So, having nothing better to do, I decided to click on the offer to watch the first episode of this series (coming out on DVD in R1 on 2/20). I wasn’t expecting much, but it might be interesting, and definately worth ordering the first DVD just for the animation and art. I wish I had some screenshots to show for this one because they seem to have blown the entire art budget on the first episode. It is set in France, during the reign of King Louis the XV, and a number of scenes are set at Versailles. The depection of the hallways and rooms look very authentic and the detailing of the fountain (not to mention the CG water effects) was just stunning. Most of the time, when I say “the art was good,” the reader should probably take it with a grain of salt; I’m still getting adjusted to the digital age of animÃ©, and impress easily. This is definately an exception; when I say the art is impressive, I mean impressive. I don’t see how they could continue it for a 26 episode series, so I expect a quick drop in quality.
The streaming video is of the dub, of course, and the voice actors read their lines fairly well. The narrator is D’Eon as an older man, and that actor has done well, but the one playing the younger (bible-quoting and utterly loyal) D’Eon is trying for a youthful earnestness that sometimes falls a bit flat. Of course, despite their being French, the dub is in English, but the history of the language will be relevant to the first episode, and the translators have striven for a measure of authenticity; for instance, Louis is said as “Lewie” not “Lewis” as a native English-speaker would (or at least the American variant of it).
Plotwise, it appears to fall into the category of “Earnest & Loyal Retainer of King Investigates Evil Consipricy” category, with the usual “Politics and Corruption at High Levels”, “Avenges Family Member”, “Hero is Unwitting Pawn” and “Wheels Within Wheels” sub-variants in play. Heh. I feel like I’m naming plot cards from TORG. Hmmmmm….
D’Eon’s Player: “Oh cool, I got a Personal Stake card — and the Campaign card!”
GM: “Well your sister was killed by this unknown society, shortly after sending you a strange manuscript. Worse, they filled her body with mercury, to keep it from decaying. Because of that, the Holy Church refused to bury her, and her spirit is still wandering the world. You feel it about you from time to time, and she wants vengence.”
D’Eon’s Player: “Okaaaaaay, I play a Contact card. Where can I start the investigation?”
GM: “Well, it seems she was a member of the King’s Secret Police, a band of utterly loyal men (and women) who don’t believe in the Fifth Amendment–or the Fourth, either. They can arrest, use torture, and pretty much do as they wish. So your contact, an old friend, has accepted your application, and you became one of them a year ago.”
D’Eon’s Player: “Oh, cool, I drew another Contact card–I’ll put it in play too.”
GM: “Well, you’ve done a really good job on some minor investigations so far, and have come to the attention of both the King and the Queen, who regard you as competant and loyal. You’re not on speaking terms, but His Majesty has acknowledged your presence once or twice. You might be able to get an audience with the Queen if you found someone to intercede for you.”
Well, anyway, I’ve gotten sidetracked. I’m not going to do the whole episode like that; I’m not Shamus! (Heh, but I loved that game. Of all the RPG’s, I ever played, Torg was the most sheer fun to GM, and I had a couple of whacky roleplayers in Dr.Heinous and The Dread Pirate Pintito. Ah, the time DrHeinous thought it would be funny to ride the Orient Express with fake vampire teeth to scare people….only to discover that one of the baddest vampires in the world was actually on the train with them!)
Er, back to the story. Naturally of course, there’s some form of (classical) alchemy and supernatural elements involved. There are skulls that talk, zombified people, possiblely vampires–and as we see at the end of the episode, Lia D’Eon’s soul really is about…. and she’s in the mood to kick some zombie butt. Based on the first episode, I’d say it’s worth springing for the first DVD, at a minimum.