Onii-sama e…: Ikeda Ryoko Does Yuri

Yes. You heard right.

Ikeda Ryoko, legendary mangaka of the classic Rose of Versailles, totally does yuri. And it’s totally awesome.

Despite having the same director (Dezaki Osamu, also renowned for directing Ashita no Joe), and despite being yuri, however, it’s a grade or two less awesome than Rose of Versailles. I think, more than anything else, it’s the gap of 12 years between the two–Onii-sama e…, a 1970s manga, was adapted into anime in 1991.

It’s clearly obvious if you’ve seen both the series that the same director is responsible for both–there’s great moments like dramatic chords over completely silly events (in Rose of Versailles, we get a whole EPISODE devoted to ridiculous reasions for dramatic chords early on during the Madam DuBarry/Marie Antoinette not-talking-to-each-other catfight (which was incredible; in Onii-sama e…, we get things like Nanako tripping over a chair that’s been pushed into her path by a vengeful, jealous girl accentuated with the loudest and sharpest dramatic chord EVER), the totally unnecessary triple takes (in episode 6 of Onii-sama e… we get a triple take of a HORSE JUMPING OVER A HEDGE), and ridiculous dramatic posturing. If either of these shows don’t sound unbearably awesome to you after this paragraph, there’s no hope for you. The silly cheesiness of the direction, however, only adds to the value of the show, as every episode is a completely over-the-top one-hundred-miles-an-hour drama bullet train running smack into your face for 24 straight minutes.

Onii-sama e… is about a middle-class girl, Nanako, who attends a private all-girls academy for the upper-class (sound familiar, fans of Maria-sama ga Miteru?). This academy has a prestigious club known only as the Sorority, which only the best-looking, most connected girls are invited to. Through some strange fluke, Nanako is invited to become a member of the Sorority, despite not being a member of the aristocracy. This leads pretty much every girl in the school to hate her guts, except for her two friends (Tomoko and Mariko) and one kind-hearted girl who ranks high in the Sorority, Kaoru, known as Kaoru no Kimi. Everyone else seems to utterly loathe her guts. This, of course, makes for thrilling drama. And there’s THIRTY NINE EPISODES of this!

This is pretty much the anime based on the manga that fixed what the whole yuri subgenre of shoujo would be like. Shows like the aforementioned Maria-sama ga Miteru draw the sharpest inspiration from it, but pretty much any significant yuri work, even some outside shoujo, draws from this manga. It’s a must-watch for any yuri fan (even if the yuri underpinnings are fairly weak by modern standards) or anyone who really loved Rose of Versailles. If you’re both, well, you probably just entered seventh heaven.

There’ll probably be updates to this as I watch more, of course; I’m only on episode 6. I look forward to more dramatic chords, and so should you!

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2 Responses to “Onii-sama e…: Ikeda Ryoko Does Yuri”


  1. 1 Faye 29 November 2007 at 10:38 am

    I need to see this more than anything, really.

  2. 2 jeanniex1 6 October 2009 at 1:07 am

    You have no idea how jealous I am that you watched this. My level of japanese is probably worse than a 2 year olds and the only leads I found to subs cost about $8 for every 4 episodes, which they mail to you on DVD. I’m not sure if they’re even still doing them.

    But yeah basically the only reason I’m so desperate to watch this is Rose of Versailles. I know this post is from like 2 years ago but I would love to read more about Oniisama e if you ever feel like updating =)


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