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Posts Tagged ‘Riyoko Ikeda’

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
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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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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Although I tend to buy plain stamps, the Japan Post sells some beautiful limited edition series of stamps–everything from flowers to anime heroes and heroines. Starting on 10 June 2011, the post offices started selling a stamp set featuring characters and scenes from The Rose of Versailles (『ベルサイユのバラ』, a.k.a. BeruBara (『ベルバラ』).

Image from Japan Post.

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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.

Image from the Kyoto International Manga Museum

 

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