Revolutionary Girl Utena (Shoujo Kakumei Utena): The Rose Collection Vol. 2 DVD
Enoki Films USA, Inc.
Excellent. Weird. Original. Utena is all these things and the fun comes from trying to solve the many mysteries.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Rose Collection Vol. 2 DVD
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
"Look! A UFO!"
"Where? Where? Where? Where is it? Oh, come on! It's a shooting star."
"No, it wasn't! It was a UFO. It was sort of wobbling... I mean, flying zig-zag."
"There are no such things as UFOs!"
"Don't... It was back in kindergarten when I found out there was no such thing as Santa Claus. But that's all right. I know now that Wizards and fairies and princes on white horses and kind-hearted true friends... They all only exist in fantasy. But that's all right. We know that now. So, please, can't you just leave me the UFOs?"
That edited monologue by our lovable and mysterious Shadow Play Puppeteers probably sums up these six episodes best as everything is nearly reviled as the show moves into uncharted territory.
This second DVD complies the third and fourth volumes of Revolutionary Girl Utena into one stunning and affordable episode collection. As the mysteries of the series begin to unravel, the situations the students are involved in become more surreal. Student Council president Touga is wounded as he races to Utena's aid as his 'best friend' Saionji goes berserk in one last attempt to gain control of the rose Bride. By mid volume, the pivotal day that Utena meet her prince is shown in memory warping cunningness. End of the World's prophecies are also made slightly clearer as the student council loses a member and gains another who duels with Utena for the attention of another.
As the volume progresses you will literally be in shock as Utena purposely throws a dual and learns a shocking secret about Anthy which makes her devotion for the Roses Bride's well being even stronger. And finally, when the dust has all settled, the half-truth about the character flawed student council bent on bringing the Absolute Destiny: Apocalypse about is reviled as The Student Council Saga ends and the Black Rose Saga begins.
As with any television series, there is undoubtedly going to be stock footage at some point. Utena is no exception. There is the Student Council elevator monologue, the occasional Prince opening, and the mood setting pilgrimage to the Duelist Arena. Yet, episode 13 is a clip filled summary of the first 12 episodes with some new footage, much like Sailor Moon R episode 89.
One interesting point about Utena is the clever usage of key symbols, many of which have double meanings. The glass pane are used to introduce certain characters and important back-story info. Spinning flowers are also used in Duelist shots create uncertainty of who will win, yet it is also used to hid difficult to animate sequences. Likewise, the spinning flowers also seem to appear when the creators want to draw the viewers attention to a certain object or away from a key scene, this tactic occurs even more in later episodes.
Out of all the things in Utena, the soundtrack seems to stand out the most. Music used, ranges from classical remixes to spin-chilling chanting. Depending on the scene the track accompanies, the music of the series assures that the viewer will feel the way the characters do. Most original of all is the usage of a different Duelist theme for each battle that is fought. Each, somehow, holds a hint to the mysteries of the Absolute Destiny: Apocalypse.
The unregion restricted DVD features both Japanese and English language tracks with the option to turn on and off English subtitles. The scene access menu breaks episodes into two parts with the first link being to the opening sequence and the second link going to the post-commercial break mid-point. Unique to the volume is a Cast menu, which features 6 character pictures which, when clicked, play key scenes from the volume that show their motivations, and a Song menu featuring Revolution, Last Evolution, Confined Spell, No One Has A Thing To Say, and Truth. The DVD also features a DVD-Rom program that has a gallery filled with stills and scanned animation cells that can be easily screen captured, full scripts for episode 1 to 13, a port of the cast credits which appears on the box cover, and assorted company web links.
There is only one excuse not to acquire the two volumes of the Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Rose Collection DVDs, the simple fact that the rest of the series has yet to be released domestically. But, isn't that what the vast network of fansub distributers are for? Or you could just wait for Software Sculptors to release the Black Rose Saga... Regardless of this story continuation fault, the DVDs are well worth the money spent for the clear picture and dual language tracks. Plus, the direct access to the songs is a major plus.