Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Watched 2010 roughly
Completed Episodes: 39/39
Aired: Apr, 1997 to Dec, 1997
Producers: J.C.Staff, TV Tokyo, Right Stuf, Central Park Media
Shoujo Kakumei Utena is a manga adaptation originally by a Chiho Saito.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena is a likely one of the earliest examples of a fandom Yuri pairing which was almost canon because of how often it was hinted at.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena was an very unique anime. Even now with its dated animation techniques, Utena is a beautiful work of art. Everything about it unique and different. The colours are bright and the backgrounds well designed. Plus this anime is not all about looks either. It contained some pretty deep theme. Including many topics which are seeming now taboo in anime outside of their genres.
Notably gender. While never specially said, it could be argued that our leading lady is gender-fluid. Taking the ‘male role’ of the series and having a relationship with the ‘female’ lead. Unlike say Akuma no Riddle where the ‘male’ lead as short hair and very tomboyish vibe, Utena still retains her long pink hair and their are times where she is undeniably female.
So what has lead Utena to play the male role? Utena was once a young girl (princess) who was saved by a handsome prince. The prince that save her, gave her a ring in promises that he may one day return. An engagement ring perhaps? Most girls would eagerly await the return of their prince. Utena on the other hand was so taken by the prince, she wished to become a prince herself.
We met the adult Utena as she is arguing with his second about the school rules towards uniform. To be exact, there is no rule saying a girl can not wear the boys uniform. And so she wears it proudly. Excellent at sports too, all the girls love her and call her the prince of the school.
One day Utena protects girl from being bullied and somehow ends up in a duel over the right to control the girl. She has stumbled into a game where the player, all with some very serious issues and problems, duel over the hand of the Rose Bride. The duelest fight with swords drawn from their own hearts, or in the case of the current owner, the Rose Bride’s heart. To do this, and to show you are participating in the game, the player wear rose rings. Remember that ring the Prince gave Utena? That is one of the rings. The winner of the game will have the power to revolutionize the world. A phrase repeated often in the anime but even by the end the full understanding of the term is vague at best. Certainly the Rose Bride’s power can cause a drastic change.
The Rose bride herself is Anthy Himemiya. A girl who has very much a ‘doormat’ nature. She almost never stand up for herself. Her entire purpose in life and this anime is to be a pawn. Once Utena wins the rights to her, Utena protects her from people who would otherwise abuse or insult her. Those people use abuse her partly because they don’t think she as the ability to care about how people are treating her? Messed up but considering how obedient she is to other people and how she lets people treat her as a servant, especially her current Victor, whose every wishes she must cater to according to herself, its not surprising people have given up on treating her like human. A problem Utena tries to fix, and indeed Anthy is considerably warmer to Utena than other people due to this.
As previously stated there are some pretty dark and deep themes in this anime. Utena fights against a lot of prejudice and just plain wrong ideology in order to free Anthy from her curse. His animes unusual because it takes a typical shoujo trait and encourages girls to think for themselves and become who they want to be, not what is expected of them.
So this platinum for me as I’ve never watched another anime just quite like it.