The Count of Monte Cristo is the tale of one man’s revenge. Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is an anime adaption that tells the tale of the young man forced to deal with the backlash to this revenge. The adaption adds a fair few changes to the original story but not any for the worst, the least of which being the changing of the very genre from Historical Fiction to Science Fiction. Including the yet to be repeated anime style being a mix of CGI and wallpaper tones, coming into the original story in-medias res as well as changing the role of the main character, these alterations give a fresh take on a classic story and makes it one hell of an addictive anime.
For those of you who haven’t read the original story of The Count of Monte Cristo or seen any of its film adaptations, I am not going to give a summary of it here. Having many of the past events being used as mystery aspects of the anime’s plot, even the very start of the original story could be seen as spoiler material for it. One might have thought that this would put someone who knew these parts of the story off this anime, but to the contrary, the way in which these elements are portrayed in the new interplanetary setting with spaceships and mecha make the build up to these past and future events much more epic.
Albert and Franz, the bromance of the anime, are visiting the planet Lunar (Rome) for its festivity only to be invited to lunch by the Count of Monte Cristo, the mysterious Count of which no one truly knows the past of. The same night Albert is kidnapped by bandits but is soon rescued by Franz with the aid of Monte Cristo and his men. Having been struck by his enigmatic charm, Albert invites Monte Cristo to Paris unaware that all of the events past and those to follow are a part of a revenge scheme Monte Cristo has on his family and the two interconnected families that helped destroy his life.
I feel the less I say about this anime the better for its allure is truly within its mystery and the way in which it doesn’t say but instead allows you to piece it all together for yourself is very well done. The episodes always end on a note that makes you want to watch the next, especially in the middle when many of the cliff-hanging events happen at the end of each episode and you are left on the edge of your seat wanting more. Though the emotion in the anime is more compelling than the action, it was the retelling of this classic which made me realize how different things can seem when seen from the perspective of an outside character and what depth it can give to a story.
For some the animation style will be frustrating and for others it will seem unique and pretty but like many anime with an odd style you’ll very quickly get used to it. The CGI is good and the music just as much so, much of the orchestrated and piano melodies suiting the scenes brilliantly. Though I would say the OP with its ‘Engrish’ lyrics is a bit off, the tone of the story the ED on the other hand is just sooo good… hell, I’ll put it at the bottom for you to see for yourself.
Summary: This anime is a hidden gem that went dominantly unnoticed during the Death Note hype but for all its experimentation in design and plot it is well worth your time to give it a watch and see how addictive it is for yourself.
Total Ranking: 8.7/10
The ED is very cool.
This madman trailer of it is also very good at doing what good trailers do.