Department or Program

Asian Studies


At the mark of its 20th anniversary Revolutionary Girl Utena, a television anime series that initially aired in the 90s, has experienced somewhat of a revival, with a new blu-ray remaster, figures, and other content being released. The series’ portrayal of normative breaking relationships and the consideration of these only continues to resonate, and despite 20 years passing, the themes Utena addresses may have never been more relevant. Using the trappings of a shōjo or young girl series such as Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena addresses a range of adult themes.This thesis aims to examine Utena’s portrayal of adolescent change, particularly within the context of oppressive systems normative ideology in regard to gender and sexuality. The series portrays normative expectations of gender and sexuality as stymieing adolescent change, employing stylized imagery and abstract symbolism to express these themes. Employing the lens of psychoanalytical film theory (Lacan, Mulvey, Žižek) and performativity (Butler, West and Zimmerman) this thesis aims to understand the pressure of social norms as portrayed in Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Open Access After Expiration]

First Advisor

Ruppert, Brian

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file.