Claudine...! (クローディーヌ...!, Kurōdīnu...!) is a classic shōjo manga set in the turn of early 20th century France. It was written by Riyoko Ikeda and the tankōbon was published on May 20, 1978.
The story follows a transgender man named Claudine from childhood to adulthood. His worried mother takes him to see a doctor, who in fact finds nothing wrong with the young Claudine. The two become friends and the doctor narrates the story of Claudine's roller coaster life as he falls for several women and we learn a dark secret about Claudine's father.
Claudine first fell in love with his servant girl, Maura. Maura loved him back, but was sent back to her home once Claudine told his parents that he wanted to marry her. Claudine then fell in love with Cecilia, but Cecilia was not interested and secretly having an affair with Claudine's father, Auguste; Louis, Cecilia's brother, found out about their affair and killed Cecilia and Auguste out of jealousy because he'd once been Auguste's lover. It is revealed that the adult Auguste had fallen in love with Louis when Louis was just a boy; Claudine had seen the two of them together when he was eight years old.
After Cecilia died, Claudine went to college and fell in love with a girl named Sirene. The two got together before Sirene fell in love with and became engaged to Claudine's brother, causing Claudine to commit suicide and free himself from his body because he felt it was the one thing which prevented him from becoming a "perfect man".Claudine
We first meet Claudine when he is ten years old and when his mother takes him to see a doctor. He is described as beautiful, captivating and exceptionally intelligent. We learn that ever since the age of eight, Claudine has believed himself to be really a boy, despite being born with a female body. Even though this worries his mother, his father has no problems with this as he takes after him and his brothers take after their mother. During his short lifetime, he got into many relationships with girls but all have sad ends. At the end of the manga, after being betrayed by Sirene, Claudine committed suicide by a gunshot.
Claudine is the youngest sibling of four children. His family consists of three older brothers, his mother and his father.Claudine's Mother
Not much is known about Claudine's mother save for that she is his mother, and she takes Claudine to see the doctor in the beginning of the story and her three sons take after her. She rarely shows up in the storyline and seems to adjust to the idea of her daughter being a man, save for the time when she finds Claudine in a romantic embrace with a girl.
We never learn his name but the doctor is the one who narrates Claudine's life as he looks back on his case later on in his life. He shows up several times in the story; once in the beginning, again when Claudine is fifteen years old, a phone conversation when Claudine is an adult and again at the end of the story when he has possibly retired from being a doctor. Since the beginning, he becomes friends with Claudine and this helps Claudine to talk easily with him. At the end, the Doctor shares his thoughts that Claudine is indeed transgender with the audience.
Auguste De Montesse
Claudine's father whom he takes after and cares for. He is a member of a wealthy family and took over the running of a large plantation from his grandfather. A frank and diligent person with many interests. Pleased that Claudine takes after him, he raises him like he were his son and the two spent many hours hunting, horseback riding and sitting in his book filled study talking of other lands.
Andrew, Edward and Thomas
Claudine's older brothers who take after their mother. They deeply love their clever sibling and support him being a man.
A beautiful girl from Claudine's childhood, she's been infatuated with Claudine since they were children and felt in love with Claudine at a young age. She finally confessed her feelings but Claudine didn't return them. However, she kept loving Claudine till the very end. Of all the girls Claudine ever met, Rosemarie is the only one that understands his true nature, stating he's "a true man given a female body". Rosemarie tends to "get in the way" of Claudine's various love interests. She got burn scars on her face in the fire caused by Louis. After that, she went to Paris and operated a shop. Rosemarie remained single and kept her love to Claudine. In the last pages, she's shown visiting Claudine's grave.
Simoune, Marabelle, Angelique
Friends of Rosemarie's, we briefly meet them at Rosemarie's party
Rosemarie's tutor, we first meet him at Rosemarie's party. When he first meets the teenage Claudine, he is completely fooled into thinking that he is a cisgender man and comments on him being Rosemarie's boyfriend. This remark makes Claudine flee the party, leaving Louis confused. When he learns who he really is and realizes who his father is, Louis races out to catch up with him but loses Claudine as he mounts his horse and races off. We meet Louis again later on in the story as Claudine falls in love with his sister. In his jealous rage, he burnt down the cabin killing both his sister and Claudine's father. He was never seen again since then.
A young girl who comes to work with Claudine's family and Claudine falls in love with. When Rosemarie realizes this, she causes the girl to lose her way to the post office to send away her first paycheck only to lose it at one point. Maura returns home later on when she learns about the death of her father.
Maura's mother, whom we never meet.
Claudine's second love interest and a librarian working in a high school library. The sister of Louis, the two shared a common love in books and Cecilia started a conversation with Claudine. Since then, Claudine pursued her with a passion only to find that she didn't feel the same for him. It is during this relationship that we learn of Auguste's dark secret. She died in the fire caused by her brother Louis.
A black haired beauty whom Claudine first meets after wandering around Paris after a second meeting with the doctor by simply looking in a window of a ballet studio.
They meet again when Claudine has entered college and the two are introduced at a party. Claudine falls completely for Sirene and the two even live together for a brief time. Yet as much as Claudine loves her, Sirene ends up falling in love with one of Claudine's brothers. The doctor is quoted in saying "no man could love a woman as deeply as Claudine did."