A Healthy Third of D’Eon
Today I went to my local DVD store/anime retailer/Pizza Place/Heaven and bought Le Chevalier D’Eon, Livre 1 and 2. A friend of mine reccomended it to me a while back, and seeing that I wasn’t broke at the time I bought it. I was apprehensive at first to even look at the title considering it was in French, which I hate. After watching it now I discovered that I really like the anime, and that I’m now broke. I only watched the first eight episodes but they left me with quite an impression.
The general story is that in 1742 D’Eon, a member of the French secret police under King Louis XV, finds that his sister had been mercilessly killed and her body had been placed in a coffin in the Seine River. He soon discovers that for some reason her body has been filled with mercury, stopping it from rotting. He then takes it upon himself to find the people responsible and kill them. Of course the plot runs a lot deeper than that. The story does delve into far-fetched as it deals with using the bible Psalms to cast magic, but at no point does it seem too unrealistic. It’s just subtle enough that it’s almost immediately acceptable (unlike some other fiction where the magic feels like a game of Civilization played on God Mode).
As it is still beginning there has been nothing in terms of insane plot twists, only constant tension and intrigue. Every episode I watched was interesting in its own merit, and certainly kept me wondering what comes next. Livre 2 also ends on a good note, leaving you with enough suspense to want more but content enough to pause until you get your hands on the next one.
While the plot is definitely a highlight of the story, the thing that I enjoyed the most was the level of detail put into its production. Historically the setting is entirely correct. I did some research myself thinking that they probably made something up put it together added some European flair and called it France and I was shocked to find that this was not the case. The buildings, names, phrases, cities etc. are all decidedly French. The characters are not entirely accurate, but this is to be expected considering it is historical fiction. For example King Louis and his wife are relatively accurate in terms of characterization and appearance; on the other hand D’Eon is not even close to his historical counterpart bearing in mind that historically D’Eon was a cross-dressing spy.
Often in the show they quote the bible, seeing as it is 18th century France, where the King only lived because God said so. I even took out my dust covered bible to see if the lines they quote are actually in the bible. Amazingly enough, I actually found them in the Psalms.
In terms of the dub quality, I liked it much more than the Japanese Version. It’s not an all-star cast but it gets the job done in a way that couldn’t be achieved in Japanese. Really, I think that it has more to do that when they do slip in French words and phrases it sounds a lot smoother (and more understandable) in English. The similarities between English and French lend a hand in creating much more fluid dialogue, though I am pretty proud of how well the Japanese managed.
One last thing that caught my eye was the DVDs themselves. There are brief historical notes for those of you who don’t know what Wikipedia is (of course I didn’t find the Historical Notes until after several hours on Wikipedia). On top of that there are commentaries from the translators, the male voice actors, and the female voice actors.
Taken with a grain of salt, this is only the first few episodes. There are still sixteen more that I haven’t seen. For all I know there could be a horrible fatal flaw that comes along in the next episode. However from what I’ve seen I can’t wait to see what comes next.