There are many points that one can debate in Revolutionary Girl Utena due to the nature of how Kunihiko Ikuhara tells a story. Sometimes his imagery has a clear and obviously metaphor behind it and other times things are purposefully left vague so that audience can draw their own conclusions on what certain things mean. The exact nature of the power of Dios, what is real and what is illusion at the school, and what exactly happens to Utena at the end of show can all be debated back and forth. There are as many interpretations of Nanami’s Egg as stars in the sky. But oddly enough one of the oldest and fiercest debates I have seen people get into has nothing to do with any of the symbolism in the show itself. It is if the Black Rose Arc is filler or not. The dread word filler casts a icky cold chill on the heart of many an anime fan. Perhaps it makes them flash back in to horror of the unbroken train of 76 episodes of Naruto filler, the infamous Island Arc of Nadia, or the dreadful last few arcs of the Kenshin anime. The question is can you label the Black Rose Arc with the shameful title of filler?
Having been full engrossed in Utena a couple of times over now, I start to pick out certain aspects that I might not have otherwise. I’d say this is all for the better; my love has not waned for Nanami’s dramatics nor Chu Chu’s mischief. But there is a question that comes up now and again regarding the place the Black Rose arc has in the story. Breaking it down in certain ways can make it seem like filler, but I’m not so sure it really is.