The mysteries of Ohtori Academy unravel a bit more in this second collection of episodes. Our noble heroine, Utena, is drawn into a series of bloodless fencing duels, the winner receiving the loyalty of Anthy, the mysterio... more »us Rose Bride. Being the first winning female Duelist, Utena has some peculiarities to resolve, sometimes quite comically. Nevertheless, she wants to free Anthy of her obligation and allow her to be a regular student, much to the chagrin of the shadowy student council who dub themselves "End of the World." Director Kunihiko Ikuhara (the inferior Sailor Moon) adopts a variety of tones in this series. "Curried High Trip" is played for laughs while the next episode, "Castle Where Eternity Dwells," deals ominously with Utena's past when her parents died (offscreen) and she is brought hope by way of a prince's gift--a ring, the symbol of a Duelist at Ohtori. Several duels take place in these episodes as we see the sides more cleanly defined: Utena will have to face down the student council at some point. The final episode recaps the first 12 episodes and tantalizes us with a key development for future episodes (there's 39 in all). Some mild domestic violence and oddly subtitled songs ("Absolute Destroy Apocalyptic," "Paleozoic Era in the Flies") will ruffle some parents, but girls ages 9 and up accustomed to anime will find this engaging entertainment. --Doug Thomas« less
"A lot of the other reviewers seem to have missed a great deal of the subtlety to Utena. It's a very abstract series, with non-linear storytelling and numerous references to Gnostic mythology and other philosophies. It's a very engaging series, but not one for first-time Anime viewers.I doubt that adolescent girls in general would understand the motivations of the duelists, who fight to bring about the end of the world. They portray poignant heartbreak as a result of living in a world that seems unfair. They fight for the power to control the world around them, while Utena fights to be true to her ideals.As for the 'rose editing' that appears in the duels, it makes more sense if you view the duels abstractly. The one whose ideals are true wins the duels -- they're battles of ideology, not swordfights. The rose symbol in specific appears over Utena when she merges with Dios's spirit and attains harmony with the embodiment of her ideals. The rose blocks this from view because this is too abstract and too intimate to portray, and also because Utena herself does not understand the phenomenon."
Top-notch shoujo anime on DVD: 2nd round
Penē | Germany | 03/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like its predecessor this is another fantastic DVD from CPM. It contains the final 6 episodes of the 'Student Council Saga' being the first season of this brillant shoujo anime series. The last episode is in fact a summary of the previous ones with little plot wrapped around it, but definitely an appetizer for things to come. The disc starts off with the most hilarious episode of the first season (I only say: Elephants!). However, after this one things start to become darker when more of the characters' pasts are revealed in some very moody flashbacks within the next episodes. This gets almost frighteningly intense when we gain some insights in the psyche of Nanami (student council presidents sister) in episode 3 which I found to be the best one yet. For any serious fan of anime this show is a no-brainer. UTENA has all of animes cliches turned into strengths. It is a wild mixture of slapsick, drama, romance and action with a soundtrack that is just gorgeous. If you do not completely hate magical girl/shoujo style anime then give it a try, you'll surely get hooked."
The next logical step..
John Doe | 03/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Shoujo Kakumei Utena, known in the United States as Revolutionary Girl Utena, is probably the next logical step for those who have outgrown Sailormoon, Dragonball, or any of the other mass-hyped dubbed anime. Not to say that these aren't quality shows, I enjoy Sailormoon myself. However..
Utena blurs the lines of friendship, trust, admiration, jealousy, hate, revenge, control, power, and lust all into one giant blender and then hits puree.The second volume (and the most recent release of the series to date, not counting the FREAKISH parallel-world movie), delves a little deeper into the mysterious world of the exclusive Ohtori Academy. We learn just how possesive Kiryuu Nanmi is..a little more about the recurring theme of the Prince and the origin of Utena's rose signet, and we get a sense of the things to come..
The visuals are, as usual in Utena, superb..from flashbacks of Nanami as a little girl, to the shadowy young Utena in a coffin...and the duels become a little more dramatic, especially the final duels of the disc.
The music is, as usual, repetitive, but with beautiful themes like Scarlet of the Campus(Utena's Theme) and The Sunlit Garden, who can complain? I must admit, however, even I find myself fast forwarding through Absolute Destiny Apocalypse, Truth, and Revolution (though if they ever release it stateside..you will NOT find yourself doing it after episode 25...) The duel choruses, if you think about them, probe deeply into the nature of each character..Last Evolution speaks of Nanami's belief in her destiny beside her brother, while No One Has Anything to Tell calls upon the mystery of the Rose Bride and the power of Utena's will...these choruses are meaningful music that is often overlooked.
The main character development, as it probably should be for a show entiled 'Utena' centers around the main character, though we see a little deeper into the Kiryuu family in this disc. Curried High Trip is the comedic episode of the disc, and as in Be Careful, Nanami-sama, Miss Kiryuu seems to take the brunt of punishment. The cheerful Wakaba makes another grand appearance.
In all, the series is reccomended for teenagers and adults..this is definitely not a children's show due to it's complex nature. Trust me, the first two discs only scratch the surface of Utena's complexity.. to really understand the metaphors and symbolism in the duel choruses alone takes quite a bit of thinking. Just "three of the seven Ancient wonders"?
Definitely reccomended for those who have seen the first seven episodes."
Surreal, mysterious, and often hilarious
Steven Myers | SF Bay Area | 11/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the second Utena DVD, containing 6 episodes (for a total of 13 episodes available in the US, with 26 more not translated as of November, 2000). If you haven't seen the first DVD, don't start here--it won't make the slightest bit of sense. If you have seen it, you know this is a strange, surreal, series. The qualities of the first volume remain here: interesting characters, mysteries, and some hilarity at Nanami's expense. The shadowplay girls have some particularly odd bits in these episodes, too. (Again, if you haven't seen it, this won't make any sense!) In general, Nanami has a stronger presence in these 6 episodes than she did in the first 7; if you like what she brings to the show, you should like this set. Utena's friend Wakaba also shines in episode 12. Although this brings the story only to episode 13 out of 39, the initial plot involving the Student Council, and in particular, Touga's machinations, is largely resolved here. There is some closure to the story, but episode 13, which is unfortunately a clips episode constructed largely out of the duels in the first 12 episodes, presents new mysteries."
My favorite anime!
pawscat | Dallas, Texas | 04/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Utena is very cool, but is also a little confusing. It uses a lot of complex symbolism and metaphors. It also doesn't make sense if you don't see it from start to finish. This is the last one that they have released. There are actually 39 episodes. Aside from that, the art is great, and the storyline swells about the 8th episode."