If you are crazy about magical girl manga or just want to read something with a strong female lead, you can’t go wrong with VIZ Media’s newly released box set of Revolutionary Girl Utena. The classic series is widely known for its LGBT tones and unique take on the prince-princess trope.
This manga box set, which encompasses both the entire series of Revolutionary Girl Utena as well as The Adolescence of Utena, contains two large hardcover volumes plus a bonus poster. The books themselves are well-made and appear to be bound well enough to survive a lifetime of re-readings. Several full-color pages can be found at the beginning of each book, which I thought was delightful.
The story starts off more like your standard magical girl manga, with a girl that doesn’t quite fit in and her mysterious romantic interest. Things take a unique turn when the heroine Utena takes a more active role in her future and that of her classmate Anthy, with her decision that rather than be the princess waiting to be rescued, she will become a noble prince. What follows is a world of magical fencing duels, mistaken identities, and even mystical deities.
All of the main players in the story were fleshed out and had more to their personalities than met the eye. The Student Council President, Touga Kiryuu, is an excellent example of this. I actually ended up liking him much more than I thought I would as the story progressed. Even the female fencer Juri (who I felt was the flattest character) is expanded upon through a short story found at the back of volume two.
The other short story included, The Adolescence of Utena, is a retelling of the main manga’s storyline but with some serious alterations. It has a darker tone but I highly recommend giving it a read. It was fascinating to see what the story could have been if certain details were changed.
The Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set wins a 5 out of 5. I thought the story itself was spectacular as well as an important piece of magical girl history. Combine that with a high-quality print with lovely detail abounds and you have yourself what I consider the definitive edition of the series.
[This review is based on a sample provided by VIZ Media. All opinions are my own.]