Do you know? Do you know? Have you heard the news?
Inspired by Vrai’s series of Utena analyses, I’m trying to make Utena magic happen on the Interwebs, and I want each and every one of you to be a part of it. Hit the jump for the full story and how you can slip on your rose signet and join us in the arena.
The First Duelist
I recently learned that Vrai Kaiser (vraik on tumblr) is doing a series of weekly posts called “The Consulting Analyst” where they provide commentary and analysis on each episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena. The posts are excellent, and if you’ve seen Utena before then I highly recommend heading to Vrai’s Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories blog and checking them out. The introductory post explains the intent and formatting of the series, so it’s a good place to start.
Please do note that Vrai’s posts assume that you’ve already watched Utena in its entirety, so there are spoilers for the series sprinkled throughout the individual episode posts. If you’ve never seen Utena, then you may want to wait to read these, although I do still recommend checking out that Introduction (which I have linked to again because, seriously, click it already), as it gives you a good idea of what the show is about and why it’s worth watching.
An Invitation to the Arena
Which brings me to the second reason I’m writing in today: To let you know that Vrai’s posts have inspired me to rewatch Utena along with them, and to in turn encourage all of you to (re)watch along with us. If you’ve seen the show before, you know that it’s worthy of multiple viewings; and if you haven’t, oh boy, are you in for an experience. It’s the Great Utena Watch Party, and I want to invite all of you to to be a part of it.
Part of the goal of this Watch Party is to increase Utena visibility; for all that it’s a hugely influential work and (I would argue) one of the best and most important anime out there, it hasn’t seen the level of popular exposure that many of the other ‘90s anime greats (like Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, or Sailor Moon) have seen. And this is a shame, because it’s a uniquely excellent series, full of dynamic, layered characters, a great blend of humor and drama, gorgeous music, and artwork both beautiful and meaningful, packed with imagery and allegory. It’s also one of my favorite feminist narratives in any medium, anime or otherwise, as important if not more so than its predecessor, Sailor Moon.
But as everyone knows, watch parties are more fun when you’re with your friends. So in addition to Vrai’s posts (which all you Utena veterans should have already read by the time you got to this paragraph), I’ll be posting my own spoiler-free analysis and commentary to help guide newbies through the sometimes-puzzling waters of this excellent series. Vrai has even given me permission to include snippets from their blog as well, so those of you who haven’t seen the series can read some spoiler-free bits from that analysis, too.
But don’t let us steal the spotlight–all of you to share your thoughts as well. Blog, Tweet, and Tumble about Utena. Write up your own reactions, either from seeing the show for the first time or watching it again. Let’s get this series firmly back on the anime radar, so it can sit up there with other oft-watched classics where it belongs.
But First, A Marathon!
Now there is one slight snag here, which is that we’re starting the party a little late here. Vrai has already completed commentary on the Student Council Saga (the first 12 episodes), so I have a bit of catching up to do. But in this age of binge-watching, I figure twelve 24-minute episodes is nothin’. So let’s do this! I’ll have posts out every day this week, covering at least two episodes per post. I encourage you to watch along with me.
If you’re like me and have your own box sets (such as the amazing Limited Edition DVDs, complete with artwork and creator commentary) then you’ll have no problem keeping up. Nozomi Entertainment has also posted the entire series subbed on YouTube.
Share the news! Reblog! Retweet! Encourage your friends on and offline to join in! Let’s smash some world shells and revolutionize some worlds. Utena certainly deserves it.
Content Warning for violence and abuse both physical and sexual, most of it involving children/teens. Utena uses these elements for thematic purposes (not just for shock value), most of it is heavily implied rather than graphically depicted, and the series in no way condones the abusive behavior portrayed, so I strongly encourage you to give it a try regardless, but I did want to make sure you were aware of it beforehand.
Do you know? Have you heard? You can click here for a complete list of all the Utena Watch Party posts!