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Revolutionary Girl Utena Launches New Musical Stage Play About the Black Rose Arc

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Kunihiko Ikuhara’s magnum opus Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena) has just celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, marking the occasion with a musical entitled La fillette révolutionaire Utena Shiroki Bara no Tsubomi (A White Rosebud).

This year, Utena is releasing yet another musical, a result of the successful run of last year’s Shiroki Bara no Tsubomi. This year’s musical is entitled Shōjo Kakumei Utena Fukaku Hokorobu Kuro Bara no, which will center on the anime’s Black Rose Saga. The musical will run for a limited time only, from June 29 to July 7, at the Theater G-Rosso in Tokyo. Check out the gorgeous poster for the musical below:

The arc, which ran from episodes 14 to 23 of the anime, tells of Utena Tenjo fighting against the people who were unwillingly placed under the control of Souji Mikage, the genius founder of the Mikage Seminar. The Seminar takes on the guise of a peer counseling session, but in truth, Mikage exploits people’s inner turmoils to turn them into Black Rose duelists and sends them to battle Utena. However, unlike the other duelists Utena has encountered, Mikage’s desire is not to make Anthy his Rose Bride, but to instead install a new “Rose Bride” in the person of Mamiya Chida.

The original cast members for the main characters from last year’s musical will be reprising their roles. These cast members are:

• Utena Tenjo – Nogizaka46’s Ami Nojo
• Anthy Himemiya – Yuka Yamauchi
• Kyoichi Saionji – Tsubasa Yoshizawa
• Juri Arisugawa – Riona Tatemichi
• Wakaba Shinohara – Yume Takeuchi
• Nanami Kiryu – Arisa Suzuki
• Miki Kaoru – Yuta Higuchi

Utena’s director and creator Kunihiko Ikuhara is set to return to the musical to supervise the production. The director and script writer of last year’s musical, Kotaro Yoshitani, is set to reprise his role in the musical as well.

Revolutionary Girl Utena was first broadcast in 1997 and was conceptualized by Be-Papas, a group composed of talented names in manga and anime such as Chiho Saito, animator Shinya Hasegawa (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Yoji Enokido, Yuuichiro Okuro, and Kunihiko Ikuhara. Most of the staff who worked on Utena also worked on the critically-acclaimed 3rd season of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon S, which was directed by Ikuhara. My Anime List describes the series’ story as such:

After meeting a traveling prince who consoled her after the deaths of her parents, Utena Tenjou vowed to become a prince herself. The prince left Utena only with a ring bearing a strange rose crest and a promise that she would meet him again some day.

A few years later, Utena attends Ootori Academy, where she is drawn into a dangerous game. Duelists with rings matching Utena’s own compete for a unique prize: the Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya, and her mysterious powers. When Utena wins Anthy in a duel, she realizes that if she is to free Anthy and discover the secrets behind Ootori Academy, she has only one option: to revolutionize the world."

Fun fact: Ikuhara has stated in an interview years ago that the storyline of Utena was actually adopted from a plot originally allotted for the Sailor Moon Super S movie, which would center on the franchise’s canon lesbian couple, Sailor Uranus and Neptune. When Ikuhara ran into creative disagreements with the Sailor Moon staff, he left the anime, established Be-Papas, and adopted the script for the supposed Super S movie into his most famous work. We wonder how that movie would have looked like though, but in any case, we’re glad that Ikuhara’s exit from Sailor Moon led to Utena.

Source: Anime News Network

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