Oh, sweet Jesus yes! When I finally roll out my long plan for revenge on all the dicks and assholes who have fucked me up and down over the years, I swear I shall enact my plot as close to the Count of Monte Cristo's as possible. Brilliant! So details oriented, and so calculating. And the fact that the Count takes his sweet time in staging his revenge is just beautiful. Seriously, you never see him coming until he strikes.
How many times can I say it? "Revenge" is the best plot ever. And The Count of Monte Cristo (based on that old book by Alexandre Dumbass) is pretty much the best revenge story ever... On par with Kill Bill, only a lot less violent (unfortunately).
Before I saw Studio Gonzo's Gankutsuou (The Count of Monte Cristo), the only version of the story I was familiar with was the (in hindsight crappy) American made movie starring Jesus of Nazareth from a few years back. I liked it at the time, and went into Gankutsuou thinking that the American movie was a straight tome to film translation, and that the anime (set in the distant future) was going to be a very loose interpretation (about as loose as a drunk Paris Hilton in the Lakers' locker room right after the team won the national championship [is this possible? Are the Lakers good enough to make it to the top? I don't know anything about basketball except the fact that Wilt Chamberlain probably slept with 1/2 the women in my family, and that Magic Johnson has the AIDs]). Anyway, so Gankutsuou starts out about halfway through the original story, as it's not told from the point of view of the Count himself, but rather through Albert de Morcef's eyes, the son of the Count (Fernand) and Countess (Mercedes) de Morcef. A very interesting storytelling approach, and one that I originally thought would pay off differently in the end knowing only the butchered American movie. Anyway, the Count of Monte Cristo gets introduced to, then rescues Albert from a fate worse than death (he's almost killed by bandits yeah, but he also almost gets it on with a cross dresser while being held captive by his unsavory riff-raff imprisoners). Then Albert and his buddy Franz introduce the Count to Parisian high society as a way of showing their gratitude, and then we get to meet an ASSLOAD of secondary characters who turn out to be the keys to and the instruments of the Count's long awaited REVENGE. Fucking awesome.
After I finished the 24 episode Cristo-y series, I immediately ran down to my local library and checked out an English translation of the old Frenchie's original work, and read it from cover to cover in an afternoon (actually, that's a lie, I just read the chapter by chapter summary over at SparkNotes. Why the fuck couldn't the world wide web have been around when I actually had to write book reports?!?). What I found out was very surprising (well, I get surprised when Karen turns my toilet paper rolls upside down in my bathroom, so I guess I'm not one to talk). The anime Count of Monte Cristo was almost a scene for scene and word for word retelling of Alexandre's 19th century tale, whereas the recent American movie turned Albert into the Count's love child, and cut out more than THREE FOURTHS of the total revenge plots Monte Cristo has spinning in his evil little melon. I was shocked! Apalled! Horrorstruck! Outraged! Aghast! Thunderstruck! I was shakin' at the knees; Could I come again please?; Yeah the ladies were too kind; You've been - thunderstruck, thunderstruck; Yeah yeah yeah, thunderstruck! What? Oh, yeah, the Gonzo produced yarn was a great/fantastic retelling of the original tale. The only problem I had with the plot happened to be the end. Not that it sucked at all, quite the opposite in fact. It was really good. My only issue deals with the fact that the very end of the anime storyline differs enormously from the original. I liked the original's storyline a bit better (mostly for Haydee's ending), but I still really liked the anime's finale. It has a completely different feel to it. But, whatever. Damn, if Gonzo keeps making stuff like this and Last Exile, pretty soon shit like Saikano will be totally forgiven... Maybe. Christ did Saikano suck.
Sorry, but I do not want to go into things any more than I already have. If you don't know anything about Dumbass' original story. The joy of revenge stories such as this is in seeing how the revenge is brought about. If I went point by point through the plot, it'd ruin all the suspense. I love you all too much to fuck you over like that. I know, I know, baby, we've had hard times before... But you was asking for me to fucking ruin the stories back then. Shhhh, shhhhhhhhhhhh. I never done wanted to hurt you none, baby. I love you. But if you ever talk back to me again in front of my friends!!!!.......
There are a few things that I do want to talk about though. One, the animation style. It's.............. strange. It's all hand drawn stuff (with some cars and spaceships done in CG), but everything is colored in like a retard with lots of glue got loose in a wallpaper store and papered the town, cars, and people in the most gaudy and strangest designed sheets he could find. The designs don't even match up too well with what they're supposed to be covering... They slip a lot. Say for instance the Count is wearing a paisley coat and he's walking away from the camera, getting smaller in the distance. The design on the jacket won't move or get tinier itself as he retreats. It stays the same size and in the same position on the screen. It's very off-putting at first, but you either get used to it or see past it at the wickedness of the story and the badass characters. The other thing I really wanted to cover was the setting. It's around 5000AD, and galactic travel is available to everyone. Sure, there are aliens in the show, but they're all pretty much human looking and they all speak Japanese (just like all the foreigners in Dumbass' book all spoke the same language [once again I don't know if this is true or not, having just read the SparkNotes, but it sounds like a lazy plot shortcut that a Frenchie would use]). Instead of the Carnivale in Italy that Franz and Albert go to, in the anime they go to a giant party on the Moon. The main bulk of the story does take place in France though, but France strangely seems to be the center of the Earth-based forces (probably the most fictitious part of this entire story. Seriously, if the alien empire sent a delegate to negotiate peace over dinner and whores, and the French ruled the human federation, they'd have surrendered before the alien delegate stepped out of his spaceship and farted. Goddamn Frenchies). The rest of the locations of the anime mostly take place where they do in the 19th Century telling. The same cities and the same castles and such. And as I mentioned before, the same plot elements and twists and characterizations. The only thing that kind of turned me off was the visual style of the whole thing, but I got over it very quickly. As soon as that ending theme kicked in at the end of the first episode, this thing had me fully, madly, deeply. God! Some of the cliffhangers that we're left with, and the way the closing song tears in at just the right moment... Sweet.
Well well well well. I liked the original movie that this show was based on, made back in 2002, but this was so much different than that film. I guess they just had to stretch it out to fill out the whole 24 episode runtime. Not that this was a bad thing, mind you. It was still a romantic tale, but they changed so much, and they added so much too. And I was kind of disappointed that they didn't model the Count in the anime after James Cavaviziel... Caravaniel... Carrarrarravzzz.... That guy who then played Jesus in the Mel Gibson movie. He's hot!... Errr, not that I mean that Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior is hot, just that James guy... Well, I mean I'm not saying that Jesus was ugly either, just that I probably wouldn't hit on him myself... Not cause he might have been ugly, but because he was God and all. I mean, how could I hit on God! How embarrassing would that be if he shot you down... And would a person go to Hell if they were rejected by Jesus? I mean, I guess if you were gay and hit on him while knowing he was God. God doesn't swing that way. And what if you did happen to land Jesus? Would that mean an automatic ticket to Heaven? Like, after I got his ring and he was stuck with me, could I then punch people in the face and maybe steal some Gap jeans that I couldn't afford without any retribution? Excuse me, I have to think about this for a while... Maybe I could trade in Kiff for a Jesus.... Hmmmmm.
That was very disturbing... All that mindless revenge that the Count went through. Kind of makes me fear for my own life. No, I didn't do half the evil things that the Count's old buddies did to him to warrant that privately imposed retribution... But, I did once use an old students' mother as an experiment in which I tried to merge the DNA of a male porcupine with her head because... Quite honestly I can't remember why that experiment seemed so important at the time.
Sadly though, little Billy McKreedy never seemed to forget how much it hurt to hug his mommy from that day forward (what with all the quills), or how awkward it got whenever his mommy's nose got aroused by a near-by female hedgehog. It was all done for science! Why doesn't that reasoning mean anything to anybody anymore?! "Why did you cut off my leg and sew on a midget in its place?" Science! "Why did you inject me with plutonium and hook up that flux capacitor to my testes?" Science! "Why did you capture and separate my family into giant glass cells, and make us all watch as you either asphyxiated one, beat one to death with her own arm, or let loose a rabid camel in their enclosure while the rest of us could do nothing but cry?" Science!... And the fact that you and your little friends TPed my house with 142 rolls 13 years ago because I flunked your whiney ass for falling asleep during my lecture on "how to make love to a radioactive isotope." I hope you pay attention to your elders from now on, bucko!
What? No, I wasn't enacting revenge on the lad. Far from it. I was merely teaching him a lesson. A life lesson -- Mainly "Don't fuck with people who are much smarter than you." If you want to talk revenge, you should hear what Billy McKreedy did to me 10 years after his Oedipal Complex came to light. One night as I was locking up my clinic and about to go home (Editor's note: Home for Dr. Dave being under the 5th table against the wall past the pole in Honey Glazed Kitty's. He says it's the best view in the house), somebody smothered my face with a rag filled with chloroform (and apparently week-old fecal matter). I awoke several hours later in a boiler room in some basement somewhere, completely naked except for my left shoe (I stapled it to my foot years before in case just such an emergency arose). Soon, I was hosed down with water from a fire hose shooting through a barred-in doorway, and then later I was taunted for hours by a lone man about my body odor and chronic flatulence (I'm sorry, but hostage situations always make me a bit gassy... Plus I ate about a gallon and a half of Wendy's Chili right before I was captured... No, that wasn't a part of any self-experimentation over the endurance of man over his own evil dietary creations, I just really like their chili).
After a few days of such ridicule and harassment, the barred door opened, and a dozen or so animals were forced into my cell. There was a panther, a grizzly bear, a large boar, a St. Bernard and at least one kimodo dragon among others. They all seemed pretty dazed and drugged, but then a voice through a speaker in the ceiling popped on and told me that the only way I'd be freed was if I chose one of the animals that was just introduced into my prison, and I made passionate love to it so that I could feel the pain of what it's like when one is forced to love a wild animal despite their rational, human mind telling them that it was wrong and sick and wicked... Well, by the time the voice got to that part, I was already done with the bear, the goat, the water buffalo and the chicken, and I actually had to tell the kidnapping asshole to shut up so that I could finish with the sea otter... It was for science... Anyhoo, I was set free, and I thanked Billy McKreedy for the imposed scientific experiment that he made me participate in (I had of course performed the same experiment on myself many times, but I was only able to scrounge up a few stray cats and dogs, and once a llama, so this truly was an honor for me). And yes, it was Billy who did that to me, but I think that we came to a mutual understanding after that incident, and as a "thank you" to him for teaching me something valuable like that, I removed the porcupine penis from his mom's face free of charge. Ain't science grand!