Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

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Gankutsuou:
The Count of Monte Cristo
Gankutsuou promotional.jpg
Promotional image for the anime series
巌窟王
(Gankutsuō)
Genre Science fiction, Drama
Anime television series
Directed by Mahiro Maeda
Produced by Osamu Ando
Minako Doi
Taichi Hashimoto
Naomi Nishiguchi
Written by Shuichi Kouyama
Music by Jean-Jacques Burnel
Studio Gonzo
Licensed by
Anime Limited
Network TV Asahi, Animax, NHK BS2, AT-X
English network
Original run October 5, 2004March 29, 2005
Episodes 24 (List of episodes)
Manga
Written by Mahiro Maeda
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Monthly Afternoon
Original run May 2005May 2008
Volumes 3
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (Japanese: 巌窟王 Hepburn: Gankutsuō?, literally The King of the Cavern) is an anime series loosely based on Alexandre Dumas's classic French novel, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo. Spanning 24 episodes, it was produced by Gonzo, directed by Mahiro Maeda and broadcast by Animax across its respective networks in Japan, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and other regions.

Gankutsuou '​s unusual visual style layers Photoshop textures into digital animation, with backgrounds often rendered in 3D. Gankutsuou is set in the far future, during the year 5053, whereas Alexandre Dumas's original novel takes place during the 19th century. Though Gankutsuou incorporates elements of science-fiction and fantasy, it also retains many aesthetics of France in the 19th century, particularly in regard to social classes and wealth. In addition, each of the episodes (of the Japanese dub) begin with a summary spoken in French.

Geneon Entertainment acquired the North American release rights for Gankutsuou and released it under the title Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo.[1] As of September 12, 2006, all six volumes have been released on DVD. A box set was also released as a compilation of the six DVDs. On December 27, 2008, Funimation announced that they had acquired the license and planned to release the series in 2009.[2]

Plot[edit]

The story takes place in the far future of the 51st Century, during the year 5053.

While visiting Luna for the festival, Viscount Albert de Morcerf and Baron Franz d'Épinay make the acquaintance of the Count of Monte Cristo, a self-made nobleman. When they part, the Count promises to visit Albert in Paris. After he arrives, he introduces himself to the most powerful families in France (the Morcerfs, the Danglars, and the Villeforts).

The general plot of Gankutsuou, while broadly the same as the novel on which it is based, changes many aspects of the source material. In the novel, the narrative arc follows the Count chronologically; in the anime, the story begins with Albert and Franz meeting the Count on Luna (which occurs, in Rome, many hundreds of pages into the book), and the Count's back story is pieced together throughout the series. The anime's plot includes futuristic elements, talking about space travel, computer systems and robots, different fates for some characters, the disposal of several side-plots, and an altogether different ending.

Characters[edit]

The Count of Monte Cristo (モンテ・クリスト伯爵 Monte Kurisuto-hakushaku, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo)
Voiced by: Joji Nakata (Japanese), Jamieson Price (English)
A mysterious nobleman living in luxury, The Count approaches and befriends Albert in Luna as the first step in his plan of revenge against the people who once betrayed him. The Count's previous identity was Edmond Dantès (エドモン・ダンテス Edomon Dantesu), a sailor who worked for the Morrel family's shipping company. Edmond was imprisoned in the Château d'If on false charges, and it was there that he met Gankutsuou (known as The Ruler of the Cave in Animax's English adaptation). In exchange for the strength and means to gain revenge, he allowed the cold-blooded demon to possess him. Because of Gankutsuou, he is afflicted with an odd condition which causes his body to be crystalline, revealing his bones and internal organs.
Gankutsuou (巖窟王 Gankutsuō)
The demonic presence dubbed the "King of the Cave" that dwells within the Count, and the driving force behind his revenge plot throughout the series. The demon's origins are tied to the Chateau d'If where Edmond Dantes was imprisoned falsely, as he was calling out for death but gained Gankutsuou's power and drive and helped him to escape. Gankutsuou is suppressed by a special drug, but fully manifests near the end of the series as a triple set of dual colored eyes that run down the greater length of the Count's face.
Viscount Albert de Morcerf (アルベール・ド・モルセール子爵 Arubēru Do Morusēru-shishaku, Le Vicomte Albert de Morcerf)
Voiced by: Jun Fukuyama (Japanese), Johnny Yong Bosch (English)
A naïve fifteen-year-old, Albert encounters the Count while vacationing on the moon colony, Luna. Taken in by the Count's poise, sophistication, and mystique, Albert serves as a tool for the Count to immerse himself in Parisian society. His naiveté is his defining flaw, blinding him to others' faults and intentions. Nonetheless, his purity of spirit penetrates the hearts of others.
Baron Franz d'Epinay (フランツ・デピネー男爵 Furantsu Depinē-danshaku, Le Baron Franz d'Epinay)
Voiced by: Daisuke Hirakawa (Japanese), Ezra Weisz (English)
Albert's best friend who accompanied him in the carnival in Luna. He seems to be more mature than Albert, cautioning him against the Count. He holds deep feelings for his best friend and he risks his own life on several occasions to save Albert.
Haydée (エデ Ede)
Voiced by: Akiko Yajima (Japanese), Jennifer Sekiguchi (English)
A delicate beauty and skilled harp player, Haydée is one of the members of the Count of Monte Cristo's estate. The former princess of the planet of Janina, she and her mother were sold into slavery when her father was betrayed and murdered. Haydée was eventually rescued by the Count, and grew deep feelings for him over time, even professing her love for him. She wishes to save him from the revenge that consumes his life, but is haunted by her own desire for revenge against the man who murdered her father and sold her into slavery.
Giovanni Bertuccio (ジョヴァンニ・ベルッチオ Jovanni Berucchio)
Voiced by: Kōji Ishii (Japanese), Beau Billingslea (English)
Bertuccio is one of the Count's right-hand men, acting as servant and bodyguard.
Baptistin (バティスタン Batisutan)
Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)
The Count's other right-hand man. He's skilled at fencing and practices occasionally with the Count.
Ali (アリ Ari)
The Count's mute alien servant. He has unusual powers, such as telekinesis, healing and controlling animals. He saves the Count's life on one occasion.
General Fernand de Morcerf (フェルナン・ド・モルセール将軍 Ferunan Do Morusēru-shōgun)
Voiced by: Jūrōta Kosugi (Japanese), Paul St. Peter (English)
The husband of Mercédès and the father of Albert, is General of the Parisian army and the leading candidate in France's presidential race. While touted as a hero, Fernand is actually a cowardly character, guilty of unethical practices including the betrayal and murder of the Pasha of Janina and a purchased nobility. In the past, he worked with Edmond Dantès and Danglars under his real name of Fernand Mondego (フェルナン・モンデゴ Ferunan Mondego). Though Edmond considered him a friend since childhood, Fernand was his rival for the affection of Mercédès, and thus led to his part in Edmond's wrongful imprisonment.
Mercédès de Morcerf (メルセデス・ド・モルセール Merusedesu Do Morusēru)
Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue (Japanese), Karen Strassman (English)
Once known as Mercédès Herrera, she was Edmond Dantès former fiancee until she married her childhood friend Fernand upon news of Edmond's death in the Chateau d'If. Though she is a devoted wife and caring mother, Mercédès still remains in love with Edmond. She suspects the Count's true identity and worries that he has returned to disrupt her family's life.
Baron Jullian Danglars (ダングラール男爵 Dangurāru-danshaku),
Voiced by: Shinpachi Tsuji (Japanese), Doug Stone (English)
Most often simply called Danglars, he was a crew member on board the same ship as Edmond Dantes, but is now the most powerful banker in France and he seeks wealth above everything else, disregarding the feelings of those closest to him in the process. By appealing to Danglars' sense of greed, the Count persuades him to create an account allowing an unlimited withdrawal of funds. He sees the marriage of his daughter Eugénie as a way to enhance his family's wealth and prestige. He has been friends with Fernand for several decades, and engaged Eugénie to Albert as a way of tying the families together as well as a means of supporting Morcerf's political ambitions. Danglars was the one who came up with the idea to imprison Edmond for his own gains and because Edmond had uncovered his embezzlement of ship's funds.
Madame Victoria de Danglars (ビクトリア・ド・ダングラール Bikutoria Do Dangurāru)
Voiced by: Naoko Matsui (Japanese), Mari Devon (English)
Most often called Madame Danglars, is known for being outspoken and determined to get her way. Madame Danglars has had several extramarital lovers, such as Albert's friend Lucien. In contrast to her husband, Madame Danglars has limits on what she will do in the pursuit of wealth; her most prized possession is her horse Eclipse which she refuses to sell. Her character in the novel was called "Hermine" (エルミーヌ Erumīne).
Eugénie de Danglars (ユージェニー・ド・ダングラール Yūjenī Do Dangurāru, Eugénie de Danglars)
Voiced by: Chie Nakamura (Japanese), Michelle Ruff (English)
The childhood friend of Albert and Franz who is engaged to Albert. Though she is usually friendly to Albert, she appears displeased with the arrangement and sometimes acts cold towards him. Later in the series she shows some feelings towards Albert and she soon realizes that she has fallen in love with him, even sharing a kiss with him. She shows her affections through composing music for and playing the piano; her dream is to become a professional pianist.
Crown Prosecutor Gérard de Villefort (ジェラール・ド・ヴィルフォール主席判事 Jerāru Do Virufōru-shusekihanji, Gerard de Villefort Procureur-général)
Voiced by: Yōsuke Akimoto (Japanese), Abe Lasser (English)
The highest ranking judge in Paris and is considered a member of the social elite. He is known for being harsh in his rulings, a trait that will return to haunt him. While he conducts his judicial business with an iron fist, he is in truth a very passive, self-flagellating character trying to get out from under the shadow of his father Noirtier. His first wife died years ago, and he remarried to a social-climber named Héloïse. He once had an affair with Madame Danglars which resulted in a child. Villefort was the one who sent Edmond Dantes to prison without a trial and the intent to keep him there within the prison walls for life.
Valentine de Villefort (ヴァランティーヌ・ド・ヴィルフォール Varantīnu Do Virufōru)
Voiced by: Junko Miura (Japanese), Dorothy Elias-Fahn (English)
Villefort's daughter by his first wife. She is a kind and caring person, but she is also somewhat withdrawn and rather frail. She is very sickly most of the time. While she appears to have a civil relationship with her father, she is more attached to her grandfather Noirtier. She is formally engaged to Franz who does not seem to have feelings for her. After a while she starts to prefer the company of Maximilien Morrel and falls in love with him. Unfortunately, due to his position as a soldier, Maximilien does not meet with her father's approval.
Héloïse de Villefort (エロイーズ・ド・ヴィルフォール Eroīzu Do Virufōru)
Voiced by: Kumiko Watanabe (Japanese), Julie Ann Taylor (English)
The second wife of Villefort and Valentine's stepmother. She is bitter towards her stepdaughter because she knows that Valentine will inherit fortunes from both her maternal grandparents and Noirtier while Madame de Villefort's son Edouard will barely inherit anything from the Villefort estate. Her hobby is gardening in her private greenhouse. She is fascinated by toxicology, and most of the plants she grows are highly poisonous. From her flirtations with the Count and indifference towards her husband, she gives the strong impression that she is a social climber.
Edouard de Villefort (エドワール・ド・ヴィルフォール Edowāru Do Virufōru)
Voiced by: Noriko Kitō (Japanese), Michelle Ruff (English)
Héloïse's only child. He is a young and spoiled boy whom his mother hopes will one day inherit the Villefort's estate.
Noirtier de Villefort (ノワルティエ・ド・ヴィルフォール Nowarutie Do Virufōru)
Gérard de Villefort's father, though they have an antagonistic relationship. Noirtier was once a high-ranking official within the French government, but was paralyzed due to a stroke and he can no longer speak. Valentine is devoted to his well-being and he seeks to provide for her as best as he can given his condition.
Maximilien Morrel (マクシミリアン・モレル Makushimirian Moreru)
Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (Japanese), Tony Oliver (English)
A military man who falls in love with Valentine. His father owned the shipping company that Edmond Dantès worked for. Though he is socially awkward, he is also strong, courageous and honest.
Lucien Debray (リュシアン・ドプレー Ryushian Dopurē)
Voiced by: Jin Domon (Japanese), Doug Erholtz (English)
A friend of Albert and Franz. He works as a secretary within the French government. Charismatic and confident, Lucien is a self-proclaimed ladies' man, and far from shy when it comes to his affair with Madame Danglars.
Beauchamp (ボーシャン Bōshan)
Voiced by: Tetsu Shiratori (Japanese), Erik Davies (English)
Another friend of Franz and Albert. Beauchamp works as a news reporter for a French newspaper.
Raoul de Château-Renaud (ラウル・ド・シャトー・ルノー Rauru Do Shatō-Runō)
Voiced by: MIKI (Japanese), Yuri Lowenthal (English)
Renaud is another friend of Albert and Franz. A soldier during the previous war, he was saved by Maximilien and introduced him to the group. A man with a love for cars, he is an open and talkative person.
Luigi Vampa (ルイジ・ヴァンパ Ruiji Vanpa)
A well-known leader of a group of bandits on Luna. He is responsible for kidnapping Albert at the beginning of the story.
Peppo (ぺッポ)
Voiced by: Mai Nakahara (Japanese), Carrie Savage (English)
A young woman who meets and seduces Albert during the festival on Luna per Luigi Vampa's orders so that Albert can be kidnapped, but who also tries to defend him when he is about to be tortured and killed. The Count reveals to Albert that Peppo is actually a boy. After Albert returns to Paris, he finds that Peppo has made his own way to Earth and become a maid in the Morcerf household, continuing to crossdress. He seems to have a strong affection for Albert and enjoys teasing him whenever he can. He later falls deeply in love with him. He is based on the character Beppo (ベッポ) from The Count of Monte Cristo, but was intentionally given a different name for Gankutsuou.
Marquis Andrea Cavalcanti (アンドレア・カヴァルカンティ侯爵 Andorea Kavarukanti-kōshaku)
Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese), Liam O'Brien (English)
An Italian criminal known to the Count, who rescues him from execution, funds him and introduces him to Parisian society as a noble. Cunning and crude, Cavalcanti flamboyantly displays his wealth to make himself known throughout Paris. After meeting the Danglars, he replaces Albert as Eugénie's fiance. He is arrested at the wedding after he was revealed as a fraud created by the Count. Andrea is actually the child of Gérard and Victoria as a result of an affair who was abandoned as an infant.
Gaspard Caderousse (ガスパール・カドルッス Gasupāru Kadorussu)
Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita (Japanese), Kirk Thornton (English)
He was once a member of the same group of friends as Edmond, Fernand, and the others. He indirectly participated in the plot to send Edmond to the Chateau d'If, but unlike the others (who became extremely successful and powerful) has fallen on very hard times.
Marquise G (G侯爵夫人 G-kōshakufujin)
Voiced by: Rio Natsuki
A noblewoman who knows Franz d'Epinay well and is on good terms with him. She is a recurring character in the series. In the original novels, she is known as the Countess G and is heavily implied to be the Countess Teresa Guicciolo, Lord Byron's mistress after he left England for the last time and settled in Venice.

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

The first episode aired on October 5, 2004, and the final episode aired on March 29, 2005. On April 10, 2005, Geneon Entertainment received the license for U.S. releases.[1] The U.S. version went straight to six DVD compilations and was distributed by Madman Entertainment. FUNimation has now gained the rights and released the complete series in a 4-DVD package on April 28, 2009.[2] On December 27, 2010, the series made its North American debut on the FUNimation Channel.[3]

Manga[edit]

The manga version of Gankutsuou was serialized in Kodansha's Afternoon manga magazine since May 2005. There are altogether 3 volumes which were later translated and released in the west by Del Rey; the first volume was released on November 15, 2008 the second on March 24, 2009, and the third volume on August 25, 2009.

Drawn after the anime and by the creator Mahiro Maeda himself, the manga is a slight departure, focusing on the Count instead of Albert. Instead of retelling the story, it chooses to answer a few questions the anime never did concerning Edmond Dantes' time in prison, the origin of the Count's vast fortune, and his strange physical appearance. The manga is also dramatically darker and more grotesque than the anime, suggesting a far different and much more depraved and violent ending for Villefort.

Music[edit]

Gankutsuou's opening and closing themes are both by Jean-Jacques Burnel of The Stranglers, as is much of the music from the series, augmented by music from Kasamatsu Kouji and a selection of classical excerpts. The opening theme is "We Were Lovers" and the ending is "You Won't See Me Coming", which was re-recorded by The Stranglers as "See Me Coming" for their Suite XVI album from 2006.

Gankutsuou OST[edit]

The original soundtrack for the series was released on February 23, 2005 in Japan; it contains 8 tracks from Jean-Jacques Burnel including the opening and closing themes, plus 12 pieces from Kasamatsu Kouji, as follows.[4]

  1. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Shanikusai" (7:26)
  2. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "We Were Lovers" (3:24)
  3. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Prologue" (2:05)
  4. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Yami-Iro no Yume" (2:55)
  5. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Anger (Edmond Kara no Tegami)" (4:22)
  6. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Joukei, aru Hareta Hi ni Kare Ha" (2:06)
  7. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tooi Kioku" (2:04)
  8. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Montecristo" (6:50)
  9. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tentaigi" (2:12)
  10. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Sorrow (Shukumei)" (4:08)
  11. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Auteui" (3:34)
  12. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Shounen no Hi" (2:05)
  13. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Waltz (Waltz in Blue)" (2:23)
  14. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Desire (Fukushu Ha Tada Waga Ni Ari)" (5:17)
  15. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Mercedes (Nagisa Nite)" (4:52)
  16. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Chikakyuden" (2:50)
  17. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tsukiyo" (2:35)
  18. Kasamatsu Kouji - "Kaishou" (6:49)
  19. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "You Won't See Me Coming (TV size)" (1:50)
  20. Jean-Jacques Burnel - "You Won't See Me Coming" (3:55)

Critical reception[edit]

Gankutsuou was acclaimed when released in North America, with sources such as Anime Insider,[5] Newsarama.com,[6] Animeondvd.com[6] and Anime News Network[7] judging it to be among the best releases of the year.

Reviews have generally been extremely positive. Reviews mainly focused on the visual effects of the show, both to its benefit and its detriment. Stig Høgset of THEM Anime Reviews commented, "While beautiful most of the time, the show can be quite hard on the eye at times."[8]

Theron Martin of Anime News Network awarded Gankutsuou Series of the Year.[7] It also won the Best TV Series award at the 10th Animation Kobe Fair.[9][10] Helen McCarthy in 500 Essential Anime Movies praised its "dazzling visual inventiveness".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gankutsuo Licensed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  2. ^ a b "FUNimation Teaser Site". FUNimation. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Gankutsuou Original Soundtrack". CDJapan. Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  5. ^ Reynolds, Kara (October 2005). "Legendary director Mahiro Maeda explains how he turned a 19th-century novel into a 21st-century anime masterpiece". Anime Insider. p. 7. 
  6. ^ a b Fritz, Steve (2006-12-21). "Animation's Centennial — Was it Something to Celebrate?". Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  7. ^ a b Martin, Theron (2007-01-07). "Theron Martin's Best (and Worst) of 2006". Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  8. ^ Høgset, Stig. "Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo". Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  9. ^ "Gankutsuou wins Best TV Series award at Animation Kobe fair". Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  10. ^ "GONZO animation GANKUTSUOU wins best title award at 10th ANIMATION KOBE fair". Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-28. 
  11. ^ McCarthy, Helen. 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. — Harper Design, 2009. — P. 40. — 528 p. — ISBN 978-0061474507

External links[edit]