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kuroimisa's Shoujo Kakumei Utena Tv Review

Shoujo Kakumei Utena

Shoujo Kakumei Utena tv Review

Story & Characters

Utena, as a child accepts a rose seal (the ring), kiss, and a lingering fragrance of roses given by her prince on a white horse. However, this is no fairytale... it is a story of friendship, love, passion, desire and the personal autonomy in the quest for truth and eternity. Little does Utena realise that the rose seal is her key to the student council's battle arenas, the right to fight the members of the student council, and the lead up to her friend, Anthy, the Rose Bride one must obtain through winning battles in order to gain the power of Dios, and gain eternity.

Utena fights friends, enemies, strangers and even herself in the quest of eternal friendship, and at the same time discovers her true self.

Although some people may find the story "random", "pointless" or "meaningless", I think this was intended by the creators to create a fragmented kind of reality, reflecting the characters' swiss-cheese like existences. For this reason, the surreal nature of the timing and pace may be a bit confusing, confronting or just quirky, it suits the plot perfectly, leaving you to piece the puzzle together. I enjoy this anime thoroughly, and I cannot say that this condensed or elongated timing is something to be joyous about, there is something missing from this plot that perhaps may be the ending, or even the lead up to the ending, which is what makes this anime slightly flawed.

Rating: 8

Art

The art is incredibly beautiful. The setting is like a realistic painting of prestige architecture and state of the art gardening. THe background images are perfect for showing the ethereal and luxurious "fineness" of the Academy, and every single location seems to be so rich and elegant like a palace. As a result, it is done so well that Akio's mega-studio like living quarters are so empty, yet so large to reflect his solitude and also his everything- he has the sky as his balnket, and a world of his own. Compare this to Utena and Anthy's little dorm where the room is not very big, however there is a warmth to it that you can't find elsewhere: this is the wonderful nature of this art, to create the atmosphere.

The characters are drawn in a unique way- their hair is lovely, and although their eyes are hollow, this reflects the emptiness or the missing element in their characters and lives. THis is something that I found intriguingly beautiful... it is something that is done splendidly.

Rating: 9

Sound

The ending and opening themes reflect themes of feminism, revolution, independence, desire for truth and values such as love, friendship and perserverance. The lyrics and strong vocals are highly suitable and the music is highly recommended.

The piano pieces capture Miki's nostalgic desire for his childhood perfectly with a delicate sort of nature that makes his music shine and seem as fragile as a rose or a diamond. Truly, this is the sparkling part of the instrumentals.

The arena songs are sung by a chorus... the pace captures the anxiety, frustration, stamina (as so the signers require as they switch syllables around like trying out combinations on a safe) and confusion of the battles. I find these pieces somewhat intimidating and almost shrill--- even slightly outdated, but good enough anyway for the time setting.

Rating: 9

Presentation

One thing people may have found random or annoying were the shadows slotted in before a battle. I actually enjoyed these scenes, because they were no in fact saying gibbledeegook nobody could understand- I found them very fulfilling and insightful to learning more about morals and other things that I wouldn't have thought so myself... the underlying metaphors in their dialogue are then in fact, are not rubbish.

The symbolism in the anime is also something I find very clever- the rose as an image for revolution, freedom or love... and you'll constantly find yourself being exposed to echoes of these symbols... but to create a perpetual effect- in a sense, you already have eternity. You don't need Dios and his fastastical upside down castle.

The themes are inspiring and touching. Although Touga and Saiyonji seem to be bitter rivals, you learn that they were childhood friends, and despite Saiyonji belittling himself for possessing inferior kendo skills, the couple remain (subtlely) friends.

There are other themes that should be taken into account: if you're not a mature person, this is something to be wary of (as silly as this sounds). There are yaoi, yuri and incestral themes that are not blatantly evident in ever single scene, however it is a good idea to note that they exist. However, these themes are not the key issues, so you do not have to worry about this.

To watch this anime over and over again is something that is rewarding. Maybe you won't understand everything exactly the first time, but you find that through the second time you realise that these "random" episodes weren't so random afterall, and that the creators have done this for a reason. You can also appreciate the fact that the creators went into a lot of trouble thinking of symbolism and constantly having this throughout the anime in order to send their messages out to the audience.

It may not be "your thing", but to watch it and have a try, you may find that this anime maybe be simple in plot, but incredibly rich in texture.

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.00 (very good)

Reviewed by kuroimisa, Mar 23, 2005

Comments

  1. UberDog Mar 23, 2015

    As I'm the first to give this review some love, from a retired mod no less, I have to admit nice structure and details. Good job.

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