The Rose of Versailles (which is known as Berusaiyu no Bara in Japan) is a 1970s shojo anime series based on a manga series by Riyoko Ikeda. This series had remained unlicensed in North America for 33 years, until Nozomi Entertainment acquired The Rose of Versailles in 2012.
The protagonist of The Rose of Versailles is Oscar Francois de Jarjayes, the youngest of General Jarjayes' six daughters. When Oscar was born, her father decided to raise her like a man; Oscar was taught fencing, horsemanship, and medieval combat. While growing up, Oscar would practice her skills with her best friend, Andre Grandier (who was also one of her family's servants). It's obvious at the start of the series that Andre is in love with Oscar, but he doesn’t admit it to her.
At the start of the series, it's 20 years prior to the French Revolution. Oscar is 14 years old and becomes the commander of the Royal Guard; her mission is to escort and be responsible for the safety of Marie Antoinette and the rest of the royal family.
I was fortunate enough to be able to see a stream of the first episode at the Anime News Network website, which was made possible by the Viki streaming service. Since this is an anime title I'd heard a lot about over the past few years, and how much I'd heard about it being such a classic, my curiosity was piqued.
After watching the first episode, I think I can see a glimpse as to why the series is as highly regarded as it is. The characters were realistically portrayed, and I could tell there was strong writing that went into the first episode. They were definitely able to get away with some depictions and actions in this series that would be much harder to include in an anime series that's being produced today.
The feel of the character design was a kind of reminiscent of Space Battleship Yamato. While in some respects, this style dates the series, it's also an animation style that looks more realistic and is effective to help convey the story.
If you're a fan of shojo anime, especially shojo anime set in 18th century Europe, then The Rose of Versailles is worth checking out. Personally, I would recommend this series to anime viewers who are 14 or 15 years of age and older.
|The Rose of Versailles||40||1979-1980||Tadao Nagahama/Osamu Dezaki||Tokyo Movie Shinsa||Nozomi Entertainment|
|The Rose and Women of Versailles||1||1980||Osamu Dezaki||Tokyo Movie Shinsa||N/A|