Manga of the Month: The Rose of Versailles

Screen Shot 2021-08-22 at 1.02.25 PMThe Rose of Versailles (ベルサイユのばら)
by Riyoko Ikeda

July 2015 will probably be remembered as the summer when anime and manga dreams came true. Sort of. The month before has been the E3 where the The Last Guardian was saved, Final Fantasy VII got a remake, and Shenmue III was going to get made via a kickstarter. The Anime Expo 2015 did the same thing for the otaku community. While the impossible dream of getting the Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime and novels would normally be enough to make the announcements go into the realm of the fantastic the manga lineup was no slouch. The most surprising news was probably the fact that Udon was going to release the original The Rose of Versailles manga from the 70s.

The Rose of Versailles was always one of those manga that everyone asked for but never really expected. When the Right Stuf licensed the anime the reaction (beyond being slack-jawed) usually was, “It would be nice if we could also get the manga but this is more than good enough.” So when Udon of all people unveiled their little SDCC it made a mad sort sense given the events that had occurred in the last few weeks. I don’t think a year and a half ago most people who have guessed:

A. Anyone would license such an old shojo manga.
B. Anyone could get such a tricky prestigious shojo manga.
C. That it would have ever been from someone like Udon.

That summer of 2015 was interesting as most of the titles I mentioned had some major hiccup that changed the way people saw that string of miracles. The Last Guardian was sort of good but it sort of got overwhelmed by expectations thanks to years of dreams so it mostly exists in this limbo state between a dream come true and an utter disappointment. Shenmue III got really bad reviews but everything I have heard seems to say that it deserved every thumbs down it got. Final Fantasy VII has taken a long time to come out and since it is now being released in parts it has yet to be seen how the final product will be especially since there have been some major changes in the first part. It seemed like everyone of those wishes was made on a monkey’s paw. Not every wish ended in disaster but no one really got exactly what they wanted.

The Rose of Versailles manga seemed to have been a wish made on the same cursed monkey’s paw. As delayed as the Final Fantasy VII remake was at least there was occasional news updates even if they were few and far between. Udon seemed to just license The Rose of Versailles and then completely forget about the series. The was some speculation that Udon had just bit off more than they could chew and the license and they were just waiting for the license to lapse. But then beyond all odd Udon actually released the manga and it was in a super amazing premium format that lived up to most expectations and often exceeded them.  It was a long wait but it was very much worth it. Continue reading

Ask Hisui: Should I Watch Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia?

hisui_icon_4040_round I admit this seems like a very simple question but for some reason, I have not only seen this question being asked multiple places but I have personally been asked it multiple times. The question usually is, “I have not played Grand/Order but can I still watch this new Grand Order anime?” The snarky answer is, ” You are your own boss so I cannot and should not force you to do anything.” But that sort of answer rightfully gets you marked as a snarky bastard. The actual answer to the actual question asked is most probably no.  If you are asking the question then you probably won’t get the most you could out of watching Babylonia.

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Urusei Yatsura: The Triumphant Return of Some Terrible Bastards

hisui_icon_4040_round I have to say I’m glad that there are still anime and manga licenses that can surprise me. Despite the number of crazy anime licenses (that are not Macross) that have been announced there is still about one a year that pleasantly surprises me. The one for 2018 was the fact that Viz said they were going to try and release the Urusei Yatsura manga again despite dropping the license twice before. I was generally content with the anime release from AnimEigo from a few years back but I can’t say I was not at least something secretly hoping for a full release of the manga even if it felt highly unlikely. So I was a bit blindsided in the best possible way by the news and have been waiting for the new and improved books ever since then.

This post is less of a review and more of my observations on the first volume. Like with some of my Type-Moon posts none of what I would write would even remotely be considered objective or measured. This has always been a series that I loved and was very important to my early hardcore fandom so to say I look upon this book with rose-colored glasses is putting it kindly. If anything think of this as a look into the thoughts of a super fan.
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