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Pikachuit's Shoujo Kakumei Utena Tv Review

Shoujo Kakumei Utena

Shoujo Kakumei Utena tv Review

Story & Characters

What is eternity? Is there such a thing as something eternal? What is friendship? What is family? Who can we trust? What is good, and what is evil? If you cannot attain what you desire, is your only choice to revolutionize the world?
Despite the large-eyed, elongated character designs and outlandish, unbelievable episodes, Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena) tackles all of these issues through a complicated, convoluted story and a cast of beautiful, complex characters. Though at times undeniably weird, this 39-episode series poses question after question through poignant symbolism and sudden, unexpected disturbing plot twists. Episodes range from the extremely silly "Curry High Trip" which is about characters switching bodies after eating a hot curry, to the shaky and disturbing "Romance of the Dancing Girls" with a frightening and shocking revelation at the end.
In a forest arena at the exclusive prep school Ohtori Academy, a castle hangs inexplicably upside-down over a duelling arena high above the ground. In the castle dwells Prince Dios and, it is said, Eternity. The only one with the power to reach the castle is the Rose Bride, Himemiya Anthy, and she can only attain it by giving her power to her Prince. The Ohtori Student Council, instructed by letters from a shadowy figure called The End of the World, engages in swordfighting duels in order to determine who will be engaged to the Rose Bride.
Enter Tenjou Utena, a girl who long ago met a Prince, and decided she would become a Prince herself. She unwittingly duels the fiance of the Rose Bride and wins, becoming the new Engaged. All of this happens in the first episode. From there the plot gets stranger, and steadily darker as the story moves through its four arcs.

Rating: 10

Art

The Student Council Arc
Episodes 1-13 serve to introduce the world of Ohtori, the main duelling characters, and their relationships to one another. Each of the Student Council members has one or two full episodes devoted to them, interspersed with lighter, more silly episodes without any duels. Utena's own past connection with some of the characters is revealed, and her relationship with Anthy is explored. In this arc the yaoi hints are minimal, though Touga does spend a good deal of one episode seducing 13-year-old Miki to duel. By the end of the arc, the unusual nature of Touga's relationship with Saionji has fully emerged as well. Episode 13 serves as a wrap-up that introduces the idea of an overarching meaning to all of the duels Utena has been fighting.
The Black Rose Arc
Things take a decidedly darker turn in episodes 14-23 with the introduction of Souji Mikage, the Black Rose Duellist. Mikage has a clearly "interesting" relationship with Chida Mamiya, a young boy who Mikage thinks would make a better Rose Bride than Anthy. He seeks to win the Rose Bride and then kill her, and make Mamiya the Bride with himself as Mamiya's Engaged. Characters that were previously secondary now come to the forefront and are made in a disturbing manner into Black Rose Duellists, after they have confessed their darkest desires to Mikage. This is the point in the series when the shadows begin to emerge. What is reality? What is memory? Who is truly real in the world of Ohtori Academy... and who is behind it all? (Note: Episode 24 is a filler flashback about Nanami, Touga's younger sister.) The Ohtori Akio Arc
Clearly, episodes 25-33 are no longer the same show as when Revolutionary Girl Utena was in the Student Council Arc. While the lighthearted jokes and unexplainable weirdness are still present, everything becomes coated with a dark, seemy, almost sleazy fog. Ohtori Akio, Anthy's older brother and the Chairman of the Academy, now becomes the focus of the duels. This arc is heavy with symbolism, seduction and sex. Touga, who was absent during the largest part of the Black Rose arc, returns as Akio's whore, to collect the other Student Council members for a final round of duels against Utena. This arc is positively rife with yaoi, very clear and blatant. Symbolism be damned; when boys roll around in bed together, it only means one thing. At this point the series is heady with fanservice and you can expect eye-popping scenes in every episode. Once more, episode 33 is a review episode, with another surprising twist at the end.

Rating: 9

Sound

The Apocalypse Arc
The villain has been revealed, the duels are nearly over, and Eternity is within reach. At this point, Revolutionary Girl Utena begins to lose its grip on sanity. No one is who you thought they were; nothing is what you thought it would be. Very little can be said about episodes 34-39 without giving away the biggest surprises and secrets in the series, but the yaoi fangirl will be on the edge of her seat to see Touga and Saionji's rather touching (and half-nude) return to friendship as they join forces against the End of the World.
While this review is already longer than any review should be, some mention needs to be made about the soundtrack of Utena. Some of our favorite seiyuu star on the Japanese track: Koyasu Takehito as Touga and Midorikawa Hikaru (Schuldig, Tamahome) as Mikage, along with Kusao Takeshi (Ryo in Yoroiden Samurai Troopers, Kougaiji in Gensomaden Saiyuki) as Saionji, and sexy-sultry Kosugi Juurouta (seme Honma from Boku no Sexual Harassment, Rajura in Samurai Troopers, and the opening segment narrator of Yami no Matsuei) as a perfectly delicious Akio. Also, while the music during the duels has been known to drive some viewers insane, the sountrack score consistently fits the mood of the show and helps to heighten the emotions being conveyed.

Rating: 10

Presentation

In a series about a tomboy and her bride, famous for its lesbian implications, where is the yaoi? Everywhere. From the very beginning there is Kiryuu Touga, Student Council President and school playboy, who works at seducing everyone from Utena herself, to his best friend and Vice President Saionji Kyoichi, to boy genius Kaoru Miki. Later in the series appear the boys of the Black Rose, and finally the charming and ultimately seductive Chairman of the Academy, Ohtori Akio.
No relationship is out of scope for Revolutionary Girl Utena. Sexual tensions run through nearly every relationship, from boyfriends and girlfriends to brothers and sisters, to the strange whorish behavior of Akio and Touga later in the series. Fanservice runs rampant in order to convey a mood. Touga seems to be seen with his uniform jacket unbuttoned more often than buttoned, and rolls around on rustling sheets from time to time. Touga and Saionji go shirtless together for no reason, and Akio takes pictures of them lounging on his car. The backseat of Akio's car becomes a plausible setting for nearly any pairing imaginable.

Get your hands on Revolutionary Girl Utena. It's one of those must-see series for any anime fan, and most especially those who enjoy unusual and explicitly strange relationships between the characters. You will not be disappointed by this series.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.83 (excellent)

Reviewed by Pikachuit, Dec 28, 2004

Comments

  1. vampyre Dec 28, 2004

    I love this series but i didn't watch anime yet.i read "The Movie"serie on manga.& i need to watch it in anime too.Don't know where i can load this series.Anyway,i read some on this post & it made me want to watch it more & more.>,< i love all of this series.Ur story, art, sound, presenttation, all great.& i've seen music video of "the movie"serie before & want to watch more.~^w^~ But i still don't know how to get free download of this series.Have got once,but didn't work.-_-

  2. Nalataia May 18, 2011

    Utena is such a good anime! I really love it even it is hard to understand it ^^U... but it is incredible! Not only the plot but also the OST
    and the art.

    What i find more interesting are the relationships betwen council members; these get more and more tangled as the story goes on. Personally, i would have liked the anime to go more deeply into the Utena-Toga relationship. And, just for one of my friend's sake, a deeper approach to Yuri and Luka's past; i think their story would have been very interesting and full of passion. Maybe.


    By the way; "Touga and Saionji go shirtless together for no reason, and Akio takes pictures of them lounging on his car." that scene is totally OMG!

    I totally agree with your review! Nice one!

  3. UberDog Mar 23, 2015

    Not a bad review, good job.

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