When Utena was a little girl, she was orphaned, and she met a prince who gave her a ring with a rose seal. This prince made such a great impression on her that she decided to become a prince herself. Now Utena attends high school in a European city filled with tons of architecturally impressive white buildings. She comes to school dressed in a non-standard boyï¿½s school uniform coat and shorts, she beats the boys at basketball, she is one of the most popular girls in school. She speaks like a boy, and her ambition is to be ï¿½a noble prince who saves princessesï¿½.
This is a shoujo anime, so be prepared for revolving flowers, rose petals floating through the air in slow motion, and lots of billowing hair!
Utena sees a girl, Anthy, being slapped by the student councilï¿½s vice president, Saionji. He is stopped by Touga, the president of the student council. The members of student government at Utenaï¿½s high school are evil. EVIL, I tell you! They are being controlled by letters from a shadowy organization called “The End of The World” and seem to be plotting an apocalyptic revolution. I always suspected that anyone involved in student government was a willing minion of evil, so I enjoyed seeing this articulated in a tv show.
Anthy is the ï¿½Rose Brideï¿½, who becomes engaged to whoever wins a duel fought over her. She is a quiet student, keeping to herself and spending most of her time gardening in the school greenhouse. Anthy seems to get slapped in the face during almost every Utena episode. (If one were to invent an Utena drinking game, Anthy getting slapped have to be on the list, along with Utena being tackled by her best friend dangerously close to an open window, Chu-Chu the Monkey suffering from a surfeit of mucus, Touga taking of his shirt, and a disembodied chorus singing ï¿½Trilobite!ï¿½)
Utena ends up challenging the evil vice president of the student council to a duel after he humilates her best friend Wakaba. Our heroine manages to defeat him, but as the winner of the duel finds herself engaged to Anthy. She protestes that she doesnï¿½t want a bride, she just wants to be a normal boy, but members of the student council keep challenging her, and she continues to win the duels.
Utena has both humor and suspense. It is darker than some shoujo anime, with more mature themes. It doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously, which is part of its charm. Uber Perl Guru Larry Wall says ï¿½if you’d like to see an unashamedly postmodern anime, you should get ahold of Revolutionary Girl Utenaï¿½ (via utena.net)
Will the apocalypse come from a small clique of uniformed high school students? What is Utena’s role in the end of the world? Will Anthy grow a spine? Will Utena meet her long-lost prince, and will he be cool with her cross dressing tendencies?
I donï¿½t know, Iï¿½ve only netflixed the first dvd, stay tuned!