Black Rose Arc: All Killer but How Much Filler?

There are many points that one can debate inĀ Revolutionary Girl Utena due to the nature of how Kunihiko Ikuhara tells a story. Sometimes his imagery has a clear and obviously metaphor behind it and other times things are purposefully left vague so that audience can draw their own conclusions on what certain things mean. The exact nature of the power of Dios, what is real and what is illusion at the school, and what exactly happens to Utena at the end of show can all be debated back and forth. There are as many interpretations of Nanami’s Egg as stars in the sky. But oddly enough one of the oldest and fiercest debates I have seen people get into has nothing to do with any of the symbolism in the show itself. It is if the Black Rose Arc is filler or not. The dread word filler casts a icky cold chill on the heart of many an anime fan. Perhaps it makes them flash back in to horror of the unbroken train of 76 episodes of Naruto filler, the infamous Island Arc of Nadia, or the dreadful last few arcs of the Kenshin anime. The question is can you label the Black Rose Arc with the shameful title of filler?

Having been full engrossed in Utena a couple of times over now, I start to pick out certain aspects that I might not have otherwise. I’d say this is all for the better; my love has not waned for Nanami’s dramatics nor Chu Chu’s mischief. But there is a question that comes up now and again regarding the place the Black Rose arc has in the story. Breaking it down in certain ways can make it seem like filler, but I’m not so sure it really is.

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Bonus Round – Monkey Mice, Surf Ninja Elephants, and Incest

It is a revolutionary episode of the Bonus Round on Anime3000 where we talk about part one of the 1997 J.C.Staff show Revolutionary Girl Utena. This is a license rescue and remaster of the classic deconstructionist shojo anime by Nozomi Entertainment. The story centers around Utena a girl who has decided to become a prince to find the man who saved her in the past. She becomes involved a game of surreal duels with the enigmatic student council over the doll-like Anthy. The Student Council Saga introduces many sinister mysteries with some comedy to help break the tension. To put the bonus in the bonus round we have a commercial for a new product from the Mumbai Curry Company before the review. It has the commercial debut of Evan Minto from Ani-Gamers.

Anime3000 – Bonus Round – Revolutionary Girl Utena DVD Set 1: Student Council Saga

Don’t worry. We will return for Part 2: The Black Rose Saga.

The Secret Nanami Diary

Revolutionary Girl Utena is a show that plays with gender, sexuality, taboos, power, and the nature of stories and fairly tales in a surreal, sinister, and subversive manner. As the series goes on the tone can get pitch black in approach as it vivisects the shojo genre. But it is not all doom and gloom despite having a song named Absolute Destiny Apocalypse. There is a good deal of humor in series from Chu-chu’s antics to Saionji’s obsession with his exchange diary to break up what would otherwise be a relentless down note. There are even a few episodes that are purely comedic such as Take Care, Miss Nanami and Curried High Trip. And the one character who is at the center of all the purely comedic episodes is Nanami Kiryuu. She can be a dangerous character but most of the time she is used as comedic relief.

Nanami is a source of endless entertainment in the first season of Revolutionary Girl Utena and truly this is not celebrated enough. She fits in with the eccentricity of the show for sure and certainly exudes more sinister and creepy qualities, but you have to love her antics which usually blow up in her face.

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