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Poll: Revolutionary Girl Utena Episode 39 Discussion


Feb 1, 2013 5:30 PM

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I know I am going to get a lot of "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE PLOT SHUT UP" comments so I'll start with no, I do understand the plot (At least the important points).
It was very clear from the start what the whole "revolutionize the world" thing was. It meant to grow up and move on. To forget all your traumas or whatever from your past and start over. It was even more obvious during the black rose arc when we saw how minor characters moved on for their own personal traumas.
The symbolism was very obvious too. Roses being torn with swords, swords coming out of your "significant other's" body, phallic-looking buildings.
Even water, you could very easily associate water with girl's emotions of being in love/aroused. A clear examples of this is when Juri is watching her fencing-senpai and that other girl hugging and the water fountain is running in the background; the flow of water changed according to Juri's emotions. The same goes for when Utena is with Akio and Anthys is filling a vase with water nearby.
The coffin was another not subtle symbolism. We can easily have an idea of what the coffin really is when we see Saionji's flashback about "that girl" being in a coffin wanting to see something eternal. Again, it all meant to realize that you have to move on, get past all the things in your life that ties you to a non-real world/non-wanted world, get out of the coffin and grow up. The final chapter just proves what we knew from very early on the series.
Also, maybe I'm over analyzing this but there was some Freud's psychology as well, for example how the character must obtain some insight in Freudian tradition...but well.

Now that I covered that the series has in fact not such a deep meaning as everyone seems to believe I'll do a take on the characters and why they are the main reason why I didn't enjoy this show.
I'll start with Anthy. I hate her. I know she represents people who are happy about their own terrible situation. We see them in our everyday's life, take an abused wife for example, she knows she's being used for her husband/brother but she doesn't do anything to change it. That's exactly what made me hate her, she's such a mentally weak character that I just couldn't help but hate her. In the end she moves on FINALLY! but it took her so long to do it. I understand that's the point of having a heroine like Utena, she was meant to save Anthy (and save herself in the process) somehow and being the one to show her the truth but that doesn't make me hate her any less.
And now Utena. She started as a very interesting character, very naive, somewhat stupid, but with a lot of potential; just like any other main character. The only thing that bothered me was that she was going along with all the craziness without asking many questions, but again that is forgivable; the plot sometimes needs stupid main characters to progress.
What totally ruined Utena for me was how she suddenly "fell in love" with Akio. First of all that was not love, it was pure attraction; he was hot, he was nice to her and she liked him, that was it. But that's exactly what first loves are, finding someone pleasing to look at and talk to. But still, I thought Utena was more normal? I thought that she would never go for a guy with a fiance, she could be attracted to him, yes, but nothing more. And if the guy starts making moves on you while still being engaged then...isn't that a signal to reconsider and think that maybe the guy you thought was so cool is in fact a jerk? isn't that the normal reaction? Well I thought that's how Utena would react anyway and I was disappointed. And then when she admitted how she was actually mad at Anthy for a moment when she found out about her incestuous relationship with her brother. Wow, how could she be mad? The logical reaction would be to call the cops or something but nooo, she goes and gets mad at "her best friend". Ugh.
Oh and she forgives "her best friend" after having being stabbed in the back by her? wow, but well I suppose main characters have to have pure hearts and forget stuff like that.
And now Akio. I'm, kind of ok with manipulative guys as long as they have solid motivations. Akio's motivations were so all over the place and plain crazy and most importantly, he abused his sister both mentally and sexually... all those things are enough for me to have him as one of my most hated characters ever.
I was so enraged during the last episodes seeing these 3 being mentally weak and sick.

Jury, Mickey and Touga were ok. I feel like their traumas weren't traumatic enough for my taste and thus not enough to justify their actions. But meh, I recognize that's my fault, I'm very picky with background stories. Anyway their stories were still interesting and thought provoking and it was nice seeing them too moving on.
Nanami and Saionji are easily my favorite characters in this show. To me, they are the ones who changed the most and had a more interesting story.
First of all Saionji, we see him as the classic jerk with the hidden motivation to find something eternal for the girl he couldn't save when young. Initially I thought that wasn't interesting enough but then when living with Wakaba we see another aspect of his personality. That and his friendship with Touga proved he was actually more complex that I thought and that was a very grating surprise.
As for Nanami. We first see her as the comic relief with the classic brother complex. But it's when the brother complex starts to get serious that things get interesting. She "loves" her brother and was jealous of all the other girls. If she truly loved her brother "that way" she would have been happy when knowing they are not blood-related, but she wasn't, proving that what she felt for her brother wasn't sexual love, but just misinterpreted affection. Her reaction after seeing Anthy and Akio doing it just further proves it. That development of character was very interesting. It is also refreshing to see her normal reaction to all the craziness of the whole situation; in fact she gives Utena the best advice (to just get away from that incestuous depraved place) but Utena being Utena just ignores her. Oh and her comedic episodes were great; the trip to India made me laugh for the whole episode's duration.

And now the layout of the series. I know people says it's repetitive an oh god, was it repetitive?! But I didn't mind it that much. Every single chapter had some charm on its own, being funny, interesting, semi-crazy or just plain fucked up.
The music was excellent. It's funny how my favorite tracks are actually all Akio-related (Akio car and Dios he no inori) even though I hate him...but yeah excellent soundtrack.
Repetitive fights but enjoyable nonetheless.

In conclusion, very intriguing story line, some good use of symbolism, great music, decent animation, interesting stories, funny filler chapters, but the fact that I hate the main 3 characters' guts made the series a lot less enjoyable.
Also, as I mentioned above, I feel the show is highly overrated, people thinking everything is so deep when in reality the symbolism was plain obvious.
6.5/10 for me.
 
Feb 15, 2013 3:22 AM

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Amazing series and probably the most feminist anime out there.
 
Mar 7, 2013 2:21 AM

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I just finished it!
I really enjoyed the last third of the series and flew through it tonight because I wanted to know more about it.

To be honest, there were a lot of parts in two-thirds of the series that were a bit of a drag. I think this will be something I will watch later and appreciate more now that I understand the complete core meaning, but I can't help to say that some of these episodes caused this to be less than brilliant.

I have a feeling this will be one of those anime that I will want to discuss more, think about and let everything soak in. I plan on watching the movie soon to see a different side of the series. (I heard that Utena x Anthy relationship was a lot more apparent whereas they were more friends than anything in this.)

I keep teetering between a 7-8.
I would say 7.5
Good anime, but the story could have been planned better for someone going through it the first time.
Also, Utena is my favorite character of the series. I'm not one to go for the central character, but I couldn't get enough of the prince ideas that surrounded her.
 
Mar 8, 2013 3:03 AM

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Jesus Christ that was amazing. Awesome anime ^.^
 
Mar 10, 2013 7:37 AM

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11 months after watching it, I'm adding it to my favourites... time just makes me appreciate more what I've seen here.
 
Mar 24, 2013 12:08 AM

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A lot to ponder but a great ending to a truly great show. The pacing and buildup was especially good, and it laid super solid foundations that paid off in spades. This and Penguindrum are two phenomenal works and I can't fucking wait for Yuri Kuma Arashi now.
 
Apr 7, 2013 9:20 PM

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Wyvern-Ventrue said:

What totally ruined Utena for me was how she suddenly "fell in love" with Akio. First of all that was not love, it was pure attraction; he was hot, he was nice to her and she liked him, that was it. But that's exactly what first loves are, finding someone pleasing to look at and talk to. But still, I thought Utena was more normal? I thought that she would never go for a guy with a fiance, she could be attracted to him, yes, but nothing more. And if the guy starts making moves on you while still being engaged then...isn't that a signal to reconsider and think that maybe the guy you thought was so cool is in fact a jerk? isn't that the normal reaction? Well I thought that's how Utena would react anyway and I was disappointed.


That's totally the normal reaction, but Utena is not a normal girl. Since she was a child, she's lived longing for this prince that she met. Her entire image and self-identity has been defined by this one person. And now she thinks she has met him, he's showing this interest in her back, it's sort of her dream come true. She might go so far as to think she is fated to be with him because of the ring and all, meaning the fiancee thing is less of a big deal. Either way, Utena isn't just going to easily admit that the most important part of her life may not actually be straight out of some fairy tale like how she sees the world. And remember, she's 14 years old during the show, and clearly lives life like it's some fantasy story. It's not hard to see how she could easily be taken advantage of.

Wyvern-Ventrue said:
Akio's motivations were so all over the place and plain crazy and most importantly, he abused his sister both mentally and sexually


Akio had exactly one goal: get back the power that he lost from the days when he was a real prince. That's pretty much literally all he cares about, and he moves toward this goal with sexual manipulation. Everyone he slept with in the show(which was quite a lot of people) had a purpose for him in his game. Sleeping with Anthy was very important for him, because he needed her to think he loved her, that he would save her from her suffering. He also needed her to be the obedient rose bride that enticed people into the dueling game, so that he could find candidates who could open the Door to Eternity, which he believed held his lost powers.

Wyvern-Ventrue said:
I was so enraged during the last episodes seeing these 3 being mentally weak and sick.


Won't argue with that one. Utena, Anthy, and Akio are all very mentally unstable and weak people for most of the show. But I think that's what makes them such great characters. They start out as typical character tropes: the damsel in distress, the brave prince(ss) who fights for the weak, the mysterious and handsome prince. But by the end we realize that these are just human beings who have deluded themselves into believing the world works like a fairy tale. All 3 of them were using each other in some way, to make their lives seem like that fairy tale. Utena was fighting for Anthy because she wanted to save someone like a brave prince would, Anthy was allowing herself to be used because she believed her brother (her prince) would save her, and Akio used both of them because he couldn't accept that the prince he once was was dead, and that princes can't exist in modern times. It's the genuine friendship that Utena and Anthy developed that allowed them to figure out what they truly valued in the world, and that their fantasies were just being used and manipulated by Akio, who was never either of their princes.

... these are just my opinions :) This is what I got out of the show. I love it, if you can't tell haha
 
May 7, 2013 7:47 AM

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I wanted to love it but didn't. I get all the layers of symbolism, I understand what they were trying to do. Normally I love shows like that - but not in this case.

It gets an 8/10 for effort.

I think people are ignoring a whole heap of shortcomings though. I think it could have been done a hell of a lot better.
 
Jun 13, 2013 7:53 PM
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Not enough homosexual, bare-chested picture taking and bed laying
 
Jul 1, 2013 9:13 PM

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fffffff

Nanami, shadow puppets and the soundtrack get this a 5 from me, otherwise I feel like I totally wasted 15 or so hours

they had SO MUCH TIME to develop a mythology we could invest in, talk about Too Little Too Late.

grandy_UiD said:
Ending felt like a complete waste. After sitting through 38 episodes I expected...something. It's probably kinda like Evangelion. Felt totally screwed after watching it the first time, since I didn't get it. Then read A LOT about it and watched it again (and again, and again...) and then it made more sense and I thought it was really epic. The only problem with Utena is...I don't feel like doing all of this for this show. It just doesn't interest me enough.

meh...

On a side note I really enjoyed the Black Rose Arc and thought it had an awesome twist ending. Makes the fact that it was ultimately pretty much pointless even more outrageous...


Couldn't agree more. But with Eva I pretty much totally enjoyed it, this was a real slog. ("Well, I've seen 28 eps and it has its moments, too late to give up now...")
Modified by Blackouting, Jul 1, 2013 9:31 PM
 
Jul 20, 2013 12:03 AM
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i agree with the ppl who were disappointed. this was far from bad imo but there were just plenty of things that could have been done better. could have made it much more concise and still retained more or less everything that made it good imo, especially if you cut out all the scenes that were reused endlessly. did they really need to beat the audience over the head with that? i realize it was probably a budget thing more than anything else, but it's still a shame.

also, tons of things i didnt really understand their significance. what did utena's sword represent? why didn't it work for akio? did the prince actually have powers at one point? wha? i should have read the manga instead, would have been shorter with less filler at least, even if it doesn't explain things any better.

i was also hoping for a much more spectacular ending, everyone always compares this show to evangelion so i was expecting something like end of evangelion. it was so many orders of magnitude tamer than that, although the imagery of himemiya being stabbed by so many swords was a bit gruesome. however i still found it less gruesome than her earlier portrayal where she actually seemed to be in pain. here she seemed resigned to her fate so it didn't hit me as hard.

also i guess this show was censored for TV or something because i didn't see utena lose a single drop of blood from being stabbed. i realize it's a superficial thing, but i prefer realistic violence over the sanitized, bloodless kind.
 
Aug 11, 2013 5:45 PM

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The symbolism here was well made, and I did enjoy the show overall, but I just can't forgive the several filler episodes, the silly repetitive scenes and the failed humor of most of the Nanami-themed episodes (although her final arc was very good and made her into a character and not just derpy comic relief). And the recap was also fairly unnecessary. This could've easily been a 22-26 episode show.
 
Aug 17, 2013 6:02 PM
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Seriously what's up with those who want "a more clear explanation?" it was ALL there, you missed everything because you were bound to hearing expositions or straight explanations rather than paying attention to the symbolism/imagery/actions present. Or to put it simply, you just saw it as what it was as seen simply instead of delving deep into it. Or simply you just didn't understand. Also the filler episodes aren't there just to be annoying and save time. They actually BUILD character instead of making people wonder later on and complain about there being not enough character development for certain characters. Besides this is a show about how everyone in the academy grows up and faces facts, not just Utena, despite her being the main lead and causing the "revolution" around her. We want to know more about the other characters. And the ending was a very fitting and spine-chilling one to say the least. Utena and Anthy promised each other that they'd meet earlier on in the series, so it's up to your imagination to think whether they did or not. It's much more fun when the ending is open ended. At least she did fulfill her revolution before she left. It seems that everyone grew up technically, and they're back to doing their thing instead of being crazy obsessed over duels. The ending was sad yet satisfying at the same time.

No wonder bad, Raunchy, easy to understand-shows are more popular nowadays...
Modified by Carrottop11, Aug 17, 2013 6:06 PM
 
Sep 28, 2013 3:35 PM

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I bet Madoka got a lot of inspiration from this series.
 
Oct 21, 2013 3:17 AM

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Carrottop11 said:
Also the filler episodes aren't there just to be annoying and save time. They actually BUILD character instead of making people wonder later on and complain about there being not enough character development for certain characters.

This, so much this. This is why Utena might be the only anime I don't mind to have the monster-of-the-week formula, in fact adds to the story and character development. Unlike most other anime using this formula, Utena uses it to its advantage. I like to think it's a reflection of repetition and equality: Everyone has problems to overcome despite social status and the nature of their problems, also could be implied Akio has been playing this game of trying to make a revolution over and over for centuries along with Anthy, and well, going in circles (Anthy breaks out of hers in the end)

Almost all characters were dealt with, and all of them grow out of their shell and "revolutionize the world." Taking the symbolism literally (especially in the last episode) is the wrong way of going with this anime.
 
Nov 3, 2013 1:07 AM

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Girls' Revolution succeeded, at least for Anthy and Utena. Happy ending. I really liked realistic characters with realistic conflicts and problems. One of the best animation in depicting characters.

Excluding some indie animations, this is the only feminist animation that exists.
日本人はイッちゃってるよ
あいつら未来に生きてんな
 
Nov 12, 2013 6:57 AM

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razor39999 said:
The symbolism here was well made, and I did enjoy the show overall, but I just can't forgive the several filler episodes, the silly repetitive scenes and the failed humor of most of the Nanami-themed episodes (although her final arc was very good and made her into a character and not just derpy comic relief). And the recap was also fairly unnecessary. This could've easily been a 22-26 episode show.


The thing is, Nanami episodes only SEEM like fillers. There is actually some very important stuff and lots of character development in those. I won't go into details, but just try watching the way Anthy acts in those episodes...I don't believe fillers actually exist in this show. Everything is given deep meaning.
 
Dec 16, 2013 3:17 PM
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Wow loved that ending!

It's a personal revolution the only one you can save is yourself.
Though your actions may inspire others.

The third part really made everything much clearer.

It's a 10/10 for me.
 
Jan 9, 2014 7:47 PM

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I feel fucked up now


 
Apr 13, 2014 7:49 PM

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love those bells. this is probably my favorite ending Of All Time.

there's so much more i understand after watching it for the second time, but i still got a little lost towards the end. although i caught the major points, i didn't completely understand some of the conversations (an excuse to watch for a third time this summer. -v-). still loved it, maybe even more than the first time i watched.
u gay
 
Jul 30, 2014 6:19 PM

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maarika said:
Best ending I've ever seen. If you feel confused about it then you'd probably need to watch it again. I didn't get it at all when I first saw it but after watching it several times over and reading about what everything means (there's A LOT of symbolism), it all made sense. It certainly was worth delving into all the info and discussions about it. It's beautiful and touching, and I've never seen anything quite like this.

Also, to answer the above question, no, Utena did not die. The central theme of the series is that of childhood and adolescence,and the perception of reality/illusions. Utena's desperate attempt to save Anthy and still failing at the end made her realise that she couldn't become a prince. But it wasn't because she didn't qualify but because she realised that she was pursuing and illusion. Princes and princesses are nothing more than fairy tales. Anthy, coming to the same realisation was able to walk away (she could have left any time if only she had realised).

Coffins are an existential motif in this series (here's my semi-philosophical take on it). They don't mean death but rather non-existence. You see Utena as a kid in the coffin because she didn't want to continue living. Or, to put it into more philosophical terms, she had no reason or motive for her existence because she realised everyone would die anyway. The reason you see Anthy in the coffin (and that's where she's been all along) is because she could not see past the life she had been living (as the Rose Bride) up to that point. Utena's efforts to open the coffin is where Anthy realises that she's just a person like any other, and that she CAN do something to change her life. The reason Utena was not able to save her was because no one else can choose how someone lives their life (or if they can make such a choice, then it probably won't have positive results).

Hopefully that clears some things up.


Now I understand because of you, of course I was expecting a huge hug and kisses with both Anthy and Utena but I kind of like it, it worth somehow.
 
Aug 1, 2014 3:10 PM

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This has got to be one of the best last episodes and endings I've seen in an anime yet.
 
Aug 24, 2014 8:05 PM

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Too deep for me. I fail to see its brilliance without reading desperately what the explanations after watching the series.

I probably should rewatch this someday, if I have the energy.
 
Aug 26, 2014 10:12 PM
is awesome

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Brilliant! 9/10 from me. I'll sleep on it, may be a 10.
 
Sep 6, 2014 4:21 PM
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Having just finished this show an hour ago I'm still trying to come to terms with the ending. It wasn't all that happy, but it wasn't all that sad either. But holy shit, the bit before Anthy goes to find Utena left a massive door open for a second season or a movie set after that. Ominous endings aren't really my thing. Quite emotional, though. I tried not to feel completely fucked over when Anthy's coffin fell from Utena's reach.

The thing that annoyed me the most about this show is that neither Utena or Anthy really confessed their love for one another. There so many times in the last two arcs where I was just screaming in my head "NOW KISS!". I need much more of that physical contact, man - if there were more of the likes of the part where Shiori says "I love the look in your eyes when you're hurt" to Juri then the show would be so much better. It was there but it didn't really come to. The show isn't exactly as yuri as it seems, which is kinda disappointing.

But aside that, it was a pretty good ride. Long anime seems to have a bigger impact than shorter ones do.

Maybe the movie is better. I usually disregard alternative versions if they're just retellings, but I'm gonna give it a try.

I'm going to give this a generous 9/10 for it's overall enjoyability and build-up.
 
Nov 7, 2014 2:16 PM

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The overall feel of this show was amazing. I loved the animation, the setting and the absurd music. It's something you probably won't see again in modern animation. It's a shame this series had enough episodes to tell the story in a decent manner, but I feel fucked over either way. Many things left unexplained - which is fine to add to the symbolism and mysteriousness but really, I feel like there's so much more they could have done. Great buildup to the end though. I'm gonna have to sleep on it.
 
Nov 21, 2014 10:40 AM
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Great ending. I totally called Himemiya being inside the coffin as opposed to say Utena being inside. Good stuff.
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"Life itself is but a series of close calls. How would you know you were alive unless you knew you could die?"
 
Jan 11, 2015 7:47 AM

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Well, there we go. The ending was quite nice and I liked how Utena literally freed Anthy from her coffin. This series had more and less interesting parts, but overall I liked it a lot. One big gripe I have with it that there was a LOT of fluff in the writing that could have been just cut off without any real damage to the character development or pacing. The fights started to repeat themeselves somewhere in the 20's, but the individual stories everyone had kept me interested. The comedy episodes, although very funny, were also somewhat out of place in this show.

I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the strong feminist implications the last episodes had with Utena beating the 'horrible playboy' Aiko either. Still, a solid, well directed show with a nice mysterious atmosphere and many touching character backstories.

8/10
Modified by cupc, Jan 11, 2015 8:11 AM
 
Jan 25, 2015 10:41 AM

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The ending was really unexpected. I was expecting a normal, happy ending like a usual fairy tale but got something a little different.

The part where Utena was reaching for Anthy's hands when all the swords were falling down was so dramatic and emotional I had to let out a few tears. ; // n //;
(forever shipping Utena x Anthy)

So technically if Akio didn't die, then Utena couldn't of had died either. I really hope in the end Anthy will find Utena. This anime was amazing. 9/10 Not sure if I'd watch again though. There was a lot of filler episodes and recaps, some episodes even seemed pointless, but they did build up to the plot. The ending episodes were amazing though, and it was what made me bump up the score of the anime from a 7 to a 9.
 
Jan 26, 2015 9:43 AM

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I'm speechless...Just feel bad for Utena seriously
 
Feb 1, 2015 2:24 AM
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Coffin == Eggshell
If a chick cannot break through it's shell, it will die without being born.

Utena manged to put a crack in Anthy's shell.
 
Feb 23, 2015 5:42 PM

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There are a number of words I would use to describe Utena: weird, funny, thought-provoking, metaphorical, and most of all, FABULOUS.

So glad to see that Anthy is free from her torment and is living her own life. Even though Utena wasn't able to save Anthy, she made Anthy realize that she could save herself. And now that they're both free from Ohtori Academy, they can find each other again and live together without being defined by roles and, most of all, without the manipulative Akio.

The low point of the series, for me, was around episode 15-20. That was when entire episodes were composed of the exact same format and involved seemingly random minor characters to boot. The episode named Miki's Nest Box (ep. 26) was pretty weak as well, as it also followed said format and revealed nothing new about the characters involved.

However, the show did so many things well and definitely deserves a rewatch in the future.
 
Feb 26, 2015 6:50 AM

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Gotta say, that was quite an overrated series full of so much of the unnecessary. Could easily have been completed in, what, 20 episodes or something. IMO it would have been much better served as a shorter, OVA series than what it ended up being, or at least a 2 cour TV at the most. That said, it wasn't bad, I'm stuck between rating it a 6 or a 7, I think I'll leave it at a 7 since in time I'll feel less disappointment and will see it in a better light.

In terms of the director's works, Penguindrum is leagues better than this. I guess I got my hopes up since I enjoyed that so much. It just had way too much repetition, and the characters themselves were pretty uninteresting, and since this series was a lot about the development of said characters, that also contributed to my not feeling that this was that great in the end.

I did enjoy the ending though, but it wasn't enough for me to say this was a great series since there was more average than good.
Modified by antonnn, Feb 26, 2015 7:01 AM
 
Mar 21, 2015 4:26 PM

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loved this series. somehow the ending felt complete yet incomplete at the same time. I feel satisfied with it but when I really think about it, where is Utena??? how is Anthy going to find her? I still have so many questions, wish there was a sequel or something to explain some things. and she was only gone a few months and yet everyone already forgot her? hmm..


well I'm going to watch the movie later and hopefully it explains some things
 
Mar 27, 2015 11:45 PM
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Don't mind me, just thanking God for perfection.
 
May 16, 2015 10:01 AM

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Well that was an exciting ending. For me it felt like Utena taking the swords instead of Himemiya to free her and Utena becomming the rosebride for her, which made me think Himemiya leaving like a real asshole move. But on the other hand, she cant do anything about it anyways other than to take her place again.

Overall the anime was very artistic and even though it repeated many things (i guess because of not that high production value) it was quite nice overall. Recaps are ALLWAYS unecessary. Artstyle and soundtrack were both very nice. The silhouette girls are awesome.

I especially liked the part after episode 10 or so, when utena really wanted to save Himemiya to make her just like a normal girl and then just getting crushed to learn that Himemiya only wanted to be a normal girl cuz Utena wanted her to be like that. It was such an emotional moment. 2 episodes after that everything was forgotten and went back to normal again, which was very disappointing -.-

The portagonist of this show was quite nice used at the start... the fish out of water character who learns everything about the world, but since she later on doesnt even want to know more about the mistery and the audience already knows far more than her, she became uninteresting and even naive in her believes for me. At the black rose arc, nearly every side character was more likeable than her. The last arc was also too much romance for me. And the ending maybe a little bit too open, but then again, it does make for a nice work of self-interpretation :)
 
May 16, 2015 6:15 PM
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Lockensocke said:
Overall the anime was very artistic and even though it repeated many things (i guess because of not that high production value) it was quite nice overall.


Part of it was budget (from what I've heard it was made on roughly the same budget as Evangelion despite being 50% longer) but even on shows where he has a gigantic budget Ikuhara loves patterns and repetition (Penguindrum is the most obvious example of that). Maybe it's his background on Sailor Moon, but repeating events and patterns that are established and then are toyed with late in the sequence is something he plays with a lot. Some people interpret it as symbolic of the themes of the cyclical nature of things that do spring up in his work: everyone in this show has at least one toxic relationship and the way the each arc of the show spotlights them in order to show each of them they are stuck in a cycle of dependence on that other person (and even in these there is never one party entirely without blame; they rely on the other person and encourage the other person's dysfunction to have them still rely on them to start the pattern all over.) Honestly though it's probably just his preferred method of storytelling to establish these "beats" for the audience to follow along with.

Lockensocke said:
Well that was an exciting ending. For me it felt like Utena taking the swords instead of Himemiya to free her and Utena becomming the rosebride for her, which made me think Himemiya leaving like a real asshole move. But on the other hand, she cant do anything about it anyways other than to take her place again.


That's something that is always problematic about Ikuhara's works for me: in each one love is synonymous with sacrifice. Loving someone is about sacrificing yourself for them. It's a powerful message and it's one we've seen in plenty of other shows before, but to make it such a central theme makes a "happy" ending impossible: it can be bittersweet, it can be satisfying, but in no way can people live a completely pleasant life if their love is genuine. Still, it never completely seals off the possibility of a future where once love has been proven you can overcome the cost of that sacrifice. Love is more than a zero-sum game where the happiness created for a loved one can only equal that which was given up by the other one for it. To quote another Ikuhara work: "What Kenji was trying to say is that's actually where everything begins!"*

Anthy is leaving to find Utena, wherever she may be now. She's not still in the castle in the sky at Ohtori Academy because there never was a castle in the sky to begin with, it was all an illusion ("a trick of the light" as Saionji says in the very first episode) by Akio to find and build up a noble spirit he could then exploit to gain the power that nobility brings while leaving Anthy to continue to take his place as bearing the responsibility tied to such power.

The problem was that such a thing is impossible: you can't rob someone of their nobility, seize it from them and claim it as your own. It's entirely possible to convince someone to be a scapegoat such as the Rose Bride, to accept the blame for a situation that was thrust upon them, but to "ruin" someone through seduction, to cause them to lose their innocence so that you can claim it as your own, it can't happen. Despite Akio shattering her soul sword, Utena was able to open the door sealing away the Power of Revolution because her nobility shone through in her actions: she continued to fight for her despite Anthy's betrayal, and it was no longer to feed her egotistical desire to play hero or out of any self interest but out of finally understanding the suffering Anthy had to face and knowing she deserved something better.

Utena's last words, apologizing for failing to become a prince, are false. The fact that her soul sword summoned the Swords of Hatred to Akio when he wielded it and the swords sought out Utena when she successfully opened the seal/coffin, the problem is that it's impossible to save someone from an abusive relationship (even for a prince on a white horse.) Ultimately all you can do is help someone find the strength inside themselves to move on, to leave the cozy coffin/box/prison that is a toxic but familiar situation and strike forth into an unknown future with the hope that things can be better. Utena couldn't pull Anthy up and out of the pain she's in, but through her deeds and words convinced Anthy to reach out for her hand. That's all it took: you can't rescue someone who is in a situation of their own volition, but you can help people rescue themselves by encouraging them and helping them come to see they have the power to leave and have no obligation to stay in a miserable situation. That personal revolution is something each and every person at Ohtori will have to come to terms with, and when it happens they can graduate, and age, and grow into healthier people.

Akio may very well be stuck in this "garden for children", ostensibly an adult but every bit as immature as those he manipulated out of a desire for power without responsibility. However what power he did have came from Anthy and his ability to control her over her guilt for being the witch who stole away the light of the world. That's something we can't be sure ever existed; I've seen it pointed out that the prince in Utena's flashback in episode 34 says that the prince Anthy was trying to protect never even really existed before going back to saying that Dios was corrupted to become End of the World, suggesting either Anthy misunderstood Dios or that Dios might have simply been an idealized identity Akio assumed, trying to play the pure hero, but when he failed to live up to that ideal he abandoned it and went the opposite direction, growing embittered at the witch who shielded his weakness and internalized the view that she was responsible for his loss of innocence. Regardless, once Anthy leaves it renders him impotent to continue his pursuit of power.

...of course that's my interpretation after seeing it several times and reading tons of alternative takes on it. Ikuhara once claimed that every fan theory about the show is true, even the conflicting ones, but that's because he's a massive troll and loves screwing with his fans (he also claimed that understanding Miki's stopwatch is the key to finally understand all the mysteries of world, but that Miki keeps this key hidden away from everyone else, including Ikuhara himself.)

* - Warning: that quote by itself is 100% harmless if you've never seen Penguindrum, but if you try to look up the context you'll definitely spoil yourself.
 
May 18, 2015 11:40 AM

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Very nice breakdown of the anime, Grungehamster. First watching an anime i normaly dont tend to see everything as symbolism and try to figure out the reason behind it in the story itself. So I thought that the rosebride served some kind of purpose, but it might as well be just some kind of self-made prison. I also think of the goal Akio and the others, bringing revolution upon the world is also only an illusion. That with revolution, they ment change in their lifes, which can not be brought upon by others but you yourself have to change it. Thats why Akio is stuck in this school and waits for the right prince to bring revolution, which will never come.

Also, about the prince in Utenas memories. Its implyed that the rose duelist dont age and that makes sense with what i said before, that Akio waits for revolution since a very long time.
So the prince in her memories also has to be an illusion. Maybe from the prince Akio was a long time ago, or like you said a not existing one.

What i really dont like about the ending that they suddenly tried to accomplish such a great friendship between Utena and Himemya. I didnt really think of them to be that close during the anime. Wakaba and Utena seemed in my opinion, way closer, especially since they knew each other for a longer time, which implys they mabye got through a few things together. Himemiya on ther other hand never showed much of any emotions and only seemed to be saved by Utena out of pity. Not out of love or friendship. But maybe you could see Himemiya as a part of Utena psychology. The part that needs someone to be rescued, the part that hold Utena back and the part that finally got its eyes open, like you said, through the opening of the coffin, to move on.
 
May 25, 2015 5:42 PM

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Good show. My favourite part was the Nanami episodes.
 
Jul 3, 2015 7:01 AM

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Solid 7/10.
Would be better if not for those pointless Nanami centric episodes that had nothing to do with the story as most of them were pure garbage.
 
Aug 2, 2015 4:27 PM

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Would have given it a 10/10 but the ending left alot of stuf unresolved. Oh well 9/10, amazing series. Wished it had an actual conclusion though.
 
Oct 9, 2015 7:32 PM
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Wow, I actually almost started getting emotional.

Anyway, this final episode was really great, but while I enjoyed the whole show, it was pretty repetitive and didn't really get truly compelling until the last 7 episodes.

5/5 for the episode, 7/10 for the show.

Far better than Madoka Magica, at any rate.
Modified by D-ohnuts, Oct 10, 2015 8:47 AM
 
Oct 12, 2015 2:07 PM
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tl;dr: Confused after finishing the series? Don't worry, everyone was :) Now, go back and watch the first four episodes again, knowing what you know now.

Kind of like in The Usual Suspects, literally everything in almost every scene changes once you know what's really been going on: Akio and Anthy have been playing a game of chess, with each manipulating the naive Utena, not to mention everyone else, from the very beginning.

On the silly Nanami episodes: Anthy was a witch, and witches have familiars (Chu Chu) and are good with animals. After the harassment that Anthy gets from Nanami in episode 3, it should make a lot more sense why it looks like Anthy is having a blast during the whole scene at Utena and Anthy's dorm in episode 4 (and onward).

It should come as no surprise that almost everything in the series is happening because Anthy, Akio, and/or ChuChu have caused something to happen, or caused someone else to do something to cause something to happen.


Actually, here's a great litmus test for catching what was going on:

Did you fully track the movements of banana that Nanami slipped on in episode 31? Go check it. It's at 08:20 in on the episode. Watch carefully, then think about how carefully Akio and Anthy planned out those events in order to introduce the two of them, then to get her to move in, then let her idea of their "healthy" sibling relationship get traumatized, and then eventually duel Utena in ep 32.


In many ways, Anthy is actually the protagonist the whole time. At some point early on (either at the end of ep 2, by the duel in ep 5, or during ep 12), Anthy decides to start taking matters into her own hands. It's up to you to decide when/how Anthy strikes out on her own, and when/how Utena's own influence changes Anthy's desire.


Finally, think of Mikage in the Black Rose Saga was a sort of foreshadowing of the stakes for Utena's success or failure. By her own standard, Utena seems to have failed... But by having affecting Anthy so much, she elicited Anthy's freedom. Utena wasn't herself a "revolutionary girl" in the sense of *being a Prince* (she failed at the end), but she did in fact cause a Revolution to occur.
 
Dec 5, 2015 9:28 AM
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Thanks to maarika for explanation! Still 6/10...
 
Dec 9, 2015 10:58 PM
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well put deore i have seen mawaru and agree with all your points. but only let me emphasize the shitty ending in revolutionary girl utena. arigato gozaimasu
 
Dec 13, 2015 10:02 AM

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Very nice ending. We saw glimpses of Anthy's free will in parts of the series, but it's not until the end that she really decides to become her own person. Gotta love how Utena and Anthy's relationship is the most pivotal aspect of the series, though pretty much all the other characters (especially Juri) got great development too.
 
Dec 29, 2015 2:02 PM

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Pretty cool ending, though it's leaving some questions that coulda been answered. Especially loved Utena and Anthy and the comedy trio.

8/10.
 
Feb 18, 2016 5:16 PM

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Amazing ending!
I'll be lying if i said i got everything but I'm glad Utena was able "revolutionize the world"and save Anthy in the end.
I do wish that Nanami had a better closure with her brother but oh well.

Finally, Mawaru Penguindrum still remains my favorite Ikuhara show but this one's a close second.

9/10
Modified by Kryptiq, Feb 18, 2016 5:20 PM
 
Mar 20, 2016 7:11 AM
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Finished it right now, i have to say, it was painful to watch and i almost dropped it but gave up the ideia when i was already on episode 30, few characters(Juri arisugawa was AWESOME) made me keep watching and i was interested in knowing more about the plot, because of that i suffered with symbolism being rubbed in my face everytime, not because i don't get it, truth be said, its not that hard to get all the symbolism if you think just a bit and analyze the characters, the problem its when its EVERYWHERE and the plot itself its left for the Sherlock here to discover. But i found some pretty cool concepts, the deeper meanings, inferioty complex of some characters like Shiori and Wakaba made this show easily deserves the Psychological Tag, also, the Black Rose saga and 2 last episodes made it worth watching even for someone like me who don't enjoy much symbolism.
One good point is that this series sometimes REALLY got on my nerves, showing how much i was into it( Almost got crazy with most of the males in this series, SPECIALLY Touga and Akio, these two are disgusting, and a character like Utena getting so easily atracted to Akio made me want to hit my head on the wall with all strengh), characters are never what they appear to be, Ruka was one of the better ones, he finally made Juri free of her toxic love for Shiori(maybe at the cost of his own life). The ending was pretty clear to me, i have to say i loved when i got how much the characters have grow up.
Touga-> Seems to finally consider Saionji a true friend and probably its not a disgusting playboy anymore(god, i hate this guy)
Nanami->She finally got what her feelings for Touga are, she loves him as a brother and not sexually, this made her a better person to the point she wanted to help Utena.
Juri and Shiori-> What i got its that Juri is free from her toxic love for Shiori, but din't rejects her, in fact, Juri acepted Shiori as a part of her fencing team, on the other side, i think Shiori got over her stupid envy and love/hate for Juri and is trying to catch up with her( if you think about it Shiori never tried to became good at something, she just kept hurting Juri to fell better about herself, so she being a part of the fencing team shows her work to became someone as good as the Juri she loves) since the author said Shiori loved Juri all the time but could not help it because of the inferioty-complex, she getting over it leads me to believe these two still have chance to put aside diferrences and be together.
Miki-> Seems like he finaly made up with Kozue, and she's back to piano, also he learned to move on from his one-sided love for Anthy
All Stundents from the school-> I got surprised by this, they are finally thinking about their future beyond Ohtori Academy, the girls stopped thinking only about boys.
Akio its the only one who dint grow up, like he said, when you moves from school you finally became a adult, Akio its never going to became a adult and will be forever traped in his prince and princess BS, Anthy got that and moved on from her brother.
Finally the ending, it seems Anthy was too tied to the prince and princess fairytale Akio build up, and like in fairytales the prince ALWAYS is a boy, wich made her refuse Utena at first and stabs her, but Utena shows her there are other ways and Akio its just a corrupted child, Utena showed Anthy she have a choice and don't need to be a doll without personality just to please her brother. She leaving to look for Utena, who have grow-up and got out of Akio linear and unrealistical world, made me get she finally got her own fellings for her, the final photo showing Akio cut out and their clasped hands leads me to believe the two were always in love for each other, but needed to move on to get it.
I won't rate the series, since i liked it but don't think its even close to deserve a "master piece" classification, too much symbolism and surrealism made the series look non-sense for those who din't analyze it, in my opinion this its a bad way of exploring Pyschological stuff and human deep fears and problems, Elfen lied, Shiki, Soul Eater,Higurashi no naku koro ni, Mirai nikki e.t.c do it in a better and easier way to understand, this is my opnion.
Modified by Raytraza, Mar 29, 2016 9:56 AM
 
Apr 15, 2016 1:50 PM

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Really amazing finale. It seems that Juri's story about the boy who tried to save her sister was foreshadowing for this ending, and possibly Juri's arc with Ruka was foreshadowing for this ending. This ending made me pretty melancholic, with students forgetting Utena and all, but it ends quite openly, and I assume the movie gives the series a more solid ending. Utena is seriously one of the greatest MCs of all time, she truly is a prince.
 
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