|Full Name:||Anthy Himemiya|
|Aliases:||The Rose Bride; Witch|
|Age/Birthdate:||15, February 29|
|Organization:||Ends of the World|
|School:||Ohtori Academy (Grade 9)|
|Source:||Revolutionary Girl Utena|
- "Roses are very sensitive to the change of season."
Some might say Anthy Himemiya is so well known at Ohtori Academy that she is an institution there how right they would be. She is the sister of the handsome acting headmaster, Akio Ohtori, but aside from that she's mostly known for her rose garden. Oh, and those weird duels people whisper about... Demure and (almost) unfailingly polite, Anthy is rarely found out of her school uniform, about as rarely as she's found away from the side of her current Engaged: Kasagami Araki, the infamous swordswoman of towering dreams whose good eye is set on a King's crown. With her neatly-wound curls and owlish glasses, it's hard to imagine the Rose Bride being a threat to anyone; she looks more like a gently inoffensive geek of a girl than anything else. When the light reflects just right off those circular lenses, though, obscuring aquamarine eyes, there is something inexplicably sinister about Anthy Himemiya.
@}-' Content Warning -,--
The tale of Revolutionary Girl Utena in general, and Anthy Himemiya in specific, deals with very difficult and adult themes, some of which reach beyond the rating of Battle Fantasia. As her player I will always work to tell her story with a balance of delicacy and authenticity. However, some things are inescapable, and thus consider this a trigger warning for themes of abuse, rape, and violence done to children. Additionally, this entire page contains spoilers for Anthy's backstory that would heavily affect a first watching of the show, so I strongly recommend watching the series first. It is well worth it.
On with the story...
@}-' ACT 1: The Fairy Tale -,--
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved her brother very much. He was a kind brother, a gallant brother; he was a very busy brother, always galloping off on his valiant white steed to save the princesses of the world. Light reigned, in no small part thanks to his efforts. Monsters kidnapped girls, kingdoms cried for aid, and the Rose Prince rode to the rescue, time and again.
When Dios came home, Anthy saw the wounds of the world's pains upon him, the weariness of endless battles creasing his young brow. Each journey grew more arduous, each recovery, lengthier. As the nights grew dark and lonely, Anthy feared that soon her brother would not return at all.
And then, he didn't.
Days stretched to weeks, the cupboards grew bare, and Anthy waited, anxious and alone. The knocks at the door grew more frequent, new kingdoms with new missives of woe. Some returned to again demand aid that had not arrived swiftly enough, and those were far less polite. Anthy's worst fear had come true, and horrible thoughts filled her head: was he bleeding on the rocks in some monster's lair? Already cold, life given for the admiration of another anonymous princess?
For she did resent them. Dios spent all of his time and his energy on the rest of the girls of the world, all of the princesses in their lovely kingdoms and lovely gowns. When she finally asked him in fit of sisterly pique, "Onii-sama, why must you always leave to save them? Don't you care for me, too?" he ruffled her hair, fond, smiling that smile that made the whole world fall in love with him.
"Of course, Anthy, but you are not a princess. You don't need saving. They need me. You understand."
Anthy understood that she needed him, too. She understood, without quite knowing /why/, that a little sister could not compete with the thank-you kisses of beautiful princesses. But she nodded, swallowed the lump in her throat, and saw her big brother off on another of his heroic journeys.
Now, finally, the worst had come, and little Anthy did not know what to do. Well... that was not entirely true, was it? She knew what she had to do, she just did not know if she had the courage to do it. Dios was the brave and strong one; she was just a helpless girl, not even a princess. But someone had to act, and she was all Dios had left, just as Dios was all she had left. Driven by desperation, Anthy stepped out alone into the world in search of her brother.
Maybe it was the pull of their sibling bond, or the hand of the gods themselves; maybe it was sheer dumb luck. Whatever it was that led Anthy to Dios, she sent up fervent prayers of thanks to it as she rolled him over in the crackling autumn leaves. His pristine white cape slid aside to reveal horrible injuries, and blood, so much blood...
Later, she would not remember the journey aside from fragmented impressions of stumbling over tree roots in the dark, staggering with her big brother's arm and most of his weight thrown across her small shoulders. The shed, though, she would always remember: a great angular shadow between the jagged claws of bare branches, blotting out the starry sky. She pushed the heavy wooden door against squealing hinges until her palms prickled with splinters, and finally settled Dios to rest in the fresh straw.
The next morning, when the farmer's son found them there and then ran off, Anthy hoped he would return with help. The day stretched into evening as she patted the perspiration from Dios' brow, and his groans grew more strangled. The knocking, when it came, was a benediction. Before Anthy could reach the door, the knocking turned to loud banging, so hard it shook the wall, and she paused with her fingers inches away from flinging it wide.
"Prince? Prince, are you in there? We need your help!"
Anthy flinched as the banging continued... and then it stopped, and she watched as the door's handle began to turn. In that moment, she made a decision. She reached over with both small hands and heaved down the heavy wooden bar, barricading the two of them inside.
They could have Dios no longer. They did not love him, and worse, did not appreciate him; they would use her brother up until there was nothing left, for them or for her. It was up to Anthy to put a stop to it, to save her brother, from himself if need be. She was the only one who could.
The shed door rattled against the bar, and then the shouting began. It did not stop, only grew over time, building to a sullen roar.
"I'm right here!"
The walls of the shed shook with the gathering crowd's violent demands. "Prince! We know you're in there! Please, fight!" Anthy dabbed at her brother's feverish face and paid them and the sharp metallic clatter of their anger no heed. "You're the only one who can save my daughter!" All of her attention was on the labored heaving of Dios' chest. "My daughters are waiting too! Prince!"
He heard, though, and heeded, pushing up against Anthy's tending hands. Just the attempt to sit upright cost Dios dearly, wringing a cry from him that rent Anthy's heart. She begged him not to move, knowing before he gave it what his protest would be. "But...! They're calling for help... I have to go!"
The cool of Anthy's fingertips against Dios' burning cheek interrupted his struggles to rise. For the first time in her life she refused her big brother, gently lowering him back down to the straw. "Stop, please. Don't fight anymore. You'll die." Once again, Anthy knew what she had to do.
The petitioners fell quiet as the door opened, so numerous now they surrounded the shed many times over, then roiled in confusion when a little girl emerged instead of their expected, hoped-for Prince. Swords pierced the sky above their heads like shiny thorns. "Who are you?" they demanded. Anthy put the closed door at her back and faced them, defying them with her eyes and her words.
"Dios is no longer here! He belongs to me alone now. I've sealed him away where you can never touch him again!"
Audible emotion swelled through the crowd: high-pitched gasps of shock, then muttered disbelief that began inquisitive and culminated in an ugly, low growl. At first, their anger was collectively wordless and therefore aimless... until one man near the front found a name for it. For her.
Everyone in that crowd knew what a princess was and every last one of them knew that the disobedient chit before them did not qualify for the title. They rallied to this new chorus immediately, taking it up with full throats and flinty eyes. “Witch!” The word set the crowd aflame, their raised blades burning with the setting sun’s light. “WITCH! Get her!’
There were so many, and the smallest among them was at least twice as big as Anthy, even with her skinny arms were flung wide as if she could possibly bar their way to and through the door behind her. When she’d stepped outside, it was with a child’s notion of determination: she would stop them at any cost. If she’d known that cost before lifting the door’s bar…
But she hadn’t; and no one would ever know if things could have been different. And how could she have known? How could she have ever imagined?
Even as the first metal thorn pierced her side Anthy did not understand. So keen was the point of the sword that she was spared pain for a few breathless seconds, and only felt an indistinct burning. Warmth flowed down her hip, a sensation she’d later come to know as the spilling of heart-hot blood. It wasn’t until the second blade sliced cleanly across her upper arm that Anthy began to scream.
She would never stop screaming, not really.
@}-' ACT 2: Ohtori -,--
Abandoned and jealous and fiercely protective — because what is a relationship with a beloved sibling if not complicated? — Anthy Himemiya sealed away Dios’s power from the world, keeping it to and for herself. For that sin she paid a million times over, counted by the swords of the spurned supplicants as they skewered her with hatred. She was the Witch, the very first and most terrible of all Witches; the worst kind of woman, and that which all women were destined to become, no matter how long they might have spent as princesses. Little Anthy just never got the benefit of that charmed existence first.
She sacrificed herself to save her dear brother who surely would have died had she not, and in doing so lost everything… including him. In sealing away his sword and power, she stole from Dios the thing that most defined him as a person. He lived on, but he was Dios no longer.
He hated her for it.
No one knows how long it took, probably not even the siblings themselves (and if they do know, they’re not sharing), but resentment festered and blackened the very roots of their bond. Soon it bore only the most malignant of flowers, the hungry vines of poisoned affection crawling thorn by thorn to bind Anthy and Akio together for a horrible, spiraling eternity. They could not escape each other. Anthy refused to release the Sword of Dios, and Akio refused to release… her.
He was her bigger brother. Older, stronger, wise to ways of the world that Anthy could not yet dream of. All those grateful princesses (and maybe their grateful mothers…?). He knew just how to punish his little sister; nevermind the unimaginable agony she bore every second of her life, accepted in return for keeping the Sword of Dios locked away and him safe, a fate Anthy chose anew with every pain-wracked breath. She stole his power from him, so he would steal her innocence. It was all either of them had left, aside from each other.
Let us dispense with pretty language and metaphors for a moment. The series already has those covered.
Akio raped Anthy, repeatedly. He was her introduction to all things sexual and sensual through the lens of violence and control, and made sure at every possible opportunity that she knew exactly how much he hated her for what she had done. He abused her in every way: emotional, physical, and sexual. Anthy never fought back, which is not the same as consenting, not at all — not that she could consent, given her age. She stayed. Because she loved her brother.
At least, for a while she did. That could not last, though, given the circumstances. Antipathy bloomed on both sides, a — back to the metaphors — rose grown from wounded love, festered.
The original fairy tale, with its swords and princesses and beautiful artistic nobility, still held tremendous power for both siblings. It, too, festered, coiled in on itself and fragmented, and the power of myth fueled that twisted, twisting growth. A new tale rose around Anthy and Akio, intricate and alluring, a monument of sinister elegance dedicated to the cycle of abuse.
Fire inflicts scorching pain, leaves lifelong scars, kills… yet there will always be moths unable to resist its bright beauty. So, too, with Ohtori Academy. Akio cultivated his very own fable, with magical sword duels and a lovely princess and that most desirous of prizes: the power of miracles.
What is a miracle? Well, that depends…
In Ohtori, there are at least as many miracles as there are duelists vying for that power. Akio summons damaged, daring individuals by way of Rose Signets to the arena to vie for the Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya. With possession of her comes the Sword of Dios and the power to revolutionize the world. This is a play by Akio, an attempt to find a Duelist powerful enough to do what he cannot: break the Rose Gate and free his long-sealed power.
And Anthy’s role in all of this? She is… a victim; she is complicit; she is both manipulator and manipulated, playing along with Akio while also playing against him. Sexuality was taught to her as a weapon, a thing used to gain control and power, a way to get to the innermost places of a person whether they desire it or not. In turn, that is how Anthy uses her own sexuality. The Rose Bride, by the rules of the game which they both created and observe, must do whatever the Engaged wants. So she does. It is one of the… perquisites of the position.
But while the Duelists use Anthy, she uses them. She worms her way into their confidences and their dreams, serving as both spy and saboteur. They (almost) never suspect a thing of the docile, passive Rose Bride. She is just a thing to be won, not a person with her own motives and mind. Usually, she is acting at Akio’s direction. Sometimes she is acting of her own agony-driven spite…
This has been their cycle for an indeterminate, mythic amount of time. Ohtori moves in cycles, replaying its tragedies over and over for the flagellate enjoyment of its master (and mistress). Not much changes, aside from the key the songs get played in: different duelists clash to different tempos, but the melody repeats. Even when the Academy itself moves to Southern Cross Island, nothing has changed; it has always been there, hasn’t it? All falls within an accepted pattern.
@}-' Intermezzo -,--
A black chamber, pulsing red from its heart, cracks — or are they veins? — radiating away from a silhouette at the center: a young girl, body contorting this way and that in an involuntary dance of agony. Two figures approach and speak in tones the girl can’t hear over the rushing of her own blood in her ears, not quite.
As they draw closer, the vein-cracks gleam, revealing wicked edges. They are swords blooming from her soft, vulnerable body. Not until the smaller of them, a girl with pink hair dressed for a funeral, approaches does the suspended girl really take note of either of them through her crimson haze of agony.
When the girl with the pink hair tries to reach out, the intensity of the suspended girl’s suffering repels her bodily, flinging her back. The same suffering so preoccupies the suspended girl that she still hardly notices.
“Then I’ll become a prince!” She hears that, though. “I’ll become her prince and save her!” And she begins to listen, through the pounding of her own struggling heart. She hears the boy (or is he a man?) tell the girl with the pink hair how she might do so, and in the same breath denounce her chances. She catches the gleam of a signet as it slides onto a too-small finger.
“I’ll do it! I swear, I’ll become a prince! I swear!”
The suspended girl hears, and her heartbeat races (as does her blood down skewering blades). She spends precious energy to lift her head, aquamarine eyes glazed with torment. The girl with the pink hair meets her gaze with determined eyes like the summer sky, boundless and bold and blue.
Later, the suspended girl forgets, the events lost to crimson pain and time and trauma. Her heart remembers for her. A seed is planted, and languishes, bereft of light and water and air. It does not thrive. But it does survive.
@}-' ACT 3: Utena -,--
Until Utena Tenjou arrived, princely of eye and jaunty of demeanor, dressed like a /boy/ and ready to upend Ohtori from the very first step she took within its rose-bedecked walls. The old promise of Revolution somehow seemed brighter, renewed, with her around. She was a breath of fresh air, exciting comment amongst the Duelists and piquing Akio’s interest. Might this be the one…?
It wasn’t a lot of interest though, not at first. They were too used to the same-old same-old at Ohtori, it is in their bones. Still, the tomboyish upstart managed more than a few victories that could, under the right light, be called miraculous. She dismissed Duel traditions and Academy rules alike, forging her own noble path. Many found much to admire in Utena Tenjou.
Anthy did not expect much of this new Engaged. She, too, was used to the same-old same-old, and hope had long since ceased being one of the pains she accepted. Dutiful and deceitful, she played the role of Rose Bride for Utena, and worked to convince Utena that she could be saved, was being saved, by the pink-haired girl’s efforts.
Utena seemed to want to save Anthy, too. That was the flame that seized her fluttering orbit, drew her in: a helpless princess, victimized by cruel men and their cruel system, awaiting rescue. For Utena sought more than anything to be a Prince, and was not shy of making that claim. She’d been given a Rose Signet long ago by a regal Prince who bade her to never lose her strength or nobility, that they might meet again…
It was unusual, and Utena was nothing like anything Ohtori had seen before. But Ohtori had its own history of storms weathered, and one girl — no matter how talented, how sincere, how pure of heart she was — could surely change nothing.
o==[::::: Relationships :::::>
Akio Ohtori (Onii-sama, or Big Brother): Anthy’s brother, her hero, her abuser; her first Prince and her rapist. Akio, once Dios, is everything to Anthy even though she secretly wishes he was not. She does still love him, beneath the layers of fear and pain and horror and betrayal. She still wants him to live, wants him safe. That initial choice to protect Dios in spite of his own wishes informs everything that comes after. She has always chosen Akio first, and she will do so again.
Chu-Chu: Anthy’s truest friend, the single being she can count on to never, ever hurt her. They love each other dearly. It is perhaps the only uncomplicated relationship in Anthy’s life.
Utena Tenjou (Tenjou-san): The dashing adolescent who promises Revolution, just like all the others have before her. A girl cannot be a Prince, can she? Whatever noble promise this regal tomboy offers is fated to wither on the vine once Utena sorts herself out properly into one of the two available boxes: Witch or Princess. She will fail, just like all the others have before her.
Many Duelists before Utena have professed to care for Anthy. Some have been solicitous (to a point) or devoted (within limits); others have made grand romantic gestures (paid for by their trust funds) or sworn to liberate her from the cruel game that so clearly makes her its victim (none yet have). Anthy Himemiya is thoroughly acquainted with insincerity and illusion. Even when people lie to themselves, they have a hard time deceiving the First Witch. If Utena’s audacious gallantry sparkles with an especially heartfelt light, she is just doing a better job than most at convincing herself — all the very best liars work that way.
Each of the Rose Bride’s suitors is uniquely glamorous. Every single one wields some special skill, in combat or out, that places them above and beyond their peers. Ohtori is no place for the unremarkable, and the Rose Signets mark the extraordinary among the exceptional, a sort of mystical 1%. In this respect Utena is no different from the rest of her elite competition; she has the usual amount of stunning beauty, thrashes her classmates at every sport she tries her athletic hand at to the expectable degree, and draws the sort of universal adulation reserved for the typical Duelist. In short, she is exactly as unfairly perfect as every other person who has possessed Anthy, and it never availed any of them -- indeed, in the wake of her depowering and then her duel with Kasagami Araki it seems to have done Utena herself no good.
In what rare moments Anthy finds to herself, in early mornings at the Araki Estate or when she's washing dishes at night before bed, she finds herself missing quiet domestic moments in the dorm she and Chu-Chu shared with Utena. She felt a sense of loss upon the scattering of white rose petals upon the arena floor, one the Rose Bride has been very loathe to examine in herself.
Anthy is the best liar of them all, with the possible exception of her brother.
Kasagami Araki (Araki-sama): After her dramatic rise through the duel brackets on the edge of her family's sword and the intensity of her ambitions, Kasagami Araki has seized what she wants: victory, and the Sword of Dios! Unfortunately for perhaps her and Anthy both, the Sword of Dios comes with what Kasagami likes to call its sheath, the Rose Bride. It is not the first time Anthy has weathered disdain from her Engaged. It is the swordswoman's emotional volatility that has her on edge, uncertain what to expect next. The intervals of unexpected kindness leave Anthy wondering how soon the rage might return -- of course, she's been known to stir the hornet's nest of Kasagami's disapproval.
They come to intermittent accords, but Anthy's persistent helplessness rarely fails to set Kasagami's teeth on edge... and for her part, the Rose Bride disdains the idea that this nonconforming girl could ever be a Prince, much less a King. She sleeps in a cot at the foot of Kasagami's bed in the expansive and Engagement-restored Araki Estate, and in waking hours stays close to her Engaged and speaks words of encouragement to those towering ambitions of hers.
And she misses Utena, although Anthy herself does not yet realize that's what she's feeling. It just fills each waspish bucking of her new Engaged's authority, and sits in the cold absence of the bustling domesticity that characterized her cohabitation with the pink-haired girl.
Shizuru Fujino (Fujino-san): There are no few similarities between these betrothed girls with their distant smiles -- a shared affinity for flowers, for instance. The peculiar coldness of Shizuru's demeanor is sufficiently different from other duelists to warrant curiosity from behind the opaque mask the Bride wears. She checks the careful placement of that mask often when in Fujino-san's company; the duelist's eyes are keen, and she has an affinity for stirring reaction. But she also knows something about Utena, who has been missing since she lost her last duel...
'-'_@_ Anthy's Gallery '-'_@_ '-'_@_