English: Rose of Versailles
Synonyms: Versailles no Bara, Berusaiyu no Bara
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 10, 1979 to Sep 3, 1980
Duration: 23 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.401 (scored by 4947 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsdrama historical romance shoujo
Feb 25, 2010
I finished Versailles No Bara. I am perplexed by this late experience of mine and I’m angry at myself, angry because I could have watched this one sooner, after all, I have it on my “plan to watch list” since the time Live-Evil were still subbing it, that makes it 4 or 5 years, a lot of time. Why haven’t I watched this title sooner? Oh well, better late than never.
At the beginning I was feeling a little hesitant to start watching Versailles No Bara/Rose Of Versailles because I kept hearing people comparing it to Revolutionary Girl Utena. I didn’t dislike Utena, but I think it is a totally overrated anime with some serious lack of story development added with a very weak lead character. Thankfully, the only similarities with both titles are the styles and visuals that Utena went to get inspiration from, the rest and most important stuff like the characters personalities and the plot, are beyond comparison, so you should rest assured there if you got a similar point of view as mine regarding Utena.
The first thing that naturally you notice when You start watching Rose Of Versailles, is the marvellous character design done by Shingo Araki, the man did a lot of character designs on the seventies for some famous titles but here he was in his best shape and developed his trademark style, which he later also used on Saint Seiya.
Not only the character designs but the style and the peculiar 70s filled directing approach are very appealing and are added with a consistent and clever animation for ’79, and dare I say that some scenes are so well animated with the character movements that they even defy the commodity of modern animation from these days. Some examples being shown on the dances of the characters at some parties and in some crowd scenes where most of the individuals (if not all) of the crowd make independent moves of their own.
Unfortunately Nagahama Tadao died early and with him died some of the “acid” aesthetics of the series, because the acclaimed 70’s director Osamu Dezaki which came as substitute didn’t pick those “acid” scenes but he also fulfilled his duty with excellence. I especially love how the shots of the camera are taken from various angles throughout the series.
The story couldn’t have been better, it picked up historical facts prior the French Revolution and went along history to the beginning of the revolution covering a span of 20 years. It started using the shoujo formula of “newcomer female arrives and gets picked by older already established female at the place”, but it goes beyond its shoujo standards, not only because of the historical facts that the story cleverly went to use but also by the excellent characters that it had and their no lesser excellent character developments.
The author had a good use on the critic of the society of the 17th century, especially the aristocracy problem. Having watched Legend of Galactic Heroes prior to ROV, and ROV being older than LOGH, I get amazed at how the aristocratic situations and characters could have been the same on both anime, of course discarding the sci-fi universe of LOGH on this. Perhaps dare I say, that LOGH, author or director went to get direct inspiration from the clever aristocratic issues of ROV to display on LOGH..
The music is perfect for the anime, it was competent and good. I’m hearing the OST as I write and it does have very powerful songs. I especially loved the 70s tunes that it had which only the 70s could create. Of course the classical ones were also very good, some helped greatly on setting the mood of some special scenes and when that happens it is because the OST is good.
I am still impressed at the quality of this anime, and the only thought around in my head these days is to rewatch it again.
“Classic” is a word only fitted to some works, Rose Of Versailles is perfectly fit for it and I even go ahead and say it isn’t only “classic” but “cult” as well. No wonder it is still big back at Nippon. These type of stories are immortal.
I ended giving it a 10. I don’t give away 10s so easily as you can see by my list, and I wasn’t hoping to find another series so late at these times that I could give a 10. But RoV pushed me to a corner.
10/10 read more
Aug 25, 2007
The characterisation is perfect with a strong female lead. Though Marie-Antoinette's character is childish, she isn't a cookie-cutter cliché. Each personality is different and doesn't fall into the anime stereotypes. With experiences, characters grow and develop; it isn't hard to grasp the cast's characters. Lady Oscar is a strong female raised a man, but she has femininity in her: she's a balance in character.
The sound and animation is from the 1970s so those who aren't into the retro look may not like the series. However, the storyline is main aspect for the show. The costumes with their many frills are pleasant to the eye, while the character design is between realistic and exaggerated. (But, more on the realistic side. In other words: shojo.) Cosplaying as a Lady Oscar characters isn't something one should be surprise since the clothing is from the 18th century. The sound quality isn't great because of the time period, but the sound effects aren't terrible. The background music uses strings, but there isn't a lot.
The storyline describes the French Revolution far more interesting than a history teacher. It's accurate in events, but has some original characters to add to the plot. It's almost as if one is living the events at the start of the French Revolution, pre The Reign of Terror. There are suspenseful episodes with a plot that keeps the viewer on their toes. The story procresses with time adding detail, and though it is a drama, the pacing is perfect. There is some added romance with many possible couples, but in the end the romantic troubles are fixed. (Most viewers will be pleased)
Those who are into classic shojo would love this anime. Some younger viewers may find this anime a little boring, but for those who are in love with historical fiction must watch this anime. It was released in most languages besides English, which is why it's obscure. Must be on every anime fans 'to watch' or 'to buy' list.
May 2, 2013
Rose of Versailles tells the story (with a few deviations) of four people, living in the years leading up to the French Revolution. Two of them, Marie Antoinette and Hans Axel von Fersen, are fictionalized but nonetheless fairly 'real' portrayals of their historical counterparts. The other two, Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes and Andre Grandier, are (almost) wholly fictional characters who serve as sort of the emotional anchor for the series. Much of what happens, whether it is straight from history or an invention of the writers, is processed through these two characters before reaching the audience.
I'm assuming that everyone who is reading this review already knows enough history to be aware of the fates of Antoinette and Fersen--just in case though, I'll avoid talking about them, other than to say that the writers do a fine job of making both characters sympathetic and very human. Antoinette is not the self-absorbed pleasure seeker here that she is so often portrayed as, and Fersen in particular benefits from thorough character development and a well-rounded depiction. Of all the characters though, it is Oscar who steals the show. The series begins with her (yes, her) birth into a prestigious military family. Her father, depressed by his lack of sons who he can pass on his family's military heritage to, decides at the moment of her birth to raise her as a boy and as his successor. Flash forward a few years and we see the results: Oscar has grown into a beautiful and somewhat haughty woman who is tremendously skilled in the ways of combat, and whose mannerisms and bearing straddle an interesting middle ground between femininity and masculinity. If you're familiar with Revolutionary Girl Utena, Oscar is very much a prototype for the titular heroine of that particular series--not only somewhat in disposition, but even, to some degree, in character design.
Oscar quickly lands herself a commanding position in the royal guards, becoming a loyal friend and servant to Antoinette, and shortly thereafter finding herself ensnared in the high-society power-games that dominate life in the Court of Versailles. For roughly the first half of the series most of the plot arcs revolve around the emotionally-heightened 'combat' between the French nobles. And it is, to say the least, a bit silly. Shojo tropes are in full bloom here: expect lots of dramatic musical cues, name-calling, wide-eyed close-ups, sparkles, and pastel freeze frames. None of it is any worse than that which still happens regularly in modern girls' anime, but it is significantly clunkier, and is further stilted by the fact that it's all supposed to be happening in 1700s France. It's certainly not going to be to everyone's tastes: you either will just have to deal with it or learn to love it for its cheesiness and narmy charm.
Things improve markedly as the half-way point of the series approaches. Oscar, with the help of her friend (and stable boy) Andre begins to take note of the plight of the commoner and is introduced to the would-be revolutionaries who will rise up against the rule of the nobles in the not-so-distant future. Oscar's loyalties are severely tested, and as the eve of revolution draws near, she has to make impossible decisions about who requires her sword arm the most: the common people of France or Antoinette and her court. This second half of the series borders on the masterful, marred only by some mistimed displays of melodrama and over-the-top sentimentality. These small flaws aside, one couldn't ask for more from any anime series: incredibly well-developed characters (it's remarkable how well the writers do with showing these characters grow over a couple decades' worth of time), brisk pacing, a lovely (and sad) romantic subplot, and a final arc of episodes from which few of the characters, if any, will remain unscathed; it's a complete package. It makes for serious edge-of-your seat viewing, and is topped off with a shockingly cold epilogue that is easily the most brutal and tragic concluding chapter of any 'girly' series I've ever watched. The last ten or so episodes are practically an emotional holocaust--even if you could care less about the interpersonal relationships between the primary characters at this point (you monster!), the large scale and clever interweaving of historical events into the plot should pretty much guarantee that you marathon Rose of Versailles's last fourth.
Technically speaking, Rose of Versailles has aged pretty poorly in some aspects of its presentation. The score ranges from the laughably bad to the fairly decent, and the animation quality is all over the place. (Though it is surprisingly fluid and well-choreographed during the action sequences.) Nonetheless, I think the art design and attention paid to period detail will impress most viewers, as will the character designs, once you embrace their old-school charm and get past how many times the same face design is used on a huge chunk of the cast. Oscar, in particular, is something of a marvel, with the animators masterfully hitting exactly the right notes that the character requires.
The team behind the series also puts her gender-bending to fantastic use, using it to satisfyingly explore gender politics and even (maybe?) same-sex relationships. They get a lot of comedic mileage out of Oscar too, particularly with regards to how the ladies of the court react to her. Less successful is the drama that they try to squeeze out of her gender-identity issues. Still, through it all, Oscar never suffers from being a plot-device; she remains a strong, believable character throughout, and it's easy to see how she's become such an icon. She really leaves a huge impression, and has very quickly become one of my favorite anime heroines, keeping company with Utena, Hawkeye, Holo, and Kino.(Modern anime needs less Tohrus and more Oscars, that much is for certain.)
Another thing that has aged very well, in my opinion, is the Japanese voice acting. While required by the script to overact occasionally, most of the principal cast leave strong impressions, as do a lot of the minor characters. As if things couldn't get any better, each member of the cast even significantly steps up their performance as the series moves towards its finale, bringing a lot of earned pathos to their roles. If only a more subtle editing touch had been used during a few key scenes, I would say that the ending to this series would be pretty much absolutely flawless--which is something that one cannot say frequently about the ending chapters of too many series, period.
Not only is its influence on modern shojo totally massive, but Rose of Versailles tells a fantastic historical tale in its own right, and does us all the great favor of populating it with characters who are a joy to spend time with. There are some significant missteps along the way (an almost complete lack of anything resembling subtlety is the biggest blow against it, in my opinion), but it nonetheless possesses remarkable power, and will really resonate with the right audience. It's not just a good series considering the time in animation history that it comes from; it's a good series period, and is perfectly capable of being compared favorably to many excellent modern series. Hugely recommended. read more
May 30, 2009
It’s based on the French Revolution, though that doesn’t mean the story is completely unoriginal, the author added few original characters like Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, who happens to be the main character. A bulk of the first half of story focuses on Marie Antoinette and certain nobles trying to take advantage of her or trying to oppose her due to her being young and impressionable. While the second half focused on planting the seeds of the historic Revolution with the Royal family sort of fading in the background in favour of Oscar, Andre and other characters that where somehow involved in the upcoming revolution.
The story is nicely paced; there was mostly no wasteful episode, so each event had an effect on the overall story.
It’s unfair to say that the animation is Rose of Versailles’ weak point, because it really isn't, sure it’s going to look dated because of the lack of tools present at the time of it’s production but for an 80’s anime it looks pretty decent and once you’ve been grasped by the engaging plot you’ll pretty much forget about how dated the show looks. The backgrounds are very detailed and the while some of the characters seems to share the same facial features, though they do vary in character design, although Oscar does look significantly different from the rest of the cast, her face is ambiguous which helps solidify her ambiguous personality.
It had a solid OP and ED, they fit the mood of the show fairly well since both had had a sort of bittersweet feel to it. The rest of the OST was great as well; background music represented what type of music you would hear in the 17th Century well, although there were a few instances of the clichéd "dramatic" piano playing but it’s hard to hold it against them because it was so COOL at the time.
Oscar is a great character, she was cool and strong willed; being raised as a man, it was somewhat humorous that members of both sexes where attracted to her and even as the women find out that she is in fact a woman as well they still retain their admiration for her.
At first Marie Antoinette was likeable but through out the story she started becoming more selfish and immature which I guess lessened my sympathy for her when she faced her eventual demise. (not really a spoiler it's part of history after all)
The rest of the cast weren't as interesting but they did manage to stand out on a few occasions through out the show.
Rose of Versailles is definitely a classic. it’s one of the pioneers of shoujo manga/anime. It’s probably hard to watch for some since it’s quite old and not only that, there's little action and a lot of political drama as the story tend to focus more on the build up to the revolution rather than the revolution itself. Another thing is that it’s not a happy show; there are a lot of tragedies that befall the cast of characters so if you’re looking for a feel good show, this is not it. If you’re a fan of the oldies or very open minded with different genres of anime then it’s quite recommendable.
Sep 21, 2011
And it's also one of my favourite anime.
"Rose of Versaille" is an old fashioned telling of an old story. The oldness is all too obvious in its painfully outdated presentation (such as the overuse of panning, static frames), the agonizing lack of finesse (such as the over the top and often random dramatisation), and the poor quality sound production. And yet, right from the start, I could sense potential underneath its crappy exterior.
I was not disappointed. It took me a few episodes to get used to the laughably bad production gimmicks, but by episode 10 it already has the markings of a great tragedy, and I was engrossed.
"Rose of Versailles" is a story with historical settings - it's set in France during the reign of Marie Antoinette as Queen of France. It tells the story of Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, daughter of a French General who was brought up as a man and served Marie Antoinette as the captain of the royal palace guards. Now obviously, Oscar never existed, but unlike most Holywood films that are "based on a true story", the series includes plenty of events that really did happen. Because of this, you can guess how the show will end. Or even if you cannot, the narrator pretty much tells you what to expect. Watching a show with the ending in mind creates an interesting viewing experience - you get to how everything builds up towards it, such as Robespierre's growing contempt for the nobles, and how Marie Antoinette is unknowningly fuelling the people's anger towards her. This makes "Rose of Versailles" more potent as a tragedy, because there's a sense of utter helplessness watching the events hurtle towards their inevitable conclusions, dragging the characters along mercilessly.
Though historical commentry style narratives can make a show feel overly cold and detached (just look at the first season of "Legend of the Galactic Heroes"), this isn't the case for "Rose of Versailles". In fact it's a most emotionally engaging anime, because it makes you care its characters. And not just the main ones either. Very little is black and white in "Rose of Versailles", as it's not a show that likes to take sides. Or rather, it's a show that likes to take multiple sides, allowing you to see things from more than one view point.
Take, for example, Marie Antoinette herself. The show does not portray her as a very competent queen, the kind that is capable of handling domestic politics and ruling with wisdom and strength. She is shown as frivolous and ignorant. But while the people's frustration and anger towards such a queen is understandable, her childlike innocence and high sense of morality also makes her hard to condemn. It's not really her fault that she is born into a role that she is not suitable for, and a large part of her ignorance is due to her being shielded from events that take place outside her court - there was simply no one who tried to open her eyes to what was going on.
Madam du Barry is another good example. Initially, she seems like a total villain, with her manipulative and corrupt ways. Eventually though, when you learn about her background, it's easy to sympathise with her, because she's just someone who made the most of what she has and climbed up from the bottom rung of society. Is she really a villain? No, she's just understandably human. In fact this is given even more emphasis when the anime introduces Rosalie, an innocent, sweet girl who also comes from an impoverished family. Being a girl who is forced to try and sell her body in order to take care of her sick mother, the parallels between Rosalie's poverty stricken background and Madam du Barry's own path to becoming the King's mistress is all too clear.
But enough about side characters, lets talk about Oscar - she is the main character of "Rose of Versailles" after all. Born as a woman but raised as a man, surprisingly little is made of her gender as she rose to prominence. In a old society where you would expect people to take issues with such a thing, she certainly had it relatively easy, and didn't have to "fight the power" too much, so to speak. This is one of the points that "Revolutionary Girl Utena", an anime inspired by "Rose of Versailles", seized on and did much better with. To be fair though, the comparison is a little inappropriate. After all, "Rose of Versailles" was never meant to be an anime about breaking conventions and starting revolutions (well, perhaps does have something to do with revolutions... but only in the traditional sense), it's just meant to be a straightforward historical drama with a twist provided by Oscar, a twist that is very much a shoujo fantasy. To try and convincingly integrate Oscar's gender issues into the historical settings is such a mammoth task that it would have threatened to engulf the whole show.
A lot of the content in the early part of the "Rose of Versailles" is about Marie Antoinette and the politics that surrounds her. Later on though, the series becomes more focused on Oscar and her personal turmoils. More specifically, the focus is on Oscar's own inner conflicting identities as they slowly starts to tear her apart. Oscar's internal conflicts makes for some gut wrenchingly good drama, and to a large extent makes up for the lack of externally induced conflicts over her gender.
"Rose of Versailles" is effortlessly good at blending fact and fiction. Oscar may not have existed, but her father did. The show is filled with historical figures and historical events, many of them given fictional modification, and it's done so well I honestly could not tell where the facts end and the fiction begins. After finishing the series, I actually spent a few hours on the internet reading up on the period of Marie Antoinette's reign. To my surprise, I found the majority of the major events in "Rose of Versailles" to be based on real events (or at least on widespread beliefs, like Marie Antoinette's affair with Ferson), including some that sounds too farfetched to be true, like the diamond necklace affair. Even Marie Antoinette's sweet and frivolous nature, which seemed for all the world like a shoujo fudge factor - bad monarchs are often the cause of their own downfall, so I was convinced that the anime was portraying her through ridiculously rose tinted glasses in an attempt to get the viewers to sympathise with her - is actually very much inline with a lot of historians' perception of her (if anything, many believe that Marie Antoinette is not at all ignorant to the suffering of the people, and her demise is totally undeserved). The show clearly is a very well researched project.
"Rose of Versailles" is also one of the few anime I've seen that has a great ending. I can see why some viewers complained that the ending dragged, but as someone who has a passing interest in history, I enjoyed the documentary-like way it wrapped up the story. Although the french revolution was far from over by the end of it, the ending does give it a sense of closure, a sense that it was an end of an era, with the stories of all the main characters of interest neatly tied up. For me, it's a near perfect ending.
On the audio front, "Rose of Versailles" may not sound as crisp and clear as modern productions, but it does not lose out when it comes to the quality of the music. The pieces are exquisite, a mixture of the styles from its productions era of the 70's, and the classical style from the settings of the show, the latter enforced by the use of instruments from that period such as the harpsichord. For the most part, the music is used to great effect, but there are moments where they suddenly cut off a pleasant piece into a harsh tone to match an ominous turn in the narration. While this trick can be quite effective, "Rose of Versailles" uses it too much. In addition, the voice acting is a bit too melodramatic, and there's a ghastly bit of voice over that hilariously marrs the otherwise graceful ending theme. Everyone should check out that voice over for their own amusement. Thankfully, the makers themselves must have realised how ridiculous it sounds, and removed it eventually.
To sum it up, "Rose of Versailles" has all the standard staples of a sparkly shoujo. However, it's also far more than that. It's a show that brings to life the events leading up to the French Revolution, and the people involved in those events. Historically informed but also adept at weaving in great fictional drama, it's a shoujo that has far more substance than fluff. After all, it's very rare that I rate a shoujo so highly, especially one with such crappy production values by today's standards, and that speaks for itself.
I've decided to include here a bit of trivia I found on the French Revolution, which might be of interest for people with a bit of a historian streak in them:
There's a popular belief that Marie Antoinette uttered the notorious remark "let them eat cake" upon hearing peasants' complain that there's not enough bread to go around. Scholars on the subject, however, believe this to be completely false. Not only is there no historical evidence supporting this claim, but it's now generally accepted that it's not even within her nature to make such a remark - she is ignorant at worst (and even this is debatable), but she's not an ass who would say something as callous as that. It's possible that it was unjustly attributed to her as part of the vicious smear campaign targetting the royal family during the unpopular, later years of her reign, and "Rose of Versailles" also seems to support this theory as it shows people infuriated by the cake quote, but does not show Marie Antoinette saying it at ANY point in the series. I don't know whether this was intentional or not, but I'd like to believe that it's just a another example of the quality research that went into this brilliantly made historic tale.
Apr 2, 2010
This anime is one of my favourite and I have seen many in 15 years but only a couple have managed to come close in delivering like this one does.
The animation is not the best nowadays but I am giving it a high mark because for its time, it is a remarkable achievement. I am sure that many people will agree with me on this, some of the budget episodes of Sailor Moon or Pokemon and Naruto look worse. This is because Rose of Versailles is not a show that takes shortcuts in its presentation. Unlike Naruto and Sailor Moon, the same high standard is kept through its entire run.
For its time, this anime was very ambitious and it does accomplish what it sets out to do. A scene that reflects the animation capacity (in its iconic form) of this series can be seen in the last episode. It is just stills of pencil drawings and the symbolism and emotion is so strong, one can't help but be moved.
Just that scene reflects what you have seen in emotion and intensity for 40 episodes and blows you away. The drawing style is also another one of its strengths as the characters look very elegant and royal, which fits the bill here perfectly. The character design is also great as it allows the character to grow within a time period, and slowly changes and matures them in their drawing style over time.
The sound is excellent in this series as it helps to show the range of emotion characters express. The theme song is atmospheric and also very fitting with the emotive notes and the beautiful music. The theme music is used quite often within the episodes and it is surprisingly efficient to portray the rainbow of human emotion. The best part of it is obviously the seiyuus' work here.
Main characters like Oscar, Andre and Marie Antoinette and minor ones like Mme DuBarry and Charlotte are brought to life extremely well. Even though these characters are on conflicting sides of the social spectrum, one understands their motives and sentiments to a touching degree.
The story is still one of the most engrossing I have seen in anime since I first watched it. Taking real historical figures and some fictive ones, this anime tells the story so well that you can understand why the characters acted the way they did, and the drama is strongly expressed.
Some historical events are also used as plot devices here (the affair of the necklace, the bastille, the revolution) and the result is brilliant. These are given enough detail for us to fully appreciate the situation, while letting characters shine through as the driving force. There are also plenty of heartfelt moments of yearning, loss, love, obedience and death that are so well-executed - they move you to tears.
As mentioned above the characters are amazing as were it not for them, the story would not be nearly as successful. To fully enjoy this experience one has to connect with the characters and this cast makes it extremely easy.
I felt a lot of emotions when the romantic story between Marie Antoinette and Fersen was explored and was moved to tears to see its conclusion. Same goes with the Oscar and Andre story. There are rarely animes that make you feel the way this one does and this is very much due to its affecting cast. The reason the characters seem so great overall is because their feelings are explored very convincingly and unlike other shoujos, they are not overplayed for emphasis.
The value of this anime is just excellent as I frequently revisit it for some great entertainment and it still delivers. It also paved the way for other great shows like Utena and Princess Tutu (Utena more obviously than Tutu with its theme but the detailed backgrounds of Tutu are definitely influenced by some settings here.)
I still enjoy this anime immensely even though it is 25 years old and have seen it many times over as it really aims for the heart. My guess is you will feel the same way. read more
Jul 14, 2012
The story takes a closer look on Oscar Francois de Jarjeyes, a tragic character born as a woman but raised as a man in an environment of fencing, horseback riding and responsibilities. I'd never dream of calling Rose of Versailles story driven in comparison to the amazingly portrayed characters, but the narrative still boasts a pretty impressive combination of twists, melodrama and dialogue. Many historical events like the infamous diamond necklace affair are used as plot devices, though in slightly altered ways, ranging from heavily changed to slightly modified.
My interest for history aside, the excellent transitions between accuracy and inaccuracy are one of the reasons that I derived so much entertainment from this watch. You could argue that the show dwells a little on its melodrama, or that a few repetitive scenarios (like Rosalie crying in front of Oscar while stuttering her name) turns the task of watching it into a tedious one, but if you look for a somewhat educational, though not entirely trustworthy, story about the tragic life of a woman pursuing honor and the fundamental facts about the revolution, then this might be right for you.
Compared to its temporary opponents like Galaxy Express 999, Rose of Versailles radiates extremely high production values for its time. It has since then faded into insignificance, but the relatively detailed character designs as well as a few decent moments of action are definitely impressive. Keep in mind though that this is more than thirty years old, and that you cannot expect the same quality that it's natural to do in modern times. Most moments of a more swifter haste tend to be slowed down to the point of abnormality in attempts to lower expenses, so it takes several seconds for the apple Andre throws to Oscar to reach her hands and whenever someone jumps a longer distance the same phenomena can be found.
Another aspect of the visual frontier that I relished was the creative and occasionally beautiful art direction. Shocking revelations are followed by equally dramatic facial expressions complimented by metaphorical cracking mirrors that burst onscreen. In each episode there are at least more than two dramatic close-ups (though likely many more) and while this reaches serious depths of annoyance on a few occasions, you'll get used to it.
The opening theme was designed to be used in the show both verbally and instrumentally but works equally well in all cases. Worth to bring up though is that the show usually makes sure to decapitate the melody right before the chorus is about to make its entrance which seriously ruins the mood it has been so eager to establish. The soundtrack in itself is also good but does by no means deserve any praise.
What does deserve an endless amount of compliments, on the other hand, is the voice acting of Reiko Tajima who portrayed the protagonist Oscar. Her voice radiates the kind of authority and dignity that will have women and men alike experience delight and appreciate the powerful potential in her character. Other voice actors are competent in most cases, but nobody is near the most impressing vocal performance of Reiko.
In the initiating paragraph of this statement, allow me to emphasize that I'm by no means a feminist. Not only has feminism reached the state in my nation where it's associated with the bizarre will to place women on pedestals and emphasize a non-existent oppression in favor of equality, but I also doubt that its followers even remember the nature of traditional feministic values.
However, if there's one thing that gets to me in Anime it's when female characterization is successfully made. Shows like Kino's Journey, Haibane Renmei and Rose of Versailles where female protagonists exist for purposes that do not include fanservice or anything alike. And that's why I heavily enjoyed watching Oscar develop throughout this show. She struggles to live her life in honor and masculinity, confronts her womanhood and attempts to oppress it in favor for her military and patriotic way of life and ultimately ends up falling in love with a man named Andre whose humble origin complicates things. Likewise, the rest of the show is heavily influenced by powerful, yet usually malicious, ladies who yearn for nothing more than power and wealth. Rose of Versailles explores corruption in its most unpleasant form and does so through a large variety of characters. Not to mention its infamous portrayal of Marie Antoinette who's luxurious and wasteful ways attracted public hate which made the bloody revolution possible.
Historically significant as well as a prime example of strong female characterization, Rose of Versailles entertained me while simultaneously making me realize that I should watch more shows from this era. It enjoys spending its time modestly observing flowers, sparkles and beautiful dresses, but fulfills its grander ambitions by exploring the many obstacles of royalty, the struggle of sexual identification and most fundamentally; love. On its way it throws in characters who long for democracy and glory, only to end with the inevitably grisly revolution followed by the executions that we all know lie in the future. A most pleasant watch! read more
Mar 16, 2011
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Before this anime, the term “interesting scenario” was still science fiction because all shows that preceded it had a story that could fit in 2 episodes and all the rest was just filler. Not only that, but Rose of Versailles (ROV) happens to be amongst the top (if not the top 1) best historical anime ever made. And just think that it is over 30 years old by now and still not many can get where it did.
So just from the description alone we have a highly interesting historical backdrop; that of the times before and during the French Revolution, when the world was changed forever. You immediately feel that you are watching events that shake the world and that it all happened for real. It is not a fictional story of aliens invading Earth and a huge robot goes to stop them with a magic sword. I mean, Captain Harlock had an equally engaging setting but as I wrote in my review it was too heavily based on technology and the hero could summon a hundred different deus ex machina means to win, which mad the whole thing superficial and highly unreal.
It is an interesting topic of how anime were never meant to be historically accurate and that they are to the most part a form of escapism where we expect to see unrealistic situations, simplistic stories and superficial characters we can identify with. But that does not mean there can’t be an attempt to marry the real with the unreal and still be entertaining, as with the case of this anime. In fact, having a historical backdrop makes the drama of the story all the more powerful as nobody can reject it as far fetched. Or that even someone who already knows how things turned out to be like, will still find the inevitable fate of the characters to be highly tragic. All that without the need for the author to even foreshadow anything; it is all there from the beginning.
The thing with this anime is that it is not the first historical but the first historical with a very interesting setting. All previous works were mostly about a generic situation in some rural area, where the heroes were kids, usually poor and orphan, trying to live a happy life with friends and romance and the likes. A favorite of mine from a previous entry is Candy Candy, which encompasses everything a good historical story should be about. But as cute as all that may have been, the setting still remained overly simplistic and devoid of action or anxiety. No wonder the genres were divided in a way to have super robots with brain dead action and simplistic stories to be aimed at boys, while historical based ones with lots of everyday lives of normal people were aimed at girls.
So then ROV comes along and somewhat merges these two polar genres. The setting is now more exciting, there is some action, there is some romance, and there are tragic historical personalities. And if you so much want some poor peasant girl in a very dramatic story, well here you go, it has one in quite the grim situation. It also has many nobles and aristocrats, in full glamour and selfishness, blind to the needs of their people. Plus it has a gender bender.
Yup, as I foretold in my Ribbon no Kishi review, this anime took the next step at the topic with the case of Oscar, a woman raised to behave as a rather feminine looking young man because of social demands once again. As fun as it was back in the time Osamu Tezuka had his hero being a boy in a girl’s body doing something similar, after awhile the whole thing felt flat out silly and too heavy on unrealistic magic. Oscar is a far more down to earth character, striving to be a good swordsman in order to protect his/her noble friend/superior, as well as the peasants from the greed of the nobles and the ruthlessness of the military.
It is very graphical from time to time, showing murder and death and lies to frame someone, even cases of rape and pedophilia. The animators were not too scared to show the inhumane side of the nobles and of the dark side of humanity in general. Again, although Captain Harlock had done something similar with its setting, mankind there always ended up being conquered by aliens and then begging the hero to save them with his ship alone. Highly unrealistic before this setting where villains and victims are all normal people living in the same country and where the solution is public uproar and not super energy beams and indestructible spaceships. It makes the whole thing feel a lot more familiar and easier to identify with.
Another very good feature is how the story is not entirely focused on one character alone. Although Oscar is the main hero/ine, in reality the story continually shifts to numerous others and allows us to see things from various different perspectives. And I don’t mean filler scenes with the villains plotting their next move or a side character doing nonsense; I mean essential stuff to help you grasp the situation of the world. In fact, the first half of the show is mostly about Maria Antoinette rather than Oscar, as we see her gradually turning from a scared girl amidst the intrigues of the royal court into a snobby woman, indulged in the riches and the coldness towards the very emotions she once cared about. Frankly speaking, this was never done before in such an extent.
But it is not like I consider this anime to be perfect. Its animation has several problems around proportions and many characters do seem to be similar looking. Also, the pacing of the show seems to be terribly slow in the middle and terribly rushed in the ending, with the finale being nothing but narration to fill in all of the stuff the animators failed to show properly. But it still is quite the feat for its time and worthy to belong in the top ten best retro anime of all time, as well as the top five historical.
And it’s not like its themes were never exploited in the future, like in the case of time traveler Go Nagai’s works. Many later anime had great touches of royalty and French Revolution feeling to them, such as in the cases of Legend of Galactic Heroes, Revolutionary Girl Utena, The Count of Monte Christo, and Chevalier D’Eon. There are also some other child oriented anime around the three musketeers, such as Wanwan Sanjushi and Anime Sanjushi. read more
Jul 3, 2010
At times I felt like this show was too dramatic, it felt a bit silly and predictable. Many times, I felt that I wasn't in the mood to watch another episode, but I put it on just to be sure, and sure enough, I would be wrapped up in minutes. What really got me excited every time was the opening theme song, which suffice to say, kicks all kinds of ass. The closing song is beautiful, and ends every episode on such a lush note. The opening and ending are enough to increase the overall rating by a whole point, that's how awesome they are! Great artwork too on the OP, with the pink silhouette and thorns, and the multi-colored fields, etc.
But I digress. The characters and their designs all point to an obvious fact. One person made them. In lots of really good shows, the characters have realistically distinct personalities, which is really hard to do as a writer. In this show, they have the same patterns of thinking, and even perform many actions that mirror each other. Their designs are also homogeneous. This isn't such a bad thing really, lots of great writers have this same problem, though to a lesser degree. It does mean, however, that you will relate to all of the characters, or none of them, and for similar reasons. And, sometimes you will get tired of them.
The story is historical, and thus can't help many of its weaknesses. This show quite effectively tells the history in a way that is very engaging, although not necessarily all true (I don't think the protagonist actually existed, for example). Overall, it is totally worth watching if you're in the mood for old school anime, it might bore many anime newcomers though. I rate a bit harshly, so my 7/10 is what most people would consider an 8/10 or even 9/10. read more
Feb 16, 2011
Oscar is my first anime love I watched it when I was 11 years old , it was dubbed in my language which I have to say was beautiful, once you watch it you will become a fan of the creator Ikeda and go search all of her work .
Jan 24, 2012