English: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Apr 2, 1997 to Dec 24, 1997
23 min. per ep.
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
8.221 (scored by 19,929 users)
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SynopsisJust after Utena's parents died she was consoled by a prince who gave her a ring with a rose crest on it. Utena was so impressed by the Prince that she vowed to become one herself one day. A few years later Utena is attending Ohtori Academy where she gives all the teachers headaches because she dresses in a boys uniform so she can be like the prince she met long ago.
After Utena's friend is insulted by a member of the Student Council, Utena fights in a duel for her friends honor. Utena's rose crest allows her to enter the dueling arena where Utena wins the duel and becomes engaged to the Rose Bride. Unknowingly, Utena is pulled into a series of duels with other members of the Student Council for the possession of the Rose Bride. As she becomes fond of Anthy, the Rose Bride, she must fight to keep her friend safe and to discover the horrifying secret behind Ohtori Academy.
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Characters & Voice Actors
Opening Theme"Rinbu Revolution" by Masami Okui
Ending Theme#1: "Truth" by Luca Yumi (eps 1-24)
#2: "バーチャルスター発生学 (Virtual Star Hasseigaku)" by Maki Kamiya (eps 25-38)
#3: "Rose & release" by Masami Okui (ep 39)
Shoujo Kakumei Utena is a difficult beast to review. On one hand, it has one of the more interesting and heart-wretching plots in an anime I've watched ; on another hand, it sure takes its own sweet time reaching the good parts. Let's dive in, shall we?
The major problem I had with this anime is its pacing. The first episode set up this incredible tale of action and drama with a lingering mystery as to Utena's backstory and the identities of her prince, the mysterious End of The World character and the Rose Bride as well as their relationships with one another. However subsequent episodes instead stopped this focus on the main characters and instead introduce and shifted the focus onto the side characters and their arcs, which are also split in between several other filler episodes. While I did enjoy Juri's and Nanami's story arcs, they weren't enough to redeem the boredom and mediocrity of the other character arcs (Wakaba, that kid whose name I forgot, Miki and etc etc). Since none of these side characters play a huge role in the overall story between Utena, Anthy and Akio, the pacing is very messy. Basically, the pacing grinds to a complete halt after the beginning of a new story arc for the filler side character stories to take the spotlight, only to accelerate completely once the show remembers Utena is the main character of the series. It makes watching the series difficult and keeping track of the story becomes a chore.
The series can get very formulaic, especially for the episodes that do not focus completely on Utena. Side character, let's call him José , has problem, José angsts, José consults untrustworthy person, José challenges Utena to a duel for some reason (occasionally they don't have one), Utena kicks their ass with the power of stock footage, José get better until the next José-focused arc. It's a chore to grind through these episodes, especially if you don't particularly like the side character currently under the spotlight. Honestly, the series would have benefited greatly if it trimmed out all the fat and just focused solely on the Utena episodes with maybe a few episodes introducing the side characters and giving them some development.
As I said previously, not all the characters are engaging as they are. Juri and Nanami are standouts for me thanks to the character development they went through, and most of the student council is fairly likable, and Akio is fabulous as all hell, but I couldn't care less for the plight Utena and Anthy went through. While a good deal of this comes from the schizophrenic structure of the series, Utena herself isn't an engaging character to begin with, and her character development isn't anything to write about. Anthy is a bit better as she constantly has a mysterious aura around her, but the payoff comes so late into the plot, and the fact that she's a complete doormat failed to garner even the slightest bit of interest in her.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena does a few things right though, and while I may seem like I hate the series, I actually like several moments from the series. The Shadow Girls were an excellent addition to the series, providing some nice breaks in the episodes and giving a nice plot synopsis for the times I slept through the episodes. The animation is brilliant, mixing familiar real-world elements with abstract, surreal imagery, and the male characters are absolutely fabulous.
Is Utena worth watching? It all depends on your tolerance for filler episodes. Otherwise, watch the first and last episodes of each story arc (1,9,12,14,22,23,25,32, and 34 onwards).
Admittedly, I'm biased when it comes to reviewing this anime. I started watching it at a very impressionable age, and the impact it had on me at that particular time in my life is astronomical. I also have a huge soft spot for anything surreal, gender-bending, absurd, existential, or psychological.
That being said, Utena fulfills all of those criteria beautifully. And it is enjoyable on multiple levels. I enjoy it as much now, at age 20, as I did at age 12. My understanding of the characters, the symbolism, and the message inherent in each episode has changed dramatically. At a young age I saw everything as Utena did; I viewed the series from her standpoint, agreed with her fully, and essentially played the role of the fool. In the final episodes when she does not understand what Akio was saying, I did not either. Now I do. Now I sympathize with him, understand his cynicism and manipulation of adolescence, and now I realize just how truly revolutionary and powerful one Tenjou Utena was. Now I understand Akio's shock. He's lost the ability to see things as the iconoclast--the fool who is an iconoclast without being self-aware of the full implications of what he or she is doing.
But then, I digress.
"Utena" borrows heavily from the philosophies of Carl Jung and Hermann Hesse, most notably the latter's incredible novel "Demian". I highly recommend that those who enjoyed this series read the works of both men. The anime incorporates a brilliant and deft weave of existentialism and psychological analysis with excellent characterization and a degree of slice-of-life realism. There is a running theme of the discomfort inherent in becoming self-aware, adolescent discomfort, budding sexuality, and dissatisfaction with the status quo that is inherent in these realizations. These are teenagers who look for the meaning in everything; they cannot yet except there IS no meaning in everything. They want to rebuild the world. In this sense, these turbulent, anarchic sentiments are a throwback to "Demian"; they are the same sentiments that had an entire generation of disillusioned German youth hailing the book as a voice speaking on their behalf for the first time. In many ways, that voice is universal. "Utena" does it justice.
From a technical standpoint, Utena is top-notch. The artwork is gorgeous, the music lush, and the direction lucid. It hearkens to the era of cel-based animation with a minimum of CGI, especially as compared to current offerings. The seiyuu all do an excellent job with their characters. J.A. Seazer's musical compositions are worthy of stand-alone acclaim. They are quite unlike anything else known in the anime genre.
I suppose I am obligated to warn of the exploration of various taboo subjects beyond homosexuality (Utena and Anthy being one of few canon yuri couples out there outside of hentai), including incest; if you are squiked beyond your comfort threshold by this, don't watch the show. Otherwise, I cannot recommend this show highly enough. I acknowledge it is not for everyone, but if you are that sort of twisted, abstract person who would enjoy this show, and if you remember the growing pains of adolescence (or are currently undergoing them), you can't watch it soon enough. read more
Warning: Epically long review ahead, mainly because I love this series so much.
Title: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Manga, Anime: Revolutionary Girl Utena was originally a manga with story by Be-Papas and art by Chiho Saito that ran in Shogakugan's Ciao magazine from 1996 to 1997. It has been licensed Stateside by Viz Media, and the final volume, which covers the movie, was released on December 3rd, 2007.
Revolutionary Girl Utena has two anime incarnations. One is the original TV show, which is made of 39 total episodes, and was produced by JC Staff (famous for their work on Honey and Clover and Potemayo), and directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara (famous for becoming the director Sailor Moon after the second half of the R season up until the SuperS season). It ran on Japanese TV from April 2nd, 1997 till December 24th, 1997. The second is a movie adaptation, which will be covered later in this review. Both have been licensed Stateside by Central Park Media, which is now defunct. Let's just say it's been out for a long time Stateside.
Story: "Once upon a time, years and years ago, there was a little princess, and she was very sad, for her father and mother had died. Before the princess appeared a traveling prince riding upon a white horse. He had a regal bearing and a kind smile. The prince wrapped the princess in a rose-scented embrace and gently wiped the tears from her eyes. 'Little one,' he said, 'who bears up alone in such deep sorrow, never lose that strength and nobility, even when you grow up. I give you this to remember this day. We will meet again. This ring will lead you to me one day.' Perhaps the ring the prince gave her was an engagement ring. This was all well and good, but she was so impressed by him that the princess vowed to become a prince one day. But was that really such a good idea?" This is the story that a younger Utena Tenjou tells us as her older self, still aspiring to be a prince and dressing like a boy, goes to the prestigious Ohtori Academy. After her close friend Wakaba is cruelly treated by a member of the Student Council, Saionji and she sees him slapping Anthy, his supposed girfriend, she challenges him to a duel. The ring she wears unknowingly admits her to a secret duelling arena in the forest where Saionji meets her with Anthy, who is apparently the Rose Bride. Saionji then pulls a sword out of Anthy's chest, and things only get odder from there on out...
Utena is an absolutely amazing series.
On the surface, Utena is just a duelist of the week series, with recurring duelists. However, what makes this show so much more than that is the depth of character development that you get with the duelists, and even with the recurring minor characters. Each duel shows another side to them, and, in addition, reveals even more reasons why these people should go to a psychiatrist. Seriously, you could probably do a good case study on every one of the main characters, and a good deal of the minor recurring characters. Hell, even the girl who's mainly used as comedic relief gets excellent development and light shed on her psychological problems!
The other thing about this series is that nothing, nothing is what it seems to be at first. There are layers and layers to every single character and aspect of this show, and as the show goes on, you realize exactly what is going on at Ohtori Academy. There's some very heavy symbolism that uses some fairly mundane objects and allegories that foreshadow what's going to happen long before it ever does, and you'll only catch this on another watchthrough of the series.
Which, by the way, would probably be best after you've watched this the first time through. There's a lot of things that you only get in subsequent watchthroughs, and you'll realize just how much there is to this series when you do. I am convinced that someone could probably write a master's thesis on this show.
Warning: There are some fairly blatant innuendos and sexual images in this, along with hints of incest and major age differences and definite abuse. Oh, and there's lots of girls and boys feeling up/kissing their respective genders. So, if you don't like that, you should stay away from this series.
Art: The art takes a bit of getting used to, admittedly, with blank eyes, sharp edges, and heavy lines. In general, Utena is heavily stylized, but when compared to other shows airing around that time (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Beserk), the quality is fairly high. A lot of work goes into the background art and all the symbolism as well, all of which figure heavily into the show.
There's a lot of stock footage in this show, but luckily it's animated well enough that it doesn't bother you, and every time it plays, you can catch some new little detail about it.
Music: The background music for Utena is done by Shinkinchi Mitsumune, who also did work on Rozen Maiden's background music. From what I've heard from him, this is probably his best work, and I wonder what happened that he put so little effort forth with Rozen Maiden, compared to the effort that had to have gone into this. Every theme is memorable, and is probably some of my favorite music from a series ever.
And then there are the vocal songs that play while the duels happen, done by J.A Seazer. When you're looking at a translation of the songs, you're going to realize that they make absolutely no sense and just seem like random words thrown together. And, at first glance, they do. However, as you're watching the show through again, you realize just how much effort went into those random words, and that yes, they actually do mean something.
The OP, which never changes, is one of my favorites. It's not anything out of the normal standard for OPs out there, upbeat female JPop number, like with Ouran, but for whatever reason, I really like it. It's the same thing with the three EDs; all upbeat female JPop numbers that I normally wouldn't like, but really work for the series.
Seiyuu: Takehito Koyasu (known for his roles as Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi and Haruhi's dad in Ouran High School Host Club) appears as the voice of Touga, one of the more interesting male characters in here and one of my favorites, and Kotono Mitsuishi (known for her role as Sailor Moon in the show of the same name and Misato Katsuragi in Neon Genesis Evangelion) appears as the voice of Juri Arisugawa, probably the most interesting female character after Utena and Anthy. Akio's seiyuu, juurouta Kosugi, was also Fernand d'Morcerf's seiyuu in Gankutsuou, and sounds like sex and malice incarnate. And Anthy's seiyuu, Yuriko Fuchizaki, brings an amazing amount of depth to her character, just barely hinting at what's going on beneath the surface and letting hints slip as to what she really is throughout the series.
All in all, an amazing cast.
Length: Thirty-nine episodes may seem a bit lengthy at first glance. And admittedly, there are elements that get a bit repetitive. But I'm fine with the length, as it allows you to see a lot of detail that you might not necessarily see in a shorter series, which works to the benefit of Utena.
Overall: An absolutely amazingly written and acted series with lots of depth, heavy character development, stylization, symbolism and allegories, and people with lots of issues, that has a lot of details you'll notice on subsequent watchthroughs.
Tied for my all-time favorite series. Watch this. You will not regret it.
Overall: 48/50; 96% (A) read more
First things first - "Revolutionary Girl Utena" (I'll just call it "Utena" for the sake of brevity from here on) is a weird anime. And I mean *really* weird. The surreal settings, the plethora of symbolisms that constantly assault the viewer, the sexual innuendos... the whole show is so bizarre that it's hard to know where to begin the review.
I'd heard a lot about "Utena" beforehand. Some say it's the shoujo version of "Neon Genesis Evangelion"; others say that Oscar from "Rose of Versailles" is Utena's spiritual grandmother; and many people consider it to be one of the greatest masterpieces in anime. Having seen it, I can conclude that there is merit in all of those statements. Well, perhaps apart from that last one. For me, "Utena" is too flawed to be deserving of that honour. However, there's no denying that it's an influential series, and many of its influences can still be seen in more recent shows.
Although "Rose of Versailles" does have a certian degree of influence on "Utena", most of these extend only as far as the surface. The most obvious of these influences is Utena herself. Born as a girl, but lived most of her life as a "prince" rather than a "princess", the parallels between Utena and Oscar, the heroine of "Rose of Versailles", are obvious. A lot of the visual effects (such as the various rose effects) that "Revolutionary Girl Utena" deploys also seem to be derived from "Rose of Versailles", although a lot of them do seem to be used in a rather more tongue in cheek way. But beyond this, the two series are vastly different in terms of content. "Rose of Versailles" tells a much more straight forward story, albeit with the gender bender twist provided by Oscar herself, while "Revolutionary Girl Utena" is anything but straight forward.
Not being a fan of the overly abstract and surreal, I had a little trouble getting to grips with the show. For the settings in "Utena", you have this school with a bunch of these outlandish rules, where the school council members fights duels with each other in a secret tower in the forest for the possession of the Rose Bride (another student), in order to gain the power to revolutionarise the world... Whaddaf*ck? Is this some kind of peculiar school play? Alas no, it appears to be reality, just not as we know it. Utena (who is, in case you haven't guessed, the protagonist) is thrown straight into this strange setting, and initially, she seemed as confused as I was about the strangeness of it all. She does make some effort towards finding out what the heck is going on, as you would naturally expect her to do, but her efforts are... kinda pathetic. One minute, she's like "WTF is all this?! Duels? Rose Bride?? Power to revolutionalise the world???" Then the next minute she's completely sold on all the weirdness and, without anyone prompting her, starts drawing swords out of Rose Bride's chest and shouting key phrases such as "grant me the power to revolutionalise the world!" like the rest of those freaks from the student council.
And so, after this extremely half-hearted effort at forming a tenuous link to reality (I don't know why they even bothered to be honest), the scene is set for the rest of the show!
Despite all the weirdness of the premises, I initially found "Utena" less difficult to to get through than I would have expected. However, a few episodes in, I found an even bigger problem that made the going a lot tougher - repetitiveness. There is simply a ludicrous amount of it. If they took out all the repeated scenes, the series would probably be able to fit into a standard 26 episode season quite easily. In each of the arcs of the series, the same scene is reused to set up almost every battle as well as to end almost every battle. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen Utena accepting the power of Dios into her... it's the same scene everytime, no matter what the situation leading up to it is. Sometimes she would be crouching before the scene, sometimes standing, sometimes even with the enemy rushing towards her, but always, she finds the time to casually stand around, being infused with the power and then lunge at her opponent and win the dual. After seeing it 20+ times (and I don't think I'm exaggerating in the slightest here), there's just one word to describe this... BOOOOORIIIING. Perhaps they're trying to parody the transformation sequence of the magical girl, but even as a (not particularly funny) running joke, it wears out its welcome pretty quickly. The action scenes aren't even good, and they certainly don't become good after about the 30th time of viewing.
The repetitions aren't just limited to the battles either, they extend to the "Duelist of the Week" format. "Utena" really taken this format to extremes, with a lot of the scenes/dialogues being used to set up the duels being recycled to the point of annoyance. In the black rose saga, for example, every episode follows the same formula of some person with some personal problems getting told that their only option is to "revolutionalise the world", and it just seems laughable that it's the answer to all their problems
"My cat has died."
"I see. Your only option is to revolutionalise the world."
"I've lost my favourite red pencil."
"I see. Your only option is to revolutionalise the world."
"I got a hole in my left sock."
"I see. Your only option is to revolutinoalise the world."
You wouldn't believe how sick of that phrase I became. The dialogues often borders on absurd and smacks of lazy scripting.
But because of all the repetitions this show has, on the rare occasions when it does makes a deliberate change to the script, the contrast can really pack a hefty punch, and those episodes shines all the more brightly because of it. It's hard to say whether this is a positive thing because the resulting effect can be so refreshingly wonderful, or whether it's a negative thing because the show's repetitions drove me to the point where I end up over reacting to the smallest change. Probably a bit of both. Perhaps it's all deliberate, and you may say I'm missing the point as I'm unfairly criticising what it's aiming to do, but just because some chef *deliberately* poured a bottle of vinegar into a dish in order to give it an extra zany kick doesn't change the fact that he's completely ruined the dish as a result, and it doesn't make me feel much better knowing that it's all intentional when I'm gagging from the taste.
As someone who's really into character driven shows, I did not find the characters of "Revolutionary Girl Utena" to be particularly interesting in general. There's too much posturing and general displays of shallowness. Every week Anthea the souless doll gets slapped for some petty reason as she's the scape goat for everything; most of the girls are annoyingly vain, but most of the guys are even more so, and need no encouragement to unbutton their shirt and start poncing around. There's an irritatingly large amount of time devoted to this, while more fascinating characters like Jury are criminally under used. Admittedly, by the end, most of the characters do reveal themselves to be more than just faceless people in a dull crowd, but still, with a couple of exceptions, I found it hard to care about most of them at any given point in the show. It says a lot that I'm more interested in what Anthea's pet monkey Chu-Chu is doing than what most of the characters - Anthea especially - is doing. At least Chuh-Chu's crazy antics, in particularly when he's battling his arch enemy the frog, never ceases to amuse me.
Speaking of amusement, the nature of the humour in "Utena" is random, and whether it's effective or not also seem to be pretty random. There are times when it works but then at other times it's just... random... without being at all amusing.
The similarities between "Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "Utena" comes mostly from comes from the apocalyptic themes and also the mountain of symbolisms the two of them contain. If anything "Utena"'s use of symbolims is even more aggressive than that of "Neon Genesis Evangelion" - they're constantly being shoved into your face and, to be honest, I found it all a bit too much. As the author Stephen King once put it, "Symbolisms exists to adorn and enrich, not to create a sense of artificial profundity," and there's a sense that "Utena" is more of the latter than the former. In my opinion, symbolisms should be done with a subtle touch, preferably integrated into the show such that they don't stick out like a sore thumb. This way, it can be nice when you get them and you don't feel like you're missing out if you don't. The fireflies motif from "Grave of the Fireflies" is a textbook example of how I think it should be done. The intrusiveness nature of the symbolisms in "Utena" on the other hand, feels like it goes against the whole spirit of the concept, and it results in some completely bizarre scenes (f*cking cars popping up all over the place, anyone?) that can really be frustrating if you've no idea what these weirdass symbols are supposed to mean.
In terms of production values, "Utena" also comes up short. Other than the ludicrous amount of reused footage that I've already mentioned (they should consider displaying "Warning: Contains at least 25% reused animation! on their DVD boxes), the sound production quality also comes off as something more dated than it actually is. I was unimpressed by the much lauded soundtrack that consists a lot of rather experimental sounding songs with gibberish lyrics relating to apocalyptic themes. What's worse is that those songs tends to stick out badly, so not only did I not like them, I also found it hard not to take notice. It does improve in the second half of the show (I particularly liked the second ending theme, and one of the eyecatch themes is nothing short of beautiful despite its short length), but overall the sound department mostly comes off as a poorly produced, failed experiment.
But despite the amount of time I've just spent bitching about the show, I actually think it's good. It's just that I found it a lot easier to identify the source of my negative feelings towards it than the positive. I guess there's an odd kind of enjoyment to be had in "Utena" by turning off the part of your brain that's grounded in reality, and there's a certainly a kind of magnetism about the show that keeps it interesting. Amidst all the surreal madness, some of the direction is undeniably brilliant, especially in its execution of twists.
Ultimately, "Utena" is a show that's far greater than the sum of its parts - in spite of the overly repetitive animation, the overly similar shallow, vain individuals in its cast, the overly aggressive use of symbolisms and the overly filler nature of the story etc, the whole thing works surprisingly well. I just wasn't blown away, that's all. read more
Basically if you've seen Utena and loved it, then Penguindrum is a must watch. Both shows are directed by Ikuhara Kunihiko, which means you'll expect to see similar themes and artistic flare.
Both have the same director, are heavily symbolic to the point that almost everything is directed in a very specific way to enhance the symbolism , have a fun vibe on the surface while being psychologically darker and have similar basic and underlying philosophical themes while some of their characters share the same traits.
They are similar in a way that the more twisted and complicated everything gets, the better it becomes, first episodes start off slow but by the end - every episode is like a piece of a puzzle that adds up to make a complete picture. Both are unusual, visually beautiful and artistic.
Similar topics are explored in both shows (they also share the same director). Mawaru Penguin Drum has multiple references to Utena.
Leading characters go to great lengths to save the ill fated, moe, fellow lead whilst venturing into a high level conspiracy plot.
same director, same unique style........must experience his world. Utterly different than all the rest :)
Both directed by the genius Ikuhara. Lots of symbolism, motifs, random screen shots and dialogue. Beautiful characters and bishounens :) and cute animals hehe
They are both are directed, created, and written by Kunihiko Ikuhara. Similarities between the two:
- Unique style and great artistic direction.
- Similar character designs (the character designers, however, are not the same).
- Very unpredictable at times.
- An animation/music sequence that is repeated in several episodes (Seizon Senryaku in Penguindrum, Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku in Utena)
- A lot of visual symbolism and metaphors. A LOT.
- Involve changing the world.
- Deal with fate and destiny. Penguindrum more so than Utena.
- Very similar character development.
Both have the same director and I get Utena vibes everywhere from Penguindrum. They have a similar style and use of repeated scenes and phrases. Although I don't know yet, Akio seems really similar to Sanetoshi, and the whole library thing seemed really similar to the Black Rose arc. Penguindrum has a Fate Bride and Utena has a Rose Bride.
If you liked Utena, then you will love this anime. They were directed by the same director and Penguindrum is just as exciting and just as mind screwy as Utena was.
If you are an Utena fan do yourself a favor and just give it a watch.
You'll be feeling the Utena vibes.
While Utena uses symbolism to explore love, self, friendship and other themes, Mawaru Penguindrum uses it to tell a tragic tale of three brothes written by destiny. Both have the same director, same style.
Well what dou you expect from two animes from one director ?
You will get similar many similar feelings, mainly from storytelling, when watch them.. Need not for many explanations, if you like one, you will like the other..
Simply amazing, you have to watch it!!!fun and sad!!a surprising story, for me is the best anime of 2011, a masterpiece of Ikuhara ;_;
Both are surreal, highly symbolic coming of age stories where the young protagonists deal with the after effects of trauma, an incomprehensible world, and accepting loss as a rite of passage to adulthood. Both shows rely on absurdist humor and parodying shojo tropes before growing steadily darker in tone. And both are directed by Ikuhara.
Both works by Ikuhara surround somewhat confused protagonists in an abstract quest for an unusual goal. In each anime, just about every protagonist, supporting character and antagonist have much more to them than meets the eye. I also consider many characters in one series to have an uncannily similar character in the other.
Since Ikuhara directed both, it's no surprise that Penguindrum should be similar to Utena. There is a similar focus on sibling relationships, with tastefully ambiguous hints of incest. Utena's focus on the incestuous nature of such relationships is certainly stronger (although I expected it to be the opposite from the first episode of Penguindrum). Both shows have a similar surreal feel, and both keep you hooked with elements of mysteriousness until the end. Although Penguindrum is a show about relationships, the focus is less deep and systematic than in Utena. Both have strong elements of symbolism, although Utena's symbolism appears to have more meaning. Both seem to take a bizarre turn toward the end of the series, although I didn't like the way this happened in Penguindrum necessarily. Penguindrum lacks the unique visual expression that Utena does, although it borrows almost exactly Juri's character design for one of the secondary characters. Overall, Penguindrum is great and definitely evokes some of the same feelings I had while watching Utena.
When watching revolutionary girl utena, it somehow made me feel like "This is kinda like NGE but for girls" Both have in-depth character analysis implemented somewhere inside the series, and the style of them is similar. Both have metaphors and symbolism, and some parts/things that make you think a bit.
However, NGE's Angel fights have been replaced by sword fighting in utena, and there are some other differences aswell, but they have the same feeling when watching, at least near Utena's end.
Massive amounts of symbolism, character analysis, and psychological issues. While Utena is a lot more lighthearted and silly at times, the serious moments rival some of the darker moments of Evangelion and have the same pervasive atmosphere. They're both a thinking man's anime and something that absolutely everybody should watch, unless a symbolical focus makes you uncomfortable. You'll have to read through the lines and see the big picture in both of them.
Both are extremely bizarre series with hidden meanings and psychologically messed-up characters. Fun stuff!
Both are confusing as hell. Both have three-dimensional characters that drive the plot. And if you include End of Evangelion and ignore the last two episodes, both have bitter, confusing endings (one sweeter than another though).
A jump I know, but I love these shows for the same reasons: Complicated plot, deep chock full of symbolism, and complicated flawed characters.
There are many parallels to be seen between Utena and Evangelion, including internally conflicted main characters, severely damaged familial relationships, and a host of others.
Both series revolutionized their respective genres, and are absolutely worth watching.
In many ways, Revolutionary Girl Utena is the Neon Genesis Evangelion of the shoujo genre. They're both surreal take themselves very seriously, they both have very complex casts and Shinji Ikari and Utena Tenjou are both very conflicted and well-written protagonists (Albeit in different ways). At first glance, Revolutionary Girl Utena may just look like a simple shoujo anime, but in reality, there's so much more to it than that. Evangelion fans, I highly recommend you check this one out!
If you want another psychological anime that doesn't adhere to its genre and contains a bunch of symbolism, Revolutionary Girl Utena is the one. Like Eva, it has budget constraints on it, which cause it to be repetitive, but you could skip through things, or just see them as thinking breaks. You'll need a break to think.
It's not very uncommon to hear that "Revolutionary Girl Utena" is the NGE of shoujo. Both rely on symbolism to tell a very complex story about human emotion and the complexity of human life.
While having it's own distinct personality, you can say Utena is the shoujo equivalent of Evangelion. Both are Freudian anime that explore how messed up their characters are and attack the conventions of their genre. Both throw symbolism around at any chance and are very open to interpretation, when you're done watching them you're not done with them yet.
You will get many similar feeling when watching these two shows..
Just be ready to be confused when watching..
Angel fights in Evangelion are sword fightings in Utena..
Both are classic 90's anime that deconstruct their respective genres. Both start out fairly light-hearted and grow shockingly dark as the plot thickens, both rely on symbolism, are heavy on the psychology and philosophy, and both are coming of age stories with utterly evil villians (who are scarily realistic) and both have endings that can be intrepreted in many different ways.
Evangelion and Utena are both heavily psychological coming of age 90s anime with tragic and complex characters and tons of symbolism. Many aspects of both series are ambiguous and open to personal interpretation.
Both seem to start off as simple "Battle of the Week" shows, but they grow into much more. Both series deal with adolescent characters and their struggles, with their somewhat non-linear stories being decorated with abundant symbolism. Where Neon Genesis Evangelion redefined mecha, Shoujo Kakumei Utena redefined shoujo.
The series that Kill la Kill truly reminded me of on the most consistent basis was definitely Utena. I saw so many elements of the first season of Utena in this series that it became a bit ridiculous - RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME that is! If you like the fighting aspect of Kill la Kill, than you are certain to enjoy Utena's duels. BONUS for you Touga fans - there is definitely a boy for you in this fantasy! ^_^
Both take place in strange school ruled by mysterious student council, in both heroine is trying to fight against council's power.
KLK is more fun to watch, with plenty of dirty jokes, Utena is more symbolic and slower
Ryuko and Utena have a similar tomboyish personality, both are set in a academy where are fights between the protagonist and other classmates occur.
The heroine need to fight againts a student council that rule the school.
There are also some crazy random stuff happening in both anime, some nanami's episode in Utena almost as crazy as Kill la Kill
Kill La Kill is a very clear homage to many anime, and one of it's most frequent and obvious influences and spiritual Godmother is Revolutionary Girl Utena.
The two series bear uncanny similarities, with the biggest difference being that Utena is very much a shoujo while Kill La Kill is more along the shounen side. However, I feel that both series can appeal to a wide audience.
More of a contents-wise recommendation, but otherwise two extremely enjoyable shows in different ways. The two are set in a school, rather untypical schools with pretty (or creative) designs. They are both episodic with a different focus and mini-stories, tied into a bigger picture (the main plot). They focus on fighting opponents, often with substance in its characters; it may be obvious who would win, but the main juice of the battles and scenes are its developments and general messages that connect with our world, society and nature.
Lots of other things makes the two similar too. They have transformation sequences despite not being magical shows. They also have a strong lead character, whose attitude can be associated with tomboyish, but otherwise strong and admirable. They have brilliant OSTs and amazing art directions (Utena being interestingly subtle in its symbolism and KlK being crazy and creative). And although KlK doesn't have deep symbolism like Utena, it does have lots of fun trivial stuff and references, KlK even referencing Utena itself.
The two shows are actually controversial, funny enough (but for different reasons). Either way though, they are made with great talent from experienced directors, having hidden messages/symbolism, creative art direction, memorable OSTs and just generally fun in their own ways.
Kill la kill has a lot of Utena references, both series have a very similar "feel", given they are both about tomboyish female leads who "revolutionize" their "academy" while "dueling" student council members. Both end up deconstructing various anime clichés in order to tell their existential tale. Utena is more serious and all of it's "weirdness" is not to be taken as face value since it's used for it's great character study and handling of philosophy and psychology. Kill la Kill is mostly satire humor thriving on entertainment value. Both series require thinking out of the box to enjoy.
A tomboyish main character has to duel student council members. The main characters are alike and Wakaba and mMakoi are very similar. Kill la Kill makes some obvious references to Utena.
A bit of a long-shot maybe....? Ah screw it! Kill la Kill and Utena both have a very similar story; They're both magical girl shows with very little actual "magical girls" in them and they're both about a very average tomboyish student who goes to a very unusual school, and who has to fight memers of the student council, as well as the president of said student council. They also both have a secondary villain who is revealed later on in the series, and who the defeated student council members (to some extent at least) help the main character out in order to defeat.
Now, just replace all the beautiful imagery and symbolism whith over-the-top violence and fanservice --- THERE we go! read more
Kill la Kill stems from the kind of queer, feminist sword-fighting story-telling which Revolutionary Girl Utena proudly introduced us to in the 90's.
While Kill la Kill is stylistically more outlandish and messy, Utena started the surreal, school-based struggle for a mysterious power in a clean, almost romantic style. Where Kill la Kill uses sexuality in a tongue-in-cheek homage to sexy magical girl transformations, Utena's use of sexuality, while still bizarre and sometimes hilarious, tends to conjure scenes which are sometimes uncomfortably familiar, making them all the more compelling. While Kill la Kill uses humor almost anywhere it can, Utena tends to use humor to alleviate the fact that the relationships and story are actually pretty heavy stuff.
Utena is a fascinatingly complex story, and in many ways achieves much of what Kill la Kill aims to capture. If you found yourself wanting more substance from Kill la Kill, Utena will quench your thirst. If you just want more boobs and less of a rich story, this is not the show for you.
Both shows have a tomboyish girl as the main character, who by herself fights against powerful student council which rules a weird school.
Kill la Kill has many references to Utena and some of the characters are a lot alike.
Kill la Kill is fast paced, has more comedy and it's main point is the crazy, engaging action, while Utena takes a slower approach, focuses on psychology of the characters and is filled with symbolism.
Both, though, share a similar feel and setting and are extremely enjoyable. If you liked one, you are most likely going to like the other.
Both feature young women blurring the gender line with sword fights.
Rose of Versailles seems an obvious inspiration for Revolutionary Girl Utena. Set in Revolutionary France the main character is a woman raised as a man fulfilling a man's role. Much of the setting from Versailles seems to be the inspiration for the style of Utena.
Rose of Versailles and Revolutionary Girl Utena bring to the front the issues of gender identity. The titular heroines in these series choose to take on traditionally male roles which create a tension in these characters as they struggle to conciliate feelings with duty. In both series there is a recurring theme of roses and sword fighting; they both deal with Revolutions albeit of a very different nature and are concerned with moral nobility. Rose of Versailles has a more social and linear approach while Utena spins into a heavy psychological study that renders narrative almost obsolete. Breaking through illusions, be them class based or emotional hang-ups, is at the heart of these two anime.
Both have strong female leads. Both of which meet their fragility and strive to over come it, while dealing with battles, schemes and traces of love.
Chiho Saito was probably inspired from Ryoko Ikeda's works, as these authors' styles are very alike.
Utena & Versailles No Bara are quite similar, as they both involve crossdressing, sword fights, roses, drama, romance, and a gorgeous, rich, aristocratic mood.
If you liked Utena this is another anime/manga I believe you should enjoy. Utena drew inspiration from this both in setting and characters. While Rose of Versailles takes place in the country of France and isn't confined to a school setting, the focus on fighting with swords plays a big part in both anime. The decadent European lifestyle that is acted out in Utena is very much the same as is acted out in Oscar's France (balls, food, elaborate dressing, even many high culture interests).
The main character in Rose of Versailles is Oscar, a woman who got a mans name because her father was stricken with grief that his wife bore a girl,and who was then raised as a male. You can see that Utena's 'Prince' complex (her desire to become a prince) is very much comparable, such as dressing like a boy acting like one but maintaining a certain unbreakable feminine beauty and fragility in both looks and personality (as Oscar is unable to overcome her feminine qualities even dressing more like a guy plus cutting her hair). Both characters are also tested by male characters who try to get them to lose this strength they have by treating them as women but not equals. The main difference between the two characters is Utena has chosen to become what she likes to call a 'prince' while Oscar was raised like a boy.
Both are classic shoujo series featuring strong female protagonists who blur the gender line.
It's been long debated that Rose of Versailles heavily influenced many elements present in Shoujo Kakumei Utena. Utena and Oscar are almost mirror images of each other.
Both shows have female leads who are dressing as a man, feature similar sword fights and are really emotional
Besides the protagonist (Utena/Oscar) being a female character crossing the gender line, both animes deal with the complexity of love, but in very different ways. While Utena focuses on the relationships between people, Rose of Versailles focuses on love itself, the passion/attraction.
They both have a ... novel view on love and romance. You also follow the evolution of the feelings of the characters, and their developpement.
Though Utena is much more better when it comes to the psychology of the characters. ROV can be brillant at times and then get excessively manichean.
Both are darker twists of the shoujo genre and they are both equally excellent in their own ways. There are heavily surreal elements and the theme of protecting someone and/or sacrificing yourself for someone else are apparent in both series.
Surrealism, genre deconstruction, plot made of «double floors» and «rabbit holes», great music solidly integrated with the action, shadow play aesthetics — that's what both series have in plenty. And the similarity between the storylines, though not apparent at first, increases dramatically towards the finale.
Here are some connections:
- Both are psycological series's
- Both feature a cast of school children
- Pink haired girls are leads (how often does a pink haired girl play a minor role)
- There's a curse and witch theme in both
- We have two tales of 'rescuing' and unfortunate party
- Both feature fight scene's in an obscure, art rich dimention
- Dramatic clasical music features in conflict
- Cutsie looking animal* familiars are present
Both shows are occasionally brutal re-imaginings of the Magical Girl genre. Both are brilliantly written, and beautiful to watch.
Both have strong female characters determinate by some unfortunate event.
Finale is epic and changing entire current composition of own universe.
Both series are dark and mind-screwing, despite being called a (mahou) shoujo. Both develop themes of sacrifice, miracle, suffering etc. Soundtrack is fascinating, and battles inspire similiar surrealistic feeling. Postmodern art as it is.
Also, there are naive pink-haired protagonists and strange pets.
Both are dark genre deconstruction anime that contain magical girl elements (Madoka more so than Utena), with a strong plot that will throw some surprises at you.
As said before, before are deeply psychological and have your fair share of yuri undertones.
The most deep connection I could make between the two that makes me love them so much is how I could relate to the characters and the emotional buildup that follows between deep philosophical questions about life.
Both have magical girls, maybe not in the sense of Precure or Sailor Moon, but they are magical girls and amazing ones at that. There's even the reference to witches which seem to share a similar role in both RGU and Madoka Magica. Definitely watch if you loved RGU.
Both are series that are not what they seem at first, and as it progresses, and if the viewer is attentive, will find increasing depth and multiple meanings. They are works of authorship that are not satisfied with just being "an anime more" with a huge script quality, but not easy to see at first glance.
The most striking similarity between Madoka and Utena are the feelings evoked by the endings. I felt almost the same thing while watching Madoka's ending as I did Utena's. Without giving away too much, both endings are very bittersweet and focused on friendship. Aside from both being magical girl genre breakers, these two anime begin happily, with dark elements layering on little by little. The pacing in both shows is perfect, and you're kept guessing until the very end. Both shows have a unique style of visual expression as well. The yuri subtext in both shows is similar, although it is much, much stronger in Utena (without being too explicit). Both shows are very theme-heavy and carry an alluring element of mysteriousness through to the end. One difference is that Utena is heavy on symbolism, with a much deeper focus on relationships between secondary characters. Overall, Utena has a richer feel than Madoka. It's also a lot weirder (because of the symbolism), but better.
If you have seen Madoka but haven't seen Utena you're missing out. Utena, is, in my opinion, the best anime ever made. Period.
It's no surprise that Princess Tutu has been called Utena-lite. Both series look like they're made for young girls and have, to some degree, fairly typical shoujo plots in the beginning. Soon, though, they become much more complex, twisting the definitions of friend and foe; of what it means to be yourself or to grow up. In addition, they're both heavily influenced by traditional fairy tales yet eventually change the norms of those tales to be something completely different.
Princess Tutu is often referred to as "Utena 101" by fans of the series. While it lacks some of the complexities that Utena has, it still has a similar feeling. Fairy tales/ballets permeate the story, the concepts of what it means to be a "prince" and ideas of protecting others for love, and they both have their fair share of bittersweet moments with characters who are neither black nor white, but rather varying shades of gray.
Both Utena and Tutu contain a strong fairy tale motif and themes of accepting or defying one's fairy tale role. In a way, Utena feels like a more sophisticated/jaded exploration of the same themes touched upon in Tutu. They also both have a little bit of that surreal/reality-bending element, though Tutu never gets quite as surreal or symbolic as Utena. Basically, they're both really great series that you should watch, period.
Princess Tutu and Revolutionary Girl Utena have quite a bit in common. Both have the feel of a "modern fairy tale" and start off feeling like your typical, light-hearted shojo or magical girl series. However, both eventually obtain a darker atmosphere, become something new, and make themselves stand out in certain ways. Tutu is more family friendly and has more of a "magical girl" feel to it, while Utena is more intense and has more of a "girl warrior" feel to it. The heroines of both stories mature quite a bit throughout the story and learn concepts such as love, romance, friendship, self-sacrifice, and selflessness. Both series also have a lot of plot twists to the point that you aren't exactly sure which characters are the "good guys" and which are the "bad guys" until you're practically at the end. Love them or hate them, these series certainly aren't forgettable.
Both series have the feel of a modern fairytale. Despite being a more family friendly anime, Princess Tutu is not afraid to have stories as rich in symbolism as Utena.
The first recomender pretty much got it spot-on. Both are dark magical girl shows that, rather than focusing on the magical girl theme, focus more on the fairy-tale prince-princess theme. Utena is quite a bit more adult, however, and is a direct deconstruction of the Prince- Princess fairy tale genre, whereas Princess TuTu is just more of a darker 'Grimm' version of a fairy tale.
Utena is more psychological and explores more themes and has a more drastic use of metaphors.
Both series deal with the archetypes present in most fairy tales. While Princess Tutu explores the way the pure archetypes would interact in the real world, Utena looks at how these same archetypes would be either muddled or destroyed by the many shades of grey that exist around us, as compared to the black and white heroes and villains of a storybook.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) managed to twist the classic magical girl anime expectations before Madoka Magica did, like Princess Tutu also did.
Both animes provide very interesting perspectives on the roles, struggles and responsibilities of having great power, but whilst Princess Tutu used ballet and fairytale themes to tell the tragedy, Utena explores the main character's exploration of growing up and challenges of herself and others using sword duels
for the hand of the Rose Bride.
Utena and Princess Tutu both explore the darker side of magical girl stories, Utena is more focused on mature and personal concepts such as breaking traditional gender roles, sexuality, classic shoujo anime tropes, fairytale tropes and even psychology and philosophy used in a strange mixture of ongoing themes of the series.
Both of these series are shoujo based on fairy tales which invert the classic relationship between men and women in them. In each of these anime, the protagonist is a girl who takes on the role of the hero traditionally designated to the prince, a man. Both anime also ask if the heroic actions we see in fairy tales are really genuine and are really the right thing to do.
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Kill la Kill seems to stick out with its over-the-top action, visual style, memorable characters, and so on. It pulls no punches, but somehow still keeps itself grounded in many respects. As a whole, Kill la Kill is a fun series for those who aren't bothered by all that skin.