People love talking about symbolism and how figurative the show is when it comes to Utena, and while some stuff was made really obvious, there's loads of other stuff that seem like they're supposed to be symbolic or analogies of some kind but I sure as hell can't work out a consistent way to fit it all together.
Does anyone feel like they made sense of the show as a whole? For people who like it but didn't find themselves an interpretation like that for themselves, what did you get out of it?
I mean, at some point I'm planning on just writing it off as mostly just being surrealism mixed with abstracted variations on a theme of Versailles, but I'd like to give a proper attempt at understanding things.
TL;DR what the fuck was going on in this show?
The character relationships are probably the most important aspect, which is what all that symbolism helps illustrate. Not to mention the movie being titled Adolescence.
The revolution theme is also important, keeping in mind the fairy tale premise and all that attention given to princes and princesses.
On the other hand, the soundtrack is GOAT but fuck me if there's any significant meaning to the duel themes.
I've seen them. Penguindrum seemed like it had a lot more skin in the game, as in it wasn't as open to interpretation with regards to a lot more of its core ideas and metaphors. It was also a lot less bloated.
To answer that question I think you have to have answers to a few other fundamental things first.
Like, what does the school represent if it represents anything? Does Akio need to be chairman of the school in order to work on his projects like the dueling competition, and how did he initially get into that position? What does being a prince actually mean, and what does it mean for Akio after he stops being a prince? What's the significance of the sex and romance in the show, how is it related to power and control? And like, 20 more questions probably, and then if you have good answers to all of those then you could come up with an educated guess.
I watched YKA and Penguindrum and I noticed that Ikuhara leads the audience to take his work way too serious. The excess of "symbolism" is the trigger for that. He uses it to create/conduct/complete meanings and actions, thus we're inclined to think that everything have a deep meaning and that we're not understanding it enough. This is where I think we, the audience, are doing it wrong and going over everything in our range to explain every frame made by a sexist conducting lgbt shows.
I hope my point of view help you chill on what you "don't get" as they probably don't have the deep message you expect to find.
I did say I was basically ready to write it off as just pretty surrealism for the most part, but I just wondered if anyone actually did come up with some ideas as to what core things represented or some good wide ranging interpretations that might make chunks of the shows make more sense than they otherwise would.
I don't have high hopes mind you, just looking at analyses and whatnot floating around online, even the best ones are incomplete and vague.
There's a lot of things in Utena that look like 'symbolism' but are really just Ikuhara's brand of humor.
The stuff that's important is really obvious, and if you don't 'get' something, then you're probably looking too deep into it. As long as you understand what's happening with the characters, you've been watching it right.
I thought Miki's shit with his sister and Juri's shit with her crush were the most interesting parts of the show, so seeing more of their plots made Black Rose pretty worthwhile.
It's not really there for shallow reasons though, not everything needs some grand explanation behind it. For example a lot of the shadow plays are just there to lighten up a lot of the later episodes, rather than having any 'deeper' mean.
As far as meaning and symbolism go I like to take the death of the author approach to this show more than any others (also because it is easily one of the best anime).
The symbols, imagery, etc. are all there. God knows what they meant to that madman Ikuhara. They certainly mean something different to me (or, in some cases, don't mean anything). It's up to you to appreciate the beauty in the show however you see it and forge your own interpretations.
It fleshed out the side character, which in turn fleshes out the core cast. The character development in the Black Rose Arc was necessary for the last third of the series, so it's not really filler. I know it seems that way because the events are not brought up again, and may not have even happened, but it's more about what the audience learns about the characters.
I suspect that most of what we see have a more complete meaning if you have a deep knowledge in japanese culture, but not that its essential for the substance, but it enhaces its meaning. I'm talking for YKA and Mawaru, I didn't watch Utena.
>TL;DR what the fuck was going on in this show?
Utena's brand of symbolism is the bet and easiest to understand, it's called literalism.
In it, you simply take something symbolic and show it in a literal way, so, for exemple, Utena is the symbolic vehicle Anthy uses to escape Othori, so she turns into a car (literal vehicle) in the movie.
A lot of the more "weird" symbolism during the Black Rose Arc can be easly using this trick.
>fuck me if there's any significant meaning to the duel themes
I've noticed that a few of the Duel Themes have parts that resemble the song that's usually played during weddings (i don't know what that particular song is called)
I get that it was meant to be recording the minutes, but he stops the watch midway through conversations at times, and I think I recall the time on the watch not always being the entire duration of the meeting.
A lot of stuff in the Utena OST sounds like other stuff though. One theme sounds like a tubular bells ripoff, and the theme while driving around sounds like a jazzy mars. Music sounding like other music is unavoidable to some extent.
Pretty much, like I said, I thought when he stopped it + the duration on the watch was either his point of interest or what should be the point of interest to the audience. Like saying "did you pay attention to what was being said during this time? It's important"
Downloading this, as I am sick of hearing people talking about it an A: Not getting it B: Feeling left out, even though I don't have any real interest in it.
First episode finished downloading at 3am last night, so I skip around to see what I am in for.
The first thing I see is this damn music video. I had no idea that climbing stairs was so dramatic and cool, and holy shit. Fully fbf animated environment.
> mfw I never got bored of it
I didn't skip them when I rewatched the series either, only bad thing about them for me is that in the first version there's one shot of Utena where her eyes are way too far apart and her forehead is a mile long.
I don't like this bit in the second version.
This is a great example of doing stock footage well.
While it still pads out the episode, it builds tension for the upcoming scene, because you know shit's about to go down with the duel.
The choir rock soundtrack is the greatest part of Utena.
>mfw Missing Link