The Apocalypse Arc (Revolutionary Girl Utena)

So I finally finished watching the show, a year and a half after I first started it!!

I have yet to watch the film, but it’s better if I write my thoughts on this final arc before I do, so here I go…

Spoilers ahead for Revolutionary Girl Utena of course as well as for the film The Usual Suspects..  If you haven’t watched either of these then don’t read this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Am I allowed to say I was disappointed?  It is a childish disappointment.  I don’t have any notion of how it could have ended better, I just felt it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be.  I think this was my least favorite arc of the four.

I like how in episode 34 the shadow girls’ version and the prince’s version of what happened long ago clash so completely, but the stories themselves weren’t very interesting.

One of my biggest qualms was Utena’s reactions throughout these last few episodes.  Once again, I can’t really say how I expected her to behave, only that it wasn’t like this 😦

I loved the badminton scene in episode 37.  With a bit of fiddling you could have made that into the end of the whole show I think.  It was very poignant.

The betrayal at the end of episode 38 was very well portrayed.  Obviously the lack of blood and the appearance of a merry-go-round gave us a clue that this was not a run of the mill situation we were in (for starters, Utena should have died at this point).  And the most interesting thing was Anthy’s explanation of the betrayal.  There are so many ways to interpret that statement, some of them very, very bad.

I guess one valid way to see the whole show is to think of Anthy as being totally evil.  She’s pretty much masterminded the whole thing, and the betrayal is just a final testing of Utena…to see if she can truly replace Akio in her eyes…Utena passes the test, takes on the suffering that Anthy rightfully deserved and now Anthy walks out on Akio in search of her new prince…who she will now torment at will.  As soon as she steps off Ohtori Academy she lights a cigarette and grins.   Anthy Himemiya = Keyser Söze.  THE END.

Alright, I guess I’ll go watch the movie now 🙂

My apologies for such a disappointing post.

~ by Haloed Bane on May 5, 2011.

11 Responses to “The Apocalypse Arc (Revolutionary Girl Utena)”

  1. I hope anyone who’s never seen Utena or Ususal Suspects ever wanders across this post 🙂

    I sort of agree; I wanted more, but at the same time I can’t think of what else could have happened. It was a twist, it raised tons of questions, it was… Utena-like.

    Try the movie, it’s a head trip and a half.

    • I wrote in a spoiler warning for Usual Suspects as well. You’re right, it would be a horrible crime to spoil that film for anyone.

      I just started watching the Adolescence film. I’m cooking some rice, will put two fried eggs on top for energy, and will continue watching. 10 minutes in and I’m already perplexed…

  2. I can’t say I was disappointed. Confused maybe, but I do think that this is my least favorite arc. It’s the curse of consistent greatness. How do you finish with authoritative amazingness?

    Other shows have spotty arcs that a finale whites out. But Utena? It’s not your average show.

    • I loved the movie!!

      I read your post on it, then the ones you linked to from digiboy and adaywithoutme. plus i’ve read a bunch of essays and forum threads on Utena. it’s nice not being so afraid of spoilers!

      • Feels like an accomplishment doesn’t it? I’m still floored by that movie that I seem to remember so little of what little that I can possibly say about it. But perhaps it’s because I only remember how impressively bold it was to make the broad cuts and rearrangements it did and how beautiful and fluid everything looked.

  3. I like it how the prince’s version totally clashes not only with the shadow girls’ play, but with little Utena’s tale I’ve got so used to I stopped listening to as well: “and so impressed was she by the prince…” Dios does not do anything impressive at all, does he? What draws Utena out of her denial of reality is Anthy’s torment, and it turns out she has relied on her own resources from the start. In that way she reminds me of Jury who keeps saying that the power of miracles was all Shiori’s idea.

    • That’s true. There are at least three versions here.

      Dios ends up as sort of a loser, doesn’t he? You could read this as saying Anthy is awesome, or Utena is, or maybe even Akio is, but not Dios. He’s kind of a red herring at the end…

  4. I actually interpreted the whole ending differently, it made Anthy one of the most complex and interesting characters in the series but I’d never call her evil. I saw the whole thing as an alegory for an abusive relationship. You can’t charge in as a white knight and save someone in that situation, like no matter how much Utena fights for Anthy, Anthy doesn’t have the self respect to accept it. When Utena reaches for Anthy in the coffin it is impossible for her to reach her without Anthy wanting to be saved, and finally she reaches back and thus is able to leave the academy and look for Utena outside of the world Anthy and Akio created.

    • So what brought about the change in Anthy’s mindset then? She stabs Utena because she lacks self-respect and is caught up in this abusive relationship. What makes her want to be saved immediately after that? Is it that seeing Utena struggle so much for love of her made her realize her own self-worth?

  5. […] animekritik, “The Apocalypse Arc (Revolutionary Girl Utena)” […]

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