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Ikuhara's Episode Commentary:
39: "Someday, Together, We'll Shine"

There are two meanings to the Japanese word utena. One is “the calyx of a flower.” That’s also the meaning of the title, of course. The thing that supports the beautiful petals; the one with the noble heart. And the other meaning of utena is “tall tower or pedestal.” We translated this into a visual: the tower at the center of Ohtori Academy, the one with the Chairman’s room on the top floor. And the dueling arena located deep in the woods is the same.

In the early stages of production, when the story wasn’t firmly established yet, this was one of the aspects I most wanted to visualize and produce for the screen.

A world where demons roam. In its center, a tower called the “Tower of Revolution.” Whosoever can remain victorious in his battles against the demons can reach the pinnacle of the Tower of Revolution, and at the same time receive the power to revolutionize the world; the power that changes the rules of the world.

However, when he reaches the pinnacle, he learns the world’s govering laws.

He faces the ultimate choice: will he stay nobly, beautifully powerless? Or will he accept ugliness into himself and gain absolute power?

He desired both.

Or rather, perhaps he couldn’t choose either.

His mind in anguish, he divided himself in two. His “noble heart,” and the “adult with absolute power.”

And so.

With one last wish that the day would come when someone would awaken him, the “noble heart” that had lost its body, in other words the prince, fell into a deep sleep.

Early on in the series’s conception, I kicked around the idea of placing something like the above at the heart of the story. Later, after several changes, it became the tale as you know it, but without doubt, he did reach the pinnacle of the Tower of Revolution.

It was a place where “eternity” dwelled.

And “eternity” turned out to mean perpetual sleep.

The prince (Akio) who became an adult while in perpetual sleep lost something. What he lost was “the power to create an enjoyable future.”

Revolution means gaining “the power to imagine the future.”

The prince chose to sleep on, and the princess chose to wake up. At the top of that tall tower, the princess bid farewell to the prince. No - she wasn’t the princess any longer. She quit being “a person (thing) ruled by someone.” The victory bells rang, but there was no “tower (rule)” beyond them now. She’d learned where freedom lay. She crossed the threshold of that “Door of Revolution” which had always been closed for her before, and began walking. The “girls’ revolution” lay in the girl’s future.

"Wait for me… Utena."

The world (the stage) is free and wide.

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    One of the few “magical girl” anime that I’ve ever fully enjoyed. There was just… something about Utena that spoke to me...
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