We get a lot of feedback that it is painful to watch Utena. That is fine. It was our intent to depict relationships that are painful. Surely this action of ours may be due to the fact that we are trying to not lose that something which we will eventually lose someday. As we get older, we may be sure of only the safety zone. The trust of your community and friends is important too, but do not lose sight of the real sense of alienation; it is precisely because this sense of alienation that relationships with people become precious. Perhaps it is this very idea that makes us want to depict seishun*.
Excerpt from Revolutionary Girl Utena Privacy File 1 (the same one that discussed Touga’s backstory), written by Youji Enokido and published in the July 1999 issue of “Shousetsu June” magazine. The full translations for this and Enokido’s other Privacy Files for Utena were once on the Iwanihana blog, but have sadly disappeared from that site since.
The original Japanese text for this article can be found here.
*Seishun (青春) basically means “adolescence”, but can also be read as something like “the springtime of life”; Iwanihana used to have a translation note for this that hasn’t been preserved anywhere since, but if I recall it correctly, the Japanese word was retained here because it had a certain simultaneously nostalgic and bittersweet quality to it that was lacking in the English equivalent.