Under Louis XV., France is in a state of political disarray. Fearing treachery and manipulation from the Duke of Orleans, the king sends four agents from his Secret Bureau, led by the young knight D’Eon de Beaumont, to the neighboring countries. Their mission: to report any suspicious activities and to assist the other monarchs against revolutionary forces that have started to grow throughout Europe. The agents follow the path of D’Eon’s sister Lia who was murdered while conducting the very same mission, hoping to find her murderer on the way…
summary by Taleweaver
Highs: Historically accurate art; interesting interpretation of historical events; great pacing
Lows: Too many plot devices; supernatural elements make for poor drama
Taking historical figures and events for a fictional story is hardly a new idea, especially in manga and anime, and productions like Rose of Versailles have long proven that the era just before the French Revolution is a great setting for gripping drama. Le Chevalier D’Eon takes this setting beyond the original idea, though, adding several fictional elements to it, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
As expected from Production I.G., the art and animation of the series have a high standard, and the concept artists did a great job depicting the 18th century realistically. Fashion, architecture, hairstyles, even customary etiquette are depicted with painstaking realism, making it easy to submerge into the world of Le Chevalier D’Eon. The journey of King Louis’ agents is based on the journey the real D’Eon de Beaumont undertook, and while many of the events are mixed with fictional elements, they always end up as they did historically, making for an interesting interpretation of these events.
The show also manages to keep up a high pace during all of its 24 episodes with hardly a boring moment (and many stunning revelations), but unfortunately, that pace is many times supported by plot device after plot device. If the story demands it, people can be in one place today and five hundred miles away tomorrow; if it is convenient to the plot, enemies of the state can just walk into areas with literally hundreds of guards and do as they please without anyone stopping them. Most of these plot devices are explained with supernatural powers (in fact, a rather large part of the plot revolves around the struggle against them) and these powers, however intricately designed they are, remain unstoppable if the plot demands it. Yes, it is dramatic, but it is poor drama, especially when compared to the down-to-Earth suffering of D’Eon and his comrades.
It is difficult to condemn Le Chevalier D’Eon because of these plot devices alone; without the supernatural elements, it would be an entirely different show. Maybe a historically “realistic” scenario would have made for a better series; however, it owes much of its appeal to its constantly high pace. Le Chevalier D’Eon is not what it could have been, but it is good entertainment. If you liked The Three Musketeers at all, give this series a try. The sword fights alone are worth it.