In Part 2, Disk 2 of Rose of Versailles, the story takes a massive turn. The story had been very strongly focused on Marie Antoinette and the effect her choices have made in the life of Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes.
In this disk, Oscar comes to two extremely important decisions about herself. First, she sees Fersen and immediately realizes than her love for him has not subsided and is, if anything, stronger than before. She and Fersen have a painful reunion and parting, made unintentionally far more painful by Andre’s confession that he has loved her all along. When Andre compounds Oscar’s emotional wounds by forcing himself on her, Oscar decides that she’s making a break with her former life and her former self. She leaves the Royal Guards, and is assigned to the commoner brigade, the French Guards, where she and Andre, who has followed her against her wishes, find themselves unwelcome. In a final insult, just as she decides to live as a man, Oscar’s father suddenly regrets raising her as one and wants to marry her off. This news does not go over well.
Until this point, Oscar’s sex hasn’t really been a big deal in the series. Her cross-dressing and living as a man has been mostly accepted and little commented on by the nobles. Like a court dwarf or rare animal, she has been mostly accepted for her proximity to the Queen… and her own abilities when they chips are down, with a side of “entertaining gossip.”
But, now, Oscar has left those rarefied circles and instantly is made very aware that men do not consider women their equals even when they are visibly capable. She defeats the men of the French Guard in combat, but they basically don’t care. She’s a woman and they will not be led by one. And it takes a brush with death for her father to realize that he have made an even worse mistake by insisting Oscar embrace a life as a woman this far into things.
I am, once again, left breathless at the timelessness of the narrative I’m watching. All week, I have been fielding questions on the Internet that blame feminism for everything under the sun and equate masculinity with having a penis and then I watch this disk and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Once again, I want very much for this story to get a modern reboot, in which Oscar gets to be the soldier and leader she was and get the guy or the girl or both or something else, and be happy. Poor Andre. Poor Fersen. Poor Oscar.
I am impressed how deeply the thorns of Rose of Versailles still pierce.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Yuri – 0
Service – 1
Overall – 8
Here’s the fun part. I have two Box sets to give away, courtesy of RightStuf, and today they will be given:
Grisznak and kc – you are our contest winners!
Please contact me at yuricon at gmail with your mailing addresses and they will go in the mail as soon as I can get them there. Congrats to both of you!