So, I am still recovering from my Revolutionary Girl: Utena induced depression. Sometimes, as a creative artist, you encounter something so amazing you say: “Wow, I wanna do that.” Just ask the legions of people who entered film school thanks to Clerks or Pulp Fiction. Then, sometimes you encounter something so amazing you say: “Well fuck. I can’t top that, so I think I’ll go become an accountant.”
I can’t say everyone will have this reaction, but that was how I reacted to Shojo Kakumei Utena. As I’ve written about before, gender roles in fiction are something of a professional interest of mine. So, when RG:U started, and thrust every obnoxious stereotype it could think of down my throat, I nearly stopped watching. But, what I was treated to was a brilliant, patient deconstruction and subversion of each. After the last episode came to a close, I was left with the disconcerting feeling that I wasn’t going to see anything quite that cool for a long time.
This was a stark contrast to my experience with Avatar. While I found it just as moving, I saw it more as a sign of things to come. More films will be trying to imitate it, and advance that technology. RG:U is 13 years old and it slipped under my radar for that long. Meanwhile, nothing similar to it is out there that isn’t too cute (I realize the irony in saying other things are too cute when RG:U’s principal image is a rose), or too obviously targeted at 12 year old boys. Even other works by the same writer, director, or artist are missing something.
It’s genuinely difficult for me to pin down what made it great when there was so much about it that could have gone so horribly wrong in other hands. After all, I thought I was going to hate it at first because of how over-the-top the visuals were, and how forceful the image of the rose was. But somehow the drama trumped all that.
So, I retreated to my novel and wrapped up the final 60 pages.
That’s right. It’s done.
Now, I have a finished, complete work that is almost ready to submit. It just requires a proofreading pass. So now, I wallow in my post-RG:U proofreading and count the days until I encounter something just as awesome, bolstered by the silly hope that someday soon there will be a fan out there who thinks RG:U can’t hold a candle to the Chronicles of Delmyria.
Hey. I can hope.