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Old 14-11-2002, 03:31 AM   #1   [permalink]
Shale
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Black Rose Saga DVD!

Well, I finally got my hands on a new Utena DVD, and I have nothing better to do than obsess over it.

OK, technically I have homework, but we're not going to go into that. Anyway, I'm mainly focusing on the dub, technical issues and bonus features here, because I've already seen the episodes three or four times each and can't really look at them as new content.

The episodes are great, though. The Nanami episode on this disc is just plain weird, and not as funny as it could be, but the other three are very good. New characters are introduced well - particularly one very important player in the overall story - and two old ones get some nice development. This is the best part of the Black Rose Arc, I think, since it gets fairly repetitive later on. Good translation, too, and the dub is getting better, although overall it's not good by any means.
In more detail...
The dub script is very well done - it sticks to the sub whenever possible, and rewrites are minimal, with little, if any, difference in meaning.
Rachael Lillis is really growing into the role of Utena. If she keeps up this level of improvement, she'll be able to take a decent stab at the (extremely challenging) final two episodes, and possibly episode 33.
Akio's actor is decent, but all he has to do at the moment is forced cheerfulness, and his success at the "forced" part may be due to an inability to sound any more natural. We'll see how he does when the kid gloves come off later in the series. Episode 25 will be his trial by fire.
Anthy's actress still sucks. She really doesn't get that the character is far more complex than "cold," and unless she gets some serious direction, she's just going to keep screwing up.
Mikage was miscast. He acts well enough, but sounds like a radio announcer.
Mamiya was grievously miscast, for reasons that will become clear later. Decent actor, though.
Kanae is easily the worst actor on the dub. She only has three scenes to do, and two of them are easy; she has to be cheerful in the first, and grim in the third. The second is the only one that actually requires her to act; she has to transition slowly from repressed frustration and anger to outright hysteria and rage. Moreover, this is the first of a series of eight such scenes over the course of the arc, so it has to be done right, to set the stage for the rest. The dub actress, one Elizabeth Tarpon, starts out perky, by some horrible mistake of direction - she might as well be chatting with her friends - and makes an immediate switch to a teary breakdown. Very forced and not at all in keeping with the original performance. Thankfully, this is the only part of the dub I can say that about.
Now, the disc itself.

First off, anybody who knows Central Park Media should know that they have two bad habits about their DVDs - I'm glad to say that the first, a tendency to put in far too few chapter stops on series discs, has been corrected. Each episode has six chapters, and the opening and closing credits are finally skippable. Naturally they're doing this when I'd watch them anyway, but it's still nice.
The other bad habit, unfortunately, is still there. Selecting a language from the menu kicks you straight to the first episode on the disc; very annoying.

Another thing to be grateful for - song lyrics are no longer hard-subtitled; they can finally be turned off if you so choose, although you have to turn off all subtitles to do so, and it can't be done from the disc's menu.

Speaking of menus, these are very mixed. Good design and nice looping backgrounds; particularly the main menu, which uses some of the original art as part of the background. Two major problems, though - first, the soundtrack for the menus often includes clips fromt he dub. Bad clips. Really bad clips. Second, if you get to the point where the background and music loop back to the beginning, the menu transition plays again. For the main menu, this takes a good thirty seconds. Ugh.

The extras are cool - an art gallery is always appreciated, especially when the art is this good, although I could ask for a few more pictures. The biography of Chiso Saito is great, providing interesting history on both her and the Utena project. There's also an interview with Wakaba's English actress, which is pretty much useless. She obviously knows next to nothing about the series - she thinks the Black Rose arc was made after the movie - and can't even pronounce her character's name properly.
What could have been the best extra - an interview with series creator and director Kunohito Ikuhara - isn't, unfortunately. CPM has decided to spread the interview out over multiple discs, so there's a whole minute of it on this. Boo!

One random thing to round this rant off: CPM changed the series' logo, which is good. The old one looked really childish, although the replacement is a bit too reminiscent of Eva for my tastes. Needs more roses. And they've finally decided on a format for the title during the opening credits, which is also good.

That's my two cents. Feel free to agree, argue, or ignore.
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Old 14-11-2002, 04:06 AM   #2   [permalink]
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Quote:
Mikage was miscast. He acts well enough, but sounds like a radio announcer.
bwahahahahahha, so true where in the hell did you come up with that lol
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Old 14-11-2002, 04:23 PM   #3   [permalink]
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Need to get the Black Rose arc on DVD at some point..., but probably after Christmas..., my credit card is smoking through over use at the moment...,
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Old 14-11-2002, 07:50 PM   #4   [permalink]
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well as soon as i get home im ordering the next black rosesaga dvd (which i found out is being released january yay!!!!
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Old 14-11-2002, 08:13 PM   #5   [permalink]
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Thank God Rachel Lillis is still supporting well with Utena. I was wondering to see how she would do. BTW, I think CPM should change the first 2 DVD covers because the covers look too pink and fluffy for the taste of Shoujo Kakumei Utena...Sure, created by the directors of Sailor Moon, but it doesn't have to look like it...
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Old 15-11-2002, 01:04 AM   #6   [permalink]
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yes the have rther ugly covers dont you agree very unprofessional
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Old 23-11-2002, 07:34 PM   #7   [permalink]
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The thing that bothered me most about the dub is the sudden change on how they pronounce Anthy's family name. It goes from being 'Him-A-mE-uh' to being 'Hi-mom-E-uh'. Every time they said it, I wanted to scream!

As for my thoughts on the episodes (Well, so far I've only seen the first three of four on the dvd):

-I miss Touga and Saionji. As much as I disliked them at times, I still miss them.

-Is it just me or has the animation style changed? The eyes look different to me, and I don't think it's a change for the better. The eyelashes look flatter.

-Anthy's voice acting seems to be getting worse. I liked it for the first 2 dvds, but it seems to be lacking something.

-I'm thoroughly confused by who's who. The whole Dios/Akio/Anthy thing gets sooo messed up. Who's that guy(girl?) who's talking to Mikage about the black rose down in that basement place?

-I really don't like C-ko... A-ko and B-ko were obnoxious, but I could stand them. However, I really don't like how they put C-ko on the same scenes where Utena and Co. are.


A lot of these are small changes, but I liked how Utena was. I don't mind the plot changes and the difference in the way duels are done. *shrug* I guess I just believe that you don't mess with a good thing.
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Old 23-11-2002, 11:18 PM   #8   [permalink]
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Quote:
said Hitomi_333
I guess I just believe that you don't mess with a good thing.
And I was starting to think I was the only one who thought that anymore.

Hmm... I thought the animation was a bit different after the Seitokai eps too, but I thought it was better. Guess I didn't really notice any changes in the eyes. *shrug* But the hair is definitely drawn better, and I think it continues to improve throughout the series. Wait till you see the detail in Utena's hair in some of the later eps, starting around the middle of the BR arc... there are actually individual strands, not just big transparent chunks. *gasp*

Man, I can't wait to get the DVDs. Currently I have eps 1-4 dubbed and the rest subbed, and VHS only... I greatly prefer the subs of course, but I always thought the dubs were, at the least, amusing. Just a different spin on things, which entertains me, I guess. And I've been waiting to hear what some of the dialogs from ep 5 through the end would sound like dubbed (can't think of examples at the moment...). I'm easily amused, I guess.
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Old 24-11-2002, 01:37 AM   #9   [permalink]
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hitomi_333

-I'm thoroughly confused by who's who. The whole Dios/Akio/Anthy thing gets sooo messed up. Who's that guy(girl?) who's talking to Mikage about the black rose down in that basement place?
His name's Mamiya, and you're not supposed to know anything about him other than that. As for the animation style, I didn't really notice a change, but I switched from DVD to VHS at this point, so that might cancel it out.
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Old 24-11-2002, 01:49 AM   #10   [permalink]
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by the end of the series tha animation greatly improves [SPOILERS]
**refers to dearly beloved juri** when juri throws away her locket the animation there is bloody fantastic, hmm and so is the shower scene [/SPOILERS]
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Old 25-11-2002, 01:06 AM   #11   [permalink]
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I finally watched the 4th episode on the dvd. It was so great! Poor Juri! Juri has always been one of my favorites and I was dying to see what happened with Shiori.

Hmm... the animation didn't bother me at all in this last episode, maybe I was being overly critical. Or perhaps it was only certain scenes in the other episodes where the eyes seemed different.
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Old 25-11-2002, 06:04 AM   #12   [permalink]
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yeah i totally agree that juri is wonderul, and the animation did become better as the animators gained more skill as they went further into the series
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