Ryu’s Musings – Le Chevalier d’Eon 1-8

Posted on November 4th, 2010 by Ryu Sheng |

01 Language: English
Direction: Right to Left
by: Tou Ubukata (Story), Kiriko Yumeji (Art)
Publisher: Del Rey
Type: Series
Genre: Seinen, Gender-Bending
Synopsis:

A mysterious cult is sacrificing beautiful young women to a demonic force that has promised them the kingdom of France in return for the blood of their victims. Only one man can save Paris from chaos and terror – the Chevalier d’Eon!

Character Musings:

d’Eon Beaumont is in a word, scary. He’s one of my favourite characters out of all manga and anime. He’s one of the most well rounded and developed characters I’ve come across. Initially he comes across as a washy washy guy who can’t do anything, other than get into trouble. His hidden side comes across perfectly, as does the way he makes his decisions. His character design took some getting used to though, he has to much of a boy band feel to him at times, especially when he’s used on the cover of volume three. Yet at other times he has an awesome design that really fits the situation.

Lia de Beaumont is d’Eon’s older sister, she was killed by a mysterious man and is now out to get vengeance. Considering she’s dead Lia’s personality is pretty awesome, like her brother she’s totally dedicated to her cause, and seems a bit over bearing initially. Yet over time we get to see her softer, tender side which can be really touching at times. Her character design can be signed in only one way, sex on legs!!

Robin was initially Lia’s servant, and now helps d’Eon. He’s a young boy who at times has doubts about his future now that Lia is dead. Yet despite the doubts he remains loyal and steadfast. I love his character design, which manages to incorporate his youthful innocence with his brooding side, after losing the woman he looked up to and seeing so much death.

General Musings:

This series is one of my all time favourites, it shares the number one spot with another title I’ll review later on 😀

The story is awesome, Tou has obviously done a lot of research in not only the historical aspects of France, but also the various religious origins of tarot and other bits. The amount of research comes into the fore in the mid to late part of the series when we start to see explanations of things. These are well conceived and well written, some were only minor changes from their true origins.

One of the best things about this story is without out a doubt the character developments and bonding. Reading this story is one of the most exciting, but also one of the most sorrowful.

Watching Lia and d’Eon fighting and then parting is one of the most harrowing pieces of writing I’ve ever seen. This is complimented by Kiriko’s amazing art, she manages to show all the pain that they feel. It’s not just Lia and d’Eon that show such excellent emotions in their character designs, all of the characters, including the supporting characters have varied and diverse emotions as well.

Over the course of the eight volumes we get to see some excellent character designs, though i have to admit that the ‘serpent’ forms weren’t all that varied and did have a samey feel to them at times.

However the way that Kiriko uses them to bring out Tou’s story easily makes up for the lack of variety.

The art has been condemned as being overly graphic, but i don’t think so. The story is a rather graphic story, you can’t not understand that from the outset. And while the art is rather graphic, blood, dismemberment etc etc, I’ve never found it to be overly graphic. Rather i found it to be just right, it conveys the darkness of Tou’s story while being a bit creepy and un-nerving, but doesn’t go to far.

The are a slew of characters in this series, i only listed the main ones initially, but i find i want to talk about some of the others as well, so here we go.

Madam Pompadour is a superb character, who quite frankly is a total babe. What i loved though was the dedication she shows towards Louie. Her dedication is quite frankly a bit scary, just like d’Eon’s dedication. The things she decides and the actions she takes are all fuel to protect that which she loves, France, but the lengths she goes to are scary. Yet at the same time we get to see the other side of her personality, the suffering she goes through. She’s devoted to her cause, but suffers greatly because of the choices she makes, but still makes them.

Princess Sophie, is the darling of the series. I instantly fell in love with her when she first appears. She’s a total cutie, in a good way. Young girl who can only say the word Palms, and uses letter cubes to talk in riddles. The way she is through out the series is heart rending, especially when you watch her with her dad, King Louie.

The other characters to note are some of the bad guys. I loved their designs, especially the goth loli twins. The way that they were handled, and the way they progressed was awesome, and i loved how things ended up.

Del Rey did an excellent job on this series and i have no major complaints. In fact i only have one complaint and that relates to how close some of the panels were to the spine. Guttering like that makes it hard to read the story properly, and spoils some of the art.

The volumes are crammed full of translation notes, which while they aren’t essential, if you want to understand some of the religious terms it’s a great help.

For me though i have to admit that what attracted me to the series originally was the covers. The full colour art on the covers is just stunning, they sexy, cute, and yet heart rending. The pain that can be seen so clearly in some of them is amazing, and once again Kiriko creates some awesome art.

Sadly the story is incomplete, in a way. The eighth volume feels more like the end of the story arc. The stage is set for the next part of the story that will take place in Prussia. The end of volume eight is such an awesome ending for the arc, I’m hoping that at some point we get a second arc.

I don’t like recommending titles on my blog really, but i really have to recommend this series. It’s well worth getting.

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