Shin

Gankutsuou

Director: Mahiro Maeda
Music: Jean Jacques Burnel, Koji Kasamatsu, Reiji Kitazato
Art director: You Sasaki, Yusuke Takeda
Genre: Drama, Romance
Released by: Geneon
Release Date: October 10, 2004

Series Review
Gankutsuou anime
In the year 5035 a young aristocrat named Albert Morcerf is on vacation in Luna, a city on the moon. He’s on vacation with his best friend Baron Franz d’Epinay. It’s carnival season and the city is alive and colorful. One night Albert bumps into a mysterious man who drops a pocket watch on the ground. Albert being the gentlemen that he is determined to find the mysterious man and return the pocket watch.

The gentleman is delighted when Albert returned his watch and invites Albert and Franz to his estate. The mysterious man formally introduces him as the Count of Monte Cristo. The two of them (Albert and the Count) immediately spark a friendship together. Franz, on the other hand, is rather suspicious of the Count, thinking there is more to the count than meets the eye. Still Albert doesn’t pay Franz’s worry much attention. Albert ends up spending a lot of time with the Count during his stay in Luna during the carnival.

While on vacation Albert’s young age and naivete finds him in trouble, when he is captured by the leader of Luna’s bandits, Vampa, and held for ransom. Franz is given still sunrise (Moon time of course) to bring the money and save Albert’s life. Franz doesn’t know what to do and is running out of time, he finally decides to go to the one man he thinks might be able to save Albert, the Count of Monte Cristo. The Count agrees and with no time to spare saves the Albert from certain death.

At the end of the carnival Albert and Franz prepare to head back to earth. Before they leave Albert invites the Count to come to Paris and visit him and his family. The Count agrees and says he’ll visit Paris very soon.

Albert returns home to Paris and spends some time with family and friends, telling them all about his adventures in Luna and the Count.

The day finally arrives when the Count comes to Paris. The Count is greeted with high acclaim from Albert who introduces him to his parents and friends. While on the surface everyone seems to like the Count, all but Albert have their suspicions as to whether or not he is a real aristocrat or if he just bought himself into nobility.

The Count surprises everyone, especially Albert, when he announces that he plans to stay in Paris for a while. Albert is of course delighted by the news.

Now things begin to get interesting. The Count begins to put into action the plan he has been working on for years. The plan to avenge those that betrayed him years ago. He quickly introduces himself with the most powerful people in Paris (who also happens to be the people he is out to punish), and in no time at all he becomes to the talk of the entire city. His charm, wit, money, fools everyone into trusting him. Which is exactly what he wants.

As the series progresses viewers will be able to witness the down fall of the Paris Elites. As the Count in his devilish plan (he is possessed by a demon after all) reveals the skellingtons in closets of the men and women that run Paris. The series partially becomes a soap opera with each twist and turn revealing something new about the characters past and something troubling about their future. The series becomes one big scandal towards the end that had me at the edge of my seat like my friends that watch “General Hospital”.

What makes the story so addictive is the count’s meticulous plan and how it eventually unveils itself. Everyone surrounded by the Count has been worked into his plan. From his servants to his victims they each play a part in this tale of revenge.

The heart of the Count’s plan revolves around Albert. As everyone around him is connected to the Count’s plan. It’s revealed that their chance meeting in Luna was no chance at all, but merely the Count’s first steps to slip into Paris’ aristocracy.

Main Characters

Count of Monte Cristo/Edmond Dantes
A sailor for the Morrel family’s shipping company. Edmond was engaged to his finance, Mercédès, when he was framed by his ‘friends’ who were jealous and envied him. He was sent to Chateau d’If after being convicted of aiding those in the assassination of the prince. While in prison Edmond gave him his body in exchange for power to seek out revenge on those that did this to him. He assumed the title Count of Monte Cristo and began creating a plan. The Count cares about nothing other than his revenge, and he will use anyone and anything if it will help his plan.

Gankutsuou
A demon that was imprisoned in Chateau d’If: a notoriously prison known for it’s harsh treatment of its inmates. There Gankutsuou met Edmond Dantes. Edmond gave up on life and swore revenge on those that betrayed him and sent him to Chateau d’If. This is where Gankutsuou made a deal with Edmond. Gankutsuou would give Edmond all of his power and wealth in exchange for Edmond’s body. Edmund had already lost his humanity and only lived for revenge and made the deal with Gankutuou. This is now the Count of Monte Cristo was born. Gankutsuou slowly consumes what’s left of Edmond and eventually, once his revenge as been sought out, will consume all of Edmond’s heart. Gamkutsuou sometimes breaks through the Count and takes over his body. When Gankutuou takes over the Count is no longer himself but the powerful demon Gankutsuou.

Viscount Albert de Morcerf
A naive young aristocrat that is being used in the Count’s plan to seek revenge on his father General Fernand de Morcerf. Albert is captivated by the Count’s charm and becomes, what he believes, good friends with the Count. Even when he finds out the truth about the Count he wishes to save and change the Count’s mind.
Albert believes his parents are noble and honest, and when suspicious arose that the Morcerf family might not be real aristocrat he disapproves. It only goes to show how naive Albert really is. He is a deep caring person that doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt.

General Fernand de Morcerf
Albert’s father and a general in the army. Fernand is the leading candidate for presidency. Ferand’s real name is Fernand Mondego and he was a sailor with Edmond. They were believed to be best friends, Edmond and Fernand, but Fernand was secretly jealous of Edmond being engaged to Mecerdes. plotted to frame Edmond so he could marry Edmond’s fiance, Mercedes. Ferand bought his way into the aristocracy and took on a new name. He believed the past was behind until one day when a suspicious letter from Edmond arrives. Slowly Fernand’s wonderful aristocratic life that he has built for himself and his family is ripped apart by the Count’s plan for revenge.

Mercédès de Morcerf
Mercedes was once engaged to Edmond Dantes; however, upon hearing of his death in prison she married Fernand. She is now the wife of Fernand and mother to Albert. Despite the illusion of a happy marriage Mercedes is still in love with Edmond. Even though now she feels that she must protect her husband (Fernand) and her son Albert.

Baron Danglars

Leading Banker in Paris. Danglars is a money-hungry aristocrat that would do anything if it would grantee him more wealth. He was a sailor with Edmond and Fernand, and plotted with Fernand to get Edmond arrested after Edmond caught Danglars embezzling money. Danglars quickly becomes business partners with the Count after seeing the ridiculous amount of money the Count had at his disposal. Danglars is not trust worthy as he would turn his back on you if you stood a chance of making him loose money.

Madame Victoria Danglars
Danglars’ wife. Victoria doesn’t have a very passionate relationship with her husband, in fact it’s public knowledge (even to the Baron) that she has had many affairs. The only thing she cares is her horse, who the Baron sold to the Count.
Victoria had a child out of wedlock with the Chief Justice and it has been haunting her to this day.

Claire Marie Eugénie de Danglars
The daughter of Victoria and Danglars (although I have my doubts about the authenticity of the sperm), Eugenie is engaged to be married to Albert. Their marriage was arranged by the parents as a way to secure their wealth and status. Even though both Eugenie and Albert are friends, at first Eugenie isn’t very thrilled about the idea. Eugenie loves to play the piano and dreams of playing at the Opera House one day. Eugenie hates the fact that her father is greedy-manifested and that her mother sleeps around. She is quite the odd apple when it comes to her family. Eugenie grew up with Albert and they are close friends. Eugenie wants to be independent of a father and his money.

Gérard de Villefort
Chief Justice of the Paris Court. Gerard is known for being a iron first judge and many people fear him. He was a small district judge in southern France that heard Edmond’s plea that in fact wasn’t guilty of conspiracy to murder the prince. When Villefort realized that he would be caught for his actions in the assassination he sentenced Edmond to prison, hoping to bury the information that Edmond had forever. Unfortunetly his actions will come back to haunt him, as the Count plans his down fall for he did.

Valentine de Villefort
Villefort’s daughter by his first wife. Valentine is a loving and caring person, who cares for her dying grandfather. She is mistakenly poisoned by Villefort’s second wife. There she remains in a coma like state for the majority of the series. She was engaged to Franz but doesn’t love him. She fell in love with a army official despite the disapproval of her father’s that he wasn’t of the right social class for her.

Héloïse de Villefort
Villefort’s second wife. Heloise is envious of Valentine because Valentine stands to inherit all of Villefort’s fortune, and nothing will be left for her son. She is only concerned with the well being of herself and her son.

Edouard de Villefort
Spoiled child of Heloise and Villefort.

Noirtier
Villefort’s father, whom Villefort apparently despises. Noirtier was once a high ranking officer. He is now paralyzed and under the care of Valentine, the grand daughter he loves so dearly. Noirtier is one of the few people that knows information about Gankutsuou and what happen d to Edmond Dantes.

Baron Franz d’Epinay
Albert’s best friend, Franz has strong feelings for Albert–borderline romantic. Franz isn’t as naive as Albert and is frequently getting Albert out of trouble. Franz would do anything for Albert including risking his life. (Forshadowing)

Maximilien Morrel
An honest man in the military. Maximillien doesn’t understand the nobility and how they can live such loveless lives. Maximilien has fallen in love with his Valentine de Villefort and would do anything to protect, even if it is to go against principle. Maxmillien believes that loves comes first in one’s life.

Peppo
A young girl that was raised by Vampa and his gang in Luna. Peppo comes down to earth (ha-ha that sounds so Sci-fi when I say it that way) and becomes a maid in Albert’s life. Peppo is often the comedic relief that Albert needs, even when he’s not asking for it. Peppo loves Albert deeply but is still bound to her gang in Luna.

Lucien Debray
One of Albert’s friend’s, Lucien is a secretary in the French Government despite his young age. He is wise beyond his years and knows more than he seems. He is open about his affair with Eugenie’s mother.

Andrea Cavalcanti
A flamboyant young fellow who inherits a large some of money. His past is a mystery but you can be sure it all plans into the Count’s plan. Cavalcanti too is seeking out a vengeance on members of the Aristocracy and uses those around to get what he wants. Despite his dandyish appeal he is a selfish, cunning, and abusive man.

Haydée
Haydee was once a princess that was sold into slavery when Fernand’s army took over her parent’s kingdom. She was bought by the Count and has sworn her life over to him, even unto death. She is in love with the Count and wishes to stop him from the destroying the lives of others and eventually himself. She too plays an important role in the Count’s plan.

Commentary

Artwork
There is no doubt the first thing that gets people talking about this series is the Artwork. It’s either something you will love or feel as if it’s overdone. I personally find it mesmerizing. The patterns, the color, the style; it all works perfectly together. The way the world is represented is clearly a implication about the sense of lavishness and nostalgia we have for 18th century Paris society–except told in a very futuristic setting. There are some moments the artwork might seem a bit too much and too lavish, for example the Count’s estate in Paris. And other times it simply blows your mind, like Haydee’s famous dress at the opera house. The artwork in this anime takes it to the next step. No! Several steps ahead of the rest.

Music
The theme song to this series is simply amazing. The slow beat and intense lyrics sets the mood for the series. The rest of the background music is pretty good also. Sorry no J-pop or J-Rock here–after all it is 18th Century Paris in 5035 after all.

Story
I must say this series is one of the best series I’ve watched in a while if not ever. Simply because it was so well put together. There were no fillers and despite the large cast of characters, they were all well developed. By the end of the series you were screaming for the Count to get his revenge on Fernand. What I appreciate about this series is the risk they took. There’s no doubt about it a lot of his series is science fiction. Starting from the very beginning, the fact that this story takes places over 3000 years in the future, and the random inserts of Aliens, demons, and giant robots–yes I said giant robots! However, this series was still able to hold onto its core. This is a drama series and by episode two you will have gotten over the fact that the main character (the Count) is blue. The story is just so captivating and so intense that you’ll just be glued to the screen. Every episode will tell you a bit more and clue you into the Count’s plan piece by piece. And still you will be shocked by the ending and the revelation of some of the things.

SERIES SCORE:
95/100

Personal Note /Spoilers:
This series as set the standard for me I have to be honest. I loved every minute of it. I was rather upset at the ending because the Count did not kill Fernand and despite my humanity I really wanted to see him die. I felt as if the ending hurt the series rather helped. The entire series was about revenge and having end on a “Love conquers all” scene made it just like all the others. Don’t get me wrong the series is amazing, exceptional, awesome. I spent 14 hours watching episode after episode and if I didn’t have to go to work I would have continued. The story is so passionate because you feel for Edmond and what he went through and want to see justice be done.
I haven’t seen this series with it’s English voices so I only know of the subtitle version. As I think back over the series nothing seems to risky to be edited–well maybe the incest “scene” but you don’t see anything and it’s very important to what happens later on. So if anything it might be that.
I think this series sets itself apart from many others because of it’s blend of fiction and drama. The story is so far fetched but it still is captivating that you must be drawn into it.

By Cherubim

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