Mark Watches ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’: Episode 31

In the thirty-first episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, I’m done. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena

Trigger Warning: For incest

I can’t.

  • It’s all out in the open.
  • It’s not subtext
  • You can’t imagine it
  • IT’S REAL
  • AND IT HURTS
  • AND IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE
  • AND WHAT HAS THIS SHOW BECOME.
  • I’m a mess. This episode finally addresses all the incestual themes we’ve seen between Nanami and Touga, between Akio and Anthy, but definitively stating that they’re not themes.
  • And as upsetting as this is, it’s still a necessary look at the identity that Nanami has constructed for herself. Her bullying, her sense of self-worth, her paranoia – I’m pretty sure that everything ties back to her view of her brother. You could easily say that she put him on a pedestal, but I don’t even think that fully describes this. Nanami undeniably loves her brother in a romantic sense, and she is certain that he is her perfect partner in everything.
  • So what happens when she learns that her brother is not her brother?
  • Of course, to us, this is kind of an absurd idea. I mean, I’m an adopted child! Blood relations don’t make a family, and Nanami has spent her whole life with Touga as her brother, so why should this reveal affect her so strongly?
  • It’s precisely because she’s so dependent on this aspect of her identity that she quickly and sadly tears herself apart. It’s important to note that a great deal of “Her Tragedy” also spells out just what a womanizing jerkbag Touga is. He leads women on, inevitably sleeps with them, and then ignores them, moving on to the next one. Some of these women expect Touga’s behavior, while others are devastated. As Nanami delves further into this network of women who have all clearly had time with her brother that she hasn’t had, she’s convinced that her brother is moving away from her. But how much of her projected image of him is just her perspective blurring things?
  • I admit I’m confused on that front. While Touga is gross for his own reasons, I wasn’t sure it was fair to say that he had “moved on” from Nanami, since we had no canon evidence that her feelings for him were reciprocated. At the same time, he’s clearly toying with her in this episode, isn’t he? He makes a joke about showering together and then another about a goodnight kiss, and WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?
  • I’d be interested to see if the next episode picks up where this one left off, because I want to know if Touga was at all aware of Nanami’s feelings for him.
  • At the very least, I think Nanami finally realizes that Utena doesn’t actually have any feelings for Touga. Maybe? I’m not entirely confident enough to state that without some hesistation.
  • Regardless, it’s Akio – THAT FUCKING CREEP, I HATE HIM – who literally swoops in to save Nanami, and you better believe I am convinced he did this to manipulate her. If we accept that the end of “Nanami’s Egg” was the explanation for this, then this episode shows us what Akio did with the information from that egg. He found out that Nanami loved her own brother, and then he exploits her.
  • Look, I am very comfortable stating that Akio is some evil mastermind at this point because otherwise, it’s just too convenient that he happens to be involved in so much of this.
  • I mean, HE INVITES NANAMI TO STAY WITH HIM MERE SECONDS AFTER SHE ASKS TSUWABUKI FOR A PLACE TO STAY. HOW DID HE KNOW TO SHOW UP RIGHT THEN? Because magic.
  • Okay, that’s not important. What’s important is that he invites Nanami to stay with him, knowing that she doesn’t like Anthy and Utena. He knows she’ll ultimately feel lonely and left out. He knows that she’s going through a terrible crisis, and then Touga just shows up and he lets him in?
  • I DON’T TRUST HIM
  • Because holy shit, Nanami is basically goaded into admitting the truth in front of everyone, and it’s such a horrifying scene, y’all. IT’S ALL OUT IN THE OPEN NOW.
  • But can we talk about Utena? Because as wrong and weird as it feels to have Nanami laying across from her in bed, I loved that she wasn’t cruel to Nanami about what had happened that night. She just wants to cheer her up. She doesn’t judge her or shame her, and it’s really awesome of her.
  • It’s an uncomfortable subject! It’s a pretty big taboo, too! So I think it’s important that during the most volatile period of her life, Nanami isn’t being treated terribly by Utena.
  • Not that this helps at all. It doesn’t, and you cannot fucking convince me that Akio didn’t do what he did here on purpose. HE DID. HE HAD TO HAVE KNOWN.
  • Of course, I still have to wonder how complicit Anthy is in all of this! Did she know? How much does she know?
  • Whatever the truth is, I couldn’t deny that Nanami seeing Akio and Anthy together in a clearly sexual manner was a horribly disruptive and damaging thing. She looks like she’s near a breakdown of some sort, and it’s just… sad. It’s sad. Nanami is not the most likable character in this show. I get that. That doesn’t mean she deserves this.
  • I have no idea how any of this is going to be resolved. What has this show become???

The video for “Her Tragedy” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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