My issues with Rose of Versailles arises when it tries follows the history too closely. We already know the results of the historical events and the show can’t alter it too much so it can be very anti-climatic.

For examples, Marie Antoinette needs to be shitty, Fersen will never like Oscar, you will have to go through painful cheesy story of Du Barry and Duke Orleans’ plan will definitely fail. They can’t take too much liberty with any of that because it will be very jarring especially when Rose of Versailles is clearly going for historical accuracy.

Not only that, I also think they really pick the wrong piece of history to focus on. Instead of focusing on interesting stuff like what happened to Du Barry after she got exiled or the actions took by King Louis XVI during the USA Revolution, they decided to focus on the shitty Marie Antoinette.

The biography of  Queen Marie Antoinette is the intention of Riyoko Ikeda when she first started the serialization and thank god she only followed it halfway through.Marie Antoinette is painful to watch.

I really hate Marie Antoinette’s character but RoV caught you by the balls by making her historically accurate. It’s like you are trapped with this shitty shallow character but the whole intention of the character is being shitty because it’s a historical fact. This makes you question whether the uneasiness of watching Antoinete is good characterization or just outright annoyance. In the end, I think it’s good characterization but I was more pissed off by the antics of Marie than thinking that it was a good idea.

I really hate Marie Antoinete and find that the inability to rewrite history is detrimental here. This is why I think it doesn’t come in as a surprise when I like the 2nd half more than the first half of the show. You see, the 2nd half of the show is good because they focused on their best characters, Alain, Andre and Oscar, which are all fictional.

Without the need of being historically accurate, the plot can proceed to unpredictable territory. Furthermore, they can flesh out the characters and go wild with it without contradicting historical facts.

Speaking of historical fact though, I like how they took liberty with the ending of Jeanne Valois because her real story is less interesting and doesn’t fit well with the romance theme of RoV.

Another thing I want to talk about is the over the top theatrical like acting. I made a post about Subtlety vs Heavy Handed previously but it’s definitely not all-encompassing. If I were to follow what I wrote, then I have to classify RoV as heavy-handed but that’s definitely not the case here.

RoV is one of  the many exception to the rule because the over the top acting befits the show’s setting. The characters are from an era that no one living in the 21 century can comprehend and that is why when characters lack any subtlety. It doesn’t feel heavy-handed because we have no idea what realism is like during that era. We can only form our assumption from medieval plays by Shakespeare to the records of speeches from people of that era. The setting of RoV can be considered as fantastical since it’s so long ago. This fantastical nature makes the over acting no’t come off as jarring. The image of France and Versailles also gave off the impression of elegance and theatrical like acting so I would argue that over acting is the correct way of doing it.

With that said, I still find the corniness and over dramatization of the fight between Marie and Du Barry to be very hilarious. It makes matter worse when all it boils down to is Marie hates whores. It’s very silly but from what I read, it’s quite accurate. Again, RoV caught you by the balls there because you can’t complain about the shallowness and pettiness of the characters when it’s the fucking fact.

Finally I want to touch on RoV as an influence. Did Rose of Versailles really revolutionize the Shoujo genre? I don’t think so since after 30 odds year, most of the Shoujo’s stories I watched/read didn’t quite capture the essence of Rose of Versailles. In fact, they only took the superficial parts of RoV and make their stories worse. The grand example of shoujo manga taking the superficial part and learning from bad example is the tendency of being overly dramatic with their romance even if it clashes modern sensibility   That shit works on RoV because of its tone and setting, you definitely cannot pull that off when your setting is in a 21st century classroom.

Confession: I know shit about French Revolution before Rose of Versailles. I only started reading the Wikipedia page while slogging through the boring half of RoV. I odd to learn important shit like this through the right channel next time.

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