The Sedgwickian Queerness of an Anime Lesbian: Reading Revolutionary Girl Utena


  • Giancarlo Cornejo University of Southern California


Paraules clau:

anime, lesbian, queer, Revolutionary Girl Utena


A tentative response to Eve Sedgwick's timely question "How to bring your kids up gay?" lies at the heart of Kunihiko Ikuhara's anime TV series Shōjo Kakumei Utena (1997). This article explores the affective sustenance that Revolutionary Girl Utenaoffers to some queer children and teens in the face of a somber heteronormative reality. This essay performs a close reading of Episode seven "Unfulfilled Juri", and it focuses on one of the queer feminine formations that the show cultivates, the tragic (joyful) anime lesbian. Paradoxically, and fortunately, the anime lesbian far from being an abject figure, becomes a site for queer identificatory projections and desires.

Biografia de l'autor/a

Giancarlo Cornejo, University of Southern California

University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2020)

Department of Spanish and Portuguese

University of California, Davis


Butler, Judith (2019), "Proust at the End", Reading Sedgwick, Lauren Berlant (ed.), Durham, Duke UP: 63-71.

Cixous, Hélène (1990), Reading with Clarice Lispector, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Doane, Mary Ann (1987), The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940s, Bloomington, Indiana UP.

Ikuhara, Kunihiko (dir.) (1997), Shoujo Kakumei Utena, J. C. Staff, eps. 1-39.

Jaikumar, Priya (2006), Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India, Durham, Duke UP.

Kotani, Mari (2006), "Metamorphosis of the Japanese Girl: The Girl, The Hyper-Girl, and the Battling Beauty", Mechademia, 1: 162-169.

Love, Heather (2004), "Spectacular Failure: The Figure of the Lesbian in Mulholland Drive", New Literary History, 35: 117-132.

Marks, Laura U. (2000), The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses, Durham, Duke UP.

Mayne, Judith (2000), Framed: Lesbians, Feminists, and Media Culture, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.

Prough, Jennifer S. (2011), Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shōjo Manga, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.

Saito, Chiho (2020), Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution, San Francisco, Viz Media.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (1991), "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay", Social Text, 29: 18-27.

—(1993), Tendencies, Durham, Duke UP.

—(2008), Epistemology of the Closet, Berkeley, University of California Press.

—(2011), The Weather in Proust, Jonathan Goldberg (ed.), Durham, Duke UP.

—(2016), Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire, New York, Columbia UP. [1985]




Com citar

Cornejo, G. 2021. The Sedgwickian Queerness of an Anime Lesbian: Reading Revolutionary Girl Utena. Lectora: revista de dones i textualitat. 27 (Oct. 2021), 211–226. DOI: