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The cover for the tankōbon of Claudine...!
|Written by||Riyoko Ikeda|
|Original run||? – ? 1978|
Claudine (クローディーヌ...! Kurōdīnu...!) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Riyoko Ikeda. Serialized in Margaret and published as a single tankōbon on May 20, 1978, it is one of the earliest manga to feature a transgender protagonist.
The story is narrated by an unnamed psychiatrist as he reflects on the life and loves of Claude, the child of an aristocratic French family in the early 20th century. Assigned female at birth, Claude (born as and mostly referred to as Claudine in the story) has identified as a boy since the age of eight; Claude's parents take him to the psychiatrist, who befriends Claude after confirming that he is in good health.
As a teenager, Claude falls in love with Maura, a servant in his family's house. Though Maura loves him in turn, she returns to her home after the death of her father. As a high school student, Claude falls in love with Cecilia, a librarian at his school. Cecilia does not reciprocate his feelings, and is in fact secretly having an affair with Claude's father, Auguste; Louis, Cecilia's brother who himself had an affair with Auguste in his youth, kills Cecilia and Auguste out of jealousy.
Later, as he works towards his master's degree, Claude falls in love with a ballet dancer name Sirene. The two begin a relationship, though Sirene eventually falls in love with and becomes engaged to one of Claude's brothers. Believing that his female body makes him an "imperfect man," and with a final appeal to Sirene having been ignored, Claude falls into despair and commits suicide. In a closing narration, the psychiatrist confides to the audience that he has "no hesitation" in his belief that Claude is transsexual.
- The youngest child of a French aristocratic family. Beautiful, captivating and exceptionally intelligent, Claude (born as and referred mostly throughout the story as Claudine) was assigned female at birth, but has lived and identified as a man since his childhood. Though his gender identity is generally accepted by his family, he faces hardship and tragedy in his romantic life.
- The Doctor
- The unnamed narrator of the story. A psychiatrist, he befriends Claude after his mother sends him to his office after showing signs that nowadays seem like gender dysphoria with Claude essentially coming out to her. He concludes at the end of the story that Claude is a trans man.
- Auguste De Montesse
- Claude's father. The patriarch of a wealthy land-owning family,he seemed to be supportive of Claude the moment he came out.He ends up raising Claude as his son, spending hours hunting and horseback riding with him.
- Madame De Montesse
- Claude's mother, who married Auguste in an arranged marriage. She is hesitant to accept Claude's situation, more out of naivete and lack of preparation than anything else. She is the one who contacts the Doctor to help him out.
- Andrew, Edward, and Thomas
- Claude's older brothers. They deeply love their younger sibling, and ,except for Andrew, all support his gender identity.
- A childhood friend of Claude's. Though she has been in love with Claude since they were children, he does not reciprocate her feelings despite greatly caring for her otherwise. After suffering burns to her face in the fire caused by Louis, she moves to Paris to open a shop. Of all of Claude's paramours, Rosemarie is the first woman who fully understands and accepts Claude's gender identity.
- Louis Laques
- Rosemarie's tutor, the brother of Cecilia, and the former lover of Auguste. After Claude falls in love with Cecilia, and once Rosemarie accidentally blurts this fact out, a jealous Louis snaps and sets a massive fire that kills Auguste and Cecilia, and badly burns Rosemarie. He disappears afterwards.
- Claude's first love interest. The daughter of former retainers of the Montesse clan, Maura was actually born in the family state and it's said that a very young Claude held her as a newborn. Years later, she lives with her family in a nearby village and later starts working in the mansion. She has to return home after the death of her father.
- Cecilia Laques
- Claude's second love interest, and the sister of Louis plus the mistress of Claude's father Auguste. A librarian working at Claude's school, he pursues her romantically, though she does not return his feelings and, in her shock after Claude's confession, she rejects him and blurts out that she cannot see him as a man. A few moments later, she dies in the fire caused by Louis.
- Claude's third and final love interest. After crossing paths as teenagers, they meet again as adults at a party, and fall deeply in love with each other. While she does more or less accept Claude's identity as well, she ends up falling in love with Claude's brother, Andrew.
- "Seven Seas Expands to Classic Shoujo With Release of Riyoko Ikeda's CLAUDINE Manga". Seven Seas Entertainment. November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- "The Spring 2018 Manga Guide: Claudine". Anime News Network. June 1, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.