May 2007

COVER ART

Tsubasa – RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE

Raise your hand if you love CLAMP! Hmm. You know, this little poll would be much more accurate if we could actually see you.

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DVD of the Month - March 2007

Le Chevalier D’Eon

Volume 1

SCREEN

All the time in the anime world, there’s a great deal said and written about the need for original ideas in the stuff we watch and read. A lot of it seems to end merely as lip service, but every now and again, we see a production company that puts its money where its mouth is and strives to further the capabilities of the anime medium. Production I.G is the latest, and Le Chevalier D’Eon (their newest original work) is a testament to the talent the studio has to back up its bold new ideas.

Based on a historical-fiction novel by NTUSA’s own Tow Ubukata, Chevalier is difficult to sum up succinctly. It can’t be helped—after all, it’s set in mid-1700s France, a time when life was cheap, the nobility was clueless to the revolution surging in the streets and everyone really did wear all that frilly stuff you see in Revolutionary War documentaries. The hero is D’Eon de Beaumont, a young man in the royal secret police force who burns with chivalry and—on the surface, anyway—love for his country. D’Eon’s life changes when his sister Lia is found dead on the river Seine, the latest in a series of slayings that has Paris in an uproar. The victims (and this is the point where the fiction part of “historical fiction” comes into play) are being turned into Gargoyles, mindless zombie-like creatures with mercury for blood, and certain noblemen well-versed in the occult—along with a mysterious Russian man masquerading as a fur trader—seem to be behind this shocking affair.

D’Eon soon finds his secret-police co-workers killed and his old life too dangerous to retreat to, so he gathers up three friends—his old fencing teacher, a brash swordsman who had a fancy for Lia and a young page sent by Queen Marie who brandishes the most lethal firearms the 18th century had to offer. Their adventures in the four episodes on this volume are nothing short of exhilarating—although the plot’s largely dialogue-driven, the swordfighting sequences are intense, and it’s obvious that Production I.G had an enormous animation budget to work with. It is, at once, a sober story laden in history (you really feel the power that both religion and royalty held over Europe 300 years ago) and a serious thrill ride, as D’Eon wrestles with both his desire for vengeance and his sister’s very soul, which has a tendency to literally possess him at the most inopportune times.

It really isn’t going too far to say that D’Eon succeeds in showing what the medium of anime can do when given the right kind of care. It’s a joyful thing to watch for both action nuts and viewers who love deep worlds and stories, and I think it deserves a spot on everyone’s shelf.

—Kevin Gifford

History: Not Boring After All

Although Chevalier is a work of fiction, its main hero really existed—D’Eon de Beaumont was a diplomat and spy who was sent by Louis XV on a secret trip to Russia in 1756. His mission was to meet the empress, and legend has it he did so by disguising himself as a maid of honor in the royal court—and that’s just the start of his wacky cross-dressing adventures, too. Look him up on Wikipedia someday and see for yourself.

COVER

  • Available: Now
  • Publisher: ADV Films
  • Running time: 100 min.
  • Rating: TV-PG
© TOW UBUKATA • Production I.G / Project Chevalier 2006