Utena - cookie catalog

Cookies appear on four occasions. Two of them are important. Comparing the scenes, I conclude that Utena is drawing a distinction between long male cookies and round female cookies. Three of the occasions involve eating cookies. On two of the occasions, eating a cookie might mean sex, though I find it unclear. Cake means sweet love, and cookies ought to have a similar meaning.

Cookies appear when the characters do not know each other. In episode 2, Anthy and Utena are just getting to know each other. In episode 11, Anthy has not realized how strongly Touga will oppress her, and she likes Utena relatively speaking but has not yet seen her as similar to Dios. In episode 14, Utena is meeting Akio and Kanae for the first time. In episode 37, Anthy and Utena misunderstand each other. I associate cookies with tea, which goes with friendship; see Anthy’s teacup of opening the heart. Maybe cookies mean getting to know people; that fits.

As Utena mentions in episode 23, Chu-Chu gets cookie crumbs everywhere (though to me Chu-Chu’s food usually looks like crackers, which may have a different meaning). Does it suggest that Chu-Chu gets to know everyone, spying on them?

We meet Chu-Chu for the first time—eating a cookie.
Episode 2, Chu-Chu

When Utena meets Chu-Chu for the first time, Chu-Chu is hiding and eating a cookie. Here, Utena has removed the teapot that Chu-Chu was hiding behind. (Or appeared behind. As the teapot flipped around to point to whoever had the conversational initiative, Chu-Chu was not in view.) It looks like a chocolate chip cookie. The cookie is round—actually, it is chewed into a heart shape. The cookie seems to predict Anthy’s love of Utena. Alternately, since the male bananas likely refer to Akio, they point to Anthy’s love of Akio. The table is Utena’s pink shading to purple, so it could be either or both. Unusually, crumbs are not flying.

Chu-Chu’s behavior is interesting. Chu-Chu reflects Anthy’s feelings, hiding out of sight. Chu-Chu is suspicious at first, but Utena is kind to Chu-Chu and the two quickly get along, a hint that Anthy will come to like Utena too. Here Chu-Chu predicts the future rather than reflecting the present. Chu-Chu is complicated.

Chu-Chu is eating a cookie, as seen through opera glasses.
Episode 11, Chu-Chu

Utena, Wakaba and Anthy are having lunch on the grass. Chu-Chu is eating a cookie and sending crumbs flying. It’s a round frosted cookie. The cookie may mean that Anthy is tasting some of the sweetness of having friends. The black frosting could be aloneness that Anthy is seeing the first chink in. Alternately, eating a cookie means sex and the round black cookie stands for Utena, who wears black—or for Akio, whose color is black. Chu-Chu is showing or predicting Anthy’s wishes. Chu-Chu is looking up happily; in the following episode, eating a cracker, Chu-Chu looks down unhappily.

The view is from Touga, who is watching through opera glasses. Characters who observe from a distance use opera glasses. It emphasizes that everything is a performance.

Later in the episode is an extremely brief view of cookies as Anthy and Utena drink tea in the dorm room.

Facing toward Utena and Anthy, the cookies are round.
Episode 14, Utena and Anthy
Facing toward Kanae and Akio, the cookies are long.
Episode 14, Kanae and Akio

This is Utena meeting Akio for the first time (that she knows of). She’s embarrassed because Akio and Kanae were smooching, but gets over the embarrassment quickly. The same basket of cookies looks different depending on which direction we see it from. One way, it is lined with pink for Utena and the cookies are a mix of round and long. Utena is female and male, and at the moment is in a closed, defensive girlish pose. The other way, it is lined with white for the prince—in this case meaning Akio—and the cookies are long. Akio is male and sitting in a confident, even commanding, open pose, despite his light speech. Akio is the center; Kanae and Utena are both leaning toward him.

Akio is making a show of being with Kanae, though he does away with her in episode 32. Anthy is making a show of not being with Utena; she is sitting apart, though they are emotionally close.

Akio tries to lure Utena into telling a lie, saying that students here don’t fight. She sidesteps it neatly.

Utena is eating a long cookie.
Episode 37, poisoned cookie

Anthy and Utena talk about poisoning each other. Utena is eating a long cookie, which Anthy implies that she poisoned. I interpret the poison as a warning from Anthy, “I might kill you” (it’s literal future poison). It’s also reasonable to interpret it as Anthy admitting “I poisoned our relationship” (then it’s figurative past poison). Either way, the long cookie says that the real source of the poison is Akio—Anthy does not poison Utena of her own will, either literally or figuratively.

If eating a cookie means sex, then the cookie represents Utena’s sex with Akio. Akio is again the true source of the poison. In that case, Anthy saying that she made the cookies means that she set up Utena’s three sex dates with Akio. Anthy did participate in the setup for each date, always under Akio’s orders.

Jay Scott <jay@satirist.org>
first posted 10 March 2022
updated 23 March 2024