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    Hi, and welcome to Mangaminx's Lair! I'm Mangaminx, a 21 year old female anime and manga fan, and this is my blog. Here you will find lots of reviews/screenshots and other features for your yuri anime needs! Feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment! Thanks to the amazing Melainy for my latest banner!
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Rose Of Versailles Thoughts - Part 1
Sunday, June 04, 2006
More than four episodes in three days is incredibly fast for me when it comes to anime watching, but I've watched far more than just four of the fantastically fantastic Rose Of Versailles in that time. Yes it's old, yes many people have seen it before me but I like it so much I just have to blog it! The fact that the title is old, and yet so much better than a lot of shows I have been watching recently impressed me greatly as I don't tend to be a fan of anime from the 80's and back being raised on the shiney post 2000 anime titles. Rose Of Versailles has become one of the few exceptions. So here are my thoughts on the first ten episodes of the series (part one of four blog posts I have planned), the story, the drama some of the characters and any "slight" yuri subtext my subtext seeking brain has picked up on so far.

For those of you who don't know the general gist of the setting and story of RoV it is set in France slightly before the time of the French Revolution in the 18th century. Our lead is Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes, who is head of the royal guard. She rather surprisingly happens to be female, albeit a very masculine looking one who is stronger than a lot of men. The anime follows the political and almost childlike backstabbing and manipulation that takes place in the French court at Versailles aswell as the poverty of those suffering from a bad kings rule in the slums of Paris.

Our lead, Oscar is a character I find rather fascinating. Her father raised her as a man, prepared her for a "male role" in life and even occasionally refers to her as his son. Oscar seems to prefer the company of men, disliking the attitude at court although will readily explain to people she is a woman if they don't realize so she doesn't seem to feel she is male just a strong woman. The creator of the manga seems to often portray very masculine women or in the case of the tragic manga Claudine (seriously, read it it's one of the most depressing and moving titles I have ever read) even characters born female who identify as male. Obviously there is a lot of questions about gender being risen in RoV and I somehow doubt the historical validity of a woman being aloud to head the French royal guard in that time period. However because Oscar is female and is so good at what she does, she doesn't seem to fall under any scorn for her gender from the other characters thus far. Another thing that is interesting is that Oscar's sexuality remains ambiguous here she is certainly not overtly gay even if she meets cliches of present day that would cause many viewers to think she was. While there is slight yuri subtext at this point (she does seem more than a little enamored with the queen, and there is a brief scene with a girl named Rosaline in episode ten) I certainly felt there was nothing overt here from Oscar. Oscar is certainly a character who breaks down the gender boundaries of the world she is in and by this point in the series I was excited to see how she developed.

One of the key things I enjoyed within these first ten episodes of the series is the portrayal of the French court. Mary Antionette, Madame DuBarry and the more "run of the mill" ladies in waiting do a big job in portraying how the squabbles between ladies of the court are similar to those of schoolgirls. However, schoolgirls don't tend to murder each other if they don't agree. While Antionette and DuBarry's feud is over something very juvenile it becomes so serious that many characters lives are lost, and others put on the line as the feud goes on. The fact that all of Europe could be forced into war simply because Antionette will not talk to the kings mistress really reinforces just how ridiculous the nobility are. While Antionette herself is not a bad person, and has a good heart she is still part of the total ridiculousness of the situation. In the French court status is everything and people do anything to get it, DuBarry's fall from popularity after the kings death is sudden, abrupt and rather fitting for the despicable woman. In an instant she is forgotten.

My favourite character in the opening ten episodes is Jeanne, she hasn't put in a huge appearance by this point but the fact remains evil characters are always the best ones to watch. She seems normal enough at first, just a desperate street girl but the huge drive for ambition she has within pushes her into doing increasingly depraved things as she claws her way up from the gutter. Upon manipulating her way into wealth she doesn't even help her mother and sister, even having her sister half killed when she comes to ask for help in case her past is revealed to the new people in her social life. She sinks to even lower levels when she murders the rich woman who took her in off the streets in order to gain money, stringing her hapless lover along like a puppet for her own means too when she really doesn't care for him. As the flames lick higher around the burning corpse of the woman who showed her kindness Jeanne grins in happiness as the thought of the riches and social standing that await her, she will be the new DuBarry of Versailles. Perhaps an even more ruthless one. From this point the main thing that was on my mind in watching was just how spectacular her fall will be if she makes some mistakes, and how dangerous she would be if cornered in that way.

Yuri, yuri, yuri as I said it's something I'm usually looking out for in most shows I watch (In fact the main reason I started watching this show is that it's often mentioned as having some), while it by no means makes the anime any less good (its brilliant) there isn't a huge amount in these first ten episodes. There's the previous things I mentioned before, with Oscar being perhaps a bit overly protective of Antionette (o.k so it's her job, but at times she seems almost obsessed with her a big change of heart from her original disapproval of "babysitting" a girl) and her brief scene with Rosaline (Jeanne's miserable sister). Rosaline who is desperate for money to feed her sick mother (and has just been harmed by Jeanne) tries to sell her body to Oscar for money (assuming she's a man). Oscar doesn't have an interest in doing so, but shows her good heart by giving the girl some money, remarking she is too cute to be a prostitute. Rosaline is left in more than a little awe of Oscar as she drives off into the night (in a carriage). The remaining yuri content here is mainly various when going starry eyed around Oscar around the court, even Antionette herself seems a little taken with her at points in time. Whether things will develop any further from here remains to be seen.

Anyway that's it on my thoughts for the first ten episodes of the series, obviously there's a lot more to go (that I'm already working through!) and there will be more posts over the upcoming weeks. If you haven't seen it check out RoV, I strongly recommend it as a great classic anime.
posted by Mangaminx On Sunday, June 04, 2006  
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