Sunday, March 10, 2013

Anime Review: Le Chevalier D'Eon

I don't have much to say this week. Fire Emblem Awakening is still consuming much of my free time and I will have a review for it as soon as I beat it... Which could take a while at the rate I'm going. Anyway, right now I need to get this review squared away. Have you ever wanted to watch an anime about a historical figure who dresses in drag and has to fight zombies with help of his dead sister who possesses his body from time to time? No? Well too bad, this week I'm reviewing Le Chevalier D'Eon.

"My blade's bigger than yours."
In 18th Century France, during the reign of Louis XV, during a series of kidnappings involving young women, a body was found. The body belonged to Lia de Beaumont, a member of King Louis' secret police. Grief-stricken over the death of his sister, D'Eon de Beaumont seeks revenge and follows the few clues he has to find his sister's killer; the case she was working on and the word Psalms written on the coffin she was found in. However, when his search leads him to a supernatural encounter, D'Eon is possessed by the soul of his sister. Now, aided by the soul of Lia, and a small handful of allies, D'Eon must unravel the mystery behind his sister's death, the strange kidnappings, and the theft of the Royal Psalms, in a world where words have power.

See, this is what happens when you don't take care of your skin, ladies.
Le Chevalier D'Eon is a historical fiction series where supernatural elements are added to real historical events and characters. Even the leading character, D'Eon de Beaumont is a historical figure who worked for Louis XV as a secret agent and ambassador... Who would be considered a transgender individual today given his preference of wearing woman's clothing and being identified as a woman. Now it maybe difficult to take this concept seriously, but for the most part the series handles both the historical element as well as the supernatural element rather well. A lot of attention to detail is given to clothes and locations as well as having a good sense of who the historical figures where and what they did in history (even as the series took it's liberties for the sake of it's own storyline), and though there is magic in this world it is not a force that becomes overpowering in the story. Not only is it unique, as any "mage" like character recites poems from the book of Psalms (earning the name Poet), but the poems themselves are not the sort of thing that will on their own win a war. They are a formidable force in the series, but it all seems rather grounded in reality... or at least as close to reality it can get when you have people becoming mercury filled zombies.

"Louis, Louis. Woo-ooo. We gotta go now! Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!"
While the series is great, there are a few annoyances. One is the character design. My guess is that the designers wanted a more realistic facial structure than the ones commonly found in anime (I.E. EYES SHOULDN'T BE THAT BIG!), but it ultimately ended up with faces that just don't look right. It's like that valley of uncanny resemblance, it looks like it should be right, but it isn't. It also doesn't help that some character constantly have this look of "dull surprise" permanently on their faces. Two is the fact that this series is depressing as all hell. Okay, you can't really have a happy ending to a series that concludes with the French Revolution, and we all kind of knew that going into the series, but DAMN. Even the people who lived you can't really say they had a happily ever after. Hell, I think the only person who did live happily ever after was the Count of Cagliostro (From this series, not the Lupid III movie). And Three the whole Lia's soul in D'Eon's body deal. Yes, transgender people are human as well and they deserve respect as much as anyone else, but at times in this series it is hard to take it seriously. One scene in particular stands out where they where trying to contact Lia's soul, so you have all this mystical stuff set up like pentagrams, candles, a mirror, and you have this supernatural vibe going, and then you have D'Eon walk our in a blue, frilly dress and you are just forced to laugh at the silliness of it all. It doesn't help with at the end D'Eon look at the camera with a completely serious face... while wearing a blue, frilly dress. If you can watch this without snickering, then you are made of sterner stuff than I.

Overall, the series is a great piece of historical fiction. If you can get over the fact that you are watching a series about a cross-dressing french spy, then you are in for a really deep, complex action-drama with interesting characters and great attention to detail. Of course, if you want a happily ever after ending, then try something that isn't about the French Revolution. However, if you are into that kind of thing, then Le Chevalier D'Eon is recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Okay, Okay, I'll say it: "Dude looks like a lady!"

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