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Adolescence of Utena (少女革命ウテナ アドゥレセンス黙示録; lit. Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence Apocalypse; also released in English as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie), is a 1999 anime film followup to the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series, produced by J.C. Staff, directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, and written by Yoji Enokido.

The film is an Alternate Continuity that changes most of the show's characters in drastic ways, both in terms of appearance and characterization. The storyline receives just as many drastic alterations; though containing recognizably similar beats, it could be considered more of a reimagining of the series than an adaptation. In contrast to the show's subtle approach, the film makes explicit the romantic nature of Utena and Anthy's relationship.

Although the movie is separate from the original series in a literal sense, it is in many ways a spiritual continuation/alternate ending due to its heavy use of symbolism that requires knowledge of the original show to parse. The movie also picks up where the series left in escalating the metaphorical storytelling and surreal imagery to ever-higher levels of Mind Screw.

Adolescence of Utena was also adapted into a manga by Chiho Saito, who also did the manga version of the original Utena storyline. It tells a similar plot in a much more straightforward fashion across a single volume.

Due to the film relying heavily on expectations from the series and its own barely-explainable nature all spoilers will be left unmarked.


Tropes:

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Anthy's decision to finally abandon Akio and Ohtori Academy is given much more focus. In the last act, she is effectively the protagonist instead of Utena, taking the wheel (which is Utena) to outmaneuver a fleet of cars and an enormous castle coming after them. Anthy also turns out to be the brains behind Prince Dios' heroics.
    • The Shadow Players go from a Greek Chorus to the Mission Control and possible Big Good backing up Anthy and Utena.
  • Adaptational Consent: Akio's treatment of Anthy in the series was sexually exploitative, but had some pretense of consent. The movie simplifies things considerably Akio to drugging his sister to molest her while she was unconscious, and being surprised she was awake the whole time (apparently every time).
  • Adaptational Heroism: Touga in the series is a power-hungry Manipulative Bastard who sleeps around constantly without loving anyone or even valuing friends. Here Touga is the ghost of a child who died trying to save Juri's life, and though his present actions are mercurial, he did and still does love Utena.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Though Shiori in the series was as corruptible as the other Black Rose duelist, she was not an altogether terrible person, and has positive (if complex) feelings for Juri. Here, Shiori an egomaniacal sociopath going after Juri and Utena for getting in the way of her (likely imagined) romance with her "prince".
    • As contemptible as Akio was in the anime, he was at least a Fallen Hero who did good earlier in his life as Prince Dios. The film's version of Dios and Akio are separate entities, and there's no sign Akio had any noble history. It's also much clearer that Akio does not care about his sister's consent during sex, as he expected her to be drugged into unconsciousness during the deed. He does show more shame over his actions than Akio ever did in the anime, but even that just makes him try to murder Anthy once he discovers she knew what he was doing.
    • Prince Dios himself was a hero to a fault, but also showed himself to be quite a chauvinist to the women he would rescue, not expecting Utena to be able to become a hero herself. The movie plays the latter up to the extreme, as he actually wants Anthy to keep her role as the Rose Bride, in his own words insisting she be a "living corpse" for others to fight over, basically showing than even an idealized "good" version of Akio is still a selfish, misogynistic scumbag.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Akio in the series is an inscrutable and seemingly invincible Manipulative Bastard. Here Akio is a much more foppish and blatantly pathetic character, and he toppled out of a window after freaking out over the fact that his sister hadn't been asleep when he was molesting her. On a more comical note, movie Akio's Establishing Character Moment has him showing off his famous car, but he explains he lost the key and has to take a cab.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The manga cuts out most of the actual movie's weirder symbolism (most notably the cars) in order to tell its story in a more straightfoward fashion.
  • Animation Bump: The series was famous for using every trick in the book (and many more they invented) to keep the budget down while keeping things visually interesting. The film goes completely buck-wild with its theatrical budget, to the point the characters are practically living in moving impressionist paintings.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: The last scene has a full-frontal shot of Utena and Anthy that shows no signs of nipples or genitalia.
  • Behind Every Great Man: The hero Prince Dios was actually a magical puppet under Anthy's command. Anthy isn't only given no credit for her deeds, she is assumed to have killed Dios when the magic runs out and he disappears.
  • Bifauxnen: In the TV anime, Utena is more of a tomboy than this trope, what with her wearing her long hair loose, wearing sports shorts and disliking it whenever anyone refers to her as One of the Boys. This Utena rocks a suit with matching long pants and hat when she appears for the first time. Outside of duels, when she switches to something more resembling her outfit in the TV anime, Utena definitely could pass as a very pretty young man at first glance, and the short hair certainly helps. (Official sketches show that most of her hair is actually hidden under her hat).
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Utena and Anthy passionately kiss in the end as they ride away from Ohtori.
  • Captain Obvious: At the beginning of Utena and Anthy's escape from Ohtori, the Shadow Girls comment on Anthy being in "the lead."
    E-Ko: Well of course, I mean there's only one car so it's naturally the lead.
    F-Ko: You're not supposed to say that!
    • This turns out to be a justified complaint, as E-Ko was essentially Tempting Fate since moments later Shiori makes the scene followed by the Locust Cars.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Ohtori Academy shown in the movie is very different from the Ohtori Academy shown in the series.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Miki and Juri have a talk with Shiori in a hangar full of black vehicles, one of which has a license plate reading "KOZUE" (the name of Miki's sister). Not only are the vehicles featured in the car chase the end, the plate hints that people can be turned into cars.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Kunihiko Ikuhara plays the art teacher.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Essentially what being "the prince" of the academy can be viewed as, being forced to fill the vacuum left by Akio Ohtori and being the center of the dead world that is the academy. Shiori especially sees Juri being forced into the role as a punishment.
    Shiori: I had a prince myself once. But then one day, the prince was killed. Actually it was a childhood friend of mine who did it. So stupid. You see my prince and I were supposed to have gone steady. But instead he went missing. So now I'll never forgive her. I'll make her be the prince for the rest of her life.
  • Dance of Romance: A beautifully done scene has Anthy and Utena dancing as schoolgirls, while their reflections are dancing as the Rose Bride and her Prince. Then, after a while, it appears as if the Rose Bride and Prince are the real image, and the schoolgirls are the reflection.
  • Death by Adaptation: Of the characters featured in both, only Utena possibly died in the series, while the movie has several other casualties:
    • Touga drowned years ago as a child trying to save Juri.
    • Akio unceremoniously fell out a window after Anthy discovered that he was molesting her.
    • Shiori turns into a car and has a race with Utena (also a car), when she crashes and explodes.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Utena starts off as a main character but it's Anthy's story and the mystery surrounding her that's the most important (with Utena's story serving as a foil). Then Utena turns into a car and the narrative focuses on Anthy's escape from Ohtori.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Nanami only appears in a single gag scene, a in-universe video in which she is a cow. Given the revelation that Touga was Dead All Along, it makes sense why Nanami is not present among the Student Council.
    • Chu-Chu also only appears in that video instead of being Anthy's pet.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Utena and Anthy successfully escape together from Ohtori Academy and in the process destroy the last aspect of Akio that tried to keep them trapped within the system of duels and princes. While they have no idea what the outside world is going to be like, the two are together and can now build their own roads towards a meaningful future.
  • Eldritch Location: Ohtori Academy is a collection of classrooms, walkways, and lots that freely float around with no attachment to the ground—we never even see them from an angle that shows if there is a ground. There's a single highway road out, and the trip there will show the academy, castle, and only exit exist in an enormous void, as if in another dimension entirely. None of this is commented on as strange, leaving it ambiguous if these features literally exist or not. It's also possible the Academy itself is alive and trying to keep students from outgrowing and leaving it.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The scene of a naked Shiori gaining butterfly wings. While it's beautifully animated, it's what it represents that causes the Squick, mainly her hatred as well as Touga's hatred combining, and the fact that the scene is overlaid with a child/pre-teen Touga being raped by his adoptive father..
    • Anthy and Utena take turns sketching each other nude. In Utena's case she's extremely nervous throughout and covers herself up as soon as it's over, and then tells Anthy that it's only fair that she do the same. Anthy agrees and we get the standard Dress Hits Floor shot and her beautiful nude silhouette... only to see that Anthy has a giant hole in her chest where her brother stabbed her before killing himself! By the same token, the scene of Anthy and her brother turns nightmarish as soon as he puts drugs into her drink and proceeds to take advantage of her, only to panic when she wakes up and he realizes that she was awake the whole time, leading to him stabbing her and then Akio killing himself. Yikes.
    • In the manga, Utena comes across a nude drawing of Anthy, which happens to be the only time in any version of the story that Barbie Doll Anatomy is averted. However, as Utena recalls her earlier conversation with Touga about the so-called "prince", a blood-like smear appears on the Anthy drawing, right between her breasts... and then the whole thing melts away and Utena learns about the manga's version of Anthy's past with her brother, which plays out in much the same way as it does in the actual movie.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the paintings shown during the sketching scene is of the prince falling headfirst from a tower, a hint that Anthy knows what actually happened to her brother.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Utena covers herself with a canvas from thigh to neck while modeling naked for Anthy's portrait. As that would defeat the purpose of taking her clothes off, it's presumably just for the audience's sake.
  • Gainax Ending: The movie is generally bizarre even compared to the series, but the last act turns into a Stern Chase through an abstract void where anyone can spontaneously turn into a car.
  • Intimate Artistry: One of the scenes of Anthy and Utena bonding together is taking turns models for the other's portrait—nude in Utena's case.
  • Literal Metaphor: The finale of the series has Utena serve as the vehicle through which Anthy escapes from Ohtori. The climax of the film has Utena serve as Anthy's vehicle in a very literal sense.
  • Men Act, Women Are: The movie is even blunter than the series in its portrayal of Anthy's expected role as a Princess Classic. When Anthy decides to escape Ohtori, Prince Dios outright tells her she needs to stay and continue to be a "living corpse".
  • Mind Screw: While the TV series could get very surreal at times, the movie is even more abstract, with many bizarre and magical things happening without explanation. From the very beginning, even the physical location of Ohtori Academy makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Mobile Maze: Ohtori Academy is comprised of many pieces of floor and stairs that are constantly floating around.
  • Multi-Track Drifting: Ohtori Academy's fleet of vehicles are enormous, boxy, run on treads, and are even called "tanks". Somehow they catch up to Utena's much smaller car form, which a readout pegged at 500 kilometers per hour.
  • Non-Serial Movie: The events and characters on a literal level are separate from the series, although as noted above, it has many elements of a continuation in a spiritual sense.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Touga is actually the ghost of a boy who died trying to save Juri from drowning. He appears as he would have if he had lived to grow up, and is only visible to people who knew him in life.
    • The last thing Anthy faces before escaping Ohtori is a spectral version of Prince Dios, who tells her to stay and attempts to bring the castle down on her when she refuse. He is either the actual ghost of her brother Akio or the manifestation of the Prince Dios she had made using her magic (the manga makes the latter explicit).
  • Questionable Consent: Akio has a Freak Out when he realizes that Anthy whom he'd thought was unconscious was awake for at least part of while he was raping her after slipping her drugs in her drink. Anthy tries to calm him down and tell him that she's okay with it, but he stabs her in the chest before throwing himself out the window.
  • Rape as Backstory: Touga's adoption by the Kiryuu family was actually his birth parents selling him into sexual slavery.
  • Reveal Shot: After Anthy spends some time as the model for Utena's portraits, they switch places and the camera is on Anthy drawing. Utena converses with her nervously offscreen for a few moments before the camera switch back to show Anthy insisted she model nude (though she covered herself with a canvas).
  • Scenery Porn: The movie is a buffet of elaborate and physically impossible backgrounds.
  • Self-Disposing Villain:
    • Long before Utena arrived, Akio stumbled out a window from the shock of finding out Anthy had always been conscious when he was having sex with her.
    • Shiori ends up dying with almost no input from the protagonists because of her insanely reckless driving.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Anthy is not the Rose Bride because of Akio's manipulation, as he's actually never had any control over her. Rather, Anthy dealt with his abuse by acting as if he was a good person (creating Prince Dios in the process), leaving her unable to move on past him or Ohtori Academy until Utena convinced her otherwise.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Touga as a child tried to rescue Juri when she was drowning. He himself drowned in the attempt and she was rescued by someone else entirely.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In the series, Utena appeared to have died or gone onto another world, though Anthy is confident she is somewhere they can be reunited. Here, Utena unambiguously survives and escapes with Anthy.
    • In this continuity Kanae is definitely alive, while the series had an ambiguous implication that she was poisoned by Akio and Anthy.
  • Stealth Sequel: A common interpretation of the film in relation to the series. A lot of moments of Character Development carry over, there's a few scenes that feel like references, and the setting is so surreal and strange that it could easily be interpreted as metaphorical. (It certainly doesn't hurt that this turns the film into the definitive answer of whether Utena or Anthy managed to meet again after the series.)
  • Stupid Evil: Shiori turns herself into a car to escape Ohtori, but refuses to let Utena and Anthy escape too. Her arrogance leads to her crashing and burning, with no one caring.
    E-Ko: Oh well, the black car crashed!
    F-Ko: Anthy Himemiya is in the lead again!
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The series theme song begins to play as Anthy starts driving her car under and past the moving castle.
  • Tomboyness Upgrade: Utena's look is more masculine compared to the series, including full pants instead of shorts and Boyish Short Hair (before her encounters with Anthy cause it grow out or unbraid). Saionji actually mistakes her for a boy until he rips her shirt in battle, accidentally exposing some cleavage.
  • Torso with a View: Anthy's shadow shows that her brother stabbing her left a hole in her chest large enough for light to shine through. This doesn't effect her physically, and the wound has disappeared by the time she escapes Ohtori Academy.
  • Transformation Ray: Ohtori Academy has a giant mechanical carwash that turns people into cars, always with a Vanity License Plate showing their name.
  • Wham Line: The reveal that Touga was Dead All Along begins with Miki asking "Who's Touga?", while Touga is right behind him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After helping Anthy and Utena escape, Miki, Juri, and Saionji express a desire to escape Ohtori themselves. We don't see them again afterward, as the last scene in the academy only shows Wakaba (who was previously their vehicle).
    • It's implied by the license plate that Kozue was turned into one of the black cars. If she was one of the wrecks shown in the end or was changed back into a human is unspecified.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Utena is very boypretty in her formal suit getup.

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