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Film Friday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Film Friday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

The anime series is divided into four story arcs, in each of which Utena comes to face a different challenge at Ohtori Academy. 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.)

  • Student Council Saga
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.
  • Black Rose Saga
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.
  • Akio Ohtori Saga
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.
  • Apocalypse Saga
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.

A movie, Adolescence of Utena, was released in theatres in 1999. A number of stage productions based on the franchise were also produced in the mid-1990s, 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” 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.

Other Tuesday- Revolutionary Girl Utena Character Special

Other Tuesday- Revolutionary Girl Utena Character Special

Character Special:

Utena Tenjou
Utena is a tomboyish, courageous and naïve character who lives to emulate the idealized prince figure from her childhood. She is forthright, honest and friendly. Nearly all the girls in school adore her. She both subverts and conforms to the stereotypes she embodies as a noble warrior and a naïve magical girl in danger of becoming a damsel in distress. The series chronicles her journey to protect her friend Anthy and become a truly noble Prince. Utena’s relationship with Anthy, going from close friends to family to blooming into love, is one of the most important themes in the series; both Utena and Anthy were confirmed to be in love by director Kunihiko Ikuhara. In the manga, Utena’s relationship with Anthy is only that of friendship and it’s hinted she has feelings for Touga. In the movie, Utena went to Ohtori to find Touga after the two apparently broke up. She mistakenly believes Anthy is the cause for the breakup, but soon forms a relationship with Anthy. Their relationship becomes more sexually-tinged compared to the TV series. The characters are seen kissing both in the TV show credits and the movie. Her Dueling Rose is white.
Anthy Himemiya
A mysterious, shy girl whose vapid expression and superficial politeness mask a complex, darker personality. It is said that she has no thoughts or desires of her own; she will do anything her master expects of her. Because of her “doormat” behavior, other characters tend to project their wants or desires onto her, and she is always the target of their eventual rage. Her past and current personality are simultaneously tragic and sinister, and her personality shifts between selfless love, passive-aggressiveness, cruelty and learned helplessness. Like Utena, Anthy also subverts and conforms to the stereotypes she embodies as both a damsel in distress and a witch. Near the end of the series she betrays Utena and stabs her with the sword of Dios as she cannot accept a prince that is a girl. When, despite this, Utena tries to save Anthy and takes the Swords of Hatred in her place, Anthy in a way has been revolutionized by Utena and is no longer in control by Akio nor is she longer the Rose Bride. She leaves the school to find Utena. In the manga she forms a strong friendship with Utena and nothing more. In the movie, Anthy’s role as the Rose Bride is more explicit as it’s shown she will have sex with whomever is the current champion. In the movie, Anthy is portrayed as much less manipulative and more open.
Akio Ohtori
Anthy’s sensual and mysterious older brother, the acting chairman of the academy, and the main antagonist of the series. His incestuous and power-driven relationship with Anthy is key to understanding her behavior. Although almost non-present in the first season of the TV show, he later plays a pivotal role in the second and third seasons. Akio’s given name is derived from the Japanese name of Venus as the Morning Star, which is identified with Lucifer. In the TV series, Akio used to be Dios and was the reason and cause of Anthy’s suffering and Utena’s desire to be a noble prince. Akio schemed from the start in order to take Utena’s Sword, since he no longer has the power of nobility or to gain the same power he used to have when he was Dios. In the manga, Dios and Akio are not the same character but gods who became separated after Akio killed Dios to gain full power. In the movie, Akio is already dead and Dios is created by Anthy’s magic.

Student Council

Touga Kiryuu
President of the Student Council and Ohtori’s resident playboy, Touga is an arrogant and handsome young man whose desire to be powerful drives him to cruel, unscrupulous deeds and whose manipulative abilities are second only to Akio. He is the only regular Council Member who deliberately involves himself in Akio’s plans. Despite his talent and intelligence, Touga eventually realizes that he’s not as influential as Akio, and this causes him to change his ways as he tries to discover a new method to gain power. In the manga his sexual behavior is downplayed and he becomes a servant to Utena in order to help her as well as get close to her. In the movie, he used to be Utena’s boyfriend but something happened that caused them to drift apart. In the movie, instead of Dios, Touga is the main motivation for Utena to go to Ohtori. He is gentle and noble but it is shown in a flashback that he was raped by his adopted father, which explains his loose sexual morals. An episode was planned that focused on this aspect of Touga’s past in the TV series, but due to Takehito Koyasu’s absence this plot point never came to be. His Dueling Rose is red.
Kyouichi Saionji
Vice-president of the Student Council and captain of the kendo team. Kyouichi is temperamental, egotistical, prone to angry rages, and often cruel. Kyouichi’s lack of self-control stems from insecurity, a lifelong rivalry against Touga from which he is always at the losing end, and the fear that everyone and everything he knows will eventually die. He is obsessed with Anthy because he views the Rose Bride as a mindless doll who will never disobey him, and thus be with him forever. His Dueling Rose is green.
Miki Kaoru
Miki is an ingenuous and polite seventh grader who befriends Utena, despite their role as possible opponents in the duels. He is especially known for his skill with the piano. In spite (or because of) his genius, he is lonely, sheltered and insecure, and seeks a person who is just as pure and talented as him. With the exception of their two duels, Miki is mostly a friend to Utena. In the anime he has a crush on Anthy, whereas in the manga he has a crush on Utena. His Dueling Rose is light blue.
Juri Arisugawa
The captain of the academy’s fencing team, Juri is one of Ohtori’s most highly respected students, and even the teachers appear to be in awe of her. Her aloof, intimidating manner hides her secret love for her childhood friend, Shiori. Of the Student Council Duelists, she is thought to be the most noble, and thus the one with the most potential to become a Prince, but her nobility and the strength that comes with it are constantly undermined by her desires and despair. In the manga she is deeply in love with Touga and hates Utena for being a rival to his heart. Her Dueling Rose is orange.
Nanami Kiryuu
Touga’s dramatic younger sister, often used as comic relief throughout the series. Her love for her brother borders on obsession and incest, and she is often seen using devious means to punish the people who take Touga’s attentions away from her. Despite this, she displays a certain childish innocence in her desires, that is distinctly at odds with Akio and Anthy’s relationship. Though her motivations are considered the least ambitious out of all the Duelists, they are no less real to her, and she suffers just as much as all the other Student Council members throughout the series, being a constant victim of her brother’s manipulations. She is only shown in a photo in the manga and has no role in the movie, but is briefly shown as a cow, referring to one of the “gag” episodes of the series where Nanami turns into a cow. Her Dueling Rose is yellow.
Ruka Tsuchiya
A master swordsman, Ruka is the former captain of the fencing team and a former member of the Student Council. His cunning, manipulative behavior belies a hidden desperation to live and help the one he loves, and his influence on Juri becomes one of the major turning points for her character. His Dueling Rose is dark blue.

Black Rose Duelists

Souji Mikage
Souji is the pink-haired head of the popular Mikage Seminar at Ohtori Academy. He wishes to kill Anthy and install a gravely ill boy, Mamiya Chida, as the Rose Bride in order to save him from terminal illness. Mikage uses manipulation and psychology to control students close to the Council members in order to create a Duelist who can beat Utena.
Kanae Ohtori
Akio’s fiancée, daughter of the school’s Trustee Chairman. She has a strained relationship with Anthy, who she finds “creepy and intolerable”, and considers Anthy an obstacle to her relationship with Akio. Though she loves Akio very much, she feels distant from him and becomes the first Black Rose Duelist.
Kozue Kaoru
Miki’s twin sister, Kozue feels overshadowed by her brother’s talents and reacts by sleeping with many different men. She’s extremely possessive of Miki to the point where she physically hurts anyone who tries to hurt or “steal” him. In the manga, Kozue’s brother complex is purely innocent and she acts more like Nanami does in the TV series. In the movie, Kozue is in a implied incestuous relationship with her brother but Miki is shown breaking it up. Later on, Kozue is shown as a car implying she is either also helping Miki to escape Ohtori or simply helping Utena and Anthy.
Shiori Takatsuki
Shiori is the catalyst for Juri’s current broken state of mind. She simultaneously idolizes Juri for her brilliance and feels envious of her for it. Her extreme lack of self-worth is the reason for the rocky relationship between the two, and it reaches a breaking point when Ruka re-enters Ohtori Academy. According to Kunihiko Ikuhara, Shiori was ironically also in love with Juri the entire time but she believes Juri’s affection towards her was out of pity, not love. She thus wants to remain in control of their relationship by never confessing to Juri so she will be the winner of their rivalry. In the movie, she is the main antagonist who manipulates Juri’s feelings for her so Juri can duel with Utena.
Mitsuru Tsuwabuki
Nanami’s most devoted lackey, a boy in fourth grade. Mitsuru is obsessed with serving Nanami and wishes to be her adored “brother”. He is extremely confused about love, sex and adulthood in general. Mitsuru’s fruitless attempts to experiment makes him a Black Rose Duelist.
Wakaba Shinohara
Wakaba is the most outwardly cheerful person in the series and is Utena’s best friend, but she feels surrounded by “special” people and doesn’t know how to become special herself. Wakaba sees herself as a perfectly average person and is only happy when she takes care of people because she does not feel like she has any other talents. Wakaba does not realize the importance of her role in the story — her crush on Kyouichi Saionji and his rejection caused Utena to become involved in the duels in the first place, and her empathy and passion rescued Utena from a slump after the first Touga duel.
Keiko Sonoda
Keiko is one of Nanami’s sidekicks who follows her only because she has a crush on Touga. Her jealousy, though as simple as Nanami’s, is strong enough for Souji to take advantage of her mind.

Manga Monday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Manga Monday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena 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.

Utena is a highly metaphysical, surreal and allegorical shōjo series. It contains a mix of borrowed visuals from Takarazuka theater, shadow puppetry and classic douseiai-style shōjo manga.

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.

On May 20, 2017, Shōgakukan announced that a new chapter will be published in the September issue of its magazine Flower (to be released on July 28, 2017). Shōgakukan didn’t precisely state if other chapters would be released past September. Chiho Saitō is still in charge of the drawing.