Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #1 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: A-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Le Chevalier d'Eon

Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #1

By Dani Moure     May 09, 2007
Release Date: May 07, 2007


Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
Created by Tow Ubukata (Pilgrim Jager) and produced by Production I.G. (Otogi Zoshi, Ghost In The Shell), the supernatural anime series Le Chevalier D'Eon injects historical drama into its horror-fantasy hybrid. Set in 18th-century France just before the revolution, the series follows young nobleman D'Eon as he sets out to solve the murder of his beloved sister, Lia de Beaumont, and uncovers a connection to a secret society with supernatural powers and sinister motives.

The Review!
A new series in a historical setting with plenty of intrigue, Le Chevalier D'Eon is the first must-have new series of the year.

Audio:
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main viewing, and found the 5.1 mix extremely well done. Dialogue is mostly from the centre channel, but occasionally you get pieces from the rear and sides, and the music and effects fit together really well for a great, immersive track. I noticed no technical problems with the track, and it's worth noting that the Japanese performances are all extremely sound, especially given the time period and some of the names they have to pronounce.

With this show being a top-tier release from ADV, I also wanted to check out the English language 5.1 mix as well. From a technical standpoint, there were no problems I could see with dropouts or distortions, and it had the same qualities as the Japanese mix. It's a testament to the dub itself that once I started watching from the first episode, I re-watched the entire volume in English. It is a superb dub, of the highest quality, and I strongly recommend that everyone who likes a good English track seeks it out now. There are some real veterans here and it shows, with the likes of David Matranga (d'Eon), John Swasey (Teillagory) and Illich Guardiola (Durand) really showing what they can do. I honestly think I'll end up watching the show all the way through in both languages.

Video:
With this being such a recent show, having only aired last year, you'd expect it to look great, and it doesn't disappoint. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the show looks extremely vibrant with the French backdrop providing some rich colours, and it's all reproduced with no noticeable artifacting (at least on my setup) even during the darker, night time scenes. The whole package just comes across very well, including some nicer than usual credit placement during the ending.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font (ADV's usual), and I didn't notice any grammatical or spelling errors.

Packaging:
Differing from the US release, we don't get a slipcover but we do get a really nice cover adorned by d'Eon holding his sword, with a nice grey-ish toned background. The series logo is at the bottom, using the Japanese logo more prominently with the English subtitle. The volume number is in the top-right, and listed on the spine. The back cover is nicely laid out with some screenshots, a description of the show and then some feature listings and credits. ADV UK's usual technical information boxes are at the bottom. The reverse cover also has information inside, with character art for Lia and d'Eon.

Also included is a lovely little book with all sorts of information on the series, from a character chart to interviews with the staff and even a mini-scene in script form. It really adds to the great production values already present for the series. The packaging really does exude a bit of class.

Menu:
The menus are simple but work well. The main menu has a wall image at the top with a picture frame containing a revolving picture of the cast of characters. The bottom half is like the fireplace, with flames covering either side, and the episode selection and sub-menu links. A piece of music from the show plays over this screen. The two sub-menus are both static, in the same theme and with music playing. In fact the extras menu has the opening theme playing over it. The menu system is functional and really in-theme with the show.

Extras:
The extras continue to show how much effort ADV have put into the show. The first extra is an excellent, extensive set of historical notes that really help expand the setting of this world and what was going on in it at the time of the show. Then there are two commentaries, one a production commentary talking more about the English adaptation for the series with David Matranga (D'Eon) and Steven Foster (ADR Director), and the other a more factual, expansive commentary on the history of the show with Janice Williams and Amy Forsyth (the Translator). Both are worth a listen, but the second will be of more interest to those who don't usually listen to the dub commentaries.

There are also two short promotional videos for the Japanese television premiere, and the usual clean opening and ending.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
From famed animation studio Production IG " those same men and women that brought us the sublime Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - comes a new TV series that gets off to one of the finest starts I've seen in a long time. For their latest effort, they've turned their attentions to a historical setting of France during the 1700s, when Louis XV was King, and some very influential people are hiding some very unusual secrets, with a bit of witchcraft and the supernatural thrown in for good measure.

With a full season to play with, we naturally mainly get questions raised rather than answers, as the plot is put on the table for us all to see. The series follows a young noble called d'Eon de Beaumont, and is framed by him telling the story from the future. D'Eon is a member of the King Louis' secret police, who are his eyes and ears in Paris. But following the death of his sister Lia under mysterious circumstances, d'Eon uses his job to try and find out the circumstances on which she was killed. The only lead he has is the word "Psalms" which was written on her coffin.

The secret police find some evidence on a case of missing women, and d'Eon finds the word "Psalms" again, with it all linking to a Russian called Vorontsov. Of course, d'Eon soon finds out that there is far more to the mystery than meets the eye, and as he finds more evidence of things to steer clear of, like the letters "nqm" and the way the royal palace and several high ranking nobles are involved, he uncovers more and more secrets that lead him to following the path Lia was on and uncover the truth surrounding her demise.

The political machinations are all unravelled slow enough to really keep you interested but when this show needs to fill you in, you can already see it's not going to be one that will hang about. The first volume is very tightly scripted in that respect, and it makes the volume really click. Every time you feel you should get a vital piece of information, you more often than not do and it makes watching the show all the more satisfying.

Of course, the show would be nothing without its characters, and thankfully they deliver as well. D'Eon is a great lead who is easy to sympathise with, especially hearing him reflecting back on the things we see from the future. You often get the feeling he is quite out of his depth but he always goes with the flow and thankfully, the people around him generally get things right. By the end of the volume he's on the right track and has already uncovered Le Secret du Roi, another undercover organisation, and has come under order from the King.

By the time the volume is over, three others have joined him to form the proverbial "Four Musketeers". Robin strikes you immediately as the loyal, obedient type who wants to do the right thing all the time but perhaps lacks a cutting edge when he needs it. Durand is full of surprises and mystery, but ultimately on the right side, and Teillagory is a man who has a very keen eye and lets nothing slip by.

Even with a great bunch of main characters, the supporting cast and the setting have to mesh as well, and thankfully they do. The likes of Duc d'Orleans, Comte de Saint-Germain and Vorontsov are seen only a few times, yet on various occasions manage to send a chill up your spine with the sorts of things they are plotting. The supernatural side to the series, with the use of gargoyles created by words from the scriptures, fits seamlessly into things and against the lush backdrop of 18th Century France it works extremely well.

Given the company and staff behind the series, it's no surprise that much care has obviously been taken with the show, from the gorgeous character designs, the sheer beauty of the backdrop and the fluid animation " it all smells of a high quality production. It's great to see an anime delve into this type of time period and location as well, because it's not done nearly enough. It makes a welcome change from Japan.

In Summary:
Le Chevalier D'Eon is a sublime and lavish production that should not be missed. It has a great set of characters and one of the most engaging plots you'll find in any anime this year. Coupled with extremely high production values and great animation, and you have the makings of a must-have series. There's very little to fault in this first volume, and it pleases me a great deal that ADV have finally found a new series of this kind of calibre, as it proves they are more than back on track with their new licenses. Buy this volume " chances are very high that you'll love it.

Features
Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Historical Notes,Production Commentary,Historical Commentary,Japanese Promotional Videos,Clean Opening and Closing

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.

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