Duel 06; Utena vs Touga; “Conviction”
Masks. That’s this one. Are there any masks in this episode? I certainly think so. Touga wears the mask of a prince to allure Utena. In terms of social classes, Touga and Nanami are the only two duelists at this point who we’ve been shown specifically they are wealthy. Yet wealth — being a baron, or duke — is not royalty. Furthermore, doesn’t this go along with the whole theater motif?
Well hey, mask is only used twice. This song, as you may expect, is about Touga. It feels very Touga by the lyrics. Repeatedly, it discusses “Man is __” in the abstract, which in generally linguistically is interchangeable with “Humans,” but I think in this context it by using “man” instead of “human,” it’s more to speak to Touga’s character. He’s arguably, at this point, the most ‘manly’ and arguably the most demeaning character toward women that we’ve seen. Sure, Saionji is abusive and shitty, but it’s never presented that he believes all women are that way. He’s more just an example of domestic abuse rather than outright misogyny. Touga, on the other hand, is shown to have a very clear-cut ideal of what gender roles are. So, doesn’t it make sense for him to say or think, “Man is __” rather than “Humans are __?”
I’m not saying it’s an awful thing to say “Man is __” and you should be stoned to death or whatever, mind you. It’s part of someone’s diction and not really harmful. But it’s more traditional to say “Man is __” and because it doesn’t include women, it kind is indicative of a more gendered world view.
Anyway, the comparing of make-believe and teachings makes for an interesting idea. If Touga, as a man, can only become what he was taught to be, then who was his teacher? And, by this comparison, would his teacher not be the one who taught him the art of make-believe?
Now, in all fairness I’m cheating since I’ve already seen the whole show as I pose these questions, but before we even see Touga’s teacher we’re already given hints as to that one being a façade.
Gougai Gougai! Well, extra information, anyway. I didn’t know about the Man in the Iron Mask before recently, but when I heard about that I was like “Oooo shit I missed something.” For your information, The Man in the Iron Mask was a prisoner in France rumored to have been put there before Louis XIV became king, and that the man was Louis XIV’s older brother. So Touga (Louis XIV) is the fake prince— the poser, to lure Utena, and Utena most overcome him to find her true prince, still trapped behind that mask. Later we’ll make this comparison again using a character we have yet to discover, but for now… Touga is #1 Husbando.