Utena Tenjou had a tragic childhood—her parents died when she was young, and she almost drowned, had it not been for her prince who came and rescued her. Because of the impact this prince had on her life, Utena strives to be just like him—to grow up to be a prince, not a princess, and to spread nobility, ultimately finding her prince and bringing revolution.
Shoujo Kakumei Utena is based on studio J.C.Staff's anime of the same title.
The series was published in English as Revolutionary Girl Utena by VIZ Media from January 9, 2002 to March 3, 2004 and ran in their Shoujo anthology magazine Animerica Extra. The publisher re-released the series in a deluxe box set on April 11, 2017.
"The book is better than the movie/series/whatever!" Yup, we've all heard it, and from my experience 99 times out of 100 rehashes, remakes and adaptations pale in comparison to their source material. Unfortunately the Utena manga fits into that rare, mythical 1% zone. In this case, the source material is indeed a mere shadow of its adaptation.
Not to say the manga is bad. It basically covers the first arc of the show and then jumps to the very end of the last arc, so you're getting what is generally considered to be the best parts of the series (I'm a bit of a black rose
hater myself). But where's Nanami? Where are the shadow girls? Why has the blatant homoeroticism been dialed back from a strong 8 to a light 3? Where are Shichiro Kobayashi's beautiful backgrounds? Where's the WEIRD?!
The problem with the manga is all the little extra things that make the anime so special and different just aren't there. You're left with a lot of the familiar plot points (with some twists here and there, including a pretty godawful and thankfully jettisoned opening involving Utena's aunt and some nerdlinger who disappears when the story gets going), but it's like reading an abridged version of a classic. You're left asking yourself what the point of reading the manga is when you can just watch a far superior version of the same story. Then of course there's the problem with the medium itself, namely no color and no sound (two of the anime's strongest points).
It's still Utena though, and there are definite flashes of the magic the series seems to have in spades. Utena is still a badass; Anthy is still a creepy weirdo; there's still speeches about chicks cracking shells; there's still revolutions to be had. I guess it just feels kind of inessential, and...tame, which is a shame when you're used to the surreal heights of the anime.
Recommended with some caveats and an insistence that you watch the series before judging the Utena universe as a whole.
This was such a let down I had to review it. For years i have been told that this manga was amazing. revolutionary even. That it really was a great story that defied gender norms and tackled tropes and stereotypes. But honestly i really don't see that at all.
The only different thing going on in this Shojo is that instead of getting with the guy in the end Utena...??? I'm not even sure!!! She wants to become a prince the entire time, break out from the princess trope yet she is constantly falling back into it. She falls in love with anyone she thinks
might be her "prince" and seems like she isnt even really aware of anything thats going on around her.
The first half of the first book we meet her school friend, her aunt and some college kid only to never see them again once she transfers schools. the new characters seem to come out of nowhere and it feels like they are two completely different stories. then the middle chunk feels pretty formulaic but at least like its building to something. But then the ending chunk feels again like what was the whole point of this book? You could read literally the last like three chapters and take away about the same as if you had slogged through the whole thing.
Some of the student council members seem interesting enough, but we never really get in to any of their stories, and then the story ends, with minimal character development and minimal explanation of the actual plot. Anthy's character on the other hand gets a ton of development right at the very end and seems forced? I dont even know it was so fast and unexplained... And her entire character, like what was the point? what was her goal? She seemed to have a goal but at the end her original goal seemed to totally contradict what it actually was she was after. All the other characters, random school friends, totally pointless. If they were not there the story would hae been a faster and probably easier read.
Maybe I dislike it so much because of all the hype I had going into it, but watching Utena fall in love with anyone who barely resembles her prince (or not) get old real fast. that and the discombobulated plot was IMO bad writing. The end was predictable but somehow did not mesh well with the rest of the narrative. I guess I went in thinking "yeah girl power" and ended up getting story driven by typical heteronormative romance (if you can call it that) with pretty much every character except for the main bad guy...
story- what story?
art- typical 90s shojo style, i gave it a 9 because i really like that style when done well and for the most part it was, tho not everyone will like it.
character- there seemed to be so much potential, but in the end they all fell flat on tropes, rushed development, no development, or were completely part of the scenery
enjoyment- I kept wondering when was it going to pick up? when would the story start to happen... and then it ended. i tried to enjoy it but was disappointed in the end.
overall- I wouldn't recommend. maybe the anime is better? Im still not sure if i will attempt it, but if it follows the manga I'm not about it. It's a real bummer.
An classic manga with lots of simbolism and fantasy. In order to understand all the story read the manga, after this, watch the anime and, in the end, watch the movie, they have important diferences but are related.
The story is very original and the progress of the characters and their past is very deeper.
The story is focused in each member of Student Council, their relationships and the quest of Utena to find her prince and became a prince herself. It shows like someone can fight for his own wishes, live the way he wants and the importance of friendship. A very good history that influencied
a lot of others that came after, great and memorable characters made this an unlosable history to anyone.
You have to pay a lot of attention to understand this. But basically Utena is a girl who was save by a guy when she was a child. Some years later, she is looking for this guy (her prince) and trying to be like him. She goes to a academy where she mets the rose´s bride, a girl that is traded in duels between the members of Student Council trying to obtain the power to make miracles from a place called something like "end of the world". Just read it and try to figure this yourself.
There´s nothing special about the art, it´s nice and clear, easy to understand.
Each character is special and have a deep desenvolviment. You can only 100% understand them if you watch the series too. The manga is too short to desenvolve them all, so the story don´t pay much attention to the secondary characters.
It´s a great manga and makes you want to know more about this world. Certainly
influenced many others titles.
All the Utena´s world is very complicated to understand, the manga is the easiest way to introduce you in this world, many things are more explained in the serie and the movie, so don´t miss them.
I will try not to allow my love of Chiho Saito to slant this review, but I can't promise anything. I'm one of the very few who enjoyed the Utena manga more than the anime, probably because I could relate to it more (and I like the ending better...not to mention it made more sense than the anime). The characters are more realistic. Touga and Akio actually appear to have some heart. Because it's much shorter than the anime, there is less time to go into secondary characters, so the story mostly focuses on the main triumverate (Utena, Anthy, Akio) and Touga. Definetly more symbolic
than most shojo, it's more theme driven than character or plot driven. Many are turned off by the metaphysical focus of the story, but anyone who likes kick butt girl power should find this story entertaining. Not for anyone who has issues with homoeroticism (although this version has nothing on the others).