Yuri Manga/Anime: Rose of Versailles

January 27th, 2004

Things I’m Not Going To Write About
Part 1

This week, I’m going to give voice to my opinions about alot of anime and manga series that are so well-known and/or so popular, that it’s hardly worth it for me to even mention them…only they are pretty cool and you might *not* have heard of them before, so here they are.

These are really short review/opinions about the yuri content and overall worthiness of these series – feel free to agree or disagree on the Yuricon Mailing List. After this, we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled reviews of stuff you’ve never heard about. ;-)

All ratings are done on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

Berusayu no Bara (Rose of Versailles) –

This is *still* one of the great classics of shoujoai manga. Rose of Versailles tells the gorgeous, but ultimately tragic, story of Lady Oscar Francois De Jarjeyes, a woman of the French nobility who was raised as a man. She becomes the Captain of the Guard at Versailles serving Maria Antionette. The story covers the rise and fall of Antionette and the causes and repercussions of the French Revolution, using many well-known historical figures and occurences. It’s a really human look at the Revolution and a rattlin’ good yarn to boot. (And a decent bit of historical research – almost all the characters with the exception of Oscar and her family, are real.)

Despite its age or, perhaps, because of it, RoV still stands out as a ground-breaking work in shoujoai. The anime, sadly, has lost all but the barest vestiges of love between poor, but kind and beautiful Rosalie, and scion of the noble class, Oscar, but in the manga (released last year in a new Japanese edition for its 25th anniversary) there is more than enough yuri for even me. Both anime and manga are so soap-opera and melodramatic that they are more enjoyable taken in small chunks.

In the manga, Rosalie and Oscar both acknowledge what they feel for each other in a very touching scene. In another time, if Oscar had been a man, if, if, if, they might have become lovers. But they don’t. Nonetheless, if you can get past the uniforms with bell-bottom pants, the art and drama of this soapy story is timeless.

The anime is digitally fansubbed, and frankly,�I cannot imagine why it’s never been picked up by any distro company here. The manga has not been scanlated or released her and possibly never will be, so you’ll just have to learn Japanese to enjoy it. :-)

In my opinion, RoV also makes a great introduction to one of the great Japanese cultural icons – Takarazuka – as well. Imagine watching a woman who plays male roles, playing a woman who acts like a man, but falls in love with a man (also played by a women)…all with spiffariffic uniforms and over-the-top acting. It really just doesn’t get any more gender-bendy than this. And Aran Kei as Fersen is unbelievably hot…! LOL

Ratings: Yuri – 3 for the anime, 5 for the manga. Art – very 70s, give it a 8, since it set alot of standards for shoujo that came after it. Overall – 7

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