I just coded all night.
> On Ruka

This analysis was donated by Graham Tedesco-Blair.
Opening Initial Character Analysis

    The most important thing to ask when confronting any character in Utena is to ask "What's their Hang-up? What's their Tragic Flaw? What exactly is it that makes them screwed up enough to get into the duels that they want to change the world?"

    And with Ruka, the answer is, surprisingly enough, and unlike any other duelist, nothing.

    He has no visible hang up or flaw that keeps him from achieving exactly what he wants, which is part of what makes him fascinating...

    He just does what he wants. He knows what he's after (saving Juri from herself, and restoring the innocent belief in miracles she once possessed, before becoming jaded about the world after being betrayed by the girl she loved), and he knows how to do it.

Episode 28: "Whispering in the Dark"

    "How disappointing. I thought you'd have improved somewhat since I’d been away."

    Eating during Student Council meeting? Plates with letters on them (presumably from End of the World), and it would seem that they address Ruka in someway.

    Nanami can't cut hers while saying "But why's that jerk back now?" (i.e. She can't understand his motivations for returning. The Ruka makes a fool of her by calling her cruel for insulting a dying man ("Are those the words you say to your convalescent senior?").

    Now why exactly can Ruka just waltz into the meeting? Is he a member? Presumably so... he's got the pretty ring and uniform, as well as the keys to the elevator...

    As Nanami comes to terms with Ruka's return, a new plate is set down with a sizzling new letter on it. (i.e. Ruka is a member, and he's got his own complication to add to "what's already on their plate")

    "It seems the End of the World is rather displeased with all of you" Ruka knows! Theory that he is on the level or just below Akio himself, and he's been in contact before they (the other Student council members) even know who he is.

    "What do you intend to do?" Nanami says, as a new plate with an open letter is placed down, still sizzling. He replies that he will "Savor the self-indulgent academy lifestyle for a while"

    Nanami says as the scene ends "The food was delicious," but in the voice of someone who just finished a meal that didn't appeal to them...

    What exactly Nanami has against Ruka isn't really ever brought up... maybe it's cause he totally punks out her beloved older brother, relegating him to the position of messenger boy throughout his two episodes? He and Ruka seem to know one another very well, and always speak with a friendly familiarity to a degree that rivals Touga/Saionji. Maybe they hung out and Nanami remembers far to well being the left out little sister while they were doing something?

    Next scene: Ruka's as big of a pimp as Touga, if not more so. All the bitches flock to see his mad fencing skillz.

    Alright, ghetto-mode off, this is one of those filler "Let's get Juri jealous and hating me because it's the only way to get though to her" scenes.

    Note Shiori is looking at JURI first, then Ruka, making a connection, and suddenly finding herself in the locker room... HMMM... Perhaps Shiori is only in it initially to piss off Juri, to try her little "I love her, but can't admit it cause she's better than me so I'll fuck a guy she likes" routine again, before she lets it get out of hand.

    Notice in the next scene that Juri and Ruka's lockers are right next to one another.

    Ruka's sword falls because of Shiori's inability to lean against something without screwing it up and opening something she can't catch. Symbolism for her entire life.

    Ruka obviously knows something is going on between Shiori and Juri before this scene, and knows who Shiori is, otherwise he wouldn't bother with the whole "You were the one polishing my sword..." (no comment *g*) routine. (Funny thing is, as we see later on, it's not Ruka's sword she's polishing, but one in a locker near by... and who's locker is right next to Ruka's? Think hard, my children...)

    Perfect irony when Ruka says "Thank you for being such a nice person." He is such a sarcastic bastard at times...

    How funny that right after he kisses her, we get a shot of the phallic Student Council tower, a spinning white rose, and the bells ringing (which usually signal the beginning of a duel, ne?)

    Notice how Juri doesn't look the least bit surprised when she sees Ruka and Shiori when they walk by her in the next scene, and how they walk into the shadows while Juri remains in the light, yet while Ruka and Shiori approach, it’s just the opposite... symbolic of how they see one another perhaps?

    Juri and Ruka's place: notice how in the flash backs, the sky is Juri orange, but in the present, it's all blue, like Ruka's hair...

    Juri's comment "Acting as a duelist" perhaps he's not a student council member?

    Notice how Juri's behind a black background when explaining why Ruka should keep his hands off Shiori, while Ruka's in the light? And how Juri doesn't really explain, yet Ruka already seems to know? Juri and Ruka seem to have had a rather intimate friendship, a little more than the usual student/teacher bond, so perhaps she explained to him everything about what happened in the past between her and Shiori? Doesn't seem like her (Juri) to be the trusting sort (perhaps Ruka lived through her whole "incident" with the guy Shiori stole, and that's why he knows? The don't specify a time when the thing occurred, nor do they mention how long ago it was since Ruka and Juri started fencing together), but then again, Ruka does seem pretty adept at getting people to do what he wants them to (i.e. Akio setting him up to duel, Shiori to do him, Touga to play messenger boy, Juri to hate him so he can fix her problem when she realizes the real situation)...

    Ruka walks off as he says "But it seems you've got the wrong idea, somehow..." Foreshadowing!! He, of course, covers it up by acting like an asshole, but that’s the way Ruka is...

    Utena mentions in bed with Anthy that "She feels, somehow, a bit uneasy..." after discussing Ruka's return...

    Cut to running water, running Shiori, and a split in the water very much like that in the dueling entrances, only reveling Ruka and Shiori hugging.

    And Juri watching them from the shadows after Shiori tells Ruka to stop making fun of her ("your breast is heaving like a puppy's...")

    They kiss, Juri clenches her necklace with Shiori's picture in it, and Ruka looks right at her, seemingly not into the kiss (*g* He raises his eyebrow at her! Could be interpreted as "Look what I'm doing and you’re not, don't you wish you could be here" but unlike in the usual sense, one could take it to mean kissing Shiori, not being with him. Subtle, subtle..)

    The water stops running as Juri says "He knows." (DUH! Like it shouldn't have taken you that long to figure out!) "He knows... everything..." (again, foreshadowing here kiddies, she doesn't realize the extant to which she's telling the truth! Ruka doesn't even talk to Akio in the car, cause he knows the whole fricken plan already! That's why he's only out to save the one he loves, rather than bother trying to revolutionize the world, because he knows he hasn't the faintest chance... (interesting thought: Ruka may be from a past batch of duelists who failed (he certainly looks older than all the other ones, and who's to say these duels haven't been set up by Akio forever?), and he managed to survive (albet in a crippled and sickly state (not that being "sick" hurts him in any way throughout his duels)) and "heal" as our lovely web mistress put it in her one essay, which is why he doesn't even bother to ask questions anymore, and why he's set on making things right for Juri (notice how he just quits during his duel once he realizes he can't beat the power of Dios)).

    Juri mentions that Ruka "can't be trusted" when trying to warn Shiori... perhaps she's also figured out that this is all a game Ruka's playing against her (Shiori)? But of course, Shiori's so dense and shallow that she just insults Juri rather than pay any attention, cause she's too caught up in her game of "fuck the one my friend wants."

    Note here that this is one of the few times throughout the series where we see Juri not in a position of dominance and power.

    Next scene: Touga plays Ruka's BITCH and messenger boy, when he and Akio drive up.

    Note here that this is the only person in the entire Akio's Car Arc that is recruiting a bride and not a duelist.... kinda keeps up with the whole "Ruka knows everything" thing that's been going one, ne?

    (Another Touga's a bitch moment: He ain't even in the car! Fuck you Touga! Ruka owns your ass!)

    Check out how ripped Ruka is in this scene, pretty built for a dying guy, ne? Perhaps the illness is all a game too? After all, what's the oldest excuse in the book for not going to school? "I'm Sick!"

    Shiori also should've kept to her own advice about miracles, not that it would've kept a guy like Ruka from figuring it all out anyways, but it's certainly one of the more odd car/sex scenes in the arc in that Shiori needs no coaxing to get her to play her role...

    The one thing Akio says throughout the entire scene is "Isn't she purring nicely?" which could refer to the car (yeah right!), or Shiori's willingness to do what they want... Ruka does his job well.... This is also the only one I can think of where both participants actually undress for the scene...(look at Shiori's shoulders if you don't believe me!)

    Notice here how the car's parked right outside the rose garden when Ruka delivers his challenge. With NO Akio behind the wheel....

    Shadow Play Girls Time! No fish are biting for them, despite how they jump about in the water,

    Finally, one bites! but it ends up being a shoe.

    Another! But it's a kettle...

    Another! A tire.... maybe....

    Confusing? Damn right!

    Explanation: Ok, I'm the first to admit that I'm not so great at these, but what it seems to be saying is that even if you pull hard to catch something, you end up with something useless... the tire showed up in the Shadow Play in Wakaba's episode too, when C-ko was given a great deal on them, but hadn't realized that they weren't edible... An allegory for what Shiori is trying to do perhaps? She's trying her damndest to prove that she's better than Juri and not some pitiable shadow behind her, but, despite how she sees the way to do it, always manages to pull something that hurts her friend in the wrong way.

    Onto the Duel: Ruka taunts Utena by saying that the both know he's better with the sword, but then mentions something about an "Unknown Quantity" (i.e. The Power of Dios!), he even admits that "I might not even be able to defeat you" so it would seem that he's studied her past duels... but how could he if he's laid up in the hospital a diseased wreck of a man? Hmm... we reiterate, "He knows... EVERYTHING!" (Emphasis mine)

    Yes, Utena is surprised after he admits it. He already knows he's going to lose this duel. He knows Akio has his money on Utena, so she can't lose. He knows he's only doing this for Juri's benefit. He's actually using Akio to his own benefit! What in the blue (*g*) Hell? That's not allowed!

    In the opening running thing, while Shiori rides past in the Akio Car, he keeps going on about how he just might lose, how if she beat both Touga and Saionji, there's gotta be something about her that can make her win,

    Utena points out that he's the first one to ever say such a thing. Cause all the others thought they could win! Ruka is NOT interesting in winning this duel, he's only doing this to get rid of Shiori! So he can help Juri!

    "But if I fight I fight to win" is his next line. More stuff just there for her benefit, he's not fighting! He's fucking with her!

    "Well, let's see this power of yours" Baiting her into defeating him!

    "Well, this might be unexpectedly easy" again with the taunts so he can get it over with!

    "Oh come on, I'm still recovering, please, a little more gently,..." While he's whipping Utena's ass. He's not sick at all! It's an ACT!

    Then, after he says "Are we done already?" We get a shot of Anthy praying... Then Ruka says "Now I see." Possibly he didn't know this all along, or hadn’t made the connection between the rose bride and that "unknown quantity," but he's sure he's going to lose now...

    On cue, light out in the castle, headlights converge, power of Dios, Shiori screams (WTF????) goodbye rose...

    And Ruka is just standing there. There isn't even a damn sword in his hand!

    It's Shiori who went through the car window. It's Shiori who's been defeated here. Ruka does not care. Notice how he blames Shiori for his loss, not his own ability. He also admits that he can't defeat Utena, because she has the backing of Dios/Akio, and Anthy... It’s all a set up so they can win...

    Notice his lack of shock or surprise that he lost... Notice how it doesn't even phase him... notice how he doesn't really seem to care about the loss...

    "That was not my sword. Your performance was very interesting. Quite good for an ad-lib." Let's flashback for a moment to the scene where they show the drop in the first place. As we scan through the lockers, who's is right next to Ruka's? Whoops! He knew and he used you! He doesn't like you, Shiori! He was playing the Akio role to a T (hell, notice how he shows up once in this episode? And he has one line? Ruka is way up there in the great cosmic ladder of importance if Akio's letting him do his thing... Or, another theory here, relating to the whole "healing" aspect, perhaps Akio isn't all Satan and he's a cool enough master of the universe to let an old, well used tool finish up a little unfinished business?)

    Ruka then makes a pretty clear reference to how he knows all about what Shiori did to Juri ("There's no need for me to say it, after all, the one who knows about it best is you"), "The choice was entirely hers."

    Juri then yells at Ruka "What are you after? What's going through your mind?"

    First Episode Analysis: Ok, so we've got a mysterious, blue haired stranger who just waltzes in after "being out for an extended period due to an illness" (Yeah right. More on this later), who proceeds to take out both of the dominant females in the pack. He seems to have this omniscient knowledge about everything that's transgressed between Juri and Shiori, and at this point seems to be a self-centered ass hole who's out for himself and is just using people to further his own plans... but then again, he's also a caring friend and mentor to Juri when he's not abusing her. Quite the odd duality, eh?

    Ok. Now, at this point, I have to state that I don't buy this "Dying Man" gimmick he's playing at one bit. I know in the Manga that he actually collapses and goes into dry heaves during his duel with Utena, and almost dies, but in the series, is there any evidence other than what he says?

    Nope. And if there's one thing we should know from watching Utena it's that whatever is out and direct is wrong, and that there's probably layer upon layer upon layer of subtext and symbolism laid out there.

    So alright, here goes nothing, my own little attempt to explain Ruka's sickness.

    Ruka isn't present when Juri seems to gain this healthy attraction to Shiori, while she's angry about it and screws the Juri's going out with behind her back.

    Ruka is "Out Sick."

    When Ruka comes back, Juri has already gained one step towards freeing herself from the goat faced one after the Black Rose Saga episode about Shiori, because now that Shiori knows, and Juri knows she knows, there's one step out of the way.

    By the end of the arc, Juri's amulet is destroyed (something Ruka threatened to do during the middle of that episode), and she's just staring up into the rain, as Ruka tries to comfort her, then ends up joining her in her stare.

    At the very end of episode, the Shadow Play Girls explain that "A Fencing Captain who wanted to give the one he loved the power of miracles passed away yesterday," while Juri is seen talking to her self about what to say to Ruka when she sees him again, and walking away from Shiori, who's trying to catch up.

    As usual, the Girls are right, in a way. The Fencing Captain who wanted to give the one he loved the power of miracles did pass away. He became the Fencing Captain who gave the power of miracles to the one he loved. Juri isn't concentrating on Shiori anymore (ref second to last episode where Utena, Miki, and Juri are playing Badminton, and she's ignoring Shiori after asking if she can get a picture of Utena).

    Ok, enough speculation, onto Episode 29!

Episode 29, Azure Paler Than the Sky

    We open to Shiori saying "Believe in a miracle, that your wish come true" and a shot of an empty chair. Then, a recap of what happened last episode, with Shiori picking up "Ruka's" sword, into his denouncing her as a liar, then breaking up.

    But then, a shot of two chair, one facing the other, while the other is turned away, and Shiori being cut of as she tries to repeat what she previously said, leaving off the "come true." Yes, symbolism. Ruka is turned away from her, and her wish hasn't come true after all.

    Shiori proceeds to make a huge scene, and as the whole school watches, she desperately clings to Ruka's arm, while he casually asks her to stop. Notice that they're in the exact same position that the chairs were, albeit a little closer. Also note that we never see Ruka's face during this scene, nor Juri's when she walks by.

    In the next scene, an empty desk (more of the empty chairs!), and girls gossiping about how Shiori can't bear to show her face after the scene she made, and that it's probably not as bad as she made it out to be.

    As they say "It's really both their faults, isn't it?" and "Well, I don't like it," we cut to Juri winning a bout and saying "That's the way. Don't forget that."

    Then we get a scene of Utena asking Juri to talk to Shiori about this whole thing. Juri is in the same chair we saw in the opening, and it's faced away from Utena, while Juri sit on it sideways. She's "straddling the fence" on the issue. And as she stands, she says "I have no intention of putting my oar in, nor do I have the right.

    Utena continues begging, and the shot pulls back a bit, and there's another empty chair, only this one pointed at the chair Juri was sitting in. And Juri says "Don't make me repeat myself."

    Utena and Anthy then talk while in bed, and Utena mentions something about how it seemed that Juri was really forcing herself to not get involved. Anthy comments that perhaps it's because it's against her nature to let Shiori suffer like that, it's an expression of her true feelings toward her, and that "One occasionally says or does what she has not even imagined," i.e. that while it hadn't occurred to her to do so, she's doing it anyways.

    Next scene has Shiori desperately calling Ruka and leaving messages about how she knows that he's there, and that he should really let her talk to him. But he's a little busy riding in the back seat while Akio's driving with Touga stuck shotgun (no, I'm not going to go into how funny I find it that he's (Ruka) just absently watching them have sex while insulting him, and he's not even paying attention). All he does is play down that fact that he lost, because he knew he was, and it turned out just about as he had predicted, and that's she's a very formidable opponent. But still, he has a reason to defeat her.

    Touga asks if he had all this planned in the first place, and he proceeds to say "There are no miracles, that's her favorite phrase," while he smiles evilly and we cut to a back shot of Juri in her fencing gear.

    In the next scene, we've got Shiori, who looks like a cancer ward patient before chemotherapy take out all her hair, being visited by Juri, and getting nothing but negativity from her, and her assumption that Juri's just here to gloat (after all, Juri wouldn't have messed it all up, would she? No way! She's prefect! And Shiori is inferior, in her own eyes). As she tells Juri that she'll never, ever, do what she wants her to, we cut to a scene of Ruka winning a bout, and Juri watching. Symbolic, perhaps, of a victory in Ruka's plan to free Juri from Shiori? If she won't speak to her, and do what she wants, how could Juri get her, cause that's what she seems to want, at least on the surface. His plan is working...

    Next we've got a shot of Ruka sitting in the far chair, sideways in much the same way that Juri was sitting while speaking to Utena earlier, while Juri stands in front of her chair. Ruka's chair faces her, while the one Juri stands in front of is still pointing away from him. He childes her about how just the other day she was demanding he start away from Shiori, now she wants him to make up with her. His position almost mocks hers from earlier as he sarcastically asks what exactly it is that she wants from him. And one could think that not even she knows anymore. He apologizes as he stands, and says that there's no way that could happen, as Shiori's a terrible person. His standing is symbolic of his "no longer being sideways" on the issue. This scene mocks the earlier one with Utena and Juri so much that it's almost scary. Notice how even their positions in the room are the same.

    Then we get the huge Juri attack after Ruka says "Who would want a girl like that?" Now, it's obvious he knows, because Juri does want her, and he's trying his best to convince her that she's not worth it. He's damn cunning.

Juri: "Who the hell do you think you are?!?"
Ruka: "I won't take orders from you" (Isn't that Shiori's line?)
Juri: "What right do you have to make her suffer?"
Ruka: "It's nothing you should concern yourself with."
Juri: "How low you have sunk!"
Ruka: "What about yourself? What's the big idea, meddling in other people's business?"

    Bam! Caught punch, second block, and Juri's against the wall.

    Ruka then proceeds to make himself out to be the biggest asshole in the universe, and cause about a zillion Juri fans to hate him completely, as he states that maybe he'll be dating her next, because she is in love with the captain of the fencing team, isn't she?

Juri: "Don't make me laugh! there's a limit to insults!"
Ruka: "Don't constrain yourself."

    Now, in the context in which their said, it would seem as though it's all Ruka being a huge prick and forcing himself upon her, but, look at it this way: She is in love with him, by the end, isn't she? He knows it. And this really is the only way to get her to listen, isn't it? If he had just casually waltzed back in, told her Shiori's no good, and that they should get back together because he's in love with her, and she seems to be with him, would Juri have listened? Hell no! Now, his method isn't the nicest in the world, and I certainly don't support his actions here, but... well... I dunno. It's kinda like that whole "You always hurt the ones you love" thing, combined with the whole tough love situation...

    And his line "Don't constrain yourself," well, it's just a little too appropriate, as that's just what she's doing. Juri is still clinging desperately to the idea that she's in love with Shiori, and that it could work out, and that she's not even remotely attracted to Ruka.

    Juri manages to get out "Who would?!?" before that awful kiss, which lasts far longer than the usual stolen in willing one does. I guess it's pretty safe to assume she was going to say "Who would love a person like you?" But then again, the line does go "Don't constrain yourself. Who would?" Think about it for a moment...

    Notice that Juri does stop struggling right before she shoves him away, and certainly is breathing hard for a person being kissed by someone she hates...

    And then the part which is just cruel. Look, Ruka managed to gank Juri's special locket! He doesn't say a damn word throughout this part.

    But, despite how it's made out to be something terrible happening, think for a moment. Ruka managed to steal the only real connection Juri had to Shiori, the physical symbol of what she wanted during that quite literally stolen kiss.

    He then threatens to crush it, and she begs for a moment, and then slaps him. And his face goes from cool and evil, to crushed.

    And then, something that doesn't make sense immediately, as says that he'll do exactly what she wants him to. So what exactly is up? Well... if she really was in love with him, her last line of connection between her and Shiori wouldn't matter very much anymore, would it? But it does. Enough to actually hit him, and enough to cry over. This is probably the only time, only time I can remember anyways, that Juri actually looks scared or shows a lot of emotion. And because he's realized that she'll always come crawling back to her memory of Shiori, he gives up and submits to doing what he can to make Shiori happy.

    "Do you hate me so much that you can't even contain your hatred?" is his next line, and is more of his screwing with her emotions. Juri looks fiercely protective, while Ruka regains his composure, and is back to doing his cool manipulative guy impression. He turns to walk out, moving in exactly the same path he was going to take before she attacked him (yeah, remember, she tried to hit him first? She started all this!), but then Juri requests a duel with him. If he wins, she'll do whatever he wants. If she wins, he'll have to do what he was already going to do anyways, and make up with Shiori.

    But note that he interrupts her before she can finish. "If I win, then you and Shiori..."

    "Enough. I know already"

    Note that the "If I lose, I'll do whatever you want" is said with a shot of Shiori on the phone, presumably continuing her barrage of messages on Ruka's answering machine. Why? Because Juri has already lost. Because she can't get Shiori, because she's in love with Ruka. Because, subconsciously, she knows her dream isn't going to come true, and that she was deluding herself about Shiori, and that she should take the relationship being offered to her by a guy she used to respect and, dare I say it, is in love with.

    The duel between Juri and Ruka isn't shown. After the commercial, we cut to Juri crouched in a fetal position and Ruka standing, the bench in between them, while they stare out at the night sky. When they started dueling, it was sun down.

    Ruka proceeds to praise her talents at fencing, including saying "Even in the mud, your glow has never been lost," a rather telling statement about her little issue with Shiori that cropped up when they were younger, but presumably after Ruka had started teaching her.

Ruka: "Your talent tops mine by a long shot,"
Juri: "That's an overestimation"
Ruka: "Is that so?"

    And Juri doesn't say anything as we flash back to her.

    Ruka then steals Touga's lines, and introduces Juri to the Akio car. Her horror and shock is there again, as we all know the car is a symbol for sex, and Ruka reminds her that she promised to do whatever he wanted... And in the subsequent ride, Touga isn't even there! Ha! Fuck you man! Ruka's higher on the celestial ladder of Akio favor than you!

    But seriously, we never see Ruka's face during this scene. And Juri looks hell bent on not enjoying any of it.

    Juri asks where they're taking her, and Ruka responds by playing the messages Shiori's left on his answering machine, repeating "Tsuchyia-Sempai, I have only you." Juri asks if it's that much fun to hurt her, and Ruka doesn't respond.

    He changes the subject back to her skill at fencing, saying that if she gave full play to her latent ability, she'd never lose to anyone, and that he's the only one who can bring it out. And that if they became partners, Utena would be no match for them, and they could gain the power of miracles. This whole thing seems to be nothing but a big façade put on by Ruka to show Akio that he's getting his money's worth, and that his "evil plan that caused him to come back" is now bearing fruit. Juri asks if this is why he's driven her and Shiori into a corner, and he replies that sacrifices have to be made for a miracle to appear. Juri then belays any indication that she really understand what he's about, by yelling back that he's a cruel bastard, and asks if he's so bent on gaining this power that he'll go that far? Ruka replies that "You're the one who wants the power of miracles." A terribly telling line. She doesn’t know yet that the only reason he wants that power is so he can to give it to her. Juri keeps arguing "Shiori's not your tool," completely missing what he tried to imply, and he quotes at her "Believe in a miracle, that your wish come true," which is what Shiori was chanting at the beginning of the episode, then he asks "Weren't those your words?" And Juri is left speechless. After a moment, she replies, possible after finally making the connection, and says that it doesn't matter to her if her wish never comes true. And we flash to a shot of Ruka's back as she says her wish, then back to her. Connection? Naw... couldn't be... "Even if I achieved the power of miracles, my wish would be to release her from you. That would be all. I won't let you have your own way anymore. To attain that, I'll be taken in by your story." Juri continues... maybe she doesn't get it... or maybe she's figured it out and is playing along? And Ruka replies "It's a deal."

    Obligatory car flip, and then Juri's challenging Utena to a duel. And we can't see either Juri, nor Ruka's faces during this scene. She's in on it.

    And of course, we see just what Juri was staring at, Shiori, who's leaned up against the Shadow Play Girl's wall, and looking at something else.

    Then the duel song, and the invocation of the soul swords, and the fight begins.

    As Utena makes her open leap, which looks way too much like the one that Juri made right as we broke for commercial, we're suddenly watching Ruka and Juri duel. He asks "Hidden wish, huh?" and as she charges again, he gracefully sidesteps and shoves her to the ground. "I wonder how hard is it to bear it." Then he attacks back, and almost drives his point into her throat, but then we're back in the present, watching a absolutely driven and soulless Juri nearly kill Utena. Ruka barks out "Don't back down, Juri!" and she starts attacking again. And Juri keeps on kicking Utena's ass, while Anthy watches impassively and Ruka stares superiorly, like the teacher he is. Cut to a scene of Shiori in a chair, that same damn symbolic chair, sitting properly, hands folded in submission, and looking at a chair that's not facing her. Back to the Juri/Ruka duel, where they finish colliding and resume En Garde positions. Shot of Shiori looking torn, and Ruka says "Juri, she's a fool. She doesn't notice that the miracle that dropped out of the clouds into her hands stands on someone else's sacrifice. But it's the likes of her who will get miracles. Don't you think it's ridiculous, Juri?" During the "Miracle that dropped out of the clouds" ling, we get a shot of Juri sitting in the chair with Shiori's hand over her eyes, while Shiori kisses the guy she (Juri) was going out with, and when he asks "Don't you think it's ridiculous?" He charges angrily. Why's he pissed? Because the one he wants is in love with someone who doesn't even recognize it. Because the person who got the only thing he really wants to too much of a bitch to even understand it.

    And Juri reciving the charge becomes Utena getting knocked back, but wait, here's the secret weapon, bam! Power of Dios, and goodbye... locket?

    Ruka yells "Juri!" as he, Shiori, and Juri all look up, and there's her shattered locket flying through the air. As it shatters against the ground, Juri realizes what's happened, and is on the verge of tears. She stumbles forward, and tears off her own rose, because the duel doesn't mean anything anymore. Notice how as she starts staggering, we can't see her eyes anymore.

    Shot of Shiori in the past style (no face, only black), sitting in the chair Juri was always in, and it starts to rain after it passes. The memory is gone. She knows what's going on. And her last tie is gone. Shiori cares about her as much as Juri cares about this duel. And that reality is almost too much for her to bear.

    Utena asks why, because she doesn't get it, though we, the viewers, should. Anthy finally looks up. And Juri just stares up into the rain, half smiling.

    Ruka, who's eyes are also now completely hidden by hair and camera angles, says "Juri, don't worry. Don't worry, Juri."

    The cars get their windshield wipers turned on, while Juri and Ruka just stare up at the falling rain.

    So there you have it. Juri has finally come to terms with all of it. She's finally lost that last tie holding her to Shiori, thanks to Ruka. Is she actually in love with him? It's hinted at, but this is an article about Ruka, not Juri, so it's not my place to say. But we can sure as hell be sure that he's in love with her.

    A shot of Juri in the chair, sitting properly, and looking over at the one facing her, as she says "Don't worry, huh?" echoing Ruka's earlier "Hidden wish, huh?" And she finally seems to figure out that he's in love with her. But he's not there. He's back in the hospital.

    As Nanami and Miki talk about Ruka's not coming to school anymore due to his illness, a girl on the fencing team gets hurt. Could they be anymore blatant about the connection? Not like it's Ruka's fault though, the poor guy is dying...

    Ok, so they've won me over now. If he's finally got what he always wanted, why isn't he attending anymore? You'd think he'd look forward to being there with Juri... but no, he's hospitalized. Shit happens.

    But then Nanami says "Well, if you leave it to Juri, there should be no need to worry." In reference to her helping the girl, but also it could be taken to mean that Juri will get by, because she's pretty fricken tough, especially after all that.

    Then comes in infamous Shadow Girls Scene, where they mention that the captain of a fencing team passed away yesterday, and about how he was such a nice guy, and he wanted to fence so badly once he got back, even though he knew all about his illness, and that he must have had some girl he really loved on the team, and how he was always going on about how he wanted to give her the power of miracles, and release her. After they finish by asking, "What's that supposed to mean? I dunno..." We get a shot of two chairs, one facing the other, while the other is turned slightly, but still facing the other.

    Now, I guess we could interpret it that Ruka died, but why? It's the Shadow Play Girls! They're never that direct... as I explained above, the poor guy isn't dead, his problem is. Juri is free, so he's free to get along with his illness and get better without any hang up. He's done all he can to help, and is certainly looks like he fixed everything.

    Now I can hear some of you (yes, this is addressing you, Mandy) baying about how direct the shadow play girls were in Episode 34, when they explain about the whole Rose Bride situation. But, if you remember, they also get it totally wrong, depending on your interpretation of the ending.

    And then Juri walks down a path, talking to her self "How are you? There's something I want to ask, when I see you next: what was you wish that you laid on the power of miracles? Was your wish directed at somebody? I pray your wish comes true." And as she says it, Shiori runs up and starts following her. It looks like Ruka didn't fix everything after all. He just switched the roles of power. But Juri doesn't seem unhappy with this, so I guess all is well, from his POV.

    And it's over. Ruka never shows up in the series again.

Final Analysis

    So, we've got a tortured, driven guy, who sees the girl he loves in a bad situation, and he does his damndest to fix it. Even though he has to pull out all the stops, and actually hurt he a little, which he doesn't seem to enjoy (notice how cold and restrained he looks, a tough love face, the face of a parent punishing a child even though they really don't want to). And he was able to help the situation, up to a point, and though there's no way for him to actually get into a relationship with Juri, as he's now a bed-ridden invalid, he does his best to make sure she ends up happy. Completely selfless in the end, despite how selfish he appears throughout the two episodes.

Personality + Relationship + Narrative + Miscellany + Music

Introduction + Characters + Reference + Submission

Go Home
Analysis of Utena + Empty Movement

Akio is no rapist, he is just an opportunist that makes his home a school full of emotionally compromised teenagers. This frame is actually pulled from the Metropolitan Museum of Art archives.
I considered making this a time gif that would occasionally flash Dios as having a ponytail. Then I got lazy.
I know this layout is sort of a spoiler, but so was the closing of the first season, so suck it.
This is far and away the most complex layout I have coded, and I know it does not look like it.
So are they waltzing or foxtrotting or what?
Because according to Ikuhara, if it were Akio, they would be doing the lambada.
These swords ended up looking like the crosses in Evangelion. I left it on purpose because hellz yeah.
I wanted this layout to look like a fairy tale. It ended up looking like a French textile exhibit. Oops.
Polly want some C4? Sorry, coding and Colbert do not mix.
It is March. It is snowing. It is Canada.
You know what is an awesome idea? Coding on your rag. That is smart.