The Student Council platform has three different forms. The platform can be seen as a stage where the Student Council puts on plays; they’re like the shadow girls, only with different information available. As I see it, the plays have meaning but don’t affect anything in themselves; the Student Council is ineffectual.
When the platform is seen from below, it always looks the same. The view from below is from a distance. I take it to be the platform’s real form; the other forms are altered by illusions.
Episodes 1, 2, and 12 in the Student Council arc. The view is flanked by fancy poles. The platform always appears round-ended when seen from below—the views from above and below match, except that the poles are not visible from below. We see the platform from a distance. It looks farther from the dueling forest than the other forms, and and it is correspondingly free of illusions. In two of these episodes, Utena was the challenger and fought duels for reasons outside the duel system itself: To avenge Wakaba, and to regain her “self”; the other was Saionji’s rematch. The duels presumably didn’t have to be supported with illusions.
The dueling forest is distant, and the near background is a running track. Is Utena racing against the Student Council members?
Episode 10. The square-ended platform appears only for Nanami’s first duel. Juri and Miki both wanted the rematch with Utena, but Touga overrode them without naming the mystery duelist. The corners have triple lamps on stout pillars. I don’t know what this form means.
The view is from a lower angle, and we see only the dueling forest, which looks close. Presumably the forest is big because everyone there wants to control who duels next. Touga is superimposed over it because he gets the final say.
Episodes 11, 17, and 35. (The scene from episode 35 is repeated in episode 36.) Each of the three episodes shows us the platform from a different angle, and the views are consistent with each other (or nearly so). The point where it angles down has triple lamps at each side. The view from below shows stairs. The drooping end shows up once per arc: Once in the Student Council arc (Touga defeats Utena), once in the Black Rose (Shiori’s duel; Akio brings up Ganymede), once in the Apocalypse Saga (Akio sets up the Second Seduction for the following episode). I don’t know what this form means.
The background is split between the forest, the city, and the ocean.
Jay Scott <email@example.com>
first posted 15 February 2022
updated 6 March 2023