Anime: Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter 2

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The first installment of Gankutsuou set the stage and the actors, transporting Dumas’ classic novel to a semi-sci-fi future, where men in top hats fly around in spaceships. The second picks up the pace considerably, using the now-set stage to begin the real meat of the plot. The Count arrives in Paris, bringing all matter of scheming and plotting with him.

Act 5: Do You Love Your Fiancee?
Underneath the Champs-Elysses, the Count and some of the boys sail on a hidden canal teeming with strange sights, including a beautiful woman playing a mysterious song on her harp. However, an unsettling question is raised. Are Albert and Eugenie getting married for love or because it would be a strategic alliance? Harsh words lead to a pirate-style duel over love.

imageAct 6: Her Melancholy, My Melancholy
Albert wrestles with the question of whether he loves his fiancée, while she has her own family problems to worry about. In the meantime, the Count worms his way into the Paris business and financial scenes. Dramatics at the opera house put all of Paris astir and the show isn’t what they’re talking about.

Act 7: The Secret Flower Garden
The opera begins, but the real theater is playing out as dramas of the past come to the fore in the audience. The Paris aristocracy is suddenly buzzing with rumors, and tragedy seems to lurk around every corner.

Act 8: A Night in Boulogne
The Count invites three powerful men to his estate, but his motives are not as pure as they would seem. Dark deeds in the past are brought to light in the Count’s old manor house, with a breathtaking climax.

This disc is another feast for the eyes. The animation is even more gorgeous in this installment, with 3D CG stepping up and providing some luscious, bizarre scenes. It feels like a refinement, better than the previous episodes, with some freaky new effects thrown in to finish it off. Gankutsuou is worth watching even if you don’t care about the story, simply because it’s one gorgeous scene after another. The sound is the usual crisp Dolby, but it’s a shame the opening is a lamentable ballad-thing, because the ending song is incredibly cool. It’s worth noting that my disc’s subtitles didn’t quite work. I’d set it up for Japanese with English subtitles, and the subtitles would never show up. It might’ve been a glitch on my end. Fortunately, the English voice acting is pretty good.

imageAfter a slow start, the second volume picks things up considerably. The sword fight in one episode might be the high point of the fighting-type action, but for fans of more cerebral anime, this one is a real treat. If you appreciate how the right quip can ruin a reputation, if you’re looking for more, say, Dangerous Liasions in your anime, this is old school social scheming at its finest. And it’s absolutely gorgeous to look at, have I mentioned that?

Technical/Extras: 6.0

Entertainment: 8.5

Overall: 8.5

Episodes: Act 5: Do You Love Your Fiancee?, Act 6: Her Melancholy, My Melancholy, Act 7: The Secret Flower Garden, Act 8: A Night in Boulogne

DVD Extras: English Dolby Digital 2.0, Japanese Dolby Diigital 2.0, English Subtitles, Anamorphic Widescreen 16:9, Comments from Voice Actors, Promotional Trailers, Geneon previews

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