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     " Hey, now you have something to get your girlfriend into anime besides sailor moon. "

      Title: Revolutionary Girl Utena: Impatience and Longing (vol. 4) by Central Park Media

      Format: Anime DVD

      Reviewing Monkey: Chimpan-A

      The Hype: "Love is in the air at Ohtori Academy." Follow the continued adventures of Utena (it's apparently pronounced "oot-eh-nuh") as she battles for the honor of the Rose Bride… This DVD Volume collects episodes 18 through 20. Sword fighting chicks in very short skirts, could they possibly mess that up? Read on my big eyed monkeys.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Animation: The characters are all very long and thin in a style very reminiscent of Robotech…and I kept expecting them to break in half just walking around. The characters all look like they have big pools of water in their eyes- like somebody literally injected some colored saline solution into those giant anime eyes. The animation is smooth in its action and movement seems fairly normal. The quality isn't as utterly crisp as some of the stuff we've seen out recently, but it's not bad. The action scenes tend to be well paced, but are few and far between, and are short to boot. There are some decent fight scenes in this collection. The highlight of the disc (as far as fight scenes go) being the fight between Utena and Tsuwabuki (a young child who hangs around the school), with a neat dual wielding style. I just wish they were a little longer and given a little more attention. By the way, as far as short skirts go, they might as well be knee length for all you'll ever see. Nothing gratuitous here folks. 4 out of 5

      Story and Voice Acting: Well, here's the breakdown of what's been going on to now. Essentially these kids are all in middle school (Utena herself is in the 8th grade. Yes I know she looks like she's 20 something, that's anime for ya). For whatever reason, Anthy is the "Rose Bride", and people at this school fight over the right to be her prince. Utena (through trial and tribulations untold) becomes her prince… ess, in this case (It's not the only lesbian innuendo, but we'll leave that for some other time). The story follows Utena as she fights for Anthy against all comers. A recent addition, the Black Rose Association, has been trying to kill the Rose Bride for their own purposes. They're the major villain for this disc, sending a few enemies Utena's way. Now if you haven't caught it just yet this is some seriously Shojou anime. 90% of the episodes are taken up with exploring various people's feelings for one another. There are various high school level romances that occur throughout the show, and they're encouraged and followed. If you're looking for action and panty shots, you're looking in the wrong place. If you're looking for a serious look at human relationships and romance with a little sword fighting thrown in, then you're more in the right mind set. For those already following the series, this particular disc looks at the relationship between Nanami and her grade school compatriot Tsuwabuki, as the latter looks for the answers to being an "adult" (Which as we all know- is porn. Luckily he figures that out too). It then follows Utena's friend Wakaba, who's fallen for a certain special someone. The relationships grow, and the swordfights are neat.
          The English voice cast is decent. Utena and Anthy seem to be pretty decent. The rest of the cast comes out about at adequate, with nothing truly painful. There aren't too many weird translation errors, and the cast keeps up with the dialogue pretty well. The soundtrack, however, is awful. Some of the theme songs are downright painful. That's what the fast forward button is for, anyway. 3.5 out of 5

      Value vs. Price: You're getting three episodes, a synopsis of the previous disc, an art gallery and several other extras worth checking out. Additional special DVD-rom features will keep you entertained. The price is decent at $25. If you've been following the adventures of Utena thus far, this DVD will certainly not disappoint. It's a good addition to the series and keeps the story moving along. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you buy it though (Which is why you're reading this review, right?) 4 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       Keep in mind that this is the anime equivalent of a chick show (for you non-anime types). It's got lots of great interaction and relationships. This disc is a great addition to the series though. If the above sounds appealing to you, then you'll probably greatly enjoy this disc.

      The Good: Excellent exploration of interpersonal relationships…

      The Bad: …and other such chick fodder.

      The Overall Ugly: Hey, now you have something to get your girlfriend into anime besides sailor moon.

      What it's Worth: market price

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