[NOTE: This post is very old and no longer reflective of my opinions or writing style.]
So I just finally finished Utena. Right after it ending, my first thought was ‘I wish there was more’ simply because I’d spent so much time with it, but honestly, i’m glad I get to move on now – 39 episodes was a lot in under a week ^^;; Ah, where do I begin in talking about a show like this? Well, a lot of it I like to compare to NGE. Mostly because it starts as a rather lighthearted show with very serious moments, and gradually becomes darker and darker until it reaches te point of being disturbing. Disturbing in a way, though, that I love so very much.
The things that will stick with me after watching Utena are the characters, the imagery, and the ending. And, of course, that everyone fucks everyone in this show. Seriously. The chicks did the dudes, the chicks did the chicks, the dudes did the dudes. I’ve never seen such a hive of STDs in my life XD Nevertheless, the show had some great characters, detestable as many of them were. I find it funny that I ended up feeling a little sorry for Saionji and Nanami, despite both being such utter pricks at times. In the end, there wasn’t really any character who I absolutel hated… okay, I hate Akio, but then again, he’s the bad guy, you’re supposed to. The show showed all the characters in their serious and goofy moments, so that ou really got to know all of them in every way. I like that each of their individual stories is left open almost entirely, leaving you only with the knowlege of how the characters have grown. In that way, I feel there was a spectacular effort in focusing completely on the characters and not the story itself.
What amazes me about Utena is that it can be cheesy, totally formulaic, repeat itself, waste time, and do it all with such utter skill and awesome that I don’t even mind it. That’s what makes the show endearing – while you know what to expect from each episode in that season (a bunch of duels and random Nanami adventures) you still want to see how they’re going to portray it. I also think that the formulaic nature of the series is what strengthened the final saga in a lot of ways. At that point, the plot is all coming together, but it keeps you in total suspense and only reveals it’s hand at the very last minute. There was really no way to predict how it was going to end.
And when it did end, it did so with the sort of epic flair I was hoping for. The ultimate sacrifice of Utena and everything about the final stage, namely when the swords came down and destroyed the entire structure was simply awesome. It even had a nice conclusive aftermath that leaves enough to the imagination but still tells you what’s happening.
Now, to get down to the juicy stuff. The symbolism in this show was simply awesome. All the rose and sword stuff, the constant power struggle and right down to the tower (I love when Akio says ‘a child can never understand the importance of this tower.’ He means what you think he means!). There was so much damn sex in this show, to. Even the implied Utena losing her virginity or whatever. This part was a little over-the-top for me, actually. When Akio went down on his fiance’s own mother (and neither character shows up again either) I was thinking they might be pushing it a little. Then again, at some point, sex really lost it’s maning in this show. (that point was probably when I realized that Akio and Touga were sleepin together, despite Touga chastising lesbianity earlier, lol).
Still, it was all cool in the end. I’d say my favorite part of Utena is just all the trippy stuff that goes on. From the shadow theater representing each episode’s concept, to the extremely odd stuff going on in the student council room (my favorite was the invisible train), right down to Miki’s stopwatch. The show takes so many libertes with reality, and that’s what made it so much fun. Again, there was a time when I had a problem with this. Namely, when it turns out that Souji’s entire reality was an illusion – it made things a bit difficult to comprehend for a bit and just seemed a little too extreme. mkostly because the whole 2 episodes that spent a lot of time on his backstory were a total waste.
In any case, this was definitely a fun, interesting, and cool show that I’m happy to have seen, even if it did take up 18 1/2 hours of my life, lol. i guess now I need to hunt down the movie. Though, like with end of eva, I think I’d like to let the series sink in a bt before I go for the film.