I just love tales of revenge. Well, in my 23rd community anime review for Anime-Planet, I am going to be looking at Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo. A 24 episode series from the pretty much defunct or dead GONZO. Aside from Kaleido Star, I am a firm believer that Gankutsuou is one of GONZO's masterpieces. That said, usual review rules apply. No spoilers or cursing. Please feel free to comment on or review my review here. I also urge you to read my other reviews in the hopes you will discover another fantastic anime series to watch. Thanks for reading and here is the review.
Story; We have all probably read The Count of Monte Cristo, seen the crap live- action movie with some guy in it or have some sort of knowledge about the book by Alexander Dumas. Gankutsuou is, for the most part, that very same book. However, there is one critical difference. This takes place in space. Yes, you heard me. Space. That is pretty darn creative right there and only something GONZO could really do. It's a great tale of revenge and watching The Count slowly weave his revenge into a blanket of bombs ready to drop at any second is pure brilliance. Mahiro Maeda is a genius and paced the series perfectly.
Animation; It's a beautiful series with costumes done by the famous fashion designer Anna Sui. I have kept up with fashion before Gankutsuou and was fascinated by her works long before this anime. When I heard she was involved here, it immediately raised a red flag. It's a downright gorgeous show to watch. The backgrounds and scenery were criminally beautiful. The only reason this area did not obtain a ten is simple. Those ugly knight mechas, wow. Those things were hideous and really did sour the mood when they were present in this series. Character designs were superb and I really wish I could have given this area a ten but that CG is the death of it.
Sound; The music for this series is dramatic and exaggerating so. It is almost silly and laughable. The opening song is surprisingly good and it fits the series' tone and story perfectly. The ending song just as much fits the series, because after all, they will not see him coming. It will be too late for them. I listened to the English and Japanese tracks. I am going to give preference and recommendation to the English track on this one.
Characters; There is not much in the way of differences among the book and this anime. For such differences, I am going to refer you to look elsewhere because it may be a spoiler and I have a strict policy in my reviews against it. In all though, they were pretty likable characters, at least the innocent ones were. You cannot help root for The Count in some aspects but in others root for the three families, Albert, Franz and company. They are great characters and one of the most compelling stories and highlights of the series.
Overall; Gankutsuou is a near-masterpiece to me. It was significant in shaping my tastes in anime as how they are today. My love for artistic series that do not sacrifice story or characters began with Gankutsuou. It's shaped me in more ways than one. I have always loved tales of revenge and this is no exception. As a fan of the Dumas book, this a great modern day revival of a fantastic classic book. I am going to recommend highly this one.