"Whereof one cannot be kawaii, thereof one must be sugoi."
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Well, the first thing isn't a problem with Utena, at least if I understand correctly what you mean. The characters in the series are all flawed in one way or another yet their flaws make perfect sense, and all of the characters develop in the course of the story. Also, I was never annoyed with how drama & angst were presented in the show or how the characters behaved even though some of their actions were really twisted & immoral - again, because that all made perfect sense.
As for sexual liberties, well, they are present in the anime, and if they put you off, you may very well dislike it. However, I need to mention that Utena herself is not a lesbian - she's perfectly straight, and there's nothing sexually twisted about her: it all has to do with other characters in the show.
Overall, it's obviously your own choice whether to watch it or not. The last thing I want to say on this matter is that in my personal case this anime turned out much better than I expected, and I really enjoyed it.
Tell me what exactly you loathe about shoujo, and I'll tell you whether it's present in Utena or not.
Also, thanks for the recommendation on Yamato: I already heard good things about that series and I think I'll try it someday.
I also watched Ergo Proxy twice and I agree with you: it gets even better when you rewatch it. I even mentioned that in my review.
The director, Murase Shukou, didn't direct many anime - he's more famous as a character designer than director. The only two other shows he directed, as far as I know, are Witch Hunter Robin and Dante's Inferno. I haven't watched any of the two so I can't tell anything about them except they weren't received particularly well in the community.
The main credit concerning why Ergo Proxy is so awesome goes to Dai Sato - the chief writer for the series. He is unarguably one of the best Japanese scriptwriters with a huge list of works, most of which are very popular & respected shows. However, Proxy was the first project where he was the chief writer, thus he basically pulled out everything he could by mixing all those genres & allegories and made this story his magnum opus.
Unfortunately, there aren't any shows really similar to Ergo Proxy, or at least I'm unaware of their existence. However, if you want something thought-provoking without typical "fun", why don't you watch more stuff by Mamoru Oshii? Of course, you might not like his other works as much as you liked GITS but at least you'll certainly get yourself some really unconventional anime with plenty to think about.
Also, you probably should try Revolutionary Girl Utena and Texhnolyze. The first has plenty of symbolism & psychology, and the story is about breaking illusions, growing up & entering the real world (much like Ergo Proxy). However, it also has girly looks (because it's a shoujo) and it's very repetitive. Both of those aspects weren't a problem for me but many people complained about that. Also, Utena looks more like a typical anime, with school life, romance, comic relief etc. but you shouldn't be decepted by that because it also has plenty of dark & twisted stuff and in the end it turns out to be a genre-breaking show.
As for Texhnolyze, it was made by the same people who made Lain and Haibane Renmei. It has a fantastic story presented in a very demanding, art-house way, with ultra-slow pace, little focus on characters and bleak & depressive animation style. In fact, many people completely missed the point of that anime simply because it was too hard for them to digest. In my case, that again wasn't too much of a problem although I do think it could be better with a little more conventional presentation. For example, if it used dark colors (like Ergo Proxy) instead of bleak ones, or if it had a little faster pace.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: watched; 4,5 stars
Ergo Proxy: dropped at first episode; 1 star
You may be right that there aren't A LOT of people like that, but they do exist. Well again, that's human nature :) and tastes are also different.
Well, Tatami Galaxy also doesn't have tits & asses, and I have yet to meet a person who didn't like it =) and Mamoru Oshii is also one of the most popular & respected directors of all time even though he always makes serious & slow-paced stuff that doesn't look like typical anime.
I think the main reason why people criticize EP is because it's confusing with its genre switches & symbolism... and at the same time it was never hyped like, say, Ghost in the Shell or Evangelion. You know, people don't like the stuff they don't understand; however, they also don't criticize the stuff that is hyped because it's always easier to agree with the crowd. That's why you often see exactly the same users who praise Evangelion & GITS yet criticize Ergo Proxy. It's human nature)
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