Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 144
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     November 13, 2002
Release Date: March 21, 2000

Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #02
© Central Park Media

What They Say
Utena never wanted to be a duelist. She came to the Ohtori Academy in pursuit of the mysterious prince from her past, not to fight for possession of the Rose Bride. The problem is that the Rose Bride - Anthy - is more than just a prize - she's Utena's friend.

But the president of the Student Council is also a duelist, and he may be Utena’s long-lost prince as well. Can Utena fight the man she’s loved since childhood? If she doesn't, her best friend will lose her freedom!

The Review!
After many months of waiting, the second half of the "Student Council Saga" of Revolutionary Girl Utena has hit the DVD market.
The six episodes on this DVD continue the stereo audio presentation for both the Japanese and English tracks. Dialogue is clean and undistorted and does have a few instances of great directionality. As with the first release, this series has some great music and it sounds very good on the DVD.

Thankfully, CPM didn't try to squeeze six episodes onto a single layer disc, but opted to make it dual layered much like the first. Video quality is pretty solid all the way through, though some scenes do look a bit soft and maybe a touch grainy, but this more than likely the source material as it seemed to fit the sequences themselves. Most of the animation taking place within the school grounds tends to be very soft pastel colors and look very natural. Dueling Forest scenes as well as interior sequences tend to have more color and more vibrancy to them and look spectacular. Once again, the dueling sequences are among the most "shiny" on the disc.

The packaging is pretty similar to the first release and most other recent CPM releases in that it's in a clear keepcase. The artwork looks good and is a bit eye catching. Unfortunately, the background is an off white bluish color whereas the first volume was completely white. I had hoped that this would be white to compliment the first volume nicely, but alas. The back cover contains a good synopsis of things without giving away too much and includes a full list of the features. The interior side of the packaging contains one side listing the chapter marks and information on the people behind the release while the opposite page has some great black and white artwork of Utena and Anthy.

The menus seem to be pretty much identical to the first release, which is nice. Selections are made quickly and are all labeled clearly. The only real problem with the menus is the chapter selection submenu. During our viewing of this disc, we watched the first four episode and then turned everything off to come back to it the next day. Going into the chapter select submenu, we wanted to jump right to the 5th episode. Err, which is the fifth episode? CPM didn't set the chapter marks around the beginning of the episodes, but at various places throughout all the episodes. Some start at the title card for an episode while others start at the opening animation for it. This definitely doesn't make it easy.

The extras on the disc are pretty minimal. The meet the cast section just pulls from the series a bit of animation, though it's at least in both languages. The downside is that there's no subtitles. The songs section suffers in that it's just the section of the show for each song, so the subtitles are hardmatted onto the video.

The DVD-ROM extras are pretty decent. There's about 30 scans from artwork to screen shots of the first 13 episodes. The scripts section contains the script for all 13 episodes and there's also a section listing the voice credits for characters for both languages (which is also found on the interior packaging).

Unfortunately, I found that these final six episodes seemed to be a bit lacking compared to the first seven. These episodes are basically the closing half to the Student Council Saga, but it's not as climactic as one might expect.

There were a bunch of highlights though throughout all of them. The opening episode with the elephants was fun, if a tad overdone as it went on. Nanami's being "raised" to a Duelist (which is not a spoiler, I might add. She's seen dueling in the opening credits of each episode) was fun to watch, and she definitely fills out her outfit nicely.

The sequences between Touga and Utena seemed pretty obvious, though there was enough to make you wonder what kind of card he was really playing with it. The problem with the episodes that focused on him was that it was predictable and it seemed somewhat rushed. And the last episode, though there are dark hints of what's to come, was essentially a recap episode of the first twelve episodes.

I hate recap episodes. The majority of the time they're a waste of time with very little new stuff in it beyond some window dressing.

Overall, the second disc has some good stories, but not the same level of excitement as the first. The animation continues to be well done and is consistent with what we've seen before. Of course, one reason that these episodes may seem like a bit of a downer at the end is that the series (which runs a full 39 episodes and a somewhat alternate universe movie) haven't been licensed at all, and even when it is done, could be a couple of years before we see more of it. In the meantime, we do have some very good episodes to watch though!

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Songs,Meet the Cast

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.


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