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Right Stuf, Viki License The Rose of Versailles Anime

posted on by Egan Loo
Classic French-Revolution-era shōjo anime in 2 DVD sets in 2013, with streams launching in December

North American anime distributor Right Stuf announced on Wednesday that it acquired TMS Entertainment's classic historical shōjo anime The Rose of Versailles, and the company licensed the right to stream the anime to the online video site Viki. Right Stuf will release the 40-episode anime in two limited-edition DVD sets next year, and Viki will begin streaming the anime to the United States and Canada in December. The Nozomi Entertainment arm of Right Stuf is handling the translation and production for both the DVDs and the online streams.

The story is set in the intrigue-filled court of Queen Marie Antoinette before and during the upheavals of the French Revolution. Lady Oscar is a young woman raised as a man to serve in the palace guards.

To promote the anime, Right Stuf will ask Riyoko Ikeda, the creator of the original 1972-1973 manga, interview questions submitted by fans. ANN and Tufts University Professor Susan Napier, the author of Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle, will preview the first episode with English subtitles at New York Comic Con on October 13. Napier describes this influential 1979-1980 anime:

When Rose of Versailles burst on the scene in 1972, it was a revolutionary work in many ways. First of all, it really was a work about revolution — the French Revolution of 1789, to be exact — and its historical setting, psychological complexity, and adult themes all signaled a new direction in the genre of manga for young girls, known as "shojo manga."

Even more "revolutionary," however, was the introduction of a major cross-dressing character, the young woman named Oscar, who befriends and guides the hapless Marie Antoinette as the world churns around her. While much of Versailles is historically accurate, Oscar is Ikeda's own invention, a passionate young woman who dresses and often behaves like a man. Oscar quickly became the series' most popular protagonist and her gender-bending role not only gave young female readers a new approach to gender and sexuality but also paved the way for the many other gender-ambiguous characters who continue to populate the world of anime today.

In addition to the television anime series, the manga inspired a 1990 animated film, a long-promised but unreleased animated film remake, perennial musicals by the all-female Takarazuka Revue since 1974, and even a live-action 1978 French/Japanese film.

The Rose of Versailles
Based on "The Rose of Versailles" by Riyoko Ikeda.
© Riyoko IkedaTMS
All Rights Reserved.
Under License to RIGHT STUF, INC.
Update: Video added.

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