Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena) is a 1997 anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Utena Tenjou is an eighth-grade girl who wishes to become a prince, and because of it gets caught up in a strange dueling game played by her fellow middle- and high-schoolers. As Utena fights to protect – and befriend – Anthy Himemiya, her shy classmate but also the mysterious Rose Bride at the center of the duels, the stakes become higher and the game more dangerous.
Utena is an amazing and very worthwhile anime, but it is also an extremely intense and disturbing one. I love the show, but it is irresponsible to recommend it to people without a warning about the subject matter. I believe Utena has the potential to be be very cathartic and comforting for people, especially wlw, who’ve experienced trauma, but also very dangerous with regard to triggers. I’ve put together this guide so that people curious about the show can be forewarned and watch it in safety, or choose not to if they deem it too disturbing.
Many thanks to the volunteer editors/proofreaders who helped me complete this!
She’s pushing herself so hard. She’s pissed off at all the mediocre dudebros on the fencing team that she undoubtedly carries singlehandedly to a championship every year. Miki’s kissing her ass and she’s like ‘whatever blue child, you don’t know the hard realities of adult life like me, a sixteen year old, because you are merely petulant and smol. Watch as I cryptically discuss eggshells bc it’s a fucking motif, and also hold onto my conveniently-shaped pendant in which I definitely do not hide anything of any importance.’
The fact that this scene is somehow made EVEN BETTER in the movie is enough to prove Juri wrong. IT’S A GODDAMN MIRACLE.
This story came together quickly as a “story about relationships.” “He” and “she” only appear within Jury’s memories. The ending in the final script is different than it was in the first draft. The endgame is still about getting a better idea of who Jury really is; that didn’t change. But the first draft ended on a “Could it be?” sort of a note. As the script was finalized, I decided to come right out and say, “She was in love with a girl.”
Jury’s story is “a metaphor of unrequited love.” If you watch it from that perspective, I think it’s an easy one for anybody to understand. Shiori’s design referenced the heroine of Ms. Saito’s short manga Himegoto no Natsu. It’s about a brother and sister entering a forbidden relationship; I enjoyed the total mismatch between the heroine’s sweet prettiness and the story’s bold development. I think we borrowed her looks because we wanted to hide something behind prettiness.