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Gankutsuou -The Count of Monte Cristo (Chapter 1)

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Gankutsuou, designer-director Mahiro Maeda's adaptation of Alexander Dumas's novel of revenge, shifts the action to a sci-fi future of easy space travel. The series opens with the carnival on the moon (instead of Rome), where Albert de Morcerf and Franz d'Epinay meet the title Count, whom Maeda has reimagined as a cross between a Byronic hero and a Yoshitaka Amano-esque vampire. The designers put elaborate patterns on the characters' hair and clothes, but the patterns don't move with the characters. As a result, Albert, Franz, and the Count often look like disembodied heads floating over a patterned background. The overly detailed settings and cheesy 3-D CG effects add more discordant visual notes. But the overripe imagery can't disguise the limits of the animation or the ineffectual storytelling. The Count of Monte Cristo has been filmed at least five times previously, but Maeda's is the first version to make Dumas's characters uninteresting. (Rated 16 and older: violence, brief nudity, sexual innuendo, alcohol use) --Charles Solomon

From the Back Cover

Born into an aristocratic family in Paris, Albert sets out on a journey with his best friend, Franz, to escape his privileged yet dull life. They travel to Luna, which is on the surface of the moon, and meet a very wealthy man named The Count of Monte Cristo. Becoming completely fascinated with The Count's mysterious charm, Albert welcomes him into Paris high society. But soon Albert will discover the Count's true motive - revenge...

This unique adaptation of the legendary novel by Alexandre Dumas is an intense dramatic and visual experience, featuring direction by Mahiro Maeda (The Animatrix, Blue Submarine N.6), costumes by world-renowned Anna Sui, music by Jean-Jacques Burnel (The Stranglers).

Special Features

  • Storyboard by Director Mahiro Maeda
  • Interview with Director Mahiro Maeda
  • Comments from Voice Actors
  • Promotional Trailer
  • Textless Opening
  • Textless Ending

Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Yong Bosch, Jun Fukuyama, Daisuke Hiragawa, Kikuko Inoue, Jûrôta Kosugi
  • Directors: Mahiro Maeda
  • Writers: Alexandre Dumas père, Alfred Bester, Natsuko Takahashi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Geneon [Pioneer]
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2005
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009ZE9GM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #227,434 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gankutsuou -The Count of Monte Cristo (Chapter 1)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Antonio D. Paolucci on November 8, 2005
Format: DVD
I'm a lover of the Count of Monte Cristo. It still tops my list as one of the world's most important works of fiction, and many I think would agree with me.

So when I found out that Gonzo has remade the Dumas classic, I felt a cringe run up my spine. Never has there been an anime based off of a classical work of literature such as this, or at least I have yet to see one. I felt I was forced as a fan of the original to be skeptical of the anime version.

I was wrong, and I realized this very quickly. Not from actually seeing the anime itself, but from seeing Samurai 7, which is also a remake of a classical work of entertainment (Seven Samurai by Akira Kurisawa). Gonzo spun its own magic with the samurai remake, one that doesn't attempt to mimic Seven Samurai but to add a new vision to the classic. I figured from Samurai 7's example that Gankutsuou would likewise add a new vision to the Dumas classic.

Here, I was right. After watching the first episode, it was clear that Gonzo had in no way attempted to remake The Count of Monte Cristo, but instead went for a different interpretation of it. It turned out magical, in the end. The style of story-telling, while certainly jarring at the beginning, is unique in that it doesn't exactly follow the Count but one of the supporting characters who observes from the outside the Count's quest, and who suffers through his own conflicts. It also starts somewhere near the middle of the Count's journey, after he attains his status. The setting is futuristic, with the first episode based on a Las Vegas-style moon and eventually moving to a futuristic Paris later on (though I haven't yet got there in my viewing). The animation style, which is hard to describe, follows its own rules and fits in well with the setting and story.
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Format: DVD
When I first discovered this series, I'd seen it on a shelf in a DVD store and immidiately judged it pretentious and boring, leaving it sit on the shelf to collect dust.

A short time later my younger brother bought the first disc and raved about it. I expected to be let down by bad dialog, poor animation, and and rediculously rehashed story that no one would be surprised by.

The term "Don't judge a book by it's cover" comes to mind.

First off the art style of the series uses a paletting technique rather than traditional paint texturing on things like clothing, hair, and backrounds. Thus the texture will remain in place even as the object moves. While it's visually jarring at first, the eye quickly becomes used to the effect, and it lends itself quite nicely to adding to the detail of the various settings and backdrops of the various environments.

The majority of the characters are supposed to be high society, wealthy individuals so when this effect is used on clothing and hair, I think it helps to give the impression of extravagant wealth and eccentricity.

The soundtrack was very very well thought out. It makes use of theme and variation. Some of the key moments in the story are made that much more tense by a simple chiming tune building to a crashing cresendo. Considering that both the opening and closing themes are in english, one can appreciate the attempt in emulating western musical styles for a western story. All in all the opening and closing themes are not overplayed at all, with the opening theme used only briefly to symbolize a bond between characters.

The use of CGI throughout the film was also put to creative use and despite how others may feel, I don't believe it was over used or cheesy at all.
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Format: DVD
Wow. This anime just blew me away (I was captivated from the very first episode) and now is one of my all-time favorites. This anime really goes all out visually, combining patterned overlays and 3d imagry to create a rich visual atmosphere that is gripping. The 'moving patterns' may be a little much for some people the first episode, but after that it becomes really easy to flow in the wonderful world created here and watch it entirely undistracted. It is really fun to see the way the period style is meshed with a sci-fi environment. Immense detail has gone into every scene to maintain high-quality animation.

Having watched the entire series I can say the storyline is supurb and not at all lacking. It veers dramatically from Dumas' original plot, but not to any detriment. It is the Count of Monte Cristo re-invisioned, told from the point of view of Albert. There is a higher focus on the younger characters, and each of these is treated with care to create a depth and emotion. Director Mahiro Maeda really flushes out characters like Franz and Euginie who don't play such a large roll in the original. I loved the novel; and then the anime made me love the characters all the more.

This is a thrilling drama with lots of romance and scandal thrown in which will leave you eagerly awaiting each new volume.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Dumas and The Count of Monte Cristo in particular. I also like many different movie genres. As such, this set worked for me. I would caution purists, however, to start slowly as this set is not for everyone.

The series is told from Albert's point of view. It's set in the future. It begins in the middle of the book. And, it does have some homoerotic overtones (Albert and his best friend, Franz d'Epinay). That said, I thought the adaptation stuck fairly close to the actual plot of Dumas' work...more in keeping with the Depardieu French version of the film than the Chamberlain version of the early 70s or the remake with Caveziel (both great in their own right.)

The only thing that was jarring for me was the depiction of the Count. He's drawn as a vampire (in anime, this means blue skin). He has vampiric teeth and is a very remote and cold figure (readers of the book will recall that Dumas' description is almost vampiric...perhaps influenced by Stoker.) So, while the depiction was on point with the original work, it was odd to see. This, because I have been conditioned to expect handsome men in the title role, not "vampiric" actors!

I think fans of the book should try this version if they are adventurous and open to different artistic forms and visions. Start, however, with the first DVD/VHS tape and see how you feel before continuing.

Anime fans w/an interest in classic literature (although some argue the point when it comes to Dumas) may well be pleased and find themselves interested in returning to the source material.

If the novel is taught to students over the age of 15 or 16, I think this version could be shown (along with the Caveziel or Chamberlain versions), in order to provide the students with an opportunity to compare/contrast the material.

Worth purchasing.
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