Gankutsuou is based on the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, but it's more of a homage and reinterpretation than a word-by-word retelling of the original story. The most obvious differences are that the story takes place in a futuristic France and the Count himself is mysteriously vampire-like and not exactly the hero. Also, this time around the story is told through the eyes of two young men, Viscount Albert de Morcerf and Baron Franz d'Epinay. Franz is wary of the count, but Albert is in awe of the man and strikes up an acquaintance with him, unaware that he's merely playing a part in the Count's plans of revenge against those who wronged him many years past.
Idealistic young Albert has no idea that his father was a close friend of Edmond Dantes (the Count's real name) and betrayed him out of jealousy, or that his mother, Mercedes, was once in love with Dantes and was to have married him. Ah, angst, betrayal, revenge, tragedy...all good stuff!
I've been fascinated by the Count of Monte Cristo and his story since I was in high school, and Gonzo's take on the original character is just so different and intriguing. I'm also a sucker for themes of retribution, penance, best friends who become mortal enemies, and star-crossed lovers. I've always believed that what makes a hero — even the morally ambiguous ones — so fascinating is when he has both power and a past, and the Count has both in spades. And then some.
If you're a fan of the engimatic Count and the story of his revenge, I hope you'll add your name to this listing!
Unfamiliar with the original novel? Check out the summary here. While the series may not follow the novel through every detail, the summary provides a general idea of what's going on.
Gankutsuou is a twenty-four episode Gonzo production. The original character designs are by Mahiro Maeda, who also worked on Last Exile, and Gonzo has taken a unique CGI approach to the characters. The use of static decorative patterns is striking and different, although it takes a little getting used to at first. Jean Jacques Burnel handled the musical score.
Geneon has licensed Gankutsuou for sale in the USA/Canada. The manga version of the series was serialized in the monthly mangabon Afternoon.
I created the layout using original artwork by Mahiro Maeda from the manga. I also used screencaps from the official site to make the codes. The script font is Pieces of Eight from DaFont.