Anime Blu-ray Review: Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 1

Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 1 includes the first 12 episodes of the series, which are commonly referred to as “The Student Council Saga.” This set includes both the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 1
English Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment/Lucky Penny
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: October 3, 2017

Utena Tenjou is the title character of Revolutionary Girl Utena. When she was eight years old, Utena was orphaned and rescued from her sadness by a mysterious prince who gives her a Rose Signet ring. The prince tells Utena that the ring will lead her to him again someday if she never loses her nobility. Young Utena is so inspired by him that she decides to become a prince herself.

The main story begins six years later, when a 14-year-old Utena begins attending Ohtori Academy. Her best friend is Wakaba, and Wakaba has a crush on Kyouichi Saionji, a boy on the Student Council. Wakaba gives Kyouichi a love letter; he thinks it’s stupid and throws it away. Later, the love letter is posted on the school wall. Utena believes that Kyouichi is responsible and angrily confronts him about it. Utena challenges him to a Kendo duel, but when he sees the Rose Signet on her hand, he accepts a real duel.

Utena has her duel with Kyouichi and wins, and in the process becomes engaged to Anthy Himemiya, the Rose Bride. Utena and Anthy move into a dorm together, but Kyouichi comes to the dorms and physically abuses Anthy for “betraying” him. He demands a rematch with Utena. Utena thinks the duels are stupid and tells Anthy that she’ll lose on purpose; however, after being disgusted by the thought of Kyouichi abusing Anthy, Utena is motivated to protect Anthy and ends up winning the rematch.

Over the first 12 episodes of the series, Utena also fights the other Student Council members one by one: Miki, Juri, Nanami, and Touga. With each duel Utena has, her relationship with Anthy strengthens.

When I first watched Revolutionary Girl Utena a little over a decade ago, I found the concept to be a little on the strange side in the early episodes; however, I was still riveted by the story and wanted to keep watching in order to find out what would happen. Watching the series for the second time, I found I had a greater appreciation for what was going on. I think this was in large part, due to the fact that I had already seen this series once before and had a better idea of what to expect. I first watched Revolutionary Girl Utena when I was first really getting my feet into anime back in the late 2000’s while I was writing for BellaOnline’s Anime section, so I hadn’t seen quite as much anime compared to where I’m at now. Having delved into anime for a little over a decade and seeing a lot more of what’s out there, I’ve gained a better appreciation for what Revolutionary Girl Utena was trying to accomplish.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 4.3/1080p High Definition, and the audio includes English and Japanese LPCM Stereo and Japanese LPCM Surround. I thought the video quality was good on this release, and I have no complaints about the audio quality.

There are several bonus features spread out throughout this set. Disc one includes a clean opening and clean ending, and they’re what you would expect. Disc two includes a 17 second TV spot for the Japanese box set, a collection of character TV spots for the Japanese remastered box set, and a collection of 30 second TV spots for the Japanese remastered box set. Unfortunately, the character TV spots only change the character who is saying a line of dialogue, so sitting through this feature for a little over two minutes made it feel repetitive. The 30 second spots only last a little over a minute, and they didn’t feel nearly as repetitive. The third disc includes a TV spot for the CD release of the opening theme song, the music video for the opening theme song, and trailers for other releases put out by Nozomi Entertainment. The music video shows the singer lip-syncing the song, intercut with various locations that appear to be in New York City. It’s definitely not a high budget music video by any means, but it’s not bad for what it is.

This Blu-ray release is worth it for fans of Revolutionary Girl Utena who want to have a Blu-ray version to include in their home anime video library.

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One comment

  1. Karandi · July 17, 2019

    I watched Utena a fair while a go and for whatever reason just never really got into it. I think its probably time for me to try it again because I hear so many good things about it.

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