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Title: Rose of Versailles: Part One-LiteboxTitle: Rose of Versailles: Part One-Litebox

Director: Tadao Nagahama (episodes 1-18) and Osamu Dezaki (episodes 19 and 20)

Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsha

Author: Riyoko Ikeda

U.S. Distributor: Nozomi Entertainment, Lucky Penny

U.S. Release Date: February 3, 2015

Format and Length: DVD / 20 Episodes / 480 Minutes

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Historical, Romance

Industry Age Rating: 13 and up

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Le Chevalier D’Eon

Synopsis:

Rose of Versailles: Part One begins with the birth of General Jarjayes’ latest child. The General is desperate for a son to preserve the family name and noble standing so he names his daughter Oscar and chooses to raise her as a boy. Her best friend and training companion is Andre’ and he a servant in the family’s home. As a teenager, Oscar is the newly appointed Commander of the French Royal Guards and she is a masterful duelist, an expert shooter, and a master swordsman. Her first assignment is to protect Marie Antoinette, who is engages to the French prince and future king, Louis-Auguste (King Louis XVI). Lady Oscar’s beauty and noble spirit maker her a shining figure in the eyes of both men and women but she is torn between her chosen life of service and duty to class and country and her own heart and desires.

The French court is a dangerous place, even though the arranged marriage should provide both countries, France and Austria, with some much needed peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette’s naiveté makes her an easy target for those who wish to see the monarchy overthrown and thus begins the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette also makes her own trouble when rumors begin floating around Versailles about her and Han Axel von Fersen. Soon, Oscar finds herself both defending Marie Antoinette’s reputation from those who seek to discredit her and protecting her life from those who wish to harm her.
Commentary:

Rose of Versailles: Part One is a wonderful historical anime. At first, I was not very interested in this anime, but after a few episodes, it drew me in. Rose of Versailles is an old anime that has been re-released and might be hard to watch, but give it a chance if you are able to see past the lack of action and the tragedies that fall upon the characters.

I thought the character development of Lady Oscar was awesome. You first see her right before she takes her position as Commander of the French Royal Guards and you think that she is just a spoiled teenage brat, but she is anything but. Oscar is a woman of her word and lives to serve the Royal family. She is also very strong willed and members of both sexes are attracted to her. I really loved the interaction between Andre’ and Oscar because you could really tell that Andre’ loved Oscar, however Oscar did not or could not give the feelings back. Marie Antoinette’s character was really sweet and cute in the beginning of the series, but as the series progressed, she became more selfish and immature. She put her own happiness ahead of the happiness of her people. Those are really the two most interesting characters at this point in the series.

The plot was very slow. It seemed like each book of manga equaled one episode of Rose of Versailles. Personally, I think that some parts could have been left out; however, by the end of Rose of Versailles: Part One I was happy to have seen every part. As I said above, it really draws you in and then you do not want to stop watching. Each disk has five episodes and they go by pretty quickly. The opening and closing music fits the mood of the anime very well. It is slightly bittersweet and the background music depicted the music of the 17th Century, although there were a few instances of “dramatic” piano playing, but that is par for the course for an anime of this age. The animation does look dated but then again you have to remember the age of this anime. The backgrounds are very detailed and look beautiful. Be careful of the sparkles though, they may blind you.

While Rose of Versailles: Part One is not completely fact, if you enjoy history or love historical fiction then this anime is for you. This anime is a classic and deserves a special place in the history of anime in general.
Extras:

Rose of Versailles: Part One has clean opening and closing animation and Nozomi trailers as special features. Each disk has two trailers and the fourth disk has the clean opening and closing animation.
Overall Grade: B+

Rose of Versailles: Part One is a very good anime and is worth a watch. Despite its age, it is very enjoyable and I cannot wait for Part Two to see what happens. If you are a fan of older animes or you are open minded with different genres of anime then you should enjoy Rose of Versailles: Part One.

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