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Trivia / Revolutionary Girl Utena

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  • Acting for Two:
    • In the Japanese version:
      • Akira Nakagawa plays Keiko Sonoda and a school girl.
      • Katashi Ishizuka voiced Yamada and quite a few minor roles.
      • Masayuki Nakata voices Touga's father, a doctor and a professor.
      • Aiko Wakiya's voice actress, Naoko Takano, also appeared as a schoolgirl.
      • Hiroyuki Yoshino voices Tanaka in addition to some minor roles.
    • The English dub's principal voice actors also performed a number of supporting characters in addition to their primary roles. For example:
      • Besides voicing Utena Tenjo, Rachael Lillis voices Chu-Chu.
      • Roxanne Beck voiced both Wakaba Shinohara and Kozue Kaoru.
      • Amanda Goodman voiced Juri Arisugawa and Keiko Sonoda.
      • Crispin Freeman voiced Touga Kiryuu and Dios.
      • Kerry Williams' memorable roles were Kanae Ohtori and Yuko Ohse.
      • James Carter Cathcart's roles in addition to Miki Kaoru were Suzuki, Tanaka and Yamada.
      • Mari Hozumi and Aiko Wakiya are both played by Carol Jacobanis.
      • In addition, most of the actors voiced numerous bit parts, especially Goodman and Freeman.
  • Acting in the Dark:
    • Rachael Lillis, the English voice of Utena, has admitted that she has never met Sharon Becker, who voiced Anthy, despite being co-leads.
    • The dub's first director, Jim Malone, allegedly knew very little about the show's story, characters, and themes, which explains the somewhat detached performances in the early episodes. The dub shows a marked improvement in quality once Anthony Salerno took over.
  • Actor Allusion: Anthy's rabbit song in episode 7. The Japanese word for "rabbit" is "usagi," which was also the name of the main character in Sailor Moon, voiced by Juri's voice actress, Kotono Mitsuishi.
  • Approval of God: Ikuhara was reportedly very happy with Rachael Lillis' performance as Utena.
  • Creator Backlash: Not so much for the show itself, but Rachael Lillis has admitted that she thought she was miscast as the voice of Utena in the English dub, and also lamented that original ADR director Jim Malone had little knowledge of the show and characters, which heavily affected her performance and the dub's quality. Despite this, series creator Kunihiko Ikuhara has praised Lillis' performance.
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  • Creator's Favorite: From the English dub, Crispin Freeman (Touga), Amanda Goodman (Juri), and Lisa Ortiz (Shiori) have all named Utena as one of their favorite voiceover projects.
  • Divorced Installment: The franchise began as an idea for Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie. Kunihiko Ikuhara would have made the latter's lesbians as the primary characters, and some of his original ideas for the film would eventually be repurposed for the Utena television series.
  • God Created Canon Foreigner: The Sega Saturn game was created by all the original TV series team, and so the two characters and the events in the game officially count as canon.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: It started out this way, with literal tapes back before the show was licensed. Then when it was picked up, it turned out that Central Park Media had only bought the rights to the first 13 episodes, so fans continued doing this for the remaining episodes until the rest of the series was finally picked up years later. When CPM went out of business in 2009, the show fell into legal limbo, and fan distribution became the only way to see it outside Japan again; eventually, the Anime Network started airing the series online. Right Stuf rereleased both the series and Adolescence of Utena in 2011.
  • No Export for You: Zigzagged with the show and Adolescence of Utena, as explained above under Keep Circulating the Tapes. Played straight with the Sega Saturn game and the light novels, although fan translations do exist for those to one degree or another.
    • Utena had an erratic broadcast history in English-language markets due to rights issues (and possibly censorship concerns). The English dub didn't air on television until Australia's short-lived teen network Fly TV in the early 2000s, along with a few on-demand services like Anime Network and AZN in the US and Canada (and, strangely, a local station in Hawaii). The Sci-Fi Channel licensed the show in 2002 but dumped it in their late night block and only aired the film and a few episodes of the Student Council arc before dropping Utena altogether. A Cartoon Network executive has confirmed that they tried to license Utena for Toonami in the late '90s but weren't able to obtain it due to the CPM licensing issues.
    • The slightly Bowdlerized Latin American Spanish dub only got 30 episodes of the TV series and didn't air the rest of it and as a result Adolescence of Utena was never dubbed there either, allegedly this was due to the show's controversial subject matter.
  • Old Shame: Ikuhara wasn't fond of how the dub of the first episodes of Utena turned out to the point that he became much more involved in the English dub in later episodes as well as Adolescence of Utena.
  • Out of Order: The original 6th (Curried High Trip) and 8th (Take Care, Miss Nanami!) episodes had to be switched in the final release due to production difficulties with the former.
  • Sequel Gap: After the Revolution came out twenty years after the original series ended for the 20th Anniversary.
  • Shrug of God: Director Ikuhara is infamously unhelpful — and sometimes deliberately infuriating — when it comes to explaining things about the show and even more so regarding Adolescence of Utena. Don't expect much in the way of straight Word of God. Probably best demonstrated with his statement about the difference between (Series) Utena and (Movie) Utena: "In the movie, she turns into a car."
  • Studio Hop: The series was licensed for a North American release by Central Park Media. When it went out of business, Right Stuf acquired the rights to Utena.
  • Troubled Production: Based on the comments of various actors involved, Central Park Media handled the English dub (or at least the first 13 episodes) in a decidedly haphazard fashion. Rachael Lillis and James Carter Cathcart indicated that the directors seemed not to understand the source material and gave them very little useful direction on how to play their characters. Crispin Freeman confirmed that the translators and ADR team missed some major plot points and character beats (most notoriously, Juri's sexual orientation) which he and the other actors had to point out for them. All that and the licensing snafu mentioned above under Keep Circulating the Tapes likely account for the dub's erratic quality and performances.
  • Unfinished Dub: The Latin American Spanish dub was never finished and only 30 episodes were dubbed, allegedly due to the show's controversial subject matter.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The re-release booklet features art of a scrapped ending sequence that heavily featured Chu-Chu.
    • This also applies to Dub Name Change. The English dub featured the original Japanese names, but Enoki Films (the American license holder) did prepare a list of English names, with the title of the show changed to "Ursula's Kiss". Utena became Ursula, Anthy to Angie, Juri to Julie, etc. However, these names did end up being used in the Latin American dub (titled "The Magic Ring"). Enoki's webpage lists not only the alternate names, but several characters who aren't actually featured in the show, suggesting this might have been compiled early in Utena's development. The show was advertised as "Ursula's Kiss" during its brief television run in Australia but apparently aired with the original names intact.
    • The re-release booklet also shows that Utena was originally going to keep the blonde hair she initially had in the manga, although her uniform color scheme went through many different ideas before they settled on the black and red. At one point, her hair was also considered to be blue, although the pink hair also showed up with other uniform color choices. Anthy also retained her white Rose Bride dress at an early point in development, before Ikuhara decided to change it to red.
    • The same booklet features an early design for Touga that had him depicted with short blond hair, while Saionji would wear glasses and have short green hair.
    • If a certain statement from Youji Enokido is to be believed, Touga's backstory from Adolescence of Utena had been intended for his series self as well, but was left out for reasons unknown.
    • Crossed with Real Life Writes the Plot, on the DVD commentary Ikuhara reveals that during the series inception it was a toss-up between swords and guns for the duel scenes. They opted for the former in part because American gun crimes were being reported on Japanese news.
    • Utena and Anthy would have been an unambiguous romantic couple in the series had Be-Papas member Chiho Saito not objected, resulting in an argument between her and Ikuhara. Thankfully, she later changed her mind and retracted any negative statements she may have had towards the pairing.
    • The opening sequence foreshadows some elements from the ending that were scrapped, such as Anthy disappearing instead of Utena as well as the whole armor and horses deal.
    • Jason DeMarco says [adult swim] and/or Toonami was interesting in broadcasting the series at one point, but it didn't work out.
  • Written by Cast Member: Souji Mikage's voice actor, Dan Green, was one of the ADR script writers.
  • The Wiki Rule: Revolutionary Girl Utena Wiki.