Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo
Promotional image for the anime series
|Genre||Science fiction, Drama|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Mahiro Maeda|
|Produced by||Osamu Ando
|Written by||Shuichi Kouyama|
|Music by||Jean-Jacques Burnel|
|Network||TV Asahi, Animax, NHK BS2, AT-X|
|Original run||October 5, 2004 – March 29, 2005|
|Written by||Mahiro Maeda|
|Original run||May 2005 – May 2008|
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 Bourbon Restoration. 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. 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.
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.
- The Count of Monte Cristo (モンテ・クリスト伯爵 Monte Kurisuto-hakushaku, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo)
- Voiced by: Jouji 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.
- 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. Gankutsuou's fate remains unknown, although it is believed he is either still at large or has been vanquished, due to being forced to flee Edmond's body by Albert.
- 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. He later dies by the Count's hands in a duel, which was meant to be for Albert.
- Haydée (エデ Ede)
- Voiced by: Akiko Yajima (Japanese); Stephanie Sheh (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 by Fernand Mondego, then a young military officer. 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. While he is utterly devoted to the Count and desires solely to serve him, he displays doubt and apprehension when the Count commands him to kill Albert; he ultimately does not follow through with this order.
- 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. Much like Bertuccio, he expresses doubt toward the Count's revenge mission as it begins to bring harm to innocent people. Near the end of the series, when the Count tries to kill Albert, he steps in front of him, saving Albert's life while suffering a serious wound in the process. Five years later, during the epilogue, he acts as a faithful servant to Haydée much like he did for 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 armed forces 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 his best friend since childhood, Fernand was his rival for the affection of Mercédès, and thus led to his part in Edmond's wrongful imprisonment. Near the climax of the series, Fernand expresses deep regret for ruining his best friend's life.
- 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's 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. She later discovers, by herself, that the Count is Edmond and tries to win him back by professing her love for him,but fails due to Gankutsuou's control. After learning of Fernand's betrayal of Edmond that put him in prison and his reason for revenge against him, she tries to convince Fernand to leave with her and start a new life, but he refuses, which causes her to see the monster he is and decides to leave him, which causes him to shoot her. She makes a full recovery and is seen visiting the graves of Edmond and Fernand five years later, during the epilogue.
- 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, although later he calls off the engagement and instead tries to marry her off to Cavalcanti, who is later revealed to be a fraud and a pawn in the Count's plan for revenge, and is arrested before the wedding can happening. After going bankrupt, Danglars tries to run with all of his clients' money, but is caught by the Count and left to die in space. He was the one who came up with the idea to imprison Edmond because he had uncovered his embezzlement of ship's funds and also to help further his gain for power and money.
- 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, she 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. After discovering Cavalcanti is her illegitimate son she goes into a deep depression and shock. Her fate is unknown by the end of the series. 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. With Albert's help, she escapes her wedding and departs Paris for New York City, both to escape her father and arranged marriage and to study music at a prestigious conservatory. During the epilogue set five years later, she has become a world-renowned pianist and has returned to Paris to reunite with Albert.
- 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); Tom Wyner (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. Cavalcanti, his illegitimate son whom he attempted to kill at birth, injects him with a poison that drives him insane, fulfilling both the Count's and his own desire for revenge against him. He is last seen walking the streets of Paris as it was under attack by the General's forces, madly sentencing passersby to death via guillotine, completely oblivious to the destruction occurring around him.
- 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 of love for her, instead seeing her as just a friend. 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 and is barred from seeing her. She is later poisoned by her stepmother and nearly dies. Maximilien (with help from Franz) takes her to his home away from Paris so that she can recover in safety; she eventually makes a full recovery. Five years later, during the epilogue, Maximilien returns home and reunites with her. He tells her that he has retired from the military so that he can live a normal civilian life with her.
- 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. After failing to kill Valentine, she accidentally poisons herself (hinted to be the Count's intention), which drives her insane, and stays at the Count's villa, in exchange for helping him expose secrets about Villefort. Both Heloise and her son's fate remain unknown afterwards.
- 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 by poisoning her, which fails. After his mother is driven insane due to accidentally poisoning herself, both him and Heloise stay at the Count's villa. Their fate is unknown by the end of the series.
- 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 (hinted to be the work of his enemies, possibly even his own son). Valentine is devoted to his well-being and he seeks to provide for her as best as he can given his condition. He also serves in helping Franz (Valentine's former fiancée) discover the truth about Edmond Dantes and Gankutsuou. Noirtier later dies sometime in between the five years before the epilogue of the series.
- Maximilien Morrel (マクシミリアン・モレル Makushimirian Moreru)
- Voiced by: Tetsu Inada (Japanese); Tony Oliver (English)
- A young military officer 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. He expresses disdain for the Parisian nobility, especially towards their traditions of arranged marriages, feeling such unions breed families based on convenience and social standing rather than love. While his views initially upset Albert, they cause him to reflect on his own relationship with Eugénie, becoming significantly closer to her as a result. While Valentine feels the same way for him as he does for her, she is barred from seeing him by her father as he is not of a noble family. After Valentine is poisoned by her stepmother, Maximilien (with help from Franz) takes her to his home and away from Paris to recover in safety; she eventually makes a full recovery. Five years later, during the epilogue, he returns home and reunites with Valentine, telling her that he has retired from the military as he just wants to live a normal life with her.
- 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. It is possible that this is a lie, however, as Luigi Vampa later refers to Peppo as 'that girl', leaving Peppo's actual gender ambiguous. After Albert returns to Paris, he finds that Peppo has also come to Earth and become a maid in the Morcerf household, later revealed to be acting as a spy under the Count's orders. Peppo seems to have a strong affection for Albert and enjoys teasing him whenever possible, later falling deeply in love with Albert. During the epilogue, Peppo has become a supermodel. Peppo 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 fiancee. He is arrested at the wedding after he was revealed as a fraud created by the Count. Andrea is actually the illegitimate child of Gérard and Victoria as a result of an affair. While on the surface he appears as a charming and elegant aristocrat, he is actually every bit as obsessed with revenge as the Count, most likely due to his abandonment as a child. He is also very sadistic and cruel, nearly raping Eugénie after she tries to escape him. During his trial, he exacts revenge on his father, injecting him with a poison that drives him mad before being taken to prison. During General Morcerf's assault on Paris, he escapes prison and walks the streets freely, delighting in the chaos around him.
- 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 novel, 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.
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. 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. On December 27, 2010, the series made its North American television debut on the FUNimation Channel.
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.
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.
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.
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Shanikusai" (7:26)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "We Were Lovers" (3:24)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Prologue" (2:05)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Yami-Iro no Yume" (2:55)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Anger (Edmond Kara no Tegami)" (4:22)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Joukei, aru Hareta Hi ni Kare Ha" (2:06)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tooi Kioku" (2:04)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Montecristo" (6:50)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tentaigi" (2:12)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Sorrow (Shukumei)" (4:08)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Auteui" (3:34)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Shounen no Hi" (2:05)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Waltz (Waltz in Blue)" (2:23)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Desire (Fukushu Ha Tada Waga Ni Ari)" (5:17)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "Mercedes (Nagisa Nite)" (4:52)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Chikakyuden" (2:50)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Tsukiyo" (2:35)
- Kasamatsu Kouji - "Kaishou" (6:49)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "You Won't See Me Coming (TV size)" (1:50)
- Jean-Jacques Burnel - "You Won't See Me Coming" (3:55)
Gankutsuou was acclaimed when released in North America, with sources such as Anime Insider, Newsarama.com, Animeondvd.com and Anime News Network 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."
Theron Martin of Anime News Network awarded Gankutsuou Series of the Year. It also won the Best TV Series award at the 10th Animation Kobe Fair. Helen McCarthy in 500 Essential Anime Movies praised its "dazzling visual inventiveness".
- "Gankutsuo Licensed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- "FUNimation Teaser Site". FUNimation. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- Funimation Channel Schedule (week of December 27, 2010)
- "Gankutsuou Original Soundtrack". CDJapan. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- 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.
- Fritz, Steve (2006-12-21). "Animation's Centennial — Was it Something to Celebrate?". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Martin, Theron (2007-01-07). "Theron Martin's Best (and Worst) of 2006". Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Høgset, Stig. "Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo". Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- "Gankutsuou wins Best TV Series award at Animation Kobe fair". Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- "GONZO animation GANKUTSUOU wins best title award at 10th ANIMATION KOBE fair". Archived from the original on February 20, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- McCarthy, Helen. 500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide. — Harper Design, 2009. — P. 40. — 528 p. — ISBN 978-0061474507