Trying to escape his uneventful life, Albert, the son of a renowned general from Paris, makes a journey with his friend Franz. During his travels, he meets an immensely wealthy nobleman ...
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Trying to escape his uneventful life, Albert, the son of a renowned general from Paris, makes a journey with his friend Franz. During his travels, he meets an immensely wealthy nobleman named The Count of Monte Cristo. Living in luxurious hotels, surrounded by beautiful women and strong bodyguards, the charming but enigmatic count fascinates Albert. Albert invites the count to join the high society of Paris. However, unknown to Albert, his father had once framed the count and took the Count's fiancée as his own. Written by
An interesting take on the story, although not necessarily true to the themes of the original work
Gankutsuou is easily one of the most enthralling TV series I've watched in the past years, and certainly the most interesting adaptation of Dumas' novel "The Count of Monte Cristo" that I've seen (although admittedly, the bar for this particular honor has been set pretty low). The series succeeds in producing an anime-style romance with all the excitement of the novel, but fails to capture the fundamental themes of the book.
Artistically, the series is one of the most strikingly unique and colorful pieces of animation I've seen. The extensive use of 2D textures is creative, although the style does take a bit of getting used to. This is largely because the "static" nature of the textures makes them look a bit busy. Although unconventional, the technique is executed very well, employing an effective mixture of 2D and 3D techniques.
I certainly consider myself a fan of the novel, and I was immediately intrigued but the pseudo-futuristic setting for the series. The story's focus has shifted somewhat from the Count to the younger characters, and romantic relationships more typical of Japanese dramas and anime have been introduced. These relationships play out with the Counts revenge upon his betrayers providing the background. For the most part, these changes are compelling and breath new life into the story.
The only deviation from the novel that I felt was not successful was the portrayal of the Count himself. Rather than being an agent of "divine providence", the Count is darker, having effectively sold his soul to the devil in order to extract his vengeance. Unlike the novel character, even the death of innocents does not sway Gankutsuou's quest for vengeance. Although it did add a certain dramatic element to the story, the Count's character was diminished by the complete lack of moral ambiguity.
In the end, the adaptation proved an interesting romance story set amidst a backdrop of intrigue. However, much like Hollywood's attempts at putting this story on the screen, Gankutsuou fails to capture the essential themes of the novel: a man who battles through incredible adversity and believes himself to be an agent of God, only to realize the limits of his humanity.
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