Do the Right Thing: Nozomi/Right Stuf Re-Licenses Revolutionary Girl Utena

Argh.

Yeah, I know – why ‘argh’? I’m a rabid RGU fan, surely I should be ecstatic about this news.

Except… dammit, I own it all on DVD already, now I’m going to get sucked into re-buying the entire series!

Let me explain a little more: At the Right Stuf panel at Anime Expo, Nozomi, the licensing/manufacturing wing of Right Stuf, announced that they had secured the rights to RGU… but this wasn’t simply a case of getting Central Park Media’s license transferred to them. No, Nozomi actually has gotten the rights to the re-mastered TV series. And I know that this means I’m going to have to buy it.

Nozomi plans to release the show in three sets, much like CPM eventually ended up doing. RGU’s release under CPM was actually fairly convoluted – RGU first appeared on tape in 1997 with the release of it’s first volume ‘Crest of the Rose’, and the VHS releases continued through 2000. In 1998 and 1999, the first thirteen episodes, which encompassed the first arc, were released on two DVD’s entitled ‘The Rose Collection One’ and ‘The Rose Collection Two’.  After that, the episode amounts per disc were drastically changed – three or four episodes per disc. And the third volume? It didn’t appear until 2002. (The VHS releases totaled four in all; they were all re-released in 2002, but no subsequent volumes were done on tape. Interestingly enough, the tapes were subtitled, and a dub didn’t make an appearance until the DVD’s entered the scene.)

The reasons behind this were pretty simple – in the late 90’s, all that incest and homoeroticism and implied pedophilia just didn’t really fly within the anime marketplace. At least, not with titles that weren’t hentai. CPM was leery of releasing the later episodes at the time because they feared a backlash, particularly as they had explicitly marketed RGU as being like Sailor Moon – the packaging proclaims in large font on the cover ‘From the Director of SAILOR MOON’. While you and I both know that there’s some stuff in Sailor Moon that wouldn’t go over well with the ‘what about the children?!’ crowd, at that time the Sailor Moon almost everyone knew was the one presented by DiC – two seasons, no nudity, no sexuality, no death of good guys. So, after marketing RGU as being like that, CPM realized that it was going to get a lot of angry letters if it let the rest of RGU see the light of day.

A few years later, the marketplace had become less restrictive, so CPM unveiled the third volume of RGU and went from there, with nine volumes in total, some of which were limited editions bundled with extras. After that, they bundled the final seven volumes into two sets, each of which consisted of an arc. They also released the movie at some point, in both a regular and limited edition (which was pink, and likely got picked up by a lot of girls who then learned what lesbians were for the first time). And then they capped it all off by putting the first two volumes and the movie together to make another set. All of these went out of print about three or four years ago as CPM began its death spiral.

So – yeah, kind of a confusing release history. At least we won’t be seeing that with Nozomi.

But, come on! *whines* I just finally completed my collection of RGU! I was all excited because I found the first bundle (first two volumes and movie) for $30 not too long ago, and snapped it up, as online it retails for between $100-$120.  I completed my collection! And now I’m going to have to buy it all over again!

But I know I’m going to. I already searched for it on Right Stuf, even though I know it won’t make an appearance there for a while… At the end of the day, even with my grudging whininess, I’m happy that Nozomi has licensed it. This is definitely a show every fan should watch at least once.

As always, images come from the wonderful Empty Movement. The image is the cover for the first Japanese re-mastered volume.

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6 Responses to Do the Right Thing: Nozomi/Right Stuf Re-Licenses Revolutionary Girl Utena

  1. If this were actually affordable and available in the Philippines, I’d cry MANLY TEARS (maybe not so manly) too.

    But alas, I don’t want to preempt my own piece on anime ownership in my part of the world. I’m just happy fans like you can collect this.

    I’m a guy who’d buy a hardcover of a softcover or paperback that I really, really like. So I get this.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Well, I look forward to your piece on anime ownership. Damn all that region coding!

      To this day, I have yet to find a hardcover copy of Ethan Frome that is up to my standards… it’s one of my favorite books.

  2. Shinmaru says:

    So, so excited about this. I’ve only seen the series via really ghetto streaming … never did rewatch it after downloading the remastered version, and I probably won’t now until I can buy these sets.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      They’ve slated them for 2011… dammit, it can’t come fast enough!

  3. Caddy C says:

    Yay! I’m excited, personally, because I’ve never been able to see RGU. Netflix has some of the discs, but the first three are unavailable indefinitely. They have the movie, but I don’t want to watch that before the series, even knowing that they are quite different.

    RGU is something I’ve wanted to watch for a good long time now. I’ve finally seen Rose of Versailles and am looking forward to RGU!

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Actually, if you’re very eager to see it, the Anime Network has every episode except for the first on their website, although you must be a subscriber to view them and they are not the re-mastered episodes. Honestly, I’d say ‘go for it’. RGU is a show that demands re-watches, so watching it now and then re-watching it re-mastered next year isn’t a bad idea. If you can knock it out in a month, too, you’d only have to do a monthly subscription and it’s only about $5.

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