She doesn’t give a damn about gender roles.
She only wants justice.
I wanted to check this series out for one reason and one alone: I saw the cover art and thought that it looked cool. The title on its own wouldn’t be enough to get me there; visions of moe girls wearing too-short skirts while blasting off into space come to mind, and that’s not really my cup of tea. But the cover art was sharp and shadowy and cool, enough so that I sought this episode out.
This episode begins with a wee fairy tale (with gorgeous art that totally reminds me of the anime fairy tales that I used to watch as a kid) then flips over to a school where we meet our main gal, Utena. Turns out she insists on wearing a version of the boy’s school uniform in lieu of the girl’s, and since there’s nothing in the rule book against it, the pinched-face teacher who objects can do nothing about it. Utena goes about her day, enjoying the company of a girl named Wakaba, who playfully refers to Utena as her “boyfriend.” While gazing out of a window, Utena spies a girl named Anthy getting yelled at by a guy. She assumes it’s a lover’s quarrel until he slaps her. Utena is alarmed, but is relieved when she sees that another guy has stopped it.
Later on Utena and Wakaba encounter a group of boys reading a love letter that has been tacked to a board and making fun of it. It turns out that the letter was written by Wakaba and given to Saionji, the very same green-haired bastard who was hitting Anthy outside. Utena seeks Saionji out and, noting that he’s captain of the Kendo team, challenges him to a duel. He smirks a bastardly smirk and offers to meet her in the forest behind the school. Once Utena arrives she discovers a strange gate that just happens to open with the help of the rose ring that she wears. Immediately she finds herself walking up a long winding path toward what appears to be an upside-down castle. Saionji is at the top, as is Anthy. An epic battle with epic music commences. Utena kicks ass, and the bastard is taken down. Meanwhile the guy who stopped Saionji earlier has been watching the duel from afar and says that Utena has “lit the fire to my heart.” Our heroine is leaving the school when Anthy appears and says that she is the Rose Bride, and from that day on, she belongs to Utena. The end!
I LOVED this episode. I loved everything from the art and the music, both of which were deliciously dated, to the characters and story. Utena is like a more badass version of Misaki from Maid Sama, and as much as I enjoy Maid Sama, it’s kind of awesome to have a female protagonist who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk. She wears what she wants and stands up for what she believes in, and the yuri undertones only seem to make her more popular. Anthy is still a mystery, but I very much look forward to finding out what is involved with all this “Rose Bride” business. Saionji has beautiful bishōnen hair and is a complete dick, making him someone whom you love to hate. The story was great: elements of shoujo, elements of yuri, and elements of fantasy, all rolled up into a delicious sushi ball of delectable goodness. I seriously can’t wait to watch episode two. If the rest of Revolutionary Girl Utena is as great as its promising beginning, then I’ll have proof that sometimes it’s worthwhile to judge a book by its cover!