So now that I've made six different layouts for LLOM, I think it's about time I settle on one. I understand these hoverovers are something you guys enjoy, so I'll keep doing them. In the next few slices, I'll explain why Anthy is the prominent figure here. This is an Akio layout. Anthy is simply a means to an end. I could remove both his face and his hand and you'd still know he was there. Also, I've been trying for ages to sneak a picture from my NASA folder into a layout. Starry night, holy night...o wait holy has no place here!
See? You don't even have to see the rest of his face to know the expression he has. I love it. Yes, I added little pearly things to Anthy's hair. Shut up, they're cool. A woman's shoulders are the front lines of her mys-fuck, wrong devil. This, my friend, is an arched back. Look at her. And he's not even touching her yet. Menu's over there, dear.
I wish a gorgeous sadistic man like Akio would stop by and come-or wait...is it come and stop by? Damn, I'm confused. Hi Anthy! You seem less blank than usual. Akio's not Indian. He's just a black man that's also a vampire and thus pale for his race. Had I known what an unholy pain in the ass this layout would be to code, I'd have...well..done it anyway.
Look, a chopped hovering gif. You guys just don't know how much I suffer for this stuff. Actually, I wish I was back in the city.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger...might be a bad choice of music considering what I'm doing. MY ROOM IS A MESS. Well no, but my mind is. I DON'T WANNA GO TO CLASS. Fuck school. I'll like it better when my campus has a phallic tower and hot dean. I really should be getting dressed for school... ....ok, a song titled 'Weapons of Mass Distortion' is no better... No more hovers! (They don't work in Firefox anyway.)
    I've been part of the nerdy SKU analysis community for about seven years, and in all that time, no one anywhere, myself included, has agreed on a single explanation of Akio Ohtori. The other characters are often similarly the subject of such inconclusive debate, but it's seemed to me that agreements and conclusions have always been the most absent in any consideration of who, what, and why Akio is.
    I do not offer here one complete essay on my version of Akio, but several short essays, from different angles and on different things. A comparison I notice in June, a facet of his personality I concern myself with in July. If you notice the frequent presence of Freud and Jung, don't blame me; I'm just running with the names Ikuhara dropped. My intention here isn't to in one swoop fully describe all that (I think) Akio is. I won't even necessarily stay true to my own interpretation of him. Instead, like all analysis of SKU, the most I can hope for is to see where a train of thought takes me, and offer you innocent bystanders a chance to come onboard.


    One way to look at Akio and Dios are in the Freudian terms of Eros and Thanatosóthe life and death drives. Eros came first in Freudís studies: itís the sex instinct, and all the baggage that comes from sex. The desire for life, preservation, survival, and sensuality. The creation drive, realized mostly in reproduction. Later, Freud coupled this with Thanatosóthe death drive. The negation urge, the need to put out your own existence. These are equal and opposite contrasts in the human mind, and a functional person needs that balance to be roughly equal. If youíre more one than the other, it presents problems. This is not something to view as two sides of a coin, but rather two ends of a scale that must stay balanced. Unfortunately, for Akio and Dios, itís realized as the former.

    Dios is all Thanatos. He has no life drive of his own, no urge to preserve himself, and one can safely assume (due at least to his age), no real need for sex. Instead, he behaves with self-destructive abandon. You could even go so far as to say heís suicidal, for the degree to which he pushes himself. On the other hand, Akio is all Eros. Aside from the obvious presence of an overwhelming sex drive, Akio embodies the life instinct because unlike Dios, heís extremely self-preserving. Thereís no room in Akioís mind for accepting any change in himóhe goes to great effort to preserve both who he is and the circumstances around him that permit him to stay that way. He is so hung up on his own survival that he refuses the usual form the life instinct takesóreproduction. He doesnít accept the Eros/Thanatos cycle where he lives on in those that follow, while he himself must die. After all, you need some degree of the death drive to accept that fate.

    The problem with being all Thanatos is quite clear. Eventually, that drive will realize itself in the most ultimate sense, and you will die. If one has no regard for their own survival, theyíre eventually going to perish, which is exactly what Dios does when Akio comes along. The problem with being all Eros is slightly less apparent. These two sides are supposed to complement each other to make a person who is willing to, within reason, take risks. Itís the death drive that makes you think jumping out of an airplane would be great fun; itís the life drive that tells you to wear a parachute. Akio is completely unwilling to take real risks in the name of growth, and because heís held fast in a state of self-preservation, Akio doesnít develop. Instead, he stagnates. Any change that would require he set aside a part of himself and replace it with something new is never realized.

    The Eros drive is one of creation through reproduction, but Akio is so self-centered he rejects this. Instead of creating another, Akio creates only for himself. The world around him is his own creation, a coffin he designs, and in this strange way, he realizes the creative drive of Eros without that focus moving off of himself to his offspring. While heís supposed to want to create and construct other lives, he doesnítóhe only wants to create for himself.

    This is a primary reason Akioís character is seen to be pathetic in the context of the series. The people around him grow and develop, they break their own shells, forcibly at his own hand, but Akio himself is incapable of this. You could even say that forcing hand is another means of satisfying the reproductive element of his life driveóheís effectively a father figure to many of the characters. He overlooks their development (for better or worse), and eventually cuts them loose. But because theyíre never his own children, heís operating on a loophole that keeps the death drive out of the picture. Heís not giving a part of himself to his children, and he doesnít have to survive into the next generation. He stays what he is while he effectively raises the students around him. In this way, he has many childrenóone can easily assume most of the student council graduates of Ohtori Academy are just as psychologically marked with the evidence of his parenting as they are by the efforts of their own parents.
     As selfish as Akio clearly is, that alone doesnít explain the enjoyment he clearly gets out of antagonizing and torturing those around him. A man might be selfish, but Akioís a little more than that. Heís a dick. His selfishness isnít just funneled into what benefits his position. Heís not just selfish about power, money, or sex. Heís also selfish about entertainment. What would seem to entertain him is other people suffering. Itís this that really makes him a horrible person: his sense of humor. Itís not that heís selfish and has no regard for others. Itís not that he does terrible thingsóitís not that he can kill, molest, and ruin the people around him. Itís that he thinks itís funny to do so. Itís that these things please him. Itís not just that he suffers no moral conflict in his behavior. Itís that he chuckles when he misleads Utena into thinking heís something heís not. Itís that he laughs (inwardly) when he tells Touga heís taken for his what Touga wants and knows heíll destroy. Itís that he grins at Mrs. Ohtoriís shame and disgust with herself, knowing itís largely his fault she feels that way.

    Akioís abusive nature is built almost entirely on his sense of humor. Itís not a joyless pursuit driven by psychological need. Abusive behavior such as Akioís might be seen as vengefulness. One can certainly see why Akio would be a vengeful creature. However, the man we see in the show doesnít appear to harbor a specific hatred of those around him, or regard them as people who have wronged him and must be punished. He blames the world for Anthyís situation, and says so outright. Itís the worldís fault that Dios died and his power was sealed away. Yet aside from that the motive makes sense, itís hard to support its being there during the series.

     This is to say that I think, at one point, it was. Itís hard to conceive of a character with a history like that never once feeling the compulsion to revenge himself on the masses that violated him. Itís not difficult to assume that Akio was at one point very hung up on revenge. Early on, when it was still fresh in his mind and in the mind of the world? Definitely. But in the series he doesnít seem all that interested in his abusiveness qualifying as wrath. Concerning the apparent conflict in Akio believing he Ďchose the devilís pathí, and blaming the world for Diosí fall, these two ideas donít disagree as they appear to. It was Akioís decision to become what he became and heís glad he did. Itís the fault of everyone around him that they had such a hissy fit over it. Like Miltonís interpretation of Satan, he sees his position as his own decision, and faults the powers that be for having a problem with it.

    As for that vengefulness, where did all that go? Was it resolved? Heavens no. Did it simply fade out? Not quite. It evolved into something thatís no longer vengefulness. It shaped itself over ages of time into something much easier to live with day to day. Wrath is consuming and bitter, where amusement is satisfying and enjoyable. The cruelty in what strikes Akio funny might be the evolution of a psychological need he once had to see people suffer. The needís no longer there, but he continues to act on it, not out of vengeance but out of the pursuit of pleasure. As he got used to the presence of cruelty in his life as a means of revenge, he began to like it. More and more for its own sake, until finally the need died and only the act remained, lingering on because heís learned to love it for its own sake.