Mark Watches ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’: Episode 33

In the thirty-third episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, I still can’t. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena.

Trigger Warning: For talk of emotional manipulation and consent.

  • YOU KNOW. I wonder! I wonder if there were people in the history of Utena watching who got to the clip episodes, were convinced they weren’t meaningful, and skipped them.
  • Like, this huge moment is hidden at the end of a clip episode.
  • Which, I should note, is in and of itself incredibly bizarre. The Shadow Play Girls are the hosts of a radio show??? A show which coyly summarizes the themes of recent duels, but also has a quiz element to it where they involve Akio in the questions???
  • I have confirmation that Akio is End of the World and he is Utena’s prince, and yet??? I’m still a mess. I still don’t understand the endgame. I STILL DON’T LIKE AKIO AT ALL.
  • I’ll get to the framing device in a second, but I did want to address how much I liked the refresher course. As we head into what I imagine is the final arc of this show, I got a chance to appreciate (and be terrified by) the recent duels. I feel like I understand them more than I did the first time around, especially since I know who orchestrated everything.
  • Basically, the clip episode served its purpose!
  • (If its purpose was to further destroy me.)
  • I AM SO UNCOMFORTABLE WITH WHAT HAPPENED HERE. The episode is deliberately framed so that we don’t understand what order everything occurs in. On top of that, we’re tricked into thinking that maybe Utena was by herself. (Or at least I was L O L) She spends a day at an amusement park, and she initially just seems to miss Anthy. What starts off as something small and cute spirals into disaster, though. I noticed that Utena became increasingly worried about… well, minutia. What is she supposed to be doing? What food should she have? Did Anthy remember to put the bread in the refrigerator? And as she worries more and more about the mundane details of her normal life, we are left feeling stressed about her freaking out.
  • This worries me. A lot. Because it’s at the height of this emotional crisis that the camera finally gives us a flash of the person Utena has been talking to the entire time.
  • It’s Akio.
  • And he’s on top of her.
  • And I don’t like the fact that she’s in duress about something and they also appear to be having sex at that exact moment.
  • It’s confirmed that they do have sex, and knowing Akio’s horrific personality and his ulterior motives, I feel very iffy about whether or not Utena really could have consented to sex here. I think that requires more information, of course, and I’ll have to see what happens in the upcoming episodes. My gut reaction to this, though, is that it felt incredibly wrong. It does not feel like Utena had a good experience. This does not feel like a moment of joy. I interpreted Utena’s reaction as containing a twinge of regret, you know? (And regret is not the same as lacking consent, I realize that.)
  • Of course, then you add in the final twist, and this is a billion times not okay.
  • Anthy purposely sent Utena to deliver roses to Akio. She’s in on it. SHE’S PART OF HIS MANIPULATION, THERE’S NO DENYING IT.

The video for “The Prince Who Runs Through the Night” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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