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On the Adolescence of Utena Movie

Massive Spoilers Ahead!

The Revolutionary Girl Utena movie was released a few months ago and I was one of the lucky ones to grab a fan sub before it was even released in subtitled form. If you’re going to watch the movie and you haven’t already, first, take everything you learned from the manga and the anime series and throw it right out the window. Here, I’ll hold the window open for you…

The movie is not a continuation, a prologue or an epilogue to the manga or the anime series. The company that produced the movie took the whole story of Utena and made up their own version. The movie that resulted contained characters slightly different than the ones we know from the anime and the manga. Utena has short hair, like a boy’s, while Anthy is given longer hair. Utena’s costume becomes white with large black vertical stripes, and she wears pants instead of shorts, but Anthy’s schoolgirl uniform remains the same.

Their “battle” outfits did change quite a bit. Anthy’s gown in the movie is red white and pink, and Utena gets shorts during battle mode as well as long hair.

The art itself is very much different from the manga or the anime, and in my opinion, is much more beautiful.

The characters’ personalities are slightly different as well. Utena is much more unwilling to accept her fate, and Anthy is a bit more outgoing. The movie Anthy is the Anthy that I think fits the part the best. She only gets hit once and then gets up and makes sure it won’t happen again by kissing Utena, (yes, kissing Utena) and becoming the Rose Bride to give Utena the Sword of Dios to win. Juri is less of a bitch and more of a person, while Shiori becomes the kind of person you want to beat mercilessly with a hot waffle iron. Touga is dead, so let’s not go there. (You heard me right, he’s dead.) Dios doesn’t really exist, and Miki has a small part so I can’t really tell if he changed. Nanami appears as a cow, and Chu Chu only appears once in the whole movie. The Shadow Girls E-ko and F-ko are active parts in the movie and don’t speak in rhyme, but in riddle. Akio is just a big jerk and we’re not going there. Oh, yeah, and Utena turns into a car. And a nice car, at that.

The setting changed a lot as well, becoming much more intricate and abstract. The area isn’t hidden either, and instead of having the castle above it, it is simply a flat platform carpeted with red roses.

There is slight nudity, sex, rape, incest and violence in the movie. Utena and Anthy actually kiss twice and really do fall in love and leave the school that held them captive. Most of you are probably saying, “It’s about time!” and I agree. There’s even a lovely dance/falling in love scene.

The movie however does not tell us whether they lived happily ever after or not.

The soundtrack is a must-have for any Utena fan! I will soon be ripping it and sticking all the Utena music I can get my grubby paws on up on my web page, which is, of course, www.sailorcastle.com.

I definitely recommend seeing the movie!

The Utena Movie: Limited Edition

That's right, Utena fans! The Utena movie, Adolescence of Utena the limited edition, is set for release in the US October 23, 2001!

Description | Cover Art 1, 2, 3

UPC: 7-95243-61912-5
ISBN: 1-57800-541-8
Fomat: DVD
Type: Dub/Sub
DVD Region: 1
Length: 87 min
Label: Software Sculptors
Age Rating: 13Up
Series: Revolutionary Girl Utena
Genre: Action/Adventure
Content: General
Nudity: Some
Sex: None
Violence: Some
Profanity: None

Software Sculptors released the English version DVD of the Utena movie, and it is one of the best anime DVDs available. They held a national contest for fanart and cosplay and displayed the results on the DVD. There's also a plethora of character sketches, trivia, and most remarkably, a commentary by the Japanese director which has previously been unheard of on an anime DVD.

The movie itself is as gorgeous as it is confusing, and in most cases should not be viewed by those who haven't seen the series. Unlike some theatrical releases (like the Cowboy Bebop movie) this movie doesn't stand too well on its own, and most people who see it first never want to see the Utena series at all.

Popular fan opinion is that Anthy is much more likeable in the movie, whereas Utena is much less likeable. Anthy is much stronger in this movie, but I believe her character in the series is more believable, according to her past. Utena is much weaker, sick over the disappearance of a lover. However, there are certainly portions of the series where Utena displays weakness in other ways, and both hers and Anthy's are revealed so that they may overcome them. To believe that a stronger character is cooler in a series like Utena is selling short its depth in many ways.

Whereas in the series Anthy and Utena aren't lesbians, they are in the movie. Akio, one of the most important characters in the series, was also drastically changed. His attire was made much more effeminate and his voice actor was changed. Fans of his character were fairly outraged about this, as well as the fact that his appearance in the movie was cursory and largely unnecessary.

One last note about Utena's hair: though short, it seems to magically lengthen at select times in the film. This was only briefly explained in an artbook- she had in fact pinned her hair up in such a way that it appears short, but is actually much longer. Many fans, including myself, dislike the new wavy look it has and prefer her traditional hair style.

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