20 years have passed since the Revolutionary Girl Utena series began.
In “After the Revolution,” a new original chapter of Revolutionary Girl Utena 20th Anniversary Manga, (少女革命ウテナ20年記念日新作) from Saitou Chiho in Flowers magazine, 20 years have, indeed, passed.
If you recall, in both anime and manga, Tenjou Utena disappeared from Ohtori and with her, people’s memory of everything that had happened. Only Himemiya Anthy could remember her. And, in both versions, the end of the series came when Anthy – and the remainder of the magic at Ohtori – left to look for Utena, with complete confidence that she would find her.
20 years have passed.
We begin with Touga and Saionji. They are bidding against each other on a Picasso painting. They are rich, powerful men in this world, just as they were in Ohtori. But you and I remember how easily they were manipulated there. They do not. They haven’t changed. 20 years has not lessened Touga’s confidence or Saionji’s displeasure at coming in second.
Touga receives a letter – “Those concerned with the Revolution of the World should return to Ohtori.” And, of course Saionji has also received that letter. They enter the school with flashlights as thieves in the night. Two rich, sophisticated leaders of men, creeping around a closed school. What did we just say about “easily manipulated?”
20 years have passed. They remember nothing. Until the tower is struck by lightning and they share a dream of a girl in a coffin. They dream of a castle in the sky and dueling. They wake to find that they both had that dream, but have no idea what it means.
When Touga finds a picture of Anthy and Akio, he asks aloud who is this? And a voice says, “Me and my sister.” Akio, in his final battle uniform appears. “But,” Touga says, “you’re dead!” Akio confirms that he is indeed dead. And nonetheless wants to gain the power of Dios.
They break into the chairman’s room and find a picture of a naked Anthy. Akio provokes a fight, Saionji finds it in himself to remember his friendship with his rival and protects Touga. Touga and Akio duel….Remember again the phrase “easily manipulated.” Keep remembering it, because neither Touga nor Saiojni have. Touga slays the ghost and they see another picture, of two young women, laying together clothed, but intimately entwined.
And they start to remember. The power to revolutionize the world, the young woman who wanted to be a Prince and their friendship.
This chapter was perfect. This story cannot possibly begin with Utena and Anthy. It will, I hope, end with them. But it could not possibly have begun with them. (I submit almost. all. my. own. fanfic. as a corroborating witness. )
We’ll be getting a second chapter in the winter, and, if my guess is good, it will follow Juri and Miki as they remember. I hope so, at any rate. But it still won’t follow Anthy and Utena. Not yet…maybe not ever. Their absence is the story.
Art – 9 I *have* mentioned that Saitou-sensei’s art is amazing.
Story – 9 Exactly what it needed to be
Characters 8 – No one will blame me that I still don’t give a shit about Touga and Saionji, right?
Yuri – 8 Did you not look at that picture and see what I saw?
Service – 3 Naked Anthy still a thing.
Overall – 9
The second thing I hope for from this story is a glimpse of Anthy and Utena 20 years later. I’m willing to wait as long as it takes. Thank you Saitou-sensei for this fantastic chapter and that gorgeous cover.