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Le Chevalier D'Eon: Chivalry, zombies, Bible magic, and conspiracies in Pre-Revolutionary France
D'Eon De Beaumont is a young nobleman in the court of King Louis XV, and recently inducted into the Paris secret police. As the story opens, D'Eon's older sister Lia, who often travels to foreign nations at the pleasure of the king for secret reasons, is found dead in a coffin in the Seine, her body so full of mercury that it refuses to decay.
When D'Eon investigates a case of possible abductions of French girls by a Russian merchant suspected of being a spy, he finds suspicious links to Lia's death, as well as what appear to be the bodies of the murdered missing girls who have been risen from the dead. In addition, D'Eon finds his body taken over by the spirit of his dead sister, who is seeking vengeance for her death...
D'Eon finds himself inducted into Le Secret Du Roi, King Louis' personal espionage unit, and sent off with teenaged former attendant to the Queen Robin, old swordsmaster Teillagory, and amoral spy Durand to discover the circumstances of Lia's death and the involvement of the mysterious Revolutionary Brotherhood, a conspiracy that desires to shake up the power balance of Europe.
This anime series has an incredibly complex plot. Every character has their own agenda, and every agenda contributes to the progression of the plot. Especially in the last few episodes, characters switch sides and reveal secrets about themselves with such speed that it can get hard to keep track of who's doing what. As well as being confusing, this also causes many scenes of both excessive exposition and ones where the motivations of characters can at very best merely be inferred.
While this is problematic, it also allows for a rich and interesting plot, filled with intriguing characters. I liked each of the main four, as well as their main antagonist Maximilien Robespierre, a former member of Le Secret Du Roi who has apparently betrayed France for the Revolutionary Bortherhood. Each one is much more than they initially appear, although to go into more details would be to delve into spoilers. D'Eon's conflict with his sister's soul taking over his body is also intriguing, especially as how both begin to blend together into one soul...
As a Francophile, the setting in late 18th century France is a treat for me. Even though the main cast finds themselves outside of France for a sizable portion of the story (first in Russia, then in England), the references to culture and history of this period is fascinating for any history buff. Be aware, however, that characters very much behave according to the codes of their time periods, meaning characters often act differently than one might expect of a person of today, and sometimes in ways that a modern person would have difficulty understanding.
The art is really merely alright. Fight scenes (with both swords and between Poets, magic users who chant BIblical psalms in order to cast spells) are often good and dynamic, but faces are often too stiff and flat, backgrounds are hazy, and some scenes really abuse fairly obvious CGI. It's definitely not bad, but it's not great either.
All in all, this series is toward the good end of OK. It's great for Francophiles, fans of complicated plots, and history buffs (although they might be hung up on the historical innaccuries, most of which are for a good reason), but your general anime-watching audience might find it too slow or confusing, or dislike the setting. I would advise checking out the first few episodes, just to see if you like it, and proceeding from there.