While I dislike reading reviews of shows and exhibits that have ended or are nearly over (“Hey! I could have gone to see that!”), a comment on my articles about The Rose of Versailles reminded me that I never did end up posting about my adventures at the Kyoto International Manga Museum‘s two-part exhibit on The Rose of Versailles.
The exhibit showcased the original drawings (原画、genga) from the manga of The Rose of Versailles in two parts: “The Rose’s Destiny” (薔薇の運命(さだめ), covered the beginning of the manga to Andre’s confession in Vol. 3, and “Amidst the Storm of Revolution” (革命の嵐の中で) finished out the manga. Also on display were original copies of the editions of Margaret from the 1970s, Ikeda’s character art pieces, and information on the adaptions for anime, Takarazuka, and film.*
The signs were bilingual (Japanese/English), and the English translation was beautifully executed, although I did giggle at Oscar being referred to as a “beautiful crossdresser,” since that seems to be too simple of a term to really encompass her character.
The exhibits were mainly the original copies of the hand-drawn pages that became the manga, but as a fan, even those were amazing to see. I could see where Ikeda had used a white pen to make the sparkles in the Oscar’s eyes; where she had changed a word or moved a wordbubble; the penciled in notes in the sidebar with instructions to the editor/printer. These were pages that Ikeda-sensei herself had touched. There was also information about the creation of the work on display, in which Ikeda described the extreme stress of continuing the work–hate mail, working herself to the point of collapse–but she says that her youth was what allowed her to finish the work. (Ikeda was all of 24 when The Rose of Versailles was published.)
Almost a year has passed since I finished the manga, and I noticed how much faster I could read the text on the displays than when I started reading the first volume in 2009. To me, however, the manga was more than just a linguistic goal or a check on a list of to-read classics. Like Misawa, as a teen, I was enchanted with Oscar–I had never encountered a character like her or a relationship like hers with Andre. I wanted to become an Oscar-like person. As an adult who has read the whole manga, I still do.
La Rose de Versailles Exhibition
March 19 – May 8, 2011
Part 1: “The Rose’s Destiny”: March 19 – April 12, 2011
Part 2:”Amidst the Storms of Revolution”: April 14 – May 8, 2011
*I enjoyed the anime; I like the Takarazuka show for what it is; the film Lady Oscar is a a sad instance of “what could have been”–huge budget but the characters were all wrong, the acting was bad, and it would be impossible to cover the whole story well in 2 hours anyhow. I would support a mini-series, TV show, or another crack at the anime, though.