DVD Review: Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection 3 -The Apocalypse Saga (1997) (Utena Week 2014 Day 3)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 0 comments

Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection Three contains the third (and final) season of this animated action drama television series.  The saga for this series is called "The Apocalypse Saga" and it is the largest of the three season sets.  Following the events of "The Black Rose Saga" (AKA Collection Two) we have Utena and Anthy move out from their dusty old dorm room and into Akio's (Anthy's brother) place.  Akio's house is a very beautiful place to live and it also has a massive projector that's programmed to show star combinations on his roof as he likes to study the stars.  Utena's life isn't in peace for very long as she is suddenly challenged by the student council members once again and Utena isn't too happy about it.  The Student Council isn't doing it on their own free will as they are being manipulated into doing it.  It is very shocking to see who is doing all the manipulation as it is all Touga and Akio's doing.  That's right Akio has a much darker side to him and he uses his suave negotiation skills to seduce them all to the dark side.  When I mean seduce... I really do mean seduce as he ends up sleeping with most of the people he convinces to join him (like a very horny Sith Lord from the Star Wars series).  Meanwhile Utena is starting to have romantic feelings towards Akio without knowing his deep dark evil secret.  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this show just keeps on getting better and better with each volume and this is the volume where we see the show at it's peak of greatness (on the final volume nonetheless).  The storyline is very intense and full of great drama that will put you in some heavy suspense keeping you on the edge of your seat.  This is also a really insane season where you will question yourself "What just happened?" but instead of it confusing you it will add to the suspense instead.  Action scenes in this show are pretty good too with some really well paced sword fights.  The downside to the fights is that they are a bit predictable although there are some that really leave you guessing on who's going to win.  Characters in this season have really come a long way since the first time we saw them and they have matured quite a bit which makes them very interesting.  The main villains in this season are some of the most insane, perverted, sexual maniacs I have ever witnessed in anime.  No I don't mean in a way where they seem like they should be in a crappy hentai but they are done in a much more evil way where they mess with the characters emotions and use it to their advantage.  While I do mention that they are "Sexual Maniacs" you won't see any sex scene but they normally cut to a scene where after the "hmm hmm" happens where the characters are talking about what they are going to do next making the sex in the show very subtle.

Artwork in this volume is really gorgeous looking with some very beautiful background sets with awesome detailing that still impresses me to this very day.  Character designs are really well done and look very clean in this volume.  The trick they do with seeing their eyes through their hair looks way better in this volume than the past which I'm happy about as this effect did look slightly odd in the older volumes.  Animation is pretty good but you will notice a really oddly animated moment here and there.  I also really enjoy how both the artwork and animation is really imaginative in this show which helps give the show a very unique look.  English dub is really good in this volume with the English voice actors adding some great voices and nicely done uses of emotion.  All the voices matched the characters really well.  While it is good I wouldn't say it's perfect as every now and then you will hear some really cheesy screams and dialogue that hurt my ears.  Soundtrack is great with a very apocalyptic opera sound that's very appropriate for this show.  The soundtrack has been remixed for this volume and it sounds slightly faster and heavier which gives you an even more grander feeling as if something huge is going to go down that will change history as we know it.

Not only has the episode count been beefed up for this volume but so has the special features as we get a whole bonus disc dedicated to them.  You have part two of the animated art boards and backgrounds that look really nice, a whole lot of karaoke videos of the songs that play during the show although the lyrics are in Japanese only with no English subtitles.  There are a whole load of interviews with both the Japanese and English cast and crew.  Some of the interviews are from back in 1997 while the rest are from 2002 and 2003.  They were decent interviews and you do get some nice little information from them.  You also get a decent amount of trailers both which are in English and Japanese.  There's even commentary tracks with the Japanese cast and crew on episode thirty-seven through to episode thirty-nine (the final episode).  They were interesting to listen to and you get some pretty interesting info from the commentary tracks.

Last and certainly not least this set comes with a pretty thick book loaded with even more bonus features.  In this book you get part three of Kunihiko Ikuhara's episode commentary, an interview with "director" Kunihiko Ikuhara himself, part two of the making of Be-Papas Studio, interview with the "assistant director" named Shingo Kaneko, an interview with "director" Tohru Takahashi, an interview with "conceptual designer" Hiroshi Nagahama.  There is also a ton of artwork that includes sketches, promotional artwork, early designs of the characters, and even artwork from the movie.  Lastly this book contains more liner notes from the laserdisc releases and ends with the Japanese cast and crew answering questions from the fans.

Overall this was a really good season and easily the best out of all three volumes.  Although I wouldn't jump into this season without watching the first two volumes and it really builds up right from the start and all the build-up certainly did pay off in the end.  A truly great anime.

Well that wraps up all three collections of the television series but that's not all that Utena has to offer.  Tune in Friday as we wrap up this five day working week with a review of "Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie".  Tomorrow there will be a special intermission featuring a recording from the live Kaiser Kast (my own personal podcast).  See you all then. 

Title: Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection 3 - The Apocalypse Saga
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Genre: Animation/Anime, Action, Drama, Romance, Lo-Fantasy
Running Time: 375 Minutes (15 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment (http://www.hanabee.com.au/)
Rating: M15+ (Mature themes)
Price: $59.99
Recommended: Yes


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