Review - Revolutionary Girl Utena

This will be a collecting point for my past anime reviews and future reviews. Please note that there will be the inevitable time references in these as they have been lifted from my old LiveJournal (I'll keep the existing ones there for now)

Review - Revolutionary Girl Utena

Postby mistie710 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:02 am

Actually, as I write this, I haven't finished the entire series but I'm a fair way through.

What price eternity? Well, it seems that somebody wants it badly as they manipulate a large number of people in the quest for it. Amongst these is Utena, a girl that is trying to be noble. The oft repeated story is that, as a young girl, she had met up with a "prince" following a great loss, and she was trying to follow his example. Having been enrolled in the Ohtori Academy, she finds that a number of people are wearing rings just like the one she got from this wandering prince. It seems that they are all "dualists" - all trying to contest in sword fights for the hand of the "Rose Bride", Anthy. At least, that's how it starts out.

As the series goes on, you start discovering that everyone is a little twisted. If anything, Utena is the least twisted of all as her closest friend, Wakaba, has a hang up on the student council vice-president, but said person, Saionji, has the tact and diplomacy of a wet kipper to the face. The various other members of the council all have hang-ups of one kind or another and even the faculty is screwy, and not in a funny way either! As for Anthy, her passive "Rose Bride" persona is all an act, but what is she hiding? Add to that the comic asides of Anthy's curry cooking and Nanami's brother worship and some of the ridiculous lengths she goes to, including a rather weird episode involving a cowbell and a world-wide search for a rare curry spice, and you have a series that is a real mind bender!

It's not such a recent title, and some of the animation is a little rough in places, not to mention the highly stylised chara designs including girly-eyed measles literally everywhere, even on the boys! The stories are very episodic, though they do have a linking thread reminiscent of such fare as Sailor Moon, though not as comic. It has to be viewed as a fantasy adventure since, if applied to real world situations and even allowing for cultural differences, it is totally unbelievable but, having said that, much of it relates to the human condition, even if it is on a grander, more fantastic stage. However, I have to say that fans of trading card series, merchandising series or beat-em-ups need not apply since this is quite certainly shojo and makes no apologies for that.
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