Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Sapphira's Ten Recommended Anime for a Classic Lolita

Today's post is a bit different to usual- no pictures! Instead, I'd like to write a little about Japanese animation, and tell you about a few examples you might like to watch.

Although Lolita fashion is somewhat associated with anime in the popular imagination of the West, it’s not always the case that Lolitas are particular fans of this media. Personally though, I am! Japanese animation covers a huge scope of subject matter, so I don’t think it can be so easily dismissed as something you’ll not like, even if the more well-known series don’t appeal. With this in mind, I’ve decided to compile a list of ten that might interest a Classic Lolita in particular. Some have historical themes, others are more mature examples of the shoujo genre, and most include a lot of roses. Whether you are new to anime or a long-time fan, I hope you’ll find something to suit you. Let’s begin!

1. The Rose of Versailles (1979)
A classic, and my personal all-time favourite! Versailles no Bara (BeruBara for short) tells the life story of both Marie Antoinette and of Oscar François de Jarjayes, a character created by the author (Riyoko Ikeda). Oscar, a young woman who was brought up as a man, becomes a high-ranking army officer and also a favourite of the French queen. It’s very romantic and affecting, and brings this famous period in history vividly to life. You are very likely to fall in love with Oscar, as many have. I also highly recommend the Rose of Versailles cosmetics line- I’ve been a devotee of the Oscar eyeliner for over three years!

2. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (2004)
Dumas’ epic of adventure and revenge is transported to a futuristic world that is half-period, half-science fiction. The innovative animation techniques used to create the decadent world inhabited by the Count and his fellow aristocrats are alone worth watching this series for. The beautiful design, intriguing plot and a soundtrack which includes Tchaikovsky and Debussy will I think appeal greatly to a Classic Lolita. I still need to read the giant novel itself!

3. Rozen Maiden (2004)
The story revolves around a set of elaborately dressed dolls (created by the toymaker Rozen) who duel one another in ‘Alice Games’.  Although I feel this series to be sometimes lacking in sophistication, it has a sinister quality (enhanced by wonderful music from Ali Project) which gives it distinction.

4. Candy Candy (1976)
キャンディ キャンデ
This series is the cutest I’ve ever watched! If you are fond of 19th century novels like Little Women, What Katy Did or Anne of Green Gables, you are sure to love this nostalgic anime, set around the same period. The Candy of the title is our heroine Candice White, a freckle-faced American orphan who often gets into scrapes but always tries her best.

5. Le Chevalier D’Eon (2006)
A wonderful combination of the historical and the supernatural, Chevalier is loosely based on the life story of the French nobleman and spy d’Éon de Beaumont. The real d’Éon claimed in later life that he was really a woman, and was given permission by Louis XVI to live as a member of the opposite sex (the king even gave him money for a whole new wardrobe- lucky d’Éon!). In the anime, he is possessed by his dead sister, who was killed in a plot that d’Éon and his fellow spies try to uncover. Another one for 18th century history fans!

6. Paradise Kiss (2005)
Ai Yazawa’s works are wonderful love letters to modern Japanese street fashion, and in this series great care was taken over the animation of the various characters’ outfits. And quite rightly so, as Paradise Kiss is all about the student members of an atelier and the directionless highschooler Yukari who ends up as their model and muse. Whereas all the other series in this list are escapist, this is a modern day series that I think any Lolita will find particularly relatable.

7. Black Butler (2008)
Set in Victorian England, this series follows the adventures of the young orphaned aristocrat Ciel Phantomhive, who makes a deal with a demon butler. The appeal of this series lies in it’s mix of real historical events (such as the Jack the Ripper murders and the Great Exhibition) with elements of horror, the supernatural, comedy, somewhat inappropriate sexual tension and a lot of fetching outfits.

8. Onii-sama e… (1991)
Another Riyoko Ikeda story, both the plot and the dresses in this series will make your otome heart flutter! Although the animation was made in the early 1990s, the manga began in the mid 1970s and the fashions seem to be quite of that period- think neo-Victorian ruffles, high collars and puff sleeves. The story is set at the exclusive Seiran Academy, and the plot focuses particularly on the politics of the school’s sorority. There's a lot of heartbreak- storylines include incest, lesbianism, divorce, drug addiction and terminal illness. Watch it when you feel particularly feminine and tragic.

9. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
I always find that Ghibli films are so lovely, it almost makes your heart hurt! This list didn’t seem right without one. I chose this Howl’s Moving Castle because of it’s beautiful setting, and because like Paradise Kiss, The Rose of Versailles and Candy Candy, it’s also the story of a young woman growing up. In this case the heroine, Sophie, grows up quite suddenly and dramatically into a 90-year old woman! Despite this setback she also manages to win the heart of the mysterious wizard Howl. The story seems to take place in a lovely European country during the early 20th century, filled with buildings both quaint and elegant, wonderfully stylish steam-powered vehicles, and very smartly dressed soldiers and sailors (well, there is a war on)….

10. Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)
Another shoujo classic! After meeting one as a child, Utena Tenjou decides to live her life as a prince. At the Ohtori Academy she is unwittingly drawn into a duel over the Rose Bride (her fellow student Anthy Himemiya). The swordfight scenes are very elegant- to win one must cut the rose from one’s opponent’s jacket! You’ll enjoy the stories of school life, as well as discovering more about the legend of the Rose Bride. The shadow girls who act as a sort of Greek chorus and the imagery referencing Charles Rennie Mackintosh are also nice touches. It’s also a bit mad now and then, but that’s all part of the fun.

Well, that’s my grand list of ten. I could name many more that I love (Lupin III!), but I think these ones best fit the list. Dear reader, have you watched any of these? All of them? Have you any you can recommend to me? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading,



  1. I only watched Howl's moving castle (probably my favourite Ghibli film) and read the Paradise Kiss manga (I didn't like it completely, but not bad at all!). I want to watch (or read) Rozen Maiden and I'm curious about The Rose of Versailles (I watched some episodes in differnt moments). Black Butler doesn't appeal me at all despite it's success, even if I tried to read the manga and I think Candy Candy won't suit my taste.

  2. I've always wanted to watch some lolita inspired anime's but didn't know where to start so thank you for this list ;-)

    I love your discription of Ghibli films "I always find that Ghibli films are so lovely, it almost makes your heart hurt!" Thats exactly the feeling I get from them, almost to wonderful to fully comprehend.

  3. I'd recommend Nodame Cantabile (and the sequels) as well! It's about classical music and learning to better yourself and your instrument. The music is fantastic and the characters are sweet and funny! Every time I watch it, it makes me smile.


  4. Thank you very much for the list! I have just watched Rozen Maiden and were looking for other cute Animes, so your entry came up just in time ;)

  5. Thank you for the list! I'm always looking for new anime to watch, so this was the ideal post for me.
    Of the above I've read The Roses of Versailles, seen and read some Rozen Maiden (I love the dresses), seen and read the complete works for Utena, Howl's Moving Castle and ParaKiss.
    I'm especially looking forward to watch Candy Candy and Onii-sama e...

    Somehow I'd like to recommend Card Captor Sakura (one of my all-time favourites, manga and anime alike) with its wonderful designs, but only to people who are really into overly-cute shoujo. ^^

  6. Piperita Patty~
    I don't know if I can choose my favourite Ghibli movie, that's much
    too difficult a decision! Apart from Howl I love Ponyo, and Kiki's
    Delivery Service, and Totoro... no, I really can't decide! I don't
    read manga very much, but I am fond of Pet Shop of Horrors and
    xxxHolic. I have the Japanese editions of BeruBara and Kuroshitsuji,
    but I can't read them very well yet. Do you have any favourite manga
    you think I should try?

    You're very welcome! I was actually looking for a list like this some
    time ago and didn't discover one, so I finally decided to make one
    myself :)

    Yes, there's something truly magical about Ghibli films.

    That sounds right up my street! I can't wait to watch it, thanks so
    much for the suggestion :D

    Oh, that was good timing! I hope one of these will catch your fancy. According to the poster below you, Card Captor Sakura is a very cute one, so maybe try that too if you haven't seen it yet!

    You're most welcome! Wow, you've seen a lot of these! I hope you'll enjoy those two :D I haven't seen Card Captor Sakura, I'll have to watch it/read it sometime. Thanks very much for the recommendation!

  7. I like anime and manga too. :) I would recommend Gosick and Dantalian no Shouka, both fairly recent. Gosick is a mystery of the week anime with an overarching plot, that takes place in the early 20th century in a fictional country, and also includes supernatural elements (or elements that appear to be supernatural at first. The main character is basically a grumpy 15 year-old "lolita" Sherlock Holmes who is addicted to candy and smokes a pipe. Gosick also had a Innocent World collab relseased last year. Dantalian is more on the supernatural side, and talks a lot about books and the occult. The main female character is also a grumpy lolita, and this anime had a collab with Alice and the Pirates and BLYTHE.

  8. Carolina~
    I began to watch Gosick some time ago, I need to make time to watch the rest! I didn't add it to the list since I hadn't finished watching it, but I agree it's one that many Lolitas are bound to like. I've seen some of the Dantalian imagery and was very intrigued, I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendations :D

  9. Hi! I love your blog, you're such a pretty girl. >u< <3 I'll be sure to follow you're blog. Great suggestions btw. I love Utena. Great anime!
    I have some suggestions for you! My favorite animes are period amines! All of these have that theme, you might enjoy them.

    I highly recommend the series "Emma". Its about a sweet and shy maid and the aristocrat young man she falls in love with. It is a very touching series. Victorian era.

    2. "Ashita no Nadja". Very cute anime about a girl travelling with a circus troupe in
    Victorian Europe. Its geared towards children, but can be enjoyed by an older audience, especially as the show progresses. This show is much like Candy Candy.

    3. "Hakushaku to Yosei." Another Victorian era anime about a girl who can see fairies and her adventures and a love story with a flirty Earl.

    4. "le portrait de petit Cosette" A spooky anime about a college man who is an aspiring artist who paints a portrait of a beautiful Victorian girl ghost and how she
    basically drives him crazy with her hauntings.

    5. "Les Miserable Shoujo Cosette " This anime is based on the famous story/play. It
    pretty much follows the story but its very good.

    6. "Pandora Hearts" This is also sort of Victorian themed somewhat gothic anime. I haven't watched all of it, but its sort of a supernatural drama about a boy and his pact he makes with a demon girl.

    7. "Jellyfish Princess". Not exactly a lolita themed. But very fashioned themed and humorous anime about a shy nerdy girl who befriends a pretty cross dressing guy.

    8. "Natsume yuujinchou" A very relaxing anime about a young man who sees spirit and returns them to the spirit world. This anime remind me of Ghibli films because its very quiet and thoughtful and is heavy on Japanese folklore and story telling.

    9. "Glass mask" (2005 ver) An anime about an aspiring actress and her life. It was a popular and famous anime in the 70's. They remade it in 2005 and that version is
    easier to find and more pleasent to watch. The 2005 ver does a great job of keeping that 1970s retro drama anime look and feel to it though.

    Haha, I almost have 10 myself! Anyway maybe you'll enjoy some of these as well!
    I have a blog too! Please visit it if you like. "ohmycutie.blogspot.com" thx

  10. oh I have a 10th!

    10. "Princess Tutu". Its a ballet anime. But its also a terrific fantasy and love story with beautiful classical ballet soundtrack and the story gets deeper as the anime progesses.

    1. These all sound so wonderful! I have watched Jellyfish Princess and I loved it, but many of these I have never heard of, so thank you very very much. I'm particularly intrigued by Glass Mask and Le Portrait de Petite Cosette. I look forward to watching them!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. ^_^ Thanks! I've really enjoyed these series too.
      Glass Mask is very good. I couldn't stop watching it once I started, it was so good! :) If you liked BeruBara, you like this.

      I should warn you that there is a little bit of a catch with the ending of the anime Glass Mask. I won't give anything away, but the manga artist actually hadn't finished the manga yet so the true ending of the story is yet to be made! But (the 2005 version anyway) anime is complete and handles it's version of the ending well enough and it's still an awesome series. But if you do watch it, you might want to keep it in mind to try to find the true ending after you watch the anime to see what the manga artist intended if she ever finishes. :)

      Le Portrait de Petite Cosette is nice because it's only only 3 episodes, but it has a pretty big impact. The music and visuals are awesome!


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