While loosely based on the French novel Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, the story takes place on the far future, during the 51st century, year 5053. Although it retained some elements from 19th century France, the show is mostly dominated by futuristic concepts.
The story follows Viscount Albert de Morcerf, a young aristocrat who, while visiting Luna for a festival, met a self-made nobleman in the name of The Count of Monte Cristo. Fascinated by the Count’s charm, Albert invites him to Paris, where they will meet with friends and family. However, little to Albert’s knowledge, The Count of Monte Cristo has his own ulterior motives.
About the Show
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo is an anime television series based on Alexandre Dumas’ French novel, entitled “Le Comte de Monte-Cristo”. Directed by Mahiro Maeda and produced by studio Gonzo, the anime series successfully aired a total of 24 episodes on Animax, between October 5, 2004 and March 29, 2005. The series has mostly received positive reviews, and is praised particularly for its vivid artwork.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Initially a sailor named Edmond Dantes working for the Morrel shipping company, he was falsely accused and imprisoned in the Chateau d’lf. During his imprisonment, he meets Gankutsuou, a devil that he allowed to possess his body, in exchange for strength and means to gain his revenge.
Gankutsuou is a demonic presence that dwells within the Count, but is surpressed by a special drug. He is the main source of will and driving force that helped the Count escape imprisonment, and begin his plot for revenge.
Viscount Albert de Morcerf
A naïve young aristocrat, who was fascinated by The Count after meeting him during a visit on the moon colony, Luna. He is being used by The Count as a tool to penetrate the Parisian society.
Baron Franz d’Epinay
Franz is Albert’s best friend, and cares deeply for him. He is more mature and critical than Albert, and warns him about The Count and the things he may be hiding.
Episode 1: At Journey’s End, We Meet
Viscount Albert de Morcerf visits the moon colony Luna, to attend its festival with his best friend Baron Franz d’Epinay. There, he witnesses The Count of Monte Cristo perform at an opera performance, and was immediately captivated by him. The Count drops his pocket watch, which was retrieved by Albert who was secretly following him around. Later, Albert is offered a chance to pardon one out of three murderers, and naively chooses the loud and boastful Rocka Buriol. After the dismaying event, Albert tries to lose himself with a girl, who suddenly pulls a gun on him.
Episode 2: Until the Sun Rises on the Moon
The girl with Albert reveals herself to be Peppo, member of a notorious thieves’ gang, Luigi Vampa. Meanwhile, Franz is warned by his fellow aristocrats about Vampa, and how the streets are dangerous. While on his way to the hostel, Franz is met by the criminal pardoned by Albert, who demanded fifty million ducats from him after threatening Albert’s life. After his fruitless attempt to gather the fifty million ducats, Franz resorts to get help from The Count. Later, Franz and The Count arrive at Vampa’s lair and rescue Albert. In return for saving his life, Albert will introduce The Count to his family and friends at France.
Episode 3: 5/22, Tempest
Albert and Franz are now back at Paris, safe and sound. After returning from a picnic, Albert introduces The Count to his family and friends, who was welcomed with curiosity and fascination. Robert Beauchamp – a journalist – attempts to record this meeting with The Count through photographs, but later discovers that nothing has been recorded.
Episode 4: Mother’s Secret
The Count stays for dinner with Albert’s parents, General Fernand de Morcerf and Mercedes de Morcerf. Having past experience in military warfare, The Count and the general indulges in conversation. Later, Albert and his friends are invited to The Count’s mansion, where they descend into a city of treasure. Albert receives a sword from The Count as a gift.
Episode 5: Do You Love Your Betrothed?
During their visit at the Count’s mansion, Albert and Morrel are engaged in a heated argument over aristocratic marriage. The Count then suggests that the matter be settled by a duel. However, Albert falls into a pool filled with sharks, and The Count jumps to save him.
Episode 6: Her Melancholy, My Melancholy
After the argument with Morrel, Albert starts to question his true feelings for his fiancée, Eugenie de Danglars. His fiancée is also plagued by a different situation, regarding her father’s financial obsession and her mother’s immoral affair. Meanwhile, The Count opens an account with unlimited credit with the Baron Danglars.
Episode 7: The Secret Flower Garden
Morrel asks for Albert’s advice, as he wanted to court Franz’ fiancée, Valentine. Meanwhile, the Madam Danglars and the Villeforts are saved by The Count’s servant Ali, after their carriages horse run amok. The Count presents Villefort with a weapon disguised as a ruby ring.
Story: Being a loose adaptation of a novel that has been said to be the greatest revenge story ever told, you can expect that the show will definitely satisfy your appetite for an excellent story.
Animation: Gankutsuou nails this aspect of the show. Due to its peculiarity, you might need to watch a few episodes first to allow your eyes to adapt to the animation. The art will fascinate and capture your attention, and you will often find yourself staring blankly to its beauty. Although, the art can be really heavy at times and tire the viewer’s eyes.
Music: The music, while not particularly outstanding, does a great job in accompanying the scenes.
Characters: Now, aside from its spectacular animation, the series also offers an array of sophisticated and interesting characters. Each have their own unique attributes, and own problems that drive the show. The characters are richly written, definitely not disappointing those who will expect an effective adaptation of a famous novel.
Overall: If you enjoy anime with deep stories, then Gankutsuou is definitely not one series you should miss. It is very enjoyable and entertaining, and might even leave you asking for more.