Can’t Wait Wednesday – (Manga) Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda

Can’t-Wait Wednesday, aka Waiting on Wednesday, is a weekly meme originating from Jill at Breaking the Spine and now hosted by Wishful Endings.

I haven’t done an installment of this for two months, reason being that I don’t usually hype up books unless they have some major personal appeal. Ninth House was kind of an exception, because I’d had such fun with Shadow and Bone/Six of Crows. This week’s entry is similarly an exception and a bit of a change of pace as well.

Coming January 28, 2020 is the first of what I’m guessing while be 5-part special edition Hardcover release of a manga / graphic novel series called Rose of Versailles.

Rose of Versailles – Collection 1 by Riyoko Ikeda
Amazon / Book Depository (Worldwide S&H) / More Info On The Release + All Cover Art

I have yet to read this, but the anime series is easily one of my favorites of all time and accomplished extraordinary things.

In short, it’s a sprawling and exciting historic drama inspired by Versailles shortly before the revolution, starring a grandiose swordswoman heroine caught between a friendship with Marie Antoinette and a growing realization of the need for justice and revolution for the poor. She’s also caught between life as a man or woman, as she was raised as a man after her father’s disappointment at having a daughter. There are feminist overtones throughout the series, and it’s one of the early entries of the yuri / shoujo ai genre. (Basically f/f romance, though I should mention in Rose of Versailles the love stories are often tragic, and the main couple is m/f) plus an equally handled male and female cast, brimming with fascinating characters. Now you might be thinking these features are not that shocking given the greater rep of recent years in fiction. But Rose of Versailles was first published in 1972. The anime was released firstly in 1979.

This series predates so much and was truly ahead of its time. Major faves like Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena may have never existed or turned out as they had without the earlier influences of titles like Rose of Versailles. While the drawing style may be jarring given the differences in character design and higher levels of polish in newer manga series, it’s understated how immaculate the backdrops and scenery often are in this older gems. Eagerly awaiting reading/reviewing this around release.

The price tag is quite high though. The reason being the hardcover format, and that this is a compilation of the first three volumes (22 chapters) In that way it’s sort of like paying $13 each for 3 books in 1 and almost 500 pages, but I do wish the volumes had been released separately for a cheaper starting price. I’m going to try to request it at my local library though. Very much regret not doing so for some older series that are now out of print. Highly suggest requesting books from your library, especially when they are part of genres/mediums that are under-explored/under-represented. Hoping this one brings back a lot of the wonderful nostalgia I have for this series, as well as providing a worthwhile reading experience overall.

Thanks for reading this week’s Can’t Wait Wednesday, hope everyone is having a fantastic week and wrapping up their October reading plans nicely.
~ Kitty


11 thoughts on “Can’t Wait Wednesday – (Manga) Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda

  1. I got the email for this one, and I’m so excited to see what you think of it! I’m tempted to see if I should get a copy, although I don’t know much about it except for what the email and your post said. But it looks so good and I already love that I may have a new manga to read since I haven’t done so in years.

    Liked by 1 person

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