Perhaps the best way to start this is by saying that it all began forty-two years ago. It was 1976 when mangaka Suzue Miuchi started serializing what would become her life’s work: Glass Mask. This classic shojo bestseller survived a defunct magazine and inspired countless adaptations, including two tv anime series, a tv drama, and a three-episode OVA. The manga it’s still running to this day. Continue reading “Passion & Talent in Glass Mask”
I usually start these posts mentioning the novel the episode’s title reference with the possible connection it could have with the episode in question. However, Ash already explained that better than I ever could. In fact, most of the episode is very straightforward with a special focus on action–showing two gangs briefly side with Ash for the first time and culminating in the death of one of the main antagonists–so this post will be shorter than usual.
Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (1936) is one of the most prominent literary references in the original material. I’ve been including the publishing dates of all the novels the show has referenced thus far because I suspect the staff might have picked them with this (among other things) in mind. After all, most episodes reference either Hemingway or Fitzgerald. As contemporaries, both have quite a history of friendship and rivalry, but I digress. Continue reading “Banana Fish #13: The Snows of Kilimanjaro”
There have been so many Fitzgerald references lately that for a moment I thought this was yet another one, but after double checking, I realized that it’s actually referencing our other Very Happy friend, Ernest Hemingway!
In short, “To Have and Have Not” is a 1937 novel that tells the tale of a good man who’s forced into questionable activities by circumstances beyond his control. Continue reading “Banana Fish #12: To Have and Have Not”
Spot the [color] it’s a section where I try to interpret the meaning behind the use of [color] in a character and/or a scene.
I’m going to be frank: this show intimidates the hell out of me. I even feel like I need to put disclaimers like “hey, I’m just a fairly newbie Utena fan doing my best” or something. I do know a thing or two about colors, and I’m intrigued with how this show uses some of them… So let’s do this.
Yellow is both an aggressive and versatile color. It’s the strongest one of the color wheel; everything fades into the background in its presence, which is why it’s so often used in “caution” or “attention” signs. Continue reading “Spot the yellow: Obsession, danger & innocence in Utena”
“The Beautiful and Damned” is a 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Among all its themes, what’s most relevant here is the marriage and the many hardships the couple faces. Curiously enough, it’s also set during the World War I. It’s not the focus, but considering how this episode ends with a declaration of war between Ash and Arthur–and the first few episodes referenced novels that were involved with the world wars in one way or another–it’s still worth to mention.
Episode 11 dedicates a considerable amount of time to show us how Ash and Eiji settle into living alone together. When Max offers to take Eiji away, Ash refuses, and we know that Eiji will be moving in with him in the apartment he buys towards the end of the episode. Continue reading “Banana Fish #11: The Beautiful and Damned”
This week we have revenge, bitch! Well, not entirely. Our main villains are still evil and well, but burning the mansions of your enemies to the ground is a good first step!
“Babylon Revisited” is an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel published in 1931. Although it deals with multiple themes, what I find most relevant here it’s the intense guilt caused by the loss of someone important. Continue reading “Banana Fish #10: Babylon Revisited”
Instead of writing this post, I contemplated posting a ten-hour loop of that screaming meme and calling it a day. However, I do have some things to say about this episode that doesn’t involve screaming. Well, not too much anyway–so let’s stick to the usual format!
“Save Me the Waltz” is a novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, published in 1932. It’s the first and only novel she ever published, and it’s often examined for its historical value and the things its autobiographical nature reveal. In this case, I’m inclined to believe this work was chosen for the context in which it was written, rather than by the content itself. Continue reading “Banana Fish #9: Save Me the Waltz”
We’re back to Ernest Hemingway references. “Banal Story” is a short story published in 1926, which basically presents a struggle between “romance” and “realism.” It would make sense to associate this with the revelation of banana fish’s origins, its effects and its creators, which is one of the main focuses of this episode.
The struggle could come with the “romance” in a scientist who couldn’t bring himself to destroy a new creation. The “reality” would be in the catastrophic consequences that could come with allowing this drug to exists–without mentioning the damage it already caused. Continue reading “Banana Fish #8: Banal Story”
“The Rich Boy” is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was also part of his 1926 collection “All The Sad Young Men.” This episode could have easily referenced the collection itself and call it a day; we’re full of sad young men here. However, I’m inclined to believe this title has Yau-si in mind.
What’s relevant here might be how “The Rich Boy” studies a self-centered, egotistical character, and the fundamental differences that come with (certain type of) different upbringings. This is an episode that introduces us to Yau-si, who seems to have “two personalities,” not unlike the main character of the short story this episode references. Continue reading “Banana Fish #7: The Rich Boy”
The title “My Lost City” refers to an essay by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which forms part of a collection of personal essays–written from 1920 to 1940–by the same title. The essay uses New York to juxtapose persistent idealism with the awareness of a far more unforgiving reality. However, what’s perhaps more relevant here are not the feelings for the city itself, but the feeling of something lost; the speculation of whether or not it can be recovered even if there’s a certainty that it just won’t be possible. Continue reading “Banana Fish #6: My Lost City”
The reference in this week’s episode title is a little tricky. “From Death to Morning” is a collection of short stories by Thomas Wolfe, released in 1935. Many of these stories include war and death. Many also explore loneliness, despair, and other related Very Fun things (at least one of those takes place in New York).
If you’re into 20th century American literature (or if you have been following these write-ups) you might have already noticed that all the stories Banana Fish references have certain things in common (besides being terribly depressing). Continue reading “Banana Fish #5: From Death to Morning”