Ohtori Academy is run by the academy board, but immediately below them is the Student Council. President of the council is Touga, an arrogant playboy, with his old friend, Saionji, acting as Vice President, who's engaged to the shy and submissive Anthy. Other members of the council include Juri - a noble and respected young lady who's captain of the fencing team, Miki - the youngest council member and a gifted pianist, and Nanami - Touga's cruel and manipulative younger sister whose obsession with him borders on the inappropriate.
|The Rose Bride blesses Touga's sword prior to battle...|
|L-R: Miki, Touga, Anthy (the Rose Bride), Utena, Saionji, Jury...|
The Rose Bride is always in attendance when a duel occurs, cheering on her current 'fiancé' who also has the advantage of using the Sword of Dios in his or her duels whilst engaged to Anthy. The sword is actually housed within the Rose Bride's body itself and withdrawn prior to each duel. Utena's only problem is that all of the council members wish to possess the Rose Bride who supposedly serves a much darker and more sinister purpose along with a mysterious power which can only be harnessed by someone who possesses the 'Power of Dios'. Utena also finds a strong bond developing between Anthy and herself so not only is she constantly receiving challenges but she's also desperate to protect her new friend as well.
|Utena and Anthy seize a rare opportunity to relax...|
In my experience, a lot of Western anime fans seem to go for either the super-violent ones filled with huge guns and masses of grotesque monsters or one of the many filled with blatant nudity. Utena features none of this stuff but it's an anime that I'd highly recommend if you want something a bit more cerebral. Yes, it's a bit girly but it's certainly an original and creative show, even for the frequently-strange world of anime's standards, but also has a pretty complex story filled with some equally complex characters that demand your attention from innocent beginnings to apocalyptic endings. Smash the world's shell!
Check out the opening sequence here: