Revolutionary Girl Utena: Episode 8
Miraculously (and, yes, I used that word intentionally given the last episode), this show somehow manages to balance depressing subject matter and silliness. This episode takes us away from heavy psychological issues to more light-hearted body-swapping hilarity. Yes, it seems that two of my favourite Animes have an episode for body-switching (Cardcaptor Sakura being the other one). We begin the insanity with a motive: Nanami has asked her henchwomen to substitute the curry being used in Anthy and Utena's Home Economics class with a special one that will burn their mouths off. Instead, it explodes and causes the two women (Anthy and Utena) to switch bodies.
While the two are recovering, Miki blames himself because he'd asked Anthy to make him a very spicy curry. Confusion and laughs ensue when the characters are faced with an assertive, athletic Anthy and a submissive Utena. Nanami's henchwomen even make some money selling photos of the two in reverse roles.
Touga commands his sister to fix the problem so she and her posse go to India for more of the spice. Utena learns that Anthy and Saoinji have apparently been meeting once every two weeks in a fitness shed to 'explore their love for each other' which, she is relieved to discover, only involves exchanging entries in a diary. 'Utena' and 'Anthy' discuss how Utena shouldn't be privy to what's in the diary. Anthy reiterates that, if Utena doesn't want her to do something, she can tell her to stop. Utena is frustrated, finally determining that she will write an entry in the diary.
At first she is touched by Saoini's apparently sincere feelings toward Anthy, but this turns to spite when she reads the hurtful things he's written about Utena. After numerous disastrous run-ins with elephants, Nanami returns with the spice . However, it is then destroyed by another rouge elephant.
Anthy makes everyone curry to cheer them up and Nanami's crew discover the unused spice in the Home Ec. room. Therefore, it was Anthy's cooking that caused the body-switching, not the special spice. Saoinji shows up unhappy about the latest diary entry, insisting Anthy's feelings have not changed - it's only because of Utena's malevolent influence. Anthy feeds him and Cho-Cho some curry and we get a fantastic ending scene with Cho-Cho practicing kendo and Saonji in a tree eating a banana.
Although largely a silly filler episode, we do get to see Anthy and Utena reflecting on how the bodies they inhabit affect their characters. Anthy says that she likes to see herself being more athletic whereas Utena is uncomfortable with her body being seen in a different light (AKA, more feminine).
Images courtesy of http://ohtori.nu/
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