Revolutionary Girl Utena
VHS 2 - The Legendary Spice
The first saga of the Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series continues in "The Legendary Spice," which contains three episodes, none of which have anything to do with legendary spices. Just the same, the volume contains some of the funniest episodes of the series, which IS, bar none, the best series to see an American release starting in 1998.
The first episode concludes the two-parter started in the last volume, with Student Council member Miki falling head-over-heels in love with Anthy the Rose Bride, whose piano playing makes him nostalgic for his childhood with his sister. Of course, the subservient Anthy is still engaged to Utena, and so Miki is determined to "win" her from her. Of course, Utena is all for Anthy going out with Miki and raises a stink about having to take away her personal freedom, but to no avail...
Then we have another fun Everybody Hates Nanami episode, where Nanami is convinced that somebody is trying to kill her! After a series of accidents almost claims her (ahem) delicate little life, a beautiful young man comes to her rescue. Nanami makes him her boyfriend, which essentially means he's given the honor of licking her shoes, but no one seems to be able to swallow just how young he really is! He's not quite what he seems either, for that matter.
The third episode is a fairly understated episode about Juri (or Jury, according to Software Sculptors) and her somewhat painful past, where she was double-crossed by her best friend to snatch the man she loved out from under her. Her angst is turned inward and is directed toward Utena and Anthy, who are still less jaded in their beliefs. Anger of frustration -- the result is the same: a duel between her and Utena.
While the dub still leaves a lot to be desired, there is a marked improvement in episode six, where they actually start pronouncing "Touga" correctly, among other things. All the other names are still mispronounced (Utena's last name is still "Ten-Joo"), the crew sounds like they're finally starting to sound practiced. Even the ear-grating Nanami almost sounds acceptable. (Crispin Freeman's Touga is still waaaaay over the top, as are the shadow-play girls, sadly.)
Utena is great fun, and at this early, lightweight stage, it's hard to resist. The dub is steadily improving from horrid to mediocre, and at this rate, it should be watchable by the saga's end.
Overall : B
Overall (dub) : C
Story : A+
Animation : B+
Art : A-
Music : A-
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