*WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS.*
Hello again. Here is part two of my primer for Revolutionary Girl Utena in celebration of it’s 20th anniversary. Also, I will be posting day 8 of my 30 day anime challenge (long overdue), as a couple from this anime takes the spot.
Adolescence of Utena:
Adolescence of Utena was a movie version of the Utena series that came out two years after the television anime in 1999. It was essentially a retelling of the series and volume 5 of the manga.
Utena arrives at Ohtori Academy, again dressing like a boy and attracting attention to numerous girls. She witnesses a fencing duel between two members of the student council, Miki and Juri, when she sees ex-boyfriend Toga in the audience across the way. She chases him into a rose garden, hoping to get answers on why he left her many years ago. She notices a rose ring on his finger, and asks if he is engaged. He says the ring is what led him to Ohtori Academy. Shortly thereafter, Utena finds a ring of her own, and is then sucked into duel with Vice President Saionji. Again as in the TV series, it’s Utenas feelings towards Anthy’s abuse which drives her to fight. It is one of the most beautifully animated sequences I’ve seen in an anime.
After the duel, Utena finds out she is now engaged to Anthy and with it, have the power of Dios (the End of the World). Utena is upset to find out the Touga himself might’ve been engaged to Anthy. What makes her more angry is Anthy’s attitude about the situation. She acts aloof and almost doesn’t care about her own feelings in regards to the situation. It’s as if she loves going with the role placed upon her, that she is a puppet to be controlled by whoever is the current duelist champion.
After finding out some dark secrets about each others past, Utena convinces Anthy to escaped to the real world with her, and leave the fantasy world of Ohtori behind. In a surreal high speed chase, the movie ends with both Utena and Anthy escaping, with their whole lives ahead of them and no obstacles in their way.
Which brings me to my day eight in the 30 day anime challenge.
While I pondered many other obvious couples from anime I watched (Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Neptune and Uranus, Takeo and Yamato), I decided to go with the couple that I thought was most beautiful and not as well known amongst certain anime circles.
Utena and Anthy were my first introduction to Yuri (girl with girl couple). I know one can say, “well, you watched Sailor Moon before this. How did you not know about Uranus and Neptune?” Truth was, I actually didn’t. When I started watching Utena, Sailor Moon was starting to go into syndication on US television. And for the first couple years, the rotation of episodes only went up to the beginning of the second half of Sailor Moon R.
Utena represents what I try to be. Strong, valiant, willing to make sacrifices. She helps Anthy open up, letting her know it’s okay to her have her own feelings and desires rather than have to be a pawn for others. She would rather be a Prince than a Princess, because she vows to use that stance to help others. She is able to free Anthy from being a puppet to being her own person. Anthy though shows Utena that sometimes Princes are in need of their own rescuing.
The best example of their relationship is in the final episode of Utena. Utena is betrayed by Anthy, who is still doing the whim of her brother Akio. During the course of the duel and sacrifice of Anthy to “The End of the World,” Utena realizes her real feelings for Anthy and is able to wake her up from her spell, vowing that they will both meet up again should Anthy choose to escape for Ohtori.
Their love and friendship is pure, and both were willing to sacrifice everything for it. The final episode is sad and gut wrenching, but worth a watch. It is one of many reasons why I chose Utena and Anthy as my favorite anime couple.