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Yep, you read that right. As some of you may know, I’ve been trading up a storm recently to enlarge my anime collection while suffering from a lack of finances. Basically, I’ve been slowly removing items I have no need for so as to make room for crazy anime goodness. In my search I have come across some very cool shows – The Big O, Requiem from the Darkness (which I will discuss in a later blog), Samurai 7 and now Gankutsuou.

Gankutsuou (also titled “The Count of Monte Cristo”) is a reimagining of the Dumas classic. Now I loved the recent movie adaptation of this classic tale of revenge. But Gankutsuou has surpassed it in deviousness and pure wow.

Voted the best anime of 2005, it is easy to see why. This show is just gorgeous to watch. Gonzo have outdone themselves in the CG arena – although there are some points where I wasn’t as impressed by the CG compared to Samurai 7, but Gankutsuou came first, I believe. Overall however, the look is amazing. The decision to do hair and clothing using texture samples rather than standard cell colouring was a bold decision, and the first episode initially had me wondering if I could get used to it, but when you see the Count walk past and his cloak billows out revealing the lush embroidered silk lining, all concern melts away.

In typical anime fashion, the series designers decided that Napoleonic France just wasn’t cool enough for a show – so they set it over three thousand years in the future in the year 5054! This is just a gimmick really to allow Gonzo to do what they do best, mixing anachronistic design with futuristic style – look at Last Exile and Samurai 7 to see how these guys are very skilled at making such worlds.

This is a series that also doesn’t pull the punches – it has a very dark tone where the Count’s motives are present in a less than trustworthy light. The reason for this is because the story is told from Albert’s point of view – the son of one of the men slated for the Count’s revenge. It does amuse me that Albert has more than a passing resemblence to Ayato from Rah Xephon – except with a little beauty spot/mole.

But there is no doubt that the true star of the show is the count himself.

Now I’m sure some of you anime fans are shaking your heads at the title of this blog entry. What about Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop? Alucard from Hellsing? Kambei, Kyuzou or any of the other Samurai from Samurai 7?

These guys are all fine and very cool Badass Loners. No doubt about it, and it doesn’t really detract from their badassness.

But Gankutsuou, the King of the Caverns, just out badasses the lot of them. Here is a man who was so hellbent on revenge he became a space vampire, then decided that wasn’t enough and so becomes so wealthy that he can do anything he wants, and then says “still not enough for the revenge I desire!”

This is the man who will free a mass-murderer from public execution only so that he may use said man to set up an elaborate hoax to win the trust of an aristocrat before metting out justice on said murderer before he is able to kill anyone else.

This is the Badass Loner who not only lives by his own rules, but ends up making everyone else in an entire galaxy live by his rules solely as part of an insanely elaborate plot to get revenge on the men who took his childhood sweetheart from him and threw him in a prison.

This is the man whose theme song is him rocking out to the tunes of the lead singer of The Stranglers, where the chorus goes “You wont see me coming, you wont see me coming… till I STRIKE!” (Which plays at the end of each episode along with a truly psychedelic sequence that just revels in how badass the Count is.

On top of all that, he has a Mecha too!

And somehow Gonzo pull all this off with a truly brilliant set up that just left me gasping at the pure coolness of the show.

What are you doing still reading this? Go watch this series! It is amazing!

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: A Clash of Kings
Currently Playing: Unknown Armies – To Go; Mage: The Awakening – Threshold
Mood:In awe of the pretty colours!

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