5 Questions for Riyoko Ikeda

Are you ready for a miracle?  For the longest time the conventional wisdom was there were a handful of titles that were popular but would never be licensed. They are either too long, too old, too obscure, or just have legal entanglements that will very prevent them from coming out legitimately in English. But every once in a while out of nowhere there is a breakthrough that lets fandom cross an otherwise impossible dream off the list. Someone is able to cut through the red tape and take a chance on a show that has vocal support.

The Rose of Versailles has long since been one of those titles that fandom has craved but could never have legitimately. It is amazingly influential on shojo manga and Japanese entertainment in general. Its influences on Revolutionary Girl Utena are unmistakable but it also influenced countless other series. While Princess Knight originated the idea of cross dressing girls in manga it was the The Rose of Versailles that solidified so much of the pattern of a woman being brought up as a man. Fandom has long asked for a legitimate release of this classic but whenever it would be brought up around licensing companies various stories were told but the answer was always the same. Everyone would love to license it but various factors keep it from getting released. The conventional wisdom was a mixture of price and unusual demands from the manga-ka blocked both the anime and the manga.

But recently Nozomi Entertainment proved they are the Mu La Flaga of anime licensing by making the impossible possible. By hook or by crook they found a way to license the anime and it is coming out next year. In fact it will even be streaming on Viki in December. But that is not the only think to look forward to.

As the apocryphal tale goes one of the biggest barriers to licensing the anime was Riyoko Ikeda, the original author of the manga. The stories were always different on why she was an obstacle to the anime being released but as it turn out she is not impossible to work with. In fact the Right Stuf is currently taking submissions for questions to ask Ms. Ikeda. If it is anything like their previous releases the best questions and Ms. Ikeda’s answers will be extras for the release.

With that in mind, we have made a list of 5 questions for Ms. Ikeda but before we send them off we decided to share them.

  • You’ve used a lot of history in your manga. Has there been any time period that has scared you off from setting a manga there?
  • So much of your work and the work of the other Forty-Niners has a very fluid sense of gender and sexuality. What do you feel that trend was a reaction to or an extension of?
  • It has been said that Oscar became the lead character in Rose of Versailles due to fan demand. It has also been said that Rosalie became less prominent due to that same influence. Why do you feel these characters created such strong reactions?
  • Japan’s love of France and French culture is attributed to the popularity of Rose of Versailles. What originally drew you to France and its history?
  • What were some of the challenges of fitting the unique fictional woman of Oscar into a world with well-known and prominent figures from history?

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