Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena
UTENA newtype.jpg
Cover of the Newtype artbook Newtype Ultimate Collection.
(Shōjo Kakumei Utena)
GenreFantasy, romance,[1] yuri[2]
Created byBe-Papas
Written byChiho Saito
Published byShogakukan
English publisher
Original run19961998
Anime television series
Directed byKunihiko Ikuhara
Produced byNoriko Kobayashi
Shinichi Ikeda
Written byYōji Enokido
Music byShinkichi Mitsumune
J. A. Seazer (Duel themes)
Licensed by
Original networkTV Tokyo
English network
Original run April 2, 1997 December 24, 1997
Episodes39 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Adolescence of Utena
Directed byKunihiko Ikuhara
Produced byYuji Matsukura
Atsushi Moriyama
Written byYōji Enokido
Music byShinkichi Mitsumune
J. A. Seazer (Duel themes)
Eiseki Amari
Licensed by
Nozomi Entertainment
ReleasedAugust 14, 1999
Runtime80 minutes
The Story of Someday Revolution
GenreVisual novel
PlatformSega Saturn
ReleasedMay 28, 1998
Stage shows
  • Comédie Musicale Utena La Fillette Révolutionnaire (Revolutionary Girl Utena, the Musical Comedy)
  • 少女革命ウテナ魔界転生黙示録編~麗人ニルヴァーナ来駕~ (Revolutionary Girl Utena Hell Rebirth Apocalypse ~ Advent of the Nirvanic Beauty)
  • 少女革命ウテナ~コロス幻想生命体~ (Revolutionary Girl Utena ~ Choros Imaginary Living Body)
  • 少女革命ウテナ~白き薔薇のつぼみ~ (Revolutionary Girl Utena ~ Bud of the White Rose)
  • 少女革命ウテナ~深く綻ぶ黒薔薇の~ (Revolutionary Girl Utena ~ Blooming Rose of Deepest Black)
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Revolutionary Girl Utena (Japanese: 少女革命ウテナ, Hepburn: Shōjo Kakumei Utena, French: Utena, la Fillette Révolutionnaire) is a manga by Chiho Saito and an anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The manga serial began in the June 1996 issue of Ciao and the anime was first broadcast in 1997. The anime and manga were created simultaneously, but, despite some similarities, they progressed in different directions. A movie, Adolescence of Utena (少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録, Shōjo Kakumei Utena Aduresensu Mokushiroku, literally "Revolutionary Girl Utena Adolescence Apocalypse"), was released in theatres in 1999. A number of stage productions based on the franchise were also produced in the late-1990s and late-2010s, including the "Comédie Musicale Utena la fillette révolutionnaire", staged by an all-female Takarazuka-style cast.

The main character is Utena Tenjou, a tomboyish teenage girl who was so impressed by a kind prince in her childhood that she decided to become a prince herself, expressed in her manner of dress and personality. She attends Ohtori Academy, where she meets a student named Anthy Himemiya, a girl who is in an abusive relationship with another student. Utena fights to protect Anthy and is pulled into a series of sword duels with the members of the Student Council. Anthy is referred to as the "Rose Bride" (薔薇の花嫁, Bara no hanayome) and is given to the winner of each duel. It is said that the winner of the tournament will receive a mysterious "power to revolutionize the world", and the current champion is constantly challenged for the right to possess the Rose Bride.


Manga plot

Utena is seen as having conflict with the staff of her current school and they call in her aunt, who is an interior decorator. Utena's friend Kaido is introduced and the two seem to have a strong friendship. It is then explained that Utena may be as headstrong as she is because of her parents' death at such an early age. Utena gets a letter from someone who has been sending her letters every year when the roses bloom. She says it started after she was rescued by her prince as a little girl. Kaido is intent on finding out who is sending her the letters. Later on Utena meets a co-worker of her aunt's, Aoi Wakaouji. He seems to bear a strong resemblance as well as the same ring as Utena's prince. She is drawn to him but only to have her hopes that Aoi is her prince shattered when she catches him and her aunt in a passionate moment. From there the scene from her childhood is recreated right in front of Kaido's eyes. He informs her that he found that all the letters reveal themselves to be a picture of Aoi's alma mater, an exclusive prep school. From this knowledge Utena decides to change schools. She leaves a heartbroken Kaido, who it seems has feelings for Utena, to find her prince.

Anime story

The anime series is divided into four story arcs, in each of which Utena comes to face a different challenge at Ohtori Academy (Enoki Films calls it "Otori Junior High School"). In all of them, Utena must defend her title as the owner of the Rose Bride, with the intention of protecting Anthy. The duels almost always occur when someone with the Rose Crest ring challenges the current Engaged, though the Engaged may challenge other Duelists as well. No refusal is accepted. The matches occur in the dueling arena, a large, high platform in the academy's outskirts, which is only open to duelists. The Rose Bride pins roses to the Duelists' jackets. They then sword fight until one duelist wins by knocking away the opponent's rose with his or her blade.

(The story arc names below link to more details than given here as well as the episodes.)

Episodes 1 to 13. This first part of the series introduces Utena, Anthy and most of the main characters. It depicts how Utena ends up winning the Rose Bride, and her initial duels against the Student Council members. They in turn insist for various reasons on fighting in order to defeat Utena and win Anthy in order to gain the power to revolutionize the world.
Episodes 14 to 24. After repelling the Student Council's attempts to take Anthy, Utena faces another obstacle, Souji Mikage. Disguised as a genius 18-year-old school counselor, he uses his powers of persuasion and knowledge of psychology to put people under his control by coaxing them to confide their deepest hostilities and fears. Almost always, these people are students whose problems stem from conflict with Utena, Anthy and the Student Council. He then sends them, wearing black Rose Crest rings on their fingers and frozen, black roses on their chests to fight Utena. This arc also introduces Akio Ohtori.
Episodes 25 to 33. After solving the Mikage situation, Utena must fight rematches against the Student Council, whose members attain new abilities upon meeting Akio. At the same time, she finds herself the target of Akio's seduction, creating a rift between her and Anthy. (Note: The published English materials combine this and the Apocalypse Arc, but it's generally divided based on the presence of episode 33 as a recap episode.)
Episodes 34 to 39. As the conflict escalates, the dark secrets of the duels and Akio and Anthy's true intentions behind them are unveiled, and Utena confronts Akio in a final duel to free Anthy from his influence.