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Wrapping up our section on Ikeda’s influence, let’s look at two series made in the 2000s, Ouran High School Host Club and Haken no Osukaru, and how they lovingly play with Ikeda’s work.

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We’re back from our summer hiatus! I also totally missed the one-year anniversary of NBBC in May 2016, so happy birthday, lovely book-clubbers and commenters.

heart-featured

Via Tor.com. [Image: cover of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. The cover shows an open wooden door in a doorframe in the middle of a forest.]

At the recommendation of a couple of our members, we’ll be reading Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, a YA fantasy novel featuring asexual and trans characters.

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Let’s take a brief look at the influence of The Rose of Versailles had on two popular shojo series of the 1990s! Mild spoilers for Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Origins of Shojo Manga
Part 3: Riyoko Ikeda (Part 1)
Part 4: Moto Hagio
Part 5: Keiko Takemiya
Part 6: Interlude: The Rose of Versailles Franchise
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Part 6: Interlude: Riyoko Ikeda and The Rose of Versailles Franchise

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Origins of Shojo Manga
Part 3: Riyoko Ikeda (Part 1)
Part 4: Moto Hagio
Part 5: Keiko Takemiya

Before I get back to The Rose of Versailles, I want to make a quick note that the manga The Window of Orpheus (1975-1981), which also features a girl being raised as a boy for the sake of being an heir, but is very different than Oscar. Julius von Ahrensmeyer is the daughter of her father’s mistress, who later becomes his second wife. Because von Ahrensmeyer’s first wife had two daughters, when Julius was very small, her mother began dressing her in boy’s clothes and passing her off as a boy; when she married von Ahrensmeyer, Julius became his heir. Julius has to keep up the disguise as long as her father lives so she can inherit.

The Window of Orphesus 1

Unlike Oscar, who enjoys her work and her unusual life for the most part, Julius does not. She wants to wear dresses and be allowed to express her romantic interest in her crush Klaus, which she can’t do partially because of her all-boys music school’s strict “no homo” policy and social norms, as well as a desire to be true to herself. Additionally, she has to deal with the doctor who delivered her blackmailing her mother and threatening to out her. It’s a different take on the women-performing-masculinities genre in that, instead of being freeing or transgressive, Julius is unhappy in her role, a predecessor in some ways of the manga that would explore trans identities and social dysmorphia.

 

While many manga in our discussion had anime versions released, The Rose of Versailles stands out from the crowd with 40 years of continual media adaptations and marketing. In the years after the manga wrapped, The Rose of Versailles became a cultural force unto itself. First, let’s take a brief look at how The Rose of Versailles has become as recognizable and referenced in Japanese culture and media as Star Wars before we delve into the other media the series inspired.

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swordspoint

[Image: Richard St. Vier, looking hella dramatic with flowing cape and sword, on the cover of Swordspoint.]

This is very! late! But here it is!

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. 1987.

On the treacherous streets of Riverside, a man lives and dies by the sword. Even the nobles on the Hill turn to duels to settle their disputes. Within this elite, dangerous world, Richard St. Vier is the undisputed master, as skilled as he is ruthless–until a death by the sword is met with outrage instead of awe, and the city discovers that the line between hero and villain can be altered in the blink of an eye. 

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Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Origins of Shojo Manga
Part 3: Riyoko Ikeda (Part 1)
Part 4: Moto Hagio

 

Keiko Takemiya, Trailblazer with Stars in Her Eyes 

The Song of Wind and Trees

Image: The cover of The Song of Wind and Trees, featuring Gilbert Cocteau and Auguste Beau, both draped in translucent robes holding onto vines

Keiko Takemiya is famous as a pioneering artist in the genre of shônen ai (now generally referred to as “boys love” or “BL”) and known for her sensitive and nuanced portrayals of androgynous characters and fluid sexualities. Takemiya’s dark and explicitly homoerotic manga The Song of Wind and Trees (Kaze to ki no uta) became a major cultural force as it was published in Shôjo Comic magazine from 1976 to 1984. Takemiya has since stated in various interviews that she was using her beautiful boys to explore issues relating to sexuality that the mainstream media at the time wouldn’t touch. In fact, she had to fight with her editors to get Wind and Trees published, and it was partially because of the support of her fellow artists, primarily Ikeda and Hagio, that she was finally successful. Continue Reading »

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Origins of Shojo Manga
Part 3: Riyoko Ikeda (Part 1)

The Heart of Thomas

[Image: the cover of The Heart of Thomas manga by Moto Hagio: an illustration of Erik in the foreground, who has blond curly hair and Juli, who has straight black hair, in the background)

Moto Hagio, Social Critic and Beautiful Dreamer

Like Ikeda, Moto Hagio’s work deals with themes of gender identity, political upheaval, and class issues, themes that she often refracted through the lens of androgynous young men in love with each other.

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