The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Revolutionary Girl Utena and the Be Papas Diaspora That uh, Revolutionized Anime (From Goldfish Warning, from Evangelion, to FLCL, to Princess Tutu, to Mawaru Penguindrum)

Revolutionary Girl Utena cast Adolescence of Utena

Well, not quite a diaspora and not really a revolution… but the accomplishments of the group of people who eventually made Revolutionary Girl Utena together and then moved on to make other shows awe me. Yes, the kind of awesome that actually fills me with awe (as opposed to common usage that translates to “pretty nice” that inspires a person to uh, click the “like” button on Facebook) . Yes, awe. These guys made awesome things, and we made an awesome chart to show you who was involved in what shows that came before and after Revolutionary Girl Utena.

You’ll have to open the image in a new tab because it is frickin’ HUGE.

Be Papas web of infulence


And the thing is, it’s not even done! This is only half the work. We (and by this I mean 21stcenturydigitalboy and myself) want to create a stupendously large chart that also features anecdotal examples of how these shows that came after RGU reference it, and each other. What do I mean? I mean things like what I did in this post. For the lazy, here is an example from that post:

L’alc is a version of Nono’s prince. She has the skin tone of Anthy/Akio… though the mythical prince here is Noriko (from Gunbuster!). The Onee-sama, is Noriko, who isn’t an Onee-sama (rather, would never be so confident to think of herself as such), who looked up to her own Onee-sama. The Onee-sama is equivalent to the Prince, who is or must be, an “ally of justice.”

…and so on.

And what is the point of this, you may ask? It’s supremely fun to reconstruct this web as fans of anime in general, and fans of the Be Papas crew in particular. I was a fan of Diebuster years before I even knew RGU existed. Now I’ve recently rewatched “Utenabuster” with my Utena-goggles and was supremely fulfilled on an entirely new level. Also, I got to discover this:


Coincidentally or not, this form of Buster Machine 19 Dix Neuf was revealed in Diebuster ep 02, the one storyboarded by Ikuhara himself. These are the kinds of examples we’re looking for. Just mention the show, the reference and if you have it, a link to a screenshot that demonstrates it on the comments. Lacking this, you can just mention the episode when the reference occurred and we’ll do our best to track it down.

[Digiboy: This team has been self-referencing their works from the beginning. The group that subs Goldfish Warning has a page for the series wherein they point out references to the show in Sailor Moon. I’ll be damned if there’s a single show on this chart that doesn’t cross-reference the other shows therein.]

What are a few things that changed in me after I started doing this? I can tell you one thing, and it has to do with RahXephon. You see I went through great lengths to demonstrate what exactly that show did to reference Neon Genesis Evangelion, and I wrote a big ol’ post on it. For the lazy, here’s an example:

Tuning My Memory- Rewatching Anime in 2010 featuring RahXephon and the Memory of Evangelion - We Remember Love

This used to leave me a bit ambivalent towards RahXephon, but now I clearly see it’s a matter of remembering love.

Be Papas web of infulence

Look at the purple boxes under Evangelion, Utena, FLCL, and RahXephon. Those writing credits are for one person: Enokido Yoji. As you’ll see in the humongous chart, he’d also write Diebuster, Star Driver, and even has a writing credit for Redline. It’s only expected how he’ll remember love for previous works, and it’s rather out of character for him to not do this for Evangelion.

Also you’ll see in the chart how poor Igarashi Takuya (the yellow boxes) took the job of helming Sailor Moon Stars and totally missed out making any contribution on Utena! But see, Igarashi is one badass dude, and he fully made up for it by directing Ouran Host Club, Soul Eater, and Star Driver.

Be Papas doing their work with GAINAX and BONES, makes for a very interesting anime landscape; particularly, how (battle) shoujo intersected with giant robots, filling it with sparkles, roses, music, feathers and yes the power of friendship!

With luck, I’ve successfully demonstrated how this kind of activity can increase your appreciation of the shows you’ve seen. So if you remember any references the shows in the chart make for Utena and for each other, please do us the favor and contribute them to the discussion. The more details, the better.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
This entry was posted in comparative, how to remember love, Revolutionary Girl Utena and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Revolutionary Girl Utena and the Be Papas Diaspora That uh, Revolutionized Anime (From Goldfish Warning, from Evangelion, to FLCL, to Princess Tutu, to Mawaru Penguindrum)

  1. gwern says:

    > Look at the purple boxes under Evangelion, Utena, FLCL, and RahXephon. Those writing credits are for one person: Enokido Yoji. As you’ll see in the humongous chart, he’d also write Diebuster, Star Driver, and even has a writing credit for Redline. It’s only expected how he’ll remember love for previous works, and it’s rather out of character for him to not do this for Evangelion.

    Enokido didn’t contribute much to NGE though; he only did 4 episodes in the least interesting part of Eva – he himself says ‘I had broken off my journey aboard the TV series in the middle of the voyage’ (

    • Which least interesting part?

      The interview focuses on his contributions to the film.

      In any case, if “I” were a part of the production of Eva in any way, I’d feel real cool to remember love for it in subsequent works I did. This is consistent on how I appreciate the thread that connects all these shows.

  2. animekritik says:

    OK, I haven’t watched Star Driver so I could be totally offbase here, but that robot (mecha?) in the poster looks extremely similar to the policebot on Roboworld (the one who breaks up the betting meet). The big difference being the Star Driver one has large “hips”, which actually resemble many of the REDLINE characters’ hips too.

    • I don’t think there’s enough of a similarity, but the general feel of the mechanical designs do follow a post-Evangelion tradition (faux-organic) that you’ll see everywhere from Dieubuster, Eureka SeveN, Star Driver, and yes, Redline — though Redline also indulges the older, bulkier mecha stuff in the form of the workmecha operated by the coolies underground (this tradition is followed in Gundam, VOTOMS, and to some degree Code Geass).

      Diebuster and Star Driver and Eureka SeveN had the same mechanical designer in Shigeto Koyama (I just found this out, at least re E7).

      Macross started having a more ‘faux-organic’ humanoid look predating Evangelion (Macross Plus, 1994), so it has its own tradition.

  3. Reid says:

    I had no idea about all these people being involved in the early seasons of Sailor Moon. Of course I’ve only just recently come to seriously look into “remembering love” instead of merely taking note of homage and reference and calling it a “knockoff” (I hate it when Tarantino does this in the least tasteful way in every movie, for instance). I haven’t seen many of these shows, but some I have (Diebuster, Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Redline, some of Star Driver, etc.). I guess the crux of all this is Utena, but I’ve only seen two episodes of it. Based on what I saw of it, I’m anticipating/afraid that I won’t be able to like it for the “correct” reasons because I get the sneaking suspicion that my own…dare I say it…”inner anime pervert” will come out and I’ll end up watching it just to oogle Utena and Anthy because I know they’ll end up engaging in some girl/girl stuff down the road. With Sailor Moon I can (partially) look past the allures of the sex appeal because I fell in love with the show as a young kid before that stuff even entered into my thought process, but now as a red-blooded 20-something dude I just honestly don’t want to do a disservice to the show – and even moreso to disrespect the people who have a lot of respect for it, namely yourself, Mr. Ghostlightning, who I hold in very high regard as an authority on the subject of good anime.
    This is all very irrational, isn’t it? I mean, surely I can’t have come to the most accurate conclusion after only seeing two episodes…I just don’t want to be *that* anime fan. Everyone hates freakin’ pervs, and I do to. Do you ever find yourself falling it that trap? Not necessarily with an of these shows but perhaps with some others? Maybe it’s just me.

    • I have watched something like 50 anime porns, they’re right there on my MAL, and yet no one is holding it against me. We don’t give a shit if you’re a perv, and if anything, I will personally respect you more for admitting it.

      Utena is supposed to be a sexy show, not to mention one where most of the characters are sexually active. Enokido would laugh his ass off if you felt bad about feeling perverse towards it.

    • I love what Tarantino does, and I don’t think it’s “tasteless” at all. Just maybe not to your taste LOL, but I really like Tarantino flicks (Kill Bill ranks among my favorites). The man knows how to remember love. As for the “correct” reasons, fuck that. Get what you can out of every show and worry about such things later. As to being a perv — is fapping to cartoons perverted? LOL don’t answer that. To be perfectly truthful I never fapped to Utena pr0n or anything like that. It’s not part of my anime hobby in a regular way (which is not to say I’ve never ever done it, that would be stupid). I don’t really get hung up on people who do however. It only follows that people who like well-made illustrations would be turned on by well-made illustrations of fetching human forms.

  4. wingblossom says:

    Igarashi directed (storyboarded, too? I may have to check) episodes 9 and 19 of Utena! Unsurprisingly, his favorite character was Saionji.

  5. Nopy says:

    I totally agree with the comment in the top row for Melody of Oblivion, I still have no clue what exactly happened. I’m in the middle of watching Utena at the moment and plan on watching Rahxephon, but now I’m wondering if there’s anything like the “milk farm” from Melody in Oblivion in either of these.

  6. Alexander says:

    You are right. I totally agree with you,Nopy.

  7. megaroad1 says:

    Just watching Utena too after finding out how highly Ghost rates it. So I can’t really comment on this fine chart until I’ve finished it (wanna avoid spoilers!).

  8. M-kast says:

    Chiaki J. Konaka did the screenplay for The Big O and in episode 4 the mecha enemy of the week looks like a mix of the discarded/failed prototypes Evas and Eva 00 and fights like Eva 01 (in berseker mode). I don´t know if there are more references to eva because I have only seen so far in the series…

  9. Xard says:

    I’m pretty sure it was Tsurumaki, not Sato, who storyboarded Star Driver Op2

    Nice job with the chart guys!

  10. absolutedjian says:

    I guess I recommend that show because that I’ll watch that show somehow.

  11. bluemist says:

    Wow epic influence web picture! Now I’ll have to hunt for that Fushigi Mahou Fan Fan Pharmacy.
    Not sure what you’re trying to do in that list, but maybe some Aria can be added if Sato and other people are connected with it.

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  17. Reblogged this on haveyouexperiencedshitsurakuen and commented:
    I’ve nothing else to say.

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