Monday, January 1, 2001

Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena)

Genre: Shoujo
Parental Guidance Recommended
1997. Chiho Saito and Kazuko Tadano (creators.) J.C. Staff. Shogakukan / Shou Kaku Committee / TV Tokyo. Screenshots courtesy of DVD Emporium.

Utena DVDs
Utena Art Books & Manga
Utena Music
Utena in Beauty
Everything Utena

Cover Description:
Utena has it all. Beauty. Passion. Faith. A sense of justice. She is the idol of her classmates at the exclusive Ohtori Academy.

And yet, she is driven by a childhood memory of a prince on a white horse who comforted her when she was grieving over her parents' death, and who gave her an enigmatic signet ring emblazoned with a rose crest. This memory drives Utena to do the impossible: To become a prince, herself, as she duels the members of the Student Council to protect the mysterious "Rose Bride."

(39 episodes)

NOTE: Some of the reviews were written sometime in 2001 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as ??.??.2001. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated January 01, 2001 by default.

Great Shoujo with a new Approach >>> by firesenshi

Admittedly at first, with its shadow play puppet narrators, colorful detailed shoujo art (a total menagerie of pink and ink-blue hair), a main shoujo character who wants to a prince and a battle song that once sang, "Trilobite, Trilobite" ... made me think Shoujo Kakumei Utena was well, totally unusual. But as you progress seeing all of this in the later episodes, you will find that they have actually introduced a new and refreshing concept that can really be addicting. Most shoujo anime would depict its young high school girl heroes as very pretty with awesome powers that would delight your eyes in those magical battle scenes. In Utena, you actually see a battle of skill in swordfights but that is not to say it lacks the shoujo element of grace and power. Characterization is done very well too and is this anime's greatest strength. You'll have a variety of characters who range from the total leader to clingy weirdos. (And by clingy weirdos, you will know once you see this character I hate.) But by far, this one has presented each character well by showing their inner struggles in various methods -- one where you will be really touched and sometimes through unexpected satires that are indeed funny but just make sense. (For example, the handsome Touga's rescue of his sister Nanami from a boxing kangaroo.)

A little warning though. As you can see from the opening songs and promotional stuff, this has been the subject of yuri fans. Bear in mind the more important reason underlying the relationship of Utena and Anshi, the Rose Bride. Those are one of the intriguing factors that actually makes you wonder but nah... I don't think it's anything yuri. Come to think of it, I like Utena, she's everything I almost want to be and I hate Anshi because I hate totally quiet martyr characters who are unfortunately important to the storyline. My one regret here too is that there is always that 'will-they-or-won't-they' type of thing for Touga. It does add spice but bah... I want a little more mush maybe. (I'm so demanding...)

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 9

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