With episode nine of Revolutionary Girl Utena, there again (thankfully) seems to be some advancement in storyline beyond emphasizing mystery and developing characters. We learn more about the past of several council members, while Saionji brings Anthy to the castle in the sky in order to reach an “eternal reward.”
The allusions and symbols in the episode are heavy – the castle in the sky represents Heaven, as Saionji speaks of eternity within that castle. Additionally, Anthy continues in her typical role as the bride (God’s church) and also later as Jesus, when she “resurrects” from a tomb. There could even be a discussion of eschatology to be had, with Saionji again speaking of the End of the World as the space around him seems to physically crumble.
Saionji, who has taken a back role since the opening episode of the series, plays the primary one here. Why does Saionji want an eternal reward? He seems to want to spite Kiryuu, though I’m not entirely sure of the connection here. Is he trying to steal a girl from her, as he felt the girl in the coffin was stolen from him? At the least, his motive doesn’t seem to be for anything other than selfish gain, and thus it’s no surprise that he proves unworthy of the reward.
So what exactly is this eternal something in Utena? I’m not sure, but Anthy may provide a clue. She mentions that something eternal dwells in the castle. And so, perhaps it is something or someone that is living.
And that, too, is what believers will find when they ascend to their heavenly castle. Though the Bible mentions a reward for the faithful, our souls won’t rejoice in selfish gain, like riches or glory (or revenge!). Our great reward will be that very someone eternal that dwells in Heaven.
It is God Himself.
And there could be no bigger reward.