Mark Watches ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’: Episode 30

In the thirtieth episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, I will burn the ground Akio stands on. I WILL THROW HIM INTO THE PITS OF HELL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena.


Trigger Warning: For emotional manipulation

  • I hate Akio. I hate him now, and I will hate him until the sun dies. OH MY GOD, THIS SHOW ISN’T RIGHT.
  • Y’all, this might be the most detailed manipulation we’ve seen portrayed on the show. From the opening of “The Barefoot Girl” through the end of it, Akio’s control over this whole situation grows and grows. He infiltrates Utena’s life, which isn’t all that hard, given that he invited her and his sister to live with them. She’s been around him every day since then, and I have no doubt that he did this on purpose so that he could seduce her. For what end? I don’t know. I don’t understand his connection to End of the World, but I don’t think it’s hard to imagine that he wants to weaken Utena through this manipulation in order for her to be defeated in a duel.
  • But why? Why defeat her? I STILL DON’T GET IT.
  • And look, even if we could ignore the fact that Akio is behind all of the recent duels with Utena, even if we could ignore his bizarre treatment of his sister, he’s still SUPER DISGUSTING. He’s an adult, first of all. While his age is… something I still don’t remember? Ha, I don’t want to Google it and get spoiled! Anyway, he’s not a minor, and he’s courting minors. Of course, it’s hard for me to separate all the sex metaphors from his car, but seriously. That imagery – of the impossibly cool older man with the nice car – is so pervasive in Western society, so I admit I’m biased here. My brain goes to one place, so it’s entirely possible that I’m misinterpreting it.
  • Regardless, even if there’s no sex taking place between Akio and some of the women he flirts with, that doesn’t make what he does appropriate. Look at how he positions himself as desirable! He makes a cake for Utena, purposely framing himself as the exception to all other men. He toys with Wakaba, which I suspect was because he wanted to exploit the possible jealousy that Utena would feel.
  • And he doesn’t stop. Throughout “The Barefoot Girl,” the image of that cake haunts us. The flame of the candles represents how close Utena is to giving in to her desire, which is complicated even further by the fact that Akio has a fianceé.
  • Who shows up
  • !!!!!!!!
  • But let’s also add in that Utena has so much more to worry about. I mean, yes, it’s important that she openly acknowledges that her feelings should be ignored since Akio is not single.
  • However, I think that this episode demonstrates how worried Utena is that she’ll be betraying her prince and Anthy. Who does she owe her allegiance to? If she pursues Akio, does that mean Anthy will feel betrayed? And if her whole life’s motivation is due to the prince, what happens if she falls for someone?
  • The idea of illusion is important here, because Utena is “in love” with someone who might very well be an illusion. Is her Prince real? Even if he’s not, Akio is an illusion, too. He’s not the nice guy he purports to be.
  • GAH, it’s so hard to watch someone be manipulated because you just want to reach into the screen and pluck them out of this trainwreck.
  • Can we talk about Kanae and her mother? Because I seriously thought I was super prepared after they showed up. “Oh!” I thought. “They’re going to find a way to have Kanae break up with Akio so that Akio can guarantee that Utena will fall for him.” See, this whole episode, that seemed to be the absolute worst thing that Utena was dealing with. I think she could have dealt with Anthy. But falling for a man set to be married? It was an impassable roadblock. So, it would have made sense to me if Akio had somehow orchestrated everything so that Kanae would have broke up with him very publicly.
  • But no
  • Oh, no, everything is so much worse.
  • Because when Kanae’s mother threatens to use her power to end the engagement and Akio’s role as chairman, HE SEDUCES HER.
  • !!!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK !!!!!!!!!!
  • And I’m assuming that the last candle blowing out means that Utena has fallen for Akio.

The video for “The Barefoot Girl” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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