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I'm currently on episode 10 of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and I've noticed that at certain points someone (most likely Miki, if I'm not mistaken) will pull out something that looks like a stopwatch or a counter. (This happens in the beginning of episode 10 when the Student Council is discussing the next duelist, and also happens earlier in some of the points concerning Nanami.) Some sort of clicking sound will accompany this.

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But I'm not really sure what this is supposed to signify (if anything). Is Miki counting something, or is this supposed to just set the tone for something? If so, what is this "something"?

Update: In episode 11, Miki pulls out a stopwatch again after asking Touga if he's just treating his sister like a pet (in the translation I was watching) and states a "time" of 6.54 seconds. But I'm still not sure what he's counting. Afterwards, the discussion immediately goes back to Nanami's loss to Utena.

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    It's most definitely an electronic stopwatch. – Hakase Aug 20 '14 at 7:10
  • @user1306322: definitely. but the "cuts" were relatively fast so before pausing to take a screenshot of it, I wasn't very sure. – Maroon Aug 20 '14 at 7:17
  • I was pretty sure his role in the Student Council is the secretary so him using a stop watch could be seen as him taking the "Minutes" of his interactions (like how a secretary takes the minutes of a meeting). however this doesn't explain why he uses the stop watch at infrequent times since i do remember him taking out the watch outside Student Council Meetings. it may have something to do with the symbolism in the background of the meetings we see in later episodes. – Memor-X Aug 20 '14 at 22:07
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Yes, it is a stopwatch. Ikuhara Kunihiko (Director/Producer, Storyboards, Original Concept) answered this question in an Animage interview with Be-Papas, the animation studio that created Utena:

Translation by a fan:

Animage magazine: The next question came up most often.

Question: What does Miki measure with his stopwatch? (reader from Hokkaido)

Ikuhara: Let’s just say that it’s connected with the structure of the world.

All: (laugh).

Enokido Yoji (Animation Composition, Chief Screenwriter): That’s a really hard-to-understand answer.

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    Thanks! I suppose this doesn't actually clarify much for me, but it looks like as good an answer as we'll get, without speculating on things. – Maroon Sep 5 '14 at 16:25
  • I would downvote Ikuhara's answer - if it were on this site... – einpoklum Jun 19 '17 at 18:16
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Miki uses her stopwatch during certain conversations with the other members of the student council, mostly while they are in private. I believe she is timing moments of significant things that they say to one another that has an alternate meaning than the physical.

The themes in this story are very abstract and metaphysical but all interconnected, like:

  • The symbolism of the staircase spiraled straight to heaven is the character's feelings of hope about important memories and feelings they all have and wish to keep eternal.
  • The shining castle in the sky is just a mirage to signify that shining everlasting hope that some keep close to their hearts and hope to attain once again.

But everything has cause and effect and is on an eternal clock of action and reaction. A spiral of spira mirabilis, times and moments stacked upon one another to create the reality we live in now. These moments are algorithms in the universe and everything plays an important role in this grand play, and we are all actors playing our parts.

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