Though most of the show is just surreal, some segments have twisted the surreal a little too far.
For Adolescence of Utena, see here.
Spoilers Off applies to all Nightmare Fuel pages. You Have Been Warned.
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The TV Series
- The sound of the Ohtori academy bell ringing.
- A few moments are quite scary, most of them involving Anthy and Akio, most of which aren't "jump out of your seat and scream" scary but a more psychologically disturbing kind of scary, especially once you find out the true nature of their relationship.
- Whenever Anthy gets Scary Shiny Glasses and reveals her true not quite so Extreme Doormat nature. Or just how she's used in a pawn in the duels and her life is something to be used and won and she has to obey whoever she's engaged to no matter what.
- Nanami got a kitten for her brother as a birthday present, but being such a Yandere for him she drowned it because it was taking up all Touga's attention. She was seven years old at the time!
- The relationship between Nanami and Touga has a lot of this, thanks to her sheer obsession with him and the way he emotionally manipulates her. It all reaches a head in episode 32, in which Touga suddenly tries to rape Nanami in Akio's car (which she fights off in horror) and gets angry because if sex isn't what she wanted, then what does she want? Actually, the sheer level of bullshit he pulls on her in that episode is nightmarish in itself.
- This careens straight into fridge horror territory if you buy the theory that he shares the same fate as Touga in the movie, and was molested by his adoptive father. That Touga's idea of family love has been so completely warped makes the entire mess between the two of them chilling, to say the least.
- Anytime Saionji gets pissed really.
- That time he tried to attack Utena but Touga showed up to protect her and took the attack instead.
- Worse when you realize WHY Touga did it: to turn everyone against Saionji and get him kicked out of Ohtori. And he's doing this to his best friend. Saionji is a Jerkass, but what the HELL Touga.
- There's also Kozue who is shown to be rather obsessed with her twin Miki and to grab her brother's attention she exercises loose sexual morals. She's extremely possessive of Miki to the point where she physically hurts anyone who tries to hurt or "steal" him.
- In one episode, Miki's piano teacher is hinted to have a less than savory interest in him, and he's inappropriately touchy-feely with him when they talk. Kozue has clearly noticed; it's later revealed that she pushed the piano teacher down the stairs in order to protect Miki from the piano teacher's predatory intentions.
The Student Council Saga
- The second duel with Saionji. At first he and Utena are evenly matched... Then he suddenly kicks her so hard he sends her flying, and she's basically helpless until Dios shows up to help Utena.
- Saionji was the dueling champion until Utena came along... Meaning he has beaten Juri, Miki, and Touga (and possibly Nanami), and likely kicked them too at some point in the duel. Have you wondered why Juri and Miky had to be pushed into re-entering the dueling game and Touga went through all the trouble to dishearten Utena before challenging her? That kick is the answer: Juri and Miki had the will to fight in the duels literally kicked out of them, and Touga knew that he had no chance in a fair fight against someone who had faced Saionji and won.
- The scene in episode 3 when Nanami tries to embarrass Anthy by making her dress dissolve. Also, there's also the view of the crowd at the party from Anthy's point of view. It doesn't seem so horrific at first, but when you rewatch it with the knowledge of why Anthy doesn't like crowds, it's decidedly painful.
- In Episode 8, Utena and Anthy switch bodies. After Nanami spends a bunch of time trying to find the super-rare chili powder so they can recreate the curry that caused the body switch, it's discovered that Anthy didn't actually use the super-rare chili powder and that the curry she recently made has the same properties. Saionji and Chuu-Chuu then switch bodies using the new curry, which implies that Saionji spent at least some time in the body of a tiny monkey.
- On that note: Utena and Anthy spend AT LEAST a week with switched bodies. Akio did NOT keep it in his pants long enough for Anthy and Utena to switch back, which means that Akio probably saw Utena naked long before he and Utena were actually acquainted.
- Episode 9: Touga and Saionji find a young Utena hiding in a coffin next to her dead parents (who are in separate coffins). The trauma of losing her parents has caused her to give up on life, as she thinks it's pointless to live on if all humans eventually die anyway. She's no older than six or seven in this flashback, and yet she's basically suicidal.
- Later in the same episode, Anthy appears similarly curled up in a coffin. Made more chilling in that the whole point of her doing so was to remind Saionji of his childhood trauma and ultimately bring about his downfall.
- When that flashback gets revisited in episode 34, it gets much worse. Touga claimed that what was needed to snap Utena out of her grief was to show her something eternal, as Utena was suffering from nihilistic grief, believing that since everything died, she might as well die right now. What did Utena's prince come up with as an example of something eternal to save her? Anthy's suffering.
The Black Rose Saga
- The first real example of nightmare fuel came with the first episode of Black Rose arc, showing us how Mikage and Mamiya recruit the Black Rose Duelists. Akio's fiancee Kanae goes to Nemuro Memorial Hall for her interview. She enters an elevator and, in anguished tears, divulges her attempts to make friends with Anthy as the elevator speeds past strange plaques (actually mausoleum plots). Meanwhile, someone over a loudspeaker tells her to go "Deeper. Even deeper" as the elevator accelerates more and more as it descends. Finally, poor Kanae reaches her breaking point and Mikage appears behind her from the door, telling her she has no choice but to revolutionize the world. And then before she can react, Mamiya stabs her in the chest with a black rose. Poor Kanae!
- To add some extra Fridge Horror to that, the Mamiya we see throughout most of this arc, including this scene, is an illusion acted out by none other than Anthy; in other words, Anthy is the one who stabbed Kanae! Brr.
- Then there's the apparent poisoning of Kanae by Akio and Anthy. Remember that she's someone we don't see at the end. Definitely didn't get a happy ending of any kind.
- Pretty much any time anybody goes into the elevator and crosses the Despair Event Horizon.
- Not to mention you can hear the 100 dead boys kicking around inside their coffins.
- The way Souji Mikage and Mamiya Chida recruit the Black Rose Duelists, preying on people who are at the lowest points of their lives and using their insecurities to make them join the Black Rose cause.
- Akio and Anthy (who was actually posing as poor Mamiya) inflicting a Mind Rape on Mikage himself at the end of the Black Rose arc.
- Rather, really they'd been mind raping him the whole time since Mikage had been talking to Anthy-as-Mamiya the whole time. Just in the last episode, they start taunting him about it before disposing of him.
- Speaking of that arc, there's the way the Black Rose duellists draw swords from the student council members, complete with intensely creepy sexual subtext. The most notable ones are Shiori drawing Juri's sword (very slowly, at that, and the noises of pain Juri makes almost sounds like something else), Wakaba drawing Saionji's sword (she suddenly dashes forward and pulls it out with her own hands!), and Keiko drawing Touga's sword (which is sexualized to hell and back, what with his violent twitching and her lovesick "Touga-sama~" during the process).
- To say nothing about Mitsuru drawing Nanami's sword: "And with this, I become an adult". Holy balls!
- Consider the aggressive behavior of the Black Rose duelists and how they approach the object of their affections to traumatically draw their swords. Romanticized Abuse was such a prevalent theme during this arc that when Tatsuya was shown to genuinely care for Wakaba, he almost fell victim to this until Mikage mercifully stopped it from happening.
- Wakaba's elevator scene, if you think about it. Most elevator scenes in the Black Rose arc feature a picture of a butterfly on the wall that turns into a chrysalis, then a caterpillar, then a leaf (presumably with eggs on it) as the duellist-to-be comes closer and closer to their breaking point; therefore, it says a lot about how damn hard Wakaba snaps when that picture is already a caterpillar when we see her in there!
The Akio Ohtori Saga
The Apocalypse Saga
- Episode 30 when Anthy gets Scary Shiny Glasses and the lights on the candle go out. And then when she holds it while watching Utena and Akio make out in the car and suddenly disappears...
- If one takes this interpretation, "Dios" or actually, Akio pretending to be Dios insulting Utena in the lowest way possible right after he and Anthy have betrayed her, she's just been stabbed by her best friend, and Anthy is facing horrific torture right before her eyes. "Dios" proceeds to tell Utena how she did well for a girl and how she wouldn't be able to do anything with the power of miracles, unless he controlled it. Worse yet, he gives her a kiss "in gratitude" while wearing this sadistic little smile.
- Similarly if you take the same interpretation, that "Dios" talking to Utena as a child was also Akio, manipulating and traumatizing this little girl just so he could shape her into a prince, fully intending to disempower her later, all to regain the power to revolutionize the world.
- And finally, there's a theory that Akio killed Utena's parents. Can't get more monstrous than that. They died in a car crash. And whose symbolism is most prominently cars?
- Note that little Utena hid in an empty coffin which was located next to her parents' ones. But why was that coffin there in the first place? It's not like you store such things in chapels. But what if Akio was the one who put the third coffin there so that traumatized Utena would think it waits for her and later he could appear in front of the girl as Dios and "save" her?
- And the sex scene between Akio and Utena in episode 33, seeing as how she's fourteen years old and he's way older than her, plus the dubious consent and...topic of discussion. You won't be thinking of sandwiches the same way again for a good while afterward. All the more nightmarish when you see her gasping in pain.
- The very worst part of that scene is, a new viewer (especially a younger one) who is watching it for the first time and hasn't been spoiled beforehand won't necessarily realize straight away that it's a sex scene! Meep.
- Honestly, though, while Akio looks like a very attractive guy, just about all of his sexual relationships (be they overt or implied) have something seriously wrong with them. Incest, ephebophilia, grooming, manipulation, dubcon, flat-out rape, emotional abuse... he does all of that and more.
- Some of the later shadow girls plays sneak into this territory. There's even a borderline Gory Discretion Shot when one of the shadow girls breaks the other one in half. A disturbingly realistic squishy, snapping sound is included, of course, and somehow, B-ko's deadpan "ow" afterward makes it even worse.
- The one in episode 34 has as subject Akio and Anthy's story. They also interacted directly with Utena and invited her to their theater to make sure she watched it... And she came with Akio and Anthy.
- In episode 37 Anthy makes cookies for Utena and casually mentions Cantarella, a deadly poison. In response, Utena comments that she "put a lot of poison" in Anthy's tea. Anthy drinks her tea and Utena eats the cookies, and both talk about how they're delicious, and the music begins skipping. This is never brought up again.
- In the same episode there's also Anthy trying to commit suicide by jumping off a building. Thankfully, Utena saves her.
- Anthy and Akio are siblings but Akio regularly sexually abuses his sister, and its hinted that Akio often uses force in order to get his way if Anthy refuses him. And to make matters worse? Akio is (physically) about 20-30. Anthy is 14. Eww!
- Nanami rightly has a Heroic BSoD after finding this out and says that Anthy scares her. Anthy's response is to say perfectly pleasantly: "I do? Thanks so much!" And she's still holding a massive saw that she'd been using to cut up a block of ice...
- Utena also has a Break the Cutie moment after finding this out.
- In episode 38 when Akio tries to make Utena his princess, Anthy's eyes suddenly roll into the back of her head as she collapses and disappears. Akio also says that while he and Utena go on to live together as prince and princess Anthy will stay living as the Rose Bride. Forever.
- In episode 38 Anthy appears to give Utena a Cooldown Hug from behind but actually stabs her in the back with a black sword that she didn't have before.
- In episode 39 after stabbing Utena Anthy leans down to coldly whisper into her ear "You remind me so much of Dios when I loved him. But you can never be my prince. Because you're a girl" while we hear the creepy sound of children laughing in the background.
- In the final episode, Akio uses Utena's soul sword to repeatedly strike at the Rose Gate in an attempt to force it open. With each hit, Utena cries out in pain, and it doesn't seem to be from her earlier stab wound. Think of the implications there.
- Also in the final episode, up until Anthy resigned as Rose Bride to search for the missing Utena, Akio fully intended to revise the Code of the Rose Bride, cultivate a new Prince, and restart the duels. Which begs the question: Was Utena the first Prince to try to fight to protect the Rose Bride or the last? How many times has Anthy gone through this?
- According to the screenplay writer, Kanae's mother poisoned her own husband, under instruction from Akio. It certainly casts a darker light on the fact that she claims to not care about her husband. Yet again, you have to feel bad for Kanae, because she has no knowledge about that or the sexual relationship between Akio and her mother (his future mother-in-law!).
- Ruka sexually assaulting Juri in the fencing hall. Moreover, the fact that he holds her against the wall in that forced kiss for several seconds and only stops when Juri bites his lip. And even after that, he drops Juri's locket to the floor (which makes one wonder when and how he got it off her) and threatens to crush it under his foot as if he thinks Shiori is lower than dirt.
- The Mind Screw scene with Akio on a merry-go-round was, while bizarre, pretty creepy with Akio in a different position every time the merry-go-round turned to him. He's given somewhat of a sleep paralysis visage here.
- Anthy being cursed to be stabbed by the million swords for eternity and Utena taking the attack of the million swords in her place.
- In the manga, there's actually some intense blood during the final battle, despite the entire rest of the franchise having barely any at all.
- Light novels:
- The first light novel has a rather creepy sex scene between Touga and Miki(!). The consent is dubious, it's obviously manipulative, and then there's Touga's evil little smile at the end of the scene. Miki is clearly distressed during the experience, and in any case, he's only thirteen years old, while Touga is seventeen. Plus, when Utena shows up in the next scene and Touga starts invading her personal space, Miki begs him to stop, afraid for her safety.
- Kozue's breakdown at the piano, where she keeps slamming on the keys and screaming for Utena to get out of her and Miki's special place.
- The second light novel nearly ends in tragedy when Saionji stabs Wakaba in the stomach thinking she was Utena. The whole description of that scene was horrifying.