Oscar François de Jarjayes

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Oscar François de Jarjayes
Oscar Français de Jarjayes.jpg
First appearance Oscar, the destiny of a rose
Last appearance Adieu, My Beloved Oscar
Created by Riyoko Ikeda
Portrayed by (see below)
Information
Aliases Lady Oscar
Gender Female* (self-identifies as male)
Occupation

Commander of the Imperial Guard

Commander of the Military Regiment B
Title

Brigadier (current)

Colonel, Commander (former)
Family Jarjayes
Spouse(s) André Grandier
Relatives

Parents

Sisters

  • Older sister: Hortense de la Lorancy
  • Other sisters

Other:

  • Niece: Loulou de la Lorancy, daughter of her older sister Hortense

Brigadier Oscar François de Jarjayes (オスカル・フランソワ・ド・ジャルジェ Osukaru Furansowa do Jaruje?) is one of the main characters in the manga/anime series The Rose of Versailles, created by Riyoko Ikeda.

Character history[edit]

Born the last of five daughters to the Commander of the Royal Guards, General François Augustin Regnier de Jarjayes (a real historical personage[1]), she is raised by her father as if she were a boy in order to take his place and command the Royal Guards serving at Court after he retires. At the age of fourteen, as soon as her training in the basic military skills is complete, Oscar is given the task to protect the Dauphine Marie Antoinette when she arrives at the French Court.

Despite being raised as if she were a boy and dressing in males' clothes, Oscar is open about being female.[2] Even as she embraces her femininity, she uses her male position to gain freedoms that she could never have as a lady of the court.[3]

She is the love interest of both André Grandier, her servant at the Jarjayes mansion and afterwards a soldier in her regiment, and Marie Antoinette, who she acts as a bodyguard to.[4] She also earns the admiration and love of Rosalie Lamorlière,[5] and in turn calls Rosalie her "spring breeze".[3] Other women are infatuated with Oscar, even after she tells them she is female.[6] She dislikes the court intrigues, but remains there out of loyalty to her father and her friend, Marie Antoinette. At one point, Oscar falls in love with Fersen, who has a forbidden love for Marie Antoinette.[7]

Soon gaining the Dauphine and Queen-to-be's affection and trust, Oscar experiences life at Versailles and the pain caused by the contradictions of her being a woman whom everybody, including herself, considers a man. Later in the story, Oscar learns of the political ideals of the Revolution and that the royalist regime is corrupt.[5] As the French Revolution is about to begin, Oscar refuses to sedate tumults occurring in Paris. She renounces her status and her regiment joins forces with the people marching to the Bastille. Shot by soldiers inside the fortress, she dies right before the prison falls.

Development[edit]

A portrait of the real François Augustin Reynier de Jarjayes, who Ikeda portrayed as Oscar's father.

Oscar was originally a supporting character to Marie Antoinette, and was created as a female because Ikeda was unsure if she could accurately portray a male soldier. Oscar eclipsed Marie Antoinette in popularity and due to reader feedback became the main character.[8] Eri Izawa suggests that as Oscar is fictional, Ikeda could be freer in the portrayal of Oscar's life than Ikeda could be in the life of Marie-Antoinette, who had to die on the guillotine.[3] Oscar's androgynous persona is based on the actresses who play male roles in the Takarazuka Revue and Princess Sapphire,[9][10] and she was named for Oscar Wilde, as Ikeda is a fan of his.[11]

Actresses[edit]

Oscar portrayed by Catriona MacColl.

In the Takarazuka Revue performances of The Rose of Versailles, Oscar has been played by several male-role actresses from 1974 to the present day.[10][12] In the 1974 Moon Troupe performance, Yuri Haruna played Oscar.[10] Mayo Suzukaze has played Oscar. Kei Aran and Hikaru Asami played Oscar in 2006.[13][14]

In the 1979 anime adaptation of The Rose of Versailles, Oscar was voiced by Reiko Tajima.

In the 1979 film Lady Oscar, Oscar was played when a child by Patsy Kensit, and when adult by Catriona MacColl. MacColl's feminine and weak portrayal of Oscar was criticised, and it was felt that she was not androgynous enough to play Oscar.[15] In the forthcoming film La Rose de Versailles, Oscar is expected to be voiced by Sanae Kobayashi.

Reception[edit]

She has been described as "iconic",[9] as an archetype,[16] "thrilling", and credited with the success of Rose of Versailles,[17] as she illustrates the performative nature of gender.[10] Ian Buruma and Deborah Shamoon consider that Oscar's politics are less important to the audience than her romances.[5][18] Shamoon sees the Oscar-Andre relationship as very different from the Cinderella-Prince Charming stories which "dominated" shōjo manga in the 1960s, where the female protagonist would lose her identity to her boyfriend. Shamoon considers that the Oscar-Andre relationship follows the pattern of pre-war douseiai shōjo novels, which featured same-sex love between girls.[19]

Kazuko Suzuki says that after RoV, "several works" were created with "nonsexual" female protagonists like Oscar, who realise their "womanness" upon falling in love.[20] Suzuki sees her as being a transitional figure between the heterosexual romances of 1960s shōjo manga and those of shōnen-ai.[21] Oscar's "gorgeous androgyny" has led to her being interpreted as belonging to the bishōnen - beautiful young men.[22]

Oscar's relationship with Andre has been interpreted as being male-male,[23] and Andre vows to die for Oscar if he needs to, like the Kabuki samurai.[18] Oscar's conflict between her principles and her loyalty to Marie-Aintoinette has also been compared with a "samurai who must be faithful to an unworthy master".[16] Oscar has appeared in the Animage top 50 character list as recently as 1992.[24]

In 2007, a manga series called Haken no Oscar ~"Shōjo Manga" ni Ai o Komete was serialised in Chorus and was compiled into one volume. It told the story of an office lady who is inspired by the character of Oscar to defy her managers. Haken no Oscar ~"Shōjo Manga" ni Ai o Komete will be turned into a six episode TV series which will air starting from 28 August 2009.[25] In the 1990s and 2000s, Oscar inspired Revolutionary Girl Utena and Le Chevalier D'Eon.[26][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ da Silva, Valéria Fernandes (2007) Mangá feminino, Revolução Francesa e feminismo: um olhar sobre a Rosa de Versalhes (in Portuguese)
  2. ^ Corson, Susanne. "Yuricon Celebrates Lesbian Anime and Manga". AfterEllen.com. 
  3. ^ a b c Iwasa, Eri. "Rose of Versailles". Ex.org. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  4. ^ Thorn, Matt. "Unlikely Explorers-Gender and Sexuality in Shoujo Manga". 
  5. ^ a b c Shamoon, Deborah (2007). "Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shōjo Manga". In Lunning, Frenchy. Networks of Desire. Mechademia 2. University of Minnesota Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8166-5266-2. 
  6. ^ Women-loving Women in Modern Japan, by Erin Subramian
  7. ^ McCarthy, Helen (1 January 2006). 500 Manga Heroes and Villains. Barron's Educational Series. pp. 108–109. ISBN 978-0-7641-3201-8. 
  8. ^ Shamoon, Deborah (2007). "Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shōjo Manga". In Lunning, Frenchy. Networks of Desire. Mechademia 2. University of Minnesota Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-8166-5266-2. 
  9. ^ a b Welker, James (2006). "Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shōjo Manga". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31 (3): 847. doi:10.1086/498987. 
  10. ^ a b c d Robertson, Jennifer Ellen (1998). Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern Japan. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. pp. 74–76. ISBN 0-520-21150-2. 
  11. ^ Graham, Miyako (1997). "Lady Oscar & I". Protoculture Addicts (45): 41. 
  12. ^ Takarazuka mines 'Versailles' gold
  13. ^ The feminine `kabuki' alternative
  14. ^ Takarazuka Revue
  15. ^ Shamoon, Deborah (2007). "Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shōjo Manga". In Lunning, Frenchy. Networks of Desire. Mechademia 2. University of Minnesota Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-8166-5266-2. 
  16. ^ a b "The Rose of Versailles - Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga". Anime News Network. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  17. ^ Japan Sessions
  18. ^ a b Buruma, Ian (1985) [1984]. "The Third Sex". A Japanese Mirror: Heroes and Villains of Japanese Culture. Great Britain: Penguin Books. pp. 118–121. ISBN 978-0-14-007498-7. 
  19. ^ Shamoon, Deborah (2007). "Revolutionary Romance: The Rose of Versailles and the Transformation of Shōjo Manga". In Lunning, Frenchy. Networks of Desire. Mechademia 2. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-5266-2. 
  20. ^ Suzuki, Kazuko. 1999. "Pornography or Therapy? Japanese Girls Creating the Yaoi Phenomenon". In Sherrie Inness, ed., Millennium Girls: Today's Girls Around the World. London: Rowman & Littlefield, p.250 ISBN 0-8476-9136-5, ISBN 0-8476-9137-3.
  21. ^ Suzuki, Kazuko. 1999. "Pornography or Therapy? Japanese Girls Creating the Yaoi Phenomenon". In Sherrie Inness, ed., Millennium Girls: Today's Girls Around the World. London: Rowman & Littlefield, p.249 ISBN 0-8476-9136-5, ISBN 0-8476-9137-3.
  22. ^ Orbaugh, Sharalyn (2002). Sandra Buckley, ed. Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture. Taylor & Francis. pp. 45–56. ISBN 0-415-14344-6. 
  23. ^ Mizoguchi, Akiko (2003) Akogare no Yoroppa (now at Archive.org) as cited in Welker, James (2006). "Beautiful, Borrowed, and Bent: "Boys' Love" as Girls' Love in Shōjo Manga". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31 (3): 848. doi:10.1086/498987. 
  24. ^ "The Rose Of Versailles Overview". Protoculture.ca. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  25. ^ "Kochikame, Shōjo Manga Get Live-Action TV Dramas - News". Anime News Network. 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  26. ^ "Intersections: Review: Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku". Intersections.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  27. ^ "10 Iconic Anime Heroines". Mania.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.