Gankutsuou The Count of Monte Cristo

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

With current global events, escapism has become more important than ever. Instead of scrolling through Twitter or watching the news all day long, why not immerse yourself in some thrilling, compelling, nail-biting anime? Originally, I planned to cover a tamer, funnier, more comforting show for this week’s anime column. Instead, I found myself completely obsessed with a story I have seen told countless other times across different media, the tale of The Count of Monte Cristo. 

Retitled as Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, this 2004 anime version of Alexandre Dumas’ classic tale of revenge moves the plot from 19th century France to the year 5053. The story follows the titular Count, who infiltrates the Parisian high-class in order to exact revenge on those involved with a betrayal from 25 years prior. There’s a large ensemble of characters who get impacted by the revenge plot. People live, people die, and nothing will ever be the same for those involved. 

If you have never heard of the original story, the anime is a fantastic introduction to one of the most famous stories ever told, and if you’re super familiar with the original or with the countless adaptations that came before this anime, Gankutsuou offers enough differences and artistic choices to make for a fresh take on the original. This is one of the most stylish shows of the past two decades, with a large ensemble of well-written characters, and a story that’s begging to be binge-watched. You may know The Count of Monte Cristo, but you don’t know Gankutsuou.

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