Utena - where were you last night?

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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 by Touga’s side, not a wise or useful thing to do. Corrupted Utena is not worried about hurting Kanae or violating her princely ideals. She might be worried about cheating on the cheater Akio with the cheater Touga. But I think that’s probably not it. We know she still loves Anthy; even after seeing Anthy with Akio she loves Anthy. She is trying to resolve the contradiction around Anthy, where Utena’s beliefs and feelings are again in conflict.

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 represents Anthy’s 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. Anthy and Utena have no space to discuss or rethink their relationship right now. Touga cages Utena against the tree and breaks his “one last time” promise of the night before.

Jay Scott <jay@satirist.org>
first posted 10 May 2022
updated 11 May 2022