Hello, loves! It’s been a while, but I couldn’t let my 3rd blog birthday pass without something to mark the occasion. Basically, the last twelve months have been mega busy on the personal and work fronts, which meant that I fell behind with watching and blogging the more recent shows. However, I shall quickly add before I get booted off the team that I have in fact been watching (or re-watching, in some cases) lots of classic anime, and some other fun series that finished airing in recent months/ years. These include: xxxHolic, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Baccano!, Mushishi, Gankutsuou, Bartender, Humanity has Declined, Paranoia Agent, Tatami Galaxy, and Emma (still watching the last two in fact, so no spoilers please!). Clearly, many of these shows are also known as ‘AWESOME’, and so I thought I’d do something a little different in this year’s anniversary post and write my thoughts on one of these instead: Gankutsuou. (Warning: contains light spoilers.)
Gankutsuou: He’s not the man he used to be…
Oh, the DORAMA. I don’t know what was more exciting – the cliff-hangers, the colours, or the Count himself. Ah, who am I kidding – defo the Count! Or rather, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’, to give him his full faux title. Yes, for those who haven’t seen it yet, this is an anime series (original run Oct. 2004 – March 2005) based on ‘Le Comte de Monte-Cristo’, Alexandre Dumas, père’s ’ classic novel of intrigue, betrayal, and glorious revenge. Well, think less ‘based on’, as opposed to ‘fabulously re-imagined’ by Gonzo. Amongst the various similarities and differences from the original story, the most effective moves, for me, are the characterisation of the Count and the narrative viewpoint. Whereas the original follows Edmond Dantes’ journey from naïve victim of political intrigue and personal betrayals, to innocent prisoner, to escaped fugitive, to plotter and executer of revenge as a self-styled count, Gankutsuou introduces the Count as a mysterious figure with bucketloads of power, influence, and fashion sense. Seriously, he is a mesmerising figure, and not just due to the show’s unique art style. Rather, by skipping most of Edmond’s physical and emotional journey up until he reappears in the lives of his former friends and acquaintances ready to unleash his unholy wrath, what you get is a character that is visibly bristling with a no doubt justified rage, made even more intriguing to the audience by the way that we are teasingly drip-fed information about his dodgy past. And that’s just the first third of the show, which soon catches and maintains our interest in a different way, as we – half-terrified, half-gleeful – watch as his vengeful plans unfold and his enemies’ lives fall apart in the middle section of the show, with the final third focussing on Albert and the others’ development and the aftermath and resolution of the chaos unleashed by the Count.
If all that sounds a bit vague, then you’ll have to forgive me, for it would be a crime to spoil any more of this show. However, I’ll add a bit more about the other characters, the production, and about why I enjoyed the show so much. I mentioned Albert above, and he’s arguably the actual main character, in the sense that we are positioned mainly from his perspective and he is the figure that develops the most in the story. Indeed, he starts off a rather generic figure, in that he is a typical teenage boy who, basically, just wants to party on distant planets and chase pretty girly-boys. However, Albert’s inner journey and maturity after being befriended and disappointed by the Count are also what makes the show more than just a pretty thriller. In addition, it’s not just Albert, but pretty much the entire supporting cast that all play a part in throwing the emotional as well as dramatic punches, with particularly enjoyable performances from his best friends Franz and Eugenie, to name but a few. And finally, as I’ve also mentioned, but I’ll spell it out – this show looks and sounds stunning! Too many visual gems and experiments for me to go into on here, but I thought that the chameleon-like colours and the patterns and textures of the characters’ clothing were wonderful touches, and clearly perfectly suited to dressing the Count in all his shades of fabulous~
…And we’re back to the Count. Yep, his characterisation and presentation are probably what I enjoyed most about this show. However, at its heart, Gankutsuou is a thrilling story of triumphant revenge with a rollicking plot, full of twists and turns and many other enjoyable details, and thus I think there really is something for every anime fan in it. Though, it helps if you don’t mind plenty of fabulous~~
Okay, enough fangirling about futuristic Counts with fabulous wardrobes and time to add something profound about surviving three years in the ani-bloggersphere…
*Hana lifts her hat to scratch her head*
Well, I think a young scamp once said that three was a magic number for an ani-blogger… So, I guess I’ll leave it at that.