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 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. You know, evolution shows women to be just as promiscuous as men. 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. ....but I'd settle for at least a hot student council official. I don't even have those. 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.)
    The series ends on an optimistic, if bittersweet note for the cast. Utena has either died trying to be a prince or emerged from her coffin to live out life in the real world. The duelists have broken free from their psychological chains and move to graduate, and Anthy has taken her monkey-mouse pet and left her brother’s nefarious influence. Naturally, the person that suffers most from the revolution is the very same one who orchestrated it—Akio. There’s no real answer to the question of his fate after the series, but here are a few possibilities.

I. A. i.
    The swords of hate find Akio without a Rose Bride, and he dies, unable to survive them himself.

    The swords did originally want Dios, and if just any prince doesn’t satisfy them, they would continue to seek him out, with the intent of killing him. Whether he’s truly immortal or not is in question, but if the swords seek out his death and he can’t stop them, then there it is and there he goes. Still, that lacks a certain punishing poetic zeal. It doesn’t seem like the series would be so merciful to its villain.

I. A. ii. a.
    The swords of hate find Akio without a Rose Bride, and so he becomes his own pincushion, withstanding the onslaught previously stayed by Anthy.

    In this scenario, the swords don't intend to kill him. They just want to make him hurt a little. This is one of the more plausible ones, and it certainly satisfies a need people have to see Akio suffer. (It’s simply a formality that Akio’s real sins aren’t what he’d be punished for here.) We could assume Akio’s immortality under the influence of the swords (a) on the fact that he would remain in his coffin, and (b) on that Akio has been immortal all along, even back to his days as Dios, and a little thing like the malice of the world is no more likely to kill him than it would kill Anthy. This is a suitably poetic fate for Akio, that after all the horrible things he’s done, he’s punished for the original minor infraction. While Anthy withstood the force of the swords with relative grace, it’s somewhat hard to imagine Akio taking as well something he fears so much. More likely than not, he'd take it all with a definite and total lack of grace, go temporarily out of his rocker, and then construct some psychological means to cope with the swords. At the very least, he’ll convince himself that Anthy’s departure was all part of a greater plan of his—after all, Akio does no wrong. He just wanted Anthy out of his way so he could run things as he’d like without having to pretend attempts at redemption. Right??? Ironically, while he’d never make this exchange of his own will, it will prove to indeed be a perk that with Anthy gone, there’s absolutely no restraint on what he may or may not do with his talents.

1. A. i. b.
    Akio, now alone and made to contend with the Swords of Hate himself, is forced to ‘grow up’, and repents as necessary to escape the punitive agony of the swords.

    I suppose this is physically possible, but it’s hard to imagine Akio being redeemed by force, especially considering his symbolic place in the story as the fallen adult, incapable of going back to the way things were simply because he refuses to do it. The likelihood that Akio will redeem himself when the series presents him as by nature incapable of such a thing is slim.

I. B. ii. a.
    Though the swords can be stayed by Rose Brides, mortals are unable to withstand them for any considerable period of time, and Akio must constantly produce a new bride to replace the current one as they exhaust their usefulness.

    This doesn’t sound terribly implausible. Anthy was, after all, Dios’ sister, and represented the idea of the anti-princess long before his fall. (Her clothes certainly distinguished her from the princesses on the outset.) Anthy might have had a special resilience to the pain of the swords, or at least, immortality—both of which would be lacking in an otherwise ordinarily mortal Bride. The pain may physiologically kill her, or she may simply be driven insane by it—either way, Akio would need to keep up a pace of replacements to coincide with this loss rate. Death can be drawn out, and psychological breakdowns stalled, so it is possible that Akio might survive living a life where he’s constantly growing himself Rose Brides. This is hardly, manipulatively speaking, outside of Akio’s range. In fact he might have fun with it. So long as time permits a period to prepare a new one, Akio might very well live forever in his coffin focusing his manipulative energy on the maintenance of new Rose Brides. (In a way, this is the life he led to begin with—most of Akio’s energy in the show is spent on maintaining Anthy as his Rose Bride.)

I. B. ii. b.
        Though Rose Brides can be offered in sacrifice to the swords, the mortals put in that position cannot withstand the physical or psychological assault long enough for Akio to produce constant replacements from the pool of students in his school.

    This is what happens if the swords simply kill every Rose Bride that attempts to take them. Bad for Akio, it places him back at predicament 1. A.: he must contend with the swords on his own.

I. B. ii.
    Existence as the Rose Bride brings with it immortality, and there are no outstanding physical or psychological limitations to Akio’s maintenance of a long-term Rose Bride.

    In this case, the length of a Rose Bride’s tenure will depend entirely on Akio’s capacity to keep her willing to stay. This is, for Akio, a very good situation. In fact, it’s better for him than the conditions he lives under in the series—he must have a Rose Bride, but realizing she can be replaced gives him the power of options. He may choose a Bride and discard one as he wishes, so long as he has a new one lined up. The possibility of course always exists that she will abandon him, but even though Akio will never admit making the mistake in the first place, after the series he’ll maintain quick access to a replacement at need. Force of habit will probably lead him to seek out a Rose Bride he can keep over a long period of time, but in the rare event he should become bored or find an upgrade, he’ll be swift to graduate them. This is perhaps the best outcome, as far as he’s concerned. It preserves the lifestyle he’s made habit, but opens his options within it.
II. A. i.
    The swords no longer seek out a prince; Akio is satisfied to live within his coffin for all eternity, though no painful fate keeps him from departing from it, and no Rose Bride is necessary.

    This is perhaps the most likely fate for Akio. If you assume the swords simply wanted a prince, then having found one in Utena, they no longer thirst for blood. However, this does nothing to force Akio out of his coffin, and indeed, without the restraint of a Rose Bride, Akio would eventually come to be quite happy living out the ages of time in a world of his own making, lording over his pawns in the massive coffin that is his school. Ironically, he would likely replace Anthy with some sort of submissive female constant in his life that he can control. Mostly out of habit, but doubtless there’s a little intent to punish someone for Anthy’s crime. The game would certainly change, but duelists come and go—even if he doesn’t need one, someone would fill the daily duties of the Rose Bride simply because he’d be used to it. This is the outcome he would prefer, and it’s no mistake that it also happens to be the most unyieldingly pathetic. Nothing technically binds him to his position anymore, and yet he stays, refusing to grow up. This is the outcome that would be born of his personality as it is at the end of the series. Doubtless, after a few decades, he would even be convinced this had been his plan from the outset.

    He’s punished not in a way he himself would perceive, but in a way fitting the goals and ideals of the show. Everyone wants to break the world’s shell and bust through the Rose Gate. There’s perhaps nothing more pathetic to the series than someone standing in front of the open door with no physical or psychological restraint holding them back nonetheless refusing to take those steps into the larger world. This ending proves just how pathetic he is. He never really needed an excuse. The Rose Bride was not necessary. The coffin didn’t hold him back. He simply refused to leave. Take away even the smallest excuse and it changes nothing. Akio will never leave. He’ll remain happy in a coffin, lost in his own little world, spending the ages of eternity convinced he’s God and that what lies outside the realm of his fancy matters only as a place to toss his toys when he tires of them.

II. A. ii.
    Akio is left alone in the coffin with no swords, no Rose Bride, no nothing. The solitude and lack of idle distractions drives him insane.

    It’s a slap in the face for Anthy to leave. The loss of the Swords of Hate combined with her departure may be too much for Akio to handle. Anthy’s departure would undoubtedly be in the short term crushing for Akio. One might assume that haste in replacing her would be the only thing that keeps him from breaking down under the weight of his loss. Not of Anthy, of course, but of his track record. A failure to maintain his sister’s place at his side would be losing, and if Akio’s delusional patching of that fact is less than instantaneous, he’s liable to simply break down under it. He’s a man that doesn’t lose. Ever. Touga’s withdrawal over a pretty decent failure was bad? Akio’s reaction to a huge failure would be absolutely devastating, and if nothing demanding attention for his survival is present, the possibility, albeit slim, stands that Akio might very will psychological shut down.

II. B.
    Akio, with no swords to hold him back, and no real reason to stay, finally graduates from his own school, and departs into the world in the same vein as Anthy, to lead a normal life.

    This seems grossly unlikely considering that Akio is just plain unwilling to do such a thing. His idealization of himself as the Biblical adversary is appropriate: he would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven, and though nothing would bind him to his coffin anymore, there’s no great motivation in his mind to leave it either. Leading an ordinary life is the last thing he wants, and he suffers the fate of being exactly what he is: the opposite of Dios. The only motive he’d have to leave the coffin is to rule everywhere else, and he’s lazy enough not to concern himself with such goals when he can just as easily rule in his coffin under the illusion that it is itself the real world. Even if he did leave the school to take over the world outside, he's still technically in his coffin: he wouldn't have grown up, he's simply be making his coffin larger.