Title: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
Publisher: Gonzo
Year: 2004

Based on the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Gankutsuou is an absolutely beautiful anime directed by Mahiro Maeda (helped work on Gunsmith Cats and Samurai Champloo among others, apparently mostly as a mechanics advisor).

Gankutsuou is more faithful to the book than a lot of adaptations I have seen (including the recent crappy American movie, which lost my interest when Napoleon made an appearance on screen thus eliminating any chance that Edmond was falsely accused of associating with pro-Napoleon factions). Most of the dialog and scenes follow the book word for word.

So how is it different?

Well Gankutsuou is set in the future and the Count is now undead (though it is downplayed until the very end).

It’s hard to describe the look of Gankutsuou to somebody who hasn’t seen it, but I can say the animation is superb. It mixes 3-D elements with traditional 2-D animation in a way that isn’t jarring or out of place. The character’s hair and clothes are pattern shaded and the backgrounds are richly detailed.

The Plot (fear not for spoiled milk):

While visiting Luna (Rome in the book) Albert de Morcerf meets the Count of Monte Cristo, an eccentric aristocrat, who quickly gains the trust of Albert but not of Albert’s friend Franz, who believes the Count isn’t all he seems to be…

Actually more of a teaser than a plot outline. I recommend reading the book before watching Gankutsuou as a nice way to put the anime into perspective, though I suspect watching before reading would be a kind of treat in of itself.

My inflated fevered ego review/rating score for Gankutsuou: 5 of 5.

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