Oct 18, 2014
Lydiia (All reviews)
Wow, what a story. I can't believe I haven't watched this anime until now. No, I can't believe what I just watched. I'd always thought that the forbidden love romance between Romeo and Juliet was tragic... I'd always thought that Shingeki no Kyojin was epic. I'd always thought that stories like Clannad and AnoHana were masterpieces. But wow, Rose of Versailles puts all of these shows to shame. Who knew that an anime, which some people (idiots) call "cartoons", could portray such a realistic, romantic, tragic, and captivating historical story about the events leading up to the french revolution - 1700s. Rose of Versailles is truly a hidden gem that deserves more recognition. My favorite anime of all time.

The setting is in France, before and during the French Revolution. The story is about Oscar François de Jarjeyes (Lady Oscar) who is the youngest daughter of the Royal Guards Commander, General Jarjayes, is raised as a boy because General Jarjayes had desperately wanted a son that could take after him as the Royal Guards Commander. Growing up inside the lavish palace, Lady Oscar had no knowledge of the travesties and poverty of the outside world. The greed of the nobles, the evil of the soldiers, the corruption of the government, the patriarchy in society, the social hierarchy, and the hatred in the hearts of the people. All of these were factors that were developed and masterfully portrayed in the anime that eventually led to the French Revolution. The story not only focuses on the French Revolution though. Lady Oscar's decisions between her chosen life of service and duty to class and country versus her own heart and desires are all aspects of the anime that portray the harshness of reality during the 18th century.
The story honestly starts off cheesy and seemingly childish at first. But put up with maybe the first 2 - 3 episodes, and after the magical plot and character development kicks in, the story soars into the realm of perfection. The plot is lively and happy during one moment, and then turns into darkness and sorrow the next. The plot is highly enjoyable but can definitely mentally destroy you if you develop feelings/attachment to the characters (which the anime will force you to do).

This anime had my favorite characters ever in Lady Oscar and Andre Grandier. Lady Oscar is a strong and smart women, you don't see that often in literature, especially classic ones. Andre Grandier is the pure definition of an archetypal character whom fights to protect his ideals and those that he cherishes (the people of France and Lady Oscar). Their love story is more tragic than Romeo and Juliet. The hardships they have to go through together is tougher and more touching than anything I've ever seen. The concept of forbidden love, and Male Vs Female patriarchy is constantly brought up. Marie Antoinette, the Princess soon-to-be Queen of Versailles is in love with Lady Oscar's best friend, Hans Axel von Fersen but a princess marrying a nobody is forbidden. Can they break through the rules of reality or will they end up as yet another pair of tragic lovers that cannot overcome the social hierarchy and harshness of reality? Will the brewing French Revolution devastate all relationships between Hans, Marie, Andre, and Lady Oscar? Absolutely stunning how perfectly the anime handled the character development and attachment. I'll spoil this for you now, the end will DESTROY like it did for me.

Did I even watch the 1979 Rose of Versailles, or was it a more modern remake that I watched...? How can an anime from 1979 have so much color and be so realistically beautiful. Was colored television even invented in 1979...? The poor with their torn cloth/nakedness - skinny. The rich nobles being the fat-stuffed monsters that they mostly were back in the 18th century. The nobles and royal families with their lavish and beautiful medieval clothing. The guards and their uniforms, muskets, and drums. Holy moly, the art was so perfect that... I don't even know! The sound, ah yes the music. Well, what can I say... It was dazzling. The beating of the drums, the heart-warming/breaking classical pieces, the french music; amazing. The character's voices, loved them. Lady Oscar and Andre, I love you guys. Although, I will admit that I wasn't a big fan of the opening, BUT the German "Lady Oscar" opening remake (2009) was a perfect fit the anime and is one of the most beautiful songs ever (yes, it's in German).

Rose of Versailles is unparalleled in terms of how beautiful, realistic and touching the story was. How much did I enjoy it? Well, what do you think? The anime scores perfect for me all across the board. A rare masterpiece that actually has moralistic themes about reality that people can perceive in their own beliefs. I hear that Rose of Versailles is currently 14th on the list of all-time best-selling shōjo manga, having sold a grand total of 15 million volumes worldwide. So, I guess it's not "underrated" but definitely needs even more recognition.