|Nothing I wanted but everything I didn’t know I wanted|
F: Well it’s a school night its 1:33 A.M. I haven’t gotten up from this chair in at least like four hours my eyes are blood shot red I look like I’m on drugs probably and have in my last mad attempt to lower my rising body temp has left me striped down to a par of men’s boxers and a bra purely because I feel like I’m going to burst from the pure intensity of it all! Anyway that hug run on sentence is hopefully indicative of what the last few episodes of Revolutionary girl Utena feels like. I‘m making good on my promise to john that I would review Utena after I finished heavy rain which is not at all help by the fact that my girlfriend out of town and my best friend M’s too busy playing total war and relieving his mad fantasies of world domination while leaving me to sit around a twiddle my thumbs. Well at least my copy of final fantasy will be coming in Saturday so I’ll have something else to distract me from the fact I need to get a life.
Onto the actual purpose of this review Utena yes an interesting piece of work at very least. The story is set in a weird version of Japan where everyone dresses like napoleon just got into power and sword fighting is so popular its almost in this as much as sex, but like the real world there’s more sex in it then you really want…or maybe that’s just me Moving on! The story revolves around Utena a young tomboyish girl whose dream was to become a prince so she dress in a boys uniform kick ass and makes me want to go after her like a mad women. Anyway she wants to be a prince because a long time ago when she was a little kid her parents died and a “prince” came and gave her hope this impressed her to the point of making her copy the idealistic interpretation of a prince. As for what the story more focuses on is a rose bride a women that if you are the top duelist will be you half girlfriend half wife
. Utena accidentally wins her by dueling a pretty boy samurai who just happened to be the top duelist at the time and now has to duel a bunch of people to insure no one abuses the rose bride. Now I want to save any of you potential watchers out there not to have misconceptions this show, it’s not a Yuri in any conventional terms I mean they are what you would call a Yuri pair if your willing to interpret that way, but lets but it this way its so subtext that it makes Code Geass: nightmare of Nunnally subtext between Alice and Nunnally look like Strawberry Panic. Before you touch that dial read the rest of the review not being yuri doesn’t mean its not good.
Utena has a bunch of problems most being its 2010 not 1997. the two mediums I don’t think age well at all are probably any sort of cartoon (anime sadly is a cartoon no matter how much better then the rest) and games and guess what Utena is an anime and compared to the very sharp imagery were all use to it looks kind of bad, kind of really bad like worse then most shows out of the late 1990s. The music quality is bad because well it’s old the art quality bad because it’s kind of old. You get use to it, but it’s defiantly an awkward transition. Even some of the production choices scream of the 90’s pretty hard. I tried to ignore it and hay if I can get past the bad art in the beginning of Elfen lied the manga I can get past it here, but its still kind of bad. The pacing is not so great too. I mentioned earlier that I got really sucked in at the end, but up until around episode 26-27 I was kind of board. Not because the story wasn’t good it was just way to patterned like everything was methodically paced the slow walk upstairs that you see in ever single episode the fact that until like the last season ever fight is won the exact same way and how they get to each fight is exactly the same. Even the few comedic episodes follow the exact same
formula of girl A finds idem B has misconception C and effect D happens. This makes thing feel like the episode was built out of a computer program that required only the character names and the philosophical tone you wanted for that episode and they were done. The fights are all rehashed versions of the olds fight the kind of “final boss” for each session being the only real exception. Also I hate to go all tangical, but I’m getting pissed at the continued anime stereo type that girls are all idiots that can be fooled as long as a man unbuttons his shirt a little. If they tired it on me I would punch them in the nose.
I know I made Utena sound really bad but its not its actually really good but for a lot of very kind of weird ways that one might of never noticed. A great thing that helps reduce the very aged appearance is the fact that its super stylized because interesting ugly is way better then just ugly. Something that I totally didn’t expect is the philosophical stuff in the show a very clear undercurrent that if you don’t really pay attention can completely pass you by. I’m not the most philosophically inclined, but it is kind of interesting if your willing to over think things to a good level. This can range to simple things lie is normal defined as what is socially acceptable or what is what feel the most natural to the individual to the more undercurrent of whether anything eternal is even good. It’s also got a nice bit of referencal stuff like the giant tower that almost hits the floating castle holding eternity being a reference to the tower man built to try and reach god in the bible. If you have a hard time catching these here a pro tip when you see the weird shadow puppet show that is done in
ever episode realize that most of the time it’s spelling out for you what the concept of that episode is….okay well sometimes its just strange ramblings of what I can only imagine is a mad psychopath, but sometimes its filed with some reveling clues. (That of course is another nice touch.) The last couple of episodes are really good to story wise completely holding you on the edge I mean episode 33 which is by all accounts filler made me want to flip out and seriously cry about what happened. The ending is a combo of just great and terrible I wanted to scream if you now it wasn’t one in the morning. Also there is something they do with the arena in the final fight that I thought was just great for a final match and anyone that played the end of metal gear solid 4 will know what I’m talking about. Utena also does something really great that I wanted to mention, they pull off a trick of being super graphic and mature about almost everything without showing anything explicit. The lost art of subtlety is really good here which makes everything oddly less ridicules then being super in your face explicit. The characters are all really good like I practically fell in love with Utena and I haven’t hated a villain quite like the main villain here since fricken Schizel in Code Geass.
I may be so sleep I forgot a few things but I feel really good being very surprised and being able to just frigging lay back down in bed finally before FF13 steals away what hopes for sleep I had left oh god. Revolutionary girl Utena you pink haired wonder you get a 4.5 homoerotic men without shirts out of 5 truly earning its position as a classic.