Revolutionary Girl Utena 5

January 28, 2007

This was the last volume, and there were actually two bonus stories that I never read before.  This was either because they didn’t actually appear in Animerica Extra or because I didn’t care to read them at that time.  In either case, I read them and they were good (they featured characters who I assume were in the anime), but they weren’t part of the main storyline.

I understood the ending a lot better this time, and I still think it was really good.  Apparently Akio, Dios, and Anthy are a race of… magical beings.  Magical beings who watch over humans.  This is never really explained further than that and has no actual bearing on the plot beside a link between Akio and Dios (which one suspects after Akio is introduced anyway), so I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler.  The first time I read this I felt kind of betrayed since they spring that stuff on you at the end and it’s confusing, but this time I just kind of took it in stride.  It makes more sense if you just take it at face value.

What happened to Utena at the end was what made me like it so much.  The fact that the series had the strength to do that and still pull it off was what made me admire it the first time without knowing quite what was going on.  One of the last lines of the series, Anthy’s search, made me like it a little less, but Anthy’s transformation and the fact that only Touga and she had memories… it was great.

Yes.  I did like this series an awful lot.  It was quite magical, and definitely a good girl’s series.  Hooray for that.

Revolutionary Girl Utena 4

January 27, 2007

Yeah, this series makes much more sense this time through.  Lots of action and the series kind of comes to a head in this volume, I suspect that volume five is just the final battle and stuff winding down.  The one thing I kind of wish was that the relationships were a bit more developed.  The two with the biggest bond are Anthy and Utena, but the relationships with Touga and Miki were never really fleshed out.  Attempts were made with Touga, but they didn’t get much of anywhere, and it was established that Miki liked Utena, but there was nothing after that.

I did appreciate that Akio courted Utena.  I liked that, even though Akio turned out to be a total creep.  There is also obviously a strong bond between Anthy and Akio, but, you know, it was just there to kind of mess up.

I liked that Utena was forced into a kind of role reversal, but I was so sad that she didn’t wind up getting what she’d been shooting for.  This wasn’t as dramatic as it could have been either, but that happened at the very end, so maybe it’ll get played up in the next volume.

I liked this one so much that I wanted to read volume 5 right after, but I knew I’d never keep them straight in my head unless I wrote about this one first.  So now I can read volume 5 with a clear conscience!  Hooray!

Revolutionary Girl Utena 3

January 21, 2007

A lot of stuff happened in this volume which I didn’t think happened until much later in the series.  It seems like the duels are finished now, after Utena and Touga dueled twice.  I’m so sad Touga’s lame tricks worked on Utena, and I’m also sad that it brought her down that much.  Though what happened was quite entertaining.

It’s interesting that Touga mentions that Anthy doesn’t have a soul.  Interesting because she does indeed not have a soul, she does whatever she’s told with no sign of emotion whatsoever.  I did think that Utena fixed her up right, but apparently that’s not the case.

I’m a bit sad we’re approaching this “World’s End” “Power of Dios” and Akio Ohtori stuff, because this is where the series begins to lose me.  So is Akio World’s End?  and Dios is separate, right?  The Prince in the castle?  And Dios is the one who helps Utena?  I kind of got a better grasp of that this time through, so I’ll see how my interpretation works in the other two volumes.

Also, I liked that Touga began following Utena around like a servant.  Very nice, although it doesn’t really suit him.

Revolutionary Girl Utena 2

January 13, 2007

This really does make me wanna watch the anime.  Perhaps it’s not as cryptic as I thought it would be after watching the movie.  The manga is quite a strong shoujo series with just the right amount of magic.

I don’t know how I feel about Touga, really.  Either hit on Utena or don’t hit on her, but don’t be the creepy on-again off-again “oh, I’m actually manipulating you” kind of guy you’re coming off as here.  He seems preoccupied with the castle when Utena bares her heart, but makes a startling revelation I do not believe at the end of the volume.

I still like Utena a lot.  I do wanna see the TV series, I think.  She’s quite a strong character, and I have a great deal of respect for the decisions she makes and the way she acts.  I realized she’s been engineered to do these things, but what can I do about that.

Revolutionary Girl Utena 1

December 30, 2006

I read this some time ago when it was serialized in Animerica Extra.  After reading “The World Exists for Me,” I was in the mood for more Chiho Saito, and I think this is all we get.

I had trouble getting the first volume.  It’s a fairly old series, so I was worried it was out of print.  I was thinking I was going to get a copy from eBay or an Amazon Marketplace seller, but then I found a store that still had all of them in Ohio.   How about that.

I remember not liking the manga too well until the end when I read it serialized, but this may be because it reads better as a whole.  I also think I’d probably get a lot more out of it had I seen the anime.  I do remember all the jokes people made about it when the anime was popular, so “Take My Revolution” and Utena gushing about her something shining still make me smile.

The characters are all pretty strong with the exception of Anthy, and it’s hard to switch between this and something like Fruits Basket, where the characters are weak little babies.   Utena is of course portrayed as the strongest, but Saionji also holds his ground, as does the boy at Utena’s old school, Utena’s aunt, Touga, and Juri.  Wakaba is a good happy medium, and though a tad annoying, I’m kind of glad that she was included.

We get our first taste of the duels here, and I think I may also like it a lot better because I’ve just accepted that it’s not going to make sense.  The concept of “World’s End” was something I could never wrap my brain around, so blanking out when the characters talk about it seems to work well for me.  The duels are nice, because I don’t read many manga with fencing battles in it, and it fits the elegant mood and all.   The atmosphere is also unmatched, and it was one of the things I liked about The World Exists for Me.  Saito seems to be good at establishing setting and mood.  It doesn’t hurt that her art is also very good.

Having the cryptic battles for Anthy so far works for me, and I like that Utena seems to resist Touga’s advances.  Hints of romance are always good for such girly series.  I can’t quite remember what happens from here, or even what it was that made me like the ending so much, so it’ll be good to re-read it with a more pleasant outlook.  I’m really enjoying it so far.