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the rose bride has no feelings. )

i know the truth, now.
there is nothing eternal in this world.

{ soundtrack }

coding @ [personal profile] youwillgotohell.

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  ✉ 📷

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this is the inbox of kyouichi saionji. leave your business here.


Aug. 3rd, 2017 03:55 pm
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How's my driving? Do I feel out of character or stilted? Am I making technical errors? If you have any commentary at all on my playing, don't hesitate to let me know! All comments are screened and anon is enabled.
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Hello! Revolutionary Girl Utena is a show that deals heavily in its later episodes with themes of abuse, manipulation, pedophilia, sexual assault, and incest. While it's unlikely these subjects will come up in tags with Saionji, some do affect the way he thinks about things. If you want me to steer clear of any of these--which I try to do anyways, for my own mental health--let me know below! If you want me to not tag you with Saionji at all, feel free to let me know. I want to be as accomodating as possible! Comments are screened.
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NAME: Mint
AGE: 19
JOURNAL: [personal profile] dirgni
PLURK: [ profile] Togamint

CHARACTER NAME: Kyouichi Saionji
SERIES: Revolutionary Girl Utena
CHRONOLOGY: After he and Touga are defeated by Utena and Anthy in their final duel.
CLASS: Anti-Hero all the way.
HOUSING: Random me up, y’all! I don’t have a preference for where he’s at or who he’s with.

BACKGROUND: So, Utena is...a weird canon. It’s steeped in surreal imagery--sometimes so much that it’s unclear what’s real and what’s just visual metaphor--and plays heavily with symbolism and allusions. In this universe--specifically Ohtori Academy, the school where the entire series takes place--reality is frequently manipulated. The world outside of Ohtori is rarely shown beyond an endless highway and a few flashbacks, adding to the general unreal feeling of the setting.

The narrative centers around the Rose Bride, a girl named Anthy Himemiya who bears the weight of the world’s anger in the form of millions of swords piercing her at every moment. She presents herself as a normal high school girl by day, but her purpose at Ohtori is to be a “reward” for a series of duels taking place between members of the student council. Whoever wins a duel in the impossible architecture of the dueling arena gets Anthy as their “engaged”, with her doing whatever they bid her to. Anthy possesses a supposed “power to revolutionize the world”, an incentive for the kids to try and “win” her. At the start of the story, the engaged is Saionji Kyouichi, a 17 year old kid who regularly physically abuses Anthy.

Saionji is bested in a duel by Tenjou Utena, a newcomer to the system of duels, and it’s revealed that the student council is commanded to duel by a shadowy entity going by the name of the End of the World, later revealed to be Akio Ohtori, Anthy’s older brother. Utena has no real investment in the duels, and yet is forced to continue to fight the various members of the student council for their own personal reasons: Miki Kaoru wants to protect Anthy’s piano playing, Juri Arisugawa wants to disprove the power of miracles, Nanami Kiryuu wants to protect her brother Touga, Touga Kiryuu wants to pursue Utena while gaining Anthy’s supposed power to “revolutionize the world”, and Kyouichi Saionji wants to find something eternal.

When Saionji and Touga were childhood friends, they once encountered a small girl hiding in a coffin alongside her recently dead parents, proclaiming that there was nothing worth living for in her grief--in fact, that there was nothing eternal. Saionji was reasonably disturbed by this, but when he pressed Touga, his only friend, to do something, his only reply was to suggest Saionji show her something eternal. The next day, the girl left her coffin and attended the funeral of her parents, leaving Saionji to believe Touga indeed showed the girl--later revealed to be a young Utena--something eternal. In reality, the one to convince Utena to leave her coffin was Akio Ohtori, who showed her a vision of Himemiya being tortured and gave her a ring, telling her it would lead her back to him someday.

As the show progresses and Utena consistently wins more duels, Saionji--the anger of failure weighing heavily on his mind--kidnaps Anthy and takes her to the dueling arena to witness the supposed coming of “eternity”, in the form of a castle descending. This backfires massively, and Utena ends up having to save both Saionji and Anthy, which inflames Saionji to the point of him attacking her, only to attack Touga instead, nonlethally injuring him. Following this, Saionji is expelled, and lives with a girl named Wakaba Shinohara, infatuated with him, for a small period of time. He eventually returns to Ohtori with significantly bruised pride.

Soon after returning, Saionji is led by Touga to encounter Akio Ohtori, the man behind the duels and the Rose Bride’s brother. Akio spurs Saionji--and the rest of the student council, in due time--back into dueling, though he only loses to Utena again. Following this, he becomes disillusioned with the duels once more, though he does deepen the intimacy of his relationship with Touga, and continues to hang around Akio and Akio’s fast, shiny car, which symbolizes adulthood. Touga challenges Utena to one final duel, with Saionji as his bride, which they then proceed to fantastically lose. This is his canonpoint.

Here is a list of the episodes with plot summaries, because honestly, so much happens in this goddamn show.

PERSONALITY: Saionji is a man made of issues, and most of those issues can be attributed to the presence of one person in his life: Kiryuu Touga, his childhood best friend--though Saionji wouldn't explain it that way, because according to him, true friendship doesn't exist. When his main frame of reference for friendship is Touga, someone who regularly manipulated and groomed him throughout their entire relationship, it's hard to blame him for taking that stance. To him, friendship is an inconvenience, and while at the start of the series he's relatively popular and well-liked among the girls of Ohtori, it's all shallow and fades quickly once he leaves. His one truly deep, personal relationship ruined him on friendship for a long, long time.

The reason? Touga is better in virtually every way than Saionji--or, at least, in all the ways Saionji deems important. He's more popular, more genuinely charismatic and likeable, and more talented at kendo, Saionji's sport of choice. In their appearances as children, this is less apparent, though something is still slightly imbalanced: Touga mentions that Saionji is the only person who will let Touga practice kendo on, not with. To Saionji, Touga is always several steps ahead, and somewhat understandably, this causes friction in their relationship as they grow up. Saionji consistently feels inadequate to the one person he can truly understand, and this manifests as a deep resentment for both Touga and the world as a whole.

What Touga possesses that Saionji doesn't is experience and maturity: after experiencing unspeakable abuse as a child, he grew up alarmingly quickly, leaving both his sister and Saionji behind to their normal, childish lives without explanation. From Saionji's point of view, his friend became cooler and more distant, and in their childhood confrontation with the girl in the coffin (later revealed to be Utena), this shows as Saionji assumes Touga did the impossible by coaxing her out of a suicidal mindset by showing her "something eternal".

This elusive "something eternal" is what drives Saionji, alongside his desire to surpass Touga. After being introduced to young Utena's dangerous fatalism, he begins to wonder if that "something eternal" really exists, and if anything he does matters. If nothing is eternal--or, in the very least, the secret to eternity lies impossibly out of his reach with Touga--what's to say everything he works towards will mean anything? The duels provide him with a goal: the castle said to hold eternity, where he believes the eventual victor of the duels will go. If he finds this something eternal, he can finally surpass Touga, and finally rest assured that something will last beyond the present.

Unfortunately, all of these underlying problems manifest as something quite ugly. Saionji comes off as violent and misogynistic, believing that he can possess Himemiya Anthy as the Rose Bride. To him, Anthy is just someone that won't fight back against him, someone who will constantly obey him and be a blessed piece of order in a world he can't control. Despite this inherently toxic way of thinking, he also shows some genuine desire to be with Anthy in any way: he keeps an exchange diary with her, one of the few quirks of his personality that shows the teenager underneath the bluster and anger. It's doubtful that he actually has feelings for Anthy--it's more likely he projects his insecurities onto her as opposed to any genuine love--but he feels that he should, and that's enough for him. Friendship is childish, naturally, so his relationship with Anthy should be something more. Because Saionji is an Adult. He's Mature, and he's Grown, and Adults have no room for silly things like friends in the Real World, he thinks.

After becoming openly disillusioned with Touga, Saionji finds a new role model for adulthood: Akio Ohtori, a charismatic man who possesses a love for the stars and a penchant for grooming virtually everyone he comes into contact with. Akio's world is cool to Saionji: his car represents adulthood, long nights chasing eternity. This fascination with the (really, really awful, by the way) man only grows when it's revealed that Akio was the one to bring Utena out of her coffin. Suddenly, Saionji's priorities shift, and his standard for cool adulthood is shifted from Touga to Akio. Saionji, while putting up a good fight on the surface, is easily manipulated and groomed into unhealthy ways of thinking, as shown during the Apocalypse arc and his interactions with Touga and Akio. He desperately, desperately wants to become an adult, and will do anything to prove himself as mature and capable...or, in the very least, he’ll try.

Underneath the unappealing surface of anger and hostility, Saionji is still a high schooler at heart. He's dorky--initially played for laughs, even, with his pathetic feelings for Anthy and his exchange diary--and even caring underneath his abrasive personality. You see a gentler side of him during the Black Rose arc, where he lives in Wakaba's room and treats her politely and makes her a gift of a wooden hairpin. While he does quickly abandon this at the promise of being able to enter back into the school, it does seem genuine. When away from Touga's influence, he's less toxic, though still not entirely good. He's still an asshole, but more of a pathetic one.

For Saionji, no matter who he’s around, violence is always the answer. He’s shown being physically abusive to both Anthy and Utena, often driven to anger by relatively trivial things. In short, he has no real middle gear: he’s either coldly aloof and detached, seen in his initial appearance before being defeated by Utena as well as his later, more apathetic attitudes in the Apocalypse arc, or he’s involved with all of his energy, as shown...well, most of the time. A specific scene of note is his accidental stabbing of Touga: he’s so blinded by his anger and resentment that he immediately moves to presumably lethally slice at Utena but instead cuts Touga, and while his remorse and depression is almost immediately shown, it’s not enough to erase the violence saturating his entire personality.

Overall, he does possess a lot of the qualities that a typical high school shoujo antagonist would have, but since Revolutionary Girl Utena is the ultimate deconstruction, there's quite a bit more to him than meets the eye. He has just as much a complex relationship with manipulation and compulsory heterosexuality as the rest of the cast, and provides an interesting viewpoint for the show.

POWER: Powers in Utena are loosely defined and subjective depending on the situation, but the one consistent one--and the only one Saionji seems to be able to use--is the possession of a Heart Sword, which is a very nice name for a sword that is able to be pulled out of one’s chest by another person (presumably not yourself, though it’s never addressed). The ease of the extraction process seems to be directly linked to how positively connected the two parties are. For example, Utena and Anthy, who are very close and trust each other deeply, are able to summon each other’s swords with little trouble at all, but Wakaba, who Saionji publically humiliated and privately put down, has to painfully pull Saionji’s sword out bit by bit. The strength of the sword, however, depends on the emotional and mental fortitude of the person it belongs to: again, Utena’s raw passion and power trumps most everyone in the series, while Saionji’s sword, when handled by Wakaba, loses to Utena’s anyways.

Saionji, while technically very good at fighting, possesses such little emotional control that his sword wouldn’t be as strong as, say, someone with a decent grip on their temper whatsoever, but hey, it’s still a sword. As he improves himself and makes connections with other people, the strength of his sword would grow, and the process of removing it--with the right person--would become easier.

As for non-canon powers! I’ve chosen to give Saionji the power of Plant Manipulation, because something something rose motif. This will allow him to grow and manipulate existing plants, but not summon entirely new ones out of nothing or change the species of these existing plants. This ability is directly tied to his own personal emotional control, which means it’s Not Great, but has the potential to be better! For example, at his current state, he’d be able to manipulate a few disparate plants at once, but more than a small amount of simple actions would require more focus and control than he has. This ability does not require physical contact, but the plants in question must be either visible or within ~50ft of Saionji.

Gotta get that #aesthetic, baby.

[Saionji is only barely audible--it sounds like he's far-off, both emotionally and physically.]

There's a disappointing lack of kendo in this country, I've decided. I don't think it's part of the culture--which, again, fully disappointing. If you have fencing, why can't you be bothered to include kendo? It's a good, rigorous sport. It teaches discipline.

[He huffs, annoyed.]

Whatever. It's not my business that you all lack taste and refinement. Perhaps I'll have to start a group of my own--would that interest any of you social heathens? I bet you're too busy playing football. Or basketball. Basketball is truly the most barbaric of sports. I can't think of a single good thing about it, besides the obvious exercise.

[A short pause.]

How do you people live?


FINAL NOTES: Utena is a show that deals heavily in its later episodes with abuse, pedophilia, sexual assault, incest, and manipulation. While it’s unlikely this will come up in conversation with Saionji, there are some aspects of his relationships that do affect his way of thinking, and I plan on putting up a permissions post for the mentioned subjects, however unlikely they may be to come up!


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kyoichi saionji.

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