think twice



#4 | Back to Top04-27-2010 08:26:19 AM

New Student
From: US
Registered: 04-27-2010
Posts: 3

Re: Akio/Anthy and Iran

I agree with the idea that Akio and Anthy are supposed to be the exotic outsiders and that they're not from anywhere in particular, but it's fun to think about what ethnicity they might be.  I am half-Iranian and for some reason the idea of the two being Iranian doesn't speak to me - but I would like to think they could be from one of the countries that blends the cultural & culinary heritages of both Iran and India - Afghanistan or Pakistan maybe.

P.S. Iranian pastries made with rose water are delicious emot-smile



#5 | Back to Top06-07-2010 10:51:35 AM

Miki Molester
Registered: 06-01-2010
Posts: 39

Re: Akio/Anthy and Iran

I know this thread is a little old, but I hope nobody minds.

It's been mentioned that Anthy and Akio have a South Asian appearance, even though Anthy's name is Greek in origin.  However, in the past there were trade and cultural ties between Ancient Greece and India; heck, I remember seeing a few Indian Buddha statues that were sculpted with a classical influence.  That, combined with the cultural fusion of Hellenistic culture (which includes strong Persian/Iranian influences), makes them seem a bit more ancient.

Then again, that may not mean anything.  Like satyreyes said, they may have been given an Indian influence to make them seem more exotic, and that's something I'm inclined to agree with.  Plus, they may have been given several multicultural influences to make their origins seem even more vague and distant; for example, while Anthy's name may be Greek, Dios is Spanish, and Dios/Akio's princely getup is distinctly European.



#6 | Back to Top06-07-2010 09:55:05 PM

Mock Puppet
Azure Paleontologist
From: In a dark room.
Registered: 10-06-2007
Posts: 1207

Re: Akio/Anthy and Iran

It is quite an interesting theory but this might be a case of over-thinking things, unless you start exploring the whole Garden of Eden with the original sin starring Akio as the Devil and Anthy as Lilith, then the idea of those two been from Iran/Iraq makes more sense as that is where the Garden of Eden was believed to be located.

“Eat right, exercise regularly, die anyway.”
-A. Nonymous-



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