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.

The Shadow Girls are on the radio, enthusing about the constellations and asking what it means to be eternal. Their first contestant of the night uses the pen name "End of the World". They call Akio on his car phone and ask him what is eternal (a diamond, a beautiful memory, or canned peaches) but he excuses himself to take another call. We see him on the night he approached Saionji, and his voice echoes over the thrusting arena cars: "What do you want? What do you aspire to? What do you wish to be?" (These are interesting questions given the context of Ohtori being an academy; we've said these are adult questions, but they're also the sorts of things children are supposed to grapple with at school.)

Utena asked earlier in this episode whether she'd ever mentioned being an only child and I laughed and said "only once per episode", but it's kinda true. We get a flashback here to Kozue's injury when Utena said "I don't have parents". She doesn't have parents and she doesn't have siblings. Who raised her after they died? Has that ever been mentioned?

I've been wondering where Utena is in this scene, and it finally hits me that I think she's in a hotel room. I think Akio took her to a hotel room after the day-trip to the fair. She's babbling about school and television while she stretches and washes her hair, just everyday schoolgirl type things.

After a Miki flashback, the Shadow Girls manage to call Akio back. Question Two is to choose a miracle from multiple choice. (Eternal was for Saionji; miracle is for Juri.) The options are Edison's inventions, meeting a prince, or canned coelacanth. Akio muses about meeting a prince and we see Ruka and his white roses, and how much pain followed in the wake of his meetings with Shiori and Juri.

Back in the hotel room, Utena babbles about her inability to follow recipes correctly. I mentioned before that Akio feels like he's not emotionally present in the scene with Utena because he's so silent, but her babbling makes it feel like she's not present either, for the same reason. She seems disconnected, even nervous; it's not the relaxed musings she has at night with Anthy when they lay together. It reminds me of how I always feel like I have to fill the air-time when my parents are around, being the entertainer so that everyone stays happy with me. And I think Akio's silence is relevant for another reason: Utena mused at the beginning of the episode that she felt sorry Anthy stayed home because you can't have fun alone. Though Akio is here, Utena is essentially alone in his silence. She isn't having fun.

We see Utena in a state of undress, her hair spilling around her like Anthy's does. Akio is having sex with her but it's almost impossible to tell because she's not reacting to whatever he's doing; she's thinking about her lunch tomorrow. She's not enjoying this and she has no connection to him. She's had her prince--had a date with him, dinner, quality time, and now sex--and she's not fulfilled. Whatever she wanted from her prince, she hasn't found it. The episode opened with him at her core. Now he's been, pardon the crude metaphor, *at* her core and it didn't bring her any pleasure. She asks him what eternity is--the thing he supposedly showed her when she was younger.


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