Gankutsuou is a loose anime adaptation of the classic French novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas. Set in the far future, the series focuses on a young French aristocrat named Albert de Morcerf who befriends a mysterious self-made nobleman called the Count of Monte Cristo, and acquaints him with members of Paris’ high society. Unbeknownst to Albert though, the Count has ulterior motives for wanting to befriend the young man that stem from wrongdoings and corruption committed against him years earlier by three influential aristocrats that Albert is close to.
Before I dabble into this review, I do want to concede that I have yet to read the original source material of this series thus I don’t have intimate details on what’s been changed or removed in adapting the Count of Monte Cristo. At least from what I gather, it seems that the plot of the novel was streamlined to a good degree so it could better fit into the anime’s 24-episode runtime and the anime is more focused on Albert’s perspective of the events that transpire while the novel was more focused on the Count’s point-of-view. In spite of the changes, I’d at least say Gankutsuou stands on its own merits as an adaptation and that it is at least accessible to anyone lacking knowledge on the novel.
That matter aside, Gankutsuou mainly dabbles into Albert’s character during his interactions with the Count. His character is clearly shown to undergo a good deal of development throughout the show’s run as he is at first naive to signs of the Count’s ambiguous moral nature while befriending him. As Albert starts to learn more about the Count’s machinations though, the boy finds himself wondering what is the truth concerning his aristocratic life and how true to his feelings should he be in defiance of the Count’s manipulations. I’ve heard of some not being a fan of Albert’s character due to his naive nature from earlier episodes. But I’d argue this is a flaw to his character due to his youth and aristocratic upbringing that he finds himself having to grow from as he learns more about the Count’s past.
The Count is another character worth mentioning due to the complexity of his character explored throughout Gankutsuou. He is depicted to have an otherworldly feeling to his character shown from his unique physical features and morally ambiguous nature in his interactions with other characters. There is a clear difference in how he conducts conversation with Albert, his servants, and those among Paris’ elite to show how he regards each of them. All this helps add layers to the Count’s character as the series gradually drops hints of his past connections to the mentioned aristocrats and shows some of the inner conflict he goes through with going through with his plans and gradually coming to care for Albert.
Outside of the two lead characters, Gankutsuou also offers a solid amount of exploration on a number of other major characters throughout its run. Some characters throughout the series close to Albert find themselves either victim to the Count’s plans in some form or are attempting to learn more about the history of the Count’s true identity and the mentioned aristocrats. Plus, some have their roles with shaping the developments of Albert and the Count with the inner conflicts both face throughout the series. Said characters lack the heavy focus and complexity found with Albert and the Count, but a number of them are still affected by their developments throughout Gankutsuou’s run.
Outside of characters, the story of Gankutsuou is one focused on revenge and the pitfalls of obtaining power and wealth. The revenge element is mainly explored through the Count’s character. While he has justifiable reasons at wanting to go after the three aristocrats in question, his plans have the consequence of affecting members of the aristocrats’ families who are innocent of any wrongdoings and he does gradually become conflicted with whether or not to advance with his plans as he befriends Albert and becoming consumed by his feelings of vengeance on those who wronged him in the past.
The power and wealth angle plays out with the three aristocrats that the Count is conspiring against. Limiting spoilers, two of the three are depicted to be irredeemable characters who are fanatically devoted to maintaining their power and wealth by any means, even at the expense of their family relationships. This results in the audience not feeling any sympathy for them when they eventually get their comeuppance. The last aristocrat is depicted in a more sympathetic light with how he treats his family and why he chose to go through with his acts, even coming to regret what he has done in later episodes as he realizes how far gone he becomes when his corruption becomes exposed.
As far as presentation goes, Gankutsuou is a unique beast as far as anime goes. Visually, the series employs a 2D-cel animation style with designing its scenery and characters, yet chooses to get quite elaborate with it. Scenery is quite detailed and elaborate with depicting its settings, most notably the secret underground apartment and spaceship owned by the Count that are quite spectacular to see in their splendor. My thoughts on character designs are a bit more mixed as character hair and clothing is often depicted with a texture-like pattern that remains stationary, even when characters are moving around.
Overall, Gankutsuou offers up a strong story with its focus on the Count’s plans for revenge and exploring how those caught in them are negatively affected, making for a rather unique adaptation of Alexander Dumas’ classic revenge novel with the sci-fi elements implemented into the series. The visual presentation is likely to be divisive among fans though due to how strongly it sticks out throughout the series, as I’ve heard of some dropping the series due to it. But if you don’t mind the aesthetics, you are likely to be entertained and engrossed into this unique take on the Count of Monte Cristo.
Rating: 9.5 of 10
Someday I’ll be gone To somewhere that we belong And God has never played his role 'Cause I’m the one who saves my soul It’s a perfect world we’re longing for
Dream: Looks like a remake of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni will be airing in July. The original seiyuu from the 2000s series will reprise their roles for the remake and judging from the animation, looks like it will have more polish to it compared...
Mar 21, 2020 21:51:24 GMT
Dream: ...to the 2000s series.
Mar 21, 2020 21:51:30 GMT
Taka: That's interesting to hear. Didn't know it was going to get a remake.
Mar 22, 2020 0:33:35 GMT
Dream: Guess I'm gonna focus on wrapping up Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken whenever it comes out today. Been one of my favorites for the season.
Mar 22, 2020 16:44:54 GMT
Taka: I need to catch up or drop/put on hold whatever series I tried.
Mar 22, 2020 21:25:15 GMT
Taka: 1 confirmed death in my hometown next to 19 confirmed cases. I heard the police are fining folks for not practicing social distancing on Facebook.
Mar 24, 2020 2:31:40 GMT
Dream: At least in New York right now, they're not enforcing it. But non-essential employers who aren't abiding by shutting down at this point will be fined and shut down at this point.
Mar 24, 2020 13:38:28 GMT
Master Menos: Had some serious personal trouble go on, but now I'm through it. On-Topic, where I'm in, everything but the stores (and possibly the restaurants) are closed down.
Mar 27, 2020 17:48:40 GMT
Taka: They closed off beaches and parks along bike paths as well as extending K-12 school closure to mid May while colleges are cancelled for the semester.
Mar 29, 2020 0:47:15 GMT
CosmicNoirTear: Everything closed on my part. I live by a bunch of shopping centers. All of the are ghost towns. Hopefully means most people where I live are taking this seriously. Also got laid off from my job two weeks ago.
Mar 29, 2020 2:46:08 GMT
Dream: My county has 6 confirmed cases. Restaurants and bars have been on take-out or delivery only for about a couple weeks now since New York's the hardest hit state. Hasn't been too different for me any who since I've been out of work and tight on money...
Mar 29, 2020 15:11:51 GMT
Dream: ...to do anything outside of getting essentials and job hunting in recent months. Though with the state pretty much on lockdown, likely gonna have a rough time finding any employer to work with in-person for a while.
Mar 29, 2020 15:13:27 GMT
El_Directo: Stay safe guys
Mar 29, 2020 20:08:55 GMT
Taka: I think the only thing not closed for mass gathering other than essential services would be funerals in my area. The mayor and staff have been pretty busy in clarifying things in press releases. Edit: my mistake. Funerals are closed.
Mar 29, 2020 21:52:25 GMT
Dream: Gonna try whipping up a review for Dorohedoro at some point tomorrow. Find that I have quite a bit to cover with the series.
Mar 30, 2020 3:39:57 GMT