Wednesday, 3 October 2012

ベルばら展覧会- La Rose de Versailles 40th anniversary

Hello dear readers!

Today's post continues the 18th century theme. I know for sure that some of my readers are Riyoko Ikeda fans, so I think you'll enjoy what follows!

Versailles no Bara (Berubara for short) is one of the best loved comics in Japan, and I love it too! Who wants to see my Oscar cosplay from five years ago?

My make-up was not at all great, but perhaps my hair was all right? It's my real (bleached) hair, by the way!

Over the years, the story has been adapted into an anime and into several Takarazuka musicals, and the manga has been translated into many different languages such as Indonesian, Italian, Thai, French, Korean and Chinese. No English though, I'm afraid!

This year, the series celebrated it's 40th anniversary. As part of the anniversary celebrations an exhibition was held at Matsuya department store in Ginza.

Photos were not permitted inside the exhibition, so I'll have to describe it to you. Firstly, it was terribly crowded! The vast majority of visitors were women, but they all varied greatly in age. I imagine that some of them might have read the manga when it was first published in the 1970s, and even now remember it with great fondness. Berubara means a lot to many different people!

The exhibition featured the original manga drawings, with the dialogue pasted on and mistakes tippex-ed out. It was quite amazing to see! I suppose these days comic layouts are done in Illustrator or something, but it was lovely to see how carefully each page was set out and inked by hand. And so many hundreds, even thousands of pages, each one so beautiful!

I should never have complained about doing portfolio layouts at Uni....

Of course, most of the pages were in black and white, but there were also some gorgeous coloured pages on display. It was nice to be able to appreciate them in an exhibition setting, since I think when it comes to artworks one cannot get the full effect from seeing them printed in a book and of course, with comics, often that is the only way one will ever see them!

There were also costumes, replica (and some real I think) sets, posters, props, and also set and costume designs from Takarazuka productions. 

These costumes were placed outside the exhibiton hall for visitors to take photos of.

Everything was so sparkly and gorgeous! If you have been lucky enough to attend the Takarazuka revue, you'll know how sparkly the actresses look even when you sit in the back row. So just imagine how they look up close!

I was really excited to see a Berubara shan-shan and also Oscar's violin! It was also interesting to see posters dating from the first productions of the 1970s up to the recent ones in the 2000s, noting the evolution of the actress's hair and make-up styles. On a more practical note, my companion that day could not get over the increase in ticket prices!

Again, outside the exhibition hall. My jumperskirt is Jane Marple and my blouse is vintage.

The next part of the exhibition was cels from the anime series.  Watching the anime was my first experience of Berubara, and in fact it was one of the things that made me fall in love with Japanese culture. I think at that time I didn't know much about anime aside from Pokemon and Yugioh, so discovering this beautiful historical story with such a strong and fascinating heroine made a deep impression on me. The other wonderful thing about The Rose of Versailles is how it brings history to life so vividly. Riyoko Ikeda did a great deal of research on her subject, and though of course it is partly fictional you can still learn a lot about the Revolution through reading or watching Berubara.  More than that, you will appreciate historical figures as real people, and because of that the whole thing becomes more interesting.  

The following room had illustrations from the Berubara Kids series, and also editions of the manga from around the world. I wonder how French people feel reading this manga? I think they must approve, since Riyoko Ikeda was awarded a special order by the French government, which was on display in the final room. This room also contained 20 different artist's impressions of Oscar. These were pretty interesting! Some of them stuck closely to the Ikeda's original, others interpreted her in their own style but still kept her recognisable, some were crazily absract and some appeared to be of an entirely different character. I did like Chiho Saito's version, that was either Oscar as Utena or Utena as Oscar, open to interpretation I suppose!

Finally there were some lovely drawings that were used as covers for Margaret (the magazine that Berubara first appeared in). Then it was the gift shop!

On the left is my ticket and poster. Next to the ticket is a bookmark, it's a really lovely leather one. At the top is the famous Oscar eyeliner (I've used this one since my second trip to Japan in 2008, shame I didn't have it when I cosplayed Oscar!). On the right is a clear file with one of my favourite pictures of Oscar and Antoinette. There were a million things I would have liked to buy, but these are all useful things that I can enjoy every day.

I hope you enjoyed the post! I wish I could have brought everyone to see this lovely exhibition.


  1. Oh, how nice! I would have loved to attend that event :) (And your cosplay looked great!)

    1. I was so happy to have attended. Thank you, I really enjoyed cosplaying her!

  2. So beautiful post! :-) Great photos!
    I love this JSK :3

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

      This jumperskirt is one of my dream items actually, it's the same one from one of my favourite lolita street snaps:

      I was jumping for joy when I saw it in Closet Child!

  3. You were a great Oscar, but it's so strange to see you blonde!
    I've always wanted to see or read more of this series, I only saw two or three anime episodes when it were on tv.

    1. I find it strange too!
      Is it still shown occasionally in Italy? In England Ghibli and other anime films are occasionally aired on tv, but we never have any nice anime tv series, only children's ones like Pokemon.


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