51st cen­tury Du­mas

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2004 | 15 | Blu- ray

Di­rec­tor Mahiro Maeda

Cast Jun Fukuyama, Jouji Nakata,

Daisuke Hi­rakawa, Kikuko Inoue

This is a wel­come new Blu- ray re­lease of one of the very best anime se­ries – a fear­less, so­phis­ti­cated re­work­ing of Alexan­dre Du­mas’s The Count Of Monte Cristo, which bril­liantly turns the story on its head.

The view­point char­ac­ter is Al­bert, an im­pres­sion­able 15- year- old aristo boy who falls un­der the spell of the mys­te­ri­ous Count, who’s pre­sented as a Drac­ula fig­ure in­fil­trat­ing high society. The plot is trans­posed to a 51st cen­tury Paris, with space­ships, gi­ant ro­bots, an alien princess and a Doc­tor Who- ish an­cient cos­mic evil ( who, in the Ja­panese ver­sion, speaks in cul­tured French).

To be hon­est, the nov­el­is­tic script would have worked with­out the SF el­e­ments, which are mainly there to add glit­ter to the stylised images. There’s lots of CG – sim­plis­tic by to­day’s stan­dards, but it works in­side the el­e­gant de­sign al­most per­fectly. The most con­tro­ver­sial el­e­ments are the char­ac­ters’ cos­tumes and hair, cre­ated as dig­i­tal pat­terns which of­ten seem to move by them­selves. Some view­ers find this dis­tract­ing, but it’s a de­light­fully sur­real ap­proach that re­calls both gothic silent films and the patch­work screen fan­tasies of “Czech Méliès” Karel Ze­man. Mag­nif­i­cent.

Ex­tras Clean ti­tles; a 16- page booklet. Andrew Os­mond

Much of the mu­sic, in­clud­ing the open­ing and clos­ing songs, is pro­vided by Jean‑Jac­ques Bur­nel of The Stran­glers.

“Ex­cuse me, do you know the way to tourist in­for­ma­tion?”

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