Utena - where were you last night?

The earrings. <- PreviousNext -> After the Routine Date.

This scene is logically part of breaking Utena from Anthy. It shows Anthy’s justified distrust of Utena, and Utena’s confusion about what she wants—or better, about what she is.

Utena looks downward, feeling unsure of herself.
Utena looks downward, feeling unsure of herself.
Episode 30, Utena unsure

Episode 36. Anthy and Utena are sitting together on the grass. Anthy asks Utena, “Where were you last night?” Utena gives a non-answer. Then Utena looks downward, eyes vibrating with strong emotion, in the same pose she took in episode 30 after realizing that she had feelings she did not understand.

Utena is unsure of herself, and knows she has something important to figure out. Her unsureness in episode 30 seems more intense and more troubled. Back then, she believed that she loved only her prince, and she felt overwhelming sexual attraction to Akio. Her vibrating eyes came when she realized there was a contradiction somewhere. Then she had a hard struggle to resolve the contradiction and revise her beliefs about herself (which left her corrupted). Here, she has just spent a night with Touga, a more corrupt act than kissing Akio, and Anthy has asked her about it. She must be trying to explain her own choice; she realizes she does not understand herself.

In the Second Seduction Utena loves Akio, and Touga’s question in the arena suggested that she might want to marry Akio. And yet, with little persuasion, she chose to spend a night with Touga. What kind of person is she? That level of inconstancy is beyond unprincely, and threatens to be self-destructive. She didn’t want Anthy to find out about her time with Akio, and now she doesn’t want Akio to find out about her time with Touga and dump her. (She has no inkling that Akio engineered it all in the first place.) Utena’s confusion and dismay grow worse when she sees Anthy with Akio, and continues into the next episode.

Chu-Chu is frightened by the long earthworm.

Meanwhile, Chu-Chu digs a hole. An earthworm comes out, and Chu-Chu is first wary, then alarmed. Seconds later, Chu-Chu and the worm are playing games. At the end, as we see Saionji resting his head on Anthy’s lap, the worm seems to have wrapped around Chu-Chu like a boa constrictor.

Chu-Chu is Anthy’s hidden feelings. The worm I take to represent the serpent, that is, Akio. Anthy asked a question, digging into Utena’s feelings. She probably knew where Utena was last night; she asked to find out whether Utena would answer honestly or continue to hide information. When Utena does not answer, Anthy sees Akio behind it and is unhappy. But Anthy sleeps with Akio on a regular basis; she will continue playing her old games with him; she has been captured. That’s how I read it.

Then Touga and Saionji arrive, and Touga tells a lie to convince Utena to duel him. Utena is given no time to resolve her feelings. Touga cages Utena against the tree and breaks his “one last time” promise of the night before.

All of this can only be part of Akio’s plot to exploit Utena. Anthy has more reason than ever to distrust Utena, and will not work with her (no teamwork). Utena is confused and unbalanced, just the state Akio wants her to be in, and she is not given time to think and recover her balance. After the duel, she falls asleep, putting her in the illusionary dream realm. Then she wakes and sees Anthy with Akio.

Jay Scott <jay@satirist.org>
first posted 10 May 2022
updated 20 April 2024