Reviews: Gankutsuou

Classic literature=Classic anime?

So much to say! The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favourite novels, and whilst there have been dozens of attempts to transfer it to the big screen, they have always fallen flat on their face.

This is where Gankutsuou comes in. I have reduced my review to bullet points to save space:

  • The anime is in series format, allowing the writers to retain much of the intertwining subplots that make Monte Cristo so brilliant.
  • The anime uses a fascinating layering technique in the animation, giving it a unique (if slightly nausea inducing) aesthetic.
  • Gankutsuou takes a new approach to the 18th Century novel by placing it in the far future.
  • The eponymous Count is badass in every endeavour, and it is splendid to watch.

  • The writers forgo the chance to get into the mind of one of the greatest literary characters of all time by making a minor character into the lead, instead of the Count. We end up stuck with a whiny, spoilt, bratty, naive, little shit for a protagonist. This alternate perspective is not a good one.
  • Because this thing is set in the future, I couldn't help but think that the Count's devious schemes could have easily been disrupted through the use a sophisticated piece of technology known as a "telephone".
  • Whilst the previously mentioned layering technique is cool, the CGI and hand drawn elements look pretty tacky.
  • The anime keeps faithful to the original text for the most part but has a suprise alternate ending which, frankly, is total shit by comparison.
  • Monte Cristo is noted for being largely devoid of action. Films have often tried to pep it up by adding a sword fighting scene or two. Gankutsuou ups the ante by adding trashy, sword fighting mechas. Monte Cristo works better without it.
  • Gankutsuou has possibly the worst opening theme tune I have ever heard. What makes it all the more terrible is that it is worked into the story as a plot device, meaning we have to hear it repeatedly in some episodes.

The cons outweigh the pros. Gankutsuou is a nice try, but no cigar.