I discovered 'Revolutionary Girl Utena' when I was in high school. I didn't quite know what to make of it, except that the cover showed two women embracing- one of which had vibrant pink hair, the other having purple hair. There were screenshots of sword fights, intimate scenes, and the box set was the first thirteen episodes and the movie, all marked down to 25 percent.
So, I decided to check it out.
Utena Tenjou is one of the best examples of the 'female Prince' characters I've ever seen. The girls at Ohtori Academy marvel over her and they fangirl (which is pretty hilarious). She has her own best friend/playful flirt in Wakaba- when Wakaba is publically humiliated over a letter she sent in confidence to one of the school's elite students, Utena's sense of justice and anger on behalf of her friend cause her to confront her tormentor, Saionji, and after he assaults a girl that Utena sees watering flowers in the rose garden- her first sight of Anthy Himemaya is definitely noteworthy in the series and in canon.
The symbolism in the entire series and the movie is mind-boggling. There are symbols within symbols, with hidden meanings all over the place.
But what becomes evident is the friendship and later on, love that evolves between Utena and Anthy. While the Student Council all at some point has custody of Anthy as the 'Rose Bride', it is Utena who wants to release Anthy from this incarceration. But things only become more convoluted and complicated, going into themes of murder, incest, and destruction.
Utena keeps picking herself up, over and over again to confront the upperclassmen, her own trials and demands of school, life, and her own realization of her feelings and conflicts. She is torn in her decision-making, but strong willed enough to do what needs to be done.
The movie only reinforced this... and the scene at the end was, to me, intensely satisifying.
I hope to finish the entire series one day, and I am only two seasons into it. But Utena will remain one of my favorite characters.