Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, Vol. 1 - Yura Ariwara, Mahiro Maeda Well, this was slightly different than the anime was. It wasn't a bad read but... there are some minor details about the manga that got to me. Not too big. I first decided to read this manga right after I finished watching the anime. I thought the anime was brilliant! It was definitely unique and separated itself from other anime going around. Everything about the anime I loved to bits: the plot, the characters (except for one or two), the setting, the music, And of course the yaoi moments. and even the art style! That last bit might be a bit controversial because of the fact they use a lot of weird textures and it is, in fact, trippy. You feel like you just went on the most bizarre ride of your entire life! XD Personally, I felt it added to the anime and made it stood out that much more. To sum up, the anime was freaking amazing! So naturally, I had to pick up the manga. I just HAD to immerse myself in this fantastic world more! However... it fell short for me. Mostly on three counts: the artwork, the pacing, and some plot differences. Though, I did enjoy reading this first volume for the most part, there were times where these little things just got in my way of fully enjoying it as I did the anime.

There's no doubt that Mahiro Maeda is a very talented person. He did, after all, create the anime of this very same manga. He did superbly in executing it to the extent that he did. All his decisions were spot on when he went all out on this project of his. I can't say the same thing with the manga. Yes, he was behind the manga as much as the anime but I felt as if he rushed through it. I understand that things run differently when taking one form of media into another form but I didn't think it would change so drastically. The storyline is taking a different approach in the manga, but where things were well-thought out in the anime... in the manga it was just thrown all together. There's specifically one scene in the manga where the Count plays a "trick" on his guests that was basically screaming, "LOOK! I'M TRYING TO GET REVENGE ON ALL YOU BASTARDS!!!" Really? In the anime, the Count would have never done something so obvious. Why would he? His goal is to weaved into their hearts, get them to trust him, so that way he could get his vengeance. Doing that little "trick" would have ruined everything for him. There's no consistency. It makes the story fall apart. Not to mention how everything was flying by too quickly. The characters are talking about one thing and then the next page is with them on an entirely different planet. You, as the reader, are left thinking, "What the hell just happened?" I mean, they already revealed the Count's true motives! If things slowed down just a tiny bit, I would have been able to follow the story a lot more smoothly. I don't know... the manga just felt all over the place.

And speaking of being all over the place... the artwork! Good God! The artwork! What was Maeda thinking!? The artwork for the anime was amazing! Beautiful! It drew you in with its uniqueness. The textures, the patterns, the bright colors! Oh! I could go on and on. But the manga? No. No, no, no, no, no. That will not do. The art, like the plot, was all over the place! Sometimes there were pages that had nothing but amazing backgrounds and borders... others looked like it was drawn by a two-year-old! I'm all for mixing and trying new things... but this just did not work. I will admit that there were a lot of instances where the art left me speechless! It was THAT gorgeous. Especially when it was that of architecture and scenery in the city. Also, there's a lot more gore in the manga. However, me being the sick freak that I am, enjoyed this new aspect quite a lot. It looked amazing to me! But when it came to the characters? The looks dull as hell! There was no life to them! No flair! Everything about their designs were just... BLAH! One character's design especially got to me... Eugenie. In the anime, she was simply stunning. I love that she wasn't exactly feminine but she still had enough beauty to her that you didn't mind seeing her as a tomboy. In the manga... she looked like a man. In fact, if they didn't say her name, I wouldn't have known it was her in the first place! She looked so different! It was really disappointing. I am not a fan of the artwork for this manga. It's just... *Sniffs* ...why couldn't it be like the anime!? DX

On to characters. I will not talk too much about them because I truly feel they should be something you experience yourself. There's Albert. He's sweet but a little too naive. I like him but sometimes I want to whack him upside the head for being so foolish! He's a lot more childish here than he was in the anime. Franz was really vulgar in this version. I liked his sweeter more protective side much more than his vulgarity. He had a bit of his protectiveness in the manga... but not much. There's Peppo... the bloody skank I can't stand but she doesn't make a huge impact on the story like she did in the anime. (Thank God!) Eugenie not only looked different but she acted different, too. I felt she was a lot more whiny and weak-willed here. She just seemed like a completely different person than from what she originally was. Villefort seemed... uh... a lot more disorganized... just his whole demeanor seemed strange. Lastly, the Count of Monte Cristo. Ironically enough, he seemed to be the only character to have remained the same throughout the manga, which is good since this is basically focusing around him. I appreciated seeing more of his background! The anime kinda skipped over that part. We saw more about what he went through when he was imprisoned and exactly how he came to be the Count of Monte Cristo! I love that his personality didn't change much at all. He might be a bit more vindictive but I like that! It adds to how he truly felt when he was betrayed by those he trusted most. Needless to say, the Count was my favorite character throughout the entire manga... no... the entire series as a whole!

As I've mentioned before, I think that this is a pretty good manga. Did it have it's problems? Yeah, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. If you are a fan of the anime, I think should give it a try just to see where there are differences and similarities. Of course, you might get pissed off once you see a few of the differences but hey! That's life. It, by no means, measures up to the anime but it's still worth reading. I am definitely going to be reading volumes two and three because I am very much interested in seeing where all this goes. Besides, it is said that the manga follows the Count a lot more so I want to learn more about my favorite character. I really hope they can do him justice. Unfortunately, I will still have to deal with the artwork but I think I can manage. ^_^ Not the best manga I've ever read... but still decent.