It’s been made into an anime TV series, live-action film, and Takarazuka stage musical, but more than anything else, it’s the original manga that’s captured the hearts of Rose of Versailles fans. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, the series’ themes of desperate love, self-sacrifice, and challenging gender norms have been striking a chord with readers for over four decades.
Unlike last year , there’s no new volume of Rose of Versailles coming out this summer. However, there is still going to be a ton of new illustrations in the form of entries to a Rose of Versailles fan art competition that’s accepting submissions online right now, awarding impressive cash prizes, and being judged by the manga’s creator, Riyoko Ikeda herself.
Even in the world of shojo manga, Ikeda’s character illustrations are extremely pretty. As a matter of fact, the flawless skin and luxuriously long eyelashes of the Rose of Versailles cast have led to more than one tie-up with a Japanese makeup manufacturer, and sponsoring the current art contest is beauty and wellness product maker DHC.
The contest is divided into two divisions, the first of which is the Rose of Versailles division. As a fan art contest, you’ll need to draw at least one member of the Rose of Versailles cast, and your illustration must also contain a pink rose (or several, if you’re really trying to capture the shojo aesthetic). Other than that, it’s up to you what elements you want to include.
To enter the contest, you’ll also need an account with art-sharing website Pixiv. Simply upload your entry to the site, and add the tag ベルばらイラスト in Japanese text (it reads as Berubara irasuto, meaning “Rose of Versailles illustration”). Make sure the artwork is set to be publicly visible, and you’re in the contest.
Of course, you can’t have a contest without a prize, or actually three prizes for the Rose of Versailles Division. A panel of judges, including Ikeda, will select one grand prize winner who will receive 200,000 yen (US$1,600) and Ikeda’s autograph, while three runners-up will each receive 50,000 yen and a signature.
▼ Some of the entries already submitted
▼ We think we may have seen this same pose in Revolutionary Girl Utena, but considering how much of an influence Rose of Versailles was on that series, maybe it’s a deliberate homage.
▼ Even RocketNews24’s own Japanese-language reporter Meg has thrown her hat into the ring.
▼ Lady Oscar’s eyes are said to shine “like the stars of Orion in the winter sky,” which is a little beyond Meg’s artistic limits, so she went for a more abstract approach.
But like we said, this contest is actually two competitions in one. In the second division, artists are asked to draw an anthropomorphized mascot for DHC’s Aromatic Bulgarian Rose Capsule supplement. Made with Damascus Rose, DHC claims it will give your body a natural floral scent.
▼ The packaging ordinarily looks like this.
For this division, your design can be whatever you like, and below are a handful of the entries submitted so far.
▼ Meg’s idea for the character, who she named Fragrant Bulgarian Rose-tan.
Once again all you need to do is upload your drawing to Pixiv, give it the tag ブルガリアンローズ擬人化 (Burugarian Roozu kijinka, meaning “Bulgarian Rose anthropomorphism”), and set it to be publically visible. Unfortunately, winners of this division don’t receive autographs from Ikeda, but the awards are more numerous, with five runners-up each receiving 50,000 yen, and the grand prize winner taking home the largest monetary prize of the contest, a cool 300,000 yen.
The contest runs from now until 11:59 p.m. on July 7. Artists can enter both divisions, and multiple submissions are allowed as well, so grab those pencils and get drawing.
Top image: Pixiv
Insert images: Pixiv, RocketNews24, DHC
[ Read in Japanese ]