Some thoughts about Touga in the series vs. the movie have been sitting in the back of
my mind for a while. He’s not a character I see discussed a lot, so I don’t
know if other people have wrote about this before or not.
I’ve seen a lot of people make a distinction about series!Touga
and movie!Touga, and while everyone’s show and movie characters have obvious
differences, I think at the core they are all the same people with the same
basic issues. Touga, at first glance, seems to be the most different out of all
of them. I think we’d all consider movie!Touga a better guy than series!Touga.
He’s certainly more sympathetic, being dead and all. Movie!Touga doesn’t manipulate
Utena or abuse Nanami, and he seems to be an all-around decent guy.
However, I think his story is the same in both continuities.
In the series, he realizes he loves Utena, but his attempts to save her fail because
the only thing he knows how to do is replicate the same patriarchal behaviors that
he wants to save her from (ie, dominating her and making her his girlfriend).
In the movie, he dies trying to rescue a girl from drowning. In both cases, it’s
the expectations of masculinity, of “princely-ness,” that cause his downfall. Movie!Touga
has to try and save the drowning damsel in distress, because that’s what
princes do. Series!Touga replicates the abuse performed by his role model,
because that’s presented to him as the way to manliness and power.
This isn’t to say we should sympathize with
series!Touga the way we might with movie!Touga, but I think the similarities are
important. They’re two sides of the same coin, and together are a strong
argument for the ways in which masculinity and sexism hurt men.