Kunihiko Ikuhara: The Intro is Never the Beginning

hisui_icon_4040_round Sarazanmai just kicked off and it is 1000% Ikuhara from the start and shows no signs of stopping. At this point you can pick out some of the major themes he is going to examine and guess and some others but betting on details specifics is a fool’s wager. Heck, even after an Ikuhara show has finished fans will be debating points about it until the end of time. I myself have watched the first episode of Sarazanmai three times in an attempt to try to find some of the obvious threads to pay attention to as well as hopefully catch some of the more subtle paths as well. I did notice something I was not excepting that gave me a new insight into Ikuhara as a storyteller.

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The Speakeasy #025: The Flying Penguin, A Revolutionary Girl Utena & Mawaru Penguindrum Discussion

Drink #025: The Flying Penguin,
A Revolutionary Girl Utena & Mawaru Penguindrum Discussion

Kunihiko Ikuhara is undoubtedly one of our favorite directors so it seemed only fitting for us to devote a podcast to two of his most recognizable masterworks. For each show we brought on a guest to talk with us a bit about the selected show. We started with Clarissa from the Anime World Order podcast to chat about Revolutionary Girl Utena. As she recently did a paper for grad school on the show she seemed the only logical choice for a guest to talk about pink-haired crossdressers. After that we talk with Patz from Insert-Disc about Ikuhara’s recently concluded work, Mawaru Penguindrum. With both titles we do an in-depth analysis of characters and themes and don’t hold anything back on the spoiler side of things. If you have not finished either series be warned that we give away pretty much anything that could possibly be. If you want a review just know that both shows are 100% recommended so you can just watch them and then come back and listen to the podcast.

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And now your helpful bartenders at The Speakeasy present your drink:

The Flying Penguin


Pour 1.5 ounces each of Vodka, White Rum and Gin into a highball glass over two ice cubes. Add a good spash (approx .25 ounces) of angora bitters and swirl with a metal stirring rod. Add 5 ounces of Pink Grapefruit Juice. Add 1.5 ounces of sugar syrup. Slice a fresh lime into a slice approximately 1/2 of an inch wide. Cut in half, squeezing one half directly into the drink (then drop the squeezed lime half in). Make a small nick 2/3rds of the way up the second halfof lime and use to rim the glass then as a garnish. Include a metal stirring rod.

Give Yourself the Gift of Revolutionary Girl Utena

Looking at the forums thread for the 100th episode of the ANNCast I learned a shocking fact. Apparently there are people in the anime fandom who have never seen Revolutionary Girl Utena. This is a sad state of affairs that must be rectified as soon as possible. With something as unusual as Utena it is clear that not everyone will enjoy the show. Its avant-garde nature, melodramatic style, and odd sexuality can easily turn people away from this show. But all those things make the show at least worth sampling to see if they appeal to you. It is just a show that feels so different that you have to see it just to experience what it brings to the table if you consider yourself any sort of seasoned anime fan. You don’t have to love it and you don’t even have to watch all of it. But is should have at least a passing familiarity with. When the series was out of print this claim was a harder sell but recently Nozomi has re-released the series with remastered audio and video. Plus on they have episodes streaming on their YouTube page. Now is the best time to sample the series legitimately as well as pick it up on disk in a resplendent re-release. But as great as the show is the extras included in the new box sets are just as enticing.

If Nozomi has proven their worth with anything, it is these Revolutionary Girl Utena box sets. Picking up the series with a major remaster of animation and sound is great, but more than anything else is the new life the booklets bring to the show. Many anime titles come with extras but few bring you such knowledge that is packed into these allowing you to walk away with an even better appreciation for Utena (I didn’t know it was possible to love it more).

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