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Archive for the ‘Manga’ Category

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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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. (more…)

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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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Part 1
Part 2

Although she was born in 1947, Riyoko Ikeda is included in the Year 24 group along with Moto Hagio and Keiko Takemiya, whom we will discuss later. Best known as a manga artist, Ikeda also worked as a scenarist; in 2001, she enrolled in and later graduated from music school, where she studied opera.

The Rose of Versailles Volume 2

Cover of an edition of Berusaiyu no Bara, Vol. 2, featuring Oscar and Marie Antoinette in portrait on a blue background

Ikeda’s works include Berusaiyu no Bara (The Rose of Versailles, or BeruBara), Oniisama e (To My Elder Brother), and Orufeusu no Mado (The Window of Orpheus). Many of her manga are historical fiction that examine topics in gender and sexuality; some feature queer or gender- nonconforming characters. While she does focus somewhat on coming-of-age romances, which are topics typically featured in shojo manga, Ikeda wrote about adult relationships, particularly in The Rose of Versailles, as well as gender identity, political upheaval, and class issues.

The Rose of Versailles is arguably one of the most famous and most influential manga ever. (more…)

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Princess_Knight-1

Image: Princess Knight (リボンの騎士) manga cover. Tink, dressed in a green tunic and cap, whispers in Princess Sapphrie’s ear. Sapphire has short black hair and is wearing a big hat with feathers in it and a puffy-sleeved tunic.

Part 1: Introduction

Origins of Shojo Manga

Manga historians tend to identify the prolific and influential artist Osamu Tezuka as the creator of shojo manga, but the true origins of the genre are somewhat more complicated – and interesting!

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In this reader: lack of treatment options for eating disorders in Japan, women sushi chefs, including trans and non-binary people in US health care, the daycare crisis in Japan, the Rokudenashiko, and more.

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Megumi Igarashi’s illustration of one of her trials (photo via @6d745/Instagram)

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My co-panelist and friend Dr. Kathryn Hemmann of Contemporary Japanese Literature and I teamed up again at Geek Girl Con 2015 to give an improved version of our “Crossdressing in Anime and Manga” panel as well as a brand-new panel, “The Sparkling World of 1970s Shojo Manga,” originally presented Oct. 11, 2015. We are pleased to present a multi-part series based on the latter panel on this blog. We’d also like to thank not just our readers and panel attendees but the awesome section of teens who sat in the front row and squeed at all our pictures, especially Oscar’s.

Panel description

Shojo manga, or manga for young women, is at the center of a thriving comics publishing industry in both Japan and the United States. The legacy of shojo manga is readily apparent in contemporary media from Sailor Moon to Steven Universe, but where did it all begin? This panel offers a glimpse into the classic works that shaped the genre and still inform international fan cultures. Join us to learn more about graphic novels filled with romance, political intrigue, and tons of gender trouble. We’ll introduce you to the work of legendary artists such as Riyoko Ikeda, Moto Hagio, and Keiko Takemiya while celebrating the appeal of illustrated explosions of flowers that rival the flowery speeches given by fascinating characters.

Kyoto Manga Museum

Kyoto International Manga Museum [image: ceiling-to-floor shelves of 1980s manga, with each shelf labeled by year at the Kyoto International Manga Museum]

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