For those who don’t get the joke on this page, there is a famous Japanese comic entitled The Rose of Versailles, by Riyoko Ikeda. This work is among my greatest influences. The “man” in the scene in panel 1 is a reference to the main character from Rose of Versailles, Lady Oscar, a girl who is raised by her father to be a guard in Marie Antoinette’s court.

So, the “man” getting a smootch is no man at all.

The Rose of Versailles has never been published in a US edition, though in the 1980’s, an edition was published for Japanese students of English. Adapted by Fred Schodt, this was my introduction to the series, which I purchased at a Japanese book store in New York City.

I also had laserdiscs of the anime series, and once had a very poor quality video tape of the rare Jacques Demme live action version. It’s not a particularly good adaptation, but I treasured it anyway. I have had no luck getting a replacement: it seems unavailable except in Italy.

I was so enamored of Lady Oscar, I kept my long blonde hair curled and wore uniform jackets for years. I thought I looked dandy. When I first went to Japan and visited Takarazuka (known for its all female theater company which produced a stage version of The Rose of Versailles,) people told me I looked like Lady Oscar and I did not have to prompt them. I have been dining out on this ever since.

I have a nice letter I received from Riyoko Ikeda, which is a great treasure to me; she is one of my great cartooning idols.

Ms Ikeda still makes comics, and also performs as an operatic singer. Here is her official website and here is her English language fan site.

With most sincere thanks to Meredith Randazzo! Your generosity is deeply appreciated!

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