Klimtian Utena x Anthy (nsfw)

Rabbits got me a present that I wish to share with you, but it’s a bit nsfw so beware…

The artist’s page is [here]

Now, besides being a lovely picture, it’s really good for thinking about Revolutionary Girl Utena.  For one thing, the picture is based on the Gustav Klimt painting below:

I love the critters, the one on the left might even be a phoenix, which is “ohtori” in Japanese and of course that’s huge in Utena.  It really does seem as if Anthy and Utena are traipsing through Himavanta Forest.

One of the things about this painting is that the dynamics of translating its title get us into the subtleties of the show’s themes.  In German it’s called Die Freundinnen.  In English it would be The Friends.  The problem is that the German indicates that the gender is female.  So The Girlfriends might be a better translation.  Or possibly The Girl Friends, or The (Girl) Friends even.

The word “girlfriends” in English is rather ambivalent.  Are these just friends who happen to be girls, are they lovers, something in between?  My understanding is that Klimt meant them to be lesbians, but I’m not even sure if they’re a romantic couple or just lesbians who happen to be friends…

In transferring Utena and Anthy into this setting, the artist has to choose which character to put on the left and which on the right.  I feel like 99% of Revolutionary Girl Utena fans would have put Anthy on the left and Utena on the right, Anthy naked and Utena clothed.  Don’t you think?

This artist doesn’t know anything about the show, and instead settled on this arrangement.  But now the more I look at it, the more I think this “subversive representation” might actually be closer to the actual state of affairs in the series.  That Anthy is wrapped up in all sorts of clothes and it is Utena that’s bare from the start…

Thanks to the Rabbits and the artist for this😀

~ by Haloed Bane on May 1, 2011.

12 Responses to “Klimtian Utena x Anthy (nsfw)”

  1. >> But now the more I look at it, the more I think this “subversive representation” might actually be closer to the actual state of affairs in the series.

    Take an ambiguous story like this and think about it the right way and anything can become true. I would think both of them were wrapped in layers from the start. Still a fascinating image, though.

  2. It seems obvious to me, since clothes can be obfuscating that Anthy would be the draped one. Utena may have failed/flailed at understanding who she was, her purpose, or the bases of her intentions… but Anthy, she’s the one who provides the mystery in the show, the one who stripped down as her intentions and nature become revealed to Utena and to us.

  3. I just want to say, dodongo-fin (the artist) asked us which to go on which side……Funny was in favor of Utena on the right and Anthy on the left and Lavie and me for the opposite, and nde stayed out of it. No one really had familiarity with Utena so it was all gut instinct and Klimt.

    Lavie’s rationale? The one on the right seemed more exotically oriental, so for orientalism, Anthy on the right. Funny’s rationale? Anthy’s tits.

    ……What could’ve been, huh?

    • Interesting. And I love how dodongo-fin incorporated little details like Anthy’s crown and Utena’s epaulette thingies.

      Thanks again!

  4. one more thing that has slipped away: although in klimt they both look at the viewer in the fanart only Utena does… Anthy until the end of the series hasn’t really looked someone deep in the eyes.

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