Saturday, February 1, 2014

Ep. 4: The Sunlit Garden - Prelude

This episode analysis(musing) contains spoilers.  This episode analysis skims over topics and doesn't go into huge detail because each detail is really worth it's own post.  This analysis does not cover every detail to analyze but ones that I have chosen to discuss.  Also, these are my opinions and nothing official.  You do not have to accept or agree with any of this.

"Hikari sasu niwa - Pureryūdo"
April 23, 1997
No duel.

We start this time finally without the fairy tale introduction.  You guys haven't forgot it yet, have you?  No worries, it'll be back.  We begin in the dueling arena as Utena and Miki are about to begin their match while Juri watches from the balcony seating (how do you people get there?).
Wait wha?!  Didn't I just say no duel up there?  Yes I did.  And fuzzy fade out to the music room.

Miki's playing the piano quite well as everyone's favorite queen bee, Nanami approaches the piano bench.  Apparently Miki dropped out of some piano competition and everyone is curious as to why.  He comments about the piano (or maybe himself) is out of tune ignoring the question and returns to playing The Sunlit Garden talking about what it means to him causing Nanami to blush.  Not because she'd actually return his affection or date him or anything; Touga is still her number one, but simply because she would love to be complimented in such a way.  Her whole mood changes when she spots Anthy's picture in his music book.

Wakaba is in class going on about how bad she did on the math test.  Utena is surprisingly unsupportive and distant during this.  Why?  Because her grade is even WORSE than Wakaba's.  This comes as a shock to Wakaba because Utena is normally very good in math.  Good thing Wakaba said so because this is the only test score we've seen so far.  

SLAP!  Our henchgirls are at it again, shaming Anthy because Nanami assumes Anthy is the reason Miki dropped out of that competition.  Stopwatch!  Miki speaks up and the henchgirls leave as Miki bashfully crushes on Anthy.  
Utena catches the two of them walking and Wakaba schools her on who Miki is.  Dang Utena, you wouldn't know jack if you didn't have Wakaba telling you who everyone is.  These are your student council members. How do you not know them?  

Stopwatch!  Miki is correcting the quiz paper for Anthy while Juri talks with him.  I love how open and kind Juri is towards Miki.  I imagine that's how she would be (and a little bit more) if she could be honest with Shiori.
Miki asks Juri if happiness can sometimes be surprisingly close by.  This takes her back a bit and she moves on, never really answering it.  I don't think she ignored it to be rude, but simply because that hit too close to home for her comfort.  I think that's also why she is able to be so sweet around Miki because he doesn't push it.  She moved on from it and he left it at that.  Her face even looks like she's aching as she tries to move on after that comment.

Miki brings the paper over while Utena keeps struggling to fix her own math test.  Miki introduces himself then flashes the ring.  Utena reacts defensively which is fair since her only interactions so far have been with the abusive Saionji and Touga the playboy.  She even brings it to point that he must be after the Rose Bride.
Miki denies that saying that duels are not the way he wishes to make Anthy his bride.  Utena's excited to hear that he doesn't want to duel because it's been eating her study time and now her test scores suck.  

Back to Miki playing piano in the music room.  Enter Touga noting that Miki's playing sounds more vibrant today (really, because it sounds like the same track that's been on repeat all episode).  Could it be that Miki has found his "shining thing", the thing that he lost so long ago.  
Flashback to him and his sister playing a piano outside in a garden.  Touga again mentions Miki's shining thing and Nanami overhears this from the hall.  Yeah, it wouldn't make any sense to me either Nanami.  

The Shadow Girls share with us a story of first love and how when he found out what she was really like, she was dumped.  They warn about the truth behind the girl.  This could be seen as foreshadow to what Nanami's about to do OR what would Miki do if he knew the REAL truth about Anthy?

Study group time!  Miki brought Nanami along!  Okay, seriously this is one of my favorite Nanami bits here on out.  Nanami spends the rest of the episode imaging what will happen if she puts animals in various locations to blame on Anthy only to have Anthy stuff her EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.  My favorite is when the mongoose gets out of the drawer that Nanami is trying to place a garter snake in and it eats the garter snake.  Nanami's laugh in this episode is great too.  Even her English voice captures these events perfectly.  This is only the start of so many great Nanami episodes.

Anthy is messing around making a flip picture book in the corner.  Miki and Utena get on to her for not taking it seriously but come on, she's been going to high school for years.  She could pass if she wanted to I'm sure.  She only failed to get the pieces in motion.  And I honestly don't think that Anthy intended for Chu-Chu to eat Nanami's snack that she had prepared.  The look on her face and her reaction seems to say that she didn't want Nanami pushed that far, but just to where she was.  What a nice way to get back at Nanami for her underhanded attacks.
Yes she says that maybe she should have made takoyaki (and octopus dish) instead of shaved ice.  She only meant that in she had done something with every other animal that Nanami brought pretty much. 

The air fills with the sound of The Sunlit Garden once again as everyone finds Anthy playing it at the piano.  Miki says it's in the same ton as his sister used to play (whatever dude, it sounds the exact same as every track you played this episode).

I've found it.  My "shining thing."

Images courtesy of


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