Domestic debut: April 2, 1997

The premise is simple enough: a girl becomes a prince. As with Hideaki Anno's Evangelion, however, director Kunihiko Ikuhara's Revolutionary Girl Utena is a fantastically heady series that (like all of Ikuhara's popular works) examines adolescence, girlhood, romance, spiritual corruption, and loss. With 39 episodes and a feature-length film, Utena is Ikuhara's most sprawling work, though it's helpfully sorted into four distinct arcs that track teenager Utena Tenjou​'s integration into Ohtori Academy, where Utena makes one friend, the quaint Anthy Himemiya​, for every one hundred rivals that hound her throughout the series.

Mawaru-Penguindrum is, arguably, Ikuhara's most ambitious anime, and Yurikuma Arashi is his simplest; whereas Revolutionary Girl Utena strikes that perfect balance of simple lore told through uncanny and wonderful execution. My only warning is that you should watch Utena with Japanese audio and English subtitles. The English voice dub of Utena is famously awful. —Justin Charity