Remember last week when I said that any episode heavily featuring Nanami is most likely not going to advance the plot? Well, i’m both right and wrong about this statement, because while episode eighteen features her prominently the episode is actually about the grade schooler that hangs around her, Mitsuru. The episode focus, aside from being on him tackles the important question of ‘What does it mean to be an adult.’
Does being an adult come from age, or experience? Can someone who is still a child experience adult things and understand adult concepts and feelings? Can adults still be children? Honestly, I think there is a delicate balance that goes into being an ‘adult’, adult experiences, your physical age, your mental state and your ability to handle yourself in tough situations. It’s a mixed bag of things, and each part is only a bit of what contributes to the other.
Mitsuru’s told over and over in this episode, by his friend, and by Nanami that he’s just a child. Yet he wants so badly to become an adult, for himself, for Nanami. That he ends up becoming a black rose duelist. At the end of the duel, he seems to be able to move on past his obsession with Nanami. Which despite his insistence that he was happy just being with her, i’m glad that he can have a life outside waiting on her hand and foot. His friend is absolutely right when she says that a woman like her will chew him up and spit him out.
Though, with the heavy implications in characters reactions that having a sword pulled from your chest, in particular in the case of the black rose duelist is a immensely intimate encounter. I’m not sure how comfy I am with the implication that Nanami’s experience was with a 4th grader. I suppose I have to remember that they aren’t high schoolers and the series in actuality is set with the main characters being 14 years old. Why am I running with this train of thought at all, it’s going to make so many things in the series even more awkward.
Anyway, let’s move on to episode nineteen.
Where we move to take a look at Utena’s friend Wakaba. Wakaba was a great help at the end of the student council arc, standing as a pillar of strength for Utena when the world came crashing down around her when she lost to Touga and lost her identity. Now it’s time for Utena to help Wakaba, who is struggling to cope with her feelings as she reconnects with the prince of her childhood.Her ‘Onion Prince’ that she would feel safe around when she was being bullied.
He approaches Utena early in the episode with a love letter. Yet we find out later, that he was only trying to get close to Utena so he could get close to Wakaba. He goes to connect with her, be with her and get her to be honest with herself. Or so that appears to be how the episode is going until it pulls an almost total turn around on us.
The one that Wakaba pines for is not her childhood friend, yet Saionji. Saionji who hurt her so badly at the beginning of the series, Saionji who is just using her. Yet that’s for next episode, in this one, Wakaba’s friend goes to be counseled by Mikage and yet, they judge that his heart is pure. This is not the place for him, his path does not lead him there and thus he isn’t chosen as a Black Rose Duelist.
Which is interesting, so those whose intentions are pure can’t become black rose duelist. Yet is it pure to love someone so completely that you would be confident that they will return to you because you love them? Is that kind of thinking truly pure? I suppose the saying is “If you love them, let them go. If it’s truly meant to be, they’ll come back.”
Maybe i’m just looking at this entire thing with a different mindset then I would of a long time ago. His intentions could seem pure and romantic in one light, but possessive and strange in another. I suppose like it says in the episode, you’ll never truly understand what is in someone’s heart. Also, the prince of one person’s story, could be the villain of another person’s story. I read something the other day that I feel is very fitting here, ‘No matter how good of a person you are, you are the villian to someone’ which I think is absolutely true and can be applied to Utena in general.