Reviewed by: Azure
Released by: ADV Films UK
Age Rating: 15
Region: 2 - UK
Volume 1 of 6
Length: 100 minutes
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Japanese 5.1 Surround
In 18th Century Paris, a noble woman's body is discovered floating in a coffin with the word 'Psalms' written on the lid. The woman's name is Lia de Beaumont, and she leaves behind a brother; D'Eon. D'Eon feels duty bound to investigate Lia's death, neglecting his duties as a noble. The trouble is Lia doesn't want to let her death go either.
This first disk opens with the body of Lia de Beaumont being discovered floating in a coffin in the Seine. Her body has been filled with mercury which means it won’t decay, this also means that the church refuses to bury her so her soul can not rest. D’Eon sets out to get revenge, quickly discovering that his sister’s death is part of a much larger conspiracy. The further he pushes the more trouble he receives in return, until finally serious attempts are made on his life. It is at this point that Lia’s spirit makes herself known, taking control of her brother’s body and wreaking bloody vengeance on her enemies.
The setting is also extremely interesting, providing a solid background to the events of the story mixing in fantasy with the historical. In this case the dominant form of ‘magic’ is used by a group called Poets who use psalms from the Bible in order to evoke the desired effect, often with the implication that many of their activities require some unsavoury preparation. Chevalier is strongly reminiscent of Full Metal Alchemist, both fuse a variety of supernatural plot lines with strands of real history. Chevalier is a more mature story from the outset, since it’s protagonist is older and has already secured a place for himself in the world.
One of the first things that strikes you as you watch Chevalier is the animation and drawing quality. Extremely detailed exterior and interior backgrounds set off, fluid realistically proportioned characters. There’s a reason why production I.G is so well regarded and D’Eon provides evidence in spades, proving that the studio can handle more organic period settings than the hard sci-fi setting of Ghost in the Shell.
The DVD has a good amount of extras including two commentaries, as well as an extensive booklet which includes character designs, historical notes, interviews and part one of a prequel script.
Chevalier D’Eon is a deeply engrossing historical fantasy. It’s a tribute to production IG that it can handle D’Eons prosecution so well. There are no sparkly transformation sequences here, just subtle changes in posture and design. The plot moves at just the right pace, so that at the end of each episode there’s a strong desire to see more.