Genres: Real Life Problems, Yuri, Female Empowerment, Trans Man, Yaoi, Male Rape, Surreal Symbolism
Timeline: 10 years post Revolution, few weeks post Fate Train Transfer
Notable Chars: Trans Utena, shadow boys "K-taro" and "S-taro" (do you really need to ask who they are?)
Notable "Mysteries" Covered: Nemuro Hall, Child Broiler, Million Swords, Fate Train, Shadow Girls, Invisible People
Summary (or rather, Excerpt): “The revolution succeeded; it crumbled afterwards only because those whose lives got revolutionized did not follow up on the revolutionary success,” said the Bride, her words setting their closed hearts aflame. “This time, will you help us help you?”
After what seems like an eternity of non-fic writing, I have again written something in tribute of this timeless shoujo anime classic. This is a work dedicated to the passionate, wonderful people at In the Rose Garden (the thread for my fic here), which even now remains the coolest place for Utena fans to hang out online.
The fanfiction.net link is http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8086621/1/Seinen_Kakumei_Utena
My blogspot: http://gorgeousshutin.blogspot.ca/
Please C&C if you like this~
“The next step below the Invisible People – now already a country-wide phenomenon that still remains largely unnoticed by mainstream society, Invisible Souls are mindless shadows akin to the ones that’s been haunting Ohtori.” Tokiko turned her gaze towards Kozue. “Being so integral to Akio’s games at the time, you must have seen something like that at the Academy.” Kozue’s eyes went wide at the woman’s words . . .
. . . she had already donned the grab of the bride, and was idly watching the shadows on the wall acting out their demented play; Miki was taking awfully long in the shower, as if he still was uncertain about facing the upcoming duel . . .
“ . . . oh.”
“The only way to keep these children from fading further away is to make them remember,” stated Tokiko. “Already I have hired people to look into possible clues of who they originally were, but there had been no progress so far – unsurprising, considering how these kids may not even be from our current reality .” She tapped a manicured fingertip against the sheet music she had been playing from earlier on, now laid upon the red bed. “This was brought to me by their familiars – you’d see them as penguins – on the night they all settled down here; it must have to do with their past. I play this for them everyday hoping it will slow down their deterioration, but . . .”
Picking up the sheet music, ironically titled “Children of Fate”, Kozue studied the melody for a while, and then . . .
I’ll never let you go . . .”
“Kozue-chan?” Tokiko appeared startled by the girl’s suddenly breaking into song; Kozue too did not understand how these lyrics were coming so naturally to her just from her reading the notes. While she had studied writing lyrics in Ohtori at Miki’s insistence (so she might put words to his Sunlit Garden), it had been years since she had worded any song at all; and her singing voice, which should be brittle from drug use, now came out in a well-rounded mezzo . . . the boys and the penguins had ceased playing, as they all now listened to her, rapt; she had to continue.
And I miss
Your reckless frantic soul . . . ”
Tokiko had since gone back to the “piano” (when did Mikage change back?), playing the tune from memory, modifying it somewhat to suit Kozue’s singing; the four penguins, producing a flute, a cello, a violin, and a small trumpet respectively from seemingly out of nowhere, started playing together with the woman as they quickly formed a mini-orchestra of sorts, accompanying her now startling strong vocals.
“When the night is long I will be looking up at the skies and I’ll see
My beloved ones walking by on that starlit galaxy
And I’ll see the light you have shown to me”
Right as her voice sailed into the whistle register, a hail of what appeared to be large, stylistic pieces of blood drops exploded from in front of K-taro’s and S-taro’s small chests, startling Kozue into almost going off-key during her ad-libbing; a closer look revealed those to be stylized red penguin faces, all opening their beaks and singing choral backup as the song reached its power-demanding chorus.
“And I know
I’ll never let you go
I’ll never let you go”
As the song went on, more and more of K-taro’s and S-taro’s previously blanked-out features started “coming to light”, revealing the brothers to be adorable lads; the complexities apparent in their harrowing expressions, however, belied their having world-scorched souls far beyond their apparent years.
“And I’ll keep
You where you’ll never fade
In my heart
I believe that we are never late
That we can conquer fate
That we can conquer fate”
The multiple red penguin faces dissipated as the song climaxed, leaving only the four “familiar” penguins behind with their owners, both wide-eyed as if having just been pulled back from a cliff they were about to fall into.
“We did it, didn’t we?” Wide eyes wild, K-taro turned shakily towards S-taro, seizing the latter by his slim shoulders. “The Penguindrum . . .”
Almost teary-eyed, S-taro held onto K-taro with the desperation of a drowning man holding onto a float. “Our apple . . . she got it . . . didn’t she?”
“Are you guys remembering?” asked Kozue, feeling eager at what she had achieved. “Then . . . should I sing more? If you guys can remember who you are . . . we can even bring you home to your sister-”
The boys’ unanimous, vehement reply caught her off guard. “No . . . ?”
“Nee-chan, we got transferred here just so our sister can stay alive and well on her end,” said S-taro, with K-taro nodding from beside him with crossed arms.
“We are nonexistent in this new world we transferred her into; if we’re to meet again, if she is to remember, if the world changed back . . . the curse upon her could get reactivated.”
“She will be dying again, and the punishments that everybody went through will be for nothing! No, we’re fine where we are.”
“Punishments? What . . . .” Agitated now, Kozue raised her voice. “If this goes on, you two will fade!”
“We knew we’d fade away when we chose to die for her, Nee-chan,” said K-taro, expression-resolved as his features again started dimming around the edges. “We’ve attained true light from saving her, that’s enough for us.”
“There’s no need to feel sad for the likes of us, Nee-chan,” said S-taro, his sad- eyed smile soon eclipsed by the blankness eating into his just regained flesh, “ours are but lows lives destined to become nothing. As long as our sister doesn’t get hurt again . . .”
“What hurts every sister the most are brothers who don’t look after themselves,” stated Tokiko, in voice that was perhaps too stern to match her delicate features. K-taro and S-taro, now “shaded-in” once more, faced the woman blankly, prior to latching onto Mikage-piano and urging “it” to become a robot again (with their penguins watching them motionlessly instead of joining in the fray). Letting out a heavy sigh, Tokiko stepped away and towards Kozue.
“I suppose this is how it’s going to be, for now.” Gently,she took the sheet music from the sullen-looking young woman. “Thank you, Kozue-chan, you did very well in trying to help them.”
“What’s the use of trying?” Kozue’s voice regained its usual bitter harshness. “This is just like how it was with those hatchlings from that endangered nest I tried saving. Miki and I spent days setting up a next box and caring for the young birds; but the parent birds never did came back for their young, and the little ones all got sick and died in the end.” She remembered how she then just left the deadened mess there, and how her twin was the one to clean it up afterwards; that incident, which brought them closer to each other for a little while, ended up driving them even further apart than before. “Say, it’s because of some magical magnetic field here that I can sing like that again, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be possible, not with my vocal cords all fried . . .”
“We can do many things we think are impossible,” said Tokiko, her firm, mature-seeming conviction infectious enough to alarm the cynical girl, “so long as we’re still willing to try.”
What sounded like a household security alarm was now blasting through the once tranquil atmosphere of the starry “galaxy”; Kozue thought, for a moment, that she spotted the walls and edges of the actual room, currently submerged underneath this eerie outer space.
“They’ve come,” eyes narrowing, Tokiko’s once delicate-seeming figure now is taut with sharp angles and straight lines, “just like Himemiya-san said they would, once we’ve gathered everyone into this sanctuary.”
“Who came?” asked the girl, noticing how K-taro and S-taro – along with their four penguins – were now standing in alert stances.
“Invisible Souls born of the unholy research to harness fate,” the woman’s agelss face now was frosting over as winter snow. “Ohtori’s undying shadows.”
“So . . . this is it?”
Refocusing his vision, since gone hazy from overwhelming pain and humiliation, Utena saw that it was Nanami who spoke.
“This is what you’ve learned from battling the Ends of the World?” asked the wide-eyed young blonde, her voice trembling from what could be either fear or outrage. “That to be a girl is to be weak? That being a man is equivalent to being strong? This, ” she pointed a shaky finger at his sword-represented manhood, currently pulsing as per his heartbeat, “is your Revolution?”
Right then, two rounded sword handles popped out from between Utena’s legs under the pulsing blade, juggling as if loosened; pushed past the limit of his self-control (and his sanity), Utena stumbled backwards while letting out a trail of broken, desperate noises that sounded at once like wheezing laughter and choked screaming. Anthy, her hair and house dress both disheveled from earlier violence, looked like she wanted to go up to him, but was held back by wariness.
“Nanami!” Juri hissed warningly at the blonde – who was wordless once more – then visibly steeled herself as she cautiously stepped up towards him. “Utena, it’s oka-”
“It’s NOT okay!” Utena roared like a wild man from where she was backed against the wall, and even the assured ex-fencer went rigid at his despairing rage. “What more do you want me to say? I was bedridden in a nearby hospital for months and none of you came to see me! The Million Swords . . . they were plowing me inside out, night and day, calling me a girl a slut a witch a whore and ramming at my cunt my ass my mouth my breasts and none of the freaking doctors and specialists can see them!” His fingers started clawing at the wall, clamping down upon a small, random picture frame. “All this . . . all just because I WAS A GIRL!!!” He threw the item at Juri – who dodged – and it smashed a window screen that happened to be right above Wabaka’s head.
In a rather dramatic display of athleticism, Saionji had pushed Nanami aside while sweeping Wakaba off her feet and aside, thus keeping both away from the showering glass shards. Putting the young woman (trembling as she curled up in a fetal position) down, the towering hulk of a man stomped right up towards Utena, and slapped him soundly the face amidst everyone’s shocked gasps. The bigger man would have landed another hit, if not for Juri quickly diving forward to restrain him.
“What the hell are you doing?” snapped the woman, voice and expression stern enough to cut glass. “You . . . ” Her voice trailed off at seeing the somber expression on Saionji’s face, as he looked down upon the dumbfounded, wide-eyed Utena.
“You would never let any man, or anyone, slap you around back when you were just a stupid girl trying to be a prince.” Saionji spoke in the voice of one in looking at a ruin that he knew was once spectacular and grand. “What happened to you, Tenjou?”
“Saionji . . .” Slowly, Utena drew the name out from between his clenched, bared teeth; he was filled to the blink with hate by now. “You . . . !”
“You used to be a prince among women,” eyes narrowed, Saionji slowly shook his head as if in painful denial. “Now, you’re just some sad, dickless punk who fakes it as a man, who feels sorry for himself and throws hissy fits like the lowliest of bitches.” Grabbing Utena by the front of his tee, he lifted up the rage-filled trans man like the latter weighted nothing. “This is your Revolution? You took the chance that should’ve been Touga’s, and you just let it go WASTED!” He punctuated the last word by slamming Utena soundly against the wall amidst Juri’s alarmed exclaim.
“Get back!” Anthy’s cry from behind them came not a moment too late, as numerous swords burst out point-first from all over Utena’s body, from every single inch; their many tips would have skewered both Saionji and Juri, had those two not leapt backwards in time. Moving closer (more like huddled together) with the rest of the group, they all watched the giant metal sea urchin that used to be Utena in horrified awe; Utena, now totally eclipsed by the Swords and their hatred, could only glare balefully at them from where his body and mind got fenced in behind the walls of sharp metal.
“Are these . . .?” asked Juri, trembling in spite of her upright stance. Anthy, now standing in front of the group facing the pulsing, thrusting mass of outward pointing swords, nodded grimly.
“The Million Swords – the parasitic hatred that used to torment me back when I was the Bride; they’ve been infesting Utena for these past ten years.”
“And you just let them?” asked a hysterical Wakaba in fear and outrage. Anthy closed her eyes as if the Swords’ very sight hurt her.
“If I could’ve found her earlier, before she tried escaping the Swords’ ongoing assailment by physically erasing her own female gender, I still might have a chance of saving her myself. As it is now . . .”
“So these . . . they are the reason that Tenjou had to forsake her womanhood; had to butcher her body into becoming the mess that it is today;” muttered Saionji, eyeing the grotesque metals as if truly seeing them for the first time. “These, these are the maggots infesting this faux masculine form that is now her new coffin!”
“The swords cut into the weakest part of the individual’s psyche,” Anthy’s voice was distant as if from another time and place, “it’s from there that they zap strength from the mind to keep themselves nourished. Their host will all gradually lose their character, starting from the parts that were the most vulnerable to begin with.” Her dark, delicate fists now were clenched into balls. “I believe you all know what I lacked back when I was Bride of the Rose; Utena now had lost something precious, something that she once had pre-Revolution.”
“Her femininity,” Miki’s light tenor now sounded low and dark. “Or rather, her confidence in her femininity, in her being a woman.” Blinking back tears, he turned away from the sword-ravaged spectacle that the Victor became. “She was such a charismatic, princely girl back then . . . and now . . . !”
“Well, is there anyway to get rid of them?” Nanami’s voice came out in a squeak from where she now hid behind a trembling Tsuwabuki. “Like, maybe give these back to your monster brother? He was the one who killed those people in the first place!”
“That is indeed my intention,” replied Anthy; back straight, fists still clenched, she lowered her head such that thick fringes now obscured her eyes. “It’s for making that happen that I’ve gathered everyone here today.”
“. . . what do you mean?” asked Shiori, her fear visibly directed at not just the swords, but the former Rose Bride as well. Sensing this, and likely feeling much the same, all the others too started backing away from Anthy, whose voluminous long hair now was rippling in the still air as if tossed by wild winds; they were all watching her instead of Utena now, their eyes reflecting both fear and suspicion . . .
“Anthy . . .” Saionji started, but was hushed by Anthy raising a finger to her lips.
“Listen,” she whispered under her breath, “they’ve come.”
“ . . .who?” asked Juri; warily, guardedly.
While the rest of the old gang still were as baffled as the ex-fencer, Utena already could sense their presences from where he was buried beneath the raging, hateful swords.
They were surfacing upon a wall to the side, upon which the lights were all the brighter, the shadows all the darker; already impressions of long limbs and narrow torsos could be seen on the newly formed “shadow stage”. As their peals of girlish giggles got louder and louder, even the gathering of shell-shocked ex-duelists now were beginning to take notice of these eerie creatures intruding into the already too fantastical scene. There appeared to be about three of them: two of them - one curly-haired, the other pigtailed – were carrying shadowy forms that resembled a carousel horse and a toilet seat-cover, respectively; the high-tailed one hogging the middle spot (one could tell by their body languages that she was indeed aggressively “hogging the spot) had both hands on her tall, phallic-shaped mic stand, and was yelling enthusiastically (while struggling not to get pushed off stage by the other two):
Do you wonder what we know?
End Part Four
My thanks go to victor_vvv on Penguindrum LiveJournal for providing me the name of the music score (Children of Fate) that Tokiko and Kozue performed for K-taro and S-taro to help them remember their past.
I’d also like to thank Alan Harnum for coming up with first names for Ohtori’s real chairman (Tsukiichi), Mrs. Ohtori (Hoshimi), and Professor Nemuro (Chirikazu), in his undying classic Jaquemart: those are the names I’m going to use for the characters in the coming parts of Seinen Kakumei Utena.