French Inspired Anime Heroines Don’t Get Fat: Utena and a Goal Update

If it cannot hatch from it’s shell, the chick will die without ever truly being born. We are the chick; the world is our egg. If we cannot break the world’s shell, we will die without ever truly being born. Smash the world’s shell, for the revolution of the world!

With this mantra repeated in every episode by the morally ambiguous Touga, the famous Shojo Kakumei Utena (Girl’s Revolution Utena) puts the message of growth, strength, and transformation at the very front of the show’s themes. (In)famous for its general weirdness and postmodern non sequiturs, the legendary show actually has a few consistent messages:

Romanticizing the past is to be trapped in the past. Push forward.

To grow is to be reborn. 

The mysterious End of the World sends letters to various students, who can potentially contend to be the hero that brings down the castle of miracles. Almost all of those students are motivated by an impossible desire that is rooted in their past. The closeted lesbian Juri is tormented by her obsession with Shiori. The repressed Miki, uncomfortable by the sexual maturation of his twin, longs to return to the simplicity of childhood.  But only Utena’s obsession is about self-growth: she isn’t sitting around yearning to return to the past but strives to embody princeliness, hoping to reunite with her savior in the future. And only Utena is motivated by something outside herself: she isn’t fighting to win a prince, she fights for her friend.

I love Utena because she is nothing like my (old?) self. My goals were self-limited and not expansive. She sets goals that place her in the larger world. Half of the time, I am still worried about how I look in other people’s eyes. Utena makes choices regardless of how others might view her because her actions are motivated by her confidence in herself. I would obsess and plan and rethink and fret. She just moves.

It is a kind of joke in the show actually. Sure, Utena is incredibly athletic and she is shown to play almost all sports and…constantly, randomly stretching like she’s about to dash off on a marathon.

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Even when she swaps bodies with Anthy, she does track and field.

But she also just MOVES because she knows when to take action instead of worry or fret. Utena and the message to Just Move, has been on my mind recently in two ways. First, I think I’m still fretting too much and wasting a lot of mental energy, time, money on anxiety. I want to feel more confident in recognizing what I need/want, be more proactive about following through, and stop wallowing in regret.

Second, I literally want to Just Move. A few months ago I started a series of small goals to improve my life. My diet goal has already come to an early close: I am almost at 114 lbs! (Hate to use this cheesy phrase but, it was admittedly “empowering” to see that my own choices can actually lead to quantifiable progress). I’d like to transition this goal into a new one: run. In fact, I’d like to run a half marathon in a year. I’ve already picked the perfect one to start:

Tinker Bell 10k at Disneyland ResortMay 5-8, 2016

(As long as I can manage to register. It sells out like within 20 minutes).

Wtf, I can’t believe I wrote that down. Because the only class I failed in my entire life was 7th grade gym. I just hated sweating and being outside in the sun and was uncomfortable since I was unathletic. I got away with it because I was tiny, girly, artsy and everyone just said it “made sense” and that it was “just who you are.” Even when I got into my fitness craze in my early 20s, I avoided running and preferred swimming, dance, and the elliptical/weights at the gym. To this day I have never run a mile straight. I have never run a full lap around a track. But, to be honest, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to run. I just never wanted to try and fail and look stupid and sweaty and out of breath and ugly and gross.

I started the introductory running program Couch to 5k 2 weeks ago and liked it so much, I decided to go for it. If I stay on track, I’ll be able to run 5k by June. From here, the 10k training starts and I should be able to run 10k by the end of 2015. Then I just have to keep that up until May. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and gun for the half marathon because injuries and all that happen so we’ll see how it goes.

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