| You guys don't mind if I make a fantastic display of my suit/uniform/men's clothing fetish, do you? Of course not.
| His Ends of the World uniform is (if peculiar considering the time period the series is set in) not in and of itself confusing or strange. This outfit? Absolutely bizarre. The collection of styles and time periods in Akio's day to day dress are part of a trend we see all across the school: a record player, a car phone, a huge flip phone, and a laptop computer all used at the same time, though in some cases, decades separate the technology. Akio and his school are not the product of one age, but an amalgamation of several, and if a feature of his wardrobe fell out of normal use decades ago, what does he care? The only clear purpose this outfit serves is to exaggerate features that already make Akio stand out: his height, the sharpness of his features, and unusual combination of colors on his person.
Item 1 might be his forehead marking or what's called a 'tilak' or 'tilaka'. It covers the surface area of Akio's body not devoted to having and/or obtaining sex.
Shiromori covers this about as well as I'd have, so her comments are in italics below. As for me, I'll point out the fondness Chiho Saito has for Indian (specifically Hindu) characters, Akio's fondness for sticking out in a crowd, and that the purpose in both cases is to stress exoticism. By the way, there is a difference between Muslims and Hindus, matched only by yours truly's fondness for tasteless jokes.
|1. The tilak, or why Akio hates airport security.
"Just for curiosity's sake, I dug up some information on the tilak that Akio and Anthy wear. I'm not Hindu, so all I have is what I've read, but it seems that the tilak is a mark that is placed on the forehead between the eyebrows over the Ajna Chakra - the site of the mystical Third Eye. The third eye is the source of wisdom and intuition. It is also said that when Shiva opens his third eye, the three worlds are destroyed.
By placing a mark over the third eye, Hindus are wishing to become one with the Brahma. They are wishing to awaken their third eye, its wisdom and intuition. There can by many different shapes of tilak, and the colour is significant. So is the manner in which it is applied. Followers of Vishnu use sandalwood paste, followers of Shiva use sacred ashes, and followers of Devi use kukum (red tumeric). In the series, Akio and Anthy's tilaka are black, which would mean that they are made with ashes or sandalwood paste rather than kumkum, making them devotees of either Shiva or Vishnu.
It is interesting that the two of them would wear tilaka. I think you're on the right track with your "we're different" thing. I also think that, by wearing the tilak which is the sign of wisdom and intuition, Akio and Anthy are showing us that, with their "third eye", they see through the illusions of the world. They are the only two who fully understand the nature of Ohtori."
Now does he compare himself to Vishnu or Shiva when he's not going for the Satan spiel?
An odd choice for a couple reasons. First, it's one of the only things on his person that's a soft shape. This outfit is full of starched cotton and hard angles and strong colors, and here we have a nice round ball holding his hair back. Second, in an outfit of bolds, here's a sea-green hair tie. It'd be thoroughly out of place if not for the green you see right nearby—his eyes. Akio's eyes veer between a sea-green not unlike the hair tie and something just shy of emerald, and no matter what specific shade of green they are in a particular shot, the point of the hair tie remains. It's there, not to complement his eyes, but to contrast them. At no point are his eyes close enough to that shade of green for it to be a reinforcement of the color, instead it's always just close enough for the connection, but too removed to serve as anything but contrast. (At times, I might even venture to say a deliberately dissonant one.) Even its shape might be in part dictated by this contrast, which is strong enough that instead of softening his eyes, it just brings out the hardness in them. Ultimately the point probably isn't to emphasize hardness specifically, but just to bring attention to the eyes period. After all, Akio wants you to look in his eyes when he deceives you.
|2. The hair tie, which contains a mini-galaxy he holds his hair in.
Some tailor wept in a fit of confusion when Akio had this shirt made. Colors aside, it's overall design is reminiscent of the one-size-fits-all mass-produced men's shirts that were common in industrial America between, oh, 1900 and 1940. Long sleeves (held up by armbands), the blue lining opening into liberal pleating, the soft button-down collar, and almost over-starched cotton are all features these shirts had to make them cheap and easy to fit to several different body types without tailoring that few could afford. Why would Akio choose a cut that was designed to be cheap and easy to produce? 1. A hard collar that doesn't button down couldn't withstand the frequency with which Akio's shirt is open without getting ruined. 2. The shirt is the opposite of fitted on him, and the looseness of it contrasts the tight pants, ultimately making him look taller and giving him a larger presence. 3. It allows for the armbands. And finally, 4. it's comfortable.
|3. The shirt. Red, because that's always what the devil wears.
Red with white and blue trim? Definitely proves he didn't buy this in a store. The blue trim is probably there to fill out his eyes and the hair tie, the addition of a little more cool color makes the bit that's there less freakishly out of place among so much warm. The white for contrast to make the collar (and its state: open or closed) more apparent. The red? Well it's pretty obvious Akio really, really likes red. Also, to bring out a contrast like dark skin and silver hair with green eyes, you don't pick a dark or light color, you pick a bright one that's nice and snug in the middle. Red. This is to say nothing of it being a very aggressive color to wear. You don't see any of the other stuffy suits around him in red, now do you?
|4. The purple necktie. Bonus: Obsessing about knots.
Red and purple are complementary, but you don't often see them paired
together in clothing. Especially men's clothing. Especially work-casual clothing. Why purple? Well,
Akio and Anthy have a complementary palette. At least between Akio's
wardrobe and Anthy's rose bride outfit: both are predominantly red
with white and light green trim. That considered, that such a bold
shade of purple would appear on Akio's person isn't all that odd,
since it shows up on Anthy as well. (Strange that Anthy's color is the one wrapped around Akio's neck. Deliberate? It's hard to tell at times with SKU.) The tie is silk. You can buy polyester ties, but Akio probably doesn't shop at Walmart, and if he did, I'm quite confident Touga wouldn't be having sex with him.
THESE ARE REAL TIES, and two are polyester. God help us.
The tie hangs as long as it's supposed to: men use ties to point down to their cocks, too short or too long and someone might not get the subconscious point being made. As for the knot, more sex. If
it seems far-fetched to assume the knot by the shape it's drawn in, then my educated assumption is this: Akio keeps his tie in a
four-in-hand knot, the most casual and the easiest to
make. Of course, it has nothing to do with how easy the knot is to
make, but how convenient it is for him—the four-in-hand pulls loose
and can be moved back into place with the least disruption to the knot
itself. Definitely something that comes in handy when you spend 1/2 of the day 1/3rd undressed, and need to be able to pull things back together in a hurry. That's how it is until an animator tells me otherwise.
I mentioned the shirt was designed to refer back to industrial America and the machine produced one-size-fits-all men's shirts, right? The sleeves on these shirts were made exceptionally long, so that a man of any height could wear them. The short guys got stuck with slack they held up using thin armbands made of spring steel (called sleeve garters) around the bicep or just above the elbow. Other times these garters were used to keep a well-fitted shirt's sleeves a bit out of the way during manual labor. Sleeve garters are sometimes seen in Europe still, though it's no longer necessary, and certainly not the mark of a poor man. Akio actually went to the trouble of having a poor man's shirt tailored for him though; the sleeves were made that much longer, so he can wear the armbands, which I can tell you, were never gold.
|5. The gold armbands. Because gold teeth would be tacky.
As to why he would choose to wear armbands, well pick and choose: 1. They're referential to Anthy, who wore an armband in the flashback. Or perhaps this was a fashion in those days that he's kept with him. 2. They're supposed to be symbolic restraints, referring to his being a caged creature, living in a coffin of his own choosing. 3. He's cleverly hiding a sex toy on his person for impromptu bondage sessions. Or finally, 4. he likes the way they look on him.
Congratulations, Akio! You can match black! Not many people know how to use black, it's the least versatile color, and it clashes with so many things. But perhaps you think there's a reason aside from aesthetics for this choice of color? Truth be told, his pants are black because they contain a black hole. A singularity. Why? Because Akio needs something like a black hole to keep his enormous penis in. Otherwise it'd hang out of his pants legs and drag behind him, and no one likes chafing their penis.
|6. The black pants. 'Nuff said.
When did Akio get the earring? Was he around when it was simply a common tribal marking? What about when it was the mark of a holy man? Or did he do it in the Victorian era, when it would have been an enormous violation of at least a dozen taboos of modesty? Perhaps he picked up the fashion from his favorite rock star. Body piercing is rather old hat, despite what your punk brother thinks about it being a radical act. It's extremely common in Hindu tradition, so where Akio borrowed a little for the tilak, he may also have picked up the earring. Oh, and no, he's not proclaiming his alternate sexual lifestyle: it's the left ear. Besides, don't you think his actions speak far louder than any accessory could?
|7. The earring. Akio doesn't get in a lot of bar fights.
A man with an earring is, in some circles and some places, something of a taboo. Ohtori Academy, by all other appearances, looks to be one of those places. But Akio is Akio, and he does what he wants. Like the rest of his outfit, the earrings probably mean little beyond that. Of course, few parts of his wardrobe are quite as, shall we say, functional. It's hard to ignore the likelihood that a great many members of the cast have had the opportunity to catch it in their teeth and tug a little. If you think about it, a tie can be a blindfold, and his armbands and belt can be restraints. But an earring...well, people catch the drift of that one a little quicker.
Go, Akio! You're among villains of ever stripe and from every era, I knew you had it in you. Akio is wearing 'spectator shoes' (ha!), or simply two-tone oxfords.
|8. The two-tone shoes. -or- See also: Every villain in god damn history.
There are many styles, named by the shape of the tip, and Akio's is, plainly enough, a captoe. Akio's shoes don't quite look like oxfords, since they continue up past his ankle, suggesting a short boot of some kind or animator laziness in drawing minor shoe details.
Akio's feet are, surprisingly, much bigger than Utena's.
The look started in the 1800's, when gentlemen wore spats and gaiters (protective coverings) over their shoes to keep the mud and grime off them. Eventually the color scheme crept into the shoes themselves, and the two-tone shoe hit its peak in the 1920's and 30's with the big jazz and swing movements. They were popular in Hollywood, and by the late 30's, gangsters were wearing them. The look has enjoyed a massive resurgence in popular fashion, especially in the form of various women's shoes. When this site was first built, I used to complain incessantly because I thought I'd look so badass in shoes like that. Now everyone and their third cousin wears them. Almost have to wonder if that'd be Akio's hint to change styles.
Lucky for Akio, he predates the trend, but why's he wearing them? He likes the way they look. Or he was a movie star in the 20's. Or a New York gangster in the 30's. Or, more disturbingly, he likes to dance. His capacity to execute gymnastic moves not normally associated with school administrators could suggest this. Also, he does listen to jazz in his car. (It's not porn music, though I do know several people who swear by sex to jazz.)