Utena: Every Boy a Prince

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 36: "And Thus Opens The Doorway Of Night "

We recap the Saionji and Touga conversation from last time and how they're all trapped in their coffins. I'm a little sad that Touga didn't tie this back into the baby bird's shell (that it dies in if it doesn't break) but here we are.

Utena and Akio are out riding again. Kissmate notes the body language: Utena is riding side-saddle in Akio's arms, sheltered like a princess but huddled in on herself. She looks smaller and more helpless. He's boxing her in. He says she looks like a princess and pulls her in for a kiss; this time she doesn't resist him the way she did before.

Juri and Miki watch Utena walking across campus and note how she looks like a girl now, the way she walks: small, hesitant steps instead of her usual confident stride. Miki asks if this is a good thing, and Juri asks if he really believes that. She thinks the school is changing and the day of revolution coming, but wonders why she has a vague awful feeling.

Open Thread: Some Birds and Reflections


Picture taken on September 9th.

Sorry for the lack of open thread last week.

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We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Utena: Eternal Suffering

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 35: "The Love That Blossomed In Wintertime"

We open with the "once upon a time" spiel, but updated to reflect what we learned in the last episode. Then we're back in Akio's car while he and Touga talk strategy. Akio says the next match will determine who brings revolution to the world.

Utena watches Anthy in the rose garden as we get the sense that memories are starting to trickle back. [Kissmate: "She's holding water--her emotions--and they're suddenly so heavy she has to set them down."] Anthy asks her if she's been dreaming and Utena says she feels like she promised someone something very important. She asks Anthy to let her see her face and almost seems to recognize her until Akio interrupts them to take her for a walk. He asks Anthy if he can steal Utena from her. Anthy smiles and agrees, but her face falls when they leave.

Film Corner: Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water

Kissmate wants me to watch Lady In The Water, which I have avoided because I thought it was a horror movie about drowning. Kissmate has assured me there is no drowning in this one. I'm trying to make heads or tails of this movie description. "A building manager rescues an enigmatic young woman and learns that she is a 'narf', a character from a bedtime story, who is trying to return to her world." WTF is a narf? I thought I was fluent in fairy tales, but this just makes me think of Pinky and the Brain.

I'm a little worried because I see where it very clearly says "M. Night Shyamalan" on the image thumbnail, and Kissmate is treating this like he's about to watch an entertaining trainwreck. I'm pressing 'play' warily. I am worried. We get little stick drawings, like with the rusalka movie. A gruff man tells us that people used to be linked to "those in the water". Mermaids? Rusalka? Shark-people?

Utena: Drama Club

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 34: "The Rose Crest"

Akio tells Anthy as she dresses that he discovered a comet but that he doesn't plan to tell anyone else about it. He won't even name it. [Kissmate: "Didn't he promise to name one after Kanae?"] He says the feeling of discovery is amazing, like he owns it, but that stars belong to no one. [Kissmate: "He's Lucifer, the morning star, so that means *he* belongs to no one and everyone."] Anthy tells him goodnight and he asks if she has to keep torturing him. [Kissmate: "We're only getting slices here because there's things we don't know."] Utena, in bed, promises herself again she's going to become a prince.

The Shadow Girls, in the flesh!, try to convince Utena to join the drama club, promising that all she has to do is show up and people will throw flowers at her. (What was it Akio said about Big Brothers and Princes? They're useless with nothing to do but people feel better when they look at them.) They leave behind a ticket for Utena to attend The Tale of the Rose. Wakaba tells Utena to mark the pictures she likes for the yearbook photos, and Utena points out that Anthy isn't in any of the pictures. Seeing the ticket, Wakaba asks when the school got a drama club.

Utena: Her Nervous Babble

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 33: "The Prince Who Runs Through The Night"

We start with the "once upon a time" starter but everything is different: the monologue occurs over the lights of what look like a carnival with a red ferris wheel. [Kissmate: "The wheel is red, infused with a white light: this is Utena's center of self. She's centered herself around the light of the prince."] Anthy stands in the tower center and looks up at the projected constellations. She's watching all the characters rather than being one herself?

Anthy picks up the phone and says she was looking at the projected stars, that she didn't want to see the real ones. We see Utena stretching while enthusing about how much fun she had at the fair, and how she wishes Anthy could've come with them. I'm unsettled by how we don't see Akio in this scene even though that's clearly who she's talking to. It's like he's not really there with her, and emotionally he isn't. He wanted to separate his sister from Utena because they were getting too close. When he couldn't beat her in the ring, he seduced her in an attempt to extinguish Anthy's love for her. He doesn't care about Utena herself, or the fair, or having fun; he's doing this to keep Anthy alone and dependent on him.

Film Corner: VelociPastor

VelociPastor

I am lying in bed resting my chest (which is still twitchy and I'm a little annoyed at myself for not healing faster, but Kissmate keeps saying Healing Isn't Linear and is threatening to cross-stitch it at me) so it's time for Amazon Prime!

Several folks have asked for this one by name: VelociPastor. "After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a prostitute convinces him to use it to fight crime."

I have many questions, like "do people normally call a priest a pastor?" because those are very different sects of Christianity in my experience, and also questions like "will he be 2 feet tall in dinosaur form?" Please let him be a tiny feral lizard-chicken. The movie opens with screen-text which informs us that it's "Rated X by an all-Christian jury". Kissmate is struggling to breathe.

Utena: The Choice To Break Away

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 32: "The Romance of the Dancing Girls"

Before we start this episode, I want to gush about two things from the last one. One, I really appreciate that Miki was genuinely worried about Nanami when she asked to stay the night at his place and wasn't interested in taking advantage over her like Akio, Touga, and possibly Tsuwabuki. Miki recognized Nanami's request was highly unusual for her, realized that something was wrong, and was actively worried for her, like a good friend and genuinely nice guy. Considering that Miki has struggled in the past with Nice Guy toxic tendencies, this is delightful to me because it shows that people at Ohtori can improve and do better. I'm so proud of Miki.

Two, I love how Nanami is an actual character in this series. It would be so easy to make her the stereotypical "rich bitch", queen bee, socialite with the ho-ho-ho noblewoman's laugh and stop right there. Indeed, it's easy to think that's all she is the first time you go through the series because we've seen that trope so many times before. But it's here in season three that her arc really ramps up and I appreciate that she is the first one to see Akio and Anthy as they really are, laid bare before her. Our last shot of Nanami was of her fleeing in the elevator, still in her nightgown (so scandalous! so inappropriate for Nanami, who always looks her best!), just trying to get as far away as fast as she can. She's seen what Utena won't see for a long time yet to come and I love that Nanami is the narrative vehicle chosen to explore this.

Open Thread: A Storm Rolling In


Picture taken on August 25th.  The rain the storm brought with it was very welcome.  The world was too hot that day.

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We sometimes have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  That said, we do not currently have any.  You do not need such a thread to discuss a movie.  Provided you encipher any spoilers (the standard method is by summoning Cthulhu) discussion of movies is quite welcome in the regular open threads.

The special threads are for cases where movie-talk might threaten to drown out other discussion, is expected to take place over multiple weeks, or both.  If you believe a given movie calls for one, simply say so.  Be aware, however, that I'm not remotely on top of things right now, it's probably best if you @ me (chris the cynic, not Ana) to get my attention.

-

Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

September Newsletter (2020)

September is here and that seems...kind of impossible? We've been in quarantine since March, which feels both forever ago but also yesterday. Kissmate and I have been surviving with the usual ups and downs for this time of year: allergy season, a minor bout of what seemed to be flu but turned out to be more allergies, and existential dread about the upcoming election. The normal stuff!

In writing news, I've figured out that the project I was struggling with is actually two projects, so that's been a big step forward in terms of planning. The second of the two projects is a collection of fairy tales that have been scavenged from the Brothers Grimm and have had queer people added to them. I've spent this week cataloging the collections on Project Gutenberg, tabulating the stories therein, and organizing them by known Aarne-Thompson type. Links, if you find this nerdily fascinating like I do:


The Grimms' stories suss out into several categories, only a few of which are really ripe for this project; the "Animal Tales" are mostly morality fables that either end in everyone gruesomely dead, or learning a moral that would clash with most modern sensibilities, or otherwise just aren't ripe for stuffing with queerness. (I adore the Bremen Town Musicians, but have no idea how to Make It Queer.) So I've been reading through the fables and setting aside which ones are most likely candidates for queering and which are probably not. All this probably sounds like slow going, but it's such a relief to be able to create again, even if it's just making a derivative work rather than a wholly new one.

In other news! We went to the post office today and mailed out books and bookmarks to patrons. If you're in a $5 or more tier and haven't gotten a No Man of Woman Born bookmark, please let me know and I'll mail one out to you! If you're in the $25 or more tier and don't have a copy of No Man of Woman Born, please let me know and I'll sign and mail out one to you. We'll go to the post office at the end of the month (we're trying not to go too often because of covid) so that should give everyone time to message me.

Patreon News

All Patrons: For your live-watching pleasure, we will be posting my-and-Kissmate's watches of the Resident Evil series. The first five movies are, of course, the pinnacle of human endeavor and the greatest art of all time, while the sixth and final film was a load of garbage and potato peels. We had such fun and I hope you will too!

$5+ Patrons: You're going to get some amazing fairy tales this month, I hope. Come hell or high water.

Older Links

My Ramblings Deconstructions: Here.

My YouTube Let's Plays: Here.

My Favorite Tumblr Funnies: Here.

@DivorceKittens: Here.

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Please take care out there. I know a lot of you have had to reduce pledges because covid is hurting employment and housing so much. Please prioritize your own self-care and stay safe. I worry about everyone. Love to you all.

Utena: Not Like Other Girls

[Utena Content Note: Abuse, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Rape, Incest]

Links: Froborr's excellent posts and color symbolism guide are here. I'm watching the subtitled episodes contained in the blu-ray collection here.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Episode 31: "Her Tragedy"

We open with the beginning of how Utena met her prince, which I find very important in light of the previous episode and Kissmate's theory of why Utena is falling for Akio. In the Kiryuu residence, Nanami answers the phone and says Touga isn't there right now. She smirks when the girl on the other line hangs up, and muses how she's not like other girls: Touga is her brother and she's not just another disposable love interest. Girls on the wall play childish games, illustrating that Nanami is just playing her own childish game.

In the rose garden (an odd place to find him--is he going to be the Rose Bride for this arc?) Touga reassures a girl on the phone that she's the only one for him while he embraces another girl. [Kissmate: "Oh god, he's tending to all the roses."] Nanami watches from the outside looking in. That evening, she is confused by an article about blood type compatibilities, since she and Touga get along so well despite having incompatible blood, but he cuts her off saying he's not interested. He says he's going to take a shower and asks if she'd like to join him. There is a very pregnant pause while Nanami blushes.

Film Corner: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I figured since I'm sick and readying for my husband's surgery in a few days, today would be a great day for a #Kissmatewatches! Today's flick is "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" (2017) directed by Luc Besson. I know nothing about this film. I hear it's pretty and the story isn't great. I know it flopped, but for what reason? Badly written characters? Horrible character design? Patriarchal desires to squash a positive feminist or queer film? I guess we'll see!

We start off with the late David Bowie's "Space Oddity" played over a small space station gaining more and more connections and astronauts over the decades until it's more of a space station Lego set put together in the most Frankenstein way. It goes from Americans welcoming other countries to the space station, to welcoming aliens to combine onto the station as well. We see the spreading of time with little year marks and aging/changing of captains. This is the perfect "show don't tell" opening.