Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Saga – Blu-ray Review

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a manga that was done by Chiho Saito and the anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara. The manga serial originally began in the June 1996 issue of Ciao and the anime was first broadcast in 1997. The anime and manga were created simultaneously, but despite some similarities, they progressed in different directions. A movie titled Adolescence of Utena was released in theaters in 1999. A number of stage productions based on the franchise were also produced through the mid-1990s, including the Comedy Musicale Utena la fillet revolutionnaire, staged by an all-female Takarazuka-style cast.

The main character is Utena Tenjou, a tomboyish teenage girl who was impressed by a kind prince in her childhood that she decided to become a prince herself, expressed in her manner of dress and personality. She attends Ohtori Academy, where she meets a student named Anthy Himemiya, a girl who is in an abusive relationship with another student. Utena fights to protect Anthy and is pulled into a series of sword duels with the members of the Student Council. Anthy is referred to as the “Rose Bride” and is given to the winner of each duel. It is said that the winner of the tournament will receive a mysterious “power to revolutionize the world”, and the current champion is constantly challenged for the right to possess the Rose Bride.

The Apocalypse Saga is the third and final set of episodes, taking place immediately after The Black Rose Saga.  After solving the Mirage situation, Utena finds that she must fight rematches against the Student Council, whose new members attain new abilities upon meeting Akio. At the same time, she finds herself as the target of Akio’s seduction, creating a rift between her and Anthy. As the conflict escalates, the dark secrets of the duels and Akio and Anthy’s true intentions behind them are unveiled, and Utena confronts Akio in a final duel to free Anthy from his influence.

The Series Itself (5/5):

The Revolutionary Girl Utena series as a whole is one that I originally didn’t expect to enjoy.  Surely, as I first dove into the Student Council Saga, I still had some hesitation, but now as my wife and I wrapped up this series, we found ourselves loving the story, the action, and the overall experience that these Blu-ray sets provided.  The Apocalypse Saga provides a lot of closure and answers to questions that we had from watching through the other two sets, and are really glad that we were given the opportunity to explore this series.

Picture Quality (5/5):

Just like with the The Black Rose Saga, in Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Saga we are offered an extremely clean and clear look into the storyline at hand.  Offering no distortion in the animation whatsoever, even during the more faster paced sequences, everything about the visual presentation of this release is beautifully done and really speaks a lot about the time and effort that the restoration crew put into making this Blu-ray release available.

Audio Quality (3/5):

Offering the native Japanese LPCM 2.0 audio track, coupled with an English LPCM 2.0 audio track and a Japanese LPCM Surround audio track, the fact that Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Saga continues to offer the English track had me excited as soon as I saw this show up at my doorstep.  While it’s not as immersive of an experience as the Japanese Surround track, it was clean, clear and very nicely done and allowed for my wife and I to continue to follow along Utena’s ventures without having to manually adjust the volume levels to make up for variables in the volume levels.

The Packaging (3/5):

Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Rose Saga comes packaged in your standard four-disc Blu-ray amaray case.  Within that case are the four discs that make up the series, each containing a different piece of artwork that is related to the series at hand.  The series itself takes up three of the four discs, while the final disc in this set is the film Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolescence Of Utena.  There are no DVD copies of the series included, nor are there any digital copy redemption pamphlets.  There are no slipcovers available for this release.

  

Special Features (3/5):

I was surprised to see that Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse Saga and the included film do come with some additional content that extends the viewers look into the series, as one is able to explore the series a little bit further.  While it’s not as much as I’d like, the effort does not go unnoticed.  Included with this release is:

  • Interview With Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Part 3
  • Interview With Director Kunihiko Ikuhara Part 4
  • Animated Art Boards Part 2
  • Interview With The Cast And Crew
  • Remastered US Trailers
  • Clean Closings 2-4
  • Dueling Themes Karaoke
  • Japanese TV Spots
  • Staff Commentary
    • Episode 37
    • Episode 38
    • Episode 39
  • Director’s Audio Commentary
  • Behind The Scenes: Recording The English Dub With Kunihiko Ikuhara
  • Japanese Remastered DVD Box Set Movie Spoiler Spot
  • Adolescence Of Utena Trailers

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio

English: LPCM 2.0

Japanese: LPCM 2.0

Japanese: LPCM Surround

Subtitles

English

Runtime

Original Series: 460 minutes

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I was really glad to see Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Apocalypse when it was delivered to my mailbox.  While I had some difficulty in enjoying the earlier series, watching this really helped me to enjoy the series a little more now that the grounding has been set for Utena and Anthy.  Offering a significantly better story line that’s very well maintained as it progresses, I certainly feel better now that I’ve been able to visit the series in its entirety, and finally get some closure and understanding as to exactly what was happening within the storyline.  The overall visual and audible presentation of the Blu-ray were really well done and offered a clean experience for home viewers.  If you’re considering grabbing this series for your collection, I would definitely recommend it — making sure to watch the Student Council Saga, and The Black Rose Saga beforehand so you have the backstory.  It will be available from major retailers beginning on December 5, however I would highly recommend picking it up from RightStuf anime to show support for their work that they’ve put into making it available.

Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.

 

Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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