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Utena, Revolutionary Girl DVD Set 1: Student Council Saga (Hyb) Limited Edition

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Reviews of this title:

Norbert Haponik - Jun 6 2011 norbert26275@hotmail.com
Rating: Wonderful!
A wonderful and sturdy release
I was never a fan of Utena, but i'm a sucker for these sort of remastered releases; i got both of the Dirty Pair releases as well as the Captain Tylor TV remastered series.

My one and only experience with Utena is the feature film, which went right through my head and i found it a very paifull experience so i stoped watching it after 20-30 min.

I have been looking forward to Nozomi and their release of the Remastered series, as soon as i found out about it and what it contained - i put my name down for the Limited Edition set.

How limited? I frankly don't know or for how long they will keep releasing it.

What we can be grateful for is that Nozomi took most of what the japanese release had as well as translating the wonderful booklet into english. Nozomi gave us a nice looking hard cardboard box with very beautiful art on it, with the DVD's housed in three slim cases. I don't know how this compares to the Japan release since they do tend to release their products in lavish sets containing very pretty digipaks with slip cases and the like. Oh, also the price was nothing like the japanese - thank God that we don't have to shelve out hundreds of dollars for it.

Omar D. Odeh - Jul 8 2011
Rating: Pretty good!
Finally.
Revolutionary Girl Utena has long been one of my top three favorite anime series. I had the old Central Park Media DVDs for the entire series. In 2008/2009, I bought the remastered Japanese DVD sets. I would give this series a 10 out of 5. This review is specifically for the box set.

Packaging: I am really glad that Nozomi chose to use the artwork created for the Japanese DVD sets for the outer box. I find this art incredibly classy and beautiful. But, since there will only be three box sets, they will be leaving out half of the images. I wish they had chosen to use these for the individual cases as well (then we'd get all of the images, rather than just six of them). The box seems very sturdy. The individual discs are in thinpak cases. They feature slight variations on the Utena images that have been around for a long while. Disc 01 features the image of Utena and Anthy from the cover of CPM's volume 03 (the beginning of the Black Rose Saga). The second disc has the image of Juri and Shiori from CPM's volume 05 DVD. And the third disc is an image of Touga and Nanami from CPM's volume 06. The backs are mostly white with the Rose Crest, episode numbers and titles, and disc-specific special features. I think there could have been a lot more work put into these cases. The Japanese artwork was spectacular and fresh. It's a shame Nozomi chose to rehash old artwork in an uninteresting way. The box did come with a card stuck to the back, but it came off easily and left no residue.

Booklet: Wow. I love it. I've devoured every page. The cover is simple, with the rose crest against a white background. The booklet looks very classy and in line with the series. The contents are outstanding: Episode-by-episode commentary by director/creator Kunihiko Ikuhara for all 12 episodes included in this set. Ikuhara's thoughts on the theme song and opening sequence. Ikuhara's thoughts on the ending theme and closing sequence. Interview with the staff involved in remastering the video followed by an interview with the staff who remastered the audio. Article on the history of shoujo anime and Utena's place in history (though I could find no credit as to who wrote this article). Gallery of key artwork from the series (not the full-color art, but cel-work before it was colored). Translations of the LaserDisc booklet interviews (a great addition to this set).

Menus: Menus are simple and clear. They feature the same artwork as the disc covers. There are options for Play All, Episode Selection (which has scene selection), Set Up, and Extras. The menus on the Japanese sets were simple as well, though I feel that they were much classier than the Nozomi menus.

Video: SPECTACULAR. I was worried that Nozomi would feel the need to compress the video footage, but they did not. When compared side-by-side with the Japanese set, it is identical. VERY thoughtfully remastered. The series is over 10 years old, so the video is not perfect. However, every thing has been cleaned up to the best possible quality. The colors are vibrant. The lines are clean. There is very little to almost no noise on the image. THIS is what a series should look like when it's remastered. Comparing this set to the old CPM discs is like comparing a beautiful sunny day to the back of a dark cave.

Audio/Subtitles: Audio is Japanese 2.0, Japanese 5.1, and English 2.0. The subtitles are On-Screen Text and the full subtitles. All of the audio sounds incredible, especially the Japanese 5.1. The sound effects and music come through beautifully, and the voices are clear. The subtitles are clear and easy to read. I have only watched the first few episodes thus far, but there were no errors that I noticed (though I do wish they had chosen a nicer font). I only listened to the dub for a few moments, and I wasn't impressed with the voices. I don't tend to watch dubs, so I am not qualified to discuss this.

Extras: Each disc has its own set of extras. All disc feature trailers for other Nozomi projects, but each disc has different trailers.

Disc one: Clean Opening and the Clean Closing 1, Nozomi trailers for Sound of the Sky and Emma: A Victorian Romance - Season One.

Disc two: Japanese TV spots - the remastered CD box set (I'd love it if this came to the US!); a series of 8 "character spot" ads for the remastered DVD set (the commercial is the same every time; the only difference is the last line is spoken by a different character); and a very nice 30 second trailer for the remastered DVD set (all in Japanese). None of the trailers have subtitles that I have been able to find. Nozomi trailers for are Dirty Pair (yay!) and Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars. Disc three: Japanese TV spot for the CD single for the theme song, as well as the music video for the theme song (a very nice inclusion in this set; neither have subtitles). Nozomi trailers for The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye.

Overall: The ONLY reason I didn't give this set five stars was the artwork, menus, and cases. I'm sick of thinpak cases, and the artwork on the individual discs and menus are the same Utena images any Utena fan has seen a million times. However, the booklet, the audio and video quality, and the special features make this a VERY nice box to have for any Utena fan.

Short review: Throw away your Central Park Media discs and get this set! If you've never bought Utena, now is the time!

Mason Keefe - Feb 19 2012
Rating: Wonderful!
A delight to eyes and ears!
The special edition is a sight to see and hear. The colors are simply the brightest and It truly apears the clearest in quality. All songs even include sing along lyrics, providing you have subtitles on. I have never watched Utena before this purchase but I know I will again!