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Headscratchers / Revolutionary Girl Utena

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  • If Mikage was attracted Tokiko, why in his memories/delusions is he with her brother Mamiya? In a memory he did seek out Mamiya alone, but what gives? Is he attracted to them both or is Mamiya just a replacement goldfish?
    • Presumably he just used Tokiko to get close to Mamiya.
    • Mikage is like an Utena-gone-wrong parallel figure - Mamiya is envisioned as Anthy-like with the dark skin/purple hair, even as he is Japanese in appearance when the truth comes out later in the episode, and then the older sister is an Akio figure foreshadowing Utena's close bond with Anthy versus her heteronormative attraction/competition to Akio.
  • What was the point of having a female voice actor voice Miki, without bothering in the slightest to make the voice sound not female?
    • This actually happens a lot in anime. In Miki's case, however, it may be because the character himself is more feminine than masculine, and the voice emphasizes this.
      • So japanese have different expectations in that regard?
      • Funnily enough, that probably is Hisakawa Aya's masculine voice. For contrast, see Ami from Sailor Moon.
    • Perhaps Miki hasn't quite gotten into puberty full swing, and young boys are often voiced by women.
    • I think it's also a sign that Miki's still pretty young and, even if he acts mature, he isn't as mature as he seems. And it also symbolically ties into his desire to hold onto childhood and his terror about approaching adulthood.
  • Does Anthy need her glasses? She seems to see perfectly well without them (she could be wearing contacts in the school scenes, I suppose, but there are a few other occasions where she probably isn't).
    • She needs them to do the Scary Shiny Glasses thing. And that's a halfway serious answer: the Black Rose arc makes clear that she has a great deal of control over her appearance, to the point that her entire physical body may be in some way not "real"; so if she wears glasses it's for symbolic purposes, so she can do the shiny-glasses thing, appeal to the meganekko fetish, and so on. Note she removes them, apparently permanently, at the end of the series.
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    • Maybe Akio forced her to, just as she wears her hair pinned up, to create a more submissive look.
    • Symbolically it puts a barrier between herself and the world, so they couldn't see her 'true face'. Some people almost look unrecognisable with their glasses off. That's also why she leaves them behind in the ending; she's showing her real face to the world without needing to hide.
  • If Anthy had jumped off the roof, would it had have any effect? Her nature clearly doesn't just extend to long life - she doesn't even bleed when taking the Swords of Hate. Or could she only die by choice?
    • It's possible that she didn't die from that because it was part of the ritual while jumping might be more permanent. The Black Rose duelists certainly seemed to think they could kill her (although given Mikage's mentality that might not be certain).
    • So wouldn't probably die, but it doesn't mean she wouldn't get seriously hurt. You could argue is like people self-harming because they believe they deserve to be punished... except more extreme...
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    • Whether or not she can die is kinda besides the point in that scene; the point is that she wants to die. In other words, the intent is more important than whether it's actually possible.
    • Anthy might have been trying to spare Utena from the trials ahead. Even if the fall didn't kill her, Utena would have thought she was dead, and would have no reason to stay in Ohtori and duel Akio.
  • Why did Saionji get expelled for attacking Utena/Touga when he was doing it in a totally secret place free from interference from school administration? Touga didn't seem to have any hard feelings either (although he could have been acting).
    • He was acting. The only reasons Touga protected Utena were 1. To make himself look like a prince to Utena, and 2. To have an excuse to expel Saionji. Keep in mind Akio and Touga are in contact with each other, and whatever Akio says, goes. He wants Saionji gone, Touga's wound is just an excuse for that.
      • Although Akio may have called for it, clearly he didn't dictate all the details. Touga replies (to a question on the phone we can't hear) with "Well, I suppose I have a flair for the dramatic.", implying he'd been told a goal, but had leeway on the method.
  • If Tsuwabuki could draw both Nanami's sword and knife for his Black Rose duel, why would Nanami only get the sword in the third arc?
    • One cool interpretation is that the knife represents Nanami's utter dependence on Touga, like how Tsuwabuki's life is entirely wrapped up in worship of Nanami, which is why they both fought with two blades. By the time of Nanami's second duel she's been forced to throw that dependence away because she's realized Touga isn't, and never was, there for her, doesn't love her, and she's completely on her own. Hence, one sword.
  • What the hell is going on in The Movie?
    • In a broad sense, it's a compressed retelling of the TV series that uses some extra over-the-top new symbolism. Utena is the vehicle for Anthy's escape from the closed world of the school...literally.
  • In the car chase at the end of the movie, during the car chase, the other duelists show up riding a truck that Is apparently Wakaba. Why was she changed into a car?
    • She chose to turn into a car, to order to help Utena escape.
  • In the movie, how is Utena the 'winner' when she hasn't beaten Miki yet? Also, how did Touga plan to 'win' the duels when he's dead?
    • Time constraints aside, I think that winning some arbitary tournament by beating every possible opponent is besides the point. In the movie-manga, Touga says that Utena is the "chosen prince" (i.e. the winner) because she was the only one who could open Anthy's heart; in the actual movie, it's something like that plus the fact that Utena can still accept Anthy even while knowing her darkest secrets. As for Touga himself, although he's dead, don't forget he still has enough physical presence to have sex with Shiori, among other things. Miki obviously doesn't even know him here, but it seems Juri at least knows of him (even if it's just as the boy who died saving her) so it's feasible that he could've been able to duel with her; it's also never said either way whether or not Saionji knows him in this continuity, so there's another possibility. Furthermore, it's worth bearing in mind that the duels seem to be secret in this 'verse, as Juri was surprised that Shiori knew about them, so it's not like Touga would be doing it in any kind of public view anyway. (Which then begs the question of how come Utena and Juri were duelling in public view later on, but presumably the random onlookers didn't understand what they were watching on the same level as the duelists, for want of better wording.)
  • That ridiculous theory that in the movie, Miki kills Kozue. There is no supporting evidence for it at all, yet it still seems fairly popular. This is Miki we're talking about, the boy who's desperate to hold onto his innocence.
    • Miki's quite a different character in the movie. He definitely had a hand in turning Kozue into a car.
      • Is there any evidence how he is different? Kozue turned into a car because of jealousy over Miki, maybe, but all the characters in the movie are (barring Touga) still essentially the same as in the series. Utena still strives to be a prince, Anthy is still a miserable Stepford Smiler, Akio is still a Manipulative Bastard, albeit more pathetic, and Miki is still the pure individual who helps Utena and Anthy in the end, and tries to break the news to Kozue about how he can't constantly spend time with her in the nicest way possible. His little "I want to gain power for myself" speech was obviously a lie, considering at every shot in that scene we see symbols of Kozue. He wants that power to revolutionize the world to help Kozue, not for himself. He would not intentionally hurt her in any way.
      • Movie!Miki can come off as someone who wants to distance himself from Kozue (or perhaps more accurately, he wants to distance himself from his childhood and grow up), and so he wants "power" for that, though he still does care about his sister. Perhaps Kozue turning into a car is a bit like her becoming a Black Rose duellist; wasn't series!Kozue in the elevator upset about how Miki was drifting away from her? It's more-or-less the same thing here. Then again, some tend to think of the kinds of cars that Kozue and Shiori become as being analogous to Black Rose duellists, even if movie!Shiori acts like she's basically permalocked in Black Rose mode anyway.
      • Even if he wants distance, there's still a huge, unsupported leap of logic to go from "he wants independence" to "he murdered his sister in cold blood." Especially since turning into a car in no way means death whatsoever. Wakaba turns into a car and is fine, Utena turns into one and is fine. And even as a car, Shiori is conscious.
    • Just a theory, maybe Miki panicked after Kozue put the blade on his neck, flailed and Kozue fell and hit her head. Or something like that, a huge quantity of accidents happen in the bath after all... and the reason he is at Ohtori is that he feels guilty about Kozue's death. Or maybe the one that died first was Miki (razors are NOT toys) and Kozue commited suicide, then again the academy seems a place the dead can walk.
  • If only Akio and Anthy remember the Black Rose events, then how is Saionji back in school? Sure, Akio probably arranged it, along with everything else, but I'd at least expect a handwave about how Saionji remembers it going.
    • He was only expelled for a short period? Temporary expulsions aren't that uncommon.
      • Sure, but they're generally called suspensions. Wonder what word was used in the Japanese script.
    • A reverse of No Ontological Inertia, maybe? It may simply be that, even though Mikage was declared Ret-Gone, the consequences of his actions remained. Saionji still crashed at Wakaba's, still arrived at a backdoor deal to get back in, and still was reinstated into the Student Council. It's just that the involved parties were a little bit different in the new continuity.
  • Questions about episode 37 about the infamous Cantarella scene in which Anthy and Utena both claim to have poisoned the other. What did that mean? And why did they still partake of their treats anyway? Also after Anthy and Utena promised that they would "laugh together and drink tea ten years from now" why did Anthy immediately decide to try to commit suicide?
    • It can be seen as both a warning and a sign of forgiveness. Anthy is warning Utena that she has and will hurt her, just like she poisoned the cookies. Utena, however, acknowledges this by saying she poisoned her in return, showing that she's still hurt over what she saw between Anthy and Akio. However, they both partake in their "deadly" treats anyway, and saying how good it tastes: saying that they forgive each other, despite the hurt. Notice how when Utena says "We'll definitely meet in ten years to laugh and drink tea", and Anthy agrees, her hand twitches in Utena's grip: at the point, she knows what she's saying is a lie, because she plans to kill herself that very night.
  • Question about the end of episode 38 and beginning of 39. Why did Anthy stab Utena?
    • Symbolism. Before going to this duel, Anthy and Utena were having some very frank discussions about betrayal and who was betraying who. Anthy informs Utena that she was knowingly and constantly betraying Utena through their time together. Betraying a person is often referred to as stabbing them in the back, and here Anthy literally, rather than purely figuratively, is a backstabber. Notice also that a wound that should have killed Utena between being sliced and her exertion only slows her down; presumably Anthy wasn't actually trying to kill her so much as make a point. Anthy is on Akio's side and always has been, whatever Utena wants to think of the situation. For all her good intentions, Utena isn't very good at paying attention to what Anthy actually wants or feels. The realization floors her, but ultimately doesn't stop her because whatever Anthy did to her, the pain that Anthy's in is many times worse than her own.
    • If you prefer a more concrete, plot-based answer, Akio probably just made her do it. We all know she doesn't really do well when she tries to tell him no.
    • Another answer is as we see the arena breakdown around them its because Anthy is confused, she cares about Utena but she fears the world outside of her abusive relationship with Akio. Utena was winning and Akio being the coward that he is throws Anthy in to "fix" it. Having hope is a scary thing for someone in Anthy's position so Anthy decides to make Utena lose by stabbing her. With Utena down the status quo is restored, however it is indicated that she strongly regrets hurting Utena as shown when she hesitates giving Akio the sword.
    • Yet another answer is Reality is unrealistic That is actually normal human behavior. It is common for people trying to save others in a fight to be attacked by the person they save.
    • It's also very common for abused individuals to lash out at and attack people trying to help them. It one of the many many reasons it can make it difficult to help people trapped in abusive relationships.
    • As listed above, it was an order from Akio, but, why would Akio want to kill his current chance of regaining his power? Perhaps Anthy herself was afraid that Utena could be "the one" and Akio would take her power from her. And, thinking that it would be a Fate Worse than Death for Utena, she decided to kill her out of compassion before it happened.
  • This is probably a stupid question, but does the Right Stuf rerelease also have English language available, or just English subtitles?
    • It has an English dub as well as English subtitles.
  • Question about episode 26. Why was Miki suddenly compelled to duel Utena? What was he hoping to obtain? To make Kozue the Rose Bride? If so, why? And why did Kozue decide to make out with Anthy out of nowhere? I thought she hated her.
    • It's basically the Akio Car working its magic. Miki is a pretty repressed kid; he obviously likes Anthy, but he keeps dressing up his motives as wanting to "save Anthy's music" or find his shining thing. (The Student Council members are never quite honest about what they're actually duelling for, especially early on.) Thanks to the manipulation in and around the car, though, he's forced to confront the fact that, really, he just wants Anthy. As for Kozue, she seduces Anthy for the same reason she fools around with random boys — to get Miki's attention. Note that Miki loses both his duels due to being distracted, and that Kozue calls him a coward after this one; perhaps she was trying to test his resolve.
  • What happened to Kanae between episodes 30 and 32? She probably wasn't in stable condition during 30, but she was at least capable of putting up a "normal" facade. What pushed her over by 32, where she has to be fed?
    • Perhaps Akio is done with using her and the last scene we see of her is her being dispose of. She's never again seen after that scene...
  • How consensual was the sex between Anthy and Akio? If she had wanted to, could she have said no?
    • Anthy never had much say in the matter. There was one encounter between them, where Anthy seemed to hesitate for a moment. What follows after strongly implies that Akio raped her.
  • Why does Utena still refer to Anthy by her last name? I mean it doesn't make much sense because of how close they are with each other and Utena doesn't use Last-Name Basis on anyone else besides Saionji,(whom everyone is Last-Name Basis with).
    • It could be because her last name is more pronounceable, or because she gets to say "princess" every time she uses it.
  • Whenever the issue of Utena not wearing the girls uniform comes up, it's always bypassed as it being technically okay since she's wearing the boys uniform instead. But her default outfit looks nothing like the school's teal boys uniform. Heck, it doesn't even look like the student council uniforms. So, what uniform IS she wearing? And how does she get away with it?
  • As this show is one of the epitomes of mind screw, some inconsistencies are to be expected. But why would Akio (spits) need to marry into the Ohtori family if he's the one who set up the academy and the duels long before Kanae (and probably the rest of the Ohtori family) were even born (as shown in the Mikage flashbacks)?
    • Yeah, the Mikage flashbacks totally make the timeline as established elsewhere make no sense. The closest thing to an "explanation" there is is that since Mikage's story ended up being retconned from reality, it no longer applied - concepts like the rings turning black that were linked to Mikage never came back up again either, after all.
    • Presumably there was Akio's manipulation and warping of memories in play. The show only really makes sense if Akio has been doing this for years and years. Logically someone would notice the perpetually youthful man controlling everything at some point, so he probably just makes everyone forget that he's been doing this for so long. Maybe he ever actually needed to marry Kanae, that was just a way of manipulating her and everyone around her into thinking he was just a normal dude who happened to get into power.
  • Why doesn't Utena ever push Anthy or the Student Council for answers when they reply with vague responses? Was this explained via abstract symbolism or something? It's one thing if the Student Council stays tight-lipped around her regarding the duels and the Rose Bride, and it makes sense if Anthy has ulterior motives for the secrecy, but Utena doesn't even seem bothered by one of her closest friends never explaining anything to her.
    • It's actually a major character flaw. Utena has a habit of filling in gaps with her own assumptions of other people. So when nobody tells her things, she sort of makes up her own reasoning and assumes it's true without bothering to look further. It's most apparent with Anthy where she assumed that Anthy was a victim forced into the Rose Duels without asking how or why Anthy with be ok with being passed around like a prize.
  • On a practical note, what type of fencing is meant to depicted in the duels? Some sort of sabre?
  • Okay, so Miki's attraction to Anthy is based on her reminding him of his sister Kozue when they were little. So had Miki not gotten sick and attended the piano concert with Kozue, then there can be the assumption that Kozue would not have grown to be the promiscuous self that she is in the present. Which brings me to this question: would Miki have developed an attraction to Kozue?
    • Likely not. Whether Kozue would remain the possessive person we know her as is up in the air, but Miki's main reason to be attracted to Anthy is a bit more complicated than just "he likes a girl who reminds him of his sister". Miki has a bit of an issue with the concept of adulthood and childhood that isn't solely related to his Madonna–Whore Complex issues. The piano thing mostly is an excuse for Miki to justify why he likes being around Anthy so much without admitting he's attracted to her. As a boy in the midst of puberty, he appears to be struggling to reconcile his image of innocent childhood and indecent adulthood. He distrusts adults, yet he can't stop himself from getting older. His sister, who has leaped headfirst into that pool of adulthood, has become something alien to him on account of she's embracing all the things he simultaneously is drawn to and repulsed by, due to the issues regarding his and Kozue's parents and their divorce.
  • So, what was the point of having Wakaba acted like the still wanted Tatsuya if she clearly preferred Saionji, to the point where she completely forgets the former immediately after the reveal?
  • This is an odd question but it’s head scratchers and I’m curious: when Anthy makes Utena the cookies that she claims she metaphorically poisoned what kind did they remind everyone of? [[https// Here]] is an image of the cookie from the anime. To me, it looks like a version of the popular Biscoff cookie. What does everyone else think?
    • I've seen other cookies with greater resemblance to Anthy's. It's a pretty generic look anyway.
  • What were the one hundred students Mikage killed doing? It sound like the somehow knew about the End of the World, or something about immortality. Were they trying to recreate Anthy or what?
  • Akio calls Utena selfish for not really caring about Anthy's needs and only using Anthy for her own fantasies. But Utena does try to stop her from being the Rose Bride and not participate in the duels but keeps getting forced into them to protect Anthy's life, and any questions Utena has about what Anthy wants are just met with Anthy being accommodating. What else could Utena have done?
    • Anthy never asked for help or protection. She never wanted Utena to stop her from being the Rose Bride or to protect her. This is Truth in Television. Many abuse victim refuse to acknowledge the abuse and trying to save them makes things worse. That's why counselors often advise against interventions, forcing a break up or forcibly removing the victim unless the victim's life is in serious danger. Doing so often leads to the victim lashing out at their rescuers and/or going back to their abuser. The best way to help an abused person is to empower them to free themselves, they have to decide to leave the abuser. Like how Utena's sincere friendship and love gives Anthy the determination to leave Akio.
  • Why did Akio need to seduce Kanae to run the school? Wasn't he already running the school? Isn't the school the whole basis for his plan?
    • Total speculation but maybe it's to do with who holds the property. It'd get suspicious if the same person owned the Academy for the length of time that Akio & Anthy have been alive, so he allows another family (or families) to hold the actual deeds & titles (and also pay all the expenses involved in running a boarding school). Which he still probably doesn't need to do given that he and his sister can alter their appearances and whatnot, but that may be a reason.
  • Why did End of the World send letters to the Student Council to announce the next duel and manipulate the students into fighting Utena? Why not one or the other?
  • Why did Akio and Anthy resurrect Mikage? How did he further their plan?

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