Claudine...! (クローディーヌ...! Kurōdīnu...!) 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 someone as Transgender.
The protagonist's birth name is Claudine de Montesse, otherwise known as Claude, a noble, regal, and extremely romantic young man. He is a transgender 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:
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Claude gives one to Cecilia, but is rejected.
- Birds of a Feather: Claude and Cecilia bonded over their love of books and poetry.
- 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".
- Inter Generational Friendship: The doctor (in his 40's at least) and Claude (starts the story as a pre-teen boy, by the end is in his early twenties).
- Love Dodecahedron: Claude 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 Claude's father Auguste, as is Cecilia. Rosemarie is in love with Claude since they were kids, is jealous of Claude 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: Claude'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 Claude as a friend, rejects his Anguished Declaration of Love, and later is murdered. Sirene? She chooses Claude's eldest brother Andre over him... and then Claude offs himself.
- Mega Twintails: Young Rosemarie's pigtails were bigger than her head!
- The Mourning After: Rosemarie never stopped loving and caring for Claude, and we see her visiting Claude's grave.
- Narrator All Along: The Doctor, who narrates the story as he reminiscences about his old cases. He does think that Claude was right into identifying himself as a male.
- Not Good with Rejection:
- This what drives Claude 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: Claude's mother, who is a good person but is completely unprepared to handle Claude's situation. Claude's father Auguste seems to be more of an Open-Minded Parent, though he has his own issues... especially in regards to Cecilia and Louis.
- Parental Favoritism: Auguste favored Claude among his children because he was the one more similar to himself. Claude is said to be pretty much the "second coming" of Auguste.
- Rule of Three: Claude falls in love with and loses three women.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Claude gives one to Maura when she's grieving over her father's sudden death. Claude's mom catches them and they have a huge fight, which leads to Claude going to the doctor for the second time.
- Sleep Cute: A very fatigated and cold Maura falls asleep on Claude's shoulder right after arriving to the Montesse home in a rainy day.
- Snow Means Death: Claude kills himself on a snowy night. It's still snowing when Rosemarie visits his grave.
- Spurned into Suicide: What specifically pushes Claude into shooting himself dead is how Sirene, his third and last love, leaves him for his older brother Andre.
- Trans Tribulations: While a lot of Claude's issues are directly caused by his turbulent love-life, the fact that he's seen by others as a masculine woman instead of the man he is definitely exacerbates these issues (most notably, his relationship with Maura is interfered with because it's seen as lesbian and thus inappropriate, Cecilia rejects him because he's "a girl", and Sirene is accepted by Claude's bother because he sees Claude as a woman). In the end, something that contributed towards his suicide is a phone call he has with his psychologist, who tries to assure him by saying that he's a man, and very masculine at that - something that Claude interprets as him being "an imperfect man".
- Unrequited Love: Claude, towards Cecilia. Rosemarie, for Claude.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A distressed Rosemarie tells Louis about Claude 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.