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Anime Profile: The Rose of Versailles

USA Info
Japanese Info
The Rose of VersaillesThe Rose of Versailles (ベルサイユのばら)The Rose of Versailles
40 TV episodes40 TV episodes
May 7, 2013Oct 10, 1979 – Sep 3, 1980
RightStufTōkyō Movie Shinsha, Nozomi Ent.
Riyoko Ikeda
Tadao Nagahama (episodes 1-18), Osamu Dezaki (episodes 19-40)
Alain de Soissons Alain de Soissons
· · ·
André Grandier André Grandier
· · ·
Bernard Châtelet Bernard Châtelet
· · ·
Duchess of Polignac Duchess of Polignac
· · ·
Duke of Orléans Duke of Orléans
· · ·
Empress Maria Theresa Empress Maria Theresa
· · ·
-- more listed below ---- more listed below --

Last I checked, this anime was available on DVD at Amazon.

Characters: The Rose of Versailles

English Name
Japanese Name
English Name
Japanese Name
Alain de Soissons Alain de Soissons Louis XV Louis XV
André Grandier André Grandier Louis XVI Louis XVI
Bernard Châtelet Bernard Châtelet Madame du Barry Madame du Barry
Duchess of Polignac Duchess of Polignac Marie Antoinette Marie Antoinette
Duke of Orléans Duke of Orléans Nicole Lamorlière Nicole Lamorlière
Empress Maria Theresa Empress Maria Theresa Oscar François de Jarjayes Oscar François de Jarjayes
Hans Axel von Fersen Hans Axel von Fersen Rosalie Lamorlière Rosalie Lamorlière
Henri de Guémént Henri de Guémént The Count of Girodelle The Count of Girodelle
Jeanne Valois de la Motte Jeanne Valois de la Motte

Description: The Rose of Versailles

The Rose of Versailles differs in a few respects from most anime series out there and was quite refreshing to watch. It is a mix of fact and fiction, taking real people and events from mid-1700s France (before and during the French Revolution) and mixing in fiction to spin an emotionally interesting yarn... kinda like what James Cameron did with Titanic. I often found myself wondering what was fact and what was fiction and making mental notes to go online and find out. Guess that's a good way to make history interesting!

The main character of the story is Oscar Francois de Jarjays, a woman who was raised as a man by her father, General François Augustin Regnier de Jarjayes. Her father had been wanting a son, but when his 6th child was also born a girl something snapped and he decided to name her Oscar and raise her as a man. In most anime I'd expect this to be kept secret and have situations and plot points build around covering up the deception, but here it was made no secret. Everyone who knows Oscar knows she's a woman, and those who don't know her and are soon told if they accidentally refer to her as male.

As I mentioned earlier, historical France is the main setting of this story, which is another nice change from typical anime. Early on, Oscar becomes commander of the Royal Guard which leads her to take care of the safety of Marie Antoinette and the rest of the royal family. We get to see Marie Antoinette as a 14 year old girl when she becomes engaged to the crown prince Louis XVI and we're with her as she grows up, gets married, and becomes queen. As a princess, we get to witness her rivalry with the King's mistress, Madame du Barry, which is tense and kept me wanting to see the next episode to see what would happen.

Then when she becomes queen, du Barry vanishes from the picture and new characters enter and we see the tragic life of this character. It's an interesting journey, but the focus isn't always on Marie Antoinette. For instance, there is a pair of sisters, Rosalie Lamorlière and Jeanne Valois de la Motte, who have opposite personalities and end up separating, with Rosalie becoming the protégé of Oscar to learn all she can in order to take revenge on the noble woman that killer her mother, and Jeanne scheming and scamming her way into nobility. There are tragic circumstances all around and it's just so soap-opera-like that you don't want to stop watching.

The artwork has kind of a classic feel to it, which makes sense seeing as how it was made in 1979. I think this just adds to its charm. I'd definitely recommend any anime fan check this out. On May 7, 2013 The Right Stuf released all 40 episodes in two box sets so it's now readily available. It's Japanese dialog only as they didn't dub it into English, but personally I couldn't imagine it any other way. The second box set contains an interview with the director, Asamu Dezaki, as well as a 48-page book.

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