Mark Watches ‘Revolutionary Girl Utena’: Episode 11

In the eleventh episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, Utena discovers the truth about her relationship with Anthy. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Utena.

Trigger Warning: For talk of emotional manipulation

  • It’s only now hitting me that this episode opens with utter joy and ends with devastation. It’s bookended by polar opposites. But this has to happen. It has to happen so that we can see a glimpse of what it must be like for Anthy to have friends. Wakaba brings Utena a beautiful lunch, and Anthy follows with her best attempt at something that isn’t shaved ice. She tries. SHE TRIES OF HER OWN ACCORD. No one orders her to bring lunch, Utena doesn’t tell her what to make, and she does it on her own. It’s precisely why the ending of this episode is so haunting. How much of this was Anthy’s choice? Was she actually developing her own agency separate from being the Rose Bride while she was with Utena? Or was Utena unknowingly forcing her to go through this?
  • A brief tangent: I loved Utena and Wakaba’s faces when they discovered Chu-Chu in the bento box. It was a mixture of anger and NO SURPRISE AT ALL.
  • Anyway, as Anthy appears to get closer to some sort of independence, Utena struggles with what Touga told her about her prince. It’s clear now that he was purposely manipulating her, that he was trying to trick her into believing that he was her prince from long ago. It’s so horrifying to watch because it’s clear that he believes he’s entitled to Anthy, too. Was he trying to fool Miki and Juri, too? How much do they know about Touga’s intentions?
  • But as Utena thinks about her friendship with Anthy, the more she realizes that she genuinely cares about her. She wants Anthy to have a live of her own! She wants Anthy to have more friends! And we get just the tiniest hint that Anthy wants this, too.
  • So it makes sense that Utena would leap to defend Anthy from what Utena perceives as Touga’s advances on her. Of course, it’s important to note at this point that Utena still truly believes that all the talk of the Rose Bride and Revolution and the Power of Dios is all just nonsense. She hates all the talk of owning Anthy as the Rose Bride, and I’d even suggest that perhaps she’s aware that Anthy is playing into this role because she’s been pressured to. So she compels Anthy to admit that she hates being the Rose Bride, unaware that by compelling her, she’s actually making her do that.
  • As is the fact that Utena fell for Touga’s manipulation. He’s exploiting her main vulnerability by pretending to be her prince, and that’s how he gets her into the dueling arena. The sequence reminded me of Utena’s behavior in “For Whom The Rose Smiles,” since she fights in the duel specifically so that no one else can take Anthy away from her. In a sense, I suppose that’s possessive of Utena, something she isn’t aware of, but I also know that Utena has good intentions for Anthy. She cares about her, she wants the best for her, and she refuses to let all these other people hurt her.
  • But Touga’s deception is too terrible and too strong. My gods, the duel at the end of this episode is the most vicious and violent one yet, and it’s terrifying to see how confident Touga is throughout. It’s like he knows that his manipulation of Utena is complete, and he’s just waiting to deliver the final blow.
  • I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND THE POWER OF DIOS THING. That’s clearly Utena’s prince, but why is he up in that castle? WHAT’S GOING ON?
  • I was utterly shocked by Touga’s win. Utena had won every duel prior to this, so I admit I felt fairly certain she’d win again. But holy shit, Touga exploited Utena’s entire reason for living, you know? Her whole philosophy, from her dress to her morality, is based on that prince visiting her and giving her hope. And now he’s used it against her and taken Anthy with him.
  • But that wasn’t enough. He had to demonstrate that Anthy truly was under the power of the winner of the duel. Y’all, I AM SO NOT OKAY WITH THIS!!! WHAT THE FUCK. Utena’s heart is ripped out after Anthy quickly disavows everything she told Utena. JUST LIKE THAT. All their friendship? All her growth? It’s all gone in a matter of seconds. And Touga gleefully watches Utena’s emotional destruction.

The video for “Graceful and Ruthless; the One Who Picks the Flower” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Feature will be Farscape.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014, so check my Tour Dates / Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all currently planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Revolutionary Girl Utena and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.