shamanicshaymin: Quote from Napstablook from Undertale (Utena/Anthy :: Canon)
[personal profile] shamanicshaymin
Guys. Guys guys guys, I've finished watching Utena, and the movie too. I MUST TALK WITH PEOPLE OMG

The Juri-centered episodes are my favorites. :D I feel so bad for Juri, but I don't find myself enormously hating Shiori either. That's the thing with this series; everybody is flawed in some shape or form, and some are even downright horrible people. But rather than pissing me off and wanting to ragequit the product for its cast being too unlikable (*coughWutheringHeightscough*), there's qualities about the characters that are fascinating, even endearing. Like Touga and Saionji are assholes, but they're such stupid kids that I wanted to see them be friends again. Any other series, I would've despised Nanami, but she's such a butt-monkey it's hard to get mad at her for long; hell, I felt downright sorry for her during her last arc in the series. D: I appreciated having the nicer characters to balance things out (Miki, Wakaba), and their fatal flaws didn't turn me off them at all... instead, they felt a lot more realistic. Like Miki's need for the "shining thing," I've seen a lot of people grasping for something like that. And Wakaba's need to be special and above "the other girls," I can relate to that. ;;

Oh Anthy. Anthy Anthy Anthy. I think she really did love her brother and wanted to sacrifice herself for him, and her selflessness blew up in her face in the worst possible way. So she's all, "Wow, FUCK THAT" and lived only for herself and Akio, without realizing how entrenched she's become in Akio's abuse. Or if you're going with the theory that she captured her brother out of jealousy and wanted to keep him forever, she's being punished every day for one bad thing she did as a kid around 700 years ago. Dude, imagine when you were five, you broke your Mom's favorite vase because you were mad at her. Now you're being tortured and stabbed long into your 40s and 50s and beyond all because of that very incident. No wonder Anthy bore such a grudge against humanity! I like her passive-aggressiveness because it's been pretty much her only way of coping or standing up for herself. To see her wake up and tell off Akio at the end of the series is such a triumph. *-*

Speaking of which, I liked the scene where Utena and Anthy admitted to poisoning each other, then just casually finishing their cookies and tea. I found that charming for some reason.

Anyhow, let's get to the elephant in the room: Ruka Tsuchiya. I've been warned by friends that I wouldn't like him, and they're right. Instead of the wow-you're-an-asshole-but-I-want-to-see-what-you're-going-to-do-next feeling I get with say, Touga and Saionji, Ruka's just wow-you're-an-asshole. I don't know though, I don't think the narrative praises him quite as much as I'm told? Or maybe I just don't want to believe it. I'll elaborate.

Basically, Ruka's a Gary-Stu, and one can argue that this is deconstructed to hell and back like everything else is in the series. He shows up out of nowhere (unless you think he's the brown-haired dude Shiori "stole" from Juri with a dye-job, but even then, he's not mentioned by name), the school adores him and thinks he's hot, and oh hey, he's ~*~better at fencing than Juri~*~. He's got an Informed Flaw (He never shows signs of his illness unless he or someone else mentions it in passing, and he dies from it off-screen) and he exists to sweep Juri off her feet and fix all her problems while turning the Fandom Scrappy Shiori into a Scary Sue and squash her under his boot as much as he could without murdering her.

Thing is, Ruka is calling Shiori manipulative and horrible for something she did years ago--something she apologized for (or at least tried, because Juri blew her off and refused to hear her talk). She wasn't doing anything sinister by cleaning his sword for him; she genuinely loved him and wanted to be his girlfriend without planning to dump him for someone else. But because he sees her as the same person she was long ago, he decides he'll Never Let It Down and treats her like garbage. Juri doesn't like him at all, and harbors no regret the way she does with Shiori. She even outright tells him to leave Shiori alone before he started stringing her along.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Shiori never forced a kiss on Juri despite her repressed feelings for her? God, that scene was all kinds of fucking uncomfortable. I was as pissed as Juri. D:

I don't think the Shadow Girls knew what Ruka was like as a person. They see that he died, and they think, "Aw, he sacrificed his health to see the girl he loved!" without knowing any of the awful things he's done during his visit. At worst, the Ruka-acted-like-a-rapist-asshole-to ~*~save Juri~*~ is a goddamn cop-out. There's a billion ways he could've had Juri hate him without resorting to sexual assault and bullying a girl and publicly humiliating said girl by dumping her in front of crowds of people. Because Shiori was actually innocent, he actually made himself look like an asshole rather than his intention of "giving a different asshole what they deserved."

I have hope in one of Juri's lines in response to his death: "Who did you think you were trying to help?" If given more elaboration, it means the deconstrution of Gary-Stu tropes would come full circle: she's criticizing Ruka for waltzing in and trying to solve her problems without knowing her relationship with Shiori is a lot more complicated than he's making it out to be. Rather than getting her to dump Shiori, she's giving food for thought on her actions and eventually decides to let go of her grudge instead, as evidenced by Shiori joining the fencing team at the end. Ruka is a "prince" treating Juri as a "princess" for him to rescue, and prince = entitled asshole twisted by impossible ideals in Utenaverse.

I don't know why Ruka is the one telling Juri "it's all right" at the end of the duel though. Dude, it was Utena who broke her locket and forced her to wake up, not you. It feels vaguely like he's given credit for that when it should've been Utena, and ew, it makes me uncomfortable. I guess I just don't want to believe the narrative treats Ruka's actions as okay when it does such a good job deconstructing everything else. D:

I still can't believe this was made in 1997-1999. It feels like such a recent show. :o


Date: 2014-12-24 03:28 pm (UTC)
sarajayechan: most loyal friend (Utena+Wakaba)
From: [personal profile] sarajayechan
:DDDDDDD Isn't it wonderful? I adore this series, I can't believe it took me so long to watch-yeah, I coulda torrented it, but watching with Lexi was more fun, it's always fun when you can share the experience with someone.

Anthy is fucking tragic and fucking messed up. She looks like a victim but she's also pretty terrible in her own right, even if most of her problems are Akio's doing he's not the one who made her fuck with Nanami and be passive-aggressive as shit to the Student Council. It's so complex, really-she's being abused, and she's fighting against it the only way she knows how.

And Akio is a horrible person but an interesting villain because we know who he used to be. Dios was a good person, but Akio killed him over the years. And Anthy REMEMBERS Dios being a good person, hence her staying with Akio all this time. Because she remembers when her abuser was good and kind to her, even though he's not anymore. And she's afraid to leave him because he's all she had, then and now.

RUKA IS THE BIGGEST GARY STU TO EVER GARY STU. I loathe that term lately because it and Mary Sue have lost all meaning but in this case? Yeah, he is one. Or tries to be. He's not even that good-looking, he's smug and smarmy as shit and he's a sexist creep. Ikuhara apparently added Ruka and made him look good cause of some feelings he had over a dead bully of his? That's what the official sources apparently say, I'll need to re-read the liner notes that came with my DVDs and see what they say. Or not. Ruka just sucks and you could've had the entire two episodes without him. Juri and Shiori conflict, Utena breaking the locket, Juri forced to wake up. That scene with Ruka trying to comfort Juri made me cringe, he's not heroic and it was UTENA who broke the damn locket.

tl;dr I have Feelings and Thoughts about Anthy and Dios and Ruka sucks.

So what do you ship? :D And your favorite platonic relationships? Favorite episodes, best moments, best running gags, etc.

edit: AND AGREED ABOUT NANAMI AND TOUGA AND SAIONJI. I started out hating them but at the end they were so important to me and I just wanted Touga and Saionji to be friends again and Nanami to grow up and realize she didn't need to be Little Miss Center Of Attention. And Wakaba and Miki, omg. Miki is outwardly nicer than a lot of the males in the series but he's just as messed up as the rest of the cast, and Wakaba broke my heart in her Black Rose Duel episode.
Edited Date: 2014-12-24 04:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-12-26 06:37 pm (UTC)
sarajayechan: Time to find the girl I love (Anthy)
From: [personal profile] sarajayechan
Totally. It fries me so hard when fandom claims Anthy's either a passive little woobie victim or a nasty bitch because she's so much more complex than that!

Awesome idea. :3

Yeah, the comforting scene was just "wow, you sexually assault her and goad her and now you're trying to be her fucking knight in shining armor, Ruka?" It would've been more powerful if he'd walked away realizing he was wrong and Utena had been the one to say "it's going to be okay" because she was that type, she was naive and idealistic and didn't always fully understand the drama going down around her.

Me too! I love how it's both loving and sweet but also toxic and fucked up. Utena cares for and uses Anthy, Anthy hates and loves Utena and it's just just want them to throw off the shackles and have a happy ending! And I've been fixated on Juri/Shiori lately. I just wish Shiori had more episodes that DIDN'T involve Ruka, but her Black Rose episode was hella powerful in its own right. It's mutually toxic and both gorls have things to overcome but the series ended with it looking like they were starting to.

And omg, Juri/Miki is SO cute. I think he's the only male I ship Juri with solely because they have that dynamic, he's someone she can relax and be warm with and he admires and trusts her and obbviously crushes on her. And yeah, Juri/Utena works better as a friendship.

Touga/Saionji's sword pulling sequence in their final duel is so sexually charged. I love their messed up friendship and the flashback scene in episode 9 made me wanna write more about them as kids and Touga's terrible past and Saionji's backstory. (I feel like his parents were okay to him but his dad abused his mom. Which could be part of where he learned to abuse Anthy from. D: ) And the scene with Nanami and Saionji and the eggs made me ship it so hard. XD And ugh, the Kiryuus were such horrible people, especially to Touga. I like to consider his movie backstory canon to the series because I feel like it explains some of his attitudes and part of why he let Akio use him. (The other part being that he used Akio for his power.)

YES, Utena managing to win without taking a single strike against Wakaba. And I ship them, too, not quite as much as Utena/Anthy but still. And Wakaba does warm up to Anthy a bit later on, so... :3

Kanae needs REAL love. :( If Akio died and Dios became a person and went back to his old ways of caring about girls I'd ship Dios/Kanae, but Dios is so long dead and the guy he turned into is horrible and needs to go to jail forever. So her and Kozue might be interesting together. :3 Assuming she managed to survive the poisoning. Or her and Tatsuya if he and Wakaba didn't quite work out! Tatsuya's kind of a butthead but he's a sweet guy and he's at least honest about his feelings.

Kozue is a mess, yeah. Her movie self is just plain scary but her series self is somewhere between that and her manga version. The manga had a chapter devoted to her and Miki and it seemed to resolve things between them a bit better, but the anime left it sliiightly more ambiguous. She loves and cares for her brother but she knows he's become a different person and she's torn between "I live for him" and "fuck him, I do what I want".

Awesome! :D I have some Utena Miis, too. I should get Tomodachi Life at some point.

Date: 2014-12-29 04:07 am (UTC)
sarajayechan: this chapter is what convinced me not to sell my manga volumes on ebay ;w; (Miki+Kozue)
From: [personal profile] sarajayechan
The series doesn't work if you apply bland morality to it. Everyone is a terrible person in some way, even the nicest guy there. The only morally pure character or close to it is Chu-Chu, the worst thing HE does is eat the snack Nanami prepared for the group.

Someone once drew fanart of Juri and Shiori making out on Ruka's grave. I hate ship bashing art but this is an exception.

Yep. ;_; The big confrontation over it near the end of the series made me tear up, omg. ;_;

Shiori's just a girl with the shittiest self-esteem ever. She wanted to make Juri hate her because she felt unworthy of being loved, but I think meeting Utena might have helped her realize she is. I think post-series she went to Juri about everything and they talked and smoothed things over.

Juri/Miki is pretty close to functional considering the series. (LOL, yep. Tumblr!Utena fandom is fucking crazy. They claim to love the series so much but see it all in such black and white terms and het is teh evol even though EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP in that series has issues.)

Me too, Wakaba clearly has some kinds of feelings for Utena, but not like "love love" the way she felt for Saionji and Tatsuya. (I hope there are. Kanae needs more love and real friends and no more Akio. Tatsuya would be good for her, or possibly Miki once he's older. Or Shiori! Or Keiko. Or she and Anthy could smooth over their relationship and become friends!)

Definitely. I think Kozue was going to be a sexually open being anyway but she started so young partially just to piss Miki off. And Miki just...doesn't get it and sees it as her being clingy to HIM. It's so complicated.


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