What’s this? This is not a book! But who cares, it’s my blog, and I’ll do what I want!
A long time ago, when I first started watching anime, I picked up something that looked interesting, called Revolutionary Girl Utena. I started watching it. I was completely confused and bemused at what I saw, and gave up after a dozen of episodes. I mean, really. There was a boxing kangaroo, for god’s sake. Seriously.
I watched a lot more anime in the following decade. I grew older. My tastes changed. Utena went out of print, much to the horror of classic anime fans. But then Right Stuf/Nozomi, the king of niche, well-done anime, went and rescued this. Trusting Nozomi’s licensing history, and the reviews of notoriously picky people, I went ahead and bought the first two sets to try again.
Even though this anime is about 15 years old, it aged wonderfully. Japan cleaned it up for HD release, and while Nozomi did not release it on BD, the clean up job shines through. The colors are bright. The lines are fairly sharp for an anime this old.
The plot: When Utena was a little girl, her parents both died, but she was “rescued” from her misery by a prince who gave her a rose seal ring. She was so impressed by his actions that she decided that she would become a prince herself and rescue a princess. At school, she meets Anthy Himemiya, aka The Rose Bride, who meets the qualifications of damsel in distress, and Utena befriends her and becomes her protector after fighting a series of duels (??!) with the elite and mysterious Student Council.
However there is more to Anthy than expected. Sometimes she’s not so passive. Sometimes she has a hidden dark side. She also has a sword buried in her body that Utena extracts before dueling. Yeah… There’s a lot of sexual symbolism and undertones all throughout this anime.
The episodal tone ranges all over the place from completely batshit insane, to extremely melodramatic, to darkly sinister. This anime is never boring, not even with the constant repetition pre-battle scenes (which changes from season 1 to season 2). You’ll be sitting there thinking, “WTF is going on??” but you won’t be bored!
There are three boxsets in total, but the third one doesn’t come out until December. Sadtimes for me. Maybe I should’ve waited to marathon this. I haven’t marathoned an anime in eons, but I watched both sets in matter of days. Definitely not to be missed.