Previously, we looked at the second arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena, The Black Rose Saga, and talked about many of the elements of the series, such as recycled animation and wincest, that made it quite an interesting watch. As a basic rundown of the series if you’re not familiar with it already, Revolutionary Girl Utena is a series about a noblesse academy where the students live on campus and get into all kinds of drama. The main focus of the series is the character Utena and the mysterious dueling club that has people fighting for the power for the revolution or something. So far within the story, Utena has obtained some kind of Stand-like Prince which assists her in her finishing move, as well as this dark-skinned girl that may or may not be in a physical relationship with her brother.
While the previous season of Utena focused on the Black Rose wearing misguided characters trying to kill Utena in a duel, this season focuses a lot more on pretty boys doing bad boy pretty things. There was always this kind of pretty boy crushing tone going on in Utena, as it is a series focused on a female audience, but this season really ramped it up into overdrive. Right off the bat, we see the incredibly attractive school principle vice-chairman dude or whatever he was picking up chicks and having women throwing themselves at him. Okay, maybe not right off the bat, but it does build into that much more quickly than previous arcs. What makes this even weirder/more interesting is that he seems to be part of this bad boy group of pick-up artists that just go around being sexy, picking up women and generally being a menace while also retaining some kind of polite stature and not being douches.
To be honest, we’re not quite sure why the duels were included in this season. They really seemed like a quick way to fix some kind of drama occurring with the characters, rather than having the dramas play all the way out as they should have. For instance, there’s this one interesting fight where this girl is in love with her brother, but he isn’t really her brother, but he is actually really her brother, and she fights Utena because drama and then Utena wins and she suddenly becomes slightly better as a person. Or something. The fights didn’t stick with us this arc, as they seemed completely redundant.
What did stick with us though, wincest, lots and lots of wincest. Like, really, it goes beyond implied, but just below visibly shown. Or wait, it is kind of shown in a few points, especially that one scene where the blonde haired girl catches the two indian brother and sister characters laying next to each other in a compromising position while they sleep. And while you could say that this scene was intended to push the blonde haired girl over the edge during her own sibling love arc, you have to take something like this literally due to a bunch of previous hints throughout this arc and the previous arc.
To make it worse, you have that girls brother as this uber pimp player with almost 500 women chasing him all the time, and this one girl even calls him up while he’s live on air and he starts flirting with her over the phone while being recorded. This is so very clearly designed to push it’s way into the female psyche, to make this character so much more attractive, so that it seems normal for this sibling to fall for the guy. We mean, if all of the girls are falling for him, then it’s only normal the sister would too, right?
To us, Revolutionary Girl Utena seems like a massive glimpse into the female mindset. This is advocated heavily in the show itself where Utena is finding herself more and more attracted to the badboy Indian dude, even though at no point earlier in the series did she seem him as anything more than this cool authority figure. If you look at it in a certain way, it’s almost like the author or whomever was just throwing bait at the female audience by giving them exactly what their minds would want, pretty badboys that make all the girls squee. Of course, the show has kind of been building up to this particular ending from the start, especially if you’ve been paying attention to the conversations going on in those brief scenes, but no way could you have pictured that it’d be a bunch of pretty boys going around and seducing all of the girls for the majority of the episodes.
In no way is what we’ve mentioned up until this point bad, it’s actually really quite interesting. It’s far more interesting than the reused fight scenes littering the end of each storyline. Like really, much like the previous arc, the fight scenes are still about 30% new footage, most of which is talking, and then completely reused animation for the rest. If you’ve continued with the series up until this point, you’d come to expect this kind of thing, however, if you’re starting here, you have to know that the fights are mostly reused footage.
Much like the previous seasons, the OST is still amazing. The insert song they use as a prelude and into the fights does not grate on you at all, although, we suppose that it could potentially grate on someone that dislikes music, or really hates that song. Continuing on the lines of audio quality though, the increidbly 90s voice cast may grate on some people. 90s dubbing is really all that much worse than current standards, although there is a 5.1ch Japanese track included according to the box, so you might want to try that option if the English dub does sound a bit static.
As an added bonus, this set comes packaged in a nice collectable box with an included art book, which is incredibly similar to the two releases before it. While the collectables add nothing to the experience of watching the show, they’re certainly great to hold onto and collect as items. Having collectables like these adds a level of respect to the Anime community that seems to be missing from the industry in this era. The collection will make your Anime shelf look all that much more awesome too.
Overall, Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocolypse Saga is an interesting third act to the series. While the playboy and wincest aspects are ramped up to over 9000, the show still remains incredibly watchable and entertaining. Probably one of the stronger series for girls that we’ve seen. And with the collectable box, much like previous Sagas, this is definitely a purchase for any fan.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocolypse Saga is animated by J.C. Staff and released by Hanabee here in Australia. Be sure to check out our review of part 2 here. You can buy the set from the Hanabee Website for $59.99. The package includes 5 discs, an art book and a collectable cover.