brontesaurus: (Anne Brontë)
brontesaurus ([personal profile] brontesaurus) wrote2012-03-02 12:22 pm
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You gotta have blue hair.

I have developed the worst obsession with this show, so you get more analysis. By the way, having watched the final arc more than once now, I am firmly convinced that the Tarot connections, at least in the end, were intentional.

But building from what I talked about there, the Major Arcana and the duels, like the cards, being split into sets of seven, and talk about the importance of hair color in Revolutionary Girl Utena.


Something that really started sticking out to me the more I watched this show was that the only people to have "rainbow hair" are the duelists themselves, Anthy, and Akio. Wakaba's hair is auburn, and the students and faculty, even Tokiko, even the Shadow Girls when we sort of get to see them at last have what would be considered normal shades of hair--browns and blacks. So on one level, the rainbow hair is meant to make the important characters visually striking, to point out to the audience that they are not like the rest of the student body. even beyond the unusual school uniforms that no one ever talks about.

Beyond that, because hair colors are almost always the same as dueling rose colors (with the exception of Utena, who gets the prince's pure white) and the dueling roses certainly have symbolic significance, it makes sense that a character's hair color is meant to be an indication of certain traits, personalities, what have you. Being Revolutionary Girl Utena, that's anything but straightforward. I could talk about that a little, but picking apart what the individual hair colors are supposed to mean isn't what I'm on about. At least not primarily.

I'm more getting into relationships being indicated by hair color.

Strong friendships and rivalries seem to be dictated by the color wheel. Blend them and all you get is brown. Touga's red opposite of Saoinji's green, Juri's orange opposite of Miki's blue. And while it's a little out of line, Nanami's yellow with Anthy's and Akio's purple. Touga and Saionji are pretty obvious; they pretend to be friends and may even have been friends at one point, but are bitter rivals. Nanami does her best to make Anthy's life hell in a normal school girl way, and Anthy fires back in really strange, really witchlike passive-aggressive ways. Similarly, even though Nanami initially takes out her anger on Utena, once Akio comes into her life she pretty much (correctly) identifies him as the creepiest thing to ever creep and turns her ire on him instead.

Meanwhile Juri and Miki actually get along really well. Miki obviously looks up to Juri, Juri obviously is protective of Miki. Still, they do share the theme in that they feel strongly about each other.

Reason #1 why Ruka's hair is blue. It's an inverse of Miki and Juri's sempai/kouhai relationship (he's the former captain of the fencing team and better with a sword than Juri), but it's got more the love/hate nature of Touga and Saionji's friendship. Juri admires Ruka, but she also hates his guts.

Outside of these hair/color dichotomies, there aren't very strong feelings between the duelists, positively or negatively. They're just kind of okay with each other without actually being friends (though I'll point out here that Nanami is the only person in the whole show to regularly refer to Saionji by his given name instead; she still doesn't seem to have any particular regard for him). Touga and Juri never hang out, Juri and Nanami don't really have anything to say to each other, Nanami and Miki just kind of happen to be in the same year of schooling. The exception to this being Touga and Miki, which I'll touch on a little later.

Reason #2 why Ruka's hair is blue, and frankly, why I think he actually exists... ROYGBIV.

It's that simple. We needed a full rainbow spectrium of roses. We had Touga as red, Juri as orange, Nanami as yellow, Saionji as green, Miki as blue, and Akio as violet. We lack indigo. Enter Ruka. Seven, it's totally an arc number.

I'm not particularly fond of Ruka, have you noticed? :D I don't like late comers with major roles and absolutely no damn foreshadowing. BUT, something had to get Juri out of her rut because nothing else was.

SO. Touga and Miki, the only exceptions to the laws of the color wheel. We see them talk, and the way they talk indicates that this is an established relationship. Why is this? Well, I've got a theory, and it's got a lot to do with all that incest that is and isn't going on. Touga and Miki are similar in having incestuous undertones with their little sisters. Kozue and Nanami are both obsessive and possessive, though this comes out in different ways in both girls. Touga sometimes seems to encourage this from Nanami because he'll take all forms of ego stroking, and Miki does hsi best to keep his distance from it, but there's no denying that the viewer looks at both sets of siblings and thinks something ain't right. Even if they never actually cross that final line and do the nasty.

Red and blue actually blend quite nicely, and in fact they make purple.

And who's having real incest? Those purple-haired people over there.

Hell yeah.

Finally we've got Utena. Who is outside all of this both in terms of her hair (pink) and in terms of her rose (white). Pink doesn't really have a sort of "rival" color. White light contains all the colors of the spectrum, all of which I like to take as a statement, via color, that Utena is ultimately going to be the duelist to best everyone. White, while not being a color technically, does have something of an opposite in black.

Which is why the one who gets Utena worked up is Mikage.

There are a number of Black Rose duelists, all of which make Utena uncomfortable because she didn't think the people she was fighting had these dark sides to them. At the same time, even Wakaba in the arena didn't get her that badly. None of those duelists were really her opposite in any way, didn't point out her own flaws, fears, and frailties. Mikage is in a lot of ways Utena's dark mirror; he has the same obsession and love for someone in his past who "saved" him, he's got the ideal hopes for something eternal, he's even also got Anthy... ish. But, as shown by the black rose, his qualities have taken a turn for the worse. This freaks Utena out, much as she doesn't consciously acknowledge it.

But she does challenge him to a duel. Not because she wants to take back the role of champion, not because she was standing up for someone, but because she wanted to prove to Mikage that she was nothing like him. And of course, she challenged him after hitting him, something she's never done before or since. He didn't make her hideously uncomfortable at all.

Shutting up now.