Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #07: Temptation - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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: 29.98
  • 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. #07: Temptation

By Chris Beveridge     July 15, 2003
Release Date: July 08, 2003


Revolutionary Girl Utena Vol. #07: Temptation
© Central Park Media


What They Say
A new duelist has appeared, a man who may steal Utena’s championship status, and the heart of her friend Shiori. Swords clash and secret passions are revealed as Utena struggles to defend her title, and save her friend. Contains episodes 27-30.

The Review!
The final arc of the series gets itself moving along nicely here as we deal with some very interesting character pasts and issues while everything else whirs along.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The shows stereo mix continues to be strongest with the music, with that aspect sounding the richest and fullest across the forward soundstage. Dialogue throughout is nice and clear, though there isn’t quite that much in terms of directionality.

Video:
In some ways, Utena will simply never look gorgeous; especially for those hoping these episodes will look like the movie they’ve seen. The transfer for Utena here looks quite similar to the Japanese release, with its pale large swathes of color that look solid, but just have that feel like they’re going to break up. Characters are fairly minimally drawn at mid to long range, and they often look little more than little blocks of color. Cross coloration is shows up in a few places but isn’t terribly distracting and there’s only some slight aliasing during a few panning sequences.

Packaging:
With a large amount of white, the border strip of blue looks excellent here with the excellent looking character artwork for Ruka and Jury. The back cover does the background in reverse, with the white section providing the discs special features and episode summaries while mixing in some animation shots. The reverse side of the cover has some nice black and white artwork of the front cover image while providing scene selections for all four episodes, a full bilingual main cast listing and the basic production credits for the show.

Menu:
Using the stylized spinning roses in the frame as the basis of the menu, they added in a transition piece of character artwork in the lower right corner that runs through as animation plays underneath and the opening song hurls along. Selections are quick and easy to make (and I continue to dislike the episodes being called “movie”. The menus have definitely come along nicely from their earlier ones, but I still dislike the way it plays automatically after a few run-throughs.

Extras:
The extras here are fairly similar to past volumes, this time with Jimmy Zoppi from the English voice cast providing a little five minute video piece on his take of the show and the character he portrays. The art gallery is done in video form and runs just under a minute in length. There’s also the trailer that’s been used to promote the show as well as the storyline summary pages.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With four episodes here, the show finishes off the last of the sort of fillerish material that really separated these two arcs and then gets things rolling in a more serious manner with the final series of duels and revelations that’s coming up.

The filler episode is also one of the weakest in the series. I’ve enjoyed the Nanami pieces before, most especially her turn as a cow when she wore the cowbell, but this one just had little to really keep me interested in it or find much in it that hinted at other things in the series. The show starts simply enough with Nanami waking up in her perfect little world only to find an elaborately painted egg under the covers with her. She’s unsure about it and what it means, but carries it with her as she tries to reason it out.

Of course, her main reasoning goes along the lines of her thinking she laid it herself. So her logic then dictates that everyone else must be doing this too, but she can’t ask because if they are, she may be late compared to them and so on and so forth. It’s hard to believe that she could really follow this kind of logic, but then we remember that she wore a huge cowbell around her neck and was turning into a cow. So, I’ll let that slide. But the episode spends so much time on her imagining the various reactions should she tell that there’s just not a lot going on here. And I just can’t figure out what the egg itself represents for Nanami.

Once past that though, things move on to far more interesting events. The events throughout these episodes play mostly a tangential role to Utena herself, focusing more on the past of Jury as represented by a young man named Ruka. Ruka is the former captain of the fencing team who had Jury take over for him when he left the school to enter the hospital due to an illness. After some indeterminate amount of time, he’s returned to the school and is instantly adored by pretty much every woman there.

Jury’s unsure of his return and what he’s up to. He’s taken up almost immediately with a close friend of hers, Shiori, and the two are the hottest item on campus now. It’s completely surprising to most everyone since Shiori is one of the quietest people around. But Jury doesn’t like what she thinks Ruka may have in store for her, and we start to get more of a glimpse to Jury’s true love and what she’s been holding tightly onto for quite some time.

Ruka’s an interesting addition to the cast here, as he feels like Touga but has the personality mix of Saionji with a touch of Miki to him, allowing him to cross a range of emotions and styles quickly and with different women. He has the look and feel of a playboy, but also the kind of person who is genuinely interested in what is being said to him at the time, though only so it can be of use to him later. His manipulations of Shiori and eventually Jury all serve to further his own goals, but those goals aren’t revealed until the very end and it’s quite emotional if it hits you right away.

Utena isn’t entirely cast aside as she does get a few duels in here and there, providing some smooth action to the show, though enough of it is purely repetitive with the sound of the car, the travel down the road, Akio flipping onto the hood of the car…. But it’s all so damn stylish that I love seeing it episode after episode. Utena also starts to explore her relationship with Akio more deeply here, with her time spent living in the same place as Anthy has brought them much closer together. There’s a number of very small moments throughout here between the two of them that give you goosebumps.

While a lot of what’s going on is repetitive in its own way, there’s also the progression of the larger storyline now that Akio is taking a firm hand in things. The series moves to its own special rhythm, swaying through the storyline to its own music. If I hadn’t seen all of it already, I know I’d be incredibly frustrated in wanting to know what happens next, but right now I’m able to simply enjoy watching it move along.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles, Interview with U.S. Voice Actor Jimmy Zoppi,Revolutionary Girl Utena: Temptation Trailer,Revolutionary Girl Utena Episodes 24-26 Storyline Synopsis

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic DMR-E20 DVD Recorder, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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