Musical Utena Meta

A string of pearls, threaded by Vanna

It would be no understatement to say Ohtori.nu/Empty Movement brought the 20th Anniversary Revolutionary Girl Utena musicals to the western fandom. Twice over we carried back more merchandise than we could fit in luggage, and our streams of the shows have become a thing in their own right, a sort of ‘weeb Rocky Horror,’ as it was framed to us. The musical’s meta was meticulously scanned, most of it even translated. The programs were translated. Absolute force for good Nagumo from the Empty Movement Discord translated basically everything–I sincerely question if any other fandom has had a musical brought to them on this scale outside of like…Sailor Moon. When the second musical recorded two performances, I even made an entire edit of the two together for absolutely no reason, that would only be of any value until the Blu-ray. It was worth it. The premier on Twitch was a party I’ll never forget.

Because of this process, most of it learned on the fly (nope had no video-processing experience before these) I’ve had the honor of viewing, for hours on end, the multiple iterations of these shows, most of which never see stream time now that the Blu-rays and their superior editing and quality exist. Nevermind that I also saw the shows live, the Black Rose one twice. While I’ve struggled for days to begin a cohesive deep dive into literally any element of this topic, what I keep frustratingly arriving at is a bunch of HEY, HEY DID YOU KNOW???? details that don’t individually unpack cleanly into entire essays, and yet…are pieces of the musicals that add something to me.

I know this is…a loose interpretation of your prompt, but it’s also musical content you probably won’t get from anywhere else! It’s random bits of at least thirty folders across three hard drives, lmao. So here, for the holidays, is an absolute mess of random tidbits, observations, and comparisons that may not be the one deep dive into anything, but hopefully stands to preserve some of the wealth of details I’d hate to see lost to the sands of time. These musicals are such an incredible thing to have happen to this fandom, and to me. Enjoy! <3

The first looks we got at the costumes for both productions were these shots from behind. The vibe was surprisingly…mature? People lost their minds when Nanami dropped, because we were assuming she would be cut from the show. I don’t recall why we thought that, aside from that it was the worst possible outcome. I similarly kind of lost it when Akio was cast–I genuinely assumed the most cohesive Black Rose Musical would write him out, just to avoid the trouble and have a storyline that would stand on its own. That…is not what they did.

Smirks, Stomps, and other flashes of brilliance that the blu-rays deny us

The raw feed of the 2018 musical as it was livestreamed preserves this absolutely over the top smirk during the opening number. The camera cuts away to a full cast shot in the Blu-ray. Sad.

Touga

The raw feed of the 2018 opening number lingers on Touga long enough to catch this little shit-eating smirk he gets as he delivers his lines center stage. Far from a fluke, his obnoxious little smirks and grins are constant throughout, but the camera, probably fairly, cuts to the full stage before this moment in the Blu-ray, since it kicks off the main dance component everyone’s part of. Fine. But still. Boo.

Shortly after Nanami’s introduction in the 2018 musical, she expresses her frustration with Utena brushing her off by….stepping on the Shadow Boy named ‘Young Saionji.’ The full weight and twist power move is cut short in the Blu-ray for what I can only assume are reasons of absolute cowardice, since the camera doesn’t cut elsewhere. It just cuts this short. Again. Cowardice. 

Nanami

The 2019 Daytime and Evening shows end slightly differently for Plot Reasons I’ll get into later, but the result is that the Blu-ray version of the show records the cast walk for the Daytime show, not the Evening one they all knew would be their last. Arisa Suzuki was, by this point, explicitly a fan of Utena. She went to the exhibition, gets excited around Ikuhara, and all around earned her cowbell. Her little flourish here at the finale cast walk is so perfect, I don’t know why they didn’t just cut it in anyway. Come on. Look at this.

FUCKIN' GOOO

Saionji

Saionji hides in the audience in the 2019 musical when Utena visits Wakaba and he’s still hiding there. The Blu-ray captures this moment from the side with a higher quality shot, but this moment from the Daytime stream really does just nail what a smug piece of trash Saionji is for the one second in his life that he feels any safety in being himself.

utena & wakaba

Wakaba’s iconic leap onto Utena’s back is not only preserved in the musical, but in several behind the scenes photos from both productions. While the cut used for the Blu-ray is the better video quality, the world simply cannot have enough angles of this brilliant moment.

Glomp
Kozue smirks as she broaches the subject of using her body to piss off Miki.

Kozue

During Kozue’s elevator confession number, she tosses this powerful little smirk Miki’s way before expanding on how absolutely DTF she is if it’s going to attract his negative attention. This shot is from the Daytime stream, which is also the one the Blu-ray favors. (My version favored the second performance, the Evening stream, because my video quality was much better for it.) The Blu-ray however cuts to Miki before this expression lands. It’s honestly a sad choice I hate forever.

utena

When Utena is bugging Wakaba about her suspiciously good mood in the 2019 musical, she shoots her this extremely epic, intensely straight little look in the Daytime stream. Though I used it in my version, the Blu-ray uses the Evening stream for this scene, where this little moment doesn’t quite get caught the same way. While Ami Noujo really did a fantastic Utena right out of the gate, she grew a lot, musically and performance-wise, between the first and second musical. That seems fitting, since Utena’s own arc is to improve along those lines. 

sopure

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Shojiro Yokoi was an instant stand-out in the first musical. Sadly, he was one of two (Natsuki Osaki/Miki) not to be brought back for the second show. No one knows why; he comes back to play Chikai, Tooi’s elder brother, in a stage show adaptation of Ikuhara’s latest, Sarazanmai, some time later. However, we were well blessed as it was with what was titled ‘Saionji Theater,‘ a sequence that occurs during the events of episode nine, where Saionji is calling the castle to come down at night. Every night was apparently an ad lib by the actor, and most of the time, Yuka Yamauchi, who shares the stage with him as Anthy in that scene, didn’t know what he was about to do. She comments at one point that she eventually stopped trying not to laugh.

The version I saw was very similar to the ‘official’ one that makes the Blu-ray, where he joins the Shadow Play Girls to perform a mash-up of their routine and his own mournful recalling of ‘being beaten before the opening number.’ S-Ko forever.

The only other one we have is one where he apparently comes onstage doing a Santa impression, because good boys and girls should get to go to the castle. He sings Jingle Bells. Sort of: 

Another reported one involves Saionji trying to board a bus with incorrect change, where the pun is ‘Sen’en,’ or 1,000 yen, which sounds like ‘eien,’ or eternity. He needs change and can’t get it to board the bus to the castle. Backstage shots suggest there was an umbrella in the wind gag as well.

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speaking of puns and the like ...

Though the television series does little to help you follow its many puns, the musicals often either directly flag the puns in the script, or visually mark them in some way. They stick out especially well in the first show’s Student Council sequences, where puns seem to be doing some of the lifting of the visually absurd background events that characterize the sequences from the series. A few I remember based on the hair-raising experience of helping with the script:

Nanami doesn't fuck with the fourth wall shit

MORE FOURTH WALL fuckery

Nanami in the crowd.
Nanami first appears in the audience at the beginning of the 2018 show, talking directly to an audience member about the fuss up onstage. This sets the audience up for repeated Nanami interactions throughout both shows. When she returns for the Black Rose, she explains her presence on the Student Council by referring explicitly to having dueled in another timeline. Iconic. By the way, these are the only numbers in the show that the crowd clapped and cheered for.
The Daytime show has an audience member come onstage. (Presumably.)
While she merely held up the 2018 show for applause, Nanami includes in the 2019 show a moment during the Cowbell sequence where a pre-determined audience member is dragged up onstage and made to bow to her. It’s absolutely incredible.
The Evening show, the one intended for the recording, has the director bow to Nanami.
The final performance, however, had her summon ‘Staff-san,’ which I can only assume is a mega insulting way to refer to the two musicals’ director, Kotaro Yoshitani. He’s kicked off the stage by her minions, though of course, the audience members don’t have to worry about that.

 

Look we were thirsty, look at this dude what the fuc also Touga Anthy vibes I'm sensing
Touga is the only character in the musicals that doesn’t wear colored contacts. This was probably for personal reasons for the actor, but it also has the effect of making his uncanny ability to look right at the camera at all times a lot more disarming. In fact, he’s the only character that regularly does this. That’s right. Including Akio, who in fact so thoroughly does not break the fourth wall at any point that it sticks out to your humble hawk eyed weirdo. Touga and Nanami break the fourth wall in reliable but very different ways, with Nanami repeatedly interacting with and demanding attention from the audience, and Touga only ever watching it. 

 

The use of shadows in these shows is just so confident in its excess. Big Utena vibes.
Leading up to the duel between Utena, Juri, and Miki in the first show, the Shadow Play performance happens in combination with other events. A strange clicking noise can be heard that switches the lighting between character moments, and the Shadow Play about them. Though easier to miss in the recording than it was in person, the Shadow Boy characters (Young Saionji and Young Touga) are in the foreground, arguing over what appears to be a remote control to what’s…implicitly the planetarium projector. Young Saionji, on the left, keeps trying to switch it to the Shadow Play Girls, while Young Touga keeps switching back to present events. This is fitting enough without the added ‘Saionji is going to be a Shadow Player later.’ Love it.

 

His little cry here is so sad it sounds like when I lock the door behind my cat when I leave the house
Saionji’s ‘canon’ performance of episode nine’s events involves participating in a Shadow Play himself, where he retells the sad tale of his girlfriend with the sword in her chest, a weirdo that stole her from him, and how this embarrassing mess all happened before the opening number of the musical, in fact. His little cry here is so sad it sounds like when I lock the door behind my cat when I leave the house

 

STOP EVERYTHING AND LOOK AT THESE WHOLESOME 'BEHIND THE SCENES' GEMS

2018

2019

Hikaru Midorikawa, Mikage's voice actor in the series, with Mikage's actor, Hidenori Tokuyama. Like Touga before him, this actor is Toku royalty.

I was there!

The July 4th performance of the 2019 show had an after-show interview with Hikaru Midorikawa and Hidenori Tokyuama, a meeting of the Mikages, so to speak! Like most of the after show events, this one was not recorded, and while the language barrier was limiting to say the least, I do recall they had a ‘motto fukkaku-off.’ 

They discussed the different challenges delivering this line had in a theater setting, where the iconic almost whisper of the series doesn’t pick up well in the live audio.

Also, during a point in the show where Juri’s flung locket is picked up from the audience by Mikage and Mamiya, Mikage stood literally about a foot from me for a whole minute. I ignored Juri losing her lesbian mind onstage because his wig was fascinating up close: they accounted for gradients and how light would hit the pale pink. Amazing stuff!

"I owe it to you that i am living"

Yuka Yamauchi (Anthy) in the 2019 behind the scenes extras.
The front of the shirt has the same text that is wrapped around the rose in the back.
Yuka Yamauchi (Anthy) and Yu Yoshioka (Akio) in the 2019 behind the scenes extras.
Yes this is the best set of shots I could get, yes they're daddy daughter dancing.
Yuka Yamauchi (Anthy) and Yu Yoshioka (Akio) in the 2019 behind the scenes extras.
Unfortunately it's mega hard to get a good look at back, but this is a clear shot of the top half.

In the 2019 Black Rose musical’s behind the scenes extras have a great compilation of their rehearsals. In it, Yuka Yamauchi, who plays Anthy, is wearing this long-sleeve shirt, with “I OWE IT TO YOU THAT I AM LIVING” on the front, and also on the back, around a rose design that isn’t exactly the same as the iconic Utena one, but is so close as to draw attention.

It was well known by this point that Yuka was one of the biggest Utena fans to come from the original cast. In her curtain call in the 2018 show, she even expresses how happy she is to be playing a dark-skinned character like herself.

(A lot of controversy surrounded the use of brownface makeup in these shows. It was, to the western fandom, a Very Bad Look. It still is, but in its defense, I have seen how they usually do this makeup in this genre and they are surprisingly restrained in these shows. One can always do better with this sort of thing, but Yuka’s comment was a critical perspective shift for a lot of us. To her, in her culture, she is dark-skinned, and portraying this character was, for her, progress in her own environment. I might as well also add here that Yu Yoshioka, who plays Akio, is also considered a dark-skinned man in Japan, and is cast accordingly not infrequently.)

When I saw this shirt, I was absolutely convinced it was no mistake that she was wearing it, and I joked (not joked) that we needed to find out where she got it, because it was high-key now Utena merch of note. So when a fellow fan popped into a chat stream she hosted and asked her about it, I expected to be ready to try and find some tiny little store in Harajuku and ransack their stock of these. Nope. I had underestimated Yuka Yamauchi.

Yuka had designed and made this shirt herself for rehearsals.

YUKA HAD DESIGNED AND MADE THIS SHIRT HERSELF.

During the pandemic, she worked on her art and made a couple other items that she sold, items that were such severe Utena vibes that she ended up shipping a few across the ocean! When she sold this mug, it had an international shipping option that didn’t seem to work right. I messaged the webmaster about it…and it was her. She manually entered the order for us, and shipped a handful of mugs to me. It was adorable. I ended up distributing them among a group of friends made during the 2019 show. I love her, I stan, and I sincerely hope she’s doing well forever. 

The Black Rose Troll Subtitles

A consequence of the process of subtitling the second musical as fast as Nagumo and I did was that I had begun the subtitles before the translation was complete. This made sense because at the point I was at, I had a good enough ear for where the breaks would need to be that I could do subtitles’ timing ahead of the text that would replace them. I could have just put empty tags. I could have just filled it with Lorem Ipsum. But I did most of this work on break as an ICU nurse at 4am. So…I filled the subtitles with nonsense, and consequently, the Troll Subs of the second show were born. Because they were timed to the cut of the show I had made, they don’t match the Blu-ray, and as a consequence, they’re kind of a neat way to share the original cut I made. In them I go in and out of sincerely trying to translate as I went along, with some stretches being done by memory, as most of the musical’s dialogue matches the series. In both shows though, thought was given to differences in delivery, which were at times significant enough to change the script. Shojiro Yokoi’s performance of Saionji had us adding profanity where it’s not in the dialogue, but is so explicitly present in the different delivery that it became appropriate.

100 duelists die in this story but most of the corpsing is done by akio ohtori

To say I was worried about Akio would be an understatement, and I was reserved to being miserable with the result either way. Either he’d suck and I’d hate it. Or he’d be amazing and I’d hate it. Honestly, I got the latter in Yu Yoshioka, whose repertoire prior to this was stuffed well with…otome musicals. Of course, it absolutely makes sense once you see it–the perfect guy to play Akio is the guy who is used to playing the characters Akio is himself meant to mock. Yuka and Yu had worked together before and apparently had ‘elder siblings’ energy with the rest of the cast, and did a lot of corpsing (flubbing) of their rehearsal lines. Yuka doesn’t have a problem with this once the show starts, because she is perfect in every way. Yu can barely get many of Akio’s goofier lines out with a straight face, and you know what? It works for the character in this context. Even Akio knows he’s full of shit, and laughing through his own nonsense, he nevertheless keeps getting his way. He especially struggles with delivering ‘I love the stars!’ and corpsed this at our show also. His smug mocking Nemuro song is also a hard one to get out, apparently.

...Akio is the personification of the planetarium projector, so it's his fault when the projector fails, in this essay i w-

In the 2018 show, they had constant problems with the spinning rose in the bottom right (from the audience POV.) IIRC it worked fine for the show I attended, but naturally, the recorded one is one of the days it refused to cooperate.
The 2019 Evening show was cursed, which figures, because it was clearly meant to be the 'main' performance they used for the recording. This rose falls off during the Miki duel flashback.
The 2019 Evening show has Mamiya's ball here break off when he lies down. It's corrected as soon as he's gone offstage, but editing around it was difficult, and I think a couple shots even slip into the Blu-ray.
The 2019 Evening show was clearly meant to be a master recording. Akio's final lines to Mikage are even different*, a thing commented on in the behind the scenes clips. The stage however fails to fall bilaterally here. A problem the actors ignore with impressive determination.

*no seriously.

Akio’s conversation with Mikage over the phone at the end of the 2019 Daytime show is mostly identical to how it appears in the TV series, with the addition of the line in italics.
DOESN’T IT SEEM…
MAYBE, TO YOU,
LIKE THIS IS HERE AS A HOOK FOR THE NEXT SHOW???

Mamiya was created for you, out of your lingering attachment to Tokiko...The real one died long ago. The illusion you cherished in your memory...I exploited that. The years you spent clinging to hope, not growing up, were useful. Soon... eternity will shine down from the inverted castle above. But the path you must take is no longer being prepared for you. You graduate, now.

Akio Ohtori, Noted Asshole

However, there is, on top of that obvious reference to another show being made (fuck you COVID this is your fault,) an additional change that was put in the Evening show, clearly meant to be on the Blu-ray as part of a FURTHER hint that another show was coming. It ends up not appearing on the Blu-ray because the stage falls incorrectly in that show. To be honest, the lop-sided stage fall seemed absolutely perfect to me. I get why Yoshitani doesn’t use it though, it’s the first thing he brings up in the curtain call, and as a fellow perfectionist, I get it, bro.

Mamiya was created for you, out of your lingering attachment to Tokiko...The real one died long ago. The illusion you cherished in your memory...I exploited that. The years you spent clinging to hope, not growing up, were useful. But soon... the castle above, and the road to eternity...will shine upon Tenjou Utena. But the path you must take is no longer being prepared for you. You graduate, now.

Akio Ohtori, Still a Noted Asshole

COUNTLESS AMAZING MATCHED SHOTS THAT SHOW JUST HOW MUCH ATTENTION WAS BEING PAID TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL

Riona Tatemichi is bad at impressions

Riona Tatemichi’s Juri had the fandom losing its god damn mind with lust. There were thirst memes. There was a running gag that the Discord couldn’t go 24 hours without bringing her up, and it lasted a good…more than a month. But in true Juri form, she doesn’t make it easy–a wonderful little gem you find in the extras of both productions is that Riona is notorious for her impressions. They are awful. Here are a couple. 

A smorgasbord of things i want to draw attention to

I always took it for granted that Touga absolutely read through that exchange diary before torching it, because he has no boundaries. Thanks for making that canon, musical. I also imagine this is canon, and that Saionji knows this piece of shit is reading this embarrassing diary, and he’s just so starved for any possible attention from Touga that even this is acceptable, lmao.

I’ve always found the weird little dynamic between Touga and Juri interesting. What must it be like knowing the most popular guy in the school knows your deepest darkest secret and is basically keeping it for you? Meanwhile, they regard each other as equals almost, each sure the other is an easily navigated obstacle should they decide to go at it. The musicals play this up in fun little ways, like how Juri’s intensely stiff posture matches Touga’s seemingly loose one…and yet both of these people are absolutely constantly thinking about how they look. Touga only looks more relaxed because he knows to do that. They’re side by side wrecks.

One of the subtle setting details in the first musical is that Touga, the one ostensibly running the show for now, is also singlehandedly the one that passes people swords onstage. A version of this detail carries over in the next show, where Akio is always the last person to walk offstage before a duel starts.

Natsuki Osaki’s depiction of Miki in the first musical was…divisive. His voice cracks, and generally is very weak. (The male actors generally aren’t the best singers, lol.) While I think the recasting for the 2019 one was appropriate to the tonal shift (similar to switching out Saionji,) this Miki’s baby-face, cracking voice, and general softboi vibes were a stern reminder that Miki is in fact THAT YOUNG. This Miki sells being beaten about by Touga and Anthy like a half dead mouse.

lmao lmao look at her try to wipe the water off anthy by lovingly aiming for her cheek right in front of a wrecked wakaba and anthy just fuckin’ denies her lmao lmao

But for real though, twenty years of social progress have taken a lot of the necessary mask off the queer content in the story. For a musical that has a whole song about being ‘just friends,’ the overall tone is eagerly, happily, explicitly queer. It’s a delight, and honestly I think it’s part of why they’ve been so popular with the fandom. 

Anthy is so unconcerned with these swords lmao

During Kozue’s Black Rose duel, Anthy walks between Utena and Kozue, and literally just flicks their crossed swords out of the way. A similar gesture is used to ‘break’ the spell on Touga’s sword in the 2018 show. Yuka’s performance of Anthy is full of awareness for why Anthy is there, and it’s flourishes like these that tell you she knows what’s going to happen, and knows you know it as well. This is all play, and she doesn’t take it seriously yet. This is a stark contrast to the Wakaba duel, where Anthy seems distressed not for her safety, but for her role in the events that have unfolded.

The musical manages to make Akio’s ridiculous mythology shit actually more relevant than it is in the show. His comparing Utena to Ganymede (the young boy abducted by Zeus to be the cup-bearer of the gods) occurs simultaneously onstage with Juri’s absolute breakdown of lesbian angst. How is this framed? By striking a classically Aquarian pose, but trying to receive the water, rather than pour it. That makes her, like Akio, Zeus in this comparison. This is even more fucked up than usual, because Zeus eventually takes Ganymede and places him in the stars, in Aquarius, so that his youth and beauty can be preserved there. Akio and Juri both want captive perfection, whether it’s in the ‘sky’ Akio makes, or the locket Juri carries.

The duel with Wakaba is, both in the show and the musical, the emotional climax of the arc if we’re being honest. This detail wasn’t super clear until the Blu-ray–once Saionji joins the duel with her, she begins beaming with ALL the senpai noticing her joy of someone who isn’t currently trying to kill her friend. It’s heartbreaking.

Adapting the Black Rose Saga had to be horrifying. Unlike the Student Council Arc, there really isn’t a clean ending that will hold up on its own if you introduce Akio and then just…leave him hanging. This is why I often imagined they’d just remove him, and focus on Mikage as the antagonist. I am not a good storyteller, though, and Yoshitani is. Instead, they skipped all the foreplay entirely. Akio shows up within a minute of the show, and it’s established immediately that Akio is Dios, and Anthy is Mamiya. This change, dropping the mystery, gave the musical a lot more room to explore. It’s my favorite aspect of the show. Akio and Dios dance around one another. Anthy and Mamiya circle one another. This was almost what I wrote about for this gift before I went with ‘clusterfuck of random tidbits.’ I’ll probably still write this someday. Mamiya pushing Anthy onto the stage leading up to Wakaba’s duel and Akio being the one to toss out Wakaba’s hairclip after plucking it off Anthy IT ALL LIVES RENT FREE IN HERE!!

COVID is almost definitely the only reason another musical wasn’t produced. Why do I say that? Do you think it’s just because of Akio’s extra little lines? No. It’s because on top of all that, in the curtain call, he jokes about being excited to get on the ‘car bonnet.’ Ikuhara vaguetweeted about returning for more. In a Black Rose musical…they have Dios’ death in the opening? I learned a lot about anime musicals in this saga, and one thing I learned is that having most of the cast return to another show as it did is very rare. Miki and Saionji were recast, but the entire rest remained. Also? The scope. The first show was in a theater of 250 seats. The second was in a 1000 seat theater. The difference in scale of production, merch, everything…was enormous. At the first musical, if I’m honest, I’d say about 1/3 of the audience I saw was adult men showing up for an idol they liked. The second musical? That was all Utena trash. The after show events, everything…all of it pointed to expecting another show to be made, or at least…being ready for it. I don’t think we’ll get that now, or at least it won’t be this group. It sucks. I was skeptical about the BRS show, even after the love I had for the first one. It just seemed like a hot mess to translate to stage. And apparently it was! More than one actor comments on how unusually complicated the staging was for the BRS show–but it worked, and it trusted the audience. We know Akio is Dios. We know Juri is a lesbian. We know Touga isn’t really the bad guy. We know Anthy is the best character ever and Yuka Yamauchi chews that fucking role up like she was born to do it just let that girl back in the dress THE WORLD OWES ANTHY THE CHANCE TO WALK OUT ON AKIO ONSTAGE. Ahem. 

I am more than satisfied with what we got. The musicals and the series happen in the same planetarium, but the musicals encourage us to draw new constellations. Musical Anthy seems far more disturbed by the events of the Black Rose in the musical. Mamiya and her circle each other antagonistically, and she becomes visibly distressed by events that in the series, don’t phase her at all–perhaps because those moments are spent establishing that she’s tired all the time. We already know why, so instead we see her mounting discomfort with…well. All of it. Her eerie smile at the end of the series arc creates a vibe of collaboration that isn’t present here, and that raises some horrifying shit that really, we did know.

Anthy performs the role of Mamiya under duress. She goes to Akio when he beckons, but eventually, she’s distracted enough that Akio calls her name out first before the ‘oi de.’ Such a little difference. Something that could be a mistake. But isn’t. It’s groundwork for the next show, it advances their declining relationship, and I will forever wonder what we could have had. Imagine the bromides.

And so...

…because there isn’t really a structure here, there really isn’t a closing argument. To be honest, I used this as an excuse to explore the Elementor website software I built this with…I figured you wouldn’t hold it against me. 🙂 I could add to this forever, but I am going to stop now. I hope you enjoyed this little tour through things you might remember, know, or be learning today! Either way, the musicals slap, the process of going to them and bringing them back literally changed my life, and the lives of several others. They’re legitimately good enough and contribute enough that I don’t think of the musicals as part of the diaspora, so to speak, of Utena content, like the novels, or the game. These musicals, like the movie, like the manga, stand on their own as new interpretations of the familiar story. We may never get the finished story, but I suppose one thing the Utena fandom has been without until now is a gnawing need for closure that will be forever denied. Check, and check. Happy holidays!!!!

– Vanna

One Response

  1. Thank you!! I am sure to be going back through this secret santa gift in more detail again and again, but what you have done is a treasure and absolutely fits the spirit of my prompt. You gave me something I would have never even known to ask for from the new musicals: recorded impressions from someone who saw it live, captured some of my favorite trivia and tidbits that would get shared during Twitch streams, Smirks compilations!, visual parallels with the anime….etc. I love that this exists, and I’m so glad to have given you a catalyst to put something like this together. And it makes it sweeter that–as you mentioned in the discord announcement– this is something that fans 10 years from now could be able to look at. Nothing is eternal and all that 🌹 , but I so admire the steps you have taken to capture some of what makes these new musicals so special.

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