Revolutionary Girl Utena (Volume 8: Unveiling) Review

The Show

This write-up is a bit unusual in that it has been deliberately restricted to three sections: 'Episode Guide', 'Extras', and 'Packaging'. This is because this is only one of four individual DVD volumes of Revolutionary Girl Utena contained in Central Park Media's 'Apocalypse Saga Collection', whose overall review can be found here. However, as these discs are available separately (without buying the box set, in other words), it seemed only fair to give each its own entry.

This disc also feels somewhat weak compared to the levels of plot and character development we witnessed in the first two-thirds of the TV series. By this point I would have expected nearly every episode to be focusing tightly on the show's many unresolved mysteries, but this isn't happening. Instead, we get a two-parter that revisits Nanami's jealous devotion to her older brother (something that has been amply established previously) and a hollow piece which I must assume was intended to illustrate Akio as something of a philosophical enigma, but which in fact comes across as rather sophomoric.



Episode Guide (and Possible Spoilers)

31: 'Her Tragedy'

After a few demonstrations of what an utter Casanova Touga is, this episode turns to Nanami's concern over a book she's reading that discusses the compatibility of people according to their blood types. Her blood type (and apparently everyone in her family's) is B. She of course ends up blaming Utena for the developing rift between her and Touga. However, when she throws a temper tantrum on the stairs one day and Akio catches her, Nanami is brought back to the mansion and observes Utena's obvious crush on Akio. But this fails to lift her spirits, as her groupies point out that Touga can't really be her biological brother if his blood type is A when hers, her mother's, and her father's is B. Predictably, Nanami runs away from home and ends up staying temporarily with Utena, Anthy, and Akio at the Chairman's Residence... where she witnesses Akio having sex with Anthy one night.

32: 'The Romance of the Dancing Girls'

The saga of Nanami's 'non-brother' Touga continues. As they made clear from the start, Nanami's groupies only hung out with her because they wanted to be closer to Touga... and now that the truth is out, Keiko promptly makes her move and dates Touga, to Nanami's horror. Things get weirder yet when Nanami receives a phone call from End of the World... and is told to come meet Touga for some answers. So of course Akio takes her on a car ride so she can fight Utena later (as usual). She sets her groupies right (using that subtle approach: by pummelling them) and takes Chu Chu hostage in order to ensure that Utena will fight her. She loses (of course), and in the post-battle wrap-up conversation between Akio and Touga (in bed, yes), Akio asks Touga when he's going to let Nanami know that he actually is her biological brother... and that the fact is they were both adopted.

33: 'The Prince Who Runs Through the Night'

From the looks of it, Utena has gone off to an amusement park for the day, but Anthy couldn't come with her for some reason. Then the show dissolves into a montage of snippets of previously-shown episodes occasionally intercut with brief scenes of Utena (lounging about in her hotel room and musing on various school topics) and Akio (driving his car and answering the questions on a live radio chat show about the definitions of words like 'eternal', 'miracle', and so on). Towards the very end of the episode, it is revealed that Akio has a passenger in the car with him – Utena – and that she's actually just spent the day (and night) with him at the amusement park.



Extras

On volume 8, we have very few extras. There's a short-but-annoying English-language trailer for, erm, this very DVD... followed by an art gallery (essentially an automatic slideshow of 7 images, framed – that is, not full-screen – with 'Absolute Destiny Apocalypse' playing underneath). Unlike the other three volumes available in the Apocalypse Saga box set, there's no voice actor interview provided this time around. Finally, we are given a quick text-only recap of the storyline covered during episodes 27-30 of Revolutionary Girl Utena (volume 7).

In the way of 'sort of' extras we have another brief advert for the 2003 Big Apple Animé Fest and a handful of trailers for other Central Park Media releases (Cat Soup, Animation Runner Kuromi, Legend of the Dragon Kings: Red Dragon, Spirit Warrior: Revival of Evil, Tomoko Taniguchi Promo).

That's it for what's easily accessible right from your standalone DVD player. However, if you have a DVD-ROM drive on your computer, CPM have also included a PC-compatible application which will give you access to additional content in the form of the complete cast listing, production credits, and English dub scripts. These are nice to have, but the fact that they are put in a place not everyone will have access to means I can't give them full credit in the Extras score for these DVDs.



Packaging

Each of the four DVDs included in the box set comes in a transparent Amaray case with double-sided sleeve inserts (a nice touch which is fairly standard on CPM releases), the reverse of which provide complete lists of both chapter breaks and voice casts (English and Japanese) along with an abridged version of the production credits. As for the cover art, volume 8 features Akio more or less enveloping Utena. This is printed on a plain white background with a red rose border.

Film
6 out of 10
Video
7 out of 10
Audio
7 out of 10
Extras
3 out of 10
Overall

6

out of 10

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