Feb 25, 2010
[This review is spoiler free]

The first thing that you naturally notice when you start watching Rose Of Versailles, are the marvellous character designs 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 for instance.
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 when there is a dance scene 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 on in the making of the series and with him died some of the “acid” aesthetics the series had in the first few episodes, because the acclaimed 70’s director Osamu Dezaki which came as substitute didn’t pick those more “acid” scenes but that is not to say that the series lacked quality from there on from there, au contraire, Dezaki, one of the men who define quality anime in the 70’s also fulfilled his duty with excellence and ended the decade in the highest note. I especially love how the shots of the camera are taken from various angles throughout the series. And a very special Dezaki watermark, the dramatic stills at the end of a scene. O

If you’re a History Buff the story couldn’t have been better, for it’s almost entirely consisted of actual historical facts and intrigues that actually happened just before and which led to the French Revolution of 1989 covering a span of 20 years.

The story starts using the shoujo formula of “newcomer female arrives and gets picked by older already established female at the place”, but it soon drops those shoujo anime standards, not only because of the historical facts from which the story cleverly was based from but also by the clever excellent use of real character mixed with just the introduction of two fictional characters to drive us through the developments, the director does a brilliant job there.
The script had a good use on the critic of the society of the 17th century, especially the aristocracy corruption problem. If you have watched Legend of Galactic Heroes before, you’ll definitely recognise a familiar critic Perhaps dare I say, that LOGH, author or director got direct inspiration from ROV.

The music is perfect for the anime, it was very competent as it was usual of high quality anime of the era, or just overall soundtracks of the 70’s, which are just some of the best music you’ll find in my opinion. I’m hearing the OST as I write and it does have very powerful songs, jus check Magical Rose on the tube, you’ll get hooked!

I am still impressed at the quality of this anime, [EDIT]years after[/ EDIT], and the only thought around in my head these days is to rewatch it again.

“Classic” can fit several works, with “cult” the range is shortened but “Masterpiece” only fit a very few works and Rose Of Versailles is exactly that.
No wonder it is still big back in Nippon, there are things that are just immortal.

Reviewer’s Rating: 10
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