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Jury's Relationships

Shiori: The object of Jury's simultaneous affection and resentment, Shiori haunts Jury more as a memory than as an actual person, twin ghosts of a cruel backstabber and an innocent friend from middle school that never cease to have their hold on Jury's heart. "I hate you because you never understood my wish," Jury says–the root of Jury's anger at Shiori is not so much that Shiori tried to hurt her but that Shiori failed to intuit Jury's true feelings for her. Jury is so bitter about this that when Shiori returns to Ohtori and asks for the restoration of their friendship, Jury coldly walks away, only offering words that add to Shiori's frustration and confusion. (This is not to say that Jury is the "bad guy" here; certainly, she has every right to be angry, as Shiori herself points out. What this is saying is that her actions did nothing to improve the situation.)

Why tell Shiori "no hard feelings" even as she is so clearly angry? Why, if Jury is so angry, not simply tell Shiori dead on she mistrusts her and does not wish for friendship again? Perhaps Jury wishes to string along Shiori in Shiori's expressed hopes for friendship in the way Jury is drawn along in her hope for love. Perhaps Jury's anger is equally strong as her love and her emotions have put her in stalemate. Perhaps Jury does not wish to be free.

If Jury is truly angry at Shiori, and part of her wants to be free from her, Ruka's actions toward Shiori only push Jury in the opposite direction. Seeing Shiori potentially in danger–and then truly in emotional pain afterward–her resentment fades in favor of compassion for her "old friend." Unfortunately, her earlier attempts to drive Shiori away have resulted in Shiori's unwillingness to accept Jury's "sudden" expressions of concern. The twilight perpetuates.

Perhaps Jury's conflicted feelings are why she cannot win the Duel–and why she herself acknowledges this at the end of her second Duel by defaulting to Utena. Jury isn't ready for her Miracle, not yet.

It's hard to figure out what happens next. Shiori had turned the tables and pushed Jury away–but then we find her at the end of episode 29 (after Jury's second duel) waiting for Jury on the way home from school. Jury waits for Shiori to catch up. We can only imagine their conversation: is it a fight? An apology? By the end we know they get along on some level: Shiori has joined the fencing team, meaning that Jury is willing to allow Shiori on her turf, and Shiori is willing to be in a situation where Jury is going to be superior.

Ruka:Ruka's two-episode appearance is relatively brief but brings up some amazingly complicated issues. He is difficult to fathom, an odd cross of Touga-like playboyness and manipulativeness and Jury-like pride, determination, and romanticism. Ruka and Jury's past is equally enigmatic–clearly she has at least as much respect for him as he does for her, but she also receives him coldly when he returns from his "convalescence." Still, their past relationship could not have been strictly mentor-student. Distantly respectful teammates do not talk and train in special private spots with beautiful views.

Ruka is as obsessed with Jury as she is with Shiori, but he is far more machiavellian than Jury in attaining his desires. Ruka is clear in his mind on what he wants, and what he wants is Jury, a Jury unhinged from her old obsessions. I might speculate that it was Jury's inability to move on that frustrated earlier attempts on Ruka's part to win Jury's affection–said attempt also being why Jury acts a bit distantly toward him at first. Jury does show some fondness for him–a fondness which returns after her rage at him dissipates, and he is gone once again from the Academy. I tend to believe that her hope that "you got your wish" was genuine. Perhaps it's easier for Jury to be forgiving of those who are not present in her life.

Miki: Called the "handsome duo" in the manga, Jury and Miki in any version of the Epic of Utena are a striking and adorable pair of cohorts. Miki is as gentle and outwardly sweet as Jury is outwardly predatory, and yet as I said earlier, through Miki (and sometimes only through Miki) we often get to see Jury's softer, friendly side. Some imagine potential for romance there, which I don't–I tend to interpret Jury's brief, very occasional flirtations as teasing, as somehow I cannot see the more mature girl seriously thinking about putting the moves on a barely-pubescent boy. The pair always strikes me more as a healthy sibling-type relationship (healthy, as in not the kind of relationship we see between actual siblings in the series), with Jury as the protective older sister in the way that I mentioned in the character analysis above.

Important sidenote: protective, not overprotective (that's Kozue's job). Jury worries over Miki but seldom interferes in his life directly (unless he is royally screwing up at fencing). She seems to be of the opinion that he should pursue his art of music over anything, even swordplay, and wishes he could be happy with his incredible skills, but we don't hear her say this to him. Perhaps she sees a little of herself in him and hopes he can let go of his yearnings for the past to concentrate on his skills and dreams of the present. She's pleased when she discovers he has a crush on someone–at least until she realizes the crush is on Anthy Himemiya–probably because she hopes he's starting to have some normal-boy interactions with people his age.

Jury hardly opens up around her kohai, despite their seeming closeness–Miki had no idea about the situation with Shiori until after the Black Rose incident in episode 17 (and this is only implied by the glare he and Nanami give her when she advises them that their lives would be easier if they just fell in love with someone else). But Jury does some very unusual things around Miki nonetheless, such as smile and laugh. Miki even gets away with teasing Jury once or twice, such as in "The Cowbell of Happiness," when he pokes at her for her jewelry obsession when she comments on others ensnared by brand-names.

It's a damn good thing Miki has Jury, or he would have precious few examples of sane women in his life. And it's a damn good thing Jury has Miki, or she'd probably be less sane to begin with.

Utena: Utena and Jury's friendship gets off to a rocky start, what with Jury physically attacking her and all. I have a strong hunch that Utena is the age Jury was when the whole Fencing Boy fiasco happened, and Utena with her miracle talk and impossible-to-attain love just reminds Jury a bit too much of herself. Utena's meddlesome naiveté also causes Jury to compare her to Shiori and her "cruel innocence."

And yet for all of Utena's too-high-hopes and general cluelessness, Jury ends up respecting her. I think the main catch is that Jury realizes Utena's nobility is not false, as Jury first claimed–that's why Jury lends Utena her sword so she can defeat Touga. Much much much later, Jury says what no other council member will: that Utena deserves to win for her lack of selfishness. Jury comes around to admire Utena's compassion and idealism, and perhaps Utena reminds Jury that idealism is not solely the realm of the foolish and false.

Some people think Jury's request for Utena's photo was indicative of a crush on Utena. Given that Jury tends to flee her real romantic feelings–and given that Jury does occasionally like to tease her younger friends and acquaintances–I tend to disagree. (I discuss this more in detail in my essay Ruminations on a Game of Lawn Tennis.) However, I am also a big fat sucker for the Jury-and-Shiori-get-over-their-bullshit-and-live-happily-ever-after scenario, so I may be a tad biased towards considering Jury's feelings for Utena (or anyone else, for that matter) as little more than affectionately platonic.

Go back to Jury's Character Summary for any more available analysis.

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