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Revolutionary Girl Utena: V.4 Impatience and Longing (ep.18-20)

Leah Applebaum , Roxanne Beck , Kunihiko Ikuhara    Unrated   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Romance at Ohtori Academy suggests a weird round or A Midsummer Night's Dream after Puck has misused the magic flower. Tatsuya is in love with Utena's best friend Wakaba, whom he knew as a child. When Utena persuades him to declare his affection, Wakaba spurns him. She adores Kyoichi, a former student council member who's been expelled, and is providing him with food and a place to stay. But Kyoichi remains smitten with Anthy, Utena's roommate and the Rose Bride. Behind the scenes, the members of the Black Rose Circle continue to plot, using other students as pawns. They seduce Wakaba and fourth-grader Mitsuru (who worships Nanami) into challenging Utena to duels, with predictable results. Utena is as stilted and stylized as a Peking opera, and as difficult to decipher. (Not rated; suitable for ages 14 and older: violence, suggestions of homosexuality and incest) --Charles Solomon

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5.0 out of 5 stars More of the greatest, and more of the world Sept. 19 2003
This volume of Shoujo Kakumei Utena explores the backgrounds of two of the very-much-supporting (even third-tier) characters of Mitsuru -- Nanami's worshipper -- and Wakaba -- Utena's best friend. The Black Rose strikes again, tempting these two characters with the lure of creating a world in which their deepest desires come to life.
Wakaba's two-episode arc is one of the highlights of the series. Her struggles as the "best friend of the heroine" is heart-tuggingly tragic, as Wakaba seems to know instinctively that she is not the main character in this or any other story. However, for two episodes, the focus is taken off Utena and the duels and put onto this lone, normal girl, adrift in the miasma of Ohtori Academy. Everything is thrown into a different light when you start to wonder just why the duels, the Rose Bride, and Utena seem to affect every aspect of life at Ohtori Academy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Rose saga July 16 2003
ok to sum it up in two words if possible: completely mind-blowing. and of course i mean the entire black rose arc, not just these episodes. a lot have mention that the black rose arc is the most predictable and the weakest of the Utena story arcs. As a stand alone, it is predictable and formulaic but the twist at the end of Mikage's duel will leave you speechless or like me mind-[twisted]. But looking at this arc in terms of the greater context of the series, it is the most essential arc as it provides a mirror to how the rest of the series will unravel with a twist. i won't spoil it for the rest who haven't seen it but it's definitely worth watching Utena in its entirety.
as far as this DVD is concern, the Wakaba-centered episodes were my favorite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The middle of Utena July 5 2003
In this DVD, we reach the middle of the complete Utena storyline and the middle of the Black Rose Saga. There are three episodes on this DVD which are mostly very impressive.
*18- This is about Nanami's follower Mitsuru and when he finally realizes Nanami mistreats him. SO he is drawn to duel. I don't care for most Nanami episodes but the animation in this episodes is gorgeous.
*19- This episode has not as great animation, but the storyline is pretty good and gives us an insight ito Wakaba's past.
*20- This is one of my personal favorites. Wakaba is hiding Saionji but when Saionji is accepted back into school, he will forget all about her, which drives Wakaba to duel him.
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The DVD release of SHOUJO KAKUMEI UTENA in America has been long awaited by the fans here who've only heard rumors about it or those who've had to suffer through poor quality fansubs. It's great to see these episodes in this format after waiting so long.
The "Black Rose" arc is the weakest of UTENA's chapters. I say this because although the focus is rightly placed on the supporting cast and we are given some fascinating backstory and development on them, the entirety of the metaplot comes to a screeching halt for the majority of the arc. One of the interesting dilemmas of the "Student Council" arc was that we never really knew if Utena was going to triumph. Her victories in these episodes are not even in question: the viewer can hit fast-scan through not only every single playing of the music Absolute Destiny Apocalypse but every duel that follows it. This is really where UTENA becomes "episodic;" the backstory of the main cast is on hold for a slew of stories involving minor characters and their associations to the main cast, nearly every story neatly brought to a head by a "duel of the day" fight where any expected conflict was disappointingly easy for her to overcome.
Saying that, there are some awesome stories here: noteably Wakaba's 2 episode exposition, Shiori's introduction (as she becomes focal in the third UTENA arc), and the very under-rated Keiko story. But aside from some hints at what Anthy is up to (the Cowbell of Happiness story is not what it appears to be) and the 2 episode finale about Mikage, we have learned little about the duels or the purpose behind them. The Black Rose arc suffers much the same way Ikuhara's SAILOR MOON SUPER S did: the routine nature of the metaplot's conflicts distract from the otherwise superior stories of the supporting cast.
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