Revolutionary Girl Utena

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Top row left to right: Touga, Akio, Saionji. Next row left to right: Miki, Utena, Juri. Bottom row left to right: Nanami, Anthy, Chu-Chu.

“Let's live our lives heroically, let's live our lives with STYLE!”
~ Oscar Wilde on the theme song

“It's a big mistake thinking you're the only one who can turn into a car! I'm a car now, too!”
~ Shiori on a somehow boring episode

Revolutionary Girl Utena, the only yuri posessing redeeming social importance (but not much) has been presented in numerous media. We focus here on the anime: several seasons and a movie. For more detail, try Wikipedia or, better yet, Tumblr.

edit Without the "Symbolism"

It tells the story of a plucky orphan, Utena Tenjou. She has very poor self esteem and therefore carefully believes the lie that someday a prince will come. Meantime she engages in hanky panky with Microsoft customer service representative Anthy Himemiya whose brother Akio, along with his gay lover Touga Kiryuu, owns and attends the school.

Occasionally we are treated to entire episodes centered around the psychoses of Touga's younger sister Nanami and Utena's friend (treated by everyone like dirt) Wakaba Shinohara (no relation to Sinnosuke "Shin-chan" Nohara), who is nutty and very easy.

The show parodies shojo anime themes, employs meta-humor, and has a strong undercurrent of homosexuality. It is Evangelion combined with Ouran and is very much the brainchild of writer and director Kunihiko Ikuhara, who recycled his Sailor Moon spec script to provide most of the material for the anime. The characters fight with swords and daggers and do some occult nonsense, and put on puppet shows to try to advance the plot. The


Puppet shows to advance the plot. 80 percent of an episode summed up in 20 percent of an episode.

student council has an absurdly large budget and never goes to class. They think they are hastening the end of the world, which for some reason they think will help them achieve something. The show is very suspenseful, gripping with a pace like a freight-train, and Anthy kills Utena in the end.

The anime was first broadcast in 1997.

edit The Characters

Utena Tenjou dresses in boy's clothes and has very few friends is a strong, silent type. Her parents are dead. She talks back to teachers and is easily tricked. She used to be Touga's boyfriend but broke up; she blamed Anthy but the two start sleeping together anyway. She tries to save Anthy's life when she isn't in any danger, and is murdered by Anthy in the last episode. She sleeps around.


Our hero, for whom things don't work out in the end. But not because she's "slow about the evil men in her life"

Wakaba Shinohara is Utena's lonely, depressed friend who acts annoying because she can't relate to people. Her mother is a morbidly obese woman with six cats who calls her Onion Prince, both because of Wakaba's huge forehead (she drank when pregnant) and a brand of pork rinds her estranged trucker husband once enjoyed.

Her boyfriend Saionji (way out of her league) was mainly using her; he lived with her as long as he did because he heard she could cook (she could not) and he heard she was easy (she was), but it ended because she could only talk about her deranged mother and the children's books she struggled to read.

Anthy Himemiya is from India. She does "whatever her master expects of her", except when she is stabbing that person in the back. Literally. Everyone wants to kill her. She sleeps around. A witch who uses powers to prank people who cross her.

Chu-Chu Anthy's familiar. Some kind of monkey.

Akio Ohtori is Anthy's brother, also from India and the owner of the school. He cheats on his fiancee (she cheats on him too) with his sister. He is named after the Japanese name of Venus, the Morning Star, in other words he is literally Lucifer, or Satan. He is also gay and sleeps around.

Prince Dios is the dead prince Utena is waiting for. She imagines his ghost comes back. In a fascinating turn of events, Akio called himself Dios when he was younger for some reason. He inspires her to live a life of acting weird and being irresponsible.

She will always remember him, until she finds another sinister stranger to sleep with.

Juri Arisugawa owns the fencing team, which is also the student council. She is obsessed with her childhood friend Shiori. She is an emotional wreck (which is saying something in this anime) and ruins her good prospects.

Miki Kaoru is a piano child prodigy. He bothers Anthy and thinks he has a chance with her. Nobody molests him although Touga almost does.

Touga Kiryuu is the smug guy with long red hair. He sleeps with most students of either gender at the school. He is a wreckless driver and nearly runs over Nanami. Utena's ex-boyfriend (dodged a bullet there). He was abused as a child by his step father, so in future seasons he will most certainly be a serial killer.

Kozue Kaoru is Miki's sister. She sleeps with most men in the series.

Saionji is the guy with the curly green hair. He is great at swordfighting. He is the school heartthrob for the first two episodes, then comic relief, then he is expelled for no reason. He uses Wakaba to get to


Most women in the anime think this man is a stud.

Touga and humiliates her by posting her illiterate, vulgar loveletters on the school bulletin boards for all to read (probably why he gets expelled, though they would have blamed Wakaba as well).

Wears a frilly apron in the woods

Nanami Kiryuu is a blonde bombshell and Touga's step-sister. She turns into a cow in one episode but got better. She is obsessed with her brother. She has three friends whom she treats like dirt who do her dirty work, consisting of harassing people she doesn't like. Her attempts at humiliating people backfire; for instance when she attempts to drench Anthy in pig's blood ruin Anthy's clothes at a ball, Anthy traps everyone in the gym and starts fires with psychic powers is quickly dressed by Utena, which attracts everyone's attention because it's hot. She slaughtered the kitten her brother found when very young; she was jealous of it and drowned it in a shoebox. Travels to India (why couldn't Anthy go?) during a Freaky Friday episode where Anthy and Utena switch bodies (rest assured it is nowhere near as interesting as it sounds, like most things in this series) where she forgets the purpose of the mission.

In spite of all this she is the smoking hot one, a filthy rich mean girl who is absolutely mental, neither particularly smart nor queer but bitchy in an entertaining way. (Be sure to explain this verbatim to any Utena fan on Tumblr, they will admire you greatly.)


Nanami's design (left) was based on model Candice Swanepoel (right).

edit The Seasons

For the religious among us who choose to believe lies, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about Revolutionary Girl Utena.

The anime series is divided into four arcs: Student Council Saga, Black Rose Saga, Akio Ohtori Saga, Apocalypse Saga. In each saga characters get depressed and go briefly insane after sexual advances by Touga or Akio.

Student Council Saga (first thirteen episodes) introduces main characters and shows us Anthy and Utena's relationship (zero chemistry). The rules state that whoever defeats the champion (Saionji at first) gets the Rose Bride, Anthy these days. Utena wins her and then everyone wants to win Anthy instead so they can abuse her.

Black Rose Saga (next eleven episodes) shows us two weird smart kids (they later form the group Steely Dan)who pretend to know psychology; they awaken the deep hateful obsessions of victims to try to get them to kill Utena and Anthy. They still suck at duelign and get their asses handed to them by Utena. Anthy cheats on Utena.

Akio Ohotori Saga (next nine episodes) shows rematches after various losers receive more satanic power from Akio.

Apocalypse Saga (last six epsiodes) ends when Utena tries to save Anthy (nothing is wrong) and Anthy kills Utena and leaves the school.

edit Conclusion

It should have been all about Nanami.

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