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  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • This wiki used to have this series listed as Anime First because Chiho Saito was the last member to join Be-PaPas -- which may be true, but the manga was being published several months before the anime started airing, which is referenced by Saito-sensei in the early volumes. It's also worth noting that many tropes that are deconstructed in the anime series are played much straighter in the manga.
    • Many people have only seen the (very wildly alternate universe) film version, partly because it's easier to find on torrent sites and partly because it was the only version released in places like the UK. (And, okay, it's known for its Fan Service as well.)
    • The series was partly based on the novel Demian by Hermann Hesse, which most anime fans wouldn't know because it's never mentioned ANYWHERE EVER.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The movie manga is arguably this for, well, the actual movie.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Some fans view Akio as as much a victim of circumstances as Anthy. If applied in fanfiction, this usually results in him getting the Draco in Leather Pants treatment.
    • And let's not get started on Anthy, who can be seen as anything from the most pitiable character most deserving of love and acceptance to a Complete Monster who didn't get NEARLY what was deserved, or even a bit of both. And it's been said that Anthy in many ways is something of a mirror to the audience, and that how individuals see the character reflects their own viewpoint, which also happens in series. The fourth wall sure is flexible in Utena.
    • The different versions themselves have been claimed to be alternate interpretations of Utena, with the manga as Chiho Saito's vision, the movie as Kunihiko Ikuhara's vision, and the TV series as a compromise between the two; there's also the manga adaptation of the movie, which is Saito's own spin on it, and the light novels, which were written by someone else entirely. Characterisation varies wildly between all these versions, to the point where the differences between portrayals of any given character can be quite jarring.
    • And just to prove once again how flexible the fourth wall is in Utena, the Akio that wants to keep Anthy in the academy's world in the movie is Anthy's own Alternative Character Interpretation (of sorts) of the real guy that died ages ago. Something similar seems to be the case with Touga.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: When the series and film were relicensed by Right Stuf for a new DVD release in 2011, quite a few sighs of relief could be heard from fans who had not been able to purchase the old DVDs. And from those who had been able to purchase the series before, but found Central Park Media's releases to be sub-par, Right Stuf's relicensing of the series came with the announcement that they'll be using the remastered video from the Japanese rerelease of the series.
  • Base Breaker: Anthy, Anthy, Anthy... see Alternative Character Interpretation above and Internet Backdraft below for the details. Also, depending on what part of the fandom you're looking at, Touga can be anything from an over-princified Draco in Leather Pants to a much-loathed Scrappy.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Monty Python-esque "Nanami Cow" segment in The Movie.
  • Complete Monster: Akio.
  • Crack Pairing: Miki/Juri has some vocal fan support. As far as crack pairings go, this is a somewhat reasonable one (the characters interact on a regular basis, move in the same social/extracurricular circles, and, of the Student Council members, seem to get along the best).
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Utena sacrificing herself to save Anthy's soul may be one of the most heroic of Heroic Sacrifices in anime history.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Many of the duelling themes, plus a good chunk of the movie soundtrack.
  • Ear Worm: The opening song "Rinbu Revolution," along with many BGM tracks (especially "Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku").
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Juri is one of the most popular characters by far.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Akio.
  • Fan Nickname: The Movie is sometimes called "The End of Utena" after that other infamous Mind Screw.
    • Shiori is referred to as "the goat" by her haters.
    • Akio's '57 Corvette is known simply as the Akio Car.
      • Fans on Nico Nico Douga sometimes call it the "Yaranai-Car". If you don't get it, you're better off not asking.
    • The tower where Akio resides: The Cocktower.
    • The player character from the Utena Sega Saturn game: Mary Sue, or more affectionately, D-ko.
    • Saionji seems to be refered to as "Wakame" by Japanese fans. It's probably the hair.
    • In some circles, the manga version has the not-exactly-flattering nickname of "Utena Lite".
  • Fan Wank: There's a small group of people who think every single thing that Anthy does in the series is manipulative and for ulterior motives. Yes, even getting (re-)stabbed with a million swords in the last episode. Yes, even when Anthy disappears behind the coffin and reaches out for Utena's hand. All this is supposed to be an act to make Utena feel sorry for her so Anthy can have a prince to manipulate forever so the Rose Bride can finally leave Ohtori. While Anthy is very manipulative and much of her actions in the series are malicious, the above interpretation contains several logic bombs: 1.) If Anthy wants a prince to save her from Ohtori, she could've refused to betray Utena in the penultimate episode, because Utena was already doing everything in her power to help Anthy get out of Ohtori. Anthy's actions make no sense unless you interpret Anthy as being hesitant about leaving. 2.) As the series points out, it's not a lack of a prince or any inherent magic which prevents the Rose Bride from leaving Ohtori; it's the Rose Bride's own personal choice to stay. Utena's feelings for Anthy, or Anthy's lack of a prince, have nothing to do with magically binding her to the duels.
    • Don't forget the speculation that young Anthy rapes young Dios in flashblack, simply due to the fact that the two of them take shelter in a barn (as per the English double-entendre "rolling in the hay"). Supporters of this particular Tree insist that Anthy was waiting for the "perfect moment" to "taint" her brother and "claim him for herself", forgetting that this is the same Anthy who took thousands of stab wounds to keep him, and neglecting to explain at all why anyone (much less a small girl) would stop to rape their older brother when being chased by a sword-wielding mob.
  • Faux Symbolism: Various weird visual cues, the most common being rotating stylized roses, which don't appear to have any particular meaning. Ikuhara doesn't help either -- he gives vague, non sequitur comments like saying the Shadow Girls are aliens (which would explain the repeated flying saucer imagery in their performances...). On the other hand, the pointing fingers in episode 22 seem to stand for Ship Tease.
  • Freud Was Right: Lots. Take Akio's car for example. Or his tower, or his projector, or... let's just say Akio provides the majority of this.
  • Growing the Beard: The first arc is fairly generic and lighthearted, and despite common mentions of End of the World, it hardly feels like a massive shadow is looming in the background. In the Black Rose arc, however, things get a lot more sinister and weird.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The scene in the movie where Anthy convinces Utena to let her sketch her in the nude actually came out the same year as Titanic, which had the same infamous scene ("Draw me like one of your French girls").
  • Hypocritical Fandom: The series is praised for being oh so complex and multi-layered by fans, who then proceed to flatten the characters down to a single trait to be hated or worshipped for. Anthyfans AND haters are the worst about this.
  • Internet Backdraft: MULTIPLE.
    • Say that you do NOT necessarily think Utena is the most important, groundbreaking, perfect, complex and unique Shoujo series ever. Prepare to be slain by the Utena fandom.
    • Try bringing up the four different Utena canons: the TV series, the manga by Chiho Saitou, the Adolescence Mokushiroku movie, and the manga based on The Movie. Within seconds, fans that support one of these medias will try to murder the fans who prefer the others. In particular, may God help you if you happen to prefer the first manga over the series; in fact, having a positive opinion of Saitou at all can get you slapped by those who think she's a homophobic so-and-so.
    • We also dare you to ever insinuate you don't ship Utena/Anthy. The Utena/Anthy rabid fans will tear you alive and accuse you of being an homophobe, regardless of your stance on LGBT rights on Real Life.
      • Speaking of LGBT matters, discussing the characters' sexual orientations can be a messy affair. (Is Utena straight, bisexual or lesbian? Is Touga straight or bi? Could Shiori ever reciprocate Juri's feelings for her? Is Juri/Miki legitimate or just straightwashing? And so on.) Wherever you stand, blood is gonna fly.
    • Anthy Himemiya herself is the biggest Base Breaker in the fandom. There's no middle ground on a character as complex as she is, especially on her relationship with Akio and her stabbing Utena at the end. Is she a person who is broken beyond belief after a millenia of pain and abuse (mostly from Akio), or a Manipulative Bitch who played everyone as fools as either her revenge for said millenia of pain and abuse, or as her way to grasp power for herself and torture everyone (Akio included)? Can it be a mix of all of the above? Either way, don't ask: the mere mention of Anthy can send everyone into hategasms or lovegasms.
    • Do not bring up a certain scene from episode 33 on Tumblr. You'll regret it.
    • If you say you like Mawaru Penguindrum better than Utena, you shall be marked for a painful death.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Mikage cruelly used the Black Rose Duelists (many of them were very troubled kids who desperately needed outlets and support - he listened to them, and then manipulated their feelings to recruit 'em), but his past was really heartbreaking.
    • Nanami qualifies big time by episodes 31 and 32. She's such a terrible, obsessive, yet ultimately pitiful little bitch.
    • Shiori, what with her whole inferiority complex driving her to lash out at those around her because she thinks no one could possibly genuinely like her. Then being humiliated by Ruka, the first person to make her feel, for once, good about herself.
    • Really, nearly everyone can fit here to one degree or another, barring Akio and those characters who are already The Woobie. 90% of the cast is violently off their rocker. Good luck holding it against them.
    • Akio doesn't fit in the present. As his past self aka Prince Dios, however? He did.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Name one major character who is not. (Example: Touga. There's Touga/Utena, Touga/Saionji, Touga/Nanami, Touga/Akio, Touga/Miki, Touga/Juri... Touga/Anthy is a bit of a stretch, but it still exists.)
  • Les Yay and Ho Yay: Has its own page for it -- which isn't surprising, given that Utena is an Everyone Is Bi series.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Akio, also a Manipulative Bastard. Touga aspires to be like him. Ruka tries to be one for altruistic reasons. Sainoji tries as well...and fails miserably.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Those who think Anthy is nothing but a Damsel in Distress forget her convoluted machinations and deep resentment of humans in general. Those who think Anthy is nothing but a Wicked Witch forget that fear and anger is likely going to be the typical reaction of a person stabbed by a million swords and faced with eternal torture. Both of these viewpoints are also represented in-universe as well by different characters, indicating that they knew full well how people were probably going to react to her.
    • Also, fans tend to yell "being a prince rocks and being a princess sucks!!". In reality, both roles suck ass: the "princess" is passive and helpless, but the "prince" cant' save the world on their own. Why does ANYONE think that Utena's view of the "prince role" was really flawed and condescending towards her "Princess", and that the one who represented the "prince" role the best was Dios - aka the man who cracked under the pressure and became Akio?
  • Narm:
    • Shiori-car's appearance in the movie, where she says, in so many words, "You think you'll get away because Utena's a car? Well I'm a car too! Mwahahaha!"
    • Also from the movie: Akio scooting across the bonnet of a car on his butt. Twice. With a sparkly sound effect the second time round. It's actually pretty hilarious.
  • Narm Charm: The opening for the Utena Sega Saturn game. Some may want some Brain Bleach for it, though.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Both in the fandom and Deconstructed in the series. Some people hate Anthy because she's a weak, outwardly emotionless doll who claims to have no opinions outside of the Victor's whims. Others hate Anthy because they think she's too powerful and manipulative and evil. And some just hate her because she gets to sleep with Akio, and they don't. Interestingly, all the kinds of Anthy-haters in the fandom are present in the story: Saionji hates her because he thinks she's not obedient enough. (Well, he loves her too, but beats her often enough to make ya wonder.) Juri and Kanae feels threatened both by her Extreme Doormat persona and the fear that she might be more sinister, and several of the Black Rose Duelists envy her for "being loved" and "stealing their love interests". Then there's Akio, who needs to keep "his woman" under his control in order to keep playing the Big Bad of the show and is rendered completely helpless when she actually manages to react, tell him off and leave him.. And then there's UTENA HERSELF, who up until almost the end saw Anthy as a poor little damsel to shield and treat as a defenseless doll, not taking in consideration her pain and anger at the world and protecting her for her own sake and to bolster her ego. . The Be-Papas members know how society views feminine archetypes, and those views are reflected even in the Utena fandom.
    • It's not just the haters; it's her fans too. Some fans, like the characters Miki or at first, Utena, see her as a classic Damsel in Distress archetype for them to rescue/defend on forums, websites, etc. in order to boost their own egos and rub their moral superiority over other fans. Initially this was a sort-of Vocal Minority, but they've become more vocal and annoying with time.
  • The Scrappy: Shiori is easily one of the most hated characters in the fandom, to the point where even members of staff disliked her. Nanami is also rather unpopular in her own right. Ironically, they're two of Ikuhara's personal favourites.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Several:
    • Assigned roles suck in general. Especially gender roles. People must start building their own destiny through their own actions rather than others'.
    • It's best to stop judging women for their looks, their beliefs, etc. ESPECIALLY if a woman does this, because women who hate other women will never be able to love themselves.
    • When one projects their hopes and ideals onto other people, it just ends with everyone getting hurt. Especially if the person expects the other/others to live up to those hopes.
    • No one can save the world by themselves. Those who try will be overwhelmed, crash down over the pressure, fall into anger and despair, be liable to betrayal from those they saved, and probably end up becoming selfish assholes who hurt those who DO need them.
    • Family is important, yes. But if someone is mistreated by theirs and can't get them to change, they must save themselves first. In such cases, their safety come first.
    • Abuse victims are NOT "purse puppies" that their "saviors" can sweep off their feet and show off as "living accomplishments". They have their own needs and personalities, they react differently to the world around them, they often can be huge assholes out of resentment and pain (rather than being sweet and sad 'children' to dote on and mollycoddle), and at their very worst they can either become massive narcissists or even victimise other people.
    • People in bad situations cannot just be 'rescued' and 'saved' by others. They must first give the first step to their own salvation. Giving support and encouragement isn't a magic solution: if the person in trouble doesn't take the chance to save themself, no one can do it for them.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Akio's... makeover for the movie was not well received, to say the least.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The dark-skinned girl is the resident Butt Monkey and is usually in a subservient position to the other characters. Not only that but she is also sought after almost as an object by the members of the Student Council. Similarly, most of the male characters act towards the female characters in ways that would never, ever be acceptable or appropriate in real life. Of course, knowing Ikuhara and his love of Deconstruction, this was entirely deliberate.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Yes, Miki is a guy, regardless of his incredibly feminine voice.
  • Villain Decay: In spite of most of its members being manipulative and abusive, the Student Council become more benign and even sympathetic as the series progresses. Though they're still all pretty Royally Screwed-Up.
    • Meta example: series-Akio versus movie-Akio. The former is an inscrutable and seemingly invincible Magnificent Bastard. The latter falls out a window after trying to rape a seemingly asleep Anthy.
  • What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Both the series and the film, but especially the film.
  • The Woobie:
    • Oh, Anthy.
    • Oh, Kanae.
    • Wakaba's Black Rose duel Just... Wakaba's duel.
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