Images courtesy of http://ohtori.nu
Saonji gives Touga his exchange diary when he leaves the school. After promising to keep it safe the Student Council president burns it, yet another illustration of Touga's nasty nature. Nanami accuses Utena of getting her brother hurt. Our heroine admits that she should have been more careful and not let the whole thing happen. The events have caused Utena to doubt her ability to be a prince (AKA, protect Anthy). To help her feel better ,Anthy suggests that they bring Touga flowers. It's also revealed that Anthy has brought home a stray kitten.
Touga tells the Student Council that another duelist will appear. Juri wants to know who it is, but he won't tell her, merely insisting that the stage is set. While being concerned for her brother, Nanami recalls giving him a kitten for his birthday many years ago. He'd said it was the best gift he'd ever gotten. It just so happens to be Touga's birthday party when Utena and Anthy bring him the roses. Touga encourages Nanami's hatred for Utena at the party, the knife driving deeper when Anthy presents Touga with the kitten she'd obtained.
This is when we learn that Nanami drowned the kitten she'd given Touga because she was jealous of it. Holy crow is this family messed up! :( Nanami is revealed as the new duelist.
Nanami continues fighting Utena in the arena even once her rose is cut off until Touga stops her. She feels guilty over killing the kitten, but her obsession with her brother is a powerful force. I can't help wondering how she'd be affected if she knew how he manipulated everyone around him. We get the impression that this is all set-up for Touga's duel with Utena in the next episode - his 'softening her up' if you will.
As someone who loves all animals I was appalled by Nanami's actions. Despite my disgust I was somewhat impressed by the show's determination not to shy away from the truly dark side of affection (or perhaps obsession is more accurate), even in children. As much as I'm not fond of Nanami, I am definitely far less fond of Touga who cares nothing for others as he pulls the strings in his web.
Images courtesy of http://ohtori.nu
Memories of Papa
Life is a series of moments. Most are relegated to the vaults of our mind, gradually forgotten, yet still part of our collected experience.
My childhood is a series of feelings more than specific events. Papa was a warm, energetic and silly father. Being lifted into the air and spun around incorporated all of these elements – the laughter of a dad and daughter filling a big, echoing room.
There was never any doubt that Papa loved us. Every decision he made had us at its heart. Our family endured a period of strife that ultimately sundered my parent's relationship. Papa's focus remained on us, giving everything he could to ensure we were safe and cared for.
When we were in early high school, the legacy of laughter returned. Papa watched our favourite Japanese animation shows with us, helping to create humorous renditions of the characters and circumstances. His wacky hilarity was amplified by the utter joy I witnessed in those exchanges. It felt like a return to simpler times.
We grew into women and moved on to adult lives – gaining partners with whom we could share goals and love. Everyone talks about how nerve-wracking it is for boyfriends to meet their girlfriends' fathers. I can assure you that, at least in my case, it was just as anxiety-inducing for me.
Fortunately, Joe and Papa got on beautifully – sharing many in-depth conversations on a range of topics. Both thrived in these discussions and there are no words to describe how happy I was seeing them enjoying each others' company.
These and so many other moments will live inside me – keeping Papa's fierce intelligence, passionate nature, and well of love alive. He was a man who saw connection in all things and I know that his depth is integral to my own. His enthusiasm for reading inspired mine, a gift that can never be repaid – only passed forward.
We are born into a world that is much bigger than ourselves, one that is both enormously frightening and staggeringly beautiful. Although we walk the path of our individual lives alone, we are surrounded by the love of those who came before and those currently with us. We are part of a continually expanding web of consciousness in a reality where energy is neither created nor destroyed. Where the spirits of all living beings share our struggles and joys. We need only look beyond ourselves to Witness them.
Moving back into (quite literally) darker territory, this installment begins in the dimly lit kendo room where Touga and Saoinji are dueling to a chorus of girls cheering on their favourite man. The play back and forth between the cheering squads heightens the sense of competition. Saoinji loses and we learn that the two have known each other for many years (ten to be exact). We also learn that Saonji is determined to possess Anthy to obtain something eternal (he hopes to find in the castle with Anthy).
A flashback showing the boys kendo fighting when they were young reveals that Touga has always been the better fighter. On their way home, the boys come across a funeral where men inquire if they've seen a little girl. The funeral is for the girl's parents who died in an accident and she's disappeared.
Touga leads Saonji into the church and opens one of three coffins to find the girl (our suspicions as to her identity are confirmed when we see that the girl has long pink hair identical to Utena's, although her face is shrouded in shadows). The young Utena admits to seeing herself belonging in the coffin since there was a third, empty one near the ones holding her parents. She has lost faith in life since what's the point in living if all life must come to an end? Young Utena states that there is nothing eternal. The two boys leave her there, Saoinji asking Touga if they should tell someone about her. Touga replies that, unless they can show her something eternal, they cannot help her.
Present-day Saoinji believes that Touga did show her something eternal since he later heard that she'd decided to leave the coffin and he now desires to find that something (partly out of a desire to compete and partly because he is genuinely disturbed by a meaningless existence). In a brief monologue from Utena, we learn that she came to this school to find her prince (I suppose she saw the rose emblem's resemblance to her ring and made the connection). Juri tells the rest of the Student Council about Utena's prince story. Later, Utena asks Touga about the castle and he attempts to fluster her by speaking about her prince.
Saoinji receives a message from End of the World stating that the castle will descend that evening so he decides to kidnap Anthy so they can go to the castle despite the rules. The Shadow girls talk forebodingly about losing faith in fantasy and dreams. Touga anonymously tells Utena what has happened to Anthy and she runs to the arena. She discovers Saoinji lying face down in a pond outside the gates. Managing to rouse him, the man seems lost at first but eventually they both rush to the arena where Anthy is in a coffin. This appears to be an attempt to prey on Saoinji's concern that life is without meaning. When they approach, the coffin rises out of reach and Utena navigates pillars to reach Anthy before the castle above crushes them.
Embittered by the fact that Utena has saved Anthy yet again and ashamed of his apparent loss of mind (since the castle's collapse appears to have been a figment of his imagination), Saoinji attacks a defenseless Utena. Touga steps in front of the sword and saves Utena. The way it's structured indicates that he did this more to earn her trust than out of any true sense of chivalry. The next day we learn that Touga planted the note from End of the World and Saonki is being expelled. The red-haired man doesn't believe in friendship so he doesn't care that he set Saonji up to implement his own agenda. Apparently End of the World doesn't either since no consequences arrive for Touga.
Images courtesy of http://ohtori.nu
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