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Posts Tagged ‘Andre Grandier’

My favorite part of using the “global messaging service” LINE is being able to chat with my friends for free even if they use another carrier or are in another country. A close second is the “sticker” (スタンプ [stamp] in Japanese) function, which are basically bigger and better emoji. On April 11, LINE released 5 new paid sets of stickers, including a BeruBara (The Rose of Versailles) set:

Image from LINE

Image from LINE

The BeruBara stamps/stickers were 199 yen. Some of my favorites are below the cut.

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You know you’re a BeruBara fan when you read the following exchange on Not Always Right:

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Part 3: “Who Wants to Live Forever?”

Read Part 1 here.

Read Part 2 here.

Andre’s prior confession to Oscar demonstrated the loss of control for love trope Ikeda has established, but the purpose of the scene was to show Andre’s mental anguish and instability rather than to prove to Oscar how much he loves her. The main theme of love in the latter half of the manga still relies on loss of reservation as proof of love, but when this trope results in a successful confession of love, it is because Oscar and Andre have begun to see themselves as equals, bringing in a new and complex element to the love story which sets it apart from many other shoujo manga.

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Part 2: “Dancing in the Dark”

To read Part 1, click here.

To read Part 3, click here.

The second major incident of a character losing control for love is the scene in which Andre confesses to Oscar. However, this scene is not a simply a case of a character defying class and cultural conventions to tell someone of a drastically different social position that he loves her. This scene is dark and complicated and may be upsetting or triggering. The initial loss of control experienced in the verbal confession and the kiss  most definitely fits within the model Ikeda has established, but what happens next is about as subtle as the metaphor of Ikeda taking a sledgehammer to the established characterization. While I’ll mainly be discussing what this scene means within the narrative context of the manga, I’d also like to look at what this trope means in contemporary culture.

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Character, Control and Confession: A Three-Part Look at the Theme of Love in The Rose of Versailles

For summaries of the basic plot of The Rose of Versailles, see Deborah Shamoon’s article “Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shojo Manga” in Mechademia 2 (2007): 3-18 and my article “Japanese Dramas Take on Gender Norms.”

To read Part 2, click here.

To read Part 3, click here.

Part 1: “Love Hurts”

A major theme of the Oscar-Andre love story in Ikeda Riyoko’s (1972-3) ベルサイユのバラBerusaiyu no Bara (The Rose of Versailles) is the loss of control of one’s emotions. In the events leading up to the pair’s (finally) becoming lovers, there are three major points at which one of the characters completely loses control of his or her emotions, risking everything in the process. While risking it all for love (cue the ’80s and ’90s pop ballads) is certainly not an uncommon theme in romantic stories, in BeruBara, the themes manifests in such a way that the act of being completely overrun by one’s emotions is the ultimate symbol of love. However, literary symbols do not exist in a vacuum; the idea of love driving a person to lose all logic and reason ties in very strongly into to Japanese and American cultural depictions of love.  Thus, in this series of articles, I aim to explore this trope as it functions in BeruBara and in other media.

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