Wednesday, September 1, 2010

When? Where? Who? Which?

So, thirteen episodes into the Utena rewatch, and I find myself curiously dissatisfied. It's not like this stretch of episodes is bad or anything-- sure, two of the six episodes are taken up with a Nanami comedy episode and a recap, but we do get four episodes of Touga in full manipulative bastard mode, along with an expanded version of Utena's rescue by the prince that toys with dramatic irony and unreliable narrators.

It's good stuff, and finishes establishing the characters and obsessions the rest of the series will be riffing on, but somehow it's just not hitting me like it should. The only part that seemed especially Ikuhara was the the hilarious bit from Miki's two-parter where he remembers Touga's dialogue much more homoerotically than he actually said it.

(and speaking of that, the awfully-acted dub takes some... interesting liberties with the dialogue here and there. I can't imagine the rerelease will keep that. Almost a shame)

Are operatic swordfights just not enough to hold my attention any more? That seems doubtful. More likely, I've just watched and rewatched this opening stretch too damn much for it to have any impact any more, which would make sense considering the first thirteen eps were all CPM had for like four years thanks to some poorly worded contracts. I believe the movie actually came out here before the Black Rose arc, which is probably the worst possible way to see that film, but more on that much, much later.

Anyway, we're finally out of the setup phase and headed into the meat of the show, and hopefully towards the amazing, lush lunacy that made me remember it so fondly. I never did actually watch the Black Rose sequence in full, hopefully that'll shock me back to life.


  1. I always thought that the beginning of Utena was the weakest part. It wasn't until I got into the middle third and (in particular) saw the ending that I really drank the kool-aid and got in on the love like all y'all.

    The beginning was fun and amusing, but also had some really tedious bits. It wasn't until they really went gonzo with the over-the-top symbolism that I think it really started gelling into something unique and special.

  2. Huh, interesting. It's been so long since we all watched this I really don't recall anyone's specific reactions to it.

    At any rate, I have penetrated the Black Rose bit, and it is as awesome as I was hopemembering it to be. More anon.

  3. The re-lease kept the old dub! Hooray for "Yeah. Nice skirt, Saionji."

  4. Ugh, has it really been a year since we finished watching this? I suppose I should actually finish this series of posts...