Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 Utena / Penguindrum Fanfic – Seinen Kakumei Utena, Part Four

Seinen Kakumei Utena (it's Seinen, NOT Josei), crossing with Penguindrum starting Part 2
Rating: T for mature and sensitive subject matters.

Timeline: 10 years post Revolution, a few weeks post Fate Train Transfer

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 (fic thread here), which even now remains the coolest place for Utena fans to hang out online.

On to the fic:

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 Four: Prince, Interrupted – Main I

“There was once a prince living among many princesses all enamored of him, and he had a sister who loved him more than all these princesses combined.  Dios, the Rose Prince, was hailed as the hope of his world and was loved by all; he lived relied upon by all these princessess to battle the troubles in their lives for them – troubles that ranged from threats as fearsome as dragons to insipid matters like being lonely in the flower of youth; Dios’ sister, on the other hand, was just an ordinary girl: you see, for a girl could only become a princess if the Rose Prince took her as his princess, and the prince would never take his own sister to be his princess-”

“But why not?” asked Tsuwabuki, naively; he was promptly silenced by Nanami’s glare and Miki’s moody expression.  Pinching between his brows to will down his uneasy agitation (that with him telling a tale that was to get increasingly personal amidst metallic hisses droning in his head), Tenjou Utena struggled to continue on.

“Anyway, Dios eventually collapsed from over exerting himself – he had taken on so many princessess under his cape that he himself got overwhelmed by their many troubles.  He fell ill, bedridden, and was tended to on his bed by his sister.  Reliant by nature, the many princesses and their brothers and fathers all gathered at the Rose Prince’s door, all wielding swords,” he stumbled slightly at this part, “demanding that he come out to help them with their problems.”  Dry-throated somehow, he took a quick gulp of tea, during which Wakaba timidly made her comment.

“Wielding their swords and . . . sounds like they’re not asking nicely at all.”

Swallowing, Utena closed his stressed eyes, opened them anew, and spoke on.  “To protect her brother, Dios’ sister went out to face the masses, telling them that she had hidden the Rose Prince somewhere only she knew, somewhere they could never reach by their power.” He now saw the scene vividly in his mind’s eye: the hordes and hordes of hateful women and men with their weapons drawn, advancing upon Anthy, only a flimsy child then.  “The masses were livid with rage; they cursed the sister as a witch who took their Rose Prince from them, and they . . . they . . .” The image of the child Anthy in his mind was now overlapping with the adult Anthy presently facing him from behind the group, and he found himself rendered speechless by their identical expressions of dark, deathly resignation.

“And they . . .?”  Shiori timidly prompted Utena to continue after the silence had dragged on too long.

“They pierced her with their swords,” Utena’s voice sounded almost inaudible to her own ear, so loud were the buzzing, metallic curses now flooding his head, “all one million of them, skewering the Rose Prince’s sister until there was nothing left of the girl that once was, until only her pain and their hatred remained.  When her brother, struggling out of his bed and up to the door, saw what the people had done, he . . .”

“He . . .?” Miki whispered the question, almost like he was talking to himself; Utena heard it nonetheless.

“He killed them,” he answered his engrossed listener, “summoned what strength he had left in his weakened body and slaughtered his sister’s murderers – all those girls he once cherished as his princesses, all their brothers he once valued as his friends, all their fathers he once respected as his elders – in cold blood.  The moment Dios finished killing the people, he found himself no longer having the nobility that was key to his accessing his vast sum of princely power.  Depleted, with a sword-ravaged sister who was a hair’s breadth away from death, the fallen prince did the only thing his no longer noble mind could think of at the moment . . .” Through the hate-filled metallic haze, Utena saw Saionji opening his mouth, and hurried on before being interrupted once more.  “He devoured the murdered lives – all one million of them – to empower his own; just like that, the prior illness left him, and he still was immortal; he still was far more powerful than the regular people, although he now was only a pale shadow of his former brilliant self.  He then used what power he now could spare to restore his still-immortal sister – not back to the free-willed girl she once was, but to have her remade into a living doll.”  Utena’s own voice started gaining a hate-filled edge.  “The fallen prince needed his sister to be a living doll with no will of her own, because only then could he made her took those swords that were all really aiming at him-” His sentence ended in a shrill wheeze, as a sharp pain akin to his getting stabbed through the back assailed his nerves.  Jolting under the group’s widened eyes, he would have fallen off his chair, if not for the lily-like arms embracing him from behind, as a familiar dark hand gently covered his heated forehead, relieving the pain somewhat.

“Himemiya,” spoke Juri, her voice as concerned as it was cautious, “is Utena not well?”

“Utena has not been well for a very long time,” replied Anthy, resting the back of Utena’s head against her chest.  “Not since she took the swords for me during the duel called Revolution.  I thought that getting her to finally talk about this would help her release some of the bottled-up pain, but . . .”

“She took  . . . the swords . . . for you?”

“It’s because of the prince,” Utena pushed the words out, breathily; his body still slacked against Anthy’s embrace. “In his desperation, he consumed the souls of the murdered mob without properly processing them, which was like eating uncooked, worm-infested meat – that’s the closest analogy I can think of.”  Through heavy-lidded eyes, he saw a pallid-faced Nanami looking like she was about to throw up, and thought he could taste his own bile as well. “The man-eating prince did get nourished by the people’s energies, but he also got infected by their hate-filled thoughts that in turn ate at his heart, drilling away till there was nothing left in his chest but unending darkness.  The people’s hate-filled thoughts – their hatred - gained life from having consumed the prince’s essence, and manifested into a million swords shining with hate; these hate-filled swords, parasitic and undying, swarmed the prince like thick swarms of flies, slicing and dicing at his tender flesh such that he could take no more, and had to quickly transfer them towards another host . . . ” he hissed from renewed pain wrecking him from the inside, “. . . his own sister, who got turned into the Rose Bride locked in eternal servitude to the Rose Prince, who himself became the Ends of the World – a monster on an eternal quest to regain the lost Power of Dios, sealed behind the Rose Gate that will only open to a noble enough heart.  Ohtori Academy and its Rose Code are meant for seeking out someone with nobility enough to open the Rose Gate for the Ends of the World, that’s why we got put through all those things like we did.” Grabbing onto the table with both hands, he leaned forward to face the ex-Duelists, and started glaring at them from one to the next.  “All through the duels and the mind games, the Rose Bride had those . . . hateful swords inside her.”  Without thinking, he picked Saionji as the first.  “When she was getting beat up by you.”  The man’s stony expression turned brooding and heavy.  “When you bullied her by making her wear a dissolving dress at your party.”  Nanami looked away sullenly.  “When she played the piano for you.”  Miki’s eyes clouded over with old shadows.  “When you slapped her for mimicking Shiori-sempai.” Juri’s expression gained a regretful edge.  “When you tried killing her to surpass Juri-sempai.”  Shiori’s eyes were downcast.  “When you tried killing her to become an adult.” Tsuwabuki shook his head shakily in weak denial. “When you tried killing her for wearing the hairclip Saionji made for you.”  A single tear escaped Wakaba’s widen, trauma-filled eyes; wearied, Utena closed his own.  “And when I played the make-believe prince for myself and said I was doing it for her; all the while, Anthy was getting sliced and diced by the Million Swords of Hate, and we all overlooked her sufferings, thinking only of ourselves while chasing single-mindedly after those phony projections the Ends of the World was baiting us with!”   Eyes snapping open, he slammed a fist down upon the table, sending all the plates and cups rattling in front of the petrified group; Anthy’s embrace tightened around him, and he found himself struggling against it in his growing agitation and rage.  Anthy’s voice in his ear sounded alarmed


“Shut up!”  He snarled, recalling everything with mind-bending clarity now: his (her) being purposely blind to Ohtori Akio being The Ends of the World despite multiples of his trademark convertible being present during those last duels, his (her) underage virginity being taken by the virile (and engaged) seducer in that motel room, his (her) finding out about the animal raping his sister, his (her) subsequent use of feminine wiles to antagonize the raped sister while competing with her for the monster’s affection, his (her) hesitation to fight the devil even unto the final duel, where he (she) then got stuffed into the pink variation of the degrading Rose Bride dress . . . he grinded his bared teeth at the remembered humiliations.


During the Duel called Revolution,” said Utena, cutting Anthy off and spitefully continuing on with his cruel recollections, “when Himemiya stabbed me through the back so her brother and prince can have my soul sword to materialize the Rose Gate, when the Million Swords of Hate swarmed out to skewer her right in front of my eyes while I was wounded on the ground, when Dios showed up telling me that I have no power and cannot save Himemiya, when Akio broke my soul sword trying to break open the Rose Gate and said I wasn’t good enough, when I stumbled over and opened the Rose Gate with bare hands and see Himemiya coffined inside, when she finally took my hand but fell out of my grasp when our world broke apart, when the Million Swords rushed me . . . I finally realized that everything turned out like this because I.  WAS.  JUST.  A.  GIRL!”  Standing up with such violence that the table tumbled to plate-flying, cries-inducing effects, Utena then flung Anthy off him like the latter was a rag doll – a rough motion that send her hair pins flying off, her curvaceous frame slamming onto the floor in a splatter of dark, serpentine waves.   Everyone else was now standing up, in fear in alarm and in absolute shock.  Wakaba, his best friend from that accursed time, was the first who tried to reach him with words.

“U-Utena-sama . . .” Her shaky words trailed off as she, along with the rest of the ex-Duelists, stared at their Victor’s lower front with bulged eyes like crude puppets.  Lower his head, Utena too saw the source of their acute horror.

It was a sword’s long, sharp blade, thrusting out point first from his groin like some grotesque symbolization of a virile manhood; this one out of a million had poked out from within the depths of his inner darkness, and was now was giving him its yet deepest cut by dehumanizing him with this obscene display.

None of those so-called old friends laughed at him, of course; not with the sword’s impossible presence upon his body stunning them into imbecility; not with the expression of utter despair he knew he was currently betrayed by.  

“This, is the outcome of the Duel called Revolution,” he muttered, gesturing at himself while concluding the macabre tale he was made to tell. “This is what becomes of the stupid girl who thought she could become a prince.”

None of them had anything to say to that, as the silence that marked the beginning of their reunion now returned like a recurring plague.  All the people in the dinning room now were still as mannequins; only the shadows remained in motion, gliding by the pristine walls in perhaps a hint too lively a manner, considering the steadiness of the natural lights from the outside . . .


“ . . . so this is what becomes of people who chose to die for love, huh?” murmured Kozue, her hand absently stroking the blue pelt of Number 3, seated on her lap and currently experimenting with the eye-pencil it had picked out of her vest pocket.

“That’s right!” The featureless boy with reddish brown hair nodded vigorously through his mouthful of donut.  “These people get the apple as their reward from God!”    Some distance beside him, a smug-looking Number 1 was waving a heart-shaped cookie around, with the black penguin – one with a heart-shaped face – skipping excitedly around him.

“Kenji-san was very specific about this,” the one with dark blue hair held up his paperback copy of “Night on the Galactic Railroad” with childlike authority. “It says right here that the apple is the universe itself, a universe that connects the previous world and this one!”  From beside him, a bloom-yielding Number 2 was sweeping away the snack crumbs off the white bed sheets and into the “space” beyond.

“That’s why good kids like us get to travel this glorious galaxy forever,” said the brown haired one as he reached over to hi-five him, “yay us!”

“Wicked . . .” Kozue, who had been playing along with these peculiar boys (thus had to stay on their god-awful girly bed all the while), guided the inane conversation back towards her questions.   “And you said you don’t really remember much of anything before getting dropped off into this galaxy by this . . . train?”

“Blue Hair” drooped at the question. “ . . . na uh, Nee-chan, not what we were doing, not where we came from.”  He gestured at the penguin in her lap.  “If it weren’t for Number 3 and that photo she carried, we wouldn’t even remember that we had a sister.”

“But we remember that we loved her,” said “Brown Hair”,  “and somehow, we know that us being here means that she’s fine where she is.  So it’s all good!”

“Heh . . .” A sharp pain pricked at Kozue’s heart – she knew it to be the very spot once marked by the black rose – at the words of these loving brothers; Miki, who was her twin, had never shown her such consideration; not even from before she stopped playing the piano for him.  “You know, I still don’t know what your names are.”

Even featureless, the brothers’ body languages betrayed their confusion. “Names . . .”

“You boys even forgot your own names too?”

“Brown Hair” puffed up his chest in childish defiance. “Anyway . . . !  You can call me K-taro!”  From beside him, “Blue Hair” did likewise.

“I’m S-taro!”

“ . . . very good,”  Kozue pressed on, feeling strangely insistent at finding out everything about these strange children, “and what’s you family name?  You can just give me the initial . . .”

“Errr . . .”


With that sound, a pink, long-armed robot marked by a black rose motif wheeled its way past “K-taro” and “S-taro”, leading them to chase after the amusing toy and away.  They ran past Tokiko, who was carrying a tray of fresh-brewed tea up towards the coffee table beside the red canopy-draped bed.

“Mikage sure is lively around little boys . . .” muttered Kozue as she took the refilled cup offered by the woman, who remained graciously un-offended as she seated herself beside the younger girl. 

“They are most certainly Cursed Children of the Fate Train Transfer.”

Kozue blinked at these terms.  “Fate Train . . . Transfer?”

“Yet another cosmic force that has apparently been harnessed by the Ends of the World,”  said Tokiko, taking a long sip from her cup before continuing.  “The materialization of the Fate Train, along with the Castle in the Sky and the Dueling Arena, were all sub-topics under Ohtori Academy’s research to grasp Eternity from over thirty years ago.”

“Around the time of that picture you had in the dinning room?” guessed Kozue.

“I was working for the Board of Directors at the time, foolishly hoping that Ohtori’s research of Eternity will help buy time for my terminally ill brother.” Tokiko’s gaze was distant, faraway.  “Of the one hundred academically strong youths selected into Professor Nerumo’s research team, there was one who got exchanged out of the program with a backup right before the . . . fire.”  Kozue now could see a tenseness harshening up the woman’s delicate features.  “That boy was known to have the top intellect from among the brilliant group, and there was word that his Fate Train Theorem – supposing that people’s fate are as “trains” upon which they are passengers, and that by ‘transferring trains’ people could supposedly take on another fate while leaving their original destiny behind – was near completion; but because the hundred had pledged their loyalty towards Himemiya Akio –Ohtori Akio now – they kept the actual progress of their work secret from even Nerumo and myself;  in retrospect, the Fate Train Tranfer sounded like a too convenient trap with which Akio could ensnare desperate lives too eager to defy fate into serving his purposes.   After the research building burned down and rendered all of those young men human fuel to power Ohtori’s mechanisms, that lucky, genius boy went on to marry the young heiress of the Ohtori Clan; he became Ohtori Tsukiichi, the real Chairman of Ohtori Academy unto this very day.”

“The real Chairman,” murmured Kozue, “said to be ill throughout my time at Ohtori . . . I always thought he was the heir, that with his foxy wife staying with him even though they all say he was a bedridden vegetable,” an heiress’ husband, whose own heiress of a daughter was engaged to that monster, now running things in his stead . . . the girl suddenly remembered something. “What happened to your brother in the end?  He was the boy in that picture together with you and Mikage, right?” 

Putting down her cup, Tokiko closed her eyes as if in dull pain.  “Mamiya was dead to our world; but what actually did happen to him, was perhaps very similar to what’s happened to these Cursed Children here.”

Kozue felt like disagreeing with her here.   “Hey, you call them Cursed Children . . . but even knowing they’ve lost their memories, these little brats still can move forward with their heads high . . .”    . . . if only Miki could be even half as tough . . .

“Kozue-chan, have you ever cared for cut flowers?”

“Er?  Well, usually Miki’s the one to handle these kinda things around the house.”

“When freshly cut and immediately put in sugared water, cut flowers will go through a period where they’d blossom even more vibrantly than prior the cut, but they will always wither ahead of the rooted flora in the end.”  Tokiko’s eyes opened anew, a sharp glint scorching within their piercing depths as she observed the boys and their penguins all chasing after Mikage-bot.  “Back when Mikage and I first picked them up about two weeks ago, these boys were not quite as featureless as they are now; they still can remember what city they’re from, that they had a sister whom they had transferred onto another train prior to coming here . . . not anymore, it seems.”   At hearing that, a feeling of cold dread seeped into Kozue’s heart.

“Then, these brothers . . .”

“Without foundations, buildings collapse; without precious memories, people collapse.”  Right then, Mikage-bot did an acrobatic spin that sent the boys and their penguins clapping.  “At the rate they’re deteriorating, it won’t be long before these children are to become Invisible Souls.”

Kozue’s sucked in air at coming across yet another worryingly ominous term.  “And what are Invisible Souls?”

“The next step below the Invisible People – now already a country-wide phenomenon that still remains largely unnoticed by mainstream society, Invisible Souls are mindless shadows akin to the ones that’s been haunting Ohtori.”  Tokiko turned her gaze towards Kozue.  “Being so integral to Akio’s games at the time, you must have seen something like that at the Academy.”  Kozue’s eyes went wide at the woman’s words . . .

. . . she had already donned the grab of the bride, and was idly watching the shadows on the wall acting out their demented play; Miki was taking awfully long in the shower, as if he still was uncertain about facing the upcoming duel . . . 

“ . . . oh.”

“The only way to keep these children from fading further away is to make them remember,” stated Tokiko.  “Already I have hired people to look into possible clues of who they originally were, but there had been no progress so far – unsurprising, considering how these kids may not even be from our current reality .” She tapped a manicured fingertip against the sheet music she had been playing from earlier on, now laid upon the red bed.   “This was brought to me by their familiars – you’d see them as penguins – on the night they all settled down here; it must have to do with their past.  I play this for them everyday hoping it will slow down their deterioration, but . . .”

Picking up the sheet music, ironically titled “Children of Fate”, Kozue studied the melody for a while, and then . . .

“I know
I’ll never let you go . . .”

“Kozue-chan?”  Tokiko appeared startled by the girl’s suddenly breaking into song; Kozue too did not understand how these lyrics were coming so naturally to her just from her reading the notes.  While she had studied writing lyrics in Ohtori at Miki’s insistence (so she might put words to his Sunlit Garden), it had been years since she had worded any song at all; and her singing voice, which should be brittle from drug use, now came out in a well-rounded mezzo . . . the boys and the penguins had ceased playing, as they all now listened to her, rapt; she had to continue. 

And I miss
Your reckless frantic soul . . . ”

Tokiko had since gone back to the “piano” (when did Mikage change back?), playing the tune from memory, modifying it somewhat to suit Kozue’s singing; the four penguins, producing a flute, a cello, a violin, and a small trumpet respectively from seemingly out of nowhere, started playing together with the woman as they quickly formed a mini-orchestra of sorts, accompanying her now startling strong vocals.

“When the night is long I will be looking up at the skies and I’ll see
My beloved ones walking by on that starlit galaxy
And I’ll see the light you have shown to me”

Right as her voice sailed into the whistle register, a hail of what appeared to be large, stylistic pieces of blood drops exploded from in front of K-taro’s and S-taro’s small chests, startling Kozue into almost going off-key during her ad-libbing; a closer look revealed those to be stylized red penguin faces, all opening their beaks and singing choral backup as the song reached its power-demanding chorus.

“And I know
I’ll never let you go
I’ll never let you go”

As the song went on, more and more of K-taro’s and S-taro’s previously blanked-out features started “coming to light”, revealing the brothers to be adorable lads; the complexities apparent in their harrowing expressions, however, belied their having world-scorched souls far beyond their apparent years. 

“And I’ll keep
You where you’ll never fade
In my heart
I believe that we are never late
That we can conquer fate
That we can conquer fate”

The multiple red penguin faces dissipated as the song climaxed, leaving only the four “familiar” penguins behind with their owners, both wide-eyed as if having just been pulled back from a cliff they were about to fall into.  

“We did it, didn’t we?” Wide eyes wild, K-taro turned shakily towards S-taro, seizing the latter by his slim shoulders.  “The Penguindrum . . .”  

Almost teary-eyed, S-taro held onto K-taro with the desperation of a drowning man holding onto a float.  “Our apple . . . she got it . . . didn’t she?”

“Are you guys remembering?” asked Kozue, feeling eager at what she had achieved.  “Then . . . should I sing more?  If you guys can remember who you are . . . we can even bring you home to your sister-”


The boys’ unanimous, vehement reply caught her off guard.  “No . . . ?”

“Nee-chan, we got transferred here just so our sister can stay alive and well on her end,” said S-taro, with K-taro nodding from beside him with crossed arms.  

“We are nonexistent in this new world we transferred her into; if we’re to meet again, if she is to remember, if the world changed back . . . the curse upon her could get reactivated.”

“She will be dying again, and the punishments that everybody went through will be for nothing!  No, we’re fine where we are.”

“Punishments?  What . . . .” Agitated now, Kozue raised her voice. “If this goes on, you two will fade!”

“We knew we’d fade away when we chose to die for her, Nee-chan,” said K-taro, expression-resolved as his features again started dimming around the edges.  “We’ve attained true light from saving her, that’s enough for us.”

“There’s no need to feel sad for the likes of us, Nee-chan,” said S-taro, his sad- eyed smile soon eclipsed by the blankness eating into his just regained flesh, “ours are but lows lives destined to become nothing.  As long as our sister doesn’t get hurt again . . .” 

“What hurts every sister the most are brothers who don’t look after themselves,” stated Tokiko, in voice that was perhaps too stern to match her delicate features.  K-taro and S-taro, now “shaded-in” once more, faced the woman blankly, prior to latching onto Mikage-piano and urging “it” to become a robot again (with their penguins watching them motionlessly instead of joining in the fray).  Letting out a heavy sigh, Tokiko stepped away and towards Kozue.

“I suppose this is how it’s going to be, for now.”  Gently,she took the sheet music from the sullen-looking young woman.  “Thank you, Kozue-chan, you did very well in trying to help them.”

“What’s the use of trying?”  Kozue’s voice regained its usual bitter harshness.  “This is just like how it was with those hatchlings from that endangered nest I tried saving.  Miki and I spent days setting up a next box and caring for the young birds; but the parent birds never did came back for their young, and the little ones all got sick and died in the end.”   She remembered how she then just left the deadened mess there, and how her twin was the one to clean it up afterwards; that incident, which brought them closer to each other for a little while, ended up driving them even further apart than before.  “Say, it’s because of some magical magnetic field here that I can sing like that again, isn’t it?  It shouldn’t be possible, not with my vocal cords all fried . . .”

“We can do many things we think are impossible,” said Tokiko, her firm, mature-seeming conviction infectious enough to alarm the cynical girl, “so long as we’re still willing to try.”

“Oh, C’mon-”


What sounded like a household security alarm was now blasting through the once tranquil atmosphere of the starry “galaxy”; Kozue thought, for a moment, that she spotted the walls and edges of the actual room, currently submerged underneath this eerie outer space.


“They’ve come,” eyes narrowing, Tokiko’s once delicate-seeming figure now was taut with sharp angles and straight lines, “just like Himemiya-san said they would, once we’ve gathered everyone into this sanctuary.”

“Who came?” asked the girl, noticing how K-taro and S-taro – along with their four penguins – were now standing in alert stances.

“Invisible Souls born of the unholy research to harness fate,” the woman’s agelss face now was frosting over as winter snow.  “Ohtori’s undying shadows.”


“So . . . this is it?”

Refocusing his vision, since gone hazy from overwhelming pain and humiliation, Utena saw that it was Nanami who spoke. 

“This is what you’ve learned from battling the Ends of the World?” asked the wide-eyed young blonde, her voice trembling from what could be either fear or outrage.  “That to be a girl is to be weak?  That being a man is equivalent to being strong?  This, ” she pointed a shaky finger at his sword-represented manhood, currently pulsing as per his heartbeat, “is your Revolution?”

Right then, two rounded sword handles popped out from between Utena’s legs under the pulsing blade, juggling as if loosened; pushed past the limit of his self-control (and his sanity), Utena stumbled backwards while letting out a trail of broken, desperate noises that sounded at once like wheezing laughter and choked screaming.    Anthy, her hair and house dress both disheveled from earlier violence, looked like she wanted to go up to him, but was held back by wariness.

“Nanami!” Juri hissed warningly at the blonde – who was wordless once more – then visibly steeled herself as she cautiously stepped up towards him.  “Utena, it’s oka-” 

“It’s NOT okay!” Utena roared like a wild man from where she was backed against the wall, and even the assured ex-fencer went rigid at his despairing rage.  “What more do you want me to say?  I was bedridden in a nearby hospital for months and none of you came to see me!  The Million Swords . . . they were plowing me inside out, night and day, calling me a girl a slut a witch a whore and ramming at my cunt my ass my mouth my breasts and none of the freaking doctors and specialists can see them!”  His fingers started clawing at the wall, clamping down upon a small, random picture frame.   “All this . . .  all just because I WAS A GIRL!!!”  He threw the item at Juri – who dodged – and it smashed a window screen that happened to be right above Wabaka’s head. 

In a rather dramatic display of athleticism, Saionji had pushed Nanami aside while sweeping Wakaba off her feet and away, thus keeping both away from the showering glass shards.  Putting the young woman (trembling as she curled up in a fetal position) down, the towering hulk of a man stomped right up towards Utena, and slapped him soundly the face amidst everyone’s shocked gasps.  The bigger man would have landed another hit, if not for Juri quickly diving forward to restrain him.

“What the hell are you doing?” snapped the woman, voice and expression stern enough to cut glass. “You . . . ” Her voice trailed off at seeing the somber expression on Saionji’s face, as he looked down upon the dumbfounded, wide-eyed Utena.

“You would never let any man, or anyone, slap you around back when you were just a stupid girl trying to be a prince.” Saionji spoke in the voice of one in looking at a ruin that he knew was once spectacular and grand.   “What happened to you, Tenjou?” 

“Saionji . . .” Slowly, Utena drew the name out from between his clenched, bared teeth; he was filled to the blink with hate by now.  “You . . . !”

“You used to be a prince among women,” eyes narrowed, Saionji slowly shook his head as if in painful denial. “Now, you’re just some sad, dickless punk who fakes it as a man, who feels sorry for himself and throws hissy fits like the lowliest of bitches.” Grabbing Utena by the front of his tee, he lifted up the rage-filled trans man like the latter weighted nothing.  “This is your Revolution?  You took the chance that should’ve been Touga’s, and you just let it go WASTED!”   He punctuated the last word by slamming Utena soundly against the wall amidst Juri’s alarmed exclaim.

“Get back!”  Anthy’s cry from behind them came not a moment too late, as numerous swords burst out point-first from all over Utena’s body, from every single inch; their many tips would have skewered both Saionji and Juri, had those two not leapt backwards in time.  Moving closer (more like huddled together) with the rest of the group, they all watched the giant metal sea urchin that used to be Utena in horrified awe; Utena, now totally eclipsed by the Swords and their hatred, could only glare balefully at them from where his body and mind got fenced in behind the walls of sharp metal.

“Are these . . .?”  asked Juri, trembling in spite of her upright stance.  Anthy, now standing in front of the group facing the pulsing, thrusting mass of outward pointing swords, nodded grimly.

“The Million Swords – the parasitic hatred that used to torment me back when I was the Bride; they’ve been infesting Utena for these past ten years.”

“And you just let them?” asked a hysterical Wakaba in fear and outrage.  Anthy closed her eyes as if the Swords’ very sight hurt her.

“If I could’ve found her earlier, before she tried escaping the Swords’ ongoing assailment by physically erasing her own female gender, I still might have a chance of saving her myself.  As it is now . . .”

“So these . . . they are the reason that Tenjou had to forsake her womanhood; had to butcher her body into becoming the mess that it is today;” muttered Saionji, eyeing the grotesque metals as if truly seeing them for the first time. “These, these are the maggots infesting this faux masculine form that is now her new coffin!”

“The swords cut into the weakest part of the individual’s psyche,” Anthy’s voice was distant as if from another time and place, “it’s from there that they zap strength from the mind to keep themselves nourished.  Their host will all gradually lose their character, starting from the parts that were the most vulnerable to begin with.”  Her dark, delicate fists now were clenched into balls.  “I believe you all know what I lacked back when I was Bride of the Rose; Utena now has lost something precious, something that she once had pre-Revolution.”

“Her femininity,” Miki’s light tenor now sounded low and dark.  “Or rather, her confidence in her femininity, in her being a woman.”  Blinking back tears, he turned away from the sword-ravaged spectacle that the Victor became.  “She was such a charismatic, princely girl back then . . . and now . . . !”

“Well, is there anyway to get rid of them?” Nanami’s voice came out in a squeak from where she now hid behind a trembling Tsuwabuki.  “Like, maybe give these back to your monster brother?  He was the one who killed those people in the first place!”

“That is indeed my intention,” replied Anthy; back straight, fists still clenched, she lowered her head such that thick fringes now obscured her eyes. “It’s for making that happen that I’ve gathered everyone here today.”

“. . . what do you mean?” asked Shiori, her fear visibly directed at not just the swords, but the former Rose Bride as well.  Sensing this, and likely feeling much the same, all the others too started backing away from Anthy, whose voluminous long hair now was rippling in the still air as if tossed by wild winds; they were all watching her instead of Utena now, their eyes reflecting both fear and suspicion . . .

“Anthy . . .” Saionji started, but was hushed by Anthy raising a finger to her lips.

“Listen,” she whispered under her breath, “they’ve come.”

“ . . .who?” asked Juri; warily, guardedly.

While the rest of the old gang still were as baffled as the ex-fencer, Utena already could sense their presences from where he was buried beneath the raging, hateful swords.

They were surfacing upon a wall to the side, upon which the lights were all the brighter, the shadows all the darker; already impressions of long limbs and narrow torsos could be seen on the newly formed “shadow stage”.  As their peals of girlish giggles got louder and louder, even the gathering of shell-shocked ex-duelists now were beginning to take notice of these eerie creatures intruding into the already too fantastical scene.  There appeared to be about three of them: two of them - one curly-haired, the other pigtailed – were carrying shadowy forms that resembled a carousel horse and a toilet seat-cover, respectively; the high-tailed one hogging the middle spot (one could tell by their body languages that she was indeed aggressively “hogging the spot) had both hands on her tall, phallic-shaped mic stand, and was yelling enthusiastically (while struggling not to get pushed off stage by the other two):

Extra!  Extra!

Do you wonder what we know?

End Part Four


My thanks go to victor_vvv on Penguindrum LiveJournal for providing me the name of the music score (Children of Fate) that Tokiko and Kozue performed for K-taro and S-taro to help them remember their past.

I’d also like to thank Alan Harnum for coming up with first names for Ohtori’s real chairman (Tsukiichi), Mrs. Ohtori (Hoshimi), and Professor Nemuro (Chirikazu), in his undying classic Jaquemart: those are the names I’m going to use for the characters in the coming parts of Seinen Kakumei Utena.

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