New to DVD on February 22 is the first installment of the 24-episode anime series Le Chevalier D'Eon. Chevalier is unique, as anime series go, because unlike other typical anime pieces, it does not employ classic themes like big, transforming robots, complex love polygons, or campy big-eyed characters whose physical proportions defy imagination. What's more, the piece isn't set in outer space, has no enchanted or mystical backdrop, and does not even take place in Japan or have a Japanese protagonist. That said, despite the lack of all the stereotypical hallmarks of anime, Chevalier is definitely something worth seeing.
Chevalier is set in pre-revolution France and is based on Tow Ubukata's historical fantasy novel of the same name which focuses on the Le Secret du Roi's efforts to unravel the mysterious disappearance of several young women. Le Secret du Roi is a secret intelligence organization (created by King Louis XV). Of course, like all good anime, it is not that simple, as the plot is filled with complex historical and biblical references. Add to that scheming politicians, alchemy, mysticism, and well choreographed fight sequences, and you're left with the beginnings of a real thriller that will have you anxiously anticipating the release of the next DVD. That said, for those who have always avoided anime because they never really enjoyed the stereotypical plot lines or character interactions, this is a great time to get off the fence and try something different.
Since Chevalier is so different from everything else, there really isn't anything exactly like it to watch while you're waiting for the next disc to be released. However, if you enjoyed the realistic attention to detail behind the scenery, costumes, and cities, I would recommend either Gunslinger Girl or Gunsmith Cats. They are set in modern-day Europe and Chicago, respectively, and do an impressive job of depicting their respective cities and the weaponry used. On the other hand, if you enjoyed the relatively dark and mysterious plot, I'd recommend Vision of Escaflowne or Elfen Lied. Both series do a masterful job of carefully revealing their characters, layer by layer, in a way that really grabs you and keeps you guessing throughout.
In my review of Robotech the Shadow Chronicles a reader pointed out that I had mistakenly referred to Maia Sterling as Dana Sterling's daughter, when in fact she is Dana's sister, and that Vince Grant was Claudia's brother and not her son as I had indicated. Great catch by a very astute reader.
The Smug Dude
Recently Reinstated Anime Otaku & Closet Geek
Questions, Comments? Drop me a note.