Anime Soundtrack Review: Star Mania: Revolutionary Girl Utena

Star Mania: Revolutionary Girl Utena is a 15-track CD that includes music from the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series, the Adolescence of Utena anime film, remixes of two songs from the series, and two songs from an image album.

Star Mania: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Publisher: King Record Co., Ltd.
Release Date: November 23, 2005

The disc opens with “Round Dance Revolution” by Masami Okui, which was the opening theme song for the Revolutionary Girl Utena television anime series. The full length version of the song appears on this disc rather than the edit used for the opening, and I thought the song worked even better in this version than it did in the TV edit. “Round Dance Revolution” is a very memorable song, and you can recognize it as soon as it starts playing. This is a sign that “Round Dance Revolution” is an effective opening theme.

Next is “Truth” by Luca Yumi, which was used the ending theme for the first 24 episodes of the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series. Of the three ending themes that appeared in the television show, this one was the most memorable. The chorus of this song is very memorable and catchy. Like the opening song, “Truth” is presented in its full length version rather than with its TV edit. In my opinion, this song works well both as either its full length version or its TV edit.

This is followed by “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse,” the song that plays whenever Utena is heading for one of her duels. In a lot of respects, this track could be seen as Utena’s theme song. Of all the songs that appear on this disc, “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse” is the most memorable song from the franchise. I love how intense this song is, and the arrangement and instrumentation for it is perfect. Three versions of “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse” appear on this disc, but to me, the original version is still the best one.

Next is “Virtual Star Embryology” by Maki Kamiya, which was used as the second ending theme song for the Revolutionary Girl Utena television anime series. This song appeared in 14 episodes. It’s a good song, but to me, it’s just not quite as memorable or as catchy as “Truth” is. Unlike many of the songs that appear for the series, this one is much more rock in nature. While having the different sound makes it stand out, there’s something about the arrangement and production of the song that make it less catchy and memorable than “Truth.” This is the first of two versions of this song that appear on the disc.

“Absolute Destiny Apocalypse with Universal Gravitation” is the second version of “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse” that appears on this disc. This is the version of the song that was used in the “Apocalypse” arc of the Revolutionary Girl Utena television anime series. This version makes some changes to the musical arrangement, and male voices are more prominent in this version than they were in the original. It’s not a bad version of the song, but to me, it just lacks something that the original version has that makes it catchy and memorable.

This is followed by a version of “Virtual Star Embryology” that appears in the “Apocalypse” arc, when Utena duels with Saionji. I actually like this version of the song a little better than the version used for the ending theme. While this arrangement retains the rock sound, it also incorporates the orchestral sound that J.A. Seazer seemed to be going for with his compositions for Revolutionary Girl Utena. Adding that orchestral sound to the arrangement adds an element that makes the song sound stronger and more memorable.

Next is “Internal Clock, Municipal Orrery,” which was used as the duel song in Episode 38 of the anime series. Compared to “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse,” this song has a much darker sound to it. But when you consider what point in the series this song appears at, having a darker sound for this duel makes a lot more sense. I just love how the orchestral sound and the chorus of voices blend together in order to create a compelling piece of music.

“Rose & Release” by Masami Okui was used as the third ending theme for the Revolutionary Girl Utena television anime series, and it only appears at the end of Episode 39. It’s basically a shorter, almost instrumental version of “Round Dance Revolution,” except for the fact that there’s a slight change to the arrangement of the music. Also, it’s not truly an instrumental because Masami Okui is singing “la la la”s throughout the track. This is the shortest track on the disc, and this is the only length that exists for this song. While I may not like this quite as much as I do “Round Dance Revolution,” it’s still a good track.

This is followed by a remix of “Spira Mirabilis Theatre,” which was the song used during the duel in Episode Five of the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve watched Revolutionary Girl Utena, so I can’t say off of the top of my head what’s different between the original recording of this song and the remix that appears here. While I can hear the orchestral sound I associate with the music from this series, it does sound a bit more muted than usual here. That might be the difference between the original and the remix.

Next is a remix of “Angelic Creation, Namely Light,” which was the song used during the duel in Episode Seven of the Revolutionary Girl Utena anime series. Like with the other remix, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the series, so I don’t know off the top of my head what’s different between the original recording and this remix. Again, it seems like the orchestral sound I associate with this series’ music sounds more muted, just like with the other remix on this disc.

“Shura – Corporal Constellation aYz Nebula” is one of the songs on this disc that originally came from an image album. It’s a different version of the song “Rose Naked Body ~ Shura” that appeared in the Adolescence of Utena film. While this isn’t a bad version of the song, I would have preferred to have had the original version from the film on here instead.

Next is “Resurrection! Never-ending History of the Middle Ages,” which is the other song from the image album that appears on this disc. It’s a different version of the song “Duelist – Resurrection! Never-ending history of the “middle ages”.” Again, while this isn’t a bad version of the song, I would have preferred having the original version from the film on this CD instead.

“At Times, Love Is” by Masami Okui is next on the disc, and it’s the theme for the Adolescence of Utena anime film. It’s a decent enough song, but it’s nowhere near as catchy or memorable as “Round Dance Revolution” is.

This is followed by “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse ~ Adolescence of Utena,” which is the movie version of “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse.” To me, this sounds like a watered down version of the original song. It’s missing the intensity and orchestral feel of the original track, and it just sounds weak in comparison. This is my least favorite version of “Absolute Destiny Apocalypse” that appears on this disc.

The final track on the disc is “Round Dance Revolution ~ Adolescence Rush,” which is the movie version of “Round Dance Revolution.” First, it sounds like a watered down version of the original track. Second, the entire track isn’t “Round Dance Revolution.” Over its almost eight-minute runtime, it sounds like it’s a medley of three different tracks. Third, this track is just too long, which is made apparent at one point in the song, when it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere musically. If this track was tightened up and shortened a little, it would sound a lot better and be more interesting to listen to.

Star Mania: Revolutionary Girl Utena may not be a traditional soundtrack album, but it does a decent job as a collection of songs from the Revolutionary Girl Utena franchise. My main disappointment is the fact that it was decided to use an image album version for two songs from the Adolescence of Utena film instead of the original versions of the songs from the actual film. Outside of that, it’s got a good mix of songs from the television series and the film. Star Mania: Revolutionary Girl Utena would be a good start for anyone who’s trying to track down the music from Revolutionary Girl Utena. If you’re interested in trying to acquire this disc, your best bet is to look around at sites that sell import Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

The reviewer wrote this review after listening to a copy of the CD that she was given as a gift by her husband.

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