This classic shōjo manga follows the life of Marie Antionette from her childhood in Austria, to her ascent to the Throne of France, and beyond. Volume 1 details evens up to her 22nd year of life. Many real historical figures are woven into this narrative, but one of the main ones is a fabrication. The General de Jarjeyes was sick of his wife birthing him only daughters, so he determines his sixth daughter he will raise as his son and heir. Oscar François de Jarjeyes is female, but becomes Captain of the Royal Guard and dresses in the stately uniforms as a man would. Oscar becomes the personal guard of the Dauphine Antionette, and he watches as the young Dauphine engages in court politics and intrigue. There is also the dashing Hans Axel von Fersen, a nobleman from Sweden, with whom Antionette is enamored despite her marriage. Mixed up in all of this are two sisters from humble backgrounds who individually plot their way into the noble class.
It is unfortunate that Oscar is not a real historical figure, but a good chunk of this story is otherwise historically accurate. Most of the other characters are based on real people, and the major events are based in history. I was confused a few times with references I had to look up because I am not familiar with this piece of history. Most of us know Antionette's fate, and this story is set up really well in that regard. Ikeda gives little hints about how certain decisions in her life ended up really hurting her later, including the excessive spending habits she had at the beginning of her ascension to the throne.
This story is full of beautiful illustrations. Every shot of Antoinette is full of flowers and finery and detailed dresses. The main characters all have large eyes drawn with sparkles in them.
There is some bloodshed and violence, a few conversations on sexual topics (the king harbors his mistress, a former prostitute, there's mention that Louis XVI can't consummate the marriage, etc.). There is also a heavy load of history knowledge expected of the reader around Louis XVI and Marie Antionette, and the French Revolution (obviously, readers can look up things like I did, but the story does not behave as if this is brand new territory to its readers). Because of this, this story is more suitable for teens.
The first two volumes of this story was originally released in North American in the 1980s, so this hardcover omnibus is the first chance for English and modern audiences to read this story. It is a little pricy, but the omnibus is collecting 2.5 of the original volumes and has a reinforced sewn spine.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 9-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Historical Fiction, Romance
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