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

The Rose of Versailles Giveaway and The Case of the Missing Interview

It still feels a little unreal to have The Rose of Versailles legally on DVD as well as streaming online in English. It was one of the last big White Whale titles still out there. As a seminal work in shojo, as well as anime in general, it is an important title for anyone interested in the history of the medium. It has shaped countless titles since its release and become a fixture in consciousness of fandom. If you aren’t interested in the history of the medium, it is still a damn good show.

For the poor uneducated and unfortunate souls who have not watched this series yet, we have a chance for them to correct that error. All you have to do is answer a simple question for a chance to win.

But first, a minor point of modern history.

The Case of the Missing Interview

You may remember a while back we posted the questions we’d love to ask Riyoko Ikeda. At that time, Right Stuf along with Anime News Network were asking for submissions for a special bonus feature to be included with the U.S. release of The Rose of Versailles on DVD. What a rare opportunity indeed! Apparently, it was too good to be true.

Perhaps they were hoping we’d all be too overjoyed to receive our copies of The Rose of Versailles to notice this missing piece. And believe us, if we hadn’t written a post about that very interview, we probably wouldn’t have chalked it up to wishful thinking on our parts. But the internet remembers (unless it is in its best interest not to)!

Indeed, this does not sully the wondrous beauty that is this release of The Rose of Versailles, but we can’t deny having just a smidgen of disappointment to not have those burning questions (even if they didn’t pick any of ours) answered.

GIVEAWAY

We have both boxsets of The Rose of Versailles looking for a good home.

Just leave us a comment telling us your favorite historical setting for stories!

Entries are due by Saturday, August 3rd. The winner will be notified on Sunday, August 4th. U.S. residents only.

6 Lessons from The Rose of Versailles

We dreamed the impossible dream: someone licensing  The Rose of Versailles. But against all odds that dream came true. If you remember back in October, we submitted some questions to Riyoko Ikeda when the series was licensed by Nozomi Entertainment and even posted our questions in celebration of the announcement. Now that the first DVD set is out we’ve decided to remind you to picked them up.

The Rose of Versailles is more than just one of the seminal shojo series that has shaped countless titles. It is also a wonderous and unique life manual filled with universal truisms and precautionary tales for any age.

Oh. Watch out. We so have some major spoilers for the series beyond the death of historical characters whose deaths should be shocking to no one.

Continue reading