The Revolutionary Girl Utena Black Rose Saga is a box set that includes four DVDs, which cover 13 episodes of the series. One of the best things about this set is that, unlike the Revolutionary Girl Utena Rose Collection set, the discs included here actually have chapter marks on them. This made it much easier to skip over the opening and ending credits when I was watching all the episodes on a disc.
As far as the episodes go, the story becomes much darker as the series unfolds on this set. Near the end of the set, so many concepts get thrown out at you, that it just washes over you and you're left with a lot of questions.
The menu for each disc contains the following items: Set-Up (you can choose to have English audio or Japanese audio with English subtitles), Movie (which is essentially a "Play All" option), Chapters, Extras, DVD-ROM, and Trailers.
As an extra, all four DVDs have an Art Gallery; this consists of stills from the episodes, as well as some production art. The images flash by so quickly, however, that it makes it hard to pause on a particular image that you'd like to take a closer look at.
All four DVDs also include an interview with Kunihiko Ikuhara, the director for Revolutionary Girl Utena. He was interviewed at the Big Apple Anime Festival in 2001, and features his audio in Japanese (with English subtitles at the bottom of the screen). The interview was split into four parts and spread over all the discs in the set.
Ikuhara talks about such things as his influences, being a singer before going into animation, why the designs changed for the movie version of Revolutionary Girl Utena, a new project he was working on at the time, his hobbies, how homosexuality is an important part of the series, and what inspired the Shadow Girls, among other topics.
Each disc also has an interview with one of the voice actors from the English dub version: Roxanne Beck (Wakaba and Kozue), Mandy Bonhomme (Jury), Carol Jacobanis (Shadow Girl), and Leah Applebaum (Nanami). They each talk about their character and how they got into the anime business. Three of the voice actors also share something that they do besides anime voice-over work.
There is also a "Revolutionary Girl Utena Storyline" link in the special features menu on each disc. The first disc recaps the 13 episodes on the Revolutionary Girl Utena Rose Collection box set. The link on discs two, three, and four recap the episodes that appeared on the previous disc.
The first two DVDs include a text-only biography of an entity involved with Revolutionary Girl Utena (Chiho Saito and Be-Papas). The other two discs have a song from the series, with the Japanese lyrics on the bottom of the screen. Disc three has the fight song that appears in episode 23, while the fourth disc features the opening credits. However, the version of the credits used for the sing-along only has an instrumental version of the song, instead of the version with the lyrics. If you don't know Japanese, then these sing-along features are rather worthless.
Three of the DVDs include a 15-second promo for the 2003 Big Apple Anime Fest in the extras menu; on the fourth DVD, this was put in the "Previews" menu (which is where it should have been for the previous three DVDs).
Each DVD has a section in the menu for various trailers, as well as a DVD-ROM link. The DVD-ROM link gives the viewer access to websites and special features.
The special features on this DVD, while they aren't necessarily great, are better than what was included on the Revolutionary Girl Utena Rose Collection set. This particular box set is now out of print, but Right Stuf has acquired the rights to Revolutionary Girl Utena and have re-issued in newer box sets than the Central Park Media releases.
In order to write this review, I checked out a copy of this DVD box set through the King County Library System.
|The Boys of the Black Rose|
The Landscape Framed by Kozue
Cowbell Of Happiness
Thorns Of Death
|Mitsuru's Growing Pains|
The Song of the Fallen Kingdom
Nemuro Memorial Hall
Qualifications of a Duelist
|The Secret Nanami Diary|
Their Eternal Apocalyspe
Miki's Nest Box (The Sunlit Garden – Arranged)