Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's he on about?

Just received my copy of Nozomi Entertainment's new edition of the first twelve episodes (the "Student Council Saga") of Revolutionary Girl Utena.  Haven't watched the DVDs, but the packaging is very nice, the real highlight being a 40-page booklet containing commentaries, art, and interviews with the staff.  It's all quite good, worth picking up for any serious fan.

Despite his reputation for being coy in addressing fans' questions about his rather enigmatic creation, I think that director Kunihiko Ikuhara has actually been more forthcoming with substantive insights into his work than anyone else in the industry, having provided commentaries and interviews on many occasions. They're not always enlightening, but neither are they the typical weirdo Japanese metaphysical generalizations that you often get from would-be auteurs, and he usually at least has funny stories.  Here's a sample from his commentary on episode 2, "For Whom the Rose Smiles":

When I was in middle school, my classmate T. recommended to me a book by Hesse. 
He said, "Inside this book is everything about me."  I didn't know what he was on about. 
However, that particular quote stuck with me.  One day long afterwards, T. and I met up again after not seeing each other for over a decade, and I brought it up. 
"What was that again?" 
He didn't even remember the book existed, let alone that he'd recommended it to me.  To think he'd just forget "everything about himself" . . . .  I wonder if  Hesse wasn't needed in the world T. lived in after middle school.  In which case, I wonder why I didn't forget.

I probably won't be watching Utena again until I get the full set of re-releases.  It would be nice then if I could find some time to set aside for a marathon.


Czardoz said...

Yeah, and some good company to watch it with, no?

So, did that book factor into that episode?

Henry said...

He doesn't say what book it was, but the series apparently includes lines from Demian. Myself, I only ever read Siddhartha in high school, and I remember nothing about it, so if there were any thematic allusions, I wouldn't know.