Interesting discussion over on David Moles' Chrononautic blog of slippage in the meaning of 'slipstream'. And whether 'slipstream' is just too wussy, and we should name our fictional styles after monster trucks instead.
"I consider myself part of the Infernokrusher movement."
I had originally intended to do these commentaries on Utena episodes daily, as I watched them. Not possible. They just take too long to write up, and there's too little time in most of my days. They'll be spaced out more. Um, not 'spaced out' that way, but, you know. Well, maybe spaced out that way, too.
I consider Episode 3, "On the Night of the Ball," one of the weaker episodes of Utena. Why? Because the events are too pat, too obvious, too simple, too sentimental. Nevertheless, this episode is important. It sets up the conflict between Nanami and Anthy that has repercussions that echo through the rest of the show, and triggers virtually all the later Nanami episodes. It also initiates the Touga/Utena relationship.
Utena wakens. Chu-Chu is still asleep, blowing a snot bubble out of one nostril. This is a standard anime joke, but Chu-Chu does more creative, and downright impossible things with snot bubbles and other bodily functions than I have seen in any other show.
Utena looks at her rose ring, remembers the Prince's promise that it would lead her back to him some day, and wonders whether the business with the Rose Bride and the duels has something to do with the Prince. She will meet Touga for the first time a little later this episode. This waking memory helps to set up the Utena/Touga relationship which will dog her through most of the rest of the show, in which Utena ponders whether Touga might be her Prince, and Touga tries to exploit her puzzlement to get into Utena's pants.
Walking to class, Utena asks Anthy to cut out the 'Utena-sama' stuff, and the stuff about Utena being engaged to the Rose Bride. In translation she says: "Despite appearances, I'm a totally normal girl. I don't want a bride. All I want is a totally normal boy." As I mentioned elsewhere, the script specifically disclaims a romantic relationship between Utena and Anthy. Despite that, such a relationship is implied by other elements in the show (and more strongly in the show's later arcs). By the end of this episode, Utena, wearing pants, will be dancing with Anthy, in a dress, surrounded by flying rose petals. Helllloooooo.
Enter Touga. He addresses Utena as 'Utena-kun'. He makes free with her hair, and she slaps his hand away. Yep, that's the Touga/Utena relationship in a nutshell. He displays his rose ring, and Utena wonders whether he is her prince.
Wakaba hears that Utena is rooming with Anthy, and warns Utena away from her: "I hear lots of bad rumors about what she did to a popular boy." This may refer to Saionji, who is currently doing his Ikari Shinji impression in the kendo room, having been whupped by Utena for the second time, or it may be a more general rumor. In the following scene, Nanami's minions, Sonoda Keiko, Wakiya Aiko, and Oose Yuuko slap Anthy and accuse her of having 'ruined' Saionji.
BTW, Nanami's entourage is another example of how things in Utena tend to come in threes. Three elevators, three sets of brother/sister relationships, Suzuki, Yamada and Tanaka (the three male foils for Keiko, Aiko, and Yuuko), three tall windows in Miki's practice room, three candles on the cake in Episode 30 that symbolizes Utena's [rot13] snyyvat va ybir jvgu Nxvb. That's off the top of my head, I'm sure more could be found.
First appearance of Nanami, who 'rescues' Anthy from her own henchmen, almost certainly a set-up, then tells a pack of lies to Anthy. What is mysterious here is why she does this. Nanami has no reason to hate Anthy, even less than Keiko, Aiko, and Yuuko do. It's conceivable that K, A, and Y might misunderstand the duel system and think that Anthy had something to do with Saionji's current funk, but Nanami cares nothing for Saionji. What's Anthy to her? Yet she sets up Anthy for humiliation.
Knowing Anthy's backstory, this is probably an example of [rot13] Nagul orvat fhowrpgrq gb gur 'fjbeqf bs ungr' gung unir cvreprq ure rire fvapr fur qrfgeblrq/vzcevfbarq Qvbf. Crbcyr vafgvapgviryl ungr ure.
Both Utena and Anthy receive dresses for the dance. Note the two foil packets in Anthy's dress's box, discovered by Chu-Chu. Possibly silca gel, to absorb humidity. For reasons that shortly become obvious.
Anthy announces that she's not going, because large crowds make her anxious. Me, too, Anthy. Utena, who has expressed concern that Anthy has no friends, talks her into it.
The dance. Utena, in the dress sent by Touga, with Anthy. Utena with a grim look on her face, although the crowd is saying she looks wonderful. This is reminiscent of the scene at the French court in Rose of Versailles in which Oscar shows up, for once, in a ball gown, and makes a considerable impression.
In SKU, 'Utena in a dress' is generally a sign of something bad. She also wears a dress in Episode 12, Episode 33, and Episode 38. In each case, bad things are happening to her, and the world is out of balance. Perhaps not incidentally, in each case she is being exploited (or attempting to be exploited) by a male.
When Nanami drags Anthy off to the dance floor for the culmination of her plot, on the pretext that Anthy is in competition for Dance Queen, Utena says, "Well, how about that? She has a friend after all." Utena has many sterling qualities, but insight into the motives of others less noble than herself is not one of them. She is far too innocent and trusting. Especially for Ohtori, a place where innocence and trust are ruthlessly exploited by others. This quality gets Utena into trouble more than once, and she has to fight her way out, sometimes literally.
Anthy finds herself in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by the pupil-less eyes of the crowd, and becomes anxious. It's been suggested that [rot13] guvf vf n ersyrpgvba bs gur riragf bs Rcvfbqr 34, va juvpu fur vf nffnhygrq ol gur pebjq natel nobhg jung fur qvq gb gur Cevapr. Guvf vf gur ernfba pebjqf greevsl ure, guvf gurbel fnlf. V qba'g xabj. V fhccbfr gung'f cbffvoyr, nygubhtu gur pebjq va guvf fprar qbrfa'g frrz gb erfrzoyr gur zbo va Rcvfbqr 34.
Nanami says, "The girl whole stole my brother from me is about to be humiliated," which makes no sense. Neither Anthy nor Touga have any interest in each other; Touga is interested in Utena, but Utena isn't the object of Nanami's wrath. See above.
Nanami's plot happens, Anthy humiliated, Utena saves the day, and demonstrates her skill in impromptu tablecloth origami. Lots of rapturous dancing follows.
Chu-Chu rides a record around the turntable. I can't make out the label on the record. It appears to be Italian, because it includes the word musicisti ('musicians'), but I can't figure out the first part, which seems to read, 'y Oiandi'.
鑑別 == kanbetsu == (noun)
|Left radical is 'metal' (金), right radical is 'watch' (監), used here in its literal meaning of 'stare at one's reflection [in a bowl]'. The original meaning of this character was, 'state at one's reflection in [metal] mirror', which it can still mean in Chinese. Its meaning drifted to mean 'scrutinize', and then to its current meanings. The verb form, kagamiru, is derived from 'kagami' (mirror) and 'miru' (look). Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Watch self in metal mirror, heeding reflection.'|