Mark Watches ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’: Episode 26

In the twenty-sixth episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, I am lost in the desert that is Utena, I shall wander amidst the absurdity for centuries, and I shall cry out in anguish from time to time: What the fuck is going on in this show? Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of divorce, emotional manipulation, sex with a minor, and incest.

  • Will there come a day when I understand this show? We just don’t know.
  • The metaphorical and surrealist nature of Utena feels like it’s at an all time high, but let me be real with y’all. I know this is an understatement. I know in my heart that this is only going to get weirder. I think half the fun of this has been my utter shock and confusion at literally everything, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I don’t want my bewilderment to come across as distaste, because what little I do understand of Utena is really rewarding to write about.
  • There are a number of possible explanations for what unfolds in “Miki’s Nest Box (The Sunlight Garden – Arranged).” The title itself hints at the end of the episode, the revisitation of themes from Miki’s first full POV episode, and at the ongoing themes of loneliness and desire that surround both Miki and Kozue. Am I gonna get all of this right the first time around? No. Not at all.
  • But I think there’s a clue to understanding Kozue in those birds that she risks her life to save. While I certainly don’t want to deny how this episode reflects the emotional core of Utena, since she has lived without her parents for many years, I think those two birds are meant to be Kozue and Miki. Over the course of “Miki’s Nest Box,” the show slowly reveals that Miki and Kozue’s parents are not only divorced and distant, but their father is about to remarry, too. I admit that this did get me thinking about everyone’s parents, because how many of them have we ever seen? The very brief flash of Miki’s father is the only adult, parental figure that has ever appeared on the show, isn’t it?
  • I don’t think Akio counts, though Akio definitely uses his status as an adult to exploit others. And I think he exploits Kozue because he knows she’s lacking a meaningful father figure.
  • Like I said on video, there’s an undeniable thread of sexual desire spread throughout “Miki’s Nest Box,” and this show is making it increasingly hard to ignore such things. Couldn’t you say that Kozue’s entire conversation with Miki in Akio’s car was an admission to her own sexual acts with Akio? BECAUSE LOOK AT THE WAY SHE IS FRAMED AND THE WAY SHE SITS IN THE CAR AND I AM SO UNCOMFORTABLE.
  • New tagline for the show! Revolutionary Girl Utena: I Am Never Not Uncomfortable While Watching This.
  • Anyway, it touches on what I said in the previous episode, since I read the same sort of sexuality in Saionji’s journey to finally see End of the World. Akio is a sexual figure here, though I don’t understand his motivations or behavior all that well.
  • I mean, I also can’t ignore that he seems to be manipulating his sister on multiple levels??? And I don’t understand her complicity in all of this either, though I’d want to err on the side of caution since it’s obvious to me that Akio is doing something deeply sinister here.
  • Let’s get back to Kozue and Miki. What’s particularly grating about how they’re manipulated here is the fact that everything was a lot better than it had ever been before Touga and Akio messed with these two. At the very least, Kozue and Miki were on friendly terms, and Miki cared enough about his sister to risk his own well-being in order to save her. But there’s no doubt in my mind that MIKI HAD BECOME QUITE A GOOD FRIEND TO UTENA AND ANTHY. And Touga/Akio ruin this!!! YOU FUCKERS.
  • They ruin it by exploiting the insecurities both siblings have about their family situation. Their parents are distant, only sending letters or phoning in, and I’m certain that if you combine that with the other issues of loneliness and affection that both characters have, IT’S JUST A HOT MESS OF FEELINGS AND SADNESS AND I JUST WANT THEM TO BE OKAY. 
  • They took it away, and they gave these characters each other. On the surface, that seems like a good thing. Why shouldn’t Miki and Kozue depend on one another, since they’re all they have? Except when these two are in the arena, they’re paired with one another in a way that mirrors Anthy and Utena. They’re a bride and groom. And siblings. AND WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON. We already know that Miki projects his love for his sister (or, at least his memory of her) all over Anthy, so this is just another level of weird.
  • I estimate that I understand about 7% of this show.
  • I’m being generous.

The video for “Miki’s Nest Box” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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