Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Rose Collection Vol. 1
Review by: Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
Do you know? Do you know? Have you
heard the news?
This economically-sound DVD
contains the first seven episodes of the series the way they were
released domestically. This means after the fourth and seventh
episodes, there are two sets of credits, original credits with
song translation and then the English credits. This gives the
viewer a chance to watch the episodes individually, as a series
of two volumes, or as a non-stop Utena marathon.
"Once upon a time, years and
years ago... There was a little princess, and she was very sad,
for her mother and father had died. Before the princess appeared
a traveling prince riding upon a white horse. He had a regal
bearing and a kind smile. The prince wrapped the princess in a
rose-scented embrace and gently wiped the tears from her eyes.
'Little one,' he said, 'who bears
up alone in such deep sorrow. Never lose that strength or
nobility, even when you grow up! I give you this to remember this
day. We will meet again. This ring will lead you to me, one day.'
Perhaps the ring the prince gave
her was an engagement ring. This was all well and good, but so
impressed was she by him that the princess vowed to become a
prince herself one day. But was that really such a good idea?"
This bit of back-story presents
the backdrop on which all the plots of the series spring. We
follow Utena as she battles Student Council Vice-President
Saionji and gets engaged to the Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya. And
intern finds herself a part of something even greater.
As you can obviously tell,
Revolutionary Girl Utena is based on the shoujo manga by Chiho
Saito and pretty much anything can happen in shoujo. The show
itself is rather confusing and awkward at first. The lesbian
tones that the show emits in the early episodes are virtually
swept under the rug by the third episode as the many mysteries
start to unravel as do the individual personalities and back-stories
of each of the varius characters. The Team Rocket-ish "student
council-in-the-elevator" monologue and the "water-hits-the-ring-and-unlocks-the-door"
clips get old and seem like filler to waster time, much like the
transformations scenes in Sailor Moon. Here is the elevator
monologue so you can judge for yourself.
"If it cannot break its egg's
shell, a chick will die without being born. We are the chick. The
world is our egg. If we don't crack the world's shell, we will
die without being born. Smash the world's shell! For the
revolution of the world!"
Overall, these are only minor
gripes because they actually tie together the show and present
the passage of time, unlike the Sailor Scout's transformations
that last about a second in real time.
The English dub features Rachael
Lillis who is probably most recognized now for her work on Pokémon.
And luckily for the show, she brings the same energy to this show
as she portrays the heroine Utena and Anthys playful
companion Chu Chu. The only thing holding this dub down is the
repetitiveness of some of the reused scenes which also feature
the exact same reused dub. As hilarious as the scenes featuring
Nanami's Operation: Oh! Anthy Himemiya is a weirdo...'
plans, the overused use of the same dub tapes made it just drag
on. But, it is cute none the less.
The DVD is not at all that
spectacular in terms of extra features, though the feature to
view the key songs of the show (excluding the opening Rinbu
Revolution sung by Masami Okui and the ending Truth sung by Rika
Yumi) gives the disc great replay value. This is because all the
songs are linked to the key battles and transformations of the
show. The place the disc excels in is the shear fact you get the
first seven episodes for a mere $40. That's only ten dollars more
than most DVDs and it's well worth it for such a great series.
So now, do you know? Do you know?
Do you really know? Do you? Good.