Serialized in Margaret journal between 1972 and 1973, The Rose of Versailles tells the story of two very different women. One is Oscar François de Jarjayes, the daughter of the top of the Palace of Versailles’ Royal Guard. Having six daughters and no son, Normal François Augustin Regnier de Jarjayes decides to boost Oscar as a boy, so she might lead the Royal guard as soon as he steps down. The opposite protagonist is Marie Antoinette, the younger girl who was married to the King of France and have become an out-of-her-depth Queen.
By these two girls, we witness the ups and downs of palace life as Oscar rises via the ranks and the ultimate days of the French aristocracy play out. Throughout this, each girls discover and lose love and meet varied historic figures. All of the whereas, tensions between the higher lessons and the working class boil over, and the specter of madame guillotine looms over the horizon.
The Rose of Versailles was written and illustrated by manga legend Riyoko Ikeda. A member of the so-called 12 months 24 group, Ikeda drew inspiration from her personal political opinions. Throughout her college years, Ikeda had joined the Democratic Youth League of Japan, which was a part of the Japanese Communist Social gathering. Nonetheless, this “New Left” motion began to fade within the early-Nineteen Seventies, and Ikeda determined to jot down a sequence impressed by fashionable uprising and revolution. The French Revolution appeared like the proper setting for such a narrative and one that might permit Ikeda to make use of each unique characters and precise historic figures.
On the time of its creation, Ikeda principally wrote shojo manga. Shojo manga on this interval was fairly totally different from what it’s at the moment, because it was aimed toward very younger ladies and was normally fluff that averted any trace of politics or sexuality. Nonetheless, Ikeda determined to make use of the medium to inform the complicated historical past of the revolution, casting Marie Antoinette as a standard shojo heroine blinded by her need for love.
At first, Ikeda’s publishers weren’t eager on the sequence, and the preliminary chapters targeted on Marie obtained a lukewarm response. Nonetheless, when Oscar was launched, the sequence shortly gained consideration, and Oscar quickly eclipsed Marie in recognition. Within the eyes of many, Oscar turned the sequence’ protagonist. In actual fact, when Oscar’s story ended, the manga’s readership shortly dried up, and Margaret obtained tons of of letters begging Ikeda to deliver Oscar again, one thing she refused to do, which led to the writer slicing the serialization brief.
Nonetheless, the sequence made a large affect, being the primary massively profitable shojo manga. It completely redefined the style as one thing able to telling deeper, darker and extra complicated tales. When the primary quantity of Rose Of Versailles got here out in paperback, it offered so properly that it satisfied manga publishers that releasing collected paperback volumes was a superb enterprise mannequin, one thing that’s now frequent for each main serialized sequence.
In 1979, TMS Leisure launched an anime adaptation of the sequence. Whereas this sequence lower rather a lot from the story, its artwork fashion completely captured the ornate Rococo fashion of the manga. Apparently, whereas Marie was current within the anime, Oscar was the principle focus of the sequence, and just like the manga earlier than it, it’s thought of a milestone in anime historical past. Fortunately, Discotek Media launched the series on Blu-ray this yr, permitting American audiences to get pleasure from each fantastically animated second of this basic story.
However that wasn’t the tip of The Rose Of Versailles, because the franchise would additionally transfer onto the stage. In 1974, Shinji Ueda wrote a stage play primarily based on the franchise for the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater troupe that had fashioned in 1913. Identified for his or her huge musical numbers and fantastically luxurious staging, Takarazuka’s performances of Rose Of Versailles shortly turned fashionable. The present turned the troupe’s signature efficiency and one they’ve gone again to many occasions within the following years, even getting Ikeda herself to jot down new content material only for them. Now the Revue performs a number of variations of Rose Of Versailles, each targeted on totally different elements of the manga, however the reveals nonetheless promote out shortly and attract large crowds at any time when they’re carried out.
The sequence has had several spin-offs, together with The Rose of Versailles: Gaiden in 1984, which instructed the tales of aspect characters from the unique sequence. A sequel sequence referred to as Eikou no Napoleon – Eroica was launched in 1986, specializing in the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 2005, a 4-panel parody manga, Beru Bara Children, appeared in newspapers. Lastly, in 2013, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Margaret journal, Ikeda returned to its pages to jot down new content material primarily based on the world of Rose Of Versailles, and these new chapters ran till 2018. The Rose Of Versailles additionally affected the true world. The manga’s recognition inspired Japanese vacationers to go to each France and the precise palace of Versailles. This impact was so notable that Ikeda was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 2009, recognizing her service to French historical past and tourism.
So subsequent time you sit all the way down to get pleasure from a shojo anime or manga, spare a thought for Riyoko Ikeda and Woman Oscar. As with out them, shojo manga can be in a very totally different state. With out the affect of The Rose Of Versailles, many fashionable sequence would merely by no means have occurred. A testomony to the sequence’ brilliance is that it nonetheless holds up at the moment, each as an pleasant written work and as a political assertion on the character of inequality and fashionable uprisings, a declare that few tales could make.
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About The Writer
Jonathon Greenall (167 Articles Revealed)
Jonathon Greenall has been writing for a few years and has written for a number of web sites, poetry collections, and brief fiction collections. They’re additionally an analog recreation designer who has written and revealed a number of fashionable roleplaying video games.
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