This… sure was something. Ikuhara seems to be getting wilder and wilder. Honestly… I kind of think it was a bit much for the first episode. The symbolism didn’t have much subtlety to it, and it got way too deep way too fast. A lot of the appeal of Utena and Penguindrum were how they built things up in subsequent episodes, introducing one layer of symbolism at a time, but mostly keeping us grounded in what seems like a believable world, at least at first. This was 200% insanity from day one. And a lot of the time it just directly told you what things meant instead of leaving them open to interpretation.
Honestly, I wasn’t surprised at all by the main twist at the end, mainly because I had had my mouth hanging open thinking “WTF” for the past 15 minutes at that point.
I definitely liked it, but I may need to watch it a few times so I can catch more than a quarter of what happened.