The Akio Ohtori Arc (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Of course this contains SPOILERS up to and including episode 33 of this show, so if you haven’t watched it go away NOW!!!
OK, well. The first thing I have to say is that however we may feel about what this arc uncovers and how it ends, we should appreciate the courage of the writers in drawing the consequences of the situation as they envisioned it. Akio was just too smooth and Utena too inexperienced. It sounds odd to say this but Touga could have had more success in seducing Utena if Nanami had been friendlier to her. As nasty as it might sound, Akio’s success was not his alone.
Nanami, well, this arc shows just how much she knows about her brother. She loves him dearly, but she knows him and she’s known him for a long time. The reason she’s so stunned when she hears that they’re not related is because to her this means she’s lost him forever. Because she knows he won’t stay with one woman. If they’re not related, she can at best become one in an infinite series of lovers. But as a sister, she is unique.
Back to Utena. I’ll have to quote Nietzsche one more time here: What doesn’t kill you make you stronger. Every time you lose at Othello you get better at it, you just have to make sure you don’t lose courage and stop playing the game.
I was half-hoping half-dreading throughout this arc that someone would beat Utena in a duel. I’m guessing right now she’d have a horrible time beating Akio if he challenged her. I don’t even know if she could work properly with Anthy to do it, and I wouldn’t put it past Anthy (I love you Anthy, but I must say this!) to actually sabotage the effort and give the victory to that Lucifer of a brother. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If Utena doesn’t let herself wither and die she will be stronger.
RANDOM NOTES ON EPISODE 33:
1) The bright red Ferris Wheel is a great symbol/target to focus on at the beginning of episode 33.
2) Utena’s monologue throughout the episode is so well done! As her mind becomes more and more confused, her speech becomes more disjointed, obsessive (about little things) and she ends up sounding like some Dada poet. The monologue is so real to me, and of course, the fact that it isn’t a dialogue (technically, we could think Akio’s words are being left out but I don’t think so, I think he’s really pretty much silent throughout) is so amazingly awful.
3) The flashback to Miki’s last duel reminded me of a scene so disconcerting I had completely repressed it: Anthy with Miki and Kozue’s father on the phone. Is Anthy playing Mamiya to Miki’s father’s Mikage? OK fine, but why???
4) The absence of Nanami’s duel in the recap was an extremely effective strategy. At least, it worked on me! While I was off guard thinking “when’s Nanami going to show up?” the big scene slapped me in the face. Not to mention I was half-expecting a duel in this episode too.
5) I would like to think that the the two white pieces on the Othello board around minute 15 represent Utena and Anthy.
6) BTW, my least favorite character in the show: Shiori. Honestly, one splendid way to finish this series would be to have all the duelists stab her at the same time. If that sounds too cruel then have it all be a dream. But when she wakes up, she’s dead. 😀