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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
And with Ruka, the answer is, surprisingly
enough, and unlike any other duelist, nothing.
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.
28: "Whispering in the Dark"
disappointing. I thought you'd have improved somewhat since I’d been
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.
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?").
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")
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"
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...
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?
scene: Ruka's as big of a pimp as Touga, if not more so. All the bitches
flock to see his mad fencing skillz.
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.
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...)
irony when Ruka says "Thank you for being such a nice person." He
is such a sarcastic bastard at times...
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?)
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...
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
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.
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..)
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)).
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."
here that this is one of the few times throughout the series where
we see Juri not in a position of dominance and power.
scene: Touga plays Ruka's BITCH and messenger boy, when he and Akio
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?
a bitch moment: He ain't even in the car! Fuck you Touga! Ruka owns
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!"
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...
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
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...
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.
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
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!
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
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!
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!
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!
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
And Ruka is just standing there. There
isn't even a damn sword in his hand!
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...
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?)
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?"
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?
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."
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
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).
speculation, onto Episode 29!
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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."
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.
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
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."
low you have sunk!"
Ruka: "What about yourself?
What's the big idea, meddling in other people's business?"
Caught punch, second block, and Juri's against the wall.
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?
"Don't make me laugh! there's a limit to insults!"
"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
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.
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...
that Juri does stop struggling right before she shoves him away, and
certainly is breathing hard for a person being kissed by someone she
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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"
"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!
seriously, we never see Ruka's face during this scene. And Juri looks
hell bent on not enjoying any of it.
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
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.
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.
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
And Juri reciving the charge becomes Utena
getting knocked back, but wait, here's the secret weapon, bam! Power
of Dios, and goodbye... locket?
"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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
it's over. Ruka never shows up in the series again.
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.