Apr 24, 2009
SilentMuse (All reviews)
"Remember this: My name is Edmond Dantes."

Madames et Monsieurs, bon soir! Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is an eerie fairytale never to be forgotten. The name Edmond Dantes is a chilling name that shall forever be tattooed in a person's mind once that name crosses the ears. This anime is a loose adaptation of the original haunting tale by Alexandre Dumas dating back in the nineteenth century. The artistic distortion of the tale that distinguishes it from its primary literary source can leave viewers breathless and speechless.

~[S T O R Y]~ [10]

Gankutsuou chronicles the agonizing journey of one man who seeks to achieve revenge at all costs. Most of us have encountered the tale through our literary excursions. In case you have not dear reader than allow me to enlighten you. Edmond Dantes was once a fortunate man who would soon be promoted as Captain as well as being rewarded with a beautiful wife Mercedes. Nonetheless, his jealous rival Fernand Mondego takes drastic action by accusing Edmond of being a Bonapartist traitor, thus leading Edmond to be stripped of his fortune and thrust into endless despair throughout his years of being incarcerated. When heavily consumed by hatred and despair, Edmond strives to seek vengeance once he is released and does so under the disguise as the Count of Monte Cristo. Gankutsuou showcases a whole new twist into the story, adding supernatural and scientific elements into the mix. Although the ingredients seem rather odd, they have succeeded in creating a fine dish for viewers to taste. We still earn a taste of action, twists, and of course emotional impact in both the original and the loose adaptation.

~[A R T]~ [10]

The designs displayed ostentatiously in the animation leaves a unique mark in the realm of Japanimation. The fantastic patterns, colours, and textures against clothing, architecture, and the landscapes of the setting can leave art lovers enraptured. At times the patterns can be a little repetitive and may become a nuisance to certain people, but viewers ought to look past the art and into the story rather than the other way around. The art provides an alluring distraction from the tension built between characters. Most adaptations of works set in the nineteenth century can often be repetitive. Hence the reason why Gankutsuou stands out more than plot-wise. Furthermore, three-dimensional art collides with two-dimensional animation. How can the anime become better than this?

~[S O U N D]~ [10]

The musical score of the animation is brilliant in my personal opinion. We are able to feel the tension and the purge of emotions through each battle and vehement scenes. There is a mixture of Spanish guitar in certain scenes that provide mystery and intimidatio, the piano and the harp that leaves one either at peace or in anticipation, and of course the English and French vocals that match perfectly well with the setting. The soft opening theme clashes with the ending theme. This transition flows nicely before and after the showing of each episode. The opening theme allows viewers to be comfortable before the action begins. The ending theme awakens viewers with a burst of raw energy that can leave them hungry for more. Well done.

~[C H A R A C T E R]~ [9]

The beginning of the first twenty-two episodes present the monologue of a mysterious narrator. His French vocals [translated for everyone to understand] are both alluring and mysterious, and they are able to provoke thought on how the last episode and the episode the viewer is currently watching connect and influence a stream of wonder. The characters in the two renditions are almost the same, except most of their positions are different. Albert, the son of Fernand Mondego, has now become the main focus instead of his father. Nonetheless, the Count never misses a chance to steal the spotlight. And once he does, whatever actions that he committs or the words spewed from his lips will give great meaning into the plot. The Count of Monte Cristo is introduced to a supernatural character Gankutsuou that influences Edmond to change both externally and internally. Yet this does not leave all the other characters in the shadows. Each character has their moment to shine. Mahiro Maeda, director of the series, has made sure that each character earns more than 30 seconds of fame. The reason why I have given a 9 was due to the lack of further information from the supporting characters such as Eugenie, the freelance journalist, et cetera. It would have been nice to know a little more about them and to have them put into more action. Ah well. Perfection is difficult to achieve these days.

~[E N J O Y M E N T & O V E R A L L]~ [10]

From beginning to end, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is a wonderful sight to see. The sights and sounds of the adventure can leave a viewer curious, stunned, or have them endure a moment of catharsis. If you enjoy modern literature encountering with new-age brilliant designs, then this anime may tickle your fancy. As the narrator would say: Madames et Monsieurs, I bid thee adieu.