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Anime / Gankutsuou

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When Escher met Klimt

"Bide your time, and hold out hope."

The year is 5053. A young French nobleman, Viscount Albert de Morcerf and his friend Baron Franz d'Epinay are partying hard on the moon colony of Luna, when a dark, ominous, blue-skinned stranger suddenly steps into their lives. Said stranger is the self-made Count of Monte Cristo, a man with incredible riches, unusual powers, and an unnatural interest in our hero, Albert. (The Count also appears to have some sort of mysterious connection to Albert's parents—as if he had somehow known them in the past, although neither of them can ever remember seeing the Count before.)

As time passes, the Count insinuates himself further and further into Albert's life and into the lives of the people he knows. But what is the Count's true reason for doing so? Is he, as he claims, a harmless wannabe nobleman who just wants to be introduced into High Society, or does he have a much darker purpose in mind?


Gankutsuou is a 24-episode paraphrased P.O.V. Sequel of Alexandre Dumas' famous novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, set far into the future (thus also sharing some similarities with Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination) and viewed through an anime-and-LSD filter. Because it's based on a work of Western Literature, it has an unusual pace and plot for an anime, choosing to ignore many of the most common tropes that one tends to find in that medium. It also has a weird visual style with fantastically rendered CG backgrounds and characters with elaborate clothing patterns that remain stationary as the clothing and characters themselves move. Some viewers are awed by this aesthetic, while others are so put off by it that they stop watching the show. (You'll know about five minutes in what kind of viewer you are.)


See, also, The Vampire Count of Monte Cristo.

This series provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Most of the backgrounds are fantastically rendered in 3-D. It's used so much in this production that it is the non-CG stuff — e.g., the character's faces — that are conspicuous.
  • Accidental Public Confession: At Villefort's trial, Andrea Cavalcanti shows up, and angers Villefort into confessing that he had an illegitimate son with Danglars' wife and burying said son alive.
  • Actionized Adaptation: The original book has very few action scenes, with two duels interrupted before they can begin. In the anime, both duels proceed, with additional action elements such as the duellists piloting giant mecha.
  • Adult Fear: What the Count inflicts on a number of his enemies either directly or indirectly. A few examples include Noirtier de Villefort having to watch as his granddaughter Valentine writhes in agony from poison and being unable to even speak out, Mercedes seeing as the Count (the man she loved years ago) cuts down her son in a duel (though it was actually Franz), and coming close to having Albert murdered in front of his own father. Such actions are meant to emphasize the loss of the Count's humanity and how he's become no better than the men who wronged him.
  • An Aesop:
  • All-Loving Hero: Albert becomes something of this, especially at the end where he forgives The Count for everything and uses the Power of Love to save the day.
  • All There in the Manual: Quite a bit of backstory (for example, everything between the Count's escape from the Chateau d'If to the first episode) is included only in the manga. Or possibly the novel.
  • Animated Adaptation: Of one of the most seminal works in Western literature.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Mesdames, Messieurs, bonsoir."
    • "Wait and Hope."
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Played with. While the parent characters range from selfish to nasty to even outright evil the children who were born into the upper classes are at worst spoiled but good people. Furthermore a lot of the nobles bought their titles.
  • Arranged Marriage: Several plot points revolve around these, which are apparently common amongst futuristic aristocrats.
  • Artsy Moon: Justified by the fact that it is colonized, thus having its surface altered, the moon sports a creepy skull-like face.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Franz is a minor character in the novel who receives exposition in one short section of the story and serves as an easily overcome roadblock to the Official Couple. In the anime he becomes integral to the two main characters' relationship.
    • Early in the novel, Albert is lured into the clutches of bandits by a young woman who turns out to be a young male bandit in disguise. The young bandit doesn't appear again in the novel, but in the anime he goes on to join Albert's household staff (as a maid) and play a supporting role throughout the series. Interestingly, Peppo was originally meant to be a marginal character like in the novel, however in the end the writers thought he was too much fun not to keep around.
  • Asshole Victim: Morcerf, Danglars, and Villefort all richly deserve what the Count plans for them, both for what they did to him and for the terrible things they have done since. Unfortunately, they aren't the only ones who are to suffer.
  • At the Opera Tonight: Albert's first meeting with the Count and when he gets the pocketwatch as well as the first time he sees Haydée.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The Opening Song has a somber mood that is fitting to the tone of the series, but the art style is dramatically different — and worrisome to first-time viewers, who might fear that the entire episode has been animated in that style.
  • Becoming the Mask: In the beginning The Count only pretends to like Albert when in reality he only views him as a tool for his revenge. However, as time goes on, he finds himself developing real feelings for Albert which cause him lots of angst and heartbreak, but ultimately save him in the end.
  • Best Served Cold: The Count has been planning his vengeance for years, slowly building a power base throughout high society and the criminal underworld. When the time his right his vengeance is excruciating and vicious.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Edmond really lost it.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Three for the price of one! The Morcerfs have a Smug Snake patriarch, a mother, and a Butt-Monkey son. The Villefort patriarch is a Hanging Judge and the matriarch is a Master Poisoner. But let's not forget the Danglars Family. A controlling Fat Bastard of a father, his cheating wife, and an on-and-off Type A Stepford Smiler for their daughter.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The kids are free of the sins and control of their parents and can live their own lives. Valentine and Maximilien are living in Marseilles peacefully. Debray is the Secretary of the Interior and Beauchamp is an Assistant Editor-In-Chief. Eugenie has realized her dream as a concert pianist, Albert has matured into a responsible young man who is working under the Ambassador to Janina, and Haydee is on the eve of her coronation while a peace treaty is signed with Eastern Space. However, it came at the price of innocents such as Franz who gave his life for Albert, their families were brought to ruin, Benedetto and Caderousse are at large, and the Count's redemption ended with his death.
  • Break the Cutie: Edmond, Albert, Mercedes and Franz all suffer horrible atrocities in one manner or another. And they deserved none of it.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: It's non-consensual, which makes it even more squicky.
  • Bury Your Gays: Averted. Despite the death of Franz d'Epinay the show is far from being homophobic with all that Ho Yay.
  • Byronic Hero: The Count is a fine example. He's even strongly associated with Tchaikowski's "Manfred Symphony," which is itself based on Lord Byron's "Manfred." The creator, Mahiro Maeda, has even said in an interview that he was influenced by Byron when creating the Count's character. Of course, this is also a reference to the original Count, who is compared to Manfred by several characters in the book.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A number of them: the watch the Count gives to Albert that later turns out to be a bugging device; the blue roses seen in Valentine's room; the two mecha in the hall of Albert's home that both end up being used, one by Franz and one by Fernand; and an actual gun: in episode 10 we see a gun hidden in Fernand's drawer. In the penultimate episode he'll use this to shoot Mercedes and Albert, then commit suicide. And lastly, in episode 18, Franz's broken sword shard that is lodged in the Count's heart, which hands Karmic Death to the Count in the penultimate episode.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: At first Haydée seems like only a loyal and docile follower of the Count. However, she later brings about Fernand's fall by exposing his sins; also Peppo, whose role seems to be over in episode two - until it turns out that she tagged along because she was a spy for the Count.
    • Interview with the creators reveal that Peppo's role was supposed to be over in episode two, but the writers decided she was too good to waste on only two episodes.
  • The Chessmaster: The Count. Lampshaded in an episode in which he plays chess against an AI and wins, and also proclaims to a desperate Haydée that he will "throw away the useless pieces that stand in the way of revenge."
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Franz and Eugénie are both in love with their childhood friend Albert.
  • Compressed Adaptation, yet still the longest adaption of the novel in terms of's a very big book.
  • Costume Porn: If this had been live action the wardrobe budget would have been astronomical with lush patterns and outright insane garbs being worn left and right.
  • Courtroom Antic: Lots of these occur in the last part of the series, which include reveal-tacular Penultimate Outbursts by and about various characters.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Franz is a relatively minor supporting character in the book who lives to the end; in the anime he is given a more prominent role that culminates in a Heroic Sacrifice to save Albert.
    • In the book, Danglars is spared by the Count after the deaths of Héloïse and Edouard cause him to reconsider his methods and have a change of heart. Those two are Spared by the Adaptation (and the anime's Count is in any case more hard-hearted about that kind of thing), so there is no reconsidering and the Count leaves Danglars to die.
    • Most prominently, the Count himself.
  • Death by Materialism: Danglars who is left to starve to death on a stalled ship surrounded with gold instead of food.
  • Demoted to Extra: Maximilien, who had a lot more to do with the Count's redemption in the novel.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Some series are satisfied by a stylish opening, here we have 24 entire episodes of heavily stylized visuals.
  • Diegetic Switch: In the final scene of the series, Eugénie is playing on the piano. The music she plays is the piano accompaniment of the show's theme song, and then the credits start appearing and the rest of the theme song joins in.
  • Easily Forgiven: You'd think Albert would resent the Count at least a little after he tries to kill him in front of his dad, and this after manipulating him, killing his best friend, and causing the fall of his family.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: The Count plays this part.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Count has one, and it's a doozy. It even has its own indoor ocean.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Gankutsuou, which appears to be some kind of space demon qualifies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Invoked in the end by the Count's two servants Baptistin and Bertuccio of all people as they both refuse to kill Albert, who at this point is willing to forgive and even save the Count despite all the crap the Count put him through, under the Count's order. Bertuccio previously swore to walk down the path of Hell with the Count, which shows just how depraved and monstrous the Count has become in his pursuit for vengeance. During the Count's duel, all 4 of his servants visibly cringe at his brutality.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Haydée attends an opera in one episode wearing what can only be described as the sparkliest dress ever.
    • For reference the dress is taller than the Count, while Haydée stands behind him, and is as wide as the opera booth, as seen here.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Count is Albert's evil counterpart, while Fernand is Franz's. They even hang a lampshade on it with a flashback of Edmond and Fernand at the beach that is a mirror image of an earlier (or is it later?) flashback of Albert and Franz there.
  • Evil Laugh: Fairly late in the series the Count breaks down sobbing, as his next move involves destroying his friendship with Albert - and then the sobs turn to chuckles and soon he's howling with mad laughter.
  • Eye Scream: Luigi Vampa. During the rescue of Albert, the Count holds a very sharp knife to his eye before the screen blacks out. When Luigi next appears, he's wearing an eyepatch over that eye.
  • Facial Markings: The "eyes" on the Count's forehead are a manifestation of his power, and are only visible when he's using it.
    • These facial (later full body) markings are a Homage to Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination (aka Tiger! Tiger!), one main source of inspiration for the writer.
  • Fan Disservice: Héloïse's masturbation scene and Andrea's sex scene with Victoria, his mother.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Nearly all references to foreign countries and customs from the book are replaced with "Eastern Space." Rome is replaced with Luna, a city on the moon that resembles a cross between old world Italy and modern day New Orleans. Haydee, who was an ethnic Turk in the book, is shown as a pale faced, pointy eared alien from a civilization that is a cross between Middle Eastern and Chinese influences.
  • Fat Bastard: Baron Danglars. Although flashbacks show that, while he wasn't always fat, he was always a bastard.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Let's just say that convicts unlucky enough to end up "incarcerated" in the prison/space fortress, Chateau d'If won't mind execution after being literally plugged into its control system.
  • Foreign Language Theme: Both the opening and the ending songs are in English.
  • Free-Range Children: Albert, Franz and Eugénie are all around 15 or 16, and are shown driving off to the beach and the countryside in their own cars and motorbikes, with no adult supervision.
  • Gainaxing: Haydée in her opera outfit. A rather odd case, especially in how exaggerated it is, considering that Haydée is relatively modestly endowed, and not intended as a sex symbol.
  • Glamour Failure: The Count appears blurry and out-of-focus in photographs, and his voice doesn't register on audio recordings.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: The most purely good characters like Albert and most of his friends have wide eyes; more anti-heroic characters like Beauchamp and Debray have narrower eyes, as do the Count and his enemies. Andrea, being a real psycho has slitted pupils like a snake in fact, he looks a real lot like his half-sister, Eugénie; it's the eyes that are the real noticeable difference in their features.
  • Gratuitous English: The pattern for Albert's pirate outfit says "PIRATE ALBERT". Also, "Happy Birthday, Albert."
  • Gratuitous French: There's a lot of French (most of the on-screen writing, for a start), but where it really goes over the line is that there is one character who is distinguished by speaking only in French, in the midst of all these French characters speaking what appears to be Japanese.
    • It can be assumed that everybody speaks French, but is dubbed in Japanese for convenience.
    • The narration at the beginning of each episode is spoken in grammatically correct French, although with a very heavy accent.
    • The rest of the French in the series is generally correct. Unsurprisingly, the name of the correspondent in Japan from the biggest French anime magazine pops up in the end credits as a language consultant... Draw your own conclusions.
  • Hanging Judge: Villefort, who is referred to in the subtitles as "the hanging judge".
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Edmond, being a naïf, misses the significance of Villefort asking him this.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A central theme in the case of the Count. When his plans start to come to fruition he starts committing horrible, vindictive crimes up to killing Franz in cold blood just to see if he was fully committed to exacting his revenge. It goes to show that the Count might be far worse than the men who wronged him.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: The Count's minions, particularly Baptistin and Bertuccio.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Franz, who drugs Albert and takes his place in a Humongous Mecha duel with the Count.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Strangely for an anime with so much Ho Yay in it, it drops the suggestion from the novel that Eugénie is a lesbian.
    • Debatable, since it adds a large dose of Ho Yay between Albert and the Count, and Franz and Albert. Even Eugénie was originally designed to be a lesbian (the trailer even has her leaning in to kiss her piano teacher), but that was changed when she was retooled into Albert's love interest.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Albert just keeps insisting that the Count isn't evil or maniacal. However, it's also because of his innocence that he realizes that the Count's actions are because he was so deeply hurt by people he trusted and loved and why Albert's able to forgive the Count.
  • Humiliation Conga: The Count's plan for his enemies is explicitly to do this to them so badly that they will long for death, but not receive it.
  • Humongous Mecha: Used by Dueling Noblemen of the Future — apparently simple swordfighting isn't flashy or dramatic enough anymore.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Let's face it: Franz is a lot brighter than Albert is.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: In an indirect homage to the Trope Namer, the vampiric Count does not consume food or drink for sustenance. Rather, he takes medication, which is a direct homage to the original Count.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Albert and the Count. In the act of turning back into a human, the Count suddenly becomes vulnerable to a wound he received earlier which now kills him.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason Peppo helps Albert crash Euginie's wedding. Also the reason for Franz's Heroic Sacrifice. Franz helps Maximilian understand that this is the best way to love someone early on.
  • Idiot Hero: If only Albert had listened to Franz.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Morcerf shoots his wife and son when he realizes he has lost everything. Mercedes offered him a Last-Second Chance to go away with her and leave everything behind; when he declares I've Come Too Far and persists in his Villainous BSoD, she tells him that she's leaving him then — though she'll always be grateful for what's he's done for her and never forget what they shared together — that's when he shoots her and then he shoots their son for trying to stop him/avenge his mother.
  • Ill Girl: Valentine is a very moody, sickly girl who tends to stay indoors and tend to her wheelchair-bound grandfather. It turns out she's being poisoned by her stepmother.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: It's the future! Everybody wears these! Furthermore they're meant to evoke nineteenth century garb that Parisian nobles would have loved to show off.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Franz's love for Albert
  • The Ingenue: Albert. (Even his virginity is emphasized a couple of times.) Then he undergoes a Break the Cutie process.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: For all that Baron de Danglars is generally an irredeemable, controlling, money-grubbing jerkass, he actually does has a point when he stops Eugénie from leaving their home following the breaking of the Morcerf scandal, pointing out that the journalists will eat her alive.
  • Karma Houdini: Benedetto escapes from prison amidst the confusion of the bombardment of Paris, and is last seen in the Distant Finale having become a notorious master criminal.
    • Also Caderousse who is a slimy, greedy little imp.
  • Karmic Death: Anybody punished to the bitter end by the Count. And the Count himself: remember in what fight he got a piece of sword lodged in his heart?
  • Large Ham: We all love the Count's melodramatic narcissism.
    • Fernand is pretty good at hamming it up, too. "Mercedes!"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Happens to the Count in the end. See Karmic Death entry above.
  • Lecherous Licking: One scene has Andrea naked in a bathtub strewn with rose petals, drinking red wine...and then he crushes the wineglass in his hand until he bleeds, and he promptly licks the blood from his arm.
  • Like That Show, But with Mecha: Duels are fought not just with pistols or swords, but with six-foot long swords wielded by Humongous Mecha, as seen after Albert challenges the Count to a duel, and again in the showdown between the Count and Mondego.
  • Lost in Imitation: Averted: the anime manages to avoid the traps and clichés other adaptations of the novel fell victim to (Albert is not Edmond's son, Edmond doesn't get together with Mercedes in the end, Eugénie and Haydée are not written out of the story, Haydée is not married off to Franz, etc.).
  • Love Dodecahedron: Every character has one romantic link or another to every other character.
  • Love Hurts:
    • Franz had to suffer a lot because of his unrequited love for Albert. Of course Albert didn't know that Franz is in love with him (and Franz never planned to let him know) which puts things in a slightly different perspective.
    • Albert's platonic (?) crush on the Count, and the Count's genuine affection for him.
    • Eugenie whose engagement to Albert is cut off just as they begin to be honest with their feelings. Luckily they share The Big Damn Kiss when Albert helps her run away to New York to realize her dreams and are reunited in the Distant Finale.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Morcerf. Fernand's Start of Darkness (I was tired of living that loser life) was being pushed over the edge due to his being on the losing end of the Love Triangle between him and his childhood best friends Mercedes and Edmond, which he attributed in large part to the fact that he was poor and struggling in his own profession while Dantes was rich and successful in his career.
  • Machine Blood: Shed in large quantities by the mechas during the duel scenes. It would actually be very gory if it weren't for them being mechanical.
  • Manly Tears: The Count cries a few times (mostly over Albert), but doesn't sacrifice his dignity by doing so.
  • The Matchmaker: Albert becomes this for Valentine and Maximilien, frequently acting as a mediator between them and attempting to coach Maximilien on how to win her over.
  • Meaningful Name: The fact that Edmond Dantes's name may evoke "demon" and Dante's Inferno is taken literally in the anime. note 
  • Mechanical Horses: Pulling a hovercraft carriage no less.
  • Melodrama: Of the Highest Order. Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Mind Rape: Edmond undergoes a major one in prison, although it's way more explicit in the manga.
  • Moral Myopia: After learning the truth about the Count, Albert insists that the Count's revenge against his father doesn't justify all that Albert himself has suffered in the process. In the same breath, he then declares that he will get his own revenge on the Count, no matter how justified the Count's hatred of his father is. Luckily, once the heat of the moment is gone he comes to his senses.
  • More Expendable Than You: The above-mentioned Heroic Sacrifice
  • Narrator All Along: It slowly becomes apparent that the narrator of the Previously On… segments is none other than Gankutsuou itself.
  • Near-Rape Experience: When Andrea Cavalcanti shows his true colors toward Eugénie.
    • Andrea gets another moment with Haydée, but luckily Gankutsuou puts a quick stop to that.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Franz to his father. Not only did he not say goodbye, he also told him he hopes he never comes back. Oops.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The production team made huge changes to the story in the very last moment - so much so that the original TV trailers feature some characters looking different than how they ended up, footage that didn't make it in the end, and events that either never took place or were played out in a different way.
  • Not So Different: In his pursuit of revenge, the Count has become just as cruel as if not more so than the people who ruined him. This is explicitly spelled out in the end whereupon Fernand holds Haydée hostage, the Count orders Bertuccio to just kill Albert regardless of what happens to Haydée. Thankfully, it's also at this point that Baptistan and Bertuccio disobey the Count for the first time. Gankutsuou is more than happy to just walk away once the Count's soul is in its possession. It was the Count who did all the plotting to destroy those one wronged him.
  • Oblivious to Love: Albert was oblivious of Franz's feelings for him. It helped that Franz kept his feelings a secret from everyone.
  • Oedipus Complex:
    • The manga implies that Albert is looking for a father figure in the Count because he has issues with his authoritarian real father. He also has an interesting relationship with his mother.
    • There's Andrea who takes this to the logical extreme: although he doesn't kill his father he gives him a poison that destroys his mind, he has sex with his mother and tries to rape his half-sister.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Andrea Cavalcanti, a rare example of a male with this hairstyle It's interesting to note that the hairstyle was originally meant for Eugénie (as seen in the official trailer and concept art) - it was transferred to Andrea in the very last moment, when the writers decided that Eugénie would be a positive character and love interest.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Count isn't technically a vampire, but the fact that he has several of their characteristics is Lampshaded several times and he doesn't have all of their characteristics.
    • This is carried over from the novel, where the Count is compared to a vampire by the Countess G—-. It's just dialed Up to Eleven by giving him a vampire's magical properties instead of just being a guy who fits the traditional suave vampire archetype.
  • Parental Incest: Benedetto and Madame Danglars.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Albert and Eugénie. Although Albert initially isn't in love with her (though Eugénie was revealed to have always been in love with him).
  • P.O.V. Sequel: The Count of Monte Cristo seen through Albert's eyes.
    • According to Word of God, one of the reasons Albert was chosen as the viewpoint character instead of the Count was to put the focus on the consequences of revenge rather than the satisfaction of it, as the creators worried about glorifying revenge.
  • The Power of Love: Gankutsuou is defeated by hugs and kisses dished out by Albert. It wasn't Albert who triggered the reversal the transformation, it was Edmond's own feelings (his soul,) that he'd tried to get rid of (which was the point of his duel with Albert, however Franz stepped in and ruined his plans), awakened by Albert's hugs and kisses.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Due to how long the novel is there was a lot that had to be streamlined or switched around in order to fit it into the running time such as most of the Count's preparation for exacting his vengeance. The protagonist being Albert also led to big changes in the tone of the series.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Eugénie Danglars. In the original novel she detested Albert (and all other men for that matter) and ran away to have a lesbian relationship with her piano instructor. In Gankutsuou the instructor has been cut out and Eugénie's been changed to something similar to a Tsundere.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Tchaikovsky's "Manfred symphony" is used a lot - the first movement is the Count's own theme and excerpts from latter movements are also used here and there. Eugénie plays the first movement (edited, though) of Rachmaninov's "Piano Concerto No. 2" and Schumann's "Traumerei" during her performance in the Opera, on Luna Albert and Franz meet the Count during a performance of "Lucia di Lammermoor", later in Paris the Count invites Albert to a performance of "Robert le Diable"... and the opening theme song is based partly on Chopin's "Etude Op.10 No.3."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The Count, Andrea, and Fernand have some juicy moments, and the structure and intonations of spoken Japanese lend themselves to them very well. TAKE THE HAMMER STRIKE. OF REVENGE! Close-up on the Count's face, cue to some crazy Humongous Mecha fight.
  • The Punishment: The person who received dark, almost supernatural powers as a result of his punishment was innocent.
  • Race Lift: To preserve his status as exotic the Count's henchman Ali is changed from a black African to a green space alien.
  • Recycled INSPACE: To the point where characters that were from the orient in The Count of Monte Cristo are from eastern space in Gankutsuou.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For both the Count and Morcerf. The former fought off Gankutsuou so he could die as Edmond Dantes instead of the Count. The latter told Albert to always look to the future before taking his own life to face retribution for his own crimes.
  • Revenge by Proxy: The Count tries to kill Albert to make his father suffer.
  • Rule of Cool: Without his dramatic poses and mannerisms, the Count would just be... Edmond Dantes?
  • Runaway Bride: Eugénie becomes this towards Andrea, who was forcing her to marry him.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Baron Danglars does this occasionally; Villefort more often, though his is a Scary Shiny Monocle.
  • Schizo Tech: The setting is an odd combination of the novel's 19th century setting, mid-twentieth century elements (i.e. the cars) and far future technology
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Gankutsuou was sealed away for a thousand years but released some years before the start of the story.
  • Second Love: Valentine's first love was her fiancé Franz, but she eventually returns Maximilien's feelings and ends up with him.
  • Secret Identity: Not only the Count, but also Fernand, Mercedes, Villefort and Danglars and Benedetto/Andrea Cavalcanti.
  • Secret Identity Identity: Although he has fewer personae than in the novel, "Edmond" is so absorbed by his persona as the Count and as "Gankutsuou" that he keeps claiming that Edmond died in prison and was reborn as the Count of Monte Cristo - until the last few seconds before his death. Interestingly, he still signs "Edmond Dantes" when he wants to terrify his former oppressors. One might argue that "Edmond Dantes" is a social construction that exists in a few characters' (arguably deformed or idealized) memories while the Count is very real -and out for some aristocratic blood.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Episode 12, Albert turns on a lamp in front of an old music flier. The flier is written in Serbian, and advertises an actual venue located in present day Belgrade, called Kolarčeva Zaduzbina.
    • The opera seen in Episode 1 is Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, with the famous Mad Scene being highlighted.
    • The Count's Emerald pill-case is lifted directly from the novel, in which the Count has a hallowed-out emerald in which he keeps hashish. Also various other details—the samurai armor in Albert's room, is also mentioned in the novel (well, some sort of armor of oriental origin, which could have meant it was from almost anywhere in the general vicinity Asia given the era the novel was written). Various other visual details and even a few snippets of conversation make the transition exactly, which is actually kind of surprising considering the change in focus and setting the series underwent, and besides which shows the attention to detail of the crew involved. On that note, should we add a "shown their work" entry to the main page or something?
      • On that note, if you pay very close attention, a few characters from the original book pop up - even if they don't actually appear in the Anime. One of the sailors listed in the original Morrel crew is "Jacopo" (identifiable only by his signature on a picture, which is a bit obscured but definitely there), who was the Count's first 'helper' in the novel. Gankutsuou seems to take on the role that Abbe Faria had in the novel, and even appears with a cross around his neck - although that comparison is arguable, considering what Gankutsuou is. Abbe Busoni makes a appearance as well, although seemingly as Luigi Vampa's alias, rather than one of the Count's many alter-egos.
  • Sinister Shades:
    • Bertuccio wears a pair. They're Opaque Lenses most of the time, but become translucent when he has moments of humanity. (And on one memorable occasion, when he's struggling with his conscience, one lens becomes translucent while the other remains opaque.)
    • Baron Danglars wears these all the time, as well. In his case they signify his shifty character.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Another major theme in the series. While the parents who wronged the Count are selfish, greedy, or just outright evil (with a few exceptions) and might deserve their punishment, their children suffer just as much despite being good, if naive people merely because they're related to their parents.
  • Slasher Smile: The titular Count wears a rather terrifying example of this when everything is going according to plan (which usually involves a humiliating and/or painful death)
  • Space Jews: Foreign characters like Ali, Haydée, etc. are aliens. The series uses the term "Eastern Space" for locations that were in Turkey/the Middle East in the novel.
  • Spanner in the Works: Franz becomes this to the Count when Franz decides to participate in the duel instead of Albert and id killed. This not only derails the Count's plan to be rid of his Edmond Dantes part of soul but also hands him Karmic Death in the end.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • The poisoner is revealed to be Héloïse much earlier than in the book, far too early for the resultant deaths of Héloïse and Edouard, so those two wind up surviving to the end.
    • Caderousse also makes it out alive in this version.
  • Split-Personality Takeover:Gankutsuou controls the Count more and more as their pact nears completion.
  • Super Soldier: Maximilien is one due to muscle enhancements for special forces, but he is also a Gentle Giant.
  • That Man Is Dead: The Count insists Edmond Dantes is long dead until he dies as himself, asking that Albert and Haydee remember that his name was Edmond Dantes.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The opening theme song appears in other forms several times during the action of the show.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Apparently, this is what Chateau d'If does to you. Albert is a more debatable case.
  • Transformation Trauma: Boy, does the Count's transformation into Gankutsuou in the anime look (and sound) painful. In the manga, his first transformation in prison is even worse, as it involves violent hallucinations, mangling, rape metaphors, and of course a demonic entity. His look of utter "What the hell was this!?" when he looks at his hands in the aftermath says it all, really.
  • The Trickster: The Count has several personae, tricks people and is occasionally himself tricked, displays a confusing moral ambiguity and a total disrespect for social conventions, is histrionic, and also lives beyond traditional boundaries such as good and evil, victim and predator, alive and dead or undead, human and monster, earthling and alien. He also has some characteristics of a Shapeshifter (see his spectacular and painful transformations into Gankutsuou and the fact that when Fernand impales him with the sword of his Humongous Mecha, he turns into a mist and reappears in his own mecha, vampire-style).
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Eduord, Valentine's younger half-brother, initially comes off as a Spoiled Brat, the product of an overly doting mother and cruel, uninvolved father. However, it becomes quite clear later that there's just something wrong about Eduord. When he and his mother hear a thumping noise, his mother suggests that grandfather has fallen from his wheelchair again and is in need of help. Eduord's response is to laugh at the old man's suffering. There's also the implication that he knows his mother was poisoning Valentine, given his proclaimation that she told him Valentine would die young.
  • Truer to the Text: Despite the sci-fi setting, this is thematically the closest to Dumas' story than any other modern interpretation. While most modern takes on the story paint it as an adventure tale with the Count as an antihero who's justified in his actions, this show presents the count squarely as a villain with a Freudian Excuse, calling to light how his revenge overreached "justifiable" by utterly destroying the lives of his enemies' children and their friends.
    • The original Dumas text notes that Edmond, as The Count, bears a resemblance to Lord Ruthven. The anime, in accordance, makes him a literal Space Vampire.
  • Tsundere: Eugénie, saying how she didn't like being engaged to Albert. It has more to do that it was decided for her instead of having a say in the matter. She mellows out over the series and even shares The Big Damn Kiss with Albert.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Edmond Dantes and Albert's parents. Averted with Valentine, Franz, and Maximilien because of Franz' love interest.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Taking to such extremes that it defines the series' entire art style in a divisive fashion; it's used not just for clothes, but for absolutely everything with a texture.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Happens to Albert. Then Peppo (the 'lady') uses it to wind him up for the rest of the series. It's implied that Peppo is truly is a man since in the epilogue, Baptistin sees Peppo has become a model and is weirded out by it (if Peppo is a girl, that would not be too surprising). Peppo is confirmed to be male by the manga adaptation, as well as originally being a boy crossdressing as a girl to seduce Albert in the novel.
  • Unusual Ears:
    • The Count has pointed ears as does Haydée.
    • Bertuccio has a pair coupled with a matching pair of fangs - neither of which he had before joining the Count's team.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The count is blue and has fangs but almost no one seems to notice/comment on it. One of the only times it's acknowledged is in a From the Mouths of Babes moment from Edouard Villefort. Some of the aliens in the background in this show are pink and have heart-shaped heads, while Haydée has blue skin and pointy ears, but no fangs. The weird thing about the Count is really just that he's blue and human.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Peppo, the young bandit who poses as a woman to lure marks into the bandits' clutches and then joins Albert's household staff as a maid. Cheerful and friendly, and one of the more wholesome characters in the entire series. As usual for the Japanese version of the trope, is never seen in masculine clothing and entire episodes go by without drawing attention to the fact that the young lady is not what she seems.


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