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~
Seinen Kakumei Utena
Utena and its characters belong to its various owners.
WARNING: Parts of this work contain depictions of transphobia, controversial shoujo fantasy trans situation that in no way reflects real life trans people, and misogynic magic attack leading to forced masculinization
Part Three: Prince, Interrupted - Prelude
The kitchen’s fridge was cold, the kitchen’s fridge was stocked; the kitchen’s fridge was Antarctica-condensed and at its very best – so much so, that the two apron-wearing blue penguins currently lazing within its confines wanted to never leave it, wanting instead to snack on forever within this ultra-cool sanctuary.
A crack appeared as the fridge door got pulled opened by the shivering Chu-Chu, currently decked in a miniature Eskimo’s fur coat. In his tiny paw was a pentagon-star-shaped paper note, which the monkey mouse then passed into Number Two’s blue flipper before scurrying away out of sight.
“Kyu!” Reading the note, Number 2 then pulled Number 3 out of the fridge with it. Together, they hopped onto the countertop, grabbed the broad box of donuts, and exited the kitchen. As the creatures made their way down the hallway, they passed by the dinning room and its loudly agitated occupants, passed the dark-skinned woman and the pink-haired man pushing a food service cart towards said dinning room, up the spiral staircase, past the white-painted, red-rose-lined washroom door displaying a scarlet “OCCUPIED” sign, and towards a bedroom with a shiny, stylized pentagon star bearing the letter “H” hanging upon its wooden door.
The screams from the dinning room came right as Number 3 opened the star-adorned door for Number 2 to carry the donut box inside. Unfazed, the creatures stepped right into the dark, glittery interior, and up towards a girlishly ornamented bed veiled under red canopy curtains; two young-boyish silhouettes could be seen curled up face-to-face on the bed, each hugging a penguin to his chest (one black, one blue, beaks meeting in a kiss) . . . words, spoken in precocious, pre-pubescent tone, drifted upon the tranquil space (strangely unaffected by the noises outside) as tendrils of smoke:
“If there exists a god who listens, I want to ask him this:
“Can people do nothing but to embrace their own fates?
“And, suppose someone is to go against fate,
“Ignoring their predetermined gender and role to become someone they weren’t born to be,
“Will others still accept them as being human?
“I can’t stop thinking about the word fate . . .”
Even as the words flowed, the bedroom door closed seemingly on its own, blocking off the view and sound from within its dreamy confines. Outside, the screams from the dinning room continued to climb both in the way of pitch and hysteria.
It started out with them looking at him, and him looking back; thus how they had stayed for one mercifully wordless moment. Then came the screaming, the rushing off to throw up in revulsion, the muted looks of horror, and the tenuous orderly calm of their ten year reunion got shattered like glass.
“Utena!” Nanami, prone to hysterics even as a grown woman, pointed a shaky finger at him like he was covered in live roaches. “You . . . you’ve . . . what the fuck?!”
“Don’t you swear at my Utena-sama!” Wakaba, his best friend from another lifetime, snapped at the blonde with startling violence, before turning towards him with a force smile that looked uglier than even her worst crying face “Oh Utena-sama, just . . . just . . . what the FUCK?!”
Prior to seeing them again, Tenjou Utena had already dreaded his old friends’ possible reactions to his current maleness more than anything. And now that he had already seen and heard for himself their revulsion against him, he felt a metallic coolness slowly but surely stabbing through his person, going in the back and coming out upfront, keeping him upright like an insect pinned upon invisible cardboard, helplessly awaiting eternal damnation. With his entire body now stiffened from the neck down, he could turn only his accusing glare towards the one responsible – Himemiya Anthy; whose hand had tightened around his, whose wisps of stray hair stood at the back of her dark neck as if from static, whose lush tresses would have been rippling upon the still-air by now, if not for the pins holding them down; ever-mysterious Anthy, whose head was lowered like a woman either about to be struck – or about to strike out. An inaudible sigh escaped his lips – what kind of reaction did she expect from these people, anyway? Eternal Anthy, having already coexisted so very long alongside this world, should have known better than to think the old gang would readily accept his current self just because they had been school chums for that one (apparently very forgettable) year. Did she not know that these people were all cogs of the world? Be they shrewd or playful or idealistic or obsessed, they all were puppets with strings pulled by their world – a world that had always been adversarial towards him, even since before the Revolution, back when he was just some little girl in a boy’s uniform whom all the teachers hated, whom all the boys (with few exceptions) thought of as non-sexual, whom all the girls . . .
“Your . . . face! Y-You’ve got facial hair!
what did that
do to you?”
. . . words, human words, spoken in voices girly and shrill, spoken in noises metallic and sharp; already Utena could see them – those gleaming, metallic lengths rearing their ugly heads at him in multitudes of hundreds and thousands, appearing so very real to him that Nanami and Wakaba might just as well be faded shadows fluttering across some distant walls in some other place and time as these hateful, hate-filled swords came thrusting closer and closer and . . .
Juri’s voice – stronger and even more authoritative-sounding than in her teens – blasted out like gunshot, silencing the hysterical girls and shattering his sword-filled vision like hammer against mirror. Utena saw that she was even more beautiful in person than on Anthy’s glossy magazines, where some of the shots did made her look bulky. While still powerfully-assured, the frosty aloofness marking her youth had apparently been warmed by the years, as the fencer-turned-model came up towards him in broad, easy strides, stopping such that her smiling face faced his. “It’s good to see you again, Utena.”
“Juri-sempai,” he made himself smile back in reply to her earnest voice and expression. Had he still been that foolish fairytale-obsessed girl he once was, Utena would never have questioned Juri’s apparent easy acceptance of his person. Now that he was older and wiser, he knew to carefully analyze the “whys” behind how people act towards him; knew, and understood how he should (must) react in return. “I see you have Shiori-sempai with you.”
From behind Juri, Shiori quickly stood up to bow at him from behind the dinning table she shared with the rest of the stunned group. “Utena-san, good to see you again. It’s been so long . . . ” she gestures (somewhat awkwardly) at the empty seats left, “won’t you join us for breakfast?”
“Y-Yes, Utena-sama!” Wakaba spoke as well, forcing herself to sound normal and failing. “We got so much to catch up on, to plan . . . ”
“Ah, please pardon me,” Miki shakily returned from where he rushed off to (with Tsuwabuki tiptoeing thief-like back towards his own seat in his background), and stepped up towards Utena as well. “Fish went down the wrong way, and I had to get cleaned up.” The young man offered his pale hand in a blatantly brave gesture. “So great to see you again, Utena-sempai!” Utena saw, from behind him, Kozue rolling her slightly bloodshot eyes.
Eyes on the young man he used to think of as a cute little brother, Utena gave him a firm, lasting handshake, and observed the goosebumps now rising on his thin neck with a sort of detached coldness.
“Utena,” Anthy had by now moved to beside the dinning table, setting the food and drinks down for their rigid guests with the languid, emotionally-void grace of a restrained lady. “The breakfast meeting is about to start.”
Letting go of Miki (who sagged in relief), Utena walked up towards the group, all the while internally steeling himself to take on the cutting questions that were sure to come.
Surprisingly, there were no questions asked – no words at all – as everyone simply continued their breakfast in silence; the dubious glances, on the other hand, could be seen getting passed around at a much higher frequency than the teapot and the dessert tray combined. Brusquely stuffing face with Unakyu (thus not-so subtly deterring conversation directed his way), Utena saw Anthy sipping her tea while glancing across each and every uncomfortable face around the table at a measured, purposeful pace, before lowering her cup and cutting straight to the point.
“I would like to begin by thanking everyone for coming together and pledging to help the Victor,” smiling thinly, she spoke in a voice as demure as her words were shrewd. “It’s most rare these days for people to remember favors owed, and be willing to enact repayment. One gets pleasantly surprised when it still happens.”
Utena saw the ex-Duelists all further stiffening at the ex-Bride’s words; none of them could deny that the Victor had changed their lives for the better (albeit but for a while), yet all of them had gathered here only after being approached with the promise of miracles – solutions to their worldly problems. They knew they were not helping him for free even after everything he did for them, and there lied the problem that ate at their own comfort zone.
Nanami, offensive spitfire that she was, was the first to strike back. “And what does Utena need help with?” Does he now want to turn back into a girl or something? How did the tomboy get changed into a man in the first place, I wonder? Was that the Power of Revolution? Thank god I lost the duels! Or did Utena just get man-genes from the spirit of Dios?” She concluded her tirade by letting out the trademark spiteful laughter of her adolescent days . . . one that gradually died down under Anthy’s steady gaze. “W-What? You got a problem with what I said? Talking down on us in that backhanded alien way of yours . . . I mean, sure, Utena did breeze through our lives in that foolishly open way of hers that got us to be more open ourselves, and we all became nicer to each other for a while, closer for a while . . . but her Revolution failed! The so-called Victor just disappeared off the face of our world, and most of our lives just took bungee jumps like right afterwards! So what the FUCK-” she punctuated the swear-word with a fist to the table that sent the plates rattling, “-kinda favor did we owe you, either of you?” The blonde glared viciously back at the dark-featured woman, whose gaze remained steady; whose smile now gained a pitying edge.
“The revolution succeeded; it crumbled afterwards only because those whose lives got revolutionized did not follow up on the revolutionary success.”
Her listeners all jolted at Anthy’s words as if struck; Nanami, in particular, looked like she had just swallowed a frog. “F-Follow up?”
“My brother was both exhausted and enchantment-bound in the days immediately following the Revolution. Had even one of you summoned the resolve to seek out Utena then, he would’ve no way of stopping you, and she will be found. I could’ve then followed your trail towards Utena, used what power I had to restore her body and soul, and together we would returned immediately to Ohtori to claim the awakened Power of Dios and stop my brother’s mad games once and for all.” Anthy’s voice darkened as thickening clouds. “Instead, you and the other Duelists simply went blissfully on with your days while giving the Ends of the World ample time to recover, to grow strong. Do you now blame his present control over your world on us?”
“ . . . present control over our world?” squeaked Tsuwabuki like a trapped mouse. Utena saw how most of the others had gone wide-eyed at this piece of info as well; not Juri, who just seemed pained and resigned. Anthy took a dainty sip of tea prior to speaking on.
“I believe Juri-sempai was the first among you to have figured it out: that the world outside of Ohtori Academy – what used to be the real world – now too have come under the End of the World’s control. Even this place,” she gestured with her pretty dark hand all around the elegant interior of the Victorian style mansion, “an ‘anti-Ohtori’ designed by Chida-san – and later fine-tuned by myself – as a sanctuary against external influences; even its barriers are not completely impenetrable, not against the kind of power my brother has accumulated in the past decade.”
Juri spoke up at this point. “Some colleagues of Shiori and mine were revealed to be but stage props that could be made disappear at Himemiya’s will. This reminded me of how, back in our day, even adults from the outside world were also similarly bewitched by the Ends of the World like us boarding students.” She glanced ever so briefly past the Kaoru twins, before looking Anthy right in the eye. “I have no idea how this sort of thing can be accomplished outside of Ohtori, though . . .” Utena, who had since learned about Anthy’s manipulation of Mr. Kaoru (among many others) after their reunion, easily caught the subtext.
“People are deception-prone by nature,” Anthy faced Juri naturally and without apparent guilt. “You show them crude illusions, and their eager minds will naturally perfect the images for their hungry eyes. Remember the ‘miracles’ you saw in Ohtori? The arena in the sky, the inverted castle, the materializing swords . . . these were all artificial projections running upon power – both his and mine; also used were the humans my brother had sacrificed for use as fuel, but those used to came in insufficient quantities . . . until now.” Utena calmly noted how the whole group was now looking at Anthy like she had just admitted to being a mass-murder, and how the dark woman still was speaking in casual tones. “In that period after I just walked out on him, my brother must have been devastated to find himself lacking power enough to control even a little private school. Having already experimented with spell-bounding outsiders before, he must have somehow discovered his current method of mass-ensnaring humans from the world outside – to make them willingly surrender themselves to him for the things he could offer, and become the fuel to empower his fairytale kingdom unto eternity.”
“Turning humans into fuel . . .” a wide-eyed Wakaba wondered out loud, tremblingly. “Something like this-”
“This should not be news to you, Wakaba,” Anthy’s voice now was darkly husky, “ you, Shiori-sempai, Kozue, and Tsuwabuki-kun; you all rode the elevator down the morgue underneath Nemuro Memorial Hall, where the Hundred Boys of the Black Rose-” She got cut off by Shiori’s scream of sheer terror – coming so high in pitch, Utena thought for a moment that the glass windows might shatter. Juri held onto her girl at once, protecting her like a coat of green around a young hatchling.
“T-this . . this VOICE!” Shiori now was shaking uncontrollably as she pointed an accusing finger at Anthy. “You! You were that dark-skinned boy together with Mikage, the one who stabbed the black rose into my heart and make me . . . make me . . .”
“. . . express your true self?” asked Anthy, and Shiori crumbled like a crushed origami piece within Juri’s strong embrace. “Like I told you before, making people do things they don’t want to goes quite against my nature – though I cannot say the same for my brother.” Anthy now locked gazes with Juri, who eyed her like one would at a black widow right upon their skin. “Do you know? Nemuro Memorial Hall was the prototype Human Broiler – my brother’s first attempt at mass-producing human fuel; its initial success paved the way for other such broilers to be built beyond the grounds of Ohtori throughout the past decade. There are at least three such external broilers that I know of here in Japan alone: the Aranjia Agency that you both worked for, with its avocation of unrealistic beauty standards and draining work schedules, is really a front for the Beauty Broiler designed to process vain women and men into pure, mindless fuel. Had I not interfered when I did, I wonder how much longer it will be before strong, perfect Juri-sempai finally gets grinded down into human petroleum to power my brother’s fancy cars?” She then tittered daintily to her own words amidst their growing horror, its sound as cruel as it was provoking.
“Witch!” Breaking under the strain, Tsuwabuki shot up from his seat. “You’re that monster’s sister, you-” He was quickly dragged back down by Miki, who then quickly covered his mouth – in the same fearful way that a parent will cover a child’s mouth when they were held hostages by some gun-wielding criminal.
“You know,” slim elbows perched on the table, Anthy rested her small chin upon the backs of her delicately crossed fingers, “since finding Utena and settling down, I’ve had ample time to again check on the notable Duelists of her generation. Imagine my un-surprise at seeing how all of you are still living under my brother’s control. There’s Wakaba,” the pale-faced girl opened her mouth, but Anthy beat her to speaking, “working as an office assistant at the recreation and lifestyle section of a magazine that’s really a subsidiary of a much larger corporation ran by the Ohtori family. Saionji-sempai works for the same magazine now and then, as a freelance photographer for the entertainment section; both him and the currently jobless Kiryuus-” she paused briefly as if only to observe the redness now inflaming Nanami’s face, “-have financial advisers watching over their accounts – guess which high school alumni they all belong to? Kozue, the music agent your father set you up with to get you on TV – the one who introduced you to hard drug before overdosing and ‘died’ – now is a music teacher working at Ohtori.” Kozue looked like this was all old news to her, but her twin had paled at the information. “Miki, your family lawyer provides legal consultation to Ohtori’s Board of Trustees; he visits the Planetarium at least once a month, though he can only see my brother in his pre-adolescent Dios guise. Tsuwabuki-kun, you are currently enrolled in the University Division of Ohtori Academy, although you do reside off campus.” Leaning back on her chair, she now included the entire overwhelmed lot of them within her piercing, scorching gaze. “Last time, your unified apathy had wasted the Victor’s sacrifice while greatly empowering the Ends of All Your Worlds. This time, will you all finally take action to win back your own lives – even at the cost of helping me, whom you all distrust – so I may help Utena win back hers?” Back straightening, she faced them more solemnly. “This time, will you help us help you?”
cont in 3b