The Rose of Versailles Set 2 DVD Review
of Versailles is
one of the greatest successes in
ever created, and with the
success of said manga (which debuted in 1972 and only ran one year
the storyline was later adapted into an anime series in 1979-1980 for
and Nippon television. The basic concept of the story was to craft a
focused around the French Revolution in animated form, focusing in on
before and after of the events of this historic event; simultaneously
romantic story of fictional leading character Lady Oscar and her love
while bringing historical figures like Marie Antoinette into the fold
storytelling. Finally released in America by RightStuf's anime label
Entertainment, the show has been released in sequence with two DVD
presenting the anime series.
story begins with General de Jarjeyes having a meltdown
upon realizing that his pregnant wife gave birth to a daughter instead
son. Outraged at God, he believes that he should be able to have a son
or another, so he decides to raise his daughter as a son instead of
her to grow up as a woman. Thus the story of Lady Oscar begins. She is
in a manner where she is to be masculine in appearance and given the
Commander of the Royal Guard when she is old enough. This doesn't, of
change the fact that she is not actually a boy but her angry, vile
on raising her this way, and it leads Oscar to living a life of some
and internal conflict, especially when it comes down to her romantic
for a soldier which grows over the course of the show.
animation on the show is rather impressive for the time
period. Some of the absolute best animators of the time were working on
production, and sometimes the series is simply an immense marvel to
visually. At other times, the opposite effect can happen though as many
are slowly laid out through "snapshot" like frames of animation,
which adds something unique to the visual aspect of the show but it
sometimes seems like it's just a shortcut to making the show a bit
produce. (For what it's worth, this feeling was in essence confirmed
interview with director Osamu Dezaki included with the extras packaged
the second DVD set).
curiosity piece of a series because it's a series surrounding the
revolution. No doubt, some anime fans will want to tune in to
animated telling of some of these events. Just remember to keep in mind
some of these moments have been changed to less historically accurate
However, this series still manages to keep a lot of dates intact;
some historical accuracy and also some of the core concepts of the
It doesn't completely fail as a history piece, but just don't watch it
expecting total accuracy as something that could ever replace learning
the events separately. The series is also a romantic show with a lot of
"made-up" elements that has everything to do with the writers
creating the show -- that includes the series main protagonist and a
other elements in fictional storytelling.
of the things that
makes the show stand out is the abundance of romanticized
are frequently highlighted with animation to make them appear more
nature and one of the most common things to happen on the show is to
used to emphasize different moments. This happens when characters are
romantically embracing and surprisingly during other (less
expected) moments, such as during some of the battle moments,
during horse rides across the land, and other strange moments to focus
sparkling element. Perhaps this is exactly what fans of shÅjo
want, but it feels over-the-top in a way that is a bit limiting on the
full potential; given the subject matter utilized. Nonetheless, it's
not on the creators minds.
romantic anime series and shÅjo work can be exceptional. I've never
manga series though, and the anime version doesn't necessarily succeed
the way I hoped given how popular this show was in Japan.
This certainly will appeal to a certain
audience, but it is a creation that won't appeal as much to those who
for mostly melodramatic storytelling.
also found the show to be a bit boring in parts, and this is neither to
the storyline or the concept: the animation and directing has moments
beautiful quality of the work is well emphasized but it also slows down so much at times that the characters
seem to actually be doing just about nothing and at a slow pace. There
just far too many shots of the sky -- or birds flying -- or wind
all sorts of other unnecessarily emphasized elements which seems to be
emphasized by both of the series directors, Tadao Nagahama and Osamu
a bit irritating.
American fans of ShÅjo
anime productions have no doubt heard
a little bit about anime's earliest effort in the genre, The
Rose of Versailles, before reading this review -- as often as
it is discussed as being shÅjo
anime's start point. The series is definitely something that will
towards fans of the genre the most. The series is abundantly
times with characters breaking away during a number of scenes to say
the audience (these moments are too brief to call monologues) and
frequently repeat dialogue, especially when in regards towards romance
moments of life or death circumstances. It makes the series feel more
melodramatic and soap-opera-y than historical and dramatic. It's
because the show can make the distinction of being not only the
beginning of shÅjo
anime but it is also one of the few historically based anime series of
time-period; a distinction which remains relevant today.
Set (Part 2:
of the series The Rose of Versailles
takes on a bit of a "different" direction in comparison to the first
half of the series. This is the case both literally and symbolically,
went through some changes artistically when the first series director,
Nagahama, was gone from the show. The producers of the series spent a
episodes time looking to find someone to replace their previous
after a couple of director-less episodes the producers found their
in the form of director Osamu Dezaki.
Dezaki had a bit of a different view of how the show should be
The direction of the series actually seemed to be a bit of an
he joined the staff, but it's clear that he was still mainly a
artistically. The series remained uninterested in being historically
and the basic concepts of the show's design were ultimately the same.
Dezaki did seem to want to make the show a bit more of a dramatic show
bit less of a soap opera style production and the characters became a
more invested element of the storytelling. He also toned down the use
'sparkle' somewhat (though this aspect is still prominent on the show)
and made the show a bit more grounded in certain scenes.
However, in other moments, the series seems just as much of a fantasy
before, so... It's certainly a bit of a mixed bag as one can recognize
that Dezaki wanted to bring in a
slightly different style but not to radically differentiate from what
before on the series.
have two main elements to them storytelling wise: the first bulk of
focuses upon the storyline of the historical "Diamond Necklace
Affair", and it alters a great amount of these details for the
of the storyline. This story involves a plot against the Queen, a large
money, and jewels -- the storyline focuses on the events preceding and
As the series continues forward, the central element in the end
episodes explores Lady Oscar's love for Andre, both of their troubling
health issues that progress, and also Oscar's relationship to
Rosalie. The relationship between Oscar and Andre is in many ways at
the front and center of the ending.
final bulk of episode leads to further storyline progression and the
point of the ending is to piece together
the historical events surrounding the French revolution and in relation
to these main
characters. The show follows revolutionaries of the French people and
try to change the government. These episodes have a lot of battle
meetings, and lives lost as the battle for the people of France goes
all building to the major strides of the revolution.
episodes have some of the most dramatic elements of the series and it
place around these elements and at the storming of the Bastille. What
happen to Lady Oscar and Andre? How these events unfold both
for the fictional (and also for some non-fictional) characters within
is presented with these concluding moments.
Rose of Versailles is
DVD by RightStuf/Nozomi with surprisingly good transfers that suggests
work was likely done, because colors and artwork throughout the show
surprisingly clean and efficient presentation. There are still
moments where specks of dirt or remarkably minor print damage is
mainly consistently impressive though, and the show looks remarkably
and crisp considering the standard definition presentation. The
animation is beautiful to appreciate with these notable and enjoyable
transfers, which are retained with the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1
1.0 mono audio included on these
episodes isn't anything particularly special to behold. However, it's
original audio that the series was created with, and for its age it
remarkably clean, crisp, and audible as one can expect: dialogue is
understand and properly follow (which is the most important aspect) and
overall fidelity is generally average at best, the vocal clarity is
for viewing the show.
main extra included with this box-set
is an almost fifty page long booklet with information about members of
production team, the historically accurate 'Diamond Necklace' story,
timeline of events, character/location sketches, and even some
illustrations. It's quite the nice booklet and fans will be quite
pleased by its
inclusion in the set.
supplements included on the second
Rose of Versailles collection include
a clean opening and closing animation and a 16 minute long interview
series director Osamu
Dezaki. He was interviewed by someone who isn't presented in the
video -- so it's a bit unusual. The first batch of questions were
"either/or" style questions that were pretty humorous, such as
"anime or live-action"? When he answers live-action it was funny and
interesting as he discusses his opinions with more humored enthusiasm.
In exploring the series, the bulk of the interview does consist of
the overall production and his role in the show's creation.
second half of The Rose of Versailles is just as much
of a mixed effort when it comes to overall quality and historical
Director Dezaki doesn't try to make the show all that historically
the show does have an increased sense of energy and enthusiasm and
that makes these episodes a bit more interesting. It's also intriguing
to see a
anime series portraying (accurately or not!) the French revolution,
the main element that becomes focused on in concluding the show
and romances, naturally).
contains a quality PQ/AQ presentation and a beautiful chipboard art-box
makes this a fancy set that fans will want to purchase. Newcomers
the show with a rental of the first set's discs, but established fans
set one enough to own will want this collection too. Consider it a
release, based on the series own merits artistically. The packaging and
given by Nozomi is impressive throughout and is worth great enthusiasm.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.