Rose of Versailles, Volume 13 (ベルサイユのばら) is both a touching story and a really ridiculous, overblown melodramatic piece of nonsense. ^_^
In the first half, Oscar’s feelings towards Fersen become complicated by a melodramatic overblown psychological examination of her fears and desired around being raised as a man, complete with fantasy self dooming her to misery. This part of the book was a missed opportunity to really have Oscar delve into gender politics, but no, it’s all about one-sided love for a man she hardly knows.
The second half of the book was far more interesting, focusing on a watch that was beloved by Marie Antoinette, the circumstances around which it came into her possession and the tale of how General de Jarjayes recovers it for her, to give her comfort in her final hours in prison. It also tells the story of the watchmaker and France at the same time. The bits in prison with Marie were the best parts, showing her, not as a clueless Kardashian-like creature, but as a woman who loved what she knew of France as much as anyone. That her experience of France was vastly different to common people’s is plain. And we get to see Marie standing before the guillotine with a thought for France to prosper, which were in fact not her last words at all. (She is purported to have apologized to the executioner for stepping on his foot.)
Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Service – 2
Yuri – 0 This is a very straight book.
Overall – 8
Frustrating and touching, melodramatic and epic, Volume 13 is perfect example of the breed. Although, in retrospect, I cannot imagine General de Jarjayes would have survived the guillotine for long enough to be around when Marie was killed. Really, we can only imagine Bernard and Rosalie (who makes an appearance as Marie’s attendant in prison) to be the sole survivors of the story.