YOU FIGHT LIKE A COW
YOU FIGHT LIKE A COW
YOU FIGHT LIKE A COW
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The Japanese laserdisc release of Revolutionary Girl Utena came absolutely packed with amazing content. Much of it got translated for the Nozomi western releases of the DVD and Blu-ray, however these liner notes of various episodes were not included among the translated resources. They've been tackled instead by coriolisky! I am not sure whether all the episodes got these little pieces, what is translated here is mostly the ending run of the Black Rose Saga, through the Akio Arc, and somewhat into the Apocalypse Arc.

Thank you so much to coriolisky for these translations! They're hosted with permission, from posts originally made to coriolisky's Tumblr.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 20, “WAKABA FLOURISHING”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L'Apocalypse 6” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was August 13, 1997.

In the second half of Wakaba’s arc, it takes a sudden turn for the dramatic. Wakaba’s secret love and the collapse of it lead to the duel. Because she’s a dear friend to Utena, it’s a painful battle.

There are many highlights in this episode, from another close-up on Saionji’s character, to Wakaba shining in her daily school life, to the pure relationship the two of them share while cohabiting as roommates in the same dorm.

In the 20th episode, along with the 21st, Tsukimura Ryoue was in charge of the script. When it comes to showing the darkness that even the most good-natured people hold in their hearts, he can handle it. With Tsukimura’s emphasis on heavy drama and Yamaguchi Ryouta’s preference for light comedy, the combination of yin and yang elements here represents Shoujo Kakumei Utena’s balance of light and dark.

In this episode, the scene where Utena stretches her legs while chatting with Wakaba is a bridge that leads to the scene where she talks to Akio. In other episodes as well, the visual of Utena exercising during her conversations is all thanks to Hashimoto Katsuyo and his storyboards.


EXPLANATION OF 21, “TROUBLESOME INSECTS”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 6” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was August 20, 1997.

This is an episode about Keiko, one of Nanami’s three followers. In the Black Duelists’ names, words used to identify parts of greenery and plants are found. For example, the character for “branch” can be seen in Shiori’s name, the character for “vine” in Mitsuru’s, and the character for “leaf” in Wakaba’s.

Between Keiko, Aiko, and Yuuko, only Keiko shares that similarity in her name, with the character for “stem”, because it was decided that she was the only one who would become a Duelist.

Sakurai Hiroaki, known for Akazukin Chacha and Nurse Angel Ririka, was responsible for the direction in this episode. He’s especially adept at portraying the sentimental feelings depicted in shoujo manga and working with that.

After the party scene, when Nanami and her followers are hassling Utena, Aiko says, “Myo myo myooon,” which is a meaningless line that often shows up in Sakurai Hiroaki’s work. Aiko said everything she needed to Nanami, Keiko, and Yuuko, so she couldn’t think of anything further to say after that.

Anthy’s last line, “For someone you love, your feelings for any other people become insignificant. You can deceive yourself as much as you need,” is very revealing of her true nature.

Also, when the duel starts, Anthy is holding a parasol, but even in the midst of it, her parasol is flying in midair with the others. That’s a small artistic detail that stands out.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 22, “NEMURO MEMORIAL HALL”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 7” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was August 27, 1997.

The drama of Mikage Souji’s past and the beginning of the plans concerning “the power to revolutionize the world” unfold in this episode. The delicate mood is characteristic of scriptwriter Enokido’s style.

“Time” and “eternity” are important motifs here, and the steeped color of the tea that Mikage and Tokiko drink when they first meet — even though time is passing normally by the hourglass — is quite significant. In Mikage’s world, has the flow of time become slower?

What deserves special mention is something that appears frequently in film, the vaunted “distinguishing touch.” One of director Ikuhara’s distinguishing touches is his tendency to say, “This has a deep meaning,” but whether it actually does or not is left uncertain. The trace of lipstick on Tokiko’s cup seems like an example of this.

It could have a deep meaning, or it could be something that Ikuhara went out of his way to establish as having no such significance instead. In Mikage’s flashback, hasn’t Akio left his own distinguishing touch of sexual innuendo as well? However you choose to think of it, it’s very characteristic of Utena, and carries impact in its form of expression.

“Mikage Souji” is a pseudonym that Professor Nemuro assumed by himself after burning down the Nemuro Memorial Hall. With his lingering sense of regret towards Tokiko, he took the first character of her name, “time,” and inserted it into his own.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 23, “QUALIFICATIONS OF A DUELIST”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 7” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was September 3, 1997.

This is the final episode of the Black Rose Arc. Freezing time and living in the memories of his own past, Mikage Souji’s story is awash in sadness. Valuing her own dear memories, Utena lashes out at Mikage. So then, what meaning do Utena’s memories hold to her? This dialogue forms just the first part of this episode.

The last part of the episode holds the shocking revelation of Mamiya’s true identity. Since Anthy was living a double life both as herself and as Mamiya, that’s most likely why she was falling asleep in the morning as seen here and in episode 21.

In the beginning of the second half of this episode, there’s a wall decorated with pictures of all the Duelists. It’s visible in the Nemuro Memorial Hall during the scene where Utena hits Mikage.

In the faraway shot of that wall, the pictures change in a strange way. The new pictures reflect the faces of the production team in charge of the show. What was the point of using those pictures?

From this episode onwards, the chorus song is a medley between Engeki Jikkenshitsu/Banyuu Inryoku and Tokyo Konsei Gasshodan helmed by J.A. Seazer. This is also an arrangement by J.A. Seazer that has never been used before. The power of J.A. Seazer’s music has a wide-reaching effect.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 24, "NANAMI-SAMA SECRET DIARY"

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 7” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was September 10, 1997.

This is a breather episode between the second and third arc. The idea was that while Utena and everyone else reads Tsuwabuki’s diary, Nanami’s bad deeds are revealed one after the other.

Since all memories of the Black Rose duelists were wiped clean, leaving everyone unable to tell whether it happened or not, this clip show episode didn’t use any footage from the duels.

At the end of episode 8, “Curried High Trip,” it’s a big mystery as to why an elephant blew away the curry powder, or why an elephant was even at Ohtori Academy to begin with.

In this episode, we added to that mystery by showing Suzuki, Yamada, Tanaka, and an elephant eating the curry that Utena and Anthy made as cooking practice. That’s right! Even before the “curry incident” at Ohtori Academy, there was an elephant in the first place. That elephant just seems to like curry.

Since they ate Anthy’s curry, they probably switched personalities with that three-headed elephant.

When they blew away the curry powder with a snort, were Suzuki, Yamada, and Tanaka just so happy to return back to their human forms that they got carried away?

If you look closely at the three-headed elephant after it blows away the curry powder, it’s wearing the same glasses as Suzuki, Yamada, and Tanaka. So when Nanami was attacked by the elephant in India earlier, were Suzuki, Yamada, and Tanaka to blame?


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 25, “THEIR ETERNAL APOCALYPSE”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 7” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was September 17, 1997.

This episode starts the third part of the series, the Ohtori Akio Arc — or as we call it, the Sportscar Arc.

This is an exciting episode that features a powered-up lead-in to the dueling grounds, an explosion of creepiness from Akio, a baseball match, and the reappearance of A-ko and B-ko.

There are three art directors who worked on this episode, but Aizawa Masahiro handled the majority of it. Hasegawa Shinya directed the scene leading up to the duel, and Nagahama Hiroshi took care of the Akio Car scenes.

Starting from this episode, the chorus “Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku” will be sung by Engeki Jikkenshitsu/Banyuu Inryoku and Tokyo Konsei Gasshodan. Also, the version of “Virtual Star Embryology” used in the duel scene is different from the one used in the new ending theme. The former is sung by Engeki Jikkenshitsu/Banyuu Inryoku, and the latter’s vocals are provided by Uetani Maki.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 26, “THE SUNLIT GARDEN: ARRANGEMENT”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 8” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was September 24, 1997.

Continuing from episode 4’s “The Sunlit Garden: Prelude” and episode 5’s “The Sunlit Garden: Finale,” this is the third and final episode. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say, this is the final episode of the Miki & Kozue arc that episode 5 and episode 15, “Landscape Framed by Kozue”, led up to.

According to Enokido Youji, the subtitle of this episode, “Arrangement,” is a reference to Miki and the change he begins to undergo thanks to Akio’s intervention.

From the start, Kozue’s sexuality has been at the forefront of her character, but it’s taken a step further in this episode due to her meeting with Akio. Hayashi Akemi’s art enhances this effect, giving this episode a strong sexual magnetism.

From this episode, in order to have Utena and Anthy, the Rose Bride, fight together, Utena’s opponents bring partners up to the dueling platform too. These partners serve as the Duelist’s “Rose Bride.” The strength of the sword that the Rose Bride pulls from the Duelist appears to be linked to the strength of their relationship.

In the beginning of this episode, Akio and Touga talk of a “golden goose,” but they’re referring to their own swords that they’ve fought with, not the Sword of Dios that Utena possesses.

Instead, the Sword of Dios is likely “the golden egg,” according to them. This also seems to be linked to the change in Utena and Anthy’s relationship. So when Akio asks Anthy, “What do you think of her?”, it’s precisely because of that knowledge.

That chopped-up tree in regards to Miki; the birds’ nest that Kozue made. The birds that Kozue tried to save. There are many visual metaphors in this episode.

The line, “That’s true, but I’m more…” at the start of the episode, and the line at the end, “But Miki is more…” along with Utena’s twice-repeated “More…” has a deep significance.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 27, “NANAMI’S EGG”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 8” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was October 1, 1997.

Ah, the familiar “Nanami episode,” thanks to the combined efforts of Yamaguchi Ryouta and Nishikiori Hiroshi.

This episode has a strong surreal edge to it. It’s also an episode where you could say Nanami’s cuter side comes out in full force. The highlights include Tsuwabuki’s dance and Juri’s line, “My ball.” The idea that all girls eventually lay eggs was inspired from an independent film that director Ikuhara did in his student days.

Viewers were taken off guard by the usage of “Dona Dona” in “Cowbell of Happiness,” but this time, we inserted once-famous ballads like “Konnichiwa Aka-chan” and “Yoake no Scat.” The ballad “Yoake no Scat” is used twice, but the “la la la” scat at the beginning was new and supplied by the producer of TV Tokyo, Kobayashi Atsuko. The background chorus vocals were done by Ikuhara and sound director Tanaka. This was a diversion from the preconceived sound it had before.

The last section deserves a little thought. If Chu-Chu was in Nanami’s egg, does he continue to be reborn every so often, and accordingly, come from an egg somewhere?


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 28, “WHISPERS IN THE DARK”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 8” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was October 8, 1997.

This is the first half of the two-part arc about the drama unfolding between Juri, Shiori, and the new Duelist, Tsuchiya Ruka. Ruka is a year older than Saionji and Touga, but has been absent from Ohtori due to illness, and is now in the same year as Touga and the rest. While he was hospitalized, he received a Rose Signet from “The Ends of the World,” and then became a Duelist.

Along with Ruka’s enigmatic nature, this episode does an excellent job of portraying Shiori. Her selfishness and youth are characteristic of her nature, along with her femininity. Even with these traits, director Ikuhara seems to love her.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 29, “AZURE PALER THAN THE SKY”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 8” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was October 15, 1997.

The second half of the two-parter with Ruka. As Ruka himself says, this episode is the main event.

Just like in the episode “Unfulfilled Juri,” Hashimoto Katsuyo submitted an incredible storyboard, synchronizing his feelings with Juri’s. This time as well, he portrays Juri’s inner thoughts to draw out an episode rich with complexity. At the same time, in response to Tsukimura Ryoue (who worked on many Juri episodes) and his emphasis on Juri’s stoic demeanor, Hashimoto Katsuyo also succeeds at conveying her discontented emotions.

How is Ruka’s line, “Don’t worry, Juri,” supposed to be taken? And what has become of Juri and Shiori’s relationship? Perhaps out of all the characters, Juri — and only Juri — got what she most desperately longed for, a “miracle.”

We would like viewers to notice the room with all the chairs, and pay attention to what direction the chairs are facing.

The “azure” in the episode title refers to the deep blue color of the precious stone lapis lazuli. If you take the first character of Ruka’s name, and the last character of Juri’s name, combining them together, the word used for “azure” in the title is formed. That’s why Ruka’s hair color was chosen; to match the title.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 30, “THE BAREFOOT GIRL”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 9” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was October 22, 1997.

From this episode onwards, the drama revolving around Utena herself truly thickens. Utena and Akio draw closer, as Utena’s feelings begin to sway. The prince and Akio. Admiring her prince, living nobly like one, and falling in love with a man: are they compatible at all? Especially if it’s a man who already has a fiancée?

Even though she may be drawn to Utena, Anthy lends Akio a calm helping hand as he tries to make Utena his own. What are her true intentions? Is her prince Akio, or is it Utena?

The triangle between Utena, Anthy, and Akio is a complex one that we would like viewers to take heed of.

As Akio continues to steal Utena’s heart away, it becomes clear that he’s the sort of man willing to even have an affair with his fiancée’s mother. This woman, too, considers Akio her prince. What would compel her to need a prince? What is a prince to her, anyway?

Shoujo Kakumei Utena’s theme of a “prince” and the questions it poses will become even clearer in the following episodes.

Direction-wise, it’s a calm episode without much action or surrealism. It shows the typical style of Kazayama Jugo’s storyboards. His ability to convey Wakaba’s cheerful mood here is just like him.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 31, “HER TRAGEDY”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 9” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was October 29, 1997.

This is the first half of Nanami’s two-part arc. Since we were portraying the love and hate of two siblings who may not be connected by blood, we recalled older television dramas we had watched. In order to keep that thread going, we referred to this two-parter as “The Red Series” between ourselves.

In this 31st episode, we kept putting in surreal touches like the moving illustration within a picture frame, the statue with a pair of glasses left on top, and Utena and Anthy taking pictures for no rhyme or reason, even though this isn’t a gag episode or Student Council duel. The episode itself contains scenes that play out like a joke, and others that are completely serious, lending a strange mood unique to this series.

In the scene where Utena and Nanami are talking at the park, the statue in the background keeps changing with every camera edit. When Nanami says, “Let’s do our best,” the statue changes to the last scene pictured in the Bremen Town Musicians to emphasize teamwork, underscoring her words.

Also, in the scene before Nanami slips on a banana peel near the stairs, Anthy is casually eating a banana right there. That’s another point that sticks out.

In this episode’s story and next episode preview, the behavior of B-types and their compatibility with others becomes a topic of discussion. Within Be-Papas, Saitou Chiho is our only member with a B-type personality. In order to match her, we made Utena’s blood type B as well.

Finally, this is the first time that C-ko has made an appearance since episode 24. Right now, she appears to be a robot chasing monkeys.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 32, “ROMANCE OF THE DANCING GIRLS”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 9” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was November 5, 1997.

This is the second part of Nanami’s two-parter. It’s also the last episode of the Ohtori Akio Arc.

The main focus of this episode is about Nanami, or rather, how her sense of what’s normal is thrown into sharp relief when confronted with Akio and Anthy. With a saw in her hand, Anthy is rather scary.

The scene where Kanae seems to have been paralyzed into a stupor is also quite a shocking development.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 33, “THE PRINCE WHO RUNS THROUGH THE NIGHT”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 9” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was November 12, 1997.

This is an intervening episode between the third arc and last arc of the show. There are three threads that run parallel in this episode: Utena going to the amusement park with someone, Akio speeding down the highway in his car, and the flashbacks of the duels from the Ohtori Akio Arc. At the very end, all of these threads converge together.

The scenes that portray Utena at a nearby hotel are first-rate. Is she speaking more candidly to Akio because she’s trying to hide her nervousness, or because she’s already opened her heart that much to him? The scene when she first sleeps with Akio and starts talking about everyday things, too, has a strange sort of realism about it. This scene was worked up to with many storyboards, and Hashimoto Katsuyo’s personal style colors it strongly.

By the way, when Utena mentions “Myouban” in her speech, she’s referring to the guidance teacher with glasses who appears in episode 1 and episode 30. In episode 30, Akio helped her out when that teacher was scolding her, so she ended up talking about it later.

In the TV broadcast of just this episode, we used the “Akio Car” version for the ending theme, but on the LD and video release, we used it for episode 25 too.

However, even though both episodes use the “Akio Car” version of the ending theme, there’s a slight difference in the visuals for each episode.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 34, “THE ROSE SEAL”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L'Apocalypse 10” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was November 19, 1997.

This episode will plunge viewers into the last chapter, the Adolescence Arc. It’s a crucial episode that features the pasts of Anthy and Akio, the first meeting of Utena and her prince, and the “eternity” that the young girl witnessed in her coffin.

The first half features the play that the Shadow Girls perform, “The Rose Story.” In the second half, we witness Utena’s flashback in her dream and “The Tale of the Rose” as told by the prince.

In “The Rose Story,” the younger sister who can’t be turned into a princess becomes an evil witch and seals away the prince of light. In “The Tale of the Rose,” Anthy, the younger sister, tells the townspeople that she has sealed Dios away in order to save him. The two stories resemble each other, but are not the same. Is it just that the same event is told through two different perspectives? Is Anthy truly a sinful girl? Or is it that…

Many lines are connected to each other with a similar theme: “When all the girls in the world were princesses.” “A girl who can’t become a princess has no choice but to become a witch.” “You’re a girl. Eventually, you’ll become a woman.” Through the Shadow Girls’ coinciding play and tricky composition, scriptwriter Enokido shows the true nature of this story.

In the play “The Rose Story,” A-ko, B-ko, and C-ko appear for the first time together. Have their true identities turned out to be students in the acting club at Ohtori Academy? By the way, A-ko was cast as the old lady and the younger sister, B-ko was the prince, and C-ko was the narrator, monster, and princess.

The ticket that Utena receives says, “Shadow Girls Theater Group Performance #34,” but the number of this episode is also 34.

Actually, starting from episode 1, every single skit of the Shadow Girls may have been a performance of this play. When the prince kisses the princess, the “chu” line serves as a rare voice actor in-joke from the series.

The fairy tale world that Anthy and Dios appear in “The Tale of the Rose” may be in a different dimension from the world that Utena and everyone else inhabits. The fax machine in that tiny room and the townspeople in their business suits with swords seem fitting for this kind of surrealism.

Finally, there’s Utena, the girl in the coffin who was shown “something eternal” by her prince, and Anthy, pierced by the million swords of hatred in eternal suffering.

But Utena’s choice to live with high ideals was because of Anthy, not because of the prince.

The staff member in charge of the storyboard for this episode was Satou Junichi, best known as the director of series like Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon and Yume no Crayon Oukoku. He has been a mentor to director Ikuhara in the anime world. As this is an important episode, he contributed to it as a special guest.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 35, “THE LOVE THAT BLOOMED IN WINTER"

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L’Apocalypse 10” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was November 26, 1997.

This is the first episode of the two-parter about Touga’s last duel, and the relationship between him, Utena, and Akio.

Having realized how he feels about Utena, Touga softens his approach towards her. Aware of these feelings, Akio manipulates them in order to seize Utena’s heart.

The kanji of Touga’s name were included in the title of this episode, thanks to Tsukimura Ryoue. Other episodes have a similar conceit thanks to him as well.

From the pictures that Akio takes while bare-chested, to the lined-up cacti next to him on the ground, to the flash of the many microphones surrounding Saionji and Touga, this episode continues the trend of showing one surreal image after the other. Another memorable image is of Touga with a carrot in hand while he asks out Utena. What is the point of that carrot? Is it bait meant for Utena, or is it meant to foreshadow riding a horse? Or is it a symbol of something else?

The scene with Saionji and Touga speaking at the press conference and then stripping off their clothes had no storyboard. It was actually an ad-lib from one of our art staff members.

From this episode onwards, Saionji steadily becomes cooler, but this is also because Nagahama Hiroshi draws most of the scenes he appears in.

In the second half of this episode, the characters who regularly appear are depicted taking pictures — or rather, perhaps pictures are being taken of them. Since the series is heading to its conclusion, the intent may have been to portray a nostalgic mood here.


EXPLANATION OF EPISODE 36, “AND SO THE DOORS OF NIGHT OPEN”

Translator's Notes:
1. This is a special insert from the “Shoujo Kakumei Utena L'Apocalypse 10” LD.
2. The original airdate of this episode was December 3, 1997.

This is the second part of Touga’s two-part episode. The first half features Touga’s calm confession scene. Without any plots or schemes, he talks about his feelings frankly. It’s not very playboy-like. If nothing else, is he serious about Utena?

This is the last episode to feature any of the Student Council’s duels. The cars racing about on the dueling platform and Saionji and Touga riding in sidecars make for a fitting last duel.

In the first half of this episode, the scene with Touga and Saionji in their car on the highway is a parody of the Akio Car scenes. It’s kind of tasty. As the duels for the Rose Bride and “power to revolutionize the world” end, the true relationship between Akio, Utena, and Anthy will be revealed as this story reaches its final climax.




Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena) is © Kunihiko Ikuhara, Chiho Saito, Shogakukan and bePapas/TV Tokyo and/or their respective copyright holders. The US release of the Revolutionary Girl Utena series and movie was © Central Park Media and now belongs to Right Stuf. The US release of the Utena manga is © VIZ. The various sources used in this site are noted where their content is presented. Don't sue us, seriously. Blood. Stone.