In progress. Needs work. This collection is to help me figure out halos. I haven’t collected all the halos yet, but I’ll get to it. Traditionally, they are holy symbols (see halo on Wikipedia). Halos are associated with light and opposed to darkness. Another point is surely that they are round like Utena’s ring. The meaning of each halo must depend on its color. So far, these associations don’t come together for me into a meaning for Utena’s halos.
Halos mean (at least in part) Dios, and possibly Akio. Dios and Akio are associated with light and fire. Dios is the sun, so a halo around the sun is Dios. Utena as prince is Jesus, so Dios as the sun with a halo must be the Christian God: In the Christian trinity, Dios is the Father and Utena is the Son. A halo around an artificial light should mean Akio and refer to illusions. A burning candle may mean both.
Utena has both static halos and expanding halos like ripples of light; they match ripples of water. No two halos in the show are alike; all are visually distinct. Each one must have a different shade of meaning.
In the Student Council arc, when Utena calls down Dios from the castle in the sky her ring glows pink. It’s the color of the ring and Utena’s color. Pink may refer to the power of miracles, or to the operation of the power of miracles. When ghostly Dios descends, he emits a blue ring that quickly widens out of sight. Blue is the color of illusions.
Dios on the right seems to be lit by a distant spotlight.
In episode 30, Utena must blow out all three candles to be corrupted. The last candle has a halo that appears when the other candles are out. Later, on the horse rides with Touga and Akio culminating in the Second Seduction, the sun is surrounded by a halo. The halo seems to promise goodness as long as the light remains, but in episode 30 Utena blows out the last candle, and in the Second Seduction she stays in the woods with Akio until evening.
I think the halos mean Dios. The blown-out candle brings darkness and means Akio.
The headlights of Akio’s car have halos. They certainly don’t imply holiness. The wide circles are moving halos. They are not centered on the headlights. Seen closer, the headlights have inner and outer halos.
Has Akio co-opted all halos into his service?
The headlight of Touga’s motorcycle gets a double halo too, when we’re close. It’s not identical to the car headlight halos: It’s larger and fades more gradually toward the center.
In episode 32, End of the World sends Nanami to visit Touga, who announces Akio’s car. Touga sits in light (it’s moonlight) while Nanami is in darkness, and there’s a halo around his lamp. The lamp is purple, the color of corruption.
Jay Scott <firstname.lastname@example.org>
first posted 6 March 2022
updated 5 September 2023