The 2nd Dimension

Friday, February 08, 2008

Viewing Journal: Le Chevalier D'Eon (complete)

Series Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B-
Story = C+
Video = B+
Audio = C+

During the time when Louis XV still ruled France, a certain woman was found dead in the coffin floating through the Seine river. D'Eon, the woman's brother, determines to seach for the killer of his sister, Lia. But there are some strange movements in France. And things become more strange when Lia's soul enters D'Eon's body... (Source: ANN)

I have mixed reactions to this show. I like the way that it incorporates real historical settings and characters because they give it a sense of legitimacy. Plus whenever I watch these kinds of period series, it always makes me curious about the real historical references (which is conveniently satisfied by the DVD extras the talk about the real-life version of the characters) and just how possible the events in the story really are.

The art and animation added to the sense of realism and authenticity. The setting and costume designs were ornate and detailed and at least appeared to be authentic for the period. The characters designs were very realistic, especially with regards to their facial expressions, which were complex without being exaggerated like you see in other anime. The action scenes were also animated with a great deal of detail, especially the fencing scenes which looked to be expertly choreographed.

What I didn't like so much were the more fantasy-type elements. The show starts out building up a good sense of authenticity as to its historical setting and characters, but then at the end of the first episode it introduces these zombie characters called "gargoyles". That whole zombie element really ruined a lot of the show for me because you have this realistic historical adventure/drama interspersed with what can only be described as a campy horror cliché. There were other inexplicable visuals that were meant to represent the magical element to the show -- like how the words to the Psalms would come out and surround whomever the spell-caster was trying to control, or how D'Eon's hair ribbon would just suddenly fall out whenever Lia's soul would take over his body. These visuals just seemed blunt and out-of-place compared with the more realistic parts. Of course, without the fantasy elements, there wouldn't be much of a story, but I just wish they were handled with a bit more subtlety.

So in summary this is a well-plotted adventure/drama with realistic characters and top-notch animation. Unfotunately the magical/horror elements distract from the realism and can detract from the quality of the story. Overall though, I did enjoy the show and would recommend it for those who enjoy historical fiction.

No comments: