51st century Dumas
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?”