I just watched Gankutsuou and firstly let me just mention I usually don't watch Gonzo anime as I've had bad experiences and huge disappointments with their anime in the past, but let me tell you that Gonzo has made up for all of there previous disappointments and useless anime titles with Gankutsuou because Gankutsuou is just plain brilliant. As most of you will know Gankutsuou is an adaption of the book The Count of Monte Cristo which I have now read and can personally say is brilliant.
Anyways Gankutsuou unlike the book which is set in the 1800's century is set far in the future in the 5050's, but like the book it is set in Paris where the Danglar's, who control the financial world, the Morcerf's, who control military affairs, and the Villefort's, who preside over the courts basically rule the country. The anime mainly follows Albert the son of General de Morceft, and his best friend, Franz (who isn't really rich or anything but is going to marry into the Villefort family). Gankutsuou starts of with Albert and Franz taking a trip to Luna to get away and have a vacation and that is where they meet the Count of Monte Cristo and Gankutsuou begins.
The storyline progresses and you find out more and more about the Count, his past and the pasts of the Danglar's, Morcerf's, and the Villefort's. What is so amazing about Gankutsuous storyline is that it is so much like the book but at the same time is totally different. For instance the book and the anime are set in different millenniums and the book is from the point of view of The Count of Monte Cristo and the anime is from the point of view of Albert Morceft but amazingly you learn just about everything you learn in the book from Albert's point of view in the anime. The story also goes into Albert and Franz's love lives a lot as the characters learn that loving the person you marry is more important than if there rich or not or if they come from a good house etcetera (the typical emotional thing you can expect from Gonzo). Anyways you eventually find out about the Count, the Danglar's, Morcerf's, and the Villefort's pasts and how they intertwine. That's when the storyline really gets interesting. On a bad note the main character Albert is your typical kind hearted main character who thinks everyone is good and that the world is a happy place where nothing bad happens (but thankfully he learns differently latter in the anime).
The animation was in my opinion breath taking Gonzo used color/shape patterns to shade the characters' clothing and to make the environment look fantastic. The backgrounds in this anime are fantastically detailed and this anime literally shows you an amazing side of Paris with many of Paris's historical monuments such as the Arc De Triumph (I hope I spelled that right) and the Eiffel Tower. Also this anime uses allot of CG and 3D animation to add depth to the environment and to make the few battle scenes in Gankutsuou look amazing. Some scenes in Gankutsuou are virtually all 3D generated such as a duel that happens half way through the anime.
Now when it comes to the music in Gankatsuou I have to admit that when I first started watching it I didn't like it at all and skipped through the song at the beginning of each episode and didn't bother watching the ending song but in the end of the series you understand how well the songs truly fit into this anime and really come to appreciate them, or at least I did (especially the beginning song). As for sound effects well I though they where very good as well. For instance when you watch the piano being played for each note that is hit you hear the same note that you would hear if you played on a real piano.
Anyways overall I loved Gankatsuou and think that it was brilliant in just about every aspect. Though it lacks action it makes up for it any every other aspect. I definitely recommend Gankatsuou to anyone looking for a good anime. On a side note if you watched the 2002 The Count of Monte Cristo movie with James Caviezel it will not totally ruin this anime for you as that movie left out so many details from the original storyline I don't know where to begin. So if you have seen the movie don't fret, and if you haven't it will only add to the suspense. Also just so you know this is one of those series that you watch once and will not really be able to watch it again (for awhile anyways) so I don't know if buying the DVD is the best investment (so rent or download it). Lastly I watched this anime subbed and it sounded to me that the voice acting was very good and was timed well but I haven't seen it dubbed so I can't say how it is in English though.
My total rating 9 out of 10. Has anyone else watched it?
I have seen this anime in DVD stores and I almost bought it. I checked out it's site but I was a bit turned off by the weird animation. Although I loved reading the storyline. I have seen but one episode so far and it was just weird at first. I honestly liked what I saw cuz it's something different. From your nice review you just make me want to go out and buy the special 1 or 2 ep box set =D
By the way, nice job on reviwing the show. You did an excellent job on detailing it's pros and cons =)
The animation though it's strange is brilliant and definetly worth checking out.