The Testimony of Wakaba
I don't know as if I'd like to remember that I was the first one to find it. You know? It gives me the creeps just to think about it. I think I was riding that very same one yesterday. Can you imagine? Look. My hands are shaking and everything. But I see I'm going to have to tell you. I think you're very mean. Hidoi.
I did see it first, you know. I was on my way to the Observatory. That's at the very end of the Academy grounds, if you don't count the Arena. The last actual building, anyway. My best friend dorms there. She's wonderful. She wouldn't have been afraid of what I saw if she had been doing the seeing. I'm certain. She's odd like that. It's not that she's not frightened, it's that she's curious and you can just see her itching to get closer. I didn't want to get closer. I think I screamed. No, I'm pretty sure I screamed. I dropped my book bag and tried to push my way outside. There weren't many people to push.
Time? I think it was around 10 am. It could have been 10:30 am. I don't know. 11 am. You can check my student schedule. I have a class at 12 pm. I skipped. I was too nervous. Seeing that thing. It gave me the creeps all day long. I don't think it should've looked the way it did. You know. Sort of floppy. Not quite floppy. A stiff floppy. I had a rag doll that looked like that. All thick stuffing and this puffy hair. Like that. Everyone began to look at me as I ran. I think they were looking at... that thing too. I heard a girl scream, and someone told me Ishii Yoshirou fainted away. For all his so-called bravery.
I was braver than him. But I don't really want to remember what it looked like. I can't remember where I ran to.
The Testimony of Kiryuu Nanami
You mis-spelled my surname. It's Kiryuu, not Kiryou. Yes, please remember that. It's very bad manners to start an interview by mis-spelling my name.
I can't tell you much. I was hosting a light brunch with a few friends on the glen when it happened. This was at around 9:30 am. Yes, of course I'm sure. I always have brunch at that time. I'm very punctual. It's expected of me. But to continue, it was around 9:30 am and Sonoda Keiko was pouring us tea when we heard a commotion coming from the Kanagawa Hall area. Several students were running towards the glen. Keiko stood up to investigate. Naturally, I told her that this was a very rude thing to do. I instead called out to a young man that ran past us. His name was Ryo Hiranobu, 3rd year student. He looked pale, and wasn't very coherent. He said something about elevators. I didn't give the matter much thought at that time. I simply thanked him and asked the others to disregard the noise and carry on with brunch. Yes, sir, that is exactly what I did.
It wasn't until later that night that my brother, Touga, commented on it over dinner. Yes of course we have the same surname. He's my older brother. And don't mis-spell his name. Yes, that's correct. Thank you.
Well, he simply mentioned a delay that morning. A class was cancelled and the north side elevators were closed at Kanagawa Hall. He told me he didn't see anything. I don't think he wanted to talk about it. The poor dear. These things upset him. He looked a little pale. I let him retire early and didn't ask him any questions. No, sir, none. I don't like to trouble my brother. I don't have any classes at Kanagawa Hall anyway. I think mostly this is a nuisance. People are being too secretive, and my brunch was ruined. I didn't even get a chance to show them my new dessert. I ordered all those crème claw cakes for nothing. It was a waste, the whole thing.
The Testimony of Kaoru Miki
I heard the rumour during my geometry class, precisely at 11:22:36 am. I don't remember who told me... A boy. Brown hair. I think. He didn't look very worried about it, just turned around to whisper. I thought it was important, so I clicked my stopwatch and- Eh? My stopwatch...? Yes... I always carry one. You can look at it if you want to. I can't remember when I got it... But the council says it's very useful. Eh? Oh, excuse me, sir. I'm a member of the Ohtori Academy Student Council. Yes. Two years in the post now. Grade point average? 4.0 at the moment, sir. Thank you. The stopwatch...? Oh, yeah.
I thought it was important, so I clicked my stopwatch and wrote it down in my notebook. It took me thirteen seconds to do that, sir. I took the liberty of bringing my notebook. See where I wrote it down? I must have forgotten to ask the student's name... I was feeling strange. Yes, sir. I think I must have been feeling sorry for that poor person. I missed a question in class. Exercise no. 11 on page 202. The answer was 26 degrees.
At 12:18:45 pm I arrived at Kanagawa Hall, but everything on the south side had been roped off already. No, there are elevators on the north side. It's a fact, sir... I understand. There were a lot of people there, I think. I remember a lot of voices. But maybe it was just the hall. It's made out of rose marble, and it has a very deep echo. I don't remember all that well. I think I was trying to look at the elevator. I left at 12:23:13 pm and met with the Student Council for lunch ten minutes later. Our president, Touga Kiryuu, was late by four minutes, but he's usually late for lunch. It's etiquette, I think. I'm not sure what we ate, but we left at 1:12:50 pm because Juri had a class. Arisugawa. Arisugawa Juri. Yes, it's spelled correctly. Why do you ask?
I didn't hear anything else for the rest of the day. Some girls were whispering about it during fencing practice at 2:45:10 pm, but everyone else seemed hushed about it. Or maybe it was the fencing hall. It has this way of smothering everything. I don't remember a great deal of the conversation, but it was 3:16:33 pm when I left. Eh? Oh. That's all? I can leave now? It's 5:17:40 pm. Thank you, sir.
The Testimony of Arisugawa Juri
Miki's right about lunch. We were all there, except Saionji Kyoichi. I don't know where he was. He just doesn't show up. It's not important. None of us spoke about Kanagawa Hall. No, we didn't feel there was any need to. I had heard enough about it during my morning class. 11 am. A silly girl was in hysterics. She had to be taken outside, of course. The professor told us Kanagawa Hall would be closed. They only roped away the elevators. I haven't been down there. I didn't know the student.
Of course they're not saying the fall killed the passenger. It's just rumours at the moment. No one actually reported it formally. A commotion simply started up. Only roughly half of the Fencing Club showed up for practice at 2:30 pm. I'm captain of the team. Yes. They were talking about it too. Murder, of course. Suicide. I had to forcibly impose order. They talked anyway. I called the meeting short and sent them out.
No, no one has really told me anything worth telling. I don't have classes at Kanagawa Hall, but it's close to the fencing centre. A lot of people stood staring out from the windows. Some were near hysteria, but it was mostly gossip. I'll be glad when it dies down. Past is past. All they really want is a topic to discuss. Conjecture. I've heard enough conjecture today. Suicide, mostly. I haven't seen the body. I told you. I'm not going to. No, of course I don't know what it looks like. I've heard different descriptions. I don't know how many. Broken neck, mostly. I was in a hurry to get home, I'm afraid. I don't like to waste a day. Yes, suicide. Like I told you already. A hysterical girl suggested a serial killer. I don't think anyone really believed her. Understand that these are simply snatches of conversation. They last two minutes at most. Nobody knows much of anything. This is all I know. I had other things on my mind.
The Testimony of Saionji Kyoichi
I don't understand why I'm being questioned. I wasn't there. Yeah, I missed lunch. I gather Miki told ya that? I saw him go into your office. I was at the top of the stairs, looking down, when he went in, shuffling as usual. They've got everyone lined up out there. The whole damn academy, just standing around. It's stupid. I don't know anything, and they know even less. I don't know. Probably. Doubt the half of 'em was there, and the rest probably just ran away. They're wimps, for the most part.
I told ya. I don't know anything about it. They filled me in while I waited. One arse said it was a boy, some dope head said it was a girl. Ten thousand yen neither of the saps were there. That's how I see it. I heard a lot of shit. Ran the whole gamut: suicide, murder, jealousy, rape, stupidity, malfunction, craziness, weird shit. Some jerk passed on some stupid story about ghosts in elevators. Catholic nuns, no less. Nah. Ohtori's private, but we've never had religion around here. That's what temples are for, right? I could care less really. It was all shit anyway. Some clown mentioned revenge. Probably something stupid. A lot of people kill for stupid reasons. What I don't see is how all this stupid talk's gonna get us anywhere. Dead's dead. Whatever it was. It's dead. I don't know anything. Nobody does. Ask the whole damn line and see if ya don't come out'a here questioning private education. It's all shit, I tell you. No one knows anything.
The Testimony of Kiryuu Touga
I was there, yes. I have a 10:30 am class at Kanagawa Hall. Japanese Literature II. Akutagawa Ryunosuke? No, I don't believe we've covered him. I agree. I've only really read one of his books, though. I don't remember the title, I'm sorry. But it was very beautiful. You don't think it's beautiful? Well. No, excuse me, please. I shouldn't have implied that... No, of course not. I'm sorry, sir. Thank you. You are very kind.
I was there, yes. I saw the stretcher that carried the body away. a lot of people were trying to press closer to the elevator, but I doubt anyone got a good look. The police arrived shortly after. Oh, at around noon. More or less. I don't wear a watch. I just know. The police stood by the elevator and roped it off. It's always north when you're walking towards it. But it's south if you think you're coming from the north, isn't it? The stairs down were crowded after the police roped it off, and it took everyone at least half an hour to come down and exit. A crowd was pressed close together outside. Pressing into me. I remember a lot of people were hoping classes would be cancelled. You could hear the ambulance speeding away. It's a large campus. It has to circle the entire green before it reaches the gates. I don't doubt it was slowed down by spectators.
What did it look like? It was a girl. No, I'm quite certain. I think it was Nakamura Saki that told me she thought it was a 4th year student. She's a 3rd year student herself. Sasaki Mariko said she remembered a student had been missing in her last class yesterday, but she couldn't remember a name. Murakami Sayaka said she looked to be medium height. She was close to the policemen, she said, and they must have told her. She told me nothing else. I had lunch then, and didn't hear anything else anyway. My sister? Ah, yes. I think I brought it up at dinner. It wasn't very important. She wasn't interested. She excused herself early, so I didn't bring it up again. Yes, I assume she must have been distressed. I'm not sure. They did cancel a class, by the way, but it was at Watanabe Hall. I think I mentioned it to my sister, but she mustn't have been paying much attention.
I saw nothing else. Hm? Of course, sir. How's this?
The Testimony of Tenjou Utena
I feel sorry for him. Her. No one seems to know. Wakaba told me. I can't quite get it out of my head... I never had a chance to see it, no. I don't think I would've wanted one. I just feel sorry for him. Her. I almost cried... I wanted to think about it calmly, to think about... you know... where he was going, what he ate for breakfast, what he needed to do that day... maybe he had a German test. I did. Almost. It was cancelled. Watanabe Hall class. Can't forget that one. Watanabe like Watanabe Sensei from Lit. I. Scary guy. Sigh. But I couldn't think about that boy that died. Girl. I was crying... I don't know why. It could've... It could've been Anthy. She's my best friend. There's a piano at that building. Kanagumi, is it? She plays it almost every day. She loves it. I couldn't help thinking that maybe the elevator had broken... It terrified me. It felt... empty... as if Anthy had died... for real.
That's why I felt sorry for that boy. Girl. I couldn't think about him... although I tried. I was selfish. I wanted to feel something. I thought maybe if I saw the elevator I would feel something... but it was roped off. I wondered if it was really empty. I tried to think of him as one of the students crowding past. His friends weren't there. No, I don't think so. Everyone just walked on... I don't think a friend would just walk by... right? I think they were trying to think about him too. Maybe imagine themselves inside the elevator. I could. Almost. It was very dark, and my legs were... folded underneath me... my arms crossed over my chest, like in a womb. It was cold... but warm at the edge of my mind... like floating in warmth. I think maybe he didn't like it when they moved him from the elevator...
I feel sorry for him.
Himemiya Anthy's Confession
No, you know I can't cook tonight. You usually do it tonight. Chu chu would like some pudding. But Utena sama's been a little down... I think she'd like you to cook. Chu chu really likes pudding. I'm not really hungry, though, thank you. But Utena sama should eat. I think she's very upset about something...
All right. I'll cook tonight. No, you know I don't mind. It's a pleasure. I'll cook your favourite. It can be just the four of us. Three, of course. Two. You know I don't mind.
Author's Note from July 22th, 1999:
Sat down to HTML this story at around 5 pm, but finished at around 8:58 pm because my room mate Yohji (fellow member of Team Bonet) wanted me to take some pictures. I had to step outside to crash around our trees. All while the music of Os Mutantes played on our CD ROM. The story itself was written July 21st to the beat of Lindberg, B'Z, and Wong Fei, while I scribbled away the hours at the UCF Downtown Centre's Student Lounge, room 202A. That room's starting to look like a prison in some sort of psychology experiment...
The inspiration for the format of this story came from Akutagawa Ryunosuke's 1922 short story In a Grove (as published in Eric S. Rabkin's Stories: An Anthology and an Introduction, HarperCollins: 1995). That's where the parallels end, although Akutagawa's story also deals with death and different perspectives. I'm not sure if my point came across or not... I can only hope it makes sense. I'd like to hear what you think.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena is © 1997 BePapas and Tokyo Television.