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[Manga Talk] The Allegory of Nijinsky by ARIYOSHI Kyoko


(ニジンスキー寓話/ 芭蕾一世情)


ARIYOSHI Kyoko (有吉京子)

Complete: 6 volumes

In Allegory of Nijinsky,  ARIYOSHI Kyoko has adapted an analogy to the life of Nijinsky through her characters – Lucifer and Jean.

Lucifer was a ballet genius, “a creature of God” who, like the real life Nijinsky, sought to dance as if  he had “connected his soul to God”.

Jean, however a critically-acclaimed ballet choreographers he already was when he met Lucifer, was still searching for “the soul” who would be able carry out his vision and the perfections he was seeking in his ballet.

When not dancing, Lucifer demonstrated his innate shyness and introversion; Jean, on the other hand, was a lonesome genius whose visions of arts would always require a higher plane of understanding and appreciation of others.

ARIYOSHI Kyoko’s Allegory of Nijinsky is NOT about the life story of Vaslav Nijisky, but the “spirit of Nijinsky’s dancing” rather – when Lucifer and Jean were (dancing) together, it became “a thing as much of head and soul as of heart and body, and claims the rapt attention of all our faculties for its understanding.” (The Art of Nijinsky by Geoffrey Whitworth, 1913)

For a brief moment, Lucifer and Jean were blessed as they found their soul mates in each other. But their tragedy began with Jean’s growing feelings of insecurity as well as Jean’s devotions and hectic schedules of his ballet productions…

Lucifer once said to Jean: “…. once upon a time, a young woman fell in love with a soldier whom was about to be sent to war. She had wished him to stay with her instead of seeing him being sent into dangers. So on the eve of the war, she put poison in his goblet of wine…. The man was left behind as she had planned, but he would never forgive her until his death; albeit of her love for him, it was an act of betrayal to him and his country, which the man was unable to forget and forgive….. I believe we are the incarnations of them – I was the woman and you were the man. I would faithfully repeat a similar act in this life……

….. and so Lucifer did. In the night of his crucial performance, Lucifer deliberately failed to show up on stage. It was his way to let Jean understand that, all along, Lucifer could only be able to dance, not for Jean nor the audiences, but solely for his own sake.  And now, he had chosen for himself to not to dance……

Lucifer had firmly believed that it would have been all over for Jean after that evening….. until he heard the music started being played on stage; the dance had begun without him!

Jean had prepared for a back-up dancer against his trust in him, for he should have been the only one to Jean; he was the only person who could dance his ballet!

Or in other words, had his existence now become meaningless to Jean now that Jean had managed to find his replacement?…..

…. and then Lucifer’s inner-world began to collapse, and slowly too did his sanity.


When Jean started practicing his choreography with Lucifer, he demanded absolute devotion and focus from Lucifer – Lucifer must see Jean as a mirror and that the pair of them must connect “spiritually” in order to feel and breathe at the same rhythm; Lucifer must not be distracted by any other matters of life, including romancing with girls…..

But as Lucifer finally learned and found himself “being connected” with him, Jean began to pull himself away from their intense relationship. He was terrified to face his own downfall as it was being mirrored through Lucifer – the cause of Lucifer’s distrust in him was in fact his inability to trust and rely on Lucifer’s feelings of insecure….. Jean’s inner fears and  cowardice began to turmoil during the production of “Three movements of Faust & Devil”, created by Jean himself. He became frustrated at Lucifer as he was afraid to accept Lucifer’s insecurities and fears (of losing him).

Finally, Jean had realised his mistakes – Lucifer should not be the one to be blamed for being trapped in his inner insecurities; by not showing up for his performance that evening, he merely wanted and thought he could have Jean to be with him forever. As it turned out, Jean himself however should indeed be the one to be blamed, for his cowardice of running away from his inner fears which he thought were suffocating him……

Now Jean had to go and find Lucifer, and then to repent for his mistakes….

…… or had it already become too late for him?


My say: 

A question kept popping up in my head as I was reading the series: how on earth could this series ended up being SOOoOoooooo underrated?!

Perhaps it was because, unlike its predecessor, Swan Lake, the materials were not “shoujo” enough (i.e. shoujo eyes were not cute, big and sparkly enough) in this case?

It has been a very long while since I, in reading a dark and bitter story, could literally feel the ache in my heart as if it was being ripped apart – the pain that Lucifer and Jean had suffer was so real in Allegory of Nijinsky that my chest ached and tears fell, time and time again….

What I can also guarantee here is that ARIYOSHI Kyoko’s artworks in Allegory of Nijinsky is as truly magnificent as, if not better than Swan Lake! As a matter of fact I prefer it so much more than the later because of its artworks! Allegory of Nijinsky is a work about contemporary ballet, that shows a greater detail of kinesthesia – the exposure of dancers’ muscles was prominent and the toned bodies were beautifully drawn, especially when the dancers’ bodies were “soaked” in their sweat as the dances were brought to climax….. in short, very sexy! (and somehow I could just imagine myself joining the rest of an emotionally-charged audience, giving applause enthusiastically to these dancers!)

Conclusion: A MUST-READ series that should NOT TO BE missed!

One man’s death (2nd dance movement of Faust & Devil, created/ choreographed/ produced by Jean Berger in ARIYOSHI Kyoko’s Allegory of Nijinsky)



6 thoughts on “[Manga Talk] The Allegory of Nijinsky by ARIYOSHI Kyoko

  1. Hello, I bought this manga long time ago, but I don’t read japanese, just know a little bit. I want to know… The Allegory of Nijinsky is a Shounen-ai/Yaoi and Shoujo? Cause there’s some scenes of both kissing, nsinuation of sex and things like.
    Waiting reply

    Posted by Antique Manga | June 8, 2012, 2:50 pm
    • Hi. Welcome here!
      Good to hear you managed to get a copy of the series 🙂

      I presume your question was originated with reference to the definition of those categories in your homepage?

      This series is definitely a shoujo in no doubt. But its storyline is certainly far from being “girly” and romantic as seen in many mainstream shoujo manga these days. I would look at it more as a “psychological drama”, as you may have already noticed 🙂

      It is a BL but I am not sure if I would tag it as “shounen’ai”, simply because both our protagonists were “too old” to be “shounens” and the theme of the story was not school/youth-based; I’d probably leave it tagged as BL if I absolutely have to.

      I do not remember there were many explicit sex scenes as such appeared in the series, apart from one or two odd occasions perhaps towards the ends, when Lucifer was already starting to suffer from mental breakdown. I personally think the scenes were to depict a “twisted” relationship with his obsessive lover, which reflects Lucifer’s deteriorating state of mind at the time. In light of this, I would question why “The Allegory of Nijinsky” would in any way be tagged as “yaoi” – depiction of sex scenes, explicit or not, was certainly not the objective of this series!

      Hope it helps : )

      Posted by xkazemg | June 12, 2012, 9:06 am
      • I see. I think that even if their relationship is not the focus of the manga, it’s still a BL. Wow, this just made ​​me more excited to read this than I was. I’ll ask someone to translate the manga for me. Yup, it really helped. Thank you.

        Posted by Antique Manga | June 15, 2012, 2:22 am
      • Hey, welcome back!
        Not sure if I was clear in my earlier reply – the relationships (or interactions between characters) WERE the focus of the manga. What wasn’t, in my opinion, was the depiction of so-called “smut scenes”; it was certainly not the objective to use sex scenes (explicit or not) for “smut purposes”, if you know what I mean : )
        But I am with you on that one, in terms of it being a “BL” (but NOT “yaoi”)- no doubt about that!
        Glad to hear you are willing to give it a go… it deserves it. Please do return and give us your feedback. Would be lovely to hear what you think 🙂
        Enjoy reading!

        Posted by xkazemg | June 15, 2012, 2:58 am
      • Oh, I’m sorry… read it wrong. Yup, I realize it, just by seeing the pages I loved the manga. It’s a bit sad to have all these comics, but can’t read them.
        And surely I’ll! Thanks xkazemg!

        Posted by Antique Manga | June 15, 2012, 3:24 am
      • My pleasure : )

        Posted by xkazemg | June 15, 2012, 3:28 am

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