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brigdh: (Mercutio)
Episodes Two and Three of Romeo X Juliet are now available, though they're still in that strange .mkv format. If anyone finds other versions/some way to play those files on a mac, let me know so I can link to it.

I'm finding myself actually terribly fond of this anime. I expected to, because Romeo and Juliet is my favorite of all of Shakespeare's plays*, but it's a play that lends itself to reinterpretations as a cheesy love story, and there's certainly no shortage of overly dramatic, star-crossed lovers in anime. Though neither of the main characters have struck me as particularly interesting yet (they're both rather vapid and shy, actually, though Juliet is pretty cool while she's crossdressing as the new version of Robin Hood), I'm waiting to make a final judgment on them, because the things the anime is doing to the structure of the story are just so neat. There's a million layers of meta going on here, and I can't wait to see where it all leads. If you haven't been watching this anime, I recommend that you download it and start.

Cut for small spoilers up to episode three )

I'm really enjoying this series. I'm so pleased that it's being subbed at such a quick speed, because I'd hate to have to wait any longer.


*I'm going to see a ballet version of it tomorrow, eeee!
brigdh: (amuse me)
Gankutsuou, other than being the anime with the name I am least likely to remember how to spell, is a space opera retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Most of what I know about The Count of Monte Cristo comes from the Wishbone episode on it (...does anyone else remember that show? It's really sad how much of my classical education comes from it), so I'm probably missing out on a lot of the more subtle changes to the original story. But there are plenty of big changes to notice: the point of view character has been changed to Albert, the son of Mercedes and the Count of Morcerf, which starts the show much later than the novel. It also leaves the Count's backstory unexplained, at least so far; viewers can see that he's obviously plotting something terrible, but they don't know why. Unless they know the story, of course.

It's a very neat idea, that twist in storytelling. I wonder if the Count seems a more sympathetic character if you know where he's come from all along, and can see the gradual development of his obsession with revenge, or if he starts off as a villain, and his backstory comes as a shock late in the plot. It changes the suspense too; instead of wondering if he'll really go through with it, now one wonders who he is and why he does what he does. I don't know if it works or not, if just because the story is so well known that I'm not sure how much of the audience will actually not know who the Count of Monte Cristo is. But for a new way of telling an old story, it's a very neat idea.

Having Albert as the main character also focuses the plot on his circle of friends, all children of Parisian aristocrats. I go back and forth between being sympathetic to their problems and thinking that they're all spoiled, self-centered brats. Either way, the mood of a story focusing on these poor little rich children is vastly different from the original (at least, um, as it was portrayed by a talking dog), and I wonder how that contrast will play out once their parent's stories are revealed.

The coolest thing about Gankutsuou is the style of animation. Character's clothes, hair, flowers, and walls are all formed of patterns that move separately from the characters'; their hair and clothes often have the appearance of being cut out to reveal a design that lies on a page underneath the character, so that when they move, the hair stays still. The look reminds me of a collage, deliberately unreal. Everything seems over-elaborate, which works well, I suppose, for the enormously wealthy and stylized world of these characters.

Gankutsuou is licensed by Geneon, or is available for download via bittorrent on Anime-Kraze.

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