Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ep. 9 - The Castle Said to Hold Eternity

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.

"Eien ga aru toiu shiro" 
May 28, 1997
No duel.

Girls running of to see a duel.  Wait, a duel?!  A kendo sparing match between Touga and Saionji.  Sub to dub comparison here: in the sub the audio gives way to believe that there are swarms of girls cheering on both boys while in the dub it just sounds like two girls had happened to catch this event.
I can't pin who's voice tells the Japanese fangirls to hush and the English doesn't have dialogue there but they seem to be represented by the broom.  An uninterested party?  The club sponsor?   

This is the first we see any of Touga's swordplay.  The girls call him a prince which gets Utena back to thinking about her's.  In some way, I think she does connect Touga to when she met her prince but with her forgotten details she can't exactly place why he should have anything to do with that event.  It must therefor mean that he could be her prince.  

We're then taken to Touga revealing Saionji as his "old friend" which now we can clearly see Saionji's complex concerning Touga begin to show.  We were so busy watching him slap Anthy around early on that now we get to see his insecurities show.  

Anthy watering the roses, Chu-Chu battling a frog that ate his roly poly, a disgruntled Saionji taking his aggression out on anything close by.  Just an average day at Ohtori Academy.  

Flashback to young Saionji and Touga dueling with someone bandaging the other's hand.  Utena flips on Saionji for his comment of not wanting to lose to Touga as Saionji mistreating Anthy because she's stuck in the middle.  Seriously Utena.  She can only look at things by what appears right or wrong to her regardless of the big picture.  I guess it is easy to be a prince if you don't have to consider the wants and needs of all.  Just simply make the world conform to your idea of right.  

But anyway, Utena does that all series long so we won't stop noting it here.  Saionji then introduces the idea of trying to possess eternity.  I still don't think that I fully understand the idea of Saionji's something eternal but mostly because I cannot relate.  I can relate to miracles.  I can relate to shining things.  I can relate to smashing the world's shell.  But eternity is lost on me.  I have my blog post on what I think it might be.

It's interesting to note that the drive and backstory for the other student council members so far have been introduced in their duel episode.  Saionji does not get that same treatment as he was our introduction to the duels in general.   

Flashback again as we pass by a church where a funeral is going on.  We hear that a girl is missing.  You can see the difference between these two boys here. Saionji is still child-like, believing the adults every word and being frightened of Touga opening the coffin.  Touga searches to find the girl himself (why didn't he just tell the adults this?  For plot!) and courageously opens the coffin himself.  Touga and Utena are both damaged individuals here; Utena with death and Touga with abuse.  While Saionji is still pure and innocent while wishing to understand things as he thinks they do. Oh Saionji, you don't want it.

Also to note, we see Utena here with her face blacked out.  Saionji doesn't even recognize the girl in the event that made such an impact on his life when she stands right there by him today.  Apply that to Utena's story of how all of this transpired.  She doesn't remember the boys.  She imagined herself a princess.  Details forgotten and distorted become shrouded in shadow much like the faces and bodies in these flashbacks.  Saionji doesn't recognize because he doesn't remember that detail.  Touga is clear but Utena and the men are not.  The memory has become distorted with portions missing.  It happens to us all.

Oh the bandage coming off!! I read someone's interpretation of that somewhere once that was really good and on point but I don't remember it right now.  Maybe I'll come back to this later.  It was a good point though..

Also, I love how Saionji notes that there was something different in the girl's eyes but he can't even remember what those looked like anymore either.  He just remembers feeling.  Feeling like the girl knew and Touga knew but he did not.  

Interesting how Utena transformed that memory into a fairy tale that she tells herself in comfort.  How defensive Utena gets that someone must have told Touga about her prince as though she hasn't told that story to everyone she met.  Why get defensive now?  Because she's unsure of herself and her memories.  Could Touga really be her prince?  She pushes herself away from his smooth moves.  If Touga had taken slow like Akio, he might really could have had Utena fooled.  She's still wrapping her head around the idea of possibly having found her prince.  Touga might be smooth but he played his cards too soon, too quick.  

The Shadow Girls do a skit reflecting on Touga and Saionji's relationship.  One believes in everything, the other does not while they both agree that there is no such thing a true friends.  What an odd relationship this one is..

Utena returns home.  Oh no!  Anthy is missing!  Shock gasp.  Phone call from Touga that Anthy has been kidnapped and to check the duelist arena.  How hard Touga plays at being Akio in this episode.  It really makes you think that the student council could be pulling the strings.  But what about End of the World who is sending these letters?

Utena discovers Saionji face-down near the entrance after he strong-armed Anthy to the arena dispight her voicing that he shouldn't.  The powers of the Rose Bride too much to enter the arena for one not engaged to her.  Or something.  It never really does explain what happened there.

Racing to the top of the stairs we are met with a recreation of the scene from Saionji's memory (Utena doesn't remember these anymore).  A nice test of Utena of saving the princess and foreshadowing of the final episode as Utena saves Anthy from her rose-sealed coffin.  

Just as quickly, everything goes back to as it was before.  The castle back in the sky but Anthy is unconscious (maybe?).  Saionji kind of has a mental breakdown as Anthy regains consciousness and attempts to attack Utena.  Instead of harming Utena, he instead injures Touga who ran in the way just in time.  

Remember when Tsuwabaki wanted to be like Touga by putting Nanami in danger just to save her in the nick of time?  I'm just saying, look at what we have Touga doing right here.  Touga sent the letter to Saionji in End of the World's name, called Utena to the dueling arena, set it all up just to toss himself in harm's way to save the princess at the expense of his "only friend."

A person who truly believes in friendship is a fool.

 Screenshots from the lovely


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