CHARACTER NAME: Kozue Kaoru
FANDOM: Revolutionary Girl Utena (Anime)
CHRONOLOGY: After Miki’s final duel
The world of Revolutionary Girl Utena is a strange, surreal, and highly symbolic one. The story takes place in Ohtori Academy, a prestigious school that seems like a blessing to most students. However, over the course of the story, many of the students find it to stifling, and long to free themselves from it. One of such students is Kozue, a self-described wild animal with a need to capture the attention of her brother, Miki.
Kozue and Miki were very close when they were little, often seen playing their piano together out in a sunlit garden. They became quite famous, and were invited to play a concert, but Kozue ran off, not wanting to play. It’s later revealed that she couldn’t play the piano to being with; their fame had all been Miki’s talent, and she couldn’t play the piano at all. She said later that she only played it because a boy had sent her a love letter, telling her how beautiful her playing was. But nobody knew that, and when Kozue decided to never play the piano again, it put a strain on her relationship with Miki; and, it seems, their parents.
The tale turns to Utena Tenjou, a student at the Academy who wants to be a prince, due to events in her childhood. She gained a rose ring from him, and kept it with her. When she came to the school, she soon found that the ring had led into fighting a boy named Saionji, for the prize of a girl named Anthy, who Saionji, and, by extension the student council that Miki was also a part of, called the Rose Bride. Utena won the duel and Anthy, but was faced by more challengers as time went on. She dueled each of the student council once, including Miki, and at the end of that, a new boy turned up, named Souji Mikage.
Mikage ran a seminar for students, where they talked to him and supposedly the brightest students joined. This begins one of the most confusing and subjective arcs of Utena. It is a tale of memories and a girl pretending to be someone thought to have died. Mikage had befriended a boy from his youth that was “dying”, named Mamiya. In order to keep Mamiya alive, Mikage devised a plan to kill Anthy and make Mamiya the new Rose Bride, thereby giving him eternity, which was what had been promised to the person who gained Anthy and won all of their duels.
Mikage, however, didn’t get his hands dirty. Instead, he manipulated other students into dueling Utena for Anthy. One of those students was Kozue.
Kozue's path to the Black Rose started when she saw Miki and Anthy playing together in the music room at school. She knew that Miki had a crush on Anthy, and they were playing the song that they, Kozue and Miki, had created when they were little, called The Sunlit Garden. This fact infuriated her, and she went to see Mikage to talk about it, admitting her anger and desire for Miki's attention.
Mikage gave her a black rose ring, the opposite of the Seal of the Rose that all of the Student Council members wore, and she went to duel Utena. Utena won, and at the end of the episode, Kozue was shown to not remember any of what had transpired.
Utena went on, defeating the rest of the duelists that Mikage sent at her, and, eventually, Mikage himself. After that, everyone loses their memories; it's as if Mikage had never existed at the school.
Akio, the person who manipulated all of the duelists, under the name "End of the World" wasn't satisfied. He seduced all of the Student Council into dueling again, this time with another; the challenger had their own Rose Bride. When Miki dueled again, Kozue dueled with him.
Their story starts with Kozue. After hearing that a tree in the courtyard was going to be torn down, she jumped out of the window to rescue a nest that had settled in their. However, while she held on to the bird's nest with one hand and the ledge she rested on with another, she found that she couldn't pull herself back up. A crowd formed around her, including Miki. When she finally did fall, he caught her, and carried her home along with Utena and Anthy.
There, Anthy took over, teaching Miki what to do to take care of the birds Kozue had rescued. Kozue, realizing that Miki's attention had been usurped once again, excused herself loudly. As she walked out, she saw a letter on the table. It was from their mother: Miki and Kozue lived alone together at the academy. Their parents were getting divorced, and their father was getting remarried to a new woman. The only time we see this new mom, it appears to be Anthy; this is never explained in the series.
After this, Kozue meets Akio for a date. He takes her in a his car: this is important because whenever Akio seduced a person, it was in his car (this arc is affectionately referred to by fans as the Akio Car arc). They picked up Miki, where Kozue told him that he needed to finally go for Anthy again. Miki, surprised that Kozue would say that, asked why, to which Kozue replied, "I just want you to be happy."
They went on to duel Utena and Anthy, where as the duels happened, a car raced around them. That car held both Anthy and Kozue, the latter of which was entranced by the power the former held. It's implied that the two of them were about to (or did) have sex at this point. It attracted Miki's attention, to which Kozue replied, "Pay attention, Miki, or you'll lose." He did, in fact, lose to Utena, and when he did, the car crashed, with only Kozue inside.
We saw Kozue one last time. Miki made a nest box for the birds, and as he was working on it, Kozue walked up. "Coward." She called him, and walked away.
Kozue is one of the most complicated characters in Revolutionary Girl Utena, if only because we only actually see her for about three episodes out of the thirty-nine in Utena.
On the outside, she is a typical teenager. She likes gossiping and hanging out with her friends. She also likes boys, and people think she's very cool, because she constantly has one (or several) boyfriend(s).
But on the inside, she desperately wants her brother's attention and will do anything to get it. Whatever she does, it's related to her brother and keeping him safe/keeping his eyes on her. She pushes a teacher down the stairs, explaining to Juri that she wouldn't "forgive anyone who hurts Miki." She's also the reason that he doesn't have a girlfriend, despite the fact that many girls at Ohtori have crushes on him. The only reason she's so sexually promiscuous is to get Miki's attention.
Despite the obvious differences between them, people still say they look exactly alike. Kozue hates this, feeling like she's the inferior twin because she's not as talented.
Also of note is her estranged relationship with her parents; because her and Miki live on their own, with little contact with their parents, Kozue refers to them as "wild animals" and keeps this metaphor up several times; for instance, when Nanami asks about her ankle wound from falling, she replies, "Wild animals heal fast." and sticks her leg out to prove it.
There are three scenes in particular that show Kozue's character and motivations best.
The first is during the Black Rose arc; before each duel in the series, two girls, calling themselves Shadow Girls, A-ko and B-ko, expand on some of the characters using a thirty second long allegorical play. During Kozue's part of that, their play goes like this:
A-ko and B-ko are on a train. A-ko is the stewardess, walking back and forth down the aisle offering drinks and food. B-ko is the passenger, and also the only person on the train. She gets increasingly annoyed at A-ko, because she already said she didn't want any; A-ko continues to offer food & drink. It's only after Utena comments, "Then ignore it." that B-ko suddenly jumps up and wants refreshments.
Kozue tends to ignore Miki, only wanting him when his eyes are on something else. She acts out to keep his eyes on her; instead of ignoring A-ko, B-ko keeps her attention by finalling ordering something, just when Utena calls her out. Similarly, when Kozue is called out on her actions towards Miki, she gets affectionate; more like the little sister she is.
The second scene is during the Akio Car arc, right after Anthy usurps Miki's attention regarding the birds. Chu-Chu, Anthy's pet, a tiny monkey-looking creature, inflates himself and floats around the room. Everyone ignores him, save Utena. It's almost like the "pink elephant in the corner of a room" metaphor; everyone ignores the problem instead of addressing it. Nobody really calls Kozue out on her actions until the very end; Utena and Anthy realize that they're ignoring Kozue, yet they still ignore her and her brother-complex.
The last scene is another Shadow Girls' play. A-ko is at a casino, and has said that she hasn't been gambling before. B-ko is the roulette master where A-ko is playing. A-ko loses all of her money, telling B-ko that she hadn't even wanted to play to begin with. B-ko smiles evilly as A-ko walks off to get more money, revealing that she'd rigged the game anyways.
This refers to Kozue telling Miki to go for it. She is B-ko; she knows that Miki's going to lose the duel once and for all, and instead of telling him that, she encouraged him to duel, because then she'd finally have her brother's attention, no strings attached.
SUPERHERO NAME: Wildcat
ALTER EGO: Kozue Kaoru, student
POWER: In canon, the characters can pull swords out of each other. Yes, really. In particular, they can pull swords out of people they're close to; Kozue can pull a sword out of Miki, and only Miki. I would like for her to keep this power, as well as give her a non-canon power.
That power would be the ability to control emotions, not unlike the powers of New X-Men’s Wallflower. Note, however, that Wallflower is an empath: people feel what she feels. Kozue, instead, once she figures out her powers, can make people feel whatever she wants them to feel. Since this could easily trip into godmoding territory, the power only affects people who are within 10 feet of her, and if they have a hard will, they can easily disregard her. In addition, her powers don’t work on Miki.
COMMUNITY POST SAMPLE:
[This is a video post, done in Japanese; like she's going to translate it to English. Kozue appears in front of the camera, putting on what could be considered a seductive smile.]
Are there any boys out there that want to tell me what’s going on? This wild animal seems to have gotten lost in the forest. This definitely isn't my home, and I don't think I'm a superhero.
[She fingers the neck tie of her uniform a bit, pulling it down.]
I'd also like it if someone could help me find my brother. I don't think he could survive here on his own; he's not as wild as I am. Me and him are nothing alike, though, so you can't judge by that. His name is Miki, and he really likes stopwatches.
[Here she mimes him pressing down on a stopwatch and laughs, a bit cruelly, a bit affectionate.]
[She pauses, before adding.]
And girls who can play the piano.
[She gives a little giggle, slightly menacing, as if to say, "none of you had better be able to play the piano."]
Other than that, I can't wait to get to know all of you. I'm Kozue Kaoru.
[She winks at the camera and loosens her tie a bit more, before ending the communication.]
THIRD PERSON: Kozue walked quickly back to the MAC, giving quick looks to everyone around her. Miki wasn't with her, but she felt the urge to do something crazy anyways. Briefly thinking about going to a bar and schmoozing her way into a drink or the barman's pants, she turned to walk back the way she'd come, but something caught her sight.
A baby bird was lying on the ground, looking like it was in its final moments. It was almost like the one she'd saved back at Ohtori. She'd been so proud of herself at that: she'd captured the attention of everyone in the school, including her brother, for one shining moment. Everyone thought, "Kozue, she's so brave, jumping out of a window to save a bird!", but she didn't care about that anymore. Anthy had taken that moment away from her, impressing Miki with her textbook knowledge of things she'd never experienced. Miki's attention had been usurped once again by a girl that most found to be incredibly creepy.
She scooped up the baby bird in her arms, making cooing noises. It reminded her too much of the other bird, and, by some extension, herself, to leave it there to die. She could take it home, and, surely when Miki decided to show up, he'd know how to take care of it. Until then, she could find someone over the network that knew how to take care of it.
It chirped a few times weakly, before taking its last breath in her arms. Kozue set it down again, and headed home, feeling slightly nauseous.