Revolutionary Girl Utena The Movie Anime Dub Review (English)

March 23rd, 2012

Happy Guest Review Day! I know I have not yet reviewed the third box set of Revolutionary Girl Utena, much less the movie, but I will. I’ve just been a tad busy. In the meantime, here is a special Guest Review from Okazu Superhero Eric P. on, specifically, the dub of the Revolutionary Girl Utena The Movie, since as you know, I do not watch dubs.

I hope you’ll all extend a welcoming hand to Eric, as always. Enjoy the review!

In my review for the Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series’ dub, I pretty much summed it up as a dated mixed bag at best. I would so far as say that Nozomi/RightStuf should’ve made the 5.1 Japanese the DVD’s default language, as they’ve done with most of their bilingual releases, rather than having to go to ‘Setup’ to make it so. However, and most fortunately, the same would not be said for the movie’s dub. Even though it is the exact same cast as the TV series, the Revolutionary Girl Utena The Moviedub production is a considerably vast improvement.

A variety of reasons comes into play here. It may have had to do with the animation having more vibrant life to it, and thus there’s more vibrant life to the acting since there was more to play off of. They had an ADR director for the movie who was not the same as the guy who did the TV series, so no doubt that was a huge help. Perhaps it  helped even more that Kunihiko Ikuhara himself came to the studio and offered his feedback and personal direction on some key scenes.

One of the key reasons was that all the weak-link actors trimmed either to just a brief few lines or just brief mute appearances. For instance, the flat-voiced English Nanami just cameos as a short-lived moo-ing cow, so nothing grating there. But for those with high expectations, there can still be some nitpicks. Saionji’s voice can be considered the least good performance. And Miki still sounds older for his age for anyone who finds that bothersome, but the acting itself still isn’t bad and, since he’s supposed to be mature for his age it still works in its own way.

In the end, for all the TV series dub’s weaknesses, by comparison the dub for the movie is a much more solid effort. The overall cast complements and adds to the surrealistic atmosphere of the story, and the actors convey all the necessary feelings through their characters as much as they should. One of the best examples is the scene where Utena and Anthy are in bed together—I thought the mood was really right for that moment, and it’s consistently reflected in all their scenes together. All things considered, it still stands well today, and I would so far as believe it’s interchangeable with the Japanese track; I can watch this amazing and excellent movie in either language and still appreciate it on the same level. So, if you’re a dub fan or are at least open to dubs but shied away from watching the movie in English due to the TV dub’s mediocrity, there’s nothing to be afraid of here. Give it a try if you’re inclined.


Overall – Well done if not so far as being totally perfect. To heck with it, I give it a 9.5

Thank you Eric for the review. Well folks who’ve seen both -what do you think? Does the dub hold up as well as the original track? All opinions welcome in the comments.

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5 Responses

  1. DezoPenguin says:

    Weirdly, the Utena movie is the one single piece of anime I have ever seen where I genuinely prefer the dub to the original version (also weirdly, the Utena TV series is the one anime series for which my wife actually prefers to watch in Japanese, for one reason Eric pointed to: Nanami’s VA). I think it’s because so many of the characters themselves seem changed in the movie version, from the seemingly older, more angst-touched-past Utena, to the more extroverted Anthy, to the more sympathetic Touga, that the Japanese cast giving performances that, well, sound the same as they always did doesn’t quite seem right…

    …which I’m probably not explaining very well. But it seems as though the movie characters aren’t quite the same people as the TV series characters, and it feels better to experience them with different voice actors. It also helps that it’s a superlative dub.

  2. Filo says:

    In the special features, Kunihiko raelly did visit the ADR studio and have his say on stuff. No doubt that must’ve been cool for everyone working there that day.

  3. Cryssoberyl says:

    No doubt that must’ve been cool for everyone working there that day.

    More like stressful, as I believe the staff has commented upon in interviews since. As much as I love the man, he’s notorious for being extremely demanding.

    In any case, Utena was the series that converted me wholly and totally to subtitles. Prior to it, I would always watch the dubs of shows first, and would seldom feel motivated to watch it again subtitled, even though I knew I should.

    However, when I first bought Utena (10+ years ago now, really?) I knew it’s reputation as a “serious”, “important” anime, and I was determined to experience it “properly” in the original Japanese.

    I’m so grateful I did. The brilliant performances of the Japanese cast of Utena made the show for me, and I’ve never looked back since then.

  4. Lady_Rufus says:

    Does anyone know if the DVD is available for the PAL region?

  5. @Lady_Rufus – Most DVD players and almost all computers can read any region these days.

    Check a search engine for your DVD player and “all region.”

    To answer your question directly Nozomi/RightStuf DVDs are only Region 1.

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