DVD Review: Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection 2 - The Black Rose Saga (1997) (Utena Week 2014 Day 2)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Tuesday, February 11, 2014 0 comments

Welcome to the second day of "Revolutionary Girl Week 2014" and on today's/tonight's edition we will be looking at the collection Two box set. Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection Two contains the second season of the show titled "The Black Rose Saga". This show is about a teenaged girl named Utena who was met up with a prince while she was a small child.  The prince gave her a special ring that ends up being a key to a dueling arena where she must fight to protect "The Rose Bride". After the events of "The Student Council Saga" (Which appeared in Collection One) Utena and Anthy decide to have a break and go visit Anthy's brother (Akio). They end up having a lovely chat with him and they are also introduced to his fiancee who is just the sweetest thing out there.   Behind the scenes Akio's fiancee is in deep pain as no matter what she does she can't seem to get Anthy to like her. She ends up going to an old building at the school where a professor named Souji offers students some counseling for when they are feeling down.  Akio's fiancee tells him all about her poblems and then Souji takes advantage of her depression by convincing her to take a ring of a dead duelist (a duelist in the same vein as Utena and the Student Council) so she can take revenge by dueling Utena.  This is so that she can take The Rose Bride (Anthy) and murder her once she has won her. Utena accepts the challenge and beats her but she isn't the only victim of being corrupted and turned into a member of The Black Rose as there are others that even includes Utena's friends.  How will Utena handle the stress of her friends becoming corrupt? Can she save them? What will she do when she finds out that Souji is the ringleader? All this and more in this very personal season. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

This collection opens up with a re-cap/clip show episode where it shows off all the main parts from the first season. This is nice as people who are new to the show can jump in from this volume if they choose too and get a very good idea on what the show is about... Although I personally recommend jumping in from collection one for a much fuller experience.  This season is also where we begin to see the story become stronger and you will see some really great episodes in this collection. The drama is really great as it adds to the story and characters and it especially shines towards the show's climax. I really enjoyed the battle scenes in this as they were very exciting and the drama helps build them up to be something special.  However the battles aren't perfect as they are quite predictable but that doesn't ruin the fun. There is little to no filler in this collection but the story still progresses a bit slower than most anime these days which is sure to frustrate some of the younger anime fans a little bit.

Characters in this show have nice strong personalities and I really like that. Some of the more minor and obscure characters get more airtime in this season and most of them are just as enjoyable as the main cast but you do get a few who just felt like they were forced into the show. The new villain character they introduce in this saga (who is also the leader of the "Black Roses") is very unsettling, disturbing, menacing, very creepy, and I love it.  I genuinely felt very terrified every time he had air time.

The artwork in this show is really great with some very beautiful character designs and some breathtaking scenery. While it does look good you will see some aging like slight fading of the picture. There is some mild pixelation as well but nothing major and you will easily overlook once you get into the show (which will be very quickly). English dub has improved in this season and it sounds good with voices that match up with the characters very well. Soundtrack in this show is really impressive with a nice chaotic sounding opera track that's bound to give you goosebumps from how great it sounds.

Just like in "Collection One" you get some very nice special features. You get a four part interview with the show's director: "Kunihiko Ikuhara" that took place all the way back in 2001 at a New York Anime Convention. There's also a whole ton of artwork that includes sketches and art boards which are all very beautiful. We also get a promo that aired on Japanese television back in 1997. Also just like "Collection One" you get a very wonderful book full of interviews, behind the scenes information, and concept art. Topics and interviews you will find in the book that comes with this box set includes: Episode commentary with Kunihiko Ikuhara part two, an interview with Art Director "Shichiro Kobayashi", Part two of the making of Be-Papas Studio, an interview with Character Designer "Shinya Hasegawa", and liner notes from the old laserdisc releases.

Overall this is a really great volume/collection/season and I highly recommend checking it out. Classic viewing. That is it for day two of Utena Week 2014. Make sure to pop in tomorrow as I take a look at the third (and final) collection of the Utena television series.

Title: Revolutionary Girl Utena Collection 2 - The Black Rose Saga
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Genre: Animation/Anime, Action, Drama, Lo-Fantasy
Running Time: 300 Minutes (12 Episodes)
Distributor: Hanabee Entertainment (http://www.hanabee.com.au/)
Rating: M15+ (Mature themes)
Price: $59.99
Recommended: Yes


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