The most important battle of all is the battle of self. Utena has been struggling for the past few episodes with her identity and what it means if Touga is her prince. After losing to Touga and losing Anthy, Utena loses her own way and her own sense of self. She begins being quiet, she doesn’t speak out as much and begins dressing like a girl. While it’s a change that seems to be pretty popular with the masses it’s something that really grates on the nerves of Utena’s best friend. It’s really nice in episode 12 to see Wakaba step up and be a wonderful friend to Utena and pull her back into herself.

What is normal?
What is self? How does that vary from person to person? Is what’s normal for one person, what’s normal for everyone? The answer to this question is absolutely not. Utena isn’t fit to being a ‘normal’ girl, when she states that wearing the girls uniform is normal. Wakaba says it’s not normal, not normal for Utena. Who’s normal is not being normal. She seems like she lost something important and she needs to get that something important back.
That something important in this case being not just Anthy, but her sense of self. So she goes to the rose garden and challenges Touga to a rematch.

The fight here is very much meant to mirror the fight in the first episode against Saionji. Where she first becomes involved with the duels and with the rose bride without her knowledge, this time it’s with her knowledge. Despite that knowledge being very much incomplete. As Touga shows when he has Anthy imbue the sword of Dios with power that helps him overcome Utena in the beginning part of the duel until the will of Dios shuns him.
Leaving her with a mostly broken sword, entirely like the bamboo sword she used to beat Saionji. She sways even the heart of the Rose Bride and wins the duel, gaining back Anthy and her sense of self.

Episode thirteen is a flashback episode, but it also sort of introduces two characters that are important. One is unnamed in the episode, we will not meet them formally until episode fourteen. A man of great importance, speaks with Dios. Who remains curled up, unspeaking and unmoving. Dios, who we have seen give his power to Utena over seven duels. The unnamed man can only assume that she may be the one that will crack the worlds shell and release the power of the prince.
Each battle and the theme of it is discussed by the mysterious man as he muses to the prince about the future of Utena and the duels. A future that is going to be much different then anything we’ve seen up until this point.

The only hints of the next arc we get in this episode are a black rose laying in a tank and the rose seal ring tainted black.

The Black Rose Saga is here and I can’t express to you how excited this makes me. While the student council saga is good, the Black Rose Saga is probably my favorite part of the series. I can’t wait to get into looking into it.