Revolutionary Girl Utena is one of the most iconic mangas of all time and a lot of that is thanks to how it offered up representation for readers. From a brown lead character to a magical girl with the goal of becoming a prince and the overt queer coding of the story, Revolutionary Girl Utena is a classic that holds up today on rereads. So, when I heard that VIZ Media would be publishing Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution in English, I was beyond excited.
From the original mangaka, Chiho Saito, Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution was written in celebration of Revolutionary Girl Utena’s 20th anniversary and takes place in real-time, 20 years after the series’ end. Similar to the current publishing Vampire Knight Memories, which provides an anthology of one-shot stories expanding and telling more about the characters, Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution consists of three stories that follow a different former member of Ohtori Academy’s student council.
The first short story is focused on Kyouichi Saionji and Touga Kiryuu (who co-star). They have been called back to the academy by a mysterious message to help Utena rescue the Revolution. The following two stories focus on Juri Arisugawa and Miki Kaoru respectively. Each of the characters is struggling in different ways, and they all find themselves called to a dream where Utena steps in. Having vanished from the world after saving Anthy by defeating Akio in the final duel, her appearance in each dream isn’t immediately recognized. But with her intervention, each former member has their own revolution.
Now, it’s important to note that each of these stories is less about Utena and more about the change she can inspire. The themes of this volume are change, revolution, and that the power can be found in yourself. This is a message that is important to hear right now; in a time where it’s easy to feel helpless Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution offers up catharsis. These stories are a salve for existing fans of the series and while its themes are accessible to newer fans, this volume can be confusing to those just learning about Utena. That said, those who have only watched the anime will be able to jump right in.
For the art alone, I would recommend picking up Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution. It’s the wispy shojo of the 90s that feels both nostalgic and fresh. While elements are pulled 20 years into the future, the art itself exists like a delicate time capsule.
Discussing the plots of each story would give away too much. While they are pretty straight forward, there are elements that are necessary to experience without prior knowledge, especially in the last two stories. What I can say, however, is that Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution is a volume that makes a great addition to fans of Utena and what she represents. As a symbol of power and change, this volume is a wonderful celebration of Utena’s legacy.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution is available wherever books are sold.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution
Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution is a volume that makes a great addition to fans of Utena and what she represents. As a symbol of power and change, this volume is a wonderful celebration of Utena’s legacy.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.