Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #3 - 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. #3

By Dani Moure     October 18, 2007
Release Date: September 17, 2007


Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #3
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
The politics of dancing have never been more deadly. After meeting with the Russian royalty, D’Eon and his comrades find themselves in the Empress’ favor. Yet she has partners who want to cut in, cut them out and cut her throat. As the tempo of this political waltz speeds up, darker and more dangerous missteps are made.

Secret sorcerers show their true faces and powerful players make desperate moves. D’Eon will at last come face-to-face with the traitor to his cause and, quite possibly, the one responsible for his sister Lia’s demise.

The Review!
The political machinations in Russia continue as d’Eon tries to find out more about who killed his sister, and tries to help the Russian Empress in the process.

Audio:
For this volume, I listened to the English 5.1 mix. From a technical standpoint it’s excellent. Dialogue this time flows more around the speakers (though the majority does still come from the centre as you’d expect), and the music and effects are extremely immersive. I didn’t notice any technical problems with the track. A word for the English dub, too, because it’s exceptional. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best dubs I’ve heard. The performances are all spot on and keep you involved in the show and its setting, and dialogue flows so fluidly it’s unreal, especially considering how close it sticks to the Japanese track.

I also checked out the Japanese 5.1 track, and there were no problems I could see with dropouts or distortions, and it had the same qualities as the English mix.

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 this time featuring Bestuzhev, Maximilien and Ekaterina, with a nice blue-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 Louie XV, Broglie and Bernis.

Also included is a lovely little book with all sorts of information on the series, from character art 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 another 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. I was actually quite astounded when I looked at them at how in-depth they are. The other extras are commentaries, and I was surprised to find four of them on this disc. Each one has different actors as well as ADR Director Stephen Foster on them. While I didn’t have time to listen to them all, the parts I did listen to were a lot of fun and I’m sure dub fans especially will get a lot out of them. There’s also the usual clean opening and ending on the disc.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the four French knights, d’Eon, Teillagory, Durand and Robin, still in Russia, d’Eon request Empress Elizaveta’s help in finding out the truth behind Lia’s death. She tells him to track down Vorontsov, gives the group permission to do with him what they need to, and reveals that Grand Chancellor Bestuzhev may be involved with him as well. Her suggestion proves just right, and Bestuzhev and Vorontsov are working together along with Maximilien, plotting to assassinate the Empress and place the blame on the Frenchmen.

It doesn’t quite go to plan though, as the French four stage Elizaveta’s death to implicate Vorontsov and his crew, and he and Bestuzhev are taken into custody. Things soon go pear-shaped though, with d’Eon ending up face to face with Vorontsov once again, and Elizaveta ending up in a room with Maximilien and his Royal Psalms – not where she would want to be, although she is graceful even in death. With the Empress having fallen, Bestuzhev and his group capitalise, once again turning attentions to the Frenchmen and requesting their capture, and having Pyotr take the throne as rightful successor.

A spanner lies in the works again though, this time with Pyotr’s wife, Ekaterina, who Elizaveta had told could be the new Lia for Russia. Feeling empowered by the Empress’ words before she passed, Ekaterina takes charge and indeed, takes the throne. But still, Vorontsov is at large, and d’Eon and friends are keen to find out the identity of the Poet orchestrating things behind the scenes.

There are several great things about this volume once again, not least of which is all the twists and turns in the story. Things really heat up in Russia, with d’Eon initially taken into the confidence of the Empress, averting her assassination once, only for her then to be murdered and the Frenchmen to be set up again. So much goes on in the background with Vorontsov and his involvement with Maximilien and Bestuzhev that at times it’s confusing who is with whom, and which side has the upper hand. But the story is very well executed and there are several moments that play out really well.

D’Eon’s two showdowns with Vorontsov, especially the second one, which reveals part of the truth about Lia’s death and how the Psalms fit in, Maximilien’s execution of the Empress, Durand discovering Maximilien’s involvement and the brilliantly executed coup by Ekaterina are just some of the key beats in the story that exemplify how well-written this story is. It has drama, high emotion, twists and turns, and it’s hard to fault what goes on here.

Likewise the characters get a good showing, with d’Eon in particular learning a lot more about Lia and what really happened to her, how other forces like Maximilien are involved, and how the Royal Psalms will play a key part in things going forward. One of the nice touches that I like to see kept up is his continuing correspondence with Anna back in France. As well as keeping the two sides up to date, it gives him something to look forward to, and with all the ups and downs he goes through in this volume, from blaming himself for Elizaveta’s death to just wanting revenge on Vorontsov, he needs that a lot.

One other thing that is well worth a mention is the production values, which continue to shine. While watching this volume, several times I was just awe-struck by the art direction and the designs of the backgrounds and locations. It all looks so authentic, from things like dark alleys to high-brow castles that it just makes everything all the more involving. The animation is excellent as well, with several stand-out moments not least of which the main sword-fight between d’Eon and Vorontsov, and to top it all off the music continues to be a perfect fit for the action.

In Summary:
At a time when plenty of very good series are being released in the UK, it’s hard to stand-out but with its unique setting, and a blend of excellent story and production values, Le Chevalier D’Eon does just that. This is definitely one of the, if not the best show around at the moment, and it would be a shame to think that it’s not one of the top sellers. Every time I watch it I get so involved in the story and absorbed into the world and its characters that I can’t help but be reminded why I think this show is so brilliant. If you’re not already, buy this now.

Features
Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Historical Notes,Commentaries,Japanese Promotional Video,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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