Revolutionary Girl Utena Remastered 2 – The Slap Heard 'Round the World



Episode 2 of Utena has less to talk about because it is mostly exposition. This means I will not be doing the episode summary-style with annotations like I did the last one, but will just be pointing out some highlights, as it would be better that you watch the episode to get the exposition. I will also talk about one of the first Utena moments I ever saw – the slap heard ’round the world.

Episode 2: For Whom the Rose Smiles

Utena carries her girlfriend on her back

Utena carries her 'girlfriend' on her back

God I love Renbu Revolution. Great song, great lyrics, and an awesome video – everything an opening should be. Very 90s.

Episode 2 of Utena introduces us to many more of the recurring things we will see throughout the arc, or even the rest of the show. One of the first things to crop up is Utena’s legion of fangirls. Fangirls are all over the place in Utena, to the point that it’s easy to say that any female who isn’t one of the main characters is a fangirl of one of the main characters. The first purpose for this is a parody of shoujo manga/anime wherein the popular characters, namely those of the student council, tend to have a mass of followers. Keep an eye on the fangirls (and fanboys for that matter) in this show – they play bigger roles than you will expect.

We also see Touga, Juri, and Miki riding to the top of the student council tower in their fancy elevator for the first time. Touga gives a speech relating the way a baby chick has to break the shell of it’s egg to be born to their own needing to break the shell of the world to revolutionize it. While the council sits around, they discuss their letters from a mysterious benefactor called ‘End of the World’ who has set up this whole rose bride/duelist thing. Supposedly, at some point, a champion duelist will gain the power to revolutionize the world.

2 time Sexiest Man Alive award winner Touga Kiryuu playing cards

2 time 'Sexiest Man Alive' award winner Touga Kiryuu playing cards

This scene also gives us the beginning of my favorite running gag in Utena – the inane activities of the student council club. In this episode, they are simply playing cards, but each time we’ll see them doing some kind of activity that is almost always completely out of place with the dialog. I won’t spoil the more bizarre ones, but simply warn you to keep your eyes open!

The episode goes on with Utena and Anthy moving into the same dorm room, Utena wanting nothing to do with the Rose Bride and dueling business, meeting Chu Chu, the adorable mouse/monkey hybrid, etc. At night, Saionji comes over and calls out Anthy. This is a relatively important scene for gathering a little bit of sympathy for Saionji (and then mercilessly loosing it.)

You must understand how completely betrayed Saionji feels. Sure, he was a total ass to Anthy, but that, to him, was love. He honestly cares for Anthy in his own twisted way, but of course, Anthy never loved him back (for good reason.) For Anthy to completely abandon him must have come as a much-deserved shock. Saionji is none to happy about Anthy’s attitude towards him, so he does what any true pimp does and slaps the living fuck out of the bitch (pictured above.)

Im so glad Saionji cant slap the fuck out of me anymOSHIT-

I'm so glad Saionji can't slap the fuck out of me anymOSHIT-

Okay, we saw Saionji slap Anthy in episode 1, but this slap is in a whole new class of it’s own. It’s beautiful. Saionji looks down, relaxes his shoulders, then all at once snaps his body like a whip and slaps the ever-loving shit out of Anthy – so hard she falls to the fucking ground. This was one of the first scenes I ever saw from Utena. We had just moved into my last house where we got the Funimation network, and my brother and I were flipping through the channels when we happened upon this episode just as this moment was approaching. We rewound and rewatched this moment upwards of thirty times, ad-libbing it for our enjoyment (‘this… is… SPARTA!’ and other such cultural references largely involved).

Saionji challenges Utena to a duel, and she accepts, revealing after he laves that she intends to loose the match on purpose and be through with this rose bride business (how cold.) We get another development moment from Anthy here – she tells Utena to ‘do whatever you like,’ even though we see her face sink. Obviously, she’d rather be with the pleasant Utena than the abusive asshole Saionji, but because of her passive nature and adherence to the so-called ‘rules’, she goes along with it. You know that this is a psychologically beaten-down young woman.

Today’s shadow puppets re-enact a western-style film, and they warn that “loosing may be harder than you think!” Kashira kashira, gozonji kashira?!

Utena at her most... handsome.

Utena at her most... 'handsome.'

ZETTAI! UNMEI! MOKUSHIROKU!!! Now we see the next addition to Utena’s stock footage escapades. As Utena reaches the top of the spiral staircase and the music fades, her uniform magically gains extra pieces. This is an obvious jab at the transformations that magical girls undergo, only instead there are only some very slight changes (by the way, I think I neglected to mention how Utena’s director did a season of Sailor Moon, and Utena was his way of doing what he’d wanted to do with that show.)

When Utena draws the Sword of Dios from Anthy, we see some of her manliest facial expressions yet. Fitting for someone drawing their huge dick out~

In the heat of battle, I think is where Utena makes her decision not to let Saionji have Anthy. After the duel is over, she’s won, and everything is wrapping up, Utena claims that she won the match because Saionji would have been a jerk to Chu-chu. Whether or not Anthy is aware of Utena’s true thoughts, the answer is enough to give her a smile. Now, what I think happened is that Utena felt Saionji’s visceral nature in the fight. Saionji fights brutally and viciously, even kicking Utena in the ribs at one point. More so than even her pride, which I’m sure was a factor, I think Utena realized that this person was not worthy of Anthy, and even if she wasn’t interested

This was too fun not to use

This was too fun not to use

herself, he couldn’t have her.

That’s all for episode 2~ Tune in for the next one whenever my time permits!

EDIT: I realize I mentioned nothing of Wakaba in this post, if only because I didn’t have much to say about her scenes. I just want to give a Tip of the Hat to her great moments at the episode’s beginning. These scenes are what make her endearing despite her relative lack of plot importance.

Related Posts:

Utena episode 1

The Revolution Begins – Schneider enters the Utena blogging circle

12 thoughts on “Revolutionary Girl Utena Remastered 2 – The Slap Heard 'Round the World

  1. 47% downloaded!

    Damn, now I’m gonna have to go back and watch all seventeen of the episodes I’ve already re-watched…

    Anyway, reading your post reminds me – when you finish this, make sure you go back at some point and re-watch it, since the experience of picking up on a lot of things you missed the first time ’round is not to be missed.

    And, nitpicking, but, psst, its Rinbu, not Renbu – rinbu means rondo, which in turn means round-dance.

    • I’m not sure how you could have, but in case you missed it, this is my second time watching Utena. Otherwise this post would make no goddamn sense.

      • Whoops; guess you mentioned it in your first post… I didn’t actually read that one too much in depth, other than to note that you were watching the re-masters. However, I fail to see how this post wouldn’t make any sense if you weren’t re-watching – yes, you have a few comments here and there about recurring themes, but RGU/SKU has some pretty decent exposure within the anime blogosphere, enough such that such comments wouldn’t necessarily indicate you’d actually watched it before.

        I’m assuming you’ve also watched the movie? Now THAT’S something I’d love to see re-mastered, since it looks so damn good to begin with.

        • I bought the DVD 2 or so weeks ago, and it’s in my ‘to watch’ things. It’s one of those things I know I’ll absolutely love, but the insane hype has made me afraid to watch it (yes, I am weird like this)

          • No, I know that feeling of hype – I admittedly have some DVD’s lying around that I’ve had for, literally, years, and haven’t gotten around to watching them because I’m afraid I’m too psyched about it. I also have this really weird habit of stopping with series with the second-to-last DVD, which I suspect is a combo of not wanting it to be over and being worried that it’ll flop in the final stretch.

            As for the movie itself, its one of those things you have to sort of mentally prep yourself for before watching it; if you thought the TV series was mind-twisting, the movie turns that up by a factor of, oh, eight hundred, although I’m sure you’ve probably heard that a million times. The movie was actually my first exposure to the animated versions of Utena.

            • I knew I’d love the Utena movie as soon as I heard that some people prefer to it as ‘End of Utena.’ But yeah, being afraid of a series changing is largely why I haven’t watched Canaan 10 yet even though I’m supposed to be blogging it. I might eend up waiting till the show is over, becuase I want to know how badly I want the Canaan figures so that I can decide if I should be saving my money.

              But yeah, I think I’ve owned the Noein box set for like 2 years now and I’ve only seen the first eps. Both spectacular, and seeen them like 3 times, but never got past them.

              You should see Funeral though. He still has to watch half of his goddamn collection.

  2. OMG DigitalBoy, words cannot convey how much I want to thank you for pointing me to this show. IT! IS! AWESOME!!! 2 minutes in to EP. 1 and my first impression was, “It’s gay. It’s hilarious. It’s badass. It’s CAMP. :D” I totally get this kind of show. And the animation is amazing! Gundam Wing really lowered my expectations for old anime, so the sleak animation and gorgeous colors of this remastered version are fraktastically awesome for me.

    You can expect a full review on my blog soon. I am looking forward to comparing notes with you, and as a non-biased person who has never seen this show before, I hope I will have a genuinely interesting perspective on this show.

    Also: Touga really is badass. I wonder if it’s too early to declare my GARness for him. I’m sure someone like Ghostlightning would have a big-ass post concentrating and distilling Touga’s GARness down into pure numerical stats so we could determine whether he is truly GAR. Baka-Raptor already has a system for determining GARness. I need to take a look at it again.

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