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Manga / Ludwig Revolution

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Ludwig Revolution is an idiosyncratic take on classic fairy tales, told as only Kaori Yuki can. The central story is about the flamboyant, narcissistic Prince Ludwig as he travels across the land in search of a suitable wife. Accompanied by his trusty manservant Wilhelm, Ludwig encounters a diverse cast of fair maidens from various fairy tales. Snow White, Cinderella and many more are completely retold, and the resulting stories are sometimes unexpectedly hilarious, while at other times cruelly twisted.

The manga was serialized from 1999 to 2007; it originally began in the Shōjo magazine MELODY, but moved to the Hana to Yume line of magazines (bouncing from Bessatsu to the regular one) for the rest of its run. A short sequel, Ludwig Gensokyoku, ran in Bessatsu from 2012 to 2013.

This manga contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Several and all various kinds.
    • Blanche's father was sexually abusive, her mother was physically and emotionally abusive.
    • Lisette's parents forced her into prostitution as a child.
    • Hänsel and Gretel's parents were physically and emotionally abusive, to the point of abandoning their children in the forest.
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite being set in a medieval fairy tale setting that also features firearms, cameras, and celebrity magazines.
  • Anti-Hero: Wilhelm is pretty much the only good-hearted character, and is treated as a Butt-Monkey because of it. The rest of the cast members... not so much. Ludwig is a womanizing pervert, Dorothea is a seductive witch, Lisette is an Ax-Crazy murderer, etc.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Subverted as many of the names Kaori Yuki picks actually exist in reality.
  • Author Appeal: In a side-column during the Sleeping Beauty story, Kaori Yuki admits that Ludwig's obsession and preference for big breasts actually is one of her own.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The prince goes everywhere in full visual kei regalia. Lisette works as a mercenary in a plastic/leather dress and high heels.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • Subverted with Snow White. The eponymous princess here is a cruel slut who seduced her father since age 7, and is much more evil than the queen, mocking the queen that she can never be as beautiful as her.
    • In the Goose girl, the story keeps hinting that the beautiful, kind, sweet and humble maid Albertina (with golden hair) is the true princess, as opposed to mean and selfish dark haired "princess Albertina". Later, the blond Albertina confesses that she was forced to switch places with her jealous maid, "princess Albertina" is executed and the blond Albertina marries the prince. However, it was all a lie, there was no switch at all. The black haired Albertina was the TRUE princess who had earlier forced her maid to write letters and poems to Prince Cristo. The maid Albertina later uses these poems to convince Cristo that she's the real princess, mainly to get revenge on the real Albertina's family for executing her mother. And to live a life of luxury, of course.
  • Bifauxnen: Queen Almaberga, who is identical to her son Ludwig. You can argue an inversion and say that Ludwig looks feminine.
  • Break the Cutie: Lisette, who was tricked into slaughtering her family, as well as Hansel and Gretel, who had a poor abused childhood made much worse by an extremely deranged and savage experience, which turned them into cruel killers.
  • Bowdlerization: Believe it or not, some of the stories are comedic and actually less morbid than the original. Cinderella's sisters don't mutilate themselves, Rapunzel's prince does not get blinded, and The Little Mermaid gets to marry her prince.
  • Crapsack World: What do you expect with Kaori Yuki taking already dark fairy tales and making them worse???
    • Most notably Hansel and Gretel though. She actually mentions in a sidebar that she finds the original story so horrifying that she couldn't bring herself to make it the slightest bit funny.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Among all the cruelty inherent in Kaori Yuki's work, some lucky characters actually get one of these.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Dorothea's clothes tend to go in that direction, with some of the princesses donning similar attire.
  • Enfant Terrible: At seven years old, Blanche is described as having a black heart. She seduced her father and mocked her mother for her diminshing beauty.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Everyone is absolutely terrified of Ludwig's mother Queen Almaberga, who is still quite alive. Also, Petronella's plans are for the sake of becoming the new queen.
  • Handsome Lech: Ludwig is the most overt example of this ever for a Kaori Yuki protagonist, picking and dumping women based solely on the size of their breasts.
  • Heinousness Retcon: Early in the series, jealous of Lisette's (Red Riding Hood) closeness to Wilhelm, Prince Ludwig tricks her into killing her parents by making her believe they sold her and her grandmother as sacrifices to the Wolf, in exchange for a bag of gold. Realising this made the character come across as irredeemable, later works retconned her parents into being horrifically abusive towards her, even forcing Lisette into prostitution from a young age.
  • Informed Ability: Cinderella's feet don't look the size they are said to be....
    • Although that can be explained as it is said that feet that are 27cms long are seen as rather large.. in Japan.
  • Identical Grandson: Ludwig and his mom are IDENTICAL, to the point where Julius tries to kill Ludwig repeatedly for his mother's genocidal crazy.
  • It's Personal: The reason that Julius hates Ludwig so deeply is because he caused the death of his older sister with a great war. Only... it was Lui's mom.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ludwig acts incredibly obnoxious towards people, but he puts himself in danger to save his friends.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: Julius has no problems with talking to Ludwig's (supposedly) dead body or with making out with it. Also Ludwig's "hobby" at the beginning of the story...
  • Mood Whiplash: Two at the end of Bluebeard. The chapter ends with Ludwig, turning towards Amalie, wondering if he should give True Love a chance and Amalie getting shot by a bullet, just as the two are about to embrace. But Amalie survives and thanks God for being allowed to live and be with her loved one... and then her breast-padding falls out and reveals that it caught the bullet. And Ludwig dumps her like a hot potato.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Petronella, the poor maids outside her window got scarred for life because of that.
  • Offing the Offspring: More than once with Snow White, Hansel and Gretel.
  • Parental Incest: Between Princess Blanche and her father.
  • Please Get Off Me: Amalie lands on top of Wilhelm in Bluebeard. Ludwig begins to flirt with her and Wilhelm asks her to please move already.
  • Reincarnation: Dorothea, in an unusual fashion. And of the "duty that survives death" kind.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The first story is a lot darker than the rest of the comic, as the author herself admits in the epilogue, and Ludwig never acts quite that creepy again.
  • Scaled Up: Petronella's One-Winged Angel act. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't help.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: I'm not just some disgusting "otaku", I am an otaku celebrity with money and power!
  • She Is All Grownup: Gender Flipped, Prince Silvio is all grown up at the end of his story.
  • Shoe Size Angst: Cinderella's feet are abnormally large (at least for a Japanese girl, and most definitely for Cinderella), which she is embarrassed to admit.
  • Shout-Out: Ludwig and Wilhelm are the names of the original Grimm brothers, Dorothea was the name of their mother.
  • Spell My Name With An S: As you can see, there's some confusion as to whether Ludwig's mother is named Amalberga or Almaberga. Amalberga's a real name, at least, so it's probably this one.
  • True Love is Exceptional: It is very heavily hinted that the princess most suited for Ludwig is Idike, who doesn't have large breasts...
  • True Love's Kiss: Subverted. It wasn't the kiss what revived Idike, in fact it didn't revive her at all.