"Fractured Tales of the Rose Bride"

The last gasp of class from Al Kristopher, Mr. Toasty, and their associates.

Episode Won: Sleeping Onion Princess

Annoyingly, perhaps predictably, this story opens at the beginning, and already we all know we're doomed. Wakaba had gone to great lengths to impose upon herself a more attractive aura, but as always, failed and met with the substandard version of herself in some dusty, uncaring mirror. Feeling like a sliced-open pepper (she refused association with the bitter bulbs mama tagged onto her persona), Wakaba screamed and wondered for the (precisely) seventy-fourth time why she, of all people, had been gifted with mundanity. Surely no magi came to her upon birth—more like an acne-covered delivery boy, voice squeaking and clothes never fitting his lanky, charmless frame. It'd account for her envy of the throne, her desire to sit upon it just once—just once!—and to be the princess, so desirable and perfect.

"Beauty is a curse, Wakaba," Utena had said, quoting from a much wiser source. "It's not all it's cracked up to be, trust me. The most special people have the hardest lives. Everyone expects something from them—just look at Miki and Juri, and even Nanami." So, Wakaba, she said without words, you must be thankful for your mediocrity. Nobody expects you to do something great. You have unlimited freedom; our curses put us in tiny fences.

Yeah. Easy for you to say, Utena Tenjo.

This dilemma might've continued for an elusive "eternity" had not a most wicked sorceress came, bringing destruction and misery along with her (that blasted baggage security department must've been slacking if they had missed something like destruction and misery, though I think when the sorceress traveled, she smuggled them across borders in order to heighten her success. Go on, imagine it for awhile. The story will still be here when you get back). This foul, degenerate sorceress had a mind to lull the world's most perfect, submissive princess into a deep sleep, where she would remain forever, until such a time came when her true love awakened her.

"HOLD IT!"

Narration froze, turned, and beheld the Sorceress Nanami, sporting an irate glare.

"Would you mind telling me why I'm the one playing the sorceress? Certainly there can be no doubt of the magic in my veins, but do you dare conceive that just because I can use 'witchcraft', I'm automatically evil? And furthermore, what sort of ridiculous plan is it to knock a princess out just so she can be raped—yes, I said it!—raped by any passing stranger who claims royal relations? It's ludicrous!"

"I'm sorry, Nanami," said Touga, the concern and emotion in his voice on level with Nanami's own unshakable morals, "but that's the way things go. You've been chosen as sorceress, but don't take it too seriously. Just have fun with it. You'll get to be the heroine eventually."

"Oh, big brother!"

"Oh brother" is right. Sheesh!

"You always just know what to say to lift my spirits!" she gushed, forming a noose around his neck with her arms. "If you think I can perform this part well, then I'll do my very best! Are you going to watch? Are you going to cheer your little sister as she makes her grand debut?"

"Of course I am," he replied, smiling as if it was the last thing on his mind. Oh, I'm sorry, that's his usual look. Please forgive me.

"Enough with the introspective!" shouted the sorceress, too beautiful to behold. "Hmph! That's better! It's because of my beauty that people are jealous. That's why they say I'm evil, but nothing could be further from the truth! Yes, I will put the princess to sleep, and pray that she meets her true love. That way, when she awakens, it'll be two less people who'll stand in my brother's way!" As you can see, Nanami's logic knows no weakness, and could readily stand up, firmly, even in the highest orders. Not believing in wasting time, Nanami began her spell at once, calling the dark arts to surround her and accentuate the grand majesty of her debut performance—I mean, the dramatic moment!

"I pray to Dios, grant me the power to bring the princess to slumber! Hit her with everything you have!" Just at that moment, though, as she wandered about wondering how she could ever ascend beyond the level of typicality, Wakaba was regrettably in the path of the spell, and absorbed its full, catastrophic brunt. Anthy, for once, was spared the disaster, and went on to mindlessly pick flowers and create explosive curry for use in a foreign war.

(Scene cut: soldiers laying down their arms and offering the curry as a "peace offering" to their enemies. Let your imagination fill in the rest.)

Meanwhile, Nanami…

"OH NO! WHAT HAVE I DONE!"

Was distraught, to say the least.

"I hit the wrong person!" she exclaimed, lifting Wakaba to ascertain the absence of regality. "This isn't a princess! This isn't even a baroness! This is…this is just a royal servant, a latchkey kid, a…a…a minion! This is a minion I've hit! All those special effects went to waste! Now I'm over budget…"

"So is that your excuse for not trying the spell again?" Touga snorted. "Honestly, Nanami, your debut performance has not been very good."

"Please give me another chance, big brother!" she wailed, clutching onto his legs. "I can fix everything, I promise! I've just come up with a brilliant idea that will reverse everything and set things right!"

"Maybe you shouldn't even bother," Touga sighed. "After all, what's the point? But if you want to, I won't stop you."

And so…

"Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up and see if you have what it takes to wake the sleeping princess! Are you a noble prince with a kiss of rejuvenation, or merely a pauper looking to get his kicks by planting a big wet one on some poor defenseless girl? Step right up and see! Only a hundred yen per customer—erm, challenger!"

Touga—and to a greater extent, Mitsuru—had to admit that when Nanami set herself to do something, she went all out. She had erected the "princess" on a gigantic elaborate bed, draped a veil over it, and set romantic rose petals (you were expecting daffodils?) across the sheets. But that was not enough: she and her trinity of sycophants had also constructed an authentic European castle around the slumbering girl, complete with a labyrinthine system of thorns and briars to weed out potential losers.

Nanami's chain of thought was that since only she and Touga knew the princess really was an ordinary girl, they (or really, she) could cash in on all the gullible people of the world who believed it was Anthy, the princess intended for the spell to afflict, behind those drapes and thorns, and not humble little Wakaba. Even if there were a prince bold enough to face these dangers (oh those wicked drapes!), by proving their royal status, they would wake Wakaba, reverse the spell, and return the magical energy back to Nanami, which she would then use on her true target.

Truly an ingenious and flawless system of logic she had, that girl.

……

"You mean Miss Himemiya is in there?" cried Miki, almost thrusting himself against the danger. "And she's been hit by a terrible spell which causes her to sleep, and only the kiss of a true prince can wake her?"

"Yes, yes," sighed the delusional sorceress, waving a plastic wand. "Just what are you anyway, the Plot Police?"

"I've got to save her!" he cried, ignoring her. Miki plunged at the overgrowth of thorns and began hacking away, but with that tiny little rapier of his, he barely severed a single vine before his weapon broke. Ouch—that had to bruise his ego. Hope nobody caught the phallic imagery.

"One side!" cried Juri, parting the crowd with her mere presence. She approached the tangled mess boldly, and studied like she would a fencing opponent. She then raised her sword, saluted, ran forth in a violent stabbing motion, screaming with all her fury…

And stopped suddenly to apply weed-killer.

"You're going about it the wrong way," she said, always calm. "You mustn't use barbaric fashions to get anywhere in life. Everything must be approached scientifically. These weeds won't know what hit them."

"You mean we won't know what hit us!" cried Saionji, crumbling to the ground, his face perfectly blue. It seemed everyone was gagging on the fumes Juri's scientific method was producing—except for Juri, of course, who just stood there and grumbled amidst the miasma. The thorns remained, prickly as ever.

"Won't somebody save the princess?" asked Miki, now wearing a gas-mask. Saionji stood, also sporting one.

"It is I who will save the fair damsel, with the only method that suits a noble prince like myself. Anthy my love, your righteous Saionji is coming for you."

Three, two, one…

"BURNINATOR!" The green-haired prince charged with a flame-thrower, and laughed maniacally as he waved it around, consuming the thick foliage. "Burn, baby, burn! Burn to the ground! Fire is good! Fire is our friend! The flames purify all! Ahahahahahahaha!"

Forty-one seconds later…

"You think he overdid it?" said Utena, examining the damage. Needless to say, Saionji's method was…ineffective. The paramedics had to swath him from head to toe in bandages; he looked more like a mummified corpse than a prince. The undergrowth remained, although admittedly Mr. Don Quixote did eliminate most of it, along with the castle and his dangerous beauty (anything for his princess, who was conveniently standing next to Utena).

"It seems that way," she then replied. Miki stared in surprise.

"Wait a minute! If you're out here, then…who's the princess in there?" All eyes turned to the culprit: Namai's entire face developed a nervous tic.

"Wh-what are you looking at me for? I had nothing to do with it! I only wanted Anthy out of the way so she wouldn't bother my brother!"

"More no-good nonsense from you?" Utena fumed. She approached the succubus but was stopped by Mitsuru, a soul too brave to be anchored by Miss Kiryuu.

"Hold it! Miss Nanami is only trying to make up for her mistake by reviving the victim of her misdeeds! Doesn't she deserve a little credit?" Without waiting for an answer, he turned and bowed to his mistress. "I will go in. I will wake the princess, and this whole mess will be over." As he approached the castle, Utena called out for him to stop—but it was too late, the damage was done. He came back scarred and bruised, with only the kindhearted Miss Tenjou to care for him. After mending his wounds, our heroine bravely stepped forth and challenged the thorns.

"Utena, you're being silly," Juri commented. "You already have a princess. Do you want two? You know, some of us don't even have one."

"Present company excluded?" she teased. Juri scowled and looked away; Utena had pushed one great big freaking button with that one. With a thrash, a slash, and a mighty princess bash, Utena hacked her way through the thorns, careful of their treachery. Though her uniform was ripped and torn (go on, cheesecake lovers, eat it up), she pressed on, until at last she came to the tower where the false princess was kept.

"Why do I have the strangest feeling of déjà vu?" she wondered. Girding herself, she ascended the winding staircase…

The Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

The Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

Birth records, baptismal records, records of death

The Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

The Absolute Destiny Apocalypse

My own birth, absolute birth

Apocalypse

A shining place in a—

"All right, I get it! I'm at the top anyway, so you can turn the music off!"

An awkward pause permeated the small room as she approached the elevated bed, the snoring princess upon it, and yes, even the little rose petals that gave it a more magical feel. Utena parted the veil with her hand, and turned somber as she beheld her friend, average Wakaba, who would probably never be in this situation again. Utena could not help but feel love for her most cherished pal, and so, whether out of pity or genuine interest (or, as was probably the case, to end this farce), she covered Wakaba's mouth with her own and bestowed a kiss.

Outside, Saionji sneezed.

"I think my lesbian senses are tingling," he moaned. He got the chance to see his theory proven correct as Utena came into view, marching through the dissipating thorns with a weary but aware Wakaba in her arms, confused about why she was here and not safe with a prince.

"Ugh…what happened?" she said, naturally. Utena smiled lovingly.

"Oh, you know—the usual. Namai put one of her wacky schemes into motion, and one of my close friends bore the burden. It's lucky I was able to save you, Wakaba! You might've been in there a lot longer!"

"You saved me?" Wakaba held herself closer to Utena as the pink-haired maiden confirmed it. "Then…that means…"

(Wait for it…)

"OH, UTENA MY LOVE! I ALWAYS KNEW YOU'D BE MY PRINCE! UTENA-UTENA-UTENA!"

"GAH! Wakaba! My…ow! You're…gaah! Losing…oxygen!"

"Utena! UTENA! You're my one true love forevermore!" And so, with the average princess squealing and the extraordinary prince muttering in pain, they rode off into the—

"Wait a minute! What about Miss Himemiya? She just lost her prince!"

"That's all right," she replied cordially. "I'll just find one next time."

Miki grumbled. "Oh."

And so, with that little issue solved, the prince and princess rode off into the—

"Don't you mean they walked?" Saionji said. "I don't see anything they can ride on. Except each other."

"A little too far, my friend," Touga muttered. Saionji sneezed again.

Right. With that matter resolved, the two would-be lovers WALKED off into the—

"Lovers?" Juri muttered. "Are you serious? Is this canon, or merely a veiled attempt at a Mary Sue? Oh sure, in any other series they would be considered, but you have to remember that RGU, as we'll call it, is full of these Sapphic hints and jabs. So we can hardly call them 'lovers', even with this ending."

Can I finish? Thanks. Utena and Wakaba walked off into the sunset, where they lived happily ever after—

"You mean they lived in the sunset?" asked Miki.

No, but—

"And aren't you being a bit too optimistic?" Juri grumbled. "'Happily ever after' is an impossible scenario. You can't expect two people to be permanently happy with each other, no matter how much love they share! There's going to be some conflict down the road, you have to acknowledge that!"

I give up. Good night, folks.

The End

Stay tuned for the next installment.

Or else.