What is the “End of the World”? (Part 1)

My first experience with therapy was with the university psychiatrist, blonde and fat and scribbling on a yellow notepad. I recall that she interrupted my casual “I guess it is pretty typical for grad students to cry” with a severe “No, that’s not normal.” In retrospect, I understand that I had come to her office because I needed someone with institutional authority to tell me that my fears about my capabilities were unfounded and that everything would be alright. Instead, she asked, would I kill myself? If I was indeed incapable, would it be the end of the world?

I didn’t (and still don’t) really understand this question. What world? Whose world? Is it MY world or do we share this world? How is my life connected to this ending or continuing world? Are there other worlds? What if it is the end? Do we mourn, celebrate, or feel nothing at the end of some world? The only part that was communicated to me clearly was the implied shaming of the rhetorical “Oh come on. Is this REALLY the end of the world?” Satisfied that I was not suicidal, she handed me a flow-chart worksheet and billed University insurance.

This is my long introduction to the topic of this blog post: the ultimate villainous mastermind in Shojo Kakumei Utena who calls himself Sekai no hate (世界の果て), translated as The End of the World or World’s End. I am intrigued by this character because I am still trying to understand the parameters of “the world” implied in that rhetorical phrase. So, who IS Sekai no hate and what does his character role tell us about adulthood/maturation in SKU?

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[Translation] Ikuhara Kunihiko “The Director’s Diary: Motivation for the Future”

Original source: “The Director’s Diary” (final essay in a series). Animage. March, 1997.
Web source: http://kasira.blog97.fc2.com/blog-entry-23.html
All translations mine.

This essay is exactly what I needed to read and ruminate on.

This is sudden but this will be the final installment of this essay series. It is because my main job — in other words, my job as director, has gotten busier. Even as I chat about this, there are cells and film rolls and things scattered all around me so it is a pretty chaotic situation.
And that being said, since this is the last essay, I wanted to give the whole story on why I wanted to become a director.
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[Translation] “The Spell of Cults. Ikuhara Kunihiko x Enokido Yōji Conversation.”

Ikuhara Kunihiko (Director) VS Enokido Yōji (Head Writer)
Source magazine: Animage. July, 1997.
Source: http://kasira.blog97.fc2.com/blog-entry-2.html
All translations are my own – need to edit this one a bit as formatting got wonky.


──”Utena” is an incredibly mysterious anime. The story, the lines, the portrayal as well. It gives off the feeling of a cult.

Enokido: Yeah, even though we said in the beginning that we should aim for this to be a popular work.

Ikuhara: You know, it is popular in my heart, okay.

All: (lol).

Ikuhara: That is my kind of popular. Its not good if you just don’t get it (わかんない奴が駄目なんだよ).

Enokido: The very phrase “my kind of popular” pretty much already means that this isn’t popular.


Ikuhara: Within “my universe,” there is “my world” and since all the people that live there say they like it, that means it is popular.

──Mr. Ikuhara, you’re suddenly going way out there today (lol).

Enokido: Ikuhara, in this world they call that a cult.

Ikuhara: Hmmm, I see (lol).

──How much are the Shadow Girls’ words in sync with the show?

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Wendy-Bird: 31 days is short. 28 days is shorter.

My online moniker is often “Wendy Bird.” The name is a double reference, first, to Anne Lamott’s famous book on writing (and living) Bird by Bird. Lamott recalls a memory in which her procrastinating brother was immobilized with panic over a bird report he had to write. Her father reassured him that the way to tackle it was to take things “bird by bird,” one by one, step by tiny step….which becomes her theme for the book itself and a metaphor for the creative process at large.


The other more obvious reference is, of course, to Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, a favorite about the horrible and violent joys of childhood. The Darling trio are described as birds literally flown from the “nest” of the nursery, much to their parent’s sorrow. But Wendy in particular becomes a “Wendy bird” because Tinkerbell is itching to kill her.

Here is the scene and it is worth quoting in full: Continue reading

[Translation] Enokido Yōji. “The Blossoming Duelists.”*

Enokido Yōji. “The Blossoming Duelists.”
Source magazine: Animage. April, 1997.
Source: http://kasira.blog97.fc2.com/blog-entry-20.html
Already the title needs a quick note. Saki midareru (咲き乱れる) or “blossoming” really conjures up a full field just blooming in profusion, flowers carpeting the fields. It is a beautiful image.
–If it cannot hatch from its shell, the chick will die without ever truly being born.

We are the chick; the world is our egg…

The entire southern wall is a gigantic stained glass window.  The lights and shadows of that richly pigmented rose crest dyes the faces and uniforms of all in the room in scarlet and pale blue (*花色 could also simply be, flower-colored).

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Pic Spam of Silent, Solitary Mornings

Generally, I’m sick of the vast Self Help Industry and its recycled, cliche advice. But the one thing I still long for, still fantasize about, is having a silent, solitary morning to get my shit together. This is an impossibility right now bc my kid wakes up at 4am. I found these screen shots of beautiful early-morning sequences in an old post draft and nnnngggghhh… I’m dreading the back-to-school morning rush tomorrow…

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[Translation] Enokido Yōji. “The Rose Crest.”

Enokido Yōji. “The Rose Crest.”
Source magazine: Animage. December, 1997.
Source:  http://kasira.blog97.fc2.com/blog-entry-65.html

I had a really hard time with this translation. I’m not sure if my Japanese ability crashed over the holidays or if I can blame Enokido for his elliptic writing style. Not only does he slip into literary writing and back into casual chatting mode, but his content has the vagueness of “artistic license.” I wish I had a teacher to consult with.

As always, comments and amendments are welcome. This will be co-hosted with the awesome people over at Empty Movement (Ohtori.nu) upon editing. And if you want me to translate more…?


–It’s just a like a toy, isn’t it. The “So that it won’t be needed in the long run” is necessary (*”やがていらなくなる為に”、それは必要なんだ).

The rose crest that decorates Tenjō Utena’s finger keeps her “prince”  an ambiguous thing* (*彼女にとっての“王子様”を両義的なものにしている). The motivation to get closer to the prince (keeping that word just as ambiguous) is a mixture of her approaching “him” as her love interest and her desire to become a prince herself.

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