Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Review
“The east and the west, coming together as one.”
Living at another foreign country had always been one of the toughest accomplishment. One would feel like he is living in a completely new dimension as he would have to adapt to the new surroundings and environments. Each countries have their own separate rules and systems as well. For example, litter in Singapore and you will be fined $1000. It is also forbidden to trample on money in Thailand. Not knowing these beforehand would be obviously one’s immigrant downfall. Another big problem would be languages barrier. Although English is an universal language, there are still countries which can’t grasp the English language efficiently.
It is also interesting to note that each country’s view on otaku is different. In some countries, otaku are treated harshly, and in some countries, otaku are treated fairly and in some countries, perhaps a category called ‘otaku’ does not even exist. But that’s a story for another time I suppose.
This show brings to light the troubles of a stranger, trying to familiarize herself in a completely foreign land, trying to blend in with the rest of the crowds, and to ultimately see eye-to-eye with them. The story revolves around a petite Japanese girl, Yune, who moved to Paris, together with Oscar. Yune helps out in a signboard shop, owned by Oscar’s grandson, Claude.
The best part of the show is watching both sides trying to adapt to the other side. Yune trying to eat cheese and Claude trying to drink miso soup, watching their reactions to each sides of the gourmet is quite entertaining. There are a lot of humorous and memorable moments when Yune displayed her Japanese antics for the French, like when she bowed down to Claude and instead of returning the bow he was completely lost. It is also nice of Claude to try to write Yune’s name in kanji, and even tried to read a Japanese book. Other things which compared Japan and France are also mentioned, like their housing, fashion and so on. Ikoku Meiro no Croisee is the epitome of the east and west coming together as one.
However, it is not without it’s problem. Yune, couldn’t get used to the mindset of the Parisians. Most of them mind their own business, and when Yune was pleading for help, none cared for the poor girl. They even had to detect deceptive smiles, just in case the others have something evil up their sleeves. However, it is nice to see a big change later on, with each and every people greeting her on the streets and giving her a fair amount of attention and interactions. Needless to say, the plot developments here are second to none. Some episodes are even dedicated to specific characters, further improving their character developments.
Characters are really charming. Although Claude may seems rude and although Oscar may seems like an old womanizer (no.. don’t look at me), there’s no stopping them from being one of the most lovable family in Paris, accepting a foreigner and treating them as their own. Claude especially, takes good care of Yune. Even though Yune herself didn’t particularly requested it, Claude brings her outside to roam around the city. Speaking of Yune, she may be one of the most adorable character this year. Although she’s young
and is a loli, she acts really mature and reserved for her age. Her understanding went way beyond the age of adults as it seems she could understand the troubles and problems of various other people twice or even thrice her age. Yune is also self-considerate, always thinking of the well-being of others before herself. She is one of those loli which you certainly won’t mind keeping one at home. What’s more, Yune mastered the French language at the tender age of 13!
A few other characters from the supporting cast who deserves some attention would be the two siblings, Alice and Camille. Although they are typical rich ojou-samas, they have a really fun relationships with Yune and Claude. Alice loves Japan,
and is a Wapanese. Day after day, she would lust look up on things about Japan and when the real thing comes, Yune that is, everything turns 180 degrees into yuri. Perhaps yuri is the reason why I like them in the first place?
The visuals doesn’t look dissatisfying and I would say it’s a little above average. Some of the character models look repetitive and dull. Also, most of the motions undertaken by the characters does not require chunks of frames as there are not a lot of movements in the first place. I like their rendition of Paris though. To me, Paris is a beautiful city and their interpretation of Paris showcased exactly the beauty that is Paris. The atmosphere, the city and the streets, everything looks just exactly like Paris of the 19th century.
Audio-wise, the anime delivers as well. Each tracks in the anime are very soothing and comfortable to hear in the background. There are jazz, orchestra and even country. Incidentally, the show uses quite some bossa nova beats as well, a sub-genre of jazz. All in all, the music matches well with the settings and atmosphere of Paris. The anime does not have a strong cast of seiyuu though the voice acting in the anime is already well done. The voice actor for Yune, Touyama Nao, seems quite new to the seiyuu business too and I think she did quite fine. I actually liked her role here better then Kanon in The World God Only Knows. Doesn’t it feels like there are more and more talented voice actors popping up these days?
The ending may had been a tad bit disappointing. There are a few unresolved issues, one main example would be that Claude had yet to purchase Yune’s kimono back. they are probably looking for a second season with the incomplete closure and I say there is a pretty high possibility. The scene at the end is really heartwarming though. Watching every Parisians in the city happily accepted Yune is a good major point though, as that part of the scene is really heartwarming.
In my opinion, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee is an anime easily overlooked by other superior anime in the same season, like say, Usagi Drop. As for me, I love both Ikoku Meiro no Croisee and Usagi Drop equally just like I love my fish and chips. Both the shows used the concept of family to the viewers and the results, the shows, are plain wonderful. You want slice-of-life? Check. with an unique non-Japan settings too? Check. Adorable
loli characters? Check. Bathing scenes? Check.