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Revolutionary Girl Utena Books, DVDs, Art Books, and CDs

Updated on October 5, 2014
Illustration from the
Illustration from the | Source

A guide to the anime, manga, art books and films of Revolutionary Girl Utena

Utena is an heroic girl who dresses in the boy's uniform and models herself after a mystery Prince who rescued her as a child. She gets caught up in a mysterious and worrying series of duels, in an attempt to protect Anthy - the Rose Bride, who belongs to the winner. Of course, then she ends up 'winning' Anthy...

Revolutionary Girl Utena has been published and republished by different companies and in different languages - by now there are two mangas, an anime series and a film - all different! The manga is also popular in France, adding a third language into the mix of results. This was partly due to its popularity, partly due to rights and translation issues, partly just bad luck - but the result is a confusing mess. Add in a bewildering array of art books and music soundtracks only published in Japan, with a variety of title translations and a guide to the publications and merchandise is desperately needed!

The anime and movie were originally released by Central Park Media, and then the rights to the anime were bought by Nozomi Entertainment/RightStuf who are now releasing the remastered series in limited edition collections.

Utena is quite surreal and depends heavily on motif and metaphor and often allows to imagery to stand in for events and has a very strong rose motif - Anthy is the Rose Bride, the duelists wear rose rings, and roses grow around the school, among other things. The first thirteen episodes are light, fun and predictable, following a fairly standard magical girl 'school girl fighting duels' plot. But episodes 14-39 are slightly more adult and a lot darker (but still completely PG). For a long time, they were considered not 'suitable' for an American audience, so it is only recently that English versions were published.

Which Version Do You Recommend? - Manga, anime or film?

Which of the four versions of Revolutionary Girl Utena do you recommend?

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Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Manga - The original manga series by Chiho Saito and Be-Papas

The five-volume manga was written by Be-Papas and illustrated by Chiho Saito in 1995 and released in English in 2000. It was heavily inspired by The Rose of Versailles about a young noblewoman raised as a man (which has still not been released to an English market and is only available in French and Japanese). The manga is much more shoujo-ai than yuri, and any lesbian relationship between Anthy and Utena is almost entirely subtext - but a subtext strong enough to inspire more overtness in the film and anime.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 1: To Till
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 1: To Till

In the first adventure in the historic series, Utena faces a sword duel, an unwelcome engagement, and a mandate to revolutionize the world!

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 2: To Plant
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 2: To Plant

Utena gains entry to the Ohtori Academy's inner circle - the sword-fighting student council. Destiny seems to have brought her together with council leader Touga, but is she merely a pawn in his mysterious scheme?

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 3 (2nd Edition): To Sprout
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 3 (2nd Edition): To Sprout

The point at which the series becomes less sweet, fluffy and predictable.

Utena finds herself closer to the prince she so desperately seeks. Meanwhile, she must try to repel Touga's romantic advances and figure out what role the new boy, Akio, will play in her life.

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 4: To Bud
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 4: To Bud

Still searching for the elusive prince who saved her life as a young girl, Utena faces her toughest challenge yet: the romantic overtures of Akio Ohtori. Can she trust the handsome but rakish older man? And if so, will he be able to help her ascend to the Castle in the Sky? After a night of passion, Utena hopes the power of love will change her destiny. But is she ready to participate in the Consummation Ceremony?

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 5: To Blossom (Revolutionary Girl Utena (Graphic Novels))
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Vol. 5: To Blossom (Revolutionary Girl Utena (Graphic Novels))

Utena has now met her prince and discovered the secret behind World's End. Accompanied by her friend Anthy and her sword Dios, she's ready to revolutionize the world, unless fate has other plans.

 

A scan from the third book in the original manga

A scan from the third book in the original manga "I'll win, you know" "I won't lose"
A scan from the third book in the original manga "I'll win, you know" "I won't lose"

French: La Fillette Rvolutionnaire - Would you like to read the manga in French?

Japanese: Shoujo Kakumei Utena - If you prefer manga in the original Japanese, the complete manga series is also available

The Adolescence of Utena: Manga

A single graphic novel to go with the movie version of Utena


Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Adolesence of Utena is a standalone graphic novel from Be-Papas that retells the story of Utena yet again, and is similar to the movie version.

Handy for those who want their Utena in a single book, and with lovely art from Chiho Saito (and a lot of roses!), this manga also emphasises the fact that Anthy is definitely bisexual and interested in Utena, not just pairing off 'officially' with whoever wins her! And the cover makes that a lot more obvious, too.

The character page from one of the original Revolutionary Girl Utena manga books
The character page from one of the original Revolutionary Girl Utena manga books

Utena's Influences

Anime and Manga that inspired Utena

On the manga:

  • The Rose of Versailles, which follows the story of a girl raised as a French nobleman, who frequently dueled.

  • Kaze To Ki No Uta, the first yaoi manga.

On the anime:

  • Sailor Moon

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Original Anime Releases

A guide to the original DVD collections of the television series

The anime has 39 episodes and originally aired in 1997 on VLC, but episodes 14 onwards were not translated into English until November 2000, due to the 'disturbing' implied sexuality (homosexuality, incest and strongly implied sexual activity) of the characters. The remaining individual episodes were released (and re-released) on three episode DVDs in 2002 and 2003 by Software Sculptors.

Directed by the creator of Sailor Moon, Utena is an ideal next step for older fans.

Confusingly it has been re-released more than once and the rights have changed hands enough times to complicate the list of DVDs!

The series falls into three parts: The Student Council Saga or Red Rose Saga (1-12), the Black Rose Saga and the Apocalypse Saga.

Central Park Media released The Rose Collection Vol. 1 and The Rose Collection Vol. 2 (covering the Student Council Saga), The Black Rose Saga and The Apocalypse Saga Collection, under the name Software Sculptors.

The remastered series is being re-released by Nozomi Entertainment/RightStuf in limited edition collections (such as the black and red version just above).



The DVD Collections from Software Sculptures

Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection Vol. 1
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection Vol. 1

Run Time: 170 minutes

Contains episodes 1-7

A logical step for the young fan of anime is this series from the creator of the popular crossover hit Sailor Moon. The story line skews slightly older, not for its violence but for its complexity. The theme is modern mythology, not intergalactic warfare, so it's more interesting and less violent than in Sailor Moon. And less bubble-headed. Our heroine, Utena, is admired by classmates who share Sailor Moon's giddy hysterics, but Utena herself is solid, noble, and strong.

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection Vol. 2
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection Vol. 2

Run Time: 144 minutes

Contains episodes 8-13

Our noble heroine, Utena, is drawn into a series of bloodless fencing duels, the winner receiving the loyalty of Anthy, the mysterious Rose Bride. Being the first winning female Duelist, Utena has some peculiarities to resolve, sometimes quite comically. Nevertheless, she wants to free Anthy of her obligation and allow her to be a regular student, much to the chagrin of the shadowy student council who dub themselves "End of the World."

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Black Rose Saga DVD Collection
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Black Rose Saga DVD Collection

Run Time: 325 minutes

Contains episodes 14-26

Utena is about to enter a life beyond her wildest dreams- a world of danger and mystery where her best friend is a trophy bride to any swordfighter who can win her. Armed with a magical sword and ring, Utena undertakes a mission to save her friend. But in this world, treachery is never far behind, and nothing is ever what it seems.

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Apocalypse Saga Collection
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Apocalypse Saga Collection

Run Time: 325 minutes

Contains episodes 27-39

The final Utena story arc! Utena is about to solve the mystery behind her best friend's enslavement, the secret duels, and the forces that have manipulated her life from the beginning!

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena Anime: Remastered Limited Editions

Remastered versions of the Utena anime series

Nozomi Entertainment/RightStuf recently released much higher quality limited edition boxed sets.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, Set 2: The Black Rose Saga L.E.
Revolutionary Girl Utena, Set 2: The Black Rose Saga L.E.

The second of the three limited edition sets, the Black Rose Sage Set contains episodes 13-24.

 
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Apocalypse Saga Box Set 3 Limited Edition
Revolutionary Girl Utena: Apocalypse Saga Box Set 3 Limited Edition

The third and final set contains the remaining episodes.

 

Adolescence of Utena - (Also known as Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie)

The film, Adolescence of Utena (also known as Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Movie) was released in 1999. The film is a very loose retelling of the original series. It can be seen as an alternate version, or a continuation of the series, and refers to the television anime enough to be confusing to newcomers.

Utena arrives at the school as normal, but after that the story skips along a bit faster, and somewhat parallel to the original. It can be thought of as simply a different version, rewritten to fit into a film, but fans also consider it to take place in the 'land of the dead', with the players re-enacting their lives, with a twist. It is by far the most obvious in its portrayal of a lesbian relationship between Anthy and Utena, possibly reflecting a gradual increase in acceptance in the US market.

Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection/The Movie Boxed Set
Revolutionary Girl Utena - The Rose Collection/The Movie Boxed Set

This boxed set includes the movie and the first thirteen episodes of the television series (these were a lot less dark, and more widely liked).

 
An illustration from the Revolutionary Girl Utena art book
An illustration from the Revolutionary Girl Utena art book

The Art of Utena

There are several artbooks featuring Chiho Saito's art available

While the people are angular and impossibly long legged, it is more accessible than most manga, and one of the few I would willing buy the art books from. Some of its quality and enduring appeal shows in the fact that the original artist also drew the movie-tie in manga, and the official art books of the film, years after the rights were bought and the anime created.

The artwork of Utena is generally very beautiful, but the black and white line art of the anime is not where it shines best (although the layout and panels are often dramatic and well composed). The most amazing art is reserved for the art books.

Unfortunately it is hard to track the books down - partly because they were published in Japan, partly because the only place to buy them is secondhand and partly because the title translations vary (bear in mind that Shoujo Kakumei Utena means Revolutionary Girl Utena and that Bara means rose).

  • Utena: This is Animation or Shoujo Kakumei Utena Bara no Kokuhaku (Confessions of the Rose), is from the anime and the art is mainly screenshots (or cel art), and features character profiles. 104 pages (88 color). The cover has a topless Utena against a red background. ISBN: 4-09-101543-3

Art of Utena
Art of Utena
  • Art of Utena is the only Utena art book currently listed on Amazon. It is a 112 page book about the creation of the anime, and is a combination of sketchesm anime posters and final work. It has a brown and white cover (visible on right). ISBN: 4-56-873008-2


  • Revolutionary Girl Utena Art Collection is mostly finished promotional art for the anime series. The cover is half pink, half white, with two pictures of Utena each side of the title in the bottom pink half. This is probably the sleeve for the Bara no Zenbou Illustration Collection (Bara no Zenbou = story of the Rose), which has a white cover with pink sketches and text. 144 pages (100 color). ISBN: 4-7897-1392-X

The making of Utena art book

Newtype Ultimate Collection or Adolescence Mokushiroku or Utena: ou l'Apocalypse de l'adolecence contains finished illustrations, mainly cel art and screen shots, and some sketches from the movie. features a 'cuter' Anthy holding a sleeping Utena against a white background. 112 pages (66 color) ISBN: 4-04-85316-7

The Adolescence Mokushiroku movie book was only available at the movie premiere and is 148 pages pages long (32 color). It features cast profiles and character interviews.

Romance Symphony is another art book by Chiho Saito, that doesn't focus on Utena but is still very worth checking out.

The Saito Chiho "Luxury" Illustration Collection (or La Fillete Revolutionnaire Luxury Art Book) is large and full of poster-like, full colour pages from both the anime and the movie (this is the one I've got, see below for the photos) and has a beautiful cover of Utena holding Anthy, and holding out a blue glass shield. 32 colour pages. ISBN: 4-09-199682-5

The cover of the Saito Chiho Luxury Art Book
The cover of the Saito Chiho Luxury Art Book

Saito Chiho "Luxury" Illustration Collection

A review and photos of a Revolutionary Girl Utena Art Book

I own one Utena art book, the La Fillete Revolutionnaire Luxury Art Book, which I bought second hand. A shame, because the cardboard casing is battered, and the pages are falling out, but the art is as lovely as ever, and second hand is the only way to buy them now (this particular one is rare, and I was very lucky to get it).

Unfortunately the names of the books are all basically the same, when badly translated from the Japanese (and the texts aren't translated at all), so you'll need to identify them by their covers. This one simply has 'La Fillete Revolutionaire' on the cover, and the artist's name.

The illustrations are incredible - this is almost entirely poster-style, full page illustrations, plus one page of 'cute' little images. I have put up photos of the contents below. There are 32 full colour illustrations inside, as well as the front and back cover and the front of the case. The pages themselves are stiff glossy paper - many of mine are loose, so they could easily be removed for posters.

Utena and Anthy on the cover of the actual art book itself

Utena and Anthy on the cover of the actual book itself, inside the cardboard sleeve
Utena and Anthy on the cover of the actual book itself, inside the cardboard sleeve

Illustrations from the Revolutionary Girl Utena art book, by Chiho Saito

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Music from Revolutionary Girl Utena - The series and film had distinctive orchestral and vocal music

Shojo Kakumei Utena-Sta Mani Series
Shojo Kakumei Utena-Sta Mani Series

Shoujo Kakumei Utena is a selection of the best songs from Utena. It is a good sampling, but you can find all the songs on other CDs.

 

Collect all the music of Utena in one go!

Shojo Kakumei Utena Complete CD Box
Shojo Kakumei Utena Complete CD Box

The Shojo Kakumei Utena Complete CD Box features ten CDs collecting remastered versions of the original soundtracks and is ideal for someone who wants ALL the music, but doesn't have any yet. Like so much of Utena's merchandise, it was only released in Japan.

 

Contains all the songs!

Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Eve of the Absolute Evolution Revolution is the first anime soundtrack CD.

A cheerful and varied variety of songs, including background music and full length versions of all the vocal songs from the anime and the movie. If you like the songs in Utena, get this one.

The partner CD, Virtual Star Embryology, focuses on the dueling songs.

 
Utena 2: Virtual Star Embryology
Utena 2: Virtual Star Embryology

The dueling songs from the television series.

 

Download Utena Songs

Most of the songs are only available on Audio CD, but these three can be downloaded in Mp3.

All the other Utena CDs!

Utena the Movie - Adolescence Rush
Utena the Movie - Adolescence Rush

The sound track to the movie.

 
Utena: Angel Creation, Namely Light
Utena: Angel Creation, Namely Light

Mainly remixes from the anime, but the only single CD with "Missing Link"

 
Anthy Himemaya from the Luxury Art Book, by Chiho Saito
Anthy Himemaya from the Luxury Art Book, by Chiho Saito

© 2014 FlynntheCat1

Comments - Any reason why?

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think the anime series is definitely the best, most touching, amazing thing, but I enjoyed the movie. As for the manga series, it was conusing and boring comapred to the anime, but I'm not big on manga anyway. I did, however, enjoy the Adolescence manga, based on the movie, better than the manga series or the movie. It was slightly less symbolic and more of a delightful story. Anime series tops all, however.

      Lils

      P.S. The show isn't really that PG, because it suggests really adult things, but I child might not understand. I'd say it's for mature audiences.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I think the tv show has the fullest realization of the story, if that makes sense. More of the story can be explored as a tv show than as a manga or movie.