"Memoirs of a Student" (part 6)

(previously: 1 2 3 4 5)

Ohtori Academy was exactly what you’d expect for a ritzy private boarding school. We had our badminton courts, our swimming pool, our rooftop cafeteria…our stables and our fancy flower gardens. We lived in dorms and had dinners in big dining halls, cooked by school staff. Everything we needed was provided…though we did have to pay for it. That said, the school seemed to have a generous endowment, since I know myself and several others were there on scholarships of one form or another.

This is not to say that Ohtori was a lax or carefree environment! The teachers were as strict as you’d expect to find in such a school, though if you followed the letter of the rules you could get away with quite a bit. And then there were those who were just careful not to get caught. But if you followed the rules—or had special dispensation—the teachers mostly left you alone.

Independence. That’s what set the children of Ohtori apart from other kids, or so it seems when comparing childhoods. When the school day was over, we would leave the hill on which the academy was built and go down into the surrounding town. We would make our own lunches and occasionally cook our own dinners, and generally had the freedom to use our time as we wished. Perhaps this is true at all boarding schools to some extent, but I felt like most people don’t have that experience until high school or even college. For us, even the elementary school students had a fair amount of freedom to do as they pleased.

These freedoms were exercised in their fullest form by the privileged members of the student council. Members of the student council were treated with respect even by the teachers, and were often involved in duties that kept them out of normal classes. They also had fancier dorms and often shared that privilege with their siblings—though in a boarding school away from home, perhaps it was reasonable to keep families together.

Occasionally, the council would host events for selected members of the student body, galas of grandeur and high class. We normal students used to dream of receiving an invitation to such an event, and if one of our number actually did, then we would crowd around them with congratulations and jealousy and a flurry of preparation, helping them get ready for their chance to visit what felt like a castle in the sky.

The student council was most likely not selected by true democratic process; in fact, none of the people interviewed in the making of this book could recall the process at all, including multiple former student council members. Despite this, no one would ever claim that the positions were unfairly acquired; all of the members were highly distinguished in one or more extracurricular activities, and some were academically gifted as well. There was also likely a bit of favoritism involved on the part of the administration, since a good number of the members come from wealthy families.

Certainly no one—adult or child—is ever universally liked, and indeed there were always students that held feelings of enmity or antipathy towards members of the student council. But there was also a clear sense that the student council was above the rest of us, untouchable. Crossing the teachers might land you in detention, but interfering with student council affairs could make you an outcast in the pecking order of middle school and high school, and violating the school code as it pertained to the student council could get you expelled.

Curiously, every student council member was involved in some kind of martial arts extracurricular, usually fencing or kendo. This would be nothing but an interesting triviality if it weren’t for the rumors of a student council ritual known as “dueling”. The nature of this ritual remained a closely guarded secret all throughout my time at Ohtori, with the only clue being repeated sightings of student council members outside the forbidden forest at the west end of campus. These stories were repeated over the years too often to be coincidence, such that by the time I came to the Academy it was considered unsurprising to spot a student council member outside the forest at odd times. Even today, however, former student council members do not like to talk about “dueling”, which suggests that it was something shameful, perhaps along the lines of “hazing” rituals found in American universities.

In addition to their crisp white uniforms, the student council members each wore a ring impressed with the seal of the academy, the “rose crest”. It was rare, but not unheard of, for a student council member to grant such a ring to another student as well, and this, more than anything else, seemed to foretell who the future leaders of the student body would be.

from “Memoirs of a Student”, by Shinohara Wakaba

Memoirs is on FanFiction.net now!

…although I’m putting it up a chapter a week so that there isn’t a sharp drop-off when I hit the end of what I’ve written already (since, as previously mentioned, I have no clue where the heck this story is going, and will not force myself to keep writing it when I run out of ideas). The first chapter seems to have attracted approximately zero followers, so we’ll see if this matters at all. Still, it’s an indication of some kind that I now think there’s potentially a whole story here and not just a bunch of notes and one-offs.

In case anyone missed all the previous chapters, but is reading this one, this is fanfiction for Revolutionary Girl Utena, meant to be read after you’ve seen the whole show. It’s, um, quite a show.

Doing another one of these “excerpt” sections is making up for what I said last time, about losing what I liked about the first two chapters in favor of interviews and things. The trouble is there’s not that much information in canon about Wakaba or Ohtori or really anything outside of the plot, and so I don’t know how many more I’ll be able to do that aren’t just completely making things up. I guess we’ll see.

Further episodes of Memoirs of a Student may just appear on FF.net. I haven’t decided. Further episodes of Memoirs of a Student will appear only on FF.net. I know I only have maybe one regular reader among my friends anyway.

Part of NaCreSoMo 2018.