12 Moments in 2011: The Return of Utena

For anime fans in America, there are a few key titles that have never been licensed; last year’s Secret Santa project Dennou Coil comes to mind for instance. And there are anime that will never ever come over here, like pretty much anything bearing the name Macross (thanks, Harmony Gold). And then there are some that just plain lapse, and those can be scariest of all: often they don’t get rescued, fall into some sort of licensing hell, and the chances of ever seeing them get worse than the chances of a dub of Macross Dynamite 7.

Cardcaptor Sakura, anyone?

Revolutionary Girl Utena seemed like one of those lost licenses — formerly ubiquitous in the anime section at the video store but now increasingly unavailable — but then, Nozomi stepped in and saved the day. Not only that, they put the legendary series into a pretty nice 3-part set with tons of extra material, Ikuhara interviews, and a great looking package, easily the best it’s ever looked here in the States. It’s been a while since I picked up an anime set that I haven’t seen in person, isn’t on sale, and comes in 3 boxes, no questions asked. But for Utena? 2011 was a good year for the Be-Papas crew, and for US fans this is one of the reasons.

Fuck these (10) Comments.

  1. Shinmaru says:

    Nozomi is basically my favorite U.S. anime company now, and this is a huge reason why. They put a lot of love and care into this set — they went all out for everything. It’s easily the best box set of anime I own.

    • otou-san says:

      It might be mine too; it’s the only one that comes close to rivaling the Bandai/Honneamise set of Gunbuster, my previously undisputed nicest box.

  2. omo says:

    Nozomi knows the value in a good product. But until they go high-def they will never be my favorite.

    As far as Utena goes, I think a high-definition release (for Japan anyway) is right around the corner. The material is pre-digital for the most part so it should be a significant boost, especially since they’ve remastered it.

    • otou-san says:

      I do hope they go that route as well. As was proposed today on twitter by Hisui from Reverse Thieves, I would still buy a hypothetical Penguindrum from them if it only came on DVD, but I would much prefer a BD.

      Penguindrum is obvious, but is there a huge benefit to going high-def with pre-digital material?

      • kimaguresan says:

        I’m not sure I’d need a hi-def release of something originally shot in standard def. Re-mastering of old films that are re-digitized to hi-def are pretty nifty, but for me to re-buy it, it would have to be a re-master and not a quick to make money upscale.

        I’m really happy with the DVD release, and it looks great.

  3. animekritik says:

    This series is certainly a cash-cow. I myself bought me the manga series this year… It’s just the kind of thing you want to have a piece of.

    • otou-san says:

      I think the fact that it’s so jam-packed with “information” (symbolism, double-entendres, meanings that don’t instantly reveal themselves) make it seem not only more of a “value,” but something worth going back to again and again. I’m definitely more likely to buy something that I feel I’ll get a few viewings out of.

  4. kadian1364 says:

    To go from easily the worst DVD set in my entire collection to one of the best is quite the turn around.

  5. The Kenosha Kid says:

    My final Utena box set arrived just a couple of days ago. I’ve got the ring sitting on my desk right now. So effing happy.