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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Le Chevalier d'Eon: Complete Box Set
Le Chevalier d'Eon: Complete Box Set
FUNimation // Unrated // December 2, 2008
List Price: $69.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted December 8, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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The Show:

It's always interesting when anime takes on a twisted view of a historic time or personality. These projects are often some of the most unique, but there are many pitfalls that come along with them, especially when you infuse fantasy elements and the like. With that in mind we're taking a look at a show today that is loosely based on the life of a cross-dresser of sorts from the late 18th century.

Chevalier d'Eon worked directly for King Louis XV and was involved in a secret spy network, but wound up being exiled in London until the king's death. Upon his demise, d'Eon was allowed back into France where he lived out the rest of his days as a woman. It's all confusing to be sure and from a historical perspective much of it is hearsay, but in terms of Le Chevalier D'Eon the anime by Production I.G., it somehow all makes perfect sense; in a fantastical kind of way that is.

Through its recent acquisition of multiple licenses from the likes of Geneon and ADV, FUNimation has received this gem of a title. Presented as a thin boxed set with all 24 episodes spread across four DVDs (the fifth disc in this set is reserved for bonus features) Le Chevalier D'Eon is a wild ride from start to finish and it's one that you're going to want to take all at ones. This is one of those rare, addictive shows that is best served in large doses and you'll never feel like you want to pace yourself. It achieves a perfect balanced between action, intrigue, and storytelling and it never lets up right through to the final moments.

The show begins with a narration by a much older D'Eon de Beaumont as he recants moments from his life where everything changed. He was a noble held in high regard and he had just become a knight of sorts, but the direction his life was taking changed when a casket washed ashore one day. It had Psalms written on it in blood and inside was D'Eon's sister, Lia. Her body was filled with mercury and she had bizarre markings and symbols on her. Naturally D'Eon was freaked out and wanted to get to the bottom of everything.

After the apparent murder of his sister, D'Eon joined a secret group of policy under direct orders from King Louis. D'Eon and the group of men began scouring Paris trying to find out who was behind Lia's murder and the series of other disappearances of girls all over the city. Through a series of discoveries, D'Eon and company discover that everything seems to lead back to a Russian diplomat, but in all honesty there are many hidden forces at work and they all have an agenda. It quickly becomes a game of not knowing who to trust, who is working for what organization, and poor D'Eon is trapped unwittingly in the middle of it all.

One night a monster attacks the headquarters of the secret police and D'Eon is the only surviving member. What's worse is that he's led into a trap which puts him face to face with a zombified version of one of his friends. It would seem that things are at an end for our intrepid hero, but just when all seems lost the spirit of his dead sister takes over his body. Needless to say, if you can't tell at this point, there are plenty of supernatural elements imbued into the show. Many of these components revolve around passages from the bible and feature members of the clergy evoking spells, enchantments and such.

Once it's established that D'Eon and Lia are essentially the same person, the show throws in support characters such as Robin, Durand, and Teillagory. Together they form a team in an effort to fight the good fight and figure out what's going on among the French nobility. Once again, not everything is quite as it seems and there are many people working against D'Eon and his compatriots. Throughout the 24 episodes here the group is subjected to all sorts of betrayals, death, and is forced to face off against several mercury filled "gargoyles" (reanimated corpses used like puppets) along the way.

The story will constantly leave you guessing from start to finish and that's really one of the biggest strengths you'll find in Le Chevalier D'Eon; it's simply not predictable at all. Because of this the tone here leaves a strong impression upon you and its supported by fantastic character development and a rich, moody atmosphere. This is probably the most well-realized historical anime I have ever seen and with the tone of the series the supernatural elements actually work to its favor.

If you have never seen Le Chevalier D'Eon before then you definitely need to give this collection a spin. It stands as one of the better shows to be released here in the States from the past year and it's a series you'll want to start watching again once you're finished with it. Top quality the entire way through has been a trademark of Production I.G. projects and thankfully that's the case here. Don't miss this collection!

The DVD:

Video:

Presented with its original 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, Le Chevalier D'Eon is breathtaking in many ways. For starters the character design is very rich and detailed with some very authentic looks for the time period. The animation is very smooth and when everything is put together with the environments it's safe to say that the series literally pops from the screen. With that being said there are some technical flaws here, which mar the presentation somewhat. Some grain is present in the image and compression blocking occurs more often than we'd like to see. This could have something to do with the fact that six episodes were packed onto each disc. Aliasing and shimmer is also a problem with regards to some of the computer generated effects as well. In the end this is a nicely produced series with a transfer that unfortunately doesn't quite hold up to scrutiny. It's a good looking show nonetheless and most of the flaws here aren't very distracting.

Audio:

For both the English and Japanese language tracks, Le Chevalier D'Eon receives solid 5.1 surround support. Technically speaking the quality for both tracks is exemplary with a nice presence on the soundstage and a decently crafted sense of immersion. I felt that both tracks performed roughly the same with regards to intense action sequences, creation of atmosphere, and spread of dialogue, sound effects and the like. With regards to the dub, I personally enjoyed the Japanese more than the English track, but that's really just a matter of personal taste.

Extras:

Le Chevalier D'Eon comes with most all of the bonus features available on the individual volumes and then some. Included here are eight English audio commentary tracks, some historical notes for each episode, and a bonus DVD with additional supplemental features. Packed onto that disc are some trailers for other FUNimation releases and clean animations for starters. Original Japanese features on this disc include a promotional video, trailer, and a 17 minute promotional event clip reel. A 24 minute interview with some of the cast and crew from the Japanese side of the show is available as well as a three minute slideshow of photographs with some cross-dressing and roleplaying.

Final Thoughts:

Le Chevalier D'Eon is a remarkable series that looks at history, adds the twist of supernatural elements, and churns out one hell of a good time. While the action may play a big role, it's the characters, story, and atmosphere that will draw you in. Once you start watching the series you won't want to stop and thankfully the 24 episodes here barely let up right through to the end. If you're in the mood for a solid series, especially one from Production I.G., then consider this one highly recommended. It's one of the better shows in recent memory and should not be missed.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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