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

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