Chevalier: Le Chevalier D'Eon (シュヴァリエ Shuvarie?) is a 24-episode anime TV series produced by Production I.G based on an original story by Tow Ubukata. The anime originally aired in Japan on WOWOW from August 19, 2006 to February 2, 2007. The story has also been adapted into a manga series written by Tow Ubukata and illustrated by Kiriko Yumeji, which was first published in 2005. The titular character is loosely based on the historical figure Chevalier d'Eon, who lived in the middle of 18th century, pre-revolution France under the reign of Louis XV.
The story begins in Paris 1753, when the body of a woman named Lia de Beaumont is found in a casket floating along the Seine. The only clue regarding her death is the word "Psalms", which is written in blood on the lid of the casket. D'Eon de Beaumont, Lia's younger brother and a knight in service of King Louis XV, takes it upon himself to investigate his sister's mysterious death, along with the strange disappearances of a number of French women. In his journey he comes across three companions to help him.
Lia's body, however, was found to be infused with mercury, making it unable to be decomposed. The Church, declaring that, because she could not return to the "dust she had come from," refused to let her be buried, saying that her soul would forever wander, never able to go to heaven. D'Eon, angered by this, also uses it as a drive in his investigation. Lia, however, still feels the need to avenge her death, and so, when D'Eon is in battle, she can sometimes possess his body and fight.
- A list of supporting characters can be found at List of supporting Le Chevalier D'Eon characters.
- D'Eon de Beaumont (デオン·ド·ボーモン Deon do Bōmon?)
Voiced by: Yūki Tai (Japanese), David Matranga (English); Old D'Eon Voiced by: Akio Nojima (Japanese), Ted Pfister (English)
D'Eon is a member of the Secret Police, working in the shadows to keep the peace within French society. When his sister suddenly turns up floating down a river in a coffin with 'Psalms' written on it, D'Eon is thrown into a deadly struggle with revolutionaries and supernatural forces in order to uncover the truth behind his sister's death. D'Eon looks remarkably like Lia, which turns to his advantage whenever he needs to meet with a ruler who was once Lia's friend. He is loosely based on the historic figure, Chevalier d'Eon.
- Lia de Beaumont (リア·ド·ボーモン Ria do Bōmon?)
Voiced by: Risa Mizuno (Japanese), Taylor Hannah (English)
Lia is D'Eon's older sister, and a skilled fencer. She was killed under mysterious circumstances and the story revolves around finding the truth. Despite flashbacks of her being a caring and considerate young woman, her spirit is full of great anger, sorrow, and the desire to exact revenge. She had a unique sword stance, which made it easy for Teillagory to identify her when the others are unsure. Later in the series, it becomes more obvious that Lia was connected to Maximilien Robespierre and some of the other supporting characters in the series. Many royals remember and looked up to Lia, such as Empress Elizaveta of Russia. ("Lia de Beaumont" is the identity that the real-life cross-dressing Chevalier d'Eon claims to have assumed during a mission to Russia in 1756.)
- Robin (ロビン Robin?)
Voiced by: Megumi Matsumoto (Japanese), Tyler Galindo (English)
Robin is the Queen of France's young page who is assigned to assist D'Eon. Despite his age, he is earnest and resourceful, and his loyalty to the Queen and his companions is steadfast. Robin greatly looks up to D'Eon and his friends, and prefers to wield a flintlock pistol in combat.
- Durand (ヂュラン Juran?)
Voiced by: Ken Narita (Japanese), Illich Guardiola (English)
Durand is a dashing man whose is highly adept in the Florentine fencing style, wielding a rapier and main-gauche at the same time. He treasures his antique pocket watch despite the fact that it does not work properly. Durand's loyalty seems ambiguous throughout the story, but he appears to have once had affections for Lia. He eventually develops a fondness for Robin, taking the boy under his wing and even bestowing upon him his treasured pocket watch.
- Teillagory (テラゴリー Teragorī?)
Voiced by: Haruo Sato (Japanese), John Swasey (English)
Teillagory was once D'Eon and Lia's fencing instructor, and is a well-respected knight from the days of Louis XIV. He carries an antique sword which was given to him by Louis XIV, and still holds onto the days of knighthood and honor. Teillagory lost his only son in a war several years prior to the start of the series.
|“||When we work on a series, we often scrape off unwanted aspects of each character as the series progress and the characters develop because we gradually realize the main qualities of each of them. For Le Chevalier D'Eon, I think we almost never removed any content from the main characters' resumes that was set at the start. I feel we were able to keep the intended atmosphere of a cathartic drama of people who were and were not loyal to their country 'on the eve of the French Revolution.' We stayed true to the plot given to us initially and I feel we actually added depth to it.||”|
—Shotaro Suga, scriptwriter
Scriptwriter Shotaro Suga was contacted by Tetsuya Nakatake at the beginning of the project, and agreed to work with them when he was informed that Tow Ubukata and Kazuhiro Furuhashi were taking part in the production. He was unable to work on the project immediately, as he was also working on Eureka Seven at the time. Suga admitted to being nervous about working with Furuhashi, whom he described as an "experienced director" because the other series he worked on (such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Blood+, Eureka Seven, and Casshern) were by first-time directors. He described the script readings for Le Chevalier D'Eon as "ever more intense" than his previous projects, and that they all "kept on debating to scrutinize each and every detail." Chief writer Yasuyuki Muto noted that their script meetings lasted as long as twelve hours.
Muto was in charge of the script for eleven out of the twenty-four episodes. Ubukata and Furuhashi provided the ideas for the episodes, which the writing staff then adapted into the scripts. "Director Furuhashi as well as Ubukata-san, who is a novelist, both put a lot of weight on the dialogues", Muto said. Suga commented that "[c]ompared to other works, the script for Le Chevalier D'Eon is enormous", noting that one episode had a one hundred-page script. Muto noted that their main focus while writing was the "...'emotion' of each character". Muto was present during the productions' post-recording sessions, primarily because he believed that it would be easier for the staff to have a writer on-hand in case problems arose during recordings.
Design and animation
Art director Hiroshi Ono stated that he initially could not make up his mind whether to work on this project or not, saying "The information they gave me was enough to see that this was not going to be a straightforward job. The story takes place in Versailles and stretches from France to Russia and England. This means that you can't reuse the same background elements throughout the series, and instead you have to create new ones for each episode. Traveling stories are always the most difficult projects of all." Ono was responsible for the background designs used in the series, and he used photographs and classical paintings as references.
toi8 of Studio 4°C took on the role of designing the weapons and props for the series. He utilized different reference materials for his designs, saying that he "relied on images in books and on the web" as well as films such as Fanfan la Tulipe and The Affair of the Necklace. toi8 was initially asked to work on the series' character designs, but the job was passed on to Tomomi Ozaki due to time constraints. Ozaki noted that Furuhashi requested that the characters "should not look like manga characters or too real; and not too anime-like," and that he wanted the designs to be faithful to historical details. She said that she sometimes referred to historical portraits from the series' time period as reference for her designs, and also cited specific sources for her designs. "For Anna's hair, I imaged Brigitte Bardot's hairstyles. For Count Guercy, I chose Jack Black in School of Rock. Durand comes from Brad Pitt, and Anthony Hopkins in Mask of Zorro was my model for Teillagory", she said.
Composer Michiru Oshima stated that this is "the first time in years" that she was given the chance to compose pieces that were "very classical". She stated that while she was composing the music for the series, she was "consciously trying to add depth that's typical of European classical music", and that she believed that orchestral pieces suited the series well because the characters "are all serious and weighty."
The song "BORN", composed and performed by Miwako Okuda, is used as the series' opening theme for all twenty-four episodes. The series' ending theme ("OVER NIGHT" by Aya), which is also used for all twenty-four episodes, was specially composed for the project. Aya stated that she drew inspiration from the first illustration she was shown, which was of "D'Eon, splattered with the blood of his victim, [walking] in the burning city of Paris holding Lia's hands."
Le Chevalier D'Eon aired in Japan on WOWOW from August 19, 2006 to February 2, 2007. Animax also aired the series in Japan as well as its respective networks worldwide, including its English language networks in Southeast Asia and India. The first episode of the series was also screened at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in September 2006.
As of October 2007, Media Factory released the series in DVD format in Japan with twelve volumes that contained two episodes each. The series was originally licensed in North America by ADV Films, but the rights to the series were transferred over to Funimation in 2008, along with the rights to several other anime series. ADV Films released the series in six DVD volumes with four episodes as of December 2007. In December 2008, Funimation released a complete box set of the series DVDs, which contains all the episodes in four discs. The first two discs contain commentaries along with some of the series' episodes, and an additional disc with exra content such as promotional videos and interviews with the original Japanese cast is also included. 0n December 1, 2009, a complete series DVD containing all 24 episodes came out in the North American from Funimation.
The manga, illustrated by Kiriko Yumeji and written by Tow Ubukata, features a story that is almost entirely different from the anime series. It is described by Ubukata as "a humorous attempt at combining d'Eon de Beaumont, eighteenth century France, and a superhero story." The story focuses on d'Eon de Beaumont, a police officer who is also a member of King Louis XV's Secret Police (Le Secret du Roi), and his dealings with a cult that sacrifices virgins for their rituals.
The manga is serialized in Kodansha's Magazine Z and has been released in eight tankōbon volumes, with the first volume having been published in October 2005 and the latest volume in September 2008. Del Rey published the first volume of the manga in the United States on June 26, 2007, and has released seven volumes as of July 28, 2009.
The series' soundtrack was released by BMG Japan (now known as Sony BMG) on November 22, 2006. The soundtrack features twenty-eight tracks of background music used in the series as well as the short versions of the opening and ending themes.
Critics praised Le Chevalier D'Eon for its art design and animation. Tasha Robinson of Sci Fi Weekly praised the details in the designs, but stated that "the characters all have a flat-faced samey look; their costumes get far more attention than their faces, and the results are pretty but bland." Theron Martin of Anime News Network said "Background art varies a little more, from slightly rough to stunningly gorgeous, with some CG-crafted shots of Versailles rivaling even the exquisite detail of Gonzo's best work. Though the series does use some still scenes, neither they nor any other short cuts can be found in the well-choreographed sword fights, where the attention to detail (especially in rare anime shots of critical footwork) and shifting perspectives more than makes up for slight failings elsewhere." Chris Beveridge of Mania.com said that the "detail and apparent accuracy in many scenes is just great to look at". Similarly, Brett D. Rogers of Frames Per Second magazine praised the design and animation, saying that they are "beautifully rendered in rococo and gothic style to create the look and feel of 18th-century France", though also stating that the "CGI is used to good result in reproducing the vast, opulent spaces of Versailles, but the transitions between these effects and the main body of animation are a bit coarse." The series' storyline earned mixed reactions from critics. Robinson complained that most of the series' storyline "falls flat", saying that it was "delivered too rapidly and with little affect". She also compared Le Chevalier D'Eon to GONZO's Gankutsuou, describing both series as "heavily talky yet fast-moving enough to be confusing." Martin praised the series' pacing, saying that it is "one of the true keys to the quality of this series".
References and notes
- "Le Chevalier D'Eon". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- "シュヴァリエ" (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 2009-05-07. Text "講談社コミックプラス " ignored (help)
- Bell, Ryan (November 3, 2006). "ADV Snags Le Chevalier D’Eon". Animation Magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "FUNimation Entertainment Awarded Rights to Titles Previously Held by AD Vision". Anime News Network. July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
- "Le Chevalier D'Eon". Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
- Le Chevalier d'Eon by Michel de Decker, published by France-Empire
- Monsieur D'Eon Is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade by Gary Kates, published by Basic Books
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part III: Shotaro Suga (Scriptwriter)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part V: Yasuyuki Muto (Chief Writer) first half". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part XI: Hiroshi Ono (Art Director)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part IX: toi8 (Prop Design)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part X: Tomomi Ozaki (Character Design)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part IV: Michiru Oshima (Music Composer)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Les 24 Chevaliers Part VII: Aya (Singer)". Production I.G. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
- "Synopsis for LE CHEVALIER D'EON". Animax Asia. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "Synopsis for LE CHEVALIER D'EON". Animax India. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- "Ottawa 06 International Animation Festival". Ottawa International Animation Festival. 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- "シュヴァリエ livre 12" (in Japanese). Media Factory. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Beveridge, Chris (December 17, 2007). "Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #6". Mania.com. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Gaudette, Paul (February 27, 2009). "Le Chevalier D'Eon Box Set". Mania.com. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
- Ubukata, Tow (2007). Le Chevalier d'Eon 1. Del Rey Manga. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-345-49622-5.
- "シュヴァリエ(1)" (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- "シュヴァリエ(8) <完>" (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- "DEL REY MANGA NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER 2006". Del Rey Online. October 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
- "Le Chevalier d'Eon 1". Del Rey Manga. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "Le Chevalier d'Eon 7". Del Rey Manga. Retrieved 2009-07-28.
- "Sony Music Online Japan : サウンドトラック" (in Japanese). Sony BMG. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Robinson, Tasha (March 20, 2007). "Le Chevalier D'Eon". SciFi.com. Retrieved 2009-05-13.[dead link]
- Martin, Theron (February 5, 2007). "Le Chevalier D'Eon DVD 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- Beveridge, Chris (February 20, 2007). "Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. #1". Mania.com. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Rogers, Brett D. (February 20, 2007). "Le Chevalier D'Eon Vol. 1: Psalm of Vengeance". fps magazine. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
- Chevalier on WOWOW's official site (Japanese)
- Chevalier on the ANIMAX official site (Japanese)
- Le Chevalier D'eon on the ANIMAX ASIA official site
- Chevalier on Clappa's official site (Japanese)
- Production I.G official site (Japanese)
- Production I.G official site
- Official website for the Le Chevalier d'Eon manga (Internet Archive version) (Japanese)
- Official Le Chevalier D'Eon Website at Funimation
- Le Chevalier D'Eon (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia