Rose of Versailles

I just finished a show called Rose of Versailles which aired all the way back in 1979. It is historical fiction about the events leading up to the French Revolution and it closely follows several characters key to them, including Marie Antoinette, our protagonist Oscar, and her stable-hand Andre, as well as many others. If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend it based solely on that, but if you don’t, or really just don’t care, don’t worry, because what this show does exceptionally well, in my opinion, is character writing, relationships, and moral ambiguity. Oscar is a wonderful character, and now having seen the show, the reason she has endured for so long as one of the best examples of a strong female character is quite obvious. We experience many of her internal moral and ethical conflicts very intimately, and her thought process is always so incredibly thoughtful and balanced. She’s confident, clever, and extremely caring, so it’s not really a huge surprise that so many characters(and fans) fall in love with her.
Other characters, like the aforementioned Andre and the Swede Fersen, are also a pleasure to spend time with as they battle with the ways of the times, societal structure, and their own internal conflicts, which the show does a really good job of finding time for, even as the plot itself moves along at a pretty brisk pace. Also, if you don’t know your French history all that well, this show might be even more exciting, as the pacing lends itself to cliff-hangers that consistently compelled me to watch another episode and then another. It was a lot of fun to watch this show, even as the content was often heavy and depressing, and characters go through a lot of hardships that made my heart literally ache for them, it was always fascinating, informative, and riveting.
I highly recommend Rose of Versailles for anyone who is interested in historical fiction, anime history, shoujo/josei, strong female characters, or just older anime in general. It’s a product of its time, which for some just won’t work, but if you want to give an older anime a try, but maybe have been disappointed with previous forays into older anime, in regards to cheesy writing especially, this might be exactly what you are looking for. It sure was for me. I definitely think this holds up in most regards. Also Riyoko Ikeda’s character designs are really gorgeous and its no wonder they are still getting fashion lines based on them even today.

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