Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ep. 7 - Unfulfilled Juri

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.

"Mihatenu Juri"
May 14, 1997
Duel Song: Tenshi Souzou Sunawachi Hikari
Duel Theme: amour - Love

Wha! Wah!  Ah!!  It's here!  My absolute favorite episode!

We get a brief tease of what this episode is about as a young Juri denounces miracles as "mysterious" hands cover her eyes.  Then straight into fencing practice!
Juri is tearing through opponent after opponent, resting when she is done as she idly handles the locket around her neck.

Next, we have the vice-principal commending Juri's latest regional council meeting while offering to take her out to eat.  It's clear here what Juri's position is in the Student Council.  She is human resources.  She makes the council look good while keeping everything the council needs in check.  She handles everyone, including administrators as she demonstrates by commanding her authority in such a tactful yet intimidating way to free Utena from the counselor for brief conversation.

Utena gives the rundown of how everyone at school recognizes Juri as an intimidating force.  Let's take a moment to recognize what this means.  Utena has to be educated on who the president and vice president of the student council were and it is unclear if she knew of Miki or more got to know him in the study lessons.  She knew Juri and had heard of her which speaks volumes about how what Utena says of Juri.  
Juri neither confirms not denies this before abruptly changing the topic back to Utena.  

Enter Anthy carrying the orange rose and every memory that Juri associates with it as Juri tries to explain to Utena why the student council attempts to win the Rose Bride.  Utena doesn't really get it but I actually think that it works out best that Utena doesn't understand it.  She ends up using it without ever really knowing what she's doing which makes it more genuine when it happens.  More so than any selfish desires that people would knowingly utilize the power for.  

When Utena questions if they're serious about winning the Rose Bride, Juri's mind reflects on Shiori.  Juri doesn't want to win the Rose Bride, she simply wishes to attain her miracle while outwardly denying miracles.  If there were such things as miracles, then maybe her relationship with Shiori could be different...

Utena gets called away just in time for Anthy to finally reach where she was.  With her engaged being gone, she offers the orange rose to Juri.  This slap never bothered me before but I've noticed that it is a very controversial thing for some people.  I had always seen it as Juri reacting.  First, to her repressed feeling and secondly, to what Anthy/Rose Bride represents.  It wasn't anything personal and I never took it to heart.  Some people view it as Anthy pushing Juri's buttons to which other people yell victim blaming.  Look, I'm not blaming Anthy.  I don't think that she wanted to do be slapped but I do think that she wanted to rile Juri up.  I think she saw it as a button to push but didn't anticipate fully the repressed rage of Juri.  That doesn't excuse Juri but it reveals a lot about her.

Student Council meeting.  Saionji still isn't attending these.  Miki looks shocked when Touga discusses Juri as a duelist.  Really Miki?  You make the least amount of sense in the student council.  He says that she doesn't have motive to fight which goes to show how well she conceals her true feelings from others.  Miki is the person that she is closest too and he doesn't even know why she duels.  Touga knows.. Unsure of how but he knows.  He subtly calls her out on it while leaving her her privacy.  Good call Touga.  Probably the safest move that he and Miki made in the entire meeting.

Miki tries to ask and pry while Juri remains silent, reflecting on her reasons internally rather than divulging to everyone.  A difference between Utena and herself.  Everyone knows Utena's story about the prince, but no one knows Juri's story about her best friend who took the guy who liked her and left school with him.

Interesting note, Shiori's height is the same as Miki.  Imagine photoshopping Shiori into all of that cute Juri/Miki official art.  Would that be how Juri would act with Shiori is she felt open and confident in the matter?  Is that how they used to be before Juri closed herself off due to her romantic feelings?

Reflecting some on the "love triangle."  Okay, he brown boy liked Juri, Juri liked Shiori, Shiori wanted brown boy because she thought Juri did and she wanted to be better than Juri.  Shiori continues to write Juri almost rubbing in what she did; "you must hate me for what I've done."  Before she left the school, she would be lovey-lovey with the boy in Juri's presence.  Juri wasn't ever upset at her for taking him, but for him being able to be open and happy with Shiori.  Shiori looked happy simply because she thought that she was hurting Juri, not because of the boy.  And if you think that Shiori really did love brown boy and that she genuinely was apologizing to Juri, good for you and your opinion.

Chu-Chu needing to be walked to sleep in the middle of the night?  And only this one time?  Sounds like a Rose Bride setup.  Utena sees Juri out of uniform and compliments the look.  Juri shifts the focus immediately back to Utena without so much as a thank you.  Utena seems a little shocked that Juri moved the conversation so quickly but allows it to pass.  Utena divulges her past about the prince being her motivator which Juri reacts very poorly to.  She snaps basically calling Utena a manipulated little girl.  Here Juri is dueling to be able to express her love and Utena is dueling simply because she liked a guy.  It sounds stupid to her and she calls it as she sees it.  If she knew the real reason that Utena vowed to become a prince, she would probably take no arms with her.  Unfortunately, even by now, Utena herself has nearly forgotten the true reason that she vowed to become a prince.

Statue talk.  We see a variety of statues in this conversation.  Our first is maybe Gemini?  This could be reflective of the theory that Juri could have been a prince like Utena or maybe more the dual sides of Juri.  The lion.  Looks much like the Medici Lions.  They represent protection and royal power which you then see come roaring out of Juri as she questions Utena's nobility.  I also like how the panning of the statue image flows.  You start at the base where everything appears smooth and regal but as the camera pans up, you are introduced to strength and ferocity.  I think we get that with Juri as well.

I honestly don't know about the scene where Anthy is alone in the classroom singing about rabbits and doing a finger play.  It's cute but I am open to hearing your interpretation of that scene.

The Shadow Girl sequence where one has a cold so she misses the field trip to the zoo but she's okay because she didn't want to go anyway.  Obvious Juri right there.  She says that she wants the power of miracles to disprove them, but it really isn't what she wants.  Just as the Shadow Girl "doesn't" want to go to the zoo.

This duel is by far my favorite.  Juri holds herself confidently and her moves are incredibly powerful.  How Saionji ever beat her, I do not know.  Her skills are amazing, her moves are astounding.  She could have beat Utena any number of times during the duel but she allowed it to continue and even states so.  Dios aids Utena and Juri just stuffs it!  In the end, a miracle wins the duel in favor of Utena though Juri still denies that is what happened.  If you've seen it, you can't deny.  Even if it wasn't an miracle, it was no accident.  

Because I can't make you realize how I feel.

Screenshots from the lovely


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