Sonny and I watched through the first season of Utena, and very quickly settled on the term "magical girl fever dream" to describe it. I mean that as both praise and criticism: this is a deeply surreal show, and there's a contrast between the surreal battle scenes and mysterious settings and anodyne conversations about class and crushes. (It feels very much like a proto-JRPG in some senses, there — Persona 5 owes a lot to this show.)

It's hard to say that I had a great time watching this show, and that's probably the biggest reason why we didn't continue onto the second season. There are moments of beauty and mirth, but mostly you feel like you are stumbling through a bizarre funhouse mirror of an anime — you recognize all the story beats, all the archetypes and cliches — but they don't quite form a comfortable gestalt.


Lightning bolt
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