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Another morning in the Planetarium. "I will become a Prince," Tenjou Utena says. The shadow play girls ask Utena to join their theatrical troupe. Utena turns down the offer, but finds some tickets left in her breast pocket. Shinohara Wakaba shows Utena some pictures she has, but Utena notices there aren't any of Himemiya Anthy. In the planetarium, Ohtori Akio takes a picture of her and Anthy. Utena asks him to join them in the picture, then
the three go to see the play together - "Bara Monogatari" (The Rose Romances).
Once upon a time, all of the girls of the world were princesses. The world was not completely in darkness because there was the Rose Prince; he protected and saved every damsel in distress. So, the world was in light. However, a witch disguised as an old woman appeared to the prince and told him that someone was trying to steal all the light in the world, including the power of miracles and the power to revolutionize the world.
The prince went to the witch's castle to save the world. But it was a trap to capture the prince, and the witch reveals herself as the Prince's little sister. She says that the Rose Prince, her brother, was the real light in the world. He can save all girls in the world and make them his princesses. But, even though the prince can be any girl's prince, she, his sister, is the only one whom he can't save. A girl who cannot become a princess has no choice but to become a witch. And so, the witch confined the prince in the castle, and brought complete darkness to the world.
Ten years ago, Utena's coffin was opened and a prince came to her. She thought the prince was beautiful, and although she was planning to do nothing in her coffin, she got up and followed the prince to a chasm. Across the chasm is a girl transfixed with spears, who the Prince says is the witch, the Rose Bride. She can never die and will suffer forever, because she took the prince away from all the girls of the world.
Long ago, the prince called Dios
tried to save every girl in the world. But he fell ill. People came to his house and demanded that he save their daughters. Although sick, the prince was determined to go and fight for the girls, but his sister begged him not to. But still, Dios attempted to get up, until Anthy stopped him. If he continued to try and fight, he would die. A minute later, she came out of the house and told the crowd that Dios was no more, he was sealed in somewhere because he belonged only to her. "You witch!" people yelled at her and transfixed her with spears. Dios tells little Utena that, to protect her dearest one, Anthy sacrificed herself, even though she was the only one who truly loved the prince. Then, the prince became corrupted as the End of the World
Little Utena begs the prince to save Anthy. But Dios says she can never be saved. The only one who could save her would be a prince who she could believe in. Dios is a prince but he cannot save her, since he cannot become her prince. Utena wants to know why, but Dios doesn't answer; he just turns away. "Then I will become a prince!" little Utena shouts. "I will become her prince and save her!"
Dios answers "If you really don't lose that nobility when you grow up, she could be saved out of the pain." Then Dios gave Utena the Rose Signet. Dios continues "But I am sure you will forget what happened tonight. And even if you can remember it, you will have to become a woman after all."
But Utena says "I will become her prince! I'm sure of it!"
Dios answers "Then, this ring will guide you here."
Summary only slightly edited from the Utena Encyclopedia http://www.duellists.tj/synop34.html