Chapter 2

Ohtori Academy

Utena and her classmates attended Ohtori Academy, a private school that stood on a hill in the middle of Houou City. All the students lived in dorms in the surrounding area, and each morning you could see them come in from all directions, converging as they climbed the hillly path that led up to the school.

Tenjou Utena and Himemiya Anthy were among the crowd.

"C'mon, I told you to stop calling me 'Utena-sama'." They were walking to school from the East Dorm. Utena must have repeated these words ten times since yesterday.

"But I'm engaged to you, Utena-sama." Anthy replied. She, too, had delivered the same response over and over.

Yesterday evening, Utena and Anthy had started their strange life together. The old East Dorms had ten rooms, but the only ones living there were the two of them and one monkey. And even though there were plenty of rooms, they were sharing the same one.

"There are so many spare rooms, why don't we each use one?" Utena had suggested, but Anthy had refused to listen. The Rose Bride had to live with the victor of the duels, she said. This explanation didn't really satisfy Utena, but it would also have been against the rules for her to use whatever room she wanted, so eventually she stopped arguing. It's not like she really minded living with Anthy anyway.

"Look, Anthy. You and I are classmates, so you shouldn't call me 'sama.'"

"But I'm the Rose Bride."

Their back-and-forth exchange continued.

"Look, Anthy..."


"We've stopped talking about the Dueling Game and the Rose Bride stuff, so cut it out with calling me 'sama.' I want to be your..."

Just as Utena was saying that, she heard shrill voices exclaiming "Aaah, Utena-sama....!" It wasn't Anthy. When she looked, she saw three female Ohtori Academy students running up to her.

"Utena-sama, how are you feeling?"

"That uniform looks great on you today too, Utena-sama!

"Utena-sama, you're so cool!"

The three girls spoke all at once. Utena was enormously popular among the female students, both for defying the teachers with her uniform and for outdoing the male students in sports. Whenever she played a game, there was a group of girls cheering for her with high-pitched voices, and there was a mountain of love letters in her shoe locker every day. Among the female students, Utena was the undisputed "prince" of the campus.

"Thanks. I had a bit of cold before, but I'm feeling better now." Utena smiled back at the innocent underclassmen. No way I can tell them about the duel...

"Good morning, Utena-sama!"

"Good morning."

"Utena-sama, if it's all right, will you take this?"

"Thanks, I'll be sure to use it."

"Utena-sama, we heard that you were absent yesterday. We were worried!"

"Thanks, but I'm fine now."

One by one, Utena exchanged words with the crowd of girls surrounding her. Eventually, when her crowd of fans dispersed, Utena noticed Anthy looking at her.

"Uh, no, that was just..."

Why shouldn't Anthy call Utena 'sama,' if she was fine with all the other girls doing it? Utena felt like Anthy was accusing her of hypocrisy with her gaze.

"No, I mean, everyone calls me 'Utena-sama', but in your case..."

"Yes?" Anthy smiled, with no hint of accusation.

"Never mind... it's fine." Utena sighed, giving up on convincing her.

"By the way, was I absent from school yesterday?"

"Yes. You slept for the whole day."

"Man, and I didn't have permission or anything. Anthy, sorry, but would you show me your notes from yesterday later?"

"I don't have any notes."

"You didn't take any? You look so serious, I kind of thought..."

"I was absent yesterday as well."

"Huh? Why?"

"I'm engaged to you, Utena-sama."

"Ah..." Utena sighed again. As she had countless times since last night.

***   ***

"Utena, you're so mean!"

Someone threw herself onto Utena's back from behind. It was Utena's self-proclaimed lover - Shinohara Wakaba.

"I can't believe you changed dorms without even telling your Wakaba! Don't you think that was cold?"

"Wakaba...?" Carrying Wakaba on her back, Utena strained her neck around trying to look at her.

Come to think of it, Wakaba was the reason Utena had dueled Saionji in the first place. Her love letter to Saionji being put on display was what had angered Utena enough to challenge him. Not that she'd known anything about the Dueling Game - that part had just been an accident.

"The school just suddenly told me to move. What was I supposed to do...?"

"Hmmph..." Wakaba dropped off of Utena's back with a thud. "Well, whatever. But just because I'm not around, don't think you can get away with finding yourself another woman."

"Hey now..." As she laughed in embarrassment, Utena felt somewhat relieved. She'd been worried that Wakaba would still be down over the incident with the love letter.

"Anyway, Utena, take a look at this." Wakaba pulled out her wallet. Inside was a picture of a beautiful boy with pretty eyes, playing the piano.

"Who's this?"

"It's Mickey. You don't know him?"

"'Mickey?' Is he half foreign or something?"

"Middle school first-year, Kaoru Miki-kun. Mickey is just his nickname." Wakaba nuzzled the photo to her cheek. "He's a total genius who's already taking college-level classes. Also, his piano-playing and fencing are at the national level, and he's cute, to boot. Not to mention that he has a really sweet personality, and he's single! From here on out, I'm definitely going for younger boys." Wakaba's lengthy praise of Miki came out in a single breath. She seemed to be quite the fan.

"Is that so?"

"I wouldn't expect you to understand, Utena. You're only into old guys."

"I am not. Don't go around smearing my good name."

"Well, what about your prince that you met eight years ago? If you think about it, he's gotta be middle-aged by now."

Utena made a sour face. She didn't tell many other people about her prince. It was kind of an embarrassing story, and didn't really suit her. Also, she could never explain it clearly to her own satisfaction. So, since she'd come to Ohtori, she'd only told one person.

       Maybe I shouldn't have... Utena thought with regret, as she looked at that one person.

"Yeah, definitely going with younger guys. They're cute, and earnest... Older guys are..." Wakaba's voice suddenly quieted. "...Older guys... I'm giving up on them..." she trailed off.

       Looks like she hasn't forgotten about Saionji after all... Utena thought, looking concerned.

For a moment, it seemed like Wakaba was going to cry, but then she shook her head strongly and cheered up again. "So anyway, where's your new dorm? The West Dorm? Or are you in the Clock House? I want to come over and visit. We may be in different dorms, but I won't forgive you if you have an affair."

"Wakaba, people are going to hear you and get the wrong idea."

"It's fine, it's fine. You're much cooler than any of the boys around here, anyway."

"You were just saying a moment ago that you thought that younger boy was pretty good."

As they were talking, Utena started to smile. The two of them were already returning to how they normally were. In fact, Utena felt even happier than normal.

***   ***

"But still, the East Dorm?" Wakaba asked mournfully, as they were waiting in line to get at their shoe lockers.

"Yeah, but it's a lot nicer than you'd think. I mean, I know how it looks from the outside, but there's also an inner garden and stuff."

"No matter how nice it is, it's still haunted... darn, and I wanted to come visit you. Hey, isn't it scary at night? Being all alone in such a big empty dorm? If so, you can always come hide in my bed." Wakaba suggested, incorrigibly.

"I haven't seen any ghosts. Besides, there's one more person there. In the same room, actually."

"A roommate? Someone else is staying in that haunted house?"

"Yeah. Himemiya Anthy."

When she heard that name, Wakaba dropped her head low in a dramatic gesture of disbelief.

"What's with that reaction?"

"How unlucky!"

"What is?"

"Rooming with Himemiya Anthy, of course! We were in the same class last year, too, and I hardly ever heard her speak. She spends all her time tending the rose garden, even though nobody asked her to, and I don't think she has a single friend. She's so gloomy!"

"Hmm..." Utena glanced over at Anthy, standing in an adjacent line. While they waited their turns, everybody else was chatting with nearby classmates. Just like Utena was currently chatting with Wakaba. But Anthy was alone. She just stood patiently by herself.

"The dorm might seem haunted, but that's just how it looks on the outside. Anthy's the same way."

Come to think of it - before Utena had come, had Anthy lived by herself in the East Dorm? Utena suddenly remembered how Anthy had smiled when she'd said that Chu-Chu was her "friend." 

       She's been all alone at school and when she goes home, and Chu-Chu's been her only friend. That's why she hasn't been able to talk to anyone about doing this Rose Bride thing...

Utena took a second look at Anthy. Even surrounded by a mass of other students, she completely stood out among them. It was almost like she was standing in front of a blank wall.

       Alright. I'm gonna be friends with Anthy. If she has one friend, I'm sure she'll start talking with more people and brighten up a little. And if she gains a little self-confidence, surely she'll be able to say herself that she doesn't like the Rose Bride thing. Yeah, that's the best way. From now on, we're going to live together, and become firends.

Looking at the solitary Anthy, Utena resolved to invite her to lunch.

***   ***

The private Ohtori Academy, which offered courses ranging from primary school to college, was often described as "aristocratic." A large number of the students were the children of doctors, lawyers, company presidents, and other such affluent sorts, and the western-style architecture of the campus also greatly contributed to the effect. The halls were wide and open, the window frames covered with fine engravings. The elegant constructions on the campus, such as fountains, rose gardens, and arching corridors, would never be seen at a normal school. The partly air cafeteria where the students ate lunch was merely one more such aristocratic location.

Utena and Anthy brought their lunches to a small round table in the middle of the cafeteria. Utena had invited her along. However, it didn't take long for the conversation to die out.

"Hey, Anthy. Do you have any hobbies?"

"No, I don't."

"You're not in any clubs?"

"No, I'm not."

"No boyfriend or anything?"

"No. Although I do have a fiancee."

"...Anthy, is it fun hanging out with me?"


And so on.

It's not as though Anthy never smiled, Utena had discovered. Sure, just as Wakaba had said, she'd never seen Anthy smile in class. But even since last night, Anthy had smiled countless times in response to things Utena had said. Still, those smiles seemed somehow empty of emotion. Many people would surely think of them as mocking.

       If she's always like this, it would be stranger if she DID have friends...

Even Utena eventually gave up on having a cheery conversation. For now, they'd just have lunch together, but hopefully Anthy would open up to her little by little, and then -

"Sometime soon, a new Duelist will challenge you, Utena-sama." Anthy stated firmly, out of the blue. Having done so, she calmly took another sip of tea.

"A new Duelist... you mean another member of the Student Council?"

"Probably so."

Utena gave a small sigh. She felt like reality had suddenly come crashing back. This unbelievable Dueling Game was now a fact of life for her. The Dueling Game, and her prince - she probably should have asked for more information from the Student Council president, Kiryuu Touga, but...

       Because of his stupid kiss...

Just remembering it made Utena irritated again.

"If the president challenges me, I'm going to beat him black and blue."

"You sound pretty confident."

It wasn't Anthy who responded. A girl wearing the distinctive white uniform of the Student Council stood behind Utena. She sized up Utena challengingly.

A leopardess - if Utena had to sum up her impression of the girl in one word, that would be it. She had a crisp attitude and way of speaking, and a harsh gaze, which together gave off the impression of masculinity. But her figure and appearance were undeniably female. She had slim, shapely legs, and even under the student council uniform, you could tell she had a well-developed chest. She had refined features, and an aristocratic air. Her hair was curled in rings, a style that looked good on her, but which probably only she could pull off.

"So you're Tenjou Utena."

"Who are you?"

Even as she asked, Utena realized who this must be. The only female member of the Student Council: Arisugawa Juri. She was a fencer of the highest grade. Her academics were also excellent, and it appeared she would be an honor student. But behind her back, people also said that she was the shadowy figure controlling the delinquent students of the school. There were even rumors that teachers who crossed her would get fired.

"High school first-year, Arisugawa Juri."

       Like I thought.

Juri didn't give any further response.

       Does she think that's enough of an answer? No matter how famous or recognizable you are, you should be a little more self-aware.

"So you must be a Duelist too, sempai," Utena said, spotting the Rose Seal on Juri's finger.

"That's right. I heard there was a girl who defeated Saionji... so I came to do some reconnaissance." A smile, far from friendly, quirked upward at the corner of her lips. "I can't believe Saionji was beaten by a girl like you. His swordsmanship was his only strong point."

       Is she trying to pick a fight!? Utena now understood the look in Juri's eyes. Am I going to have to duel her next?

Utena returned Juri's icy gaze with a heated glare of her own.

       She looks totally confident - she's not looking away.

Time seemed to stop for the two of them as they stared each other down. Neither the idle small-talk of the students around them, nor the shining sunlight, entered between them.

But then, a pretty, boy soprano voice cut in. "Arisugawa-sempai."

It was a beautiful young boy. His beauty was androgynous, not entirely feminine or masculine. His hair was light blue, like the sky, and his eyes were clear as crystals. He seemed a little smaller than Utena. He had a slender build, and on the whole, he gave the impression of being delicate. Like Juri, he too wore the special uniform of the Student Council. And on his finger, he wore a Rose Seal ring...

Miki and Juri

       This boy is a Duelist, too?

"We've been summoned. President Touga has called a special Student Council meeting," he nodded to Juri.


"The Student Council room."

"I see."

After this minimal exchange, Juri turned on her heels. Without another word to Utena, she strode from the cafeteria.

"Please excuse me, as well," the boy continued, bowing his head.

"Wait!" Utena called out, as the boy was turning to leave. Judging by the atmosphere, if he hadn't intervened, she was pretty sure she would have been challenged to a duel. "Uh, thanks."

"I was just here on Student Council business. You don't have anything to thank me for, Tenjou-sempai."

"You know who I am?"

The boy gave a little smile. "You're rather extraordinarily famous, sempai. At least, among us."

"Oh yeah, you're on the Student Council, too," Utena said, bracing herself. The boy looked and acted so friendly that she'd forgotten he was a participant in the Dueling Game as well.

"Please, don't worry. I have no intention of fighting duels to possess a girl."


"I hate the idea. It's barbaric." He smiled warmly. The phrase "like the smile of an angel" was made to describe this boy. As if sucked into that smile, Utena found herself spontaneously hugging him.

"I'm so glad there's someone in the Student Council who thinks the same as me," she said, her arms still around him.

       That's right. Just because everyone received a letter, doesn't mean that they all duel. That's great. I'm so glad there's someone on the Council who seems to be on my side.

"Uh, um... Tenjou-sempai..."

Flustered, the boy pulled away from Utena. It might have just been her imagination, but he looked a little red.

"Oh, sorry. Did I hurt you? I was just so happy, I..."

"No, it's fine. But I have to go to that Student Council meeting, so..." Stumbling slightly, he started to leave. After a moment, however, he turned back.

"I'm Kaoru Miki. I'm one year younger than you, a middle school first-year. It's nice to meet you, Tenjou-sempai." Miki smiled at her. His face was angelic, enough to melt your heart.

       He's so kind and friendly... He might not be a very good Student Council member, but it seems like he'd make a good friend. Come to think of it, Wakaba was just talking about him. Mickey, the idol of all the high school girls. So that's Mickey...

Watching Miki walk unsteadily away, Utena felt a little bit more cheerful.

       Lately, all I've been dealing with is the duel, and kiss, and stuff... it's nice for something good to happen for once.

Utena was pretty dense when it came to relationships between boys and girls.

***   ***

"Tenjou Utena... what kind of person is she?" Touga murmured.

"Middle school second-year, Class C. Female. Not a member of any clubs. Transferred to Ohtori Academy half a year ago." Miki calmly stated.

"So there are Duelists other than us... I made a mistake." Saionji Kyouichi twisted his lip in frustration.

"A 'mistake'... is that really all it was?" Arisugawa Juri spoke softly, but still loud enough for Saionji to hear.


"You lost because you're so infatuated with our mysterious Rose Bride. It's made you rusty."

"Interesting. Why don't we test that theory?" Saionji said, bristling in response to Juri's criticism. Touga made no move to stop them. On the contrary, he looked amused at the situation, a smile playing about his lips.

The student body would never have imagined that this was what gatherings of the dazzling Student Council members were like. The widely-adored Student Council members didn't get along very well. In fact, they had a tense relationship, almost to the point of discord.

"A young maiden who dresses as a man... how charming."

"Shut up. I only lost due to carelessness. If I fight her again, she'll surely lose."

"Naturally. To lose twice against a Duelist like that would be..."

"Utena-san is strong."

Miki, who had been recording the other members' conversations, suddenly cut in between Saionji and Juri. He spoke firmly, with conviction. Normally, he didn't do things like that. Juri and Saionji, and even Touga, looked at him in surprise.

"Don't you all think this is strange?" Miki spoke quickly, as if unable to withstand the gazes of the three upperclassmen. "After learning about the upside-down castle, the Rose Bride, and the Sword of Dios, wouldn't one normally try to investigate those mysteries further?"

"'Normally'...? Well, that's normal for you, Mickey," Touga teased. "What's normal varies from person to person. For instance, why don't you try to unravel these mysteries, best friend?"

Saionji, the target of Touga's words, glared at him with undisguised distaste. But he still answered.

"I have no interest in such mysteries and secrets. You may as well worry about why there are men and women, or the process by which people grow older every year. Win, win, and win some more - that's all I need to understand."

"...And there you have it." Touga concluded, amused. Saionji scowled at him again.


"This is unlike you. What are you so worked up about?" Juri protested to Miki. But her voice held none of the iciness she'd shown when speaking to Utena and Saionji.

"I wouldn't really say I'm worked up..." But as Miki spoke, he realized that he was indeed acting different than usual.

       What is it, I wonder? It's true that I've been concerned about how casually the others accept the existence of the Rose Bride.. But asking them about it so directly... why did I do that? What am I so worked up about?

"What's bothering our cute, earnest Miki?" Miki blushed deeply. He stopped writing, and glared at Touga. "Ah, how frightening. Love certainly does change a person, doesn't it?"

Touga's joking words pierced Miki's heart.


Memories rushed back in Miki's mind: of Utena's gallant face breaking into an innocent smile, and the way she had hugged him. Back then, her body had felt so warm and soft...

       Don't be stupid... that didn't mean anything. Miki's pulse quickened. And the more he denied it in his heart, the more it quickened.

"Is our only point of business to hear about this new Duelist, Tenjou Utena? Or is it that you're going to duel her next, and want to tell the rest of us not to cut in line?" Saionji asked Touga accusingly, as he suddenly stood up. The two of them had been childhood friends, but now they got along terribly. Or, more accurately, Saionji harbored a deep one-sided hatred of Touga.

"Not at all. My turn isn't for some time."

"Touga, you can wait for your turn for all eternity. I'll duel again, and take back Anthy. And this time, I won't lose to anyone." With that, Saionji turned his back on Touga and left. A strong wind blew through the space between them.

"Unfortunately, the next challenger has already been decided."

"What?" Saionji stopped in his tracks. "Who is it?" Saionji looked at Juri. But Juri was staring at the sky, as if all this had nothing to do with her. Miki always insisted that he didn't want to participate in the duels. And Touga had just said that it wasn't him.

"Is there another new Duelist, like Tenjou Utena? Someone besides us Student Council members? Answer me, Touga!" Saionji yelled.

But Touga just looked at his best friend with amusement, and didn't answer. Juri continued to look at the sky. Miki quietly stopped recording the proceedings. The special Student Council meeting was over.

***   ***

A white tablecloth was draped over the long table. It was big enough for twelve people to eat on at once. The East Dorm dining hall had three such tables. If it was a little bigger, you could have hosted a whole house party there.

However, there were only two people and one animal eating there now - Utena, Anthy, and Chu-Chu. Today was Anthy's turn to cook. Anthy seemed so mature that Utena had figured she was good at household tasks. So, Utena had looked forward to tonight's dinner with a little anticipation. What would she make?


"Um, is this...?" Utena asked, pointing at one of the plates.

"It's shaved ice."

"And this one...?"

"It's taiyaki."

"So this one has gotta be..."

"Yes, it's seasoned nori."

Utena rubbed her head. Could she be messing with me...? For a moment, she was suspicious. But Anthy was smiling, waiting for Utena's response.

"Hey, Anthy."


"Do you always make stuff like this for dinner?"

"Is that strange?" Anthy's smile suddenly vanished.

"No, it's not that... but it is a little unusual, I guess."

"I'm sorry, Utena-sama. Saionji-sempai never said anything about it, so I assumed it was alright."

"That's right, you cooked for Saionji, huh?"

"Yes. And he always ate it all, without comment."

       Saionji... You're a pretty brave guy. Seeing the sickening combination of foods lined up on the table, Utena once again revised her opinion of Saionji.

"Hey, Anthy. Do you want to join any clubs?"

"If you tell me to, Utena-sama."

"But is there anything you're interested in, or that you'd like to try doing?"

"I understand. I'll join the same club as you, Utena-sama."

"No, that's not what I'm saying. I just think you... could use some friends."

"I have a friend right here."


Chu-Chu, who had been grappling with a taiyaki on top of the table, proudly raised his hand.

"I mean human friends."

Unlike most people, Anthy seemed content in to carry out role as the Rose Bride. Utena figured that was due to Anthy's introverted tendencies. She lacked self-confidence, so she couldn't refuse to act as a prize in the Dueling Game.

       She'll definitely change if she makes friends. She'd have someone to talk to about her problems. She'll become a little more cheerful, and gain more interests, and eventually find someone she likes...

       She does whatever the Student Council says because she has such low self-esteem. If she makes friends, and finds her own place in life, she'll stop thinking of herself as a prize in this stupid game.

Anthy was cutting a taiyaki in half for Chu-Chu to eat. Looking at her, Utena's conviction grew.

       Anthy definitely wants friends. Look how well she and Chu-Chu get along!

"Alright. To begin with, how about I be your friend?"

"You, Utena-sama...?

"Yeah. Not as the person engaged to the Rose Bride, just as a friend."


"It's not a big deal. I'll just be another friend like Chu-Chu. We can eat together, and talk to each other if we have problems."

"Of course. If you say so, Utena-sama." Anthy smiled.

       Uh, that's not really what I was going for... Utena thought in despair. But seeing Anthy's smile, she decided not to fight it.

       Well, I guess it's fine.

Utena took a breath, and returned her attention to the meal. Shaved ice, taiyaki, and seasoned nori, all lined up.

"From now on, I'll cook our meals." Utena sighed heavily.



Cover & Translation Notes
Chapter 1 * Chapter 2 * Chapter 3 * Chapter 4 * Chapter 5 * Chapter 6



Translated by Dallbun, coded by Giovanna, and hosted on Empty Movement.