Utena duels her classmates to protect her friend Anthy, who is the key to a magical power that could make her dream - to become a prince - come true. But Anthy hides a terrible secret, and Utena must face the truth about h... more »erself and those she loves and learn what it means to be a true hero. Anamorphic widescreen format!« less
""Utena - the Movie" is a masterpiece, brilliant in color and concept, and fascinating in its plot and meanings. Of course, if you want connect-the-dots animation and plotting, or if you think that Utena and Anthy are sweet little teenagers, then you'll hate it, but this film was made for viewers who will want to see it again and again to puzzle out its secrets and mysteries. And "Utena" has secrets as well as some of the most gorgeous animation ever done, like the dance sequence and the final car chase. --- The film operates on two distinct, but interpenetrating registers. One is symbolic, and the other surrealist. Utena and Anthy, now older than they were in the television show, have once again met at Ohtori Academy, once again to find each other in a kind of karmic repetition of their past lives. Symbols of the past echo throughout the film as dying monuments. Utena's no-longer-really alive, once-boyfriend/lover Touga emerges from white shrouds to talk on the phone to Anthy's equally dead brother Akio, the unprincipled headmaster of a previous Ohtori Academy that nonetheless still enslaves Anthy. Crimson roses grow on a platform cantilevered high above Ohtori, tended by Anthy, still the Rose Bride to be won by duel. And splashes of blood red crimson stain not only the roses but the walls and walkways of the surreal world of Ohtori. The crimson of the roses is also the crimson of Anthy's blood, but the rose that Utena finds and that Anthy gives to her is white: unstained. It is a symbol of their undying love, loyalty, and interwoven fates. --- The film lacks the virtually Wagnerian high drama of the television show. Instead, it is more modern (as befits the reprise of Utena and Anthy's love story) and sharper edged, not absurdist, but surreal. The architecture of Ohtori Academy looks like a cross between de Chirico and a mecha designer gone mad, but that's Ohtori for you, the world from which Utena and Anthy escape. --- At one level, the film is simply the story of two young women who escape the repressions of adolescence to find themselves and each other. At another, it is an allegory of love, this between two women who will build their own roads together. At yet another, it is a portrayal of sexuality, warped and truly corrupt within Ohtori Academy, and centered and intimate between Utena and Anthy outside Ohtori. Ohtori is the world of consensus reality, and of acceptance of what is given and commanded, in brief, all the things that Utena and Anthy must escape. The Castle of Eternity, previously a hoped-for panacea for instant happiness, is now a polluting illusion, corrupt and lethal. It represents all that Utena and Anthy must destroy if they are to become real people, genuine and authentic. --- That the film succeeds in all this, and much more (the music is marvelous), is a tribute to the skills of director Kunihiko Ikuhara and artist Chiho Saito, the woman who drew the original manga. It is not necessary to know the previous versions, although that adds depth to the film, because ultimately the film stands alone: the story of two young women in love who find their way to freedom."
Adolescence of Utena
bunnybrains | Brooklyn, USA | 06/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah, I saw the fansub on video. Excellent little film. If David Lynch did anime, itd probably be like this. Maybe not as twisted as the last episodes of the tv series, but still a treat for surrealists and lovers of dense incomprehensible metaphor. (Count me in). Like I said, Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, that sort of thing, but with murder, incest, rape, betrayal, obsession, posession, sacrifice, true love, swordfighting and architecture Frank Gehry would puzzle over. But dont worry about family values, most of the adult themes are so densely obfuscated, it'll go right over kids' heads. Its all about friendship, love and loss, and growing up, essentially.A great soap opera romance novel heavy melodrama and bizarre satire, with a cast of just too many princes and princesses, but this aint yer mom's fairy tale. And if you watched the tv series, all the characters are still here, but rewritten to be parodies of themselves almost, so if you havent seen the tv show, it will still be fun, but there'll be weird references at times that are quite funny if you have seen the tv version.And I dont want to hear any gripes about the Wagnerian heavy metal soundtrack music. Its really quite appropriate and grows on you.Oh, make sure you watch a subtitled version. We all know dubbing is demeaning to the director and voice talents."
Power of the Revolution
starrdragon | Castle of Eternity | 08/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was immensley pleased when I heard that the Utena movie was coming out in America, being a very big fan of the original series and manga. At first seeing the movie, I was not dissapointed one little bit. The animation in this movie is supurb. Beautiful, rich, crisp images captivate your eyes throughout the entire movie. The graphic qaulity of this movie is in the same leauge as any Miyazaki movie, which is very good indeed. Even now, several years after the first release the movie visual capasity of this movie is better than most anime movies and series. In no way was the animation flawed at all. I especialy loved the dance scene between Utena and Anshii, which in my view is one of the most graphicly beautiful in all of anime, and certainly the highlight of the movie. The plot of the movie is based losely on the anime and manga series Shojo Kakumei Utena, or Revolutionary Girl Utena in English. The major theme of the plot is the same, Utena getting involved in the duels to keep possesion of the Rose Bride, Himemiya Anshii (in Japanese, last name then first name). And soon Utena and Anshii develope a very close friendship. That is one thing that the series has over the movie, it is that the relationship in the movie is lesbian, unlike in the series when the two are always trying to keep their feelings to themselves. Also unlike in the series which the movie is superior to it, is that Utena is clearly in love with Anshii, and she isn't being torn between either Touga or Anshii. That part of the series really bugged me, and the movie dosen't do that. However one flaw in the plot is that the movie presents Saionji as some insane woman beater. Although he has that outward apperence, it dosen't give his rather sad story like it dose in the show that shows exactly why Saionji is the way he is. Even the part at the end when Utena is morphed into a car for her and Anshii to escape in is wonderfully original and creative. Each of the characters is wonderful and has their own original personality. Utena's personality is kept pretty much the same in the anime and in the movie, which was fine with me. However, Anshii lost her 'gone with the wind' type of attitude that she held in the manga and series. After a while you get used to the personality change, and learn to like her new character. Touga and Shiori's character are kept pretty much the same, in which I can't stand Shiori. Although I don't remember Touga taking much of an interest in Shiori as he dose in the movie. Juri and Miki aren't really mentioned much so there really isn't a whole lot that changed in their character, and for some odd reason Miki still has that blasted stopwatch.Sound wise, the Japanese version was suberb while the English dub had some problems. Okay maybe more than some problems. Alright, the English version had A LOT of problems. While the dubbers kept the music the same, all of the voices made me want to chringe. Utena's voice was okay, there was a lot of room for improvment, but I delt with it. I could of pee'ed my self when I heard Anshii, Saionji, and Touga's English voice. They were AWFUL. The only good thing about the English dubb is that Miki for once, sounds like a guy. I never got why in the original he sounds like a girl. Not neccicarily a good voice that matched his character, but it was a masculine voice anyway. Overall, The Shojo Kakumei Utena movie, or The Adolesence of Utena was a wonderful movie. For any Utena fans out there it is a must see. I would not recomend that you watch this unless you have seen at least all the way through the Black Rose Arc and the Akio Arc in the series Shojo Kakumei Utena. If not you WILL be lost and confused. When I showed this to my friend, who had not seen the show Utena but knew the basic plot information, she was VERY lost in the movie plot. Also, THIS MOVIE IS NOT FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES. PLEASE HEED THE PG-13 RATING. Like I said, this movie is a must see for any Utena fan, weither you like the manga version of anime, The Adolesence of Utena is a wonderful movie, with a lovely images, a creative plot, and awsome characters."
Intense & Gorgeous
Irayna | NV, USA | 01/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first time I saw Utena, I thought it was the weirdest thing I'd ever seen. And that was only the tv series. However, after having seen the Utena movie ("The Adolescence of Utena") I can definitely say it's also one of the most beautiful and special things I've seen... Here are some things you may want to know about this movie.Artwork. The artwork in this movie is stunning. Some of the best I've seen. Even before the opening credits, I was spellbound. Utena mixes seamless digital animation with superb traditional artwork to great effect. The character designs are somewhat altered from the tv series (Utena's hair is sometimes short, Anthy's is always long, etc.), but only for the better. The scene in which Utena & Anthy dance in a field of roses under the stars is a perfect example of the movie's superior art (and all of the movie's other high points).Imagery & motifs. Wow. Utena is stuffed with gorgeous images, far more so than the tv series. Once again, roses abound, but in even greater quantity. Some of the most beautiful scenes - Utena's reunion with Touga in the beginning of the movie & the dance scene I mentioned above - center on roses, as do all the duel scenes. Water is also a motif, used in alternately disturbing and soothing ways throughout the film, building to the revealing final scene with Utena & Touga. Imagery is used to relate to the audience just what a strange & surreal world the Utena movie is set in.Themes & Symbolism. Symbolism is key throughout the movie, and you'd be pretty lost if you didn't pay attention to it. Shiori's wings, Akio's "key", Anthy's scar, the faceless girls, and pretty much everything in the climactic & closing scenes. Utena is built on symbolism - for instance, the entire end of the movie makes no sense except in purely symbolic terms. The themes of Utena, in my opinion, are those of growing up, choosing one's own fate, self-reliance, and laying one's past to rest. And love, of course.Characters. The characters of Utena are some of the most interesting and beautiful in anime. Although Utena is ultimately the story of Anthy & Utena, all of the character development in Utena is fascinating (especially Anthy's, in my opinion). In such a short movie with such a complicated story to tell, there is of course not enough exploration of side characters for my taste, but Utena & Anthy at least get plenty of attention.Warnings. Not warnings, exactly, but two things you might want to consider. First, although Utena is definitely worth the time & money, the story is many-layered and hard to understand, and you may not want like to watch movies that make you think for an hour and a half straight. Second, there is some mild nudity, violence, homsexuality, & references to incest. Personally, I think it just makes the story more interesting, but you may object personally.That said, the Utena movie is an incredible experience and I highly recommend it. This one is worth the money."
A Symbolic Masterpiece
Donna Kranyik | New Milford, CT United States | 02/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must say that after looking at...reviews from some of the other people...I was appalled to see how many people had negative tings to say about it and how many actually hated it! My conclusion on those people was that they just don't understand the symbolism in every single scene, the wondrous artwork and storyline that made this movie so amazing. This movie will have you thinking long after the DVD shuts off. The characters are in an alternate universe so there isn't a need to have seen the series, but I will say that you may be a little lost if you aren't at all familiar with Utena. Many people complain about how dark it is, but the point is that is is in an alternate universe! Besides, it follows the manga in that the manga is pretty dark and not as lighthearted as the anime. This movie is a true gem and will add a beautifully crafted, wonderfully drawn piece to any Utena/anime fan's collection."