Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Central Park Media
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #03: The Black Rose Blooms
By Kristopher Zoleta
December 08, 2002
Release Date: November 12, 2002
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a wonderful series, and since this is the review I had to do, the preceding "Student Council" Saga, which is the previous 13 episodes, or first 2 DVD's will come later. I will though make many references to the first Saga because I hold it to such a high standing.
Audio: The audio is not that bad, the music is really clear. Not to mention that the music for the series is still as wonderful as ever. I would like to mention though that the first DVD is not as great musically as the first saga. The English Voice acting is generally very good, but I still have a bone to pick with Nanami's English voice actress. I mean I guess it is great that they kept the creators intent of making her annoying, but her English voice actress is really annoying on the nth level.
Video: The quality is great; of course much better than my original collection of Utena on VHS (I will tell my story later). As a DVD it stands well on its own, but the animation quality is not top tier and really won't stand well for the newer anime fans that have been raised in high quality computer generated anime like Love Hina or Chobits.
Packaging: The packaging is very beautiful and eye catching, it certainly is much better than the flowery cover of the first two DVD's.
Menu: The menu is actually much better than the first two DVD's. It actually has music in the background and animates.
Extras: It has a really short interview with the creator, and a summary of the first 13 episodes (I highly recommend watching them instead of reading about them). Other than that it really doesn't go into lots of depth. The extras are not that bad, but with how good the series is they could have done much better. They should have included stuff like the Japanese TV commercials, a deep analysis by an anime fan of the significance of the themes and many other qualities of the series.
Content (Will contain spoilers): The next DVD series takes the focus away from the "Student Council" Saga and into the "Black Rose" Saga. I have to say it because it has been bothering me, but the two sagas are almost a stark contrast between each other. While the first one ran like a romantic fairytale with larger than life bad guys and great good guys, the second one still holds true to the larger than life bad guys, but there is a more ominous threat than the student council in this series. It is much darker than the first saga, the atmosphere is much darker and the Antagonists do much more in the way of evil than the student council ever did.
The 2nd story arc introduces Anthy's older brother. At the end of the first two episodes, they leave you with some very suggestive imagery that will leave most people shocked. We find out that Anthy's brother is engaged to marry the daughter of the headmaster of Othori Academy. At the first episode we are introduced to the "Black Rose" or a very secret society that uses that for its emblem. Their intentions are unknown, but the means to do it is very sinister. They will have a dualist that will "revolutionize the world" after defeating Utena, they will kill Anthy and put a mysterious man as the new rose bride. What is even darker than their reasons for dueling is how they get the duelists. They "interview" them; the people that are interviewed have very dark and evil secrets and motives. Then after giving away many of the dark and evil secrets they are stabbed in the heart with a black rose, it gives them power and makes them evil.
The 2nd story arc also seems to develop many of the unanswered questions from the student council saga. Like some of the mystery surrounding the strange relationship between Miki and his sister. Even more interesting is the girl who made Jury the way she is by betraying her.
The highlight of the 3rd DVD is the episode when Nanami gets a cowbell. It is very hilarious and is a welcome change to the much darker tone of the 2nd saga in Revolutionary Girl Utena.
I never understood how come people have said that only girls would like this anime. Yes it has a flower motif and all that. Even if it was a Shojo, the fact is that even the first saga had some dark atmosphere. What surprised me is that the 2nd saga is far darker than the first one and I never thought it was possible. This series is truly a very wonderful series that has "classic" written all over it....while this review didn't touch on any of the symbolic aspects of many of the themes, it does just say a couple of things.
I am a huge fan of Romance Anime, but this series is very deceptive. On the outside it is a girl's romance anime that would look like it would be for girls only. It is actually quite the opposite, it is very dark and it does have a certain appeal that makes me love the series. I can't recommend this series enough. It is a perfect compliment to His and Her Circumstances, Fushigi yugi, and Escaflowne which are all shojo's but can really appeal to guys.
Microsoft XBOX, Panasonic 19"