Claudine...! (クローディーヌ...! Kurōdīne...!?) is a classic shojo
manga set in the turn of early 20th century France. It was written by Riyoko Ikeda
, published in Shueisha's Margaret
in four chapters, and its only tankōbon was released on May 20, 1978. It's one of the first Japanese media to portray Transsexuality
The protagonist's birth name is Claudine de Montesse, otherwise known as Claude, a noble, regal, and extremely romantic young man. He is a trassexual man and struggles to reconcile his conception of himself with being born female. Born to a French noble family, he is aware of the fact he is a boy and shares a special father and son bond with his dad to whom he has the most resemblance of all his brothers; when he's ten years old, his well-intentioned but ignorant mother then takes him to a doctor. Claude reveals the nature of his life, the doctor comes to respect and understand him, and then we start to see how the complicated and tragic events of Claude's life begin to develop from the beginning to the end of the story. . .Note
: Claude presents as male in story, and will be referred to as such in TVT-land.
"Claudine...!" includes the following tropes:
- The Ace: At university, Claude becomes this. Obviously, he's more of a Broken Ace.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Claude gives one to Cecilia, but is rejected.
- Arranged Marriage: Claude's parents.
- Birds of a Feather: Claude and Cecilia bonded over their love of books and poetry.
- Break the Cutie: Claude, Maura, Rosemarie
- Broken Bird: Claude is mentally configured as male but born with female reproductive organs.
- Bury Your Trans-people: Claude.
- Chekhov's Gunman: 15-year-old Claude sees a pretty girl through the window of a ballet academy. Two years later, the girl returns to his life: she's his third and last love, Sirene.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Claude's neighbor Rosemarie is in love with him, she confessed her love to him but was rejected. She does seem to be the girl who understands him better, out of all of these involved in his life: she calls him "a true man given a female body".
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Rosemarie, specially when younger.
- Coming-of-Age Story: With a Downer Ending, tho.
- Country Mouse: Maura
- Downer Ending
- Gender and Sexuality Tropes: More exactly, transsexuality. It was groundbreaking in its day.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Rosemarie gets half her face scarred in the fire that killed Auguste and Cecilia.
- The Hero Dies: Poor, poor Claudine.
- Hot Librarian: Cecilia Lacques, Claudine's second love, worked as the librarian of the local highschool.
- Kick the Dog: When Rosemarie "loses" Maura's first paycheck. Claudine notices what happened despite everyone else believing it was lost in the mail, but he doesn't say anything.
- Jerk Ass: Louis.
- Inter Generational Friendship: The doctor (in his 40's at least) and Claudine (starts the story as a pre-teen boy, by the end is in his late teens)
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Louis Lacques, and Claudine.
- Love Dodecahedron: Claudine falls in love with Cecilia Lacques, but she doesn't return his affections because she sees him as a girl. Cecilia's younger brother, Louis, is sleeping with Claudine's father Auguste, as is Cecilia. Rosemarie is in love with Claudine since they were kids, is jealous of Claudine and Cecilia and serves as an Unwitting (or perhaps intentional) Instigator of Doom when she reveals Cecilia and Auguste's affair to Louis, who goes Yandere and kills them both. And that's without bringing Maura or Sirene into the mix.
- Love Hurts: Holy crap, Claudine's love affairs all end up badly. Maura? They share a kiss, but Madame de Montesse catches them and Maura is sent back home. (Then again, her dad had just died so she had to go anyway). Cecilia? She only likes Claudine as a friend, rejects his Anguished Declaration of Love, and later is murdered. Sirene? She chooses Claudine's eldest brother Andre over him... and then Claudine offs himself.
- Mega Twintails: Young Rosemarie's pigtails were bigger than her head!
- The Mourning After: Rosemarie never stopped loving and caring for Claudine, and we see her visiting Claudine's grave.
- Narrator All Along: The Doctor, who narrates the story as he reminiscences about his old cases. He does think that Claudine was right into identifying himself as a male.
- No Name Given: The Doctor, Claudine's mom
- Not Good with Rejection: This what drives Claudine to shoot himself dead after learning that Sirene dumps him for his older brother.
- Similarly, Louis went nuts when he learned that his lover, Auguste, was sleeping with his older sister Cecilia. He then burned down the place where they met and killed them both.
- Parents as People: Claudine's mother, who is a good person but is completely unprepared to handle Claudine's situation. Claudine's father Auguste seems to be more of an Open-Minded Parent, though he has his own issues... specially in regards to Cecilia and Louis.
- Parental Favoritism: Auguste favored Claudine among his children because he was the one more similar to himself. Claudine is said to be pretty much the "second coming" of Auguste.
- Princely Young Man: Claudine and his brothers.
- Proper Lady: Madame Montesse, and also Cecilia. Rosemarie seems to have grown into one by the end of the series.
- Rule of Three: Claudine falls in love with and loses three women.
- Sleep Cute: A very fatigated and cold Maura falls asleep on Claudine's shoulder right after arriving to the Montesse home in a rainy day.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Claudine gives one to Maura when she's grieving over her father's sudden death. Claudine's mom catches them and they have a huge fight, which leads to Claudine going to the doctor for the second time.
- Snow Means Death: Claudine kills himself on a snowy night. It's still snowing when Rosemarie visits his grave.
- Spurned Into Suicide: What specifically pushes Claudine into shooting himself dead is how Sirene, his third and last love, leaves him for his older brother Andre.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Claudine's brothers Andre, Edouard, and Thomas.
- Trans Equals Gay: Averted, as mentioned in Yuri Genre below. And it's relatively respectful in its portrayal, at that.
- Transsexual: Claudine is a trans man.
- Unrequited Love: Claudine, towards Cecilia. Rosemarie, for Claudine.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: When Claudine meets Louis, who mistakes him for a full-bodied boy.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A distressed Rosemarie tells Louis about Claudine and Cecilia, not knowing that Louis was also Auguste's lover. Louis snaps massively and burns down Cecilia's house, killing her and Auguste, and leaving Rosemarie herself with severe burns in half of her face.
- Uptown Guy: Claudine finds himself as such, when he falls for the maid Maura.
- Yandere: Louis, who once was Auguste's lover... and ends up killing Auguste and his sister Cecilia.
- Yuri Genre: Subverted, since Claudine searches for female love interests yet identifies as male despite his female body. Therefore, it'd be technically incorrect to classify this particular manga as yuri. Remember, kids: homosexuality and transsexuality are both LGBQT issues, but are very different.