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Laura Reviews: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Exactly what is it that makes Revolutionary Girl Utena so great?
Recently, I had an Utena-themed birthday celebration (the words "Touga party" only left my lips once). Two of the partygoers, my friend Rory and my brother, Paul, had previously seen and therefore were totally enamored with the show. The rest, however, had little to no experience with anything Utena-related. Being the first to show the Revolutionary Girl to a large group made me remember the roller-coaster of emotions I went through when, upon renting the first Utena tape from Blockbuster Video, I had my first Utena-viewing experience.
The first emotion I felt was anticipation as I watched the Slayers preview.
Next, I felt interest as I watched the opening credits. They seemed to indicate that a pink-haired girl whom I assumed, correctly, to be Utena and a purple-haired girl were in love; that made me feel good vibes about the show and expectant hope of lesbian content. Other feelings felt during the credits included aesthetic pleasure at the rockin' yet soulful Japanese-No-Doubt-ish opening song, and also at the distinct and willowy style of the drawings.
My lesbian expectance was kicked up to grinning realization of hope and more expectant hope, this time for perhaps slight transgender themes, at Wakaba's dialogue indicating that she had a boyfriend who was a girl.
More grins and delight as Utena is scolded for wearing a boy's uniform; with her long, pink and hair and no effort to hide her obviously feminine body, she is not a Haruka-level boy-y-girl, but still a cross-dresser. Which is in some ways even better. However, I began my vaguely concerned questioning with the instant realization that her uniform is, while closer to a boy's uniform than a girl's, not actually the uniform that any of the boys are wearing.
When the audience is introduced to Touga, I am observed to feel the urge to make the devil sign, because he is so obviously the coolest thing since sliced bread.
A flurry of questions concerning the school, the student council, the incessant symbolism, and most of all the Rose Bride drifts about the room; we are hopeful that they will be answered.
They are not answered. Confusion joins the continuing interest, lesbian delight, aesthetic pleasure, and basic good vibes.
Still no answers. More and more questions. Confusion increases.
By the end of the second episode, the main emotions are: Extreme confusion, wondering what the hell the writers were on, and desire for more. Mostly, confusion. Luckily, there is another episode.
By the end of the third episode, even though there are even more questions than answers, as more plot twists have been introduced without resolving the original ones, confusion is overshadowed by raw hunger for more, more, MORE! It is with great surprise and overwhelming pleasure that we discover there is a fourth episode on the tape!
As the video drew to a close, I felt my first Utena high: that excitement and energy and lusty hunger for love and life for anything Utena-related that one is wont to feel after seeing new Utena. There was nothing to do but dance about the house, shouting things like "Grant me the power to bring the world REVOLUTION!" and "Absolute destiny apocalypse!" and other such meaningless phrases.
If you have never seen Utena, please, please, it is vital to your happiness that you do so, immediately. It is the best thing ever to grace this planet, as well as quite possibly the most effed up. But in a good way; oh, lordy, lordy, is it effed up in a good way!!