In the ninth episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of manipulation andÂ parental death.
- I WAS LULLED INTO A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY BY THIS SHOW, AND THEN EVERYTHING IS CHAOS.
- Holy shit, this episode truly feels like it came out of nowhere because of how quickly shit just got real.
- JUST???? FLASHBACKS??? UNEXPLAINED CASTLES AND LETTERS AND WHAT THE HELL SORT OF GRAND MANIPULATION IS TOUGA PLANNING?
- HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE THAT UTENA MET TOUGA AND SAIONJI BEFORE?
- HOW IS THIS WHOLE EPISODE POSSIBLE?
- I MEAN, SERIOUSLY. Almost precisely from the start, we’re dropped into the makeshift duel between Touga and Saionji, which most of the school watches. It’s confusing, of course, because there’s no real context for why they’d be dueling in the school instead of the arena. But after Saionji loses to Touga, he ends up at the rose garden, looking in on Anthy and being GROSS AND ENTITLED AS USUAL.
- But I was shocked that he chose to be so honest about his obsession with Anthy, admitting that it was his past with Touga that informed his current behavior. THEY HAD KNOWN ONE ANOTHER FOR TEN YEARS. TEN YEARS. WHAT THE HELL???
- How did they get the rose seal rings, STOP IGNORING THIS QUESTION, UTENA.
- Anyway, I’m once again blown away my the queer subtext of Touga and Saionji’s backstory, since we’re shown yet another example of a strange obsession that has romantic overtones. Like, I don’t necessarily thing that Saionji has a full-blown crush on the man, but look at the way he venerates Touga and places him on a pedestal. He wants to be Touga, and the way that Touga is framed in all those flashback scenes shows us how Saionji views his friend.
- It’s becoming obvious to me how much of this series is based on obsession. Saionji’s characterization in the present is rooted in his obsession with the idea of eternity. After he saw how Touga treated Utena the day her parents were buriedâ€¦ actually, wait. That’s not quite right, is it? I mean, Saionji certainly believes that Touga was the one to offer something “eternal” to Utena, pulling her out of her apathy in the wake of the death of her parents. BUT THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, DID IT? I seriously refuse to believe that Touga and the Prince are the same person! I think he’s deliberately trying to manipulate Utena for his own gain. What that gain is? I have no goddamn clue.
- And if it’s not clear at this point, I’m Team Chu-Chu. Clearly.
- So. My guess is that Touga is responsible for what we see in the second half of this episode. He compels Saionji to kidnap Anthy. Which would mean that the letter wasn’t from End of the World, either, but I don’t know if you can fake that. I guess you could? Touga is pretty damn clever about all this anyway. SO. He gets Saionji to kidnap Anthy, knowing that Utena will try to save her, then puts Anthy in that coffin as a deliberate way to further manipulate Saionji and make him think about his desire to give Anthy something eternal. Then he makes sure that Saionji fails to save Anthy so that Utena can, all so that Saionji will try to kill Utena and Touga can heroically save the day and get Saionji expelled.
- This sounded less absurd in my head. Now it looks ridiculous. Perhaps my worst theory ever.
- Of course, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW HE WAS ABLE TO DO ANY OF THIS. At the end of this episode, we see him on the phone with some unknown person, talking about what happened. I’m guessing that was Touga’s accomplice, but who else would benefit from pulling this off?
- I realize that I might also be so off-the-mark with Touga, but I don’t trust him at all. And I think the sequence with the shadow puppets in this episode was foreshadowing of Touga’s remarks about how there’s no such thing as friendship with him. He does whatever he wants to get whatever he wants. So I can’t possibly believe that he’s a force for good. SOMETHING IS WRONG.
- This is all your fault, by the way.
The video for “The Castle Said to Hold Eternity” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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