By the time you reach the third disc of the Revolutionary Girl Utena Student Council box set, you’ve already developed your ideas about what you think is going on. My ideas and yours may not be the same, but they are all valid. The show is consciously constructed to allow all our ideas to be valid. Now we, as viewers, have to allow each other’s ideas to be valid, too.
I’m going to tell you some of the things I think are going on (bearing in mind that while I know what is going to happen, I wont be talking about that – just what is happening on this disc. What I would REALLY like is to hear what you think is going on in the story. What are your thoughts about The End of the World – no spoilers, remember, just based on this first arc! – or about Touga, or the duels, or Anthy, Utena, whatever.
Okay, so here I go.
The disk begins with Saionji doing something very stupid, and being expelled for it. I have this belief that, in some way, all the members of the Student Council, by becoming members of the Student Council, were essentially consenting to being manipulated by the End of the World.
Which is why I personally find it hardest to watch Nanami being screwed with. She did not give this consent. Miki is innocent, but not unbsubtle. Nanami is a child. She is driven by delusion and fear and has no place in the duels. That Touga offers her up to them was, in my opinion an unforgivable crime.
Up to this point, it would be natural to think that Touga is the master manipulator here. He seems, to Utena at least, to be in control. It’s only at the end of the arc that we and he see that he wasn’t in control at all.
The last two episodes were as amazing as I remembered them to be.
In episode 11, Utena find herself stripped of her confidence, her purpose, her very self by Touga, who uses his good looks, his masculinity and his position to turn her into a “normal” girl, who needs a prince to rescue her.
And most important IMHO, is that in response to losing the duel Utena says simply, “Please don’t take Anthy away from me.” She would give herself up…but not Anthy.
In episode 12, Wakaba slaps some sense into her, by making her realize that “normal” is not normal for Utena. Utena challenges Touga to a rematch to regain herself – the self that wants to be a Prince, not be rescued by one. She defeats Touga without help from Dios or an enchanted sword – she defeats him with nothing but her determination and will. To awesome music. To regain Anthy. NOT to regain the Rose Bride, but to get Anthy back.
Most importantly, at that moment, Anthy is *surprised.* That alone is worth watching the final episodes for.
When the episode (and the first arc) ended, I began spontaneously applauding. Again. As I have every time I have watched this series.
It’s gonna be a long, long, few weeks before the next set arrives!
Thanks again Nozomi/RightStuf for making it possible to watch this remastered version.
Art – 8
Story – 10
Character – 9
Yuri – 4
Service – 1
Overall – 9
The music video for “Revolution Rondo” blew my mind more than anything else in Utena ever has. It was filmed in New York City, which was just…entirely unexpected.
Here’s an interesting aside. On Twitter today I mentioned that what I would love to see is a ridiculously high budget live action version of the moment Utena draws the sword from Anthy. Just that scene. At which, a very good friend of mine from way back mentioned that there is a rumor of a pitch in Hollywood for an Utena movie…and that Variety is supposed to be doing an article about it next month. I guess we’ll see if that article ever happens…. Thanks for the heads up, Rob!
Now it is your turn – what are some of your thoughts on this arc?