"Gankutsuou is an anime based off a loose adaptation of the novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. It tells the story of Albert Morcerf, a young aristocrat who happens to befriend a wealthy nobleman, known as The Count of Monte Cristo, through a series of bizarre events. Fascinated by the Count's charm, Albert invites him to meet his friends and family, all of whom happen to be part of the upper class society of Paris, France. Unfortunately, little does Albert realize that the Count has ulterior motives in mind." I feel no need to rewrite the summary so here's the wikipedia/everyanimesites version.
Gankutsuou takes a unique aproach by combining Photoshop textures and cgi backgrounds to create something that's, well, unique. Does that mean that it looks good? Meh. At times it can feel like it's on the cusp of making something beautiful but a lot of the time it just doesn't reach it's goal. Sometimes, it's just downright annoying and feels lazy as shown in a couple of scenes where the textures of the buildings is an actual picture of a real building with real people and cars being reflected in the windows. Not to mention how absolutely flat everything feels and how out of place all the cg work looks. All in all, in terms of visuals, there are a few hits but a lot more misses for me which makes the visuals in this forgettable. I did like some of the character designs. Haydee is an example of a well designed character as is the Count. They also did this thing where the characters would have the plain black outline but had lines of different colors. Not so much so that they were distracting but just enough so you wouldn't really notice unless you were paying attention to it. Overall you'll either hate or love the visuals in this anime and I'd still sugest you glance at them just to see what's up since they are interesting at times.
What can I say about the music? A lot of it is classical pieces and they get used very well. In fact, half the time, they were the only reason why I'd get sucked into the drama of the story. I didn't much care for the beginning and ending credits but they weren't bad. Just not good.
The voice acting was great on both dubs. I didn't feel like any of the voices were out of place and I especially loved the Counts voice for the english dub played by Jamieson Price.
Now this anime has a pretty large cast of characters so I'll just boil it down to a few that I felt were the main focus of the story.
A mysterious, charming, nobleman that's on a secret quest for revenge on the three people who betrayed him twenty-five years ago by framing him for a crime he didn't commit for personal gain. While imprisoned, he came across a demon, Gankutsuou, that he makes a deal with. In exchange for the power and means to exact his revenge the demon posseses him and will eventually take over completely. This is shown throughout the series in an odd, but cool, side-effect that makes his body crystalline in appearance, revealing his bones and internal organs.
The main protaginist. A naive, yet pure, fifteen year old boy that is "befriended" by the count, by that I mean used, while on a trip the lunar city Luna with his friend Franz. His father is a famous general, is one of the three that wronged the Count, and is also married to the past love interest of the Count. Not really much else to say about him since he's the typical main character type just that his parents have a past.
Baron Franz d'Epinay
Albert's best friend since childhood and the more mature and adult of the two. We never really learn of his family and really has no other ties to the story except for being the best friend Again, nothing much to say about this guy since he's the typical best friend type.
I've never read or watched any of the versions of the Count of Monte Cristo before this version so I went into it not exactly knowing what to expect. What I got was a weird sci-fi adventure drama that rarely pulled me in. I'm not going to lie, one of the main reasons for that is because it's clear that the main character of the story is supposed to be the Count but the anime wants the main character to be Albert. Why? Why make this uninteresting kid the main character? The Count is an infinitely more interesting character that should have been the main focus. Instead we get the typical naive teenage boy that's the main character of every fucking anime ever. He wasn't even the main character in the original story either, he was a goddamn side character. Guess who was the main character of the original? THE COUNT, which makes a shit ton more sense. MOVING ON! The show starts out with Albert and Franz visiting the lunar city of Luna, clever name there, during a carnival. There they meet the Count. Almost right away Albert takes to the Count on account of the Count being a cool, suave motherfucker and Albert being a bored young man that longs for an adventure. Franz on the other hand, takes an almost immediate disliking to the Count because he senses something darker in him. He warns Albert of this but of course he doesn't listen to him. This also upsets Albert so he goes running off by himself and runs into a "girl" named Peppo (que Admiral Ackbar) that seduces him only to lead him to a gang she's a part of. This gang then demands 50 million whatever the fuck the currency is from Franz in order to get Albert back unharmed. He can't do this however since it's the dead of the night and all the banks are closed. Having nowhere else to go he turns to the Count for help. The Count promptly springs into action and saves our hero Albert. During the rescue there's a scene where the Count confronts the leader of the gang by himself. This leads to the leader throwing a knife into the Counts heart. Which doesnt' do diddly squat since the Count is so damn suave and charming........oh alright, it's because of he has a demon inside him called Gankutsuou (which I've just been pasting through out this whole review since HOLY FUCK IS IT HARD TO REMEMBER HOW TO SPELL) so he can't be killed. We find out later that this is just a pointless scene since the Count hired the bandits to kidnap Albert in the first place so there was absolutely no logical reason for that scene to exist at all. Especially since the whole gang show up later in the story perfectly alive and well. Lovely. After saving Albert the Count begins using him as a springboard to get in with the Aristrocats of Paris so he can enact his revenge....sorry, AristroCRATS. Goddamnit Disney. I can't really go into the rest of the story without taking a novel to do so because of how expansive it is. There's a lot going on in this story and even though Albert is the main focus of this adaptation there's still tons of characters each with their own goals and motives. What I'll do instead is list off what I do and don't like about it.
We'll start off with what I don't like. The first and foremost thing I don't like is something I've already mentioned. Albert is the main focus of the story. He's just not very interesting to me. It should have been the Count.
The next thing I have a problem with is Gankutsuou itself. It just feels tacked on and is never really explained. Like, why does it even need to be in the story? What was the point of it? It doesn't really add anything and it just leaves a big question mark at the end of the series.
Big spoiler here, Franz is killed by the Count in a duel. Now, I don't have a problem with Franz dieing. I'm all for tragedy in my stories. It's just that Albert never confronts the Count about it. He cries about it and all that but he never once brings it up to the Count. All he does after is try to stop the Count by being his friend. I mean seriously? I like the message against hate they're trying to get across but show some emotion towards the man that killed YOUR BEST FRIEND SINCE CHILDHOOD.
Some of the characters just felt like they needed more character and development which led to them feeling kind of bland.
What did I like?
The best part of the series was watching the Count set his plans into motion and just watching them unfold. He went after each of his targets in a way unique to them. He takes away the fortune of the banker Jullian Danglars, reveals the past crimes of the judge Gérard de Villefort, eventually driving him insane, and bringing to light the falsified military achievements of the general Fernand de Morcerf. There's much much much more to it than that but as I said, it'd just be too much to put into this review.
Visuals - 3/10
Sound - 8/10
Characters - 6/10
Story - 6/10
Overall - 5.5/10
I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone but I wouldn't stop you from watching it. I also understand that I'm in the minority with this one.