<.<; A show I’ve ben meaning to watch for years. What little I do know looks hella good though.
Now the question is, is Utena a tragicheroine?
I noticed, in the course of the cursory research I did for the above, that the characters called “tragic heroines” in drama and literature (by literary critics) come in two types: women who (gasp) commit the sin of being headstrong and defying tradition/convention/dogma and therefore suffer a pathetic end or punishment (for example, Antigone); and women who wallow around helplessly in a passive, convenionally female, victim role assigned to them by fate and culture (for example, Amanda from “The Glass Menagerie”). The transition between the two types can be easily traced to the first-wave feminist movement in the nineteenth century.
It is interesting that both types of tragic heroine characters exist in Utena: Utena herself as the first, defiant variety, and Anthy as the latter. But neither experiences a tragic ending. Anthy walks out on her passive victim role, and Utena’s sacrifice is not pathetic nor a punishment: it is redemption.
In conclusion, it appears that Utena herself is neither a tragic hero nor a tragic heroine in any sense. If anything, she is a savior, an epic hero whose sacrifice frees the prisoners of Ohtori.
As an expression of an emergent feminism in Japan, the TV series and movie of Revolutionary Girl Utena make the point that woman is no longer willing to be dominated by a male vision of the world. This show can be seen as a reaction against other anime shows that present weak female characters, as well as hentai that perverts them into representations of male pleasure only. Japanese culture as a whole has long had a history of female subjugation, and thus it is interesting to see shows such as Utena, which are beginning to speak out against gender distinctions. The reason I have chosen to focus on Utena is because I feel it has one of the strongest methods of presenting its message through the guise of a homosexual relationship between the two female characters. By taking that extra step into portraying them as not only fighting against a patriarchal world, but also renouncing the company of men for the pleasure inherent in recognizing another woman as an object of love.