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Anime Revolutionary Girl Utena


Dagger
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I recently finished watching the first season of Revolutionary Girl Utena, and I really enjoyed it. Utena is a dramatic, quirky little show that pushes the "shoujo" genre to some rather crazy extremes. It has frequent moments of weirdness which could be said to rival Fooly Cooly's, although Utena is definitely more linear and less frenetic.

Everything from its story to its artwork is highly stylized and rife with symbolism; for example, each of the main characters is associated with a particular color, one which seems to suit his or her personality best. The character designs are visually striking and look stereotypically anime-esque--most people are very tall and thin, with startlingly colored hair and large, bright eyes.

One of my main reasons for liking this series is its unpredictability. Although Utena's basic plot is simple, it sometimes plays out in completely differently ways than what I'd come to expect.

Utena is apparently notorious for its sexual politics (the show includes numerous same-sex couples, hints at student/teacher relationships, and several instances of implied incest). Although these first thirteen episodes have remained fairly tame, I've heard that things really begin to pick up in the second season, so it'll be interesting to see how the various love polygons develop.

If anyone else has seen this show, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

~Dagger~
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[color=hotpink]I haven't seen too many of the episodes. But I have read two of the manga and watched the movie.
I think Utena is a very strong individual. She fights for what she believes in (this is of course only said by a person who hasn't seen much of the animation).
I have indeed noticed most of what you said dealing with the relationships. Utena and Anthy obviously have something going one and then there's the whole deal with that girl and her brother. (sorry, I can't think of names) That is a bit disturbing.
My favorite scene is where Utena [spoiler]faces Touga (is that right?) with a bamboo practice sword and he has a real sword. However, she knocks his rose out of his collar and wins the duel.[/spoiler]
And, incase you really cared, I would let my kids watch it. Of course, I'd wait until they were atleast 9. But I think they can handle same sex relationships.[/color]
[color=deeppink][b]edit[/b]Some day I too shall learn to spel[/color]
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[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by ChibiHorsewoman [/i]
[B][color=hotpink]I think Utena is a very strong individual. She fights for what she believes in (this is of course only said by a person who hasn't seen much of the animation).[/b][/color][/quote]

Utena Tenjou is an amazing role model. She's unique among anime heroines in being brave, intelligent, resourceful, spirited--and yet also completely human. Utena occasionally makes bad decisions, but she possesses the humility and courage to admit that she regrets them, and always works to set things right.

Many young female leads are whiny and weak, and rely upon the protection of a male character. Though older women (such as Mireille from Noir and Elvy from RahXephon) are more often portrayed as strong, they're usually also cynical or self-serving.

Utena may represent an ideal rather than reality; after all, she is beautiful, smart, and beats boys at their own games, but she's still incredibly admirable and likeable.

[quote][b][color=hotpink]My favorite scene is where Utena [spoiler]faces Touga (is that right?) with a bamboo practice sword and he has a real sword. However, she knocks his rose out of his collar and wins the duel.[/spoiler][/color][/B][/QUOTE]

That's actually [spoiler]Saionji[/spoiler]. But you made a good guess--[spoiler]he and Touga are best friends[/spoiler].

~Dagger~
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[color=hotpink][size=1]I've seen almost the entire series and the movie. I've seen a couple of episodes of the second season as well. I LOVE Nanami. She is the most funny and insane character of the entire bunch. I like Utena alright, but I really get annoyed by the submissiveness of Anthy. Gah, just slap her around already...bleh.

When you see the movie Dagger, because you HAVE to, you will see that it doesn't make sense at all. No, not one bit of sense. But it is VERY beautiful.[/color][/size]
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Heh, Nanami took a bit of getting used to. Once I learned not to take her quite so seriously, her antics became utterly hilarious.

I actually don't mind Anthy (although she really does get slapped far too often), but I'm not sure what to think of her. She seems innocent and perhaps even simple-minded, but I suspect that all of her seemingly random statements and cute gestures actually have a purpose. For all I know, she might even turn out to be as manipulative as Nanami.

I'd love to see the movie, but I think I'll wait until I finish the series. I've heard that it really is a visual and aural feast, so watching it should be quite an experience. ^_^

~Dagger~
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[color=deeppink]I too thought Nanami was a bit... over the top if you will. Maybe she should lay off the caffine? :laugh: It couldn't hurt, could it? I also thought she had a bit of a thing for Utena. (Of course I also though the Aspargus liked the Tomato in VegiTales, so you may not want my theories)
I think Anthy needs some self esteem classes, but that little mouse thing is [i][b]so[/b][/i] Kawaii! The curry episode was damn hilarious in the manga BTW.
I saw the movie too. I can't say I [i]understood[/i] it tho, but I definately saw it. I think anthy was the one with the long purple hair in the movie.
Oh, who's the girl who's like an uber beyotch and loves her brother more than what's healthy?[/color]
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[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by ChibiHorsewoman [/i]
[B][color=deeppink]I saw the movie too. I can't say I [i]understood[/i] it tho, but I definately saw it. I think anthy was the one with the long purple hair in the movie.
Oh, who's the girl who's like an uber beyotch and loves her brother more than what's healthy?[/color] [/B][/QUOTE]

[color=hotpink][size=1]I believe that was also Anthy. Anthy in the movie was MUCH different than she is in the TV series. She had more of a personality and wasn't so dull and almost lifeless. She wasn't nearly as naive either. The movie was just STRANGE. I really couldn't tie it in with the series in any way except that it had the same characters. But I really enjoyed it.

As for Anthy being manipulative, Nanami actually suspects that about her, but you really just find out she's just innocent and naive. Anthy annoys me. I guess I'm more into the stronger characters, those who know how to make their own decisions and stand up for themselves. Yeah, she's the Rose Bride, so she has to do whatever the person who is "engaged" to her says, but I think she could still LIVE a LITTLE! *Gasps!*[/color][/size]
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As a fan of both shonen-ai and shoujo-ai, I had plenty of fun watching Utena.... but don't get me wrong, the series has myriad other merits. Its beauty, bizarre symbolism, and unique characters are what really attracted me. If you only saw the dub, I'd recommend giving Utena a second chance. Otherwise, it might just not be your kind of show--and that's perfectly okay.

Speaking of the dub: for everyone who's seen both it and the sub, which did you prefer? I've seen the Utena dub cited on numerous websites as an example of truly atrocious dubbing. At first, I really didn't mind it all that much, but as the series grew more complex and emotionally involving, several characters' voices began to annoy me (Saionji, Utena, and Nanami, to be specific).

So far, Utena's Japanese seiyuus seem to have been cast perfectly. I do hope that the dub begins to improve, at least by the conclusion of the next season.

~Dagger~
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Talk about shoujo revolution. It's quite ironic in my opinion. All the show justifies is the impossibility of such a revolution. Look at her pink hair for goodness sakes. Japan has yet to see a real "femme forte" (strong woman for those that don't read French). But hey, at least she's hot! (Ok ok...fans don't kill me ;P)
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I own the whole series on VHS. Personally, the subbed is 100% better than the dubbed in my opinion. You don't know what your missing by not seeing the rest of it. The Seito Kaichou saga (eps1-13) are, like u said, really tame in comparison to the last three arcs; The Black Rose, Otori Akio and Revolution. It really pics up then and you meet a lot of really interesting and kewl charectors. Not to mention that it gets darker and the same-sex/incest thing becomes WAY more apparent. I highly recommend it! =D
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[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Fujimiya [/i]
[B]Talk about shoujo revolution. It's quite ironic in my opinion. All the show justifies is the impossibility of such a revolution. Look at her pink hair for goodness sakes. Japan has yet to see a real "femme forte" (strong woman for those that don't read French). But hey, at least she's hot! (Ok ok...fans don't kill me ;P) [/B][/QUOTE]

Oh, no worries. I'm not going to kill you. ^_~

I [i]am[/i] curious as to what Utena's pink hair has to do with her strength (or lack thereof, depending on one's opinion). In Revolutionary Girl Utena, pink hair isn't solely a feminine characteristic--I believe that a major male character in the second arc (which I haven't seen yet, so I may be incorrect) has similarly colored hair.

If you meant that her hair color is simply unnatural and you were presenting it as an example of the show's surrealism, well, the vast majority of anime (not to mention fantasy in general) is far from realistic.

By what standards do you judge strength? Utena clearly possesses the physical fortitude to out-fence older and more experienced swordsmen. I would argue that her unflagging determination to become a prince and to defend the weak shows that she is also mentally strong.

~Dagger~
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  • 4 weeks later...
A few weeks ago, I began to watch several series that either pay homage to or borrow heavily from Revolutionary Girl Utena. I'm thinking mainly of Pretear, since the parallels between it and Utena are rather striking.

Like Utena, Pretear is definitely shoujo. Though their storylines and characters have little in common (aside from certain stylistic similarities--as is the case in Utena, Pretear's pretty boys generally possess long hair and unpleasant attitudes), Pretear's atmosphere often echoes Utena's. I mentioned earlier that Revolutionary Girl Utena is a somewhat surreal show. This lack of realism gives it a strong sense of unpredictability, and is frequently played up in order to amplify both its humor and drama.

Pretear does the exact same thing, but so far it appears to be a more innocent and less serious show. Its comedic sequences, while adequately funny, struck me as being a little derivative--when watching them, I couldn't help thinking, "Oh, this is exactly the kind of thing I might see in Utena." Yet while Utena's humor can be a little ridiculous, it's always accompanied by some kind of deeper significance, or at least an undercurrent of sly self-deprecation. The comedy in Pretear is just plain ridiculous.

One of the members of Pretear's supporting cast is a pink-haired girl who looks and acts very much like a caricature of Nanami. She's always concocting absurdly elaborate schemes to trip up the unsuspecting main character (Himeno). I found it difficult to enjoy watching her crazy plots, simply because I'd already seen that kind of thing done very cleverly in Utena.

~Dagger~
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  • 2 years later...
My commentary on episode 2 of Utena (and my friend who hasn't seen it ever's stumped comments):
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:27:14 PM): Hi
CrystalMoon0690 (8:27:17 PM): hi
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:28:27 PM): Anything new?
CrystalMoon0690 (8:30:05 PM): not really
CrystalMoon0690 (8:33:41 PM): and you?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:33:49 PM): Nothing really
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:45:54 PM): Hey, have you seen Utena?
CrystalMoon0690 (8:46:15 PM): nope
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:46:37 PM): I'm watching it right now
CrystalMoon0690 (8:46:41 PM): is it good?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:46:48 PM): Think Sailor Moon meets Neon Genesis Evangelion
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:46:50 PM): It's good
CrystalMoon0690 (8:47:11 PM): it's a little on the shoujo-sai side, ain't it?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:47:28 PM): "A little" is a bit of an understatement
CrystalMoon0690 (8:47:32 PM): lol
CrystalMoon0690 (8:49:08 PM): I'll borrow it from the library
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:51:43 PM): Trilobites!?!
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:51:47 PM): WTF!?!
CrystalMoon0690 (8:51:53 PM): ?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:51:56 PM): This show has awful song lyrics
CrystalMoon0690 (8:52:54 PM): oh man, I downloaded the opening theme to kodocha
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:53:04 PM): That song is great
CrystalMoon0690 (8:53:09 PM): *nod nod*
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:53:19 PM): And doesn't use the word "ammonite"
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:53:21 PM): lol
CrystalMoon0690 (8:53:31 PM): ?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:53:48 PM): The scary thing is is that I'm afraid that the lyrics to the songs in Utena will actually mean something later on
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:53:52 PM): KAWAII!
CrystalMoon0690 (8:54:25 PM): ?
HoyvinGlavin64 (8:54:52 PM): Just commenting randomly on what was going on in the Utena episode I was watching a few seconds ago
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:catgirl:

Speaking of lyrics, there's an insanely detailed analysis of the final duel chorus that I can link you to when you finish the series. I still can't decide whether it's pure genius, or Ikuhara just wrote the lyrics when he was high.

~Dagger~
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  • 2 months later...
Guest Morbid DayDream
:help:
I have a quick question to anyone who cares to answer ^^

I read the first book toRevolutionary Girl Utena and I have been unable to read anymore then that, but my local video store has the DVD's to the serise so I figured I would rent them. But I just can't seem to figure out what order they go in ^^;;

So, if anyone would care to explain to me the order the movies go in, before I rent the wrong one, it would be much appreciated!


Thank you so much!
:love2:
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I would definitely recommend watching the Utena anime instead of reading the manga. The manga offers but a pale shadow of the anime's glory. :)

As for the DVDs, there are 10 TV series DVDs and then one DVD for the movie. Make sure not to watch the [url=http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005LP42.01._SS500_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg][u]movie[/u][/url] until you've finished the TV series. (It's a re-telling, not a sequel, but it's just better to watch it afterward). From glancing quickly at my copies, I don't think the DVD cases are numbered, so here's a list of all the DVD titles, in order.

Volume 1: The Rose Collection 1
Volume 2: The Rose Collection 2
Volume 3: The Black Rose Blooms
Volume 4: Impatience and Longing
Volume 5: Darkness Beckoning
Volume 6: The Beginning of the End
Volume 7: Temptation
Volume 8: Revelation
Volume 9: Finale

Additionally, if you're at all interested in buying the series, it's pretty cheap. There are three box sets, one with the two Rose Collections & the movie, and two more with four DVDs each. Each has an MSRP of $39.98--which means that if you get them during an online sale, it practically costs chicken feed. In [url=http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/][u]DDD's[/u][/url] 20% off sale, which is currently running, you can get the box sets for under $18 each with the sale coupon codes... and if that isn't making out like a bandit, I don't know what is.

I hope that was of some help. Anyway, I'm going to merge this thread with the official Utena topic shortly.

~Dagger~
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Guest Morbid DayDream
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but thank you so much! ^^
There was an official site? :animestun Ehh...
O' well, I am out so thanks again and later! ^^

Hehehe I have finally figured the posting out! *Is preety slow* xD
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  • 2 months later...
[COLOR=Navy]I watched over 30 episodes of the first season. I am not too sure what I think of it as of right now. It just feels to be dragging on and on until recently. Nanami is pretty annoying but she is fun to watch. [spoiler] Like in that episode where she thought she laid an egg and was taking care of it. [/spoiler]

I really love the music that plays before the main duel that happens near the end of the episodes.

Though, I am confused. [spoiler] What the heck is the End of The World and why does the chairman keep on showing up in odd places with his red car and they drive off into the darkness with the chairman sitting on the car's hood. [/spoiler] Anyone mind explaining that?[/COLOR]
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I read all four books and thought they were pretty good. It has a nice plot even though it is confusing at times. I had to reread some parts to get the entire idea. But I would recommend them to anyone looking for something to read. The art is pretty, and is almost ingenious.

I haven't seen any of the anime though, but I bet its just as good.
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[QUOTE=Japan_86][COLOR=Navy]
Though, I am confused. [spoiler] What the heck is the End of The World and why does the chairman keep on showing up in odd places with his red car and they drive off into the darkness with the chairman sitting on the car's hood. [/spoiler] Anyone mind explaining that?[/COLOR][/QUOTE]
End of the World is [spoiler]a person.[/spoiler]

As for Akio's car, here are a couple of very basic things to keep in mind. [spoiler]The red sports car is symbolic of idealized adulthood and Akio's virility and masculinity (as well as many other things). Akio, unlike almost everyone else in the show, is an adult character. And in the series, cars in general--but specifically Akio's car--are associated with sexuality, loss of innocence, etc.

Also, try to keep track of the roles the characters are playing. They go in Akio's car for a reason, usually to recruit a duelist (or, in Ruka's case, a bride). Akio lets them in his car because it benefits him in some way. How? Touga, likewise, has chosen to essentially become Akio's messenger boy. Why? Are you sure you don't know who End of the World is?[/spoiler]

Worry about questions of motivation and meaning instead of why [spoiler]the car can just magically show up anywhere (although that suggestion of omnipotence/omnipresence is in itself somewhat significant).[/spoiler] And don't take anything in Utena too literally--it'll just make your head hurt. :animesmil

~Dagger~
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  • 1 year later...
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]So I just finally finished Utena. Right after it ending, my first thought was ‘I wish there was more’ simply because I’d spent so much time with it, but honestly, i’m glad I get to move on now - 39 episodes was a lot in under a week ^^;; Ah, where do I begin in talking about a show like this? Well, a lot of it I like to compare to NGE. Mostly because it starts as a rather lighthearted show with very serious moments, and gradually becomes darker and darker until it reaches te point of being disturbing. Disturbing in a way, though, that I love so very much.

The things that will stick with me after watching Utena are the characters, the imagery, and the ending. And, of course, [spoiler]that everyone ****s everyone in this show. Seriously. The chicks did the dudes, the chicks did the chicks, the dudes did the dudes. I’ve never seen such a hive of STDs in my life XD Nevertheless, the show had some great characters, detestable as many of them were. I find it funny that I ended up feeling a little sorry for Saionji and Nanami, despite both being such utter pricks at times. In the end, there wasn’t really any character who I absolutel hated… okay, I hate Akio, but then again, he’s the bad guy, you’re supposed to. The show showed all the characters in their serious and goofy moments, so that ou really got to know all of them in every way. I like that each of their individual stories is left open almost entirely, leaving you only with the knowlege of how the characters have grown. In that way, I feel there was a spectacular effort in focusing completely on the characters and not the story itself.

What amazes me about Utena is that it can be cheesy, totally formulaic, repeat itself, waste time, and do it all with such utter skill and awesome that I don’t even mind it. That’s what makes the show endearing - while you know what to expect from each episode in that season (a bunch of duels and random Nanami adventures) you still want to see how they’re going to portray it. I also think that the formulaic nature of the series is what strengthened the final saga in a lot of ways. At that point, the plot is all coming together, but it keeps you in total suspense and only reveals it’s hand at the very last minute. There was really no way to predict how it was going to end.

And when it did end, it did so with the sort of epic flair I was hoping for. The ultimate sacrifice of Utena and everything about the final stage, namely when the swords came down and destroyed the entire structure was simply awesome. It even had a nice conclusive aftermath that leaves enough to the imagination but still tells you what’s happening.

Now, to get down to the juicy stuff. The symbolism in this show was simply awesome. All the rose and sword stuff, the constant power struggle and right down to the tower (I love when Akio says ‘a child can never understand the importance of this tower.’ He means what you think he means!). There was so much damn sex in this show, to. Even the implied Utena losing her virginity or whatever. This part was a little over-the-top for me, actually. When Akio went down on his fiance’s own mother (and neither character shows up again either) I was thinking they might be pushing it a little. Then again, at some point, sex really lost it’s maning in this show. (that point was probably when I realized that Akio and Touga were sleepin together, despite Touga chastising lesbianity earlier, lol).

Still, it was all cool in the end. I’d say my favorite part of Utena is just all the trippy stuff that goes on. From the shadow theater representing each episode’s concept, to the extremely odd stuff going on in the student council room (my favorite was the invisible train), right down to Miki’s stopwatch. The show takes so many libertes with reality, and that’s what made it so much fun. Again, there was a time when I had a problem with this. Namely, when it turns out that Souji’s entire reality was an illusion - it made things a bit difficult to comprehend for a bit and just seemed a little too extreme. mkostly because the whole 2 episodes that spent a lot of time on his backstory were a total waste.

In any case, this was definitely a fun, interesting, and cool show that I’m happy to have seen, even if it did take up 18 1/2 hours of my life, lol. i guess now I need to hunt down the movie. Though, like with end of eva, I think I’d like to let the series sink in a bt before I go for the film.[/spoiler][/COLOR]
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