Revolutionary Girl Utena

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Postby Bagheera » Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:54 pm

Utena's music was glorious. I don't think I've ever seen a show where the music upstaged the characters to such a ridiculous extent, it really was fantastic stuff.
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Postby BrikHaus » Thu Mar 20, 2014 6:53 pm

Fantastic soundtrack. Just like everything else in the series.
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Re: Utena: The Live Action Musical

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Postby Atropos » Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:31 pm

View Original PostC.A.P. wrote:I can't post this in the Utena thread right now (if one of the mods can move it, please do), but for those of you who aren't aware, there's a live action Utena musical that was done in the 90s. And it's just as amazing as the series it spawned from (Ikuhara having involvement in it helps).

Check it out.

To be honest, I'd be surprised if there were any fans around who didn't know about it. It's...it's the kind of thing that gets talked about.

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Postby Princess Asuka » Thu May 29, 2014 6:30 pm

I think C.A.P. knows about the story of Ikuhara's unused Sailor Moon SuperS movie plot and how it kinda deals with Utena. I have not seen Utena yet. Though I did find a fanart of the unused idea.

http://zambicandy.deviantart.com/art/Th ... -326013276
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Thu May 29, 2014 8:55 pm

Quick post: this 2000 interview is old old news, right? All this time I thought it was Ikuhara crossplaying. :lol:
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Postby Princess Asuka » Thu May 29, 2014 9:03 pm

View Original PostSailor Star Dust wrote:Quick post: this 2000 interview is old old news, right? All this time I thought it was Ikuhara crossplaying. :lol:

I think it's cool that someone drew fanart for his idea. There must be concept art of it out there somewhere. :shifty:
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Postby robersora » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:26 am

After I got directed this way after talking enthusiastically about Utena I've decided to browse through the thread a little... And it totally wasn't clear to me, that Utena was only 14 years old!! I thought, she was 17 or 18! Now Episode 33 got a great deal more disturbing, and Aiko an even bigger bastard.

But what a magnificent thread this is! I learned about the box-sets (still trying to track them down without paying too much for import. Lucky me, that at least the movie received a German release halfway worthy of Utena's dignity). I learned about this page and I learned, that not everyone loved the Utena-movie! At first I thought how can that be? But now I understand, for people who cannot enjoy something which is not at least rooted in reality the movie might not have been the revelation it was for me.

But I'm lucky, since Azathoth summed it up perfectly.

View Original PostAzathoth wrote:I think it's as "real" as anything in the movie, which is to say that it is an event Utena perceives that is necessary motivation for her to take some action - in this case, answer the question of whether she wants to cling to a past love or move ahead with the person she loves now. It's the necessary revelation of Anthy's "dark side" that forces Utena into crisis about her feelings for Anthy, kind of like a recapitulation of the nude painting scene. Since the movie winds up discounting the reality of the entire Ohtori Academy setting, treating it as a fantasy world even in comparison to the equally fantastic "outside world" with its endless heaps of trashed cars, self-driving motorsleds propelled by gay love, and even its very own castle in the sky, the question of what is real in Adolescence is not so much difficult as it is totally irrelevant. This is why I really like the movie and why I think it is so fantastic as an animated film (and why SKU is so fantastic as an animated series). Cartoon characters don't need to exist in a "real" world from the reality of which any deviation is "unreal", invalid, "mere fantasy" or only symbolic because EVERYTHING in animation is unreal and only symbolic. When Akio talks about the throb of the engine, does he mean the engine, or does he mean his penis? --Ikuhara made a show in which the answer is "yes" to both, in which the two are identified on a level as meaningful and as real as anything else that happens in the show.


kudos for that paragraph

Well, now I'm feeling empty and a little bit sad, knowing the journey with this masterpiece has reached its end... Will there ever be something as magnificently creative and deeply human entertaining me irresponsibly good while still holding my intellectual interest? Maybe not, but it's very soothing to know, that I can revisit Utena whenever I want and will always find something interesting. :nyao:
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Postby UrsusArctos » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:47 pm

Finished watching this show, and I wonder how I missed this earlier. This show really is NGE's equal on a whole number of levels, and that includes the characters themselves. Ikuhara is Anno's buddy and it shows, complete with weird symbolism (although Utena's makes more sense when you think of it as a fairy tale). Furthermore, I don't think I've ever seen a genuine deconstruction of fairy tales or gender relationships the way Utena did it.

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Utena's music was glorious. I don't think I've ever seen a show where the music upstaged the characters to such a ridiculous extent, it really was fantastic stuff.


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Postby BrikHaus » Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:41 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, UA. It's one of the all-time greats.
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-On EMF, as a thread becomes longer, the likelihood that fem-Kaworu will be mentioned increases exponentially.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:15 am

I'm doing my second run through the show with my b.f., and we're up to episode 28 or so (we finished the first Ruka one). I barely remember anything about the show, so I've been struggling to simply orient myself, and consistently failing. Relinquishing any immediate attempt to make sense of things and simply allowing the show to take you on its weird little ride seems like the best option.

RGU has its charms, but it doesn't reach me on a deep personal level like NGE does. It's probably a bit too artsy and allegorical for my tastes. It can be difficult for me to feel attached to the proceedings, since the emotional core is much more veiled, and much more effort is required to decipher why people are thinking and doing things. (NGE's forthrightness is very autism-friendly.) I've been heavily relying on the "Mark Watches Stuff" reviews, with their extremely detailed comments, since I honestly don't trust my perceptions to pick up all that much from RGU on a third or subsequent viewings. Maybe I could if I put a lot of deliberate effort into it, but I doubt I could maintain that level of dedication and interest.

I remember not really liking the movie the first time I saw it. Hopefully it will be more fun on the second outing. I'm looking forward to it, for whatever reason.

My b.f. has been pretty dubious that the Black Rose arc held any purpose since the characters promptly forgot everything. The idea that it was without purpose rang false to me, since the arc did develop the characters and setting. Though it is a weird choice to conclude a whole cour of animation by having almost the entire cast forget it happened, isn't it?

Also, should I be ashamed to admit that I'm laughing at this show even during its non-humor episodes? The beginning of cour 3 has predisposed me to this especially, with all of the shirts flying open and the overwrought visual metaphors.

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Postby ath » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:12 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:I've been heavily relying on the "Mark Watches Stuff" reviews, with their extremely detailed comments, since I honestly don't trust my perceptions to pick up all that much from RGU on a third or subsequent viewings. Maybe I could if I put a lot of deliberate effort into it, but I doubt I could maintain that level of dedication and interest.

Oh, I still manage to discover some new detail that I somehow missed in the previous viewings each time I rewatch the show. And I've watched it from start to finish at least 5 times, plus countless repeats of my favorite episodes! Too bad we'll never have a RGU Fan-Geek Commentary Project...

View Original PostReichu wrote:Also, should I be ashamed to admit that I'm laughing at this show even during its non-humor episodes? The beginning of cour 3 has predisposed me to this especially, with all of the shirts flying open and the overwrought visual metaphors.

That's the point, actually. Ikuni just loves to go overboard with his faux symbolism up to the point, as you said, it basically becomes a parody of itself. I mean, just look at the Student Council meetings - the more serious the issue they're discussing, the more ridiculous the stuff that happens in the background. I guess it's his way of parodying the overblown drama scenes old shoujo classics are famous for.

If you enjoyed the mood dissonance, he managed to get that to entirely new levels with his last work, Mawaru Penguindrum. I can't wait to see how ridiculous the next one is going to get.

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Oct 03, 2014 4:22 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:I've been heavily relying on the "Mark Watches Stuff" reviews, with their extremely detailed comments,

Ooh! I had no idea he'd done any anime.
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Postby Reichu » Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:03 pm

View Original Postath wrote:Oh, I still manage to discover some new detail that I somehow missed in the previous viewings each time I rewatch the show.

Oh, I don't doubt it. I can feel RGU's overwhelming density, and it's a bit frustrating to know that stuff is whizzing past me much, much faster than I can piece it together. Since I'm doing a long-distance synchronized viewing, there really is no pausing, either. A third run-through when I'm by myself and can take copious notes would probably be fun.

Ikuni just loves to go overboard with his faux symbolism up to the point, as you said, it basically becomes a parody of itself.

I'm not too familiar with Ikuhara, so I should probably read some commentary and interviews eventually. He does seem like an interesting character.

"Faux symbolism", the implication being that not everything actually means something? B-but... I thought everything meant something in this show!

I got my b.f. interested in watching the video of the Utena musical that's on YouTube. I already watched enough to know what to expect (except for Chu-chu...), but riffing on it together should be a blast. One question, though: does it spoil anything about the end of cour 3?

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Postby C.A.P. » Fri Oct 03, 2014 7:27 pm

^It doesn't. If you've seen the first 12 episodes, you'll be fine.
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Postby gorgeousshutin » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:09 pm

If you enjoyed the mood dissonance, he managed to get that to entirely new levels with his last work, Mawaru Penguindrum. I can't wait to see how ridiculous the next one is going to get.

Yuri Bear Storm is looking very fanservice-y judging by the promo images. But, knowing Ikuni, I'm sure those seemingly gratuitous panty-shots are all ripe with symbolism somehow (keeping straight face here).
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Postby NemZ » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:32 pm

Reichu wrote:I remember not really liking the movie the first time I saw it. Hopefully it will be more fun on the second outing.


Bah, the movie is awesome. not at all connected to anything but just great in it's own very strange way. Plus short haired Utena is smoking hot, that helps.

My b.f. has been pretty dubious that the Black Rose arc held any purpose since the characters promptly forgot everything. The idea that it was without purpose rang false to me, since the arc did develop the characters and setting. Though it is a weird choice to conclude a whole cour of animation by having almost the entire cast forget it happened, isn't it?


Ah, but it wasn't for them... it was for the audience. And even if they don't remember it was still important and does have an effect on them all that they just don't consciously realize... much like Utena fading from people's memory at the end. Also I don't necessarily think everyone does forget... specifically Anthy and Akio.

especially, with all of the shirts flying open and the overwrought visual metaphors.


Oh no, that IS hilarious stuff, especially how ridiculously blunt all the sexual innuendo is. Why don't more villains do super gay photo shoots while plotting evil?
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Postby BrikHaus » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:04 am

I'm glad you're giving it another go, Reichu. Don't feel bad about laughing, you are supposed to be laughing at those shirtless pretty boys.
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Postby Xard » Sat Oct 18, 2014 3:59 pm

Ikuni has habit of mixing serious with comedic all the time, it's intrinsic part of his surreal storytelling style. So yes there's a lot of serious scenes in Utena that at the same time more than wink a little at audience.
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Postby Reichu » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:19 am

I was b& when I finished the show again, so I forgot to post about it. It was pretty confusing and I can't claim too much intrinsic understanding for myself, but I have a deep fondness for the show's quirkiness and would watch it again sometime. Next time, I think I would attempt to do vigorous note-taking to make interpretation a bit easier. Reading essays online can help, but only to a point.

One interesting problem I had was with my boyfriend and attempting to defuse his impression that the show was somehow misogynistic. Apparently he got this impression mostly from the way that Utena became feminine at times of weakness and this was clearly a Bad Thing. I couldn't get him to accept the idea that this was bad for Utena because of reasons that were directly stated in the show ("THIS ISN'T NORMAL FOR YOU!"). If I suggested that the show wasn't attacking feminity in and of itself, he'd just say that all of the female characters are terrible (or something) except for Jury, who is a butch lesbian and therefore masculine. I dunno, it was a difficult argument. I did think it was generally accepted, though, that the show was big on skewering gender ROLES, so it's not so much that "femininity" is bad as it's not something anyone should be shackled to due to the circumstances of their birth. BREAK THE SHELL! WORLD REVOLUTION!!!

The movie was much more satisfying now that I'm older and increasingly "been there, seen that". Even though I'd forgotten practically everything about the film (except that Utena "becomes a car"), having had experienced a bit more of what film can be, I wasn't quite so distracted by its inexplicable weirdness and got to just soak it in as a cinematic experience instead. Boyfriend loved it.

I will say that I still don't like Anthy's redesign, and I still don't understand why Akio was turned from a suave motherfucker into such a buffoon. (Incidentally, if I ever have to deal with someone's accusation that I can't identify bad acting in Japanese because I don't speak it, I just have to point vigorously at the horrible casting choice made with Akio here. SO DAMNED DISTRACTING.)

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:13 am

That's Utena for you. Surreal beyond belief - but once you start to treat the show as a modern fairy tale and interpret the characters as archetypes, the surrealism actually starts to fit. As for the perceived misogyny, it really is like you said - that things go downhill for Utena when she's pushed into a traditional feminine mold. The idea of Prince Charming takes as big a hit as traditional roles of femininity - look at what Akio once was, and what he turned into!

View Original PostReichu wrote:I will say that I still don't like Anthy's redesign, and I still don't understand why Akio was turned from a suave motherfucker into such a buffoon. (Incidentally, if I ever have to deal with someone's accusation that I can't identify bad acting in Japanese because I don't speak it, I just have to point vigorously at the horrible casting choice made with Akio here. SO DAMNED DISTRACTING.)


I heard that the change to make Akio a buffoon was intentional - that behind the Magnificent Bastard mask was a moron who didn't understand what he was actually doing. By the way, is the casting choice in question for the series or movie-only? I thought the Akio VA in the series fit the role perfectly.
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