Looking back before Sumer 2011 anime season started, I was able to find an appreciation for animes which stories bring the viewer to non-modern times and although their settings might not apply to the actual history, they still deliver a very warm/simple view of what those times used to be like, in example “Gosick” which started back in winter of 2010. Ikoku Meiro no Croisée from this past summer 2011 season is another great example of animes that are able to deliver the viewer a very interesting take of how life used to be before modernity.
This warm and historical slice of life revolves around Yune, a 13 year old Japanese girl living in a 19th century France setting. Yune finds herself abruptly living in this new and different place and together with Claude, French male main character, she begins to learn and experience the, sometimes hard, life lessons lower class French family had to endure in the 19th century. I know I sound harsh but luckily the series focuses most of the time on the happy and satisfactory moments of living in France at those times. Off course sometimes the story changes into a crueler and realistic setting but it’s really something standard used in anime of this kind to create some drama into it, effectively making the anime feel very less repetitive and bland.
The series consists of 12 episodes averaging about 23 minutes long, and from the begging to the end, every episode delivers beautiful animation and detail drawing, especially when it comes to scenery, buildings, foliage, etc. The most notable characters do feel to have a presence of their own but I personally felt that everyone else was just drawn with a very bland idea in mind. The animation is not always constant though, there are times in where special events, usually comic ones, change how the characters and scenario look like (Example Above) and they offer a very “Moe” / “Kawaii” feeling to the viewer. I’m a sucker for Moe and Kawaii and so I personally believe that this department is what makes Ikoku Meiro no Croisée a very fun series to watch.
Not long into the series, more characters are introduced which helps us define the gap between Japanese and French style. Alice (Picture Above) comes into the series basically contrasting the Japanese and French cultures, and is shown as being the typical fanatic for Oriental culture especially if its from Japan. In reality it was a very popular practice for nobility or wealthy families to acquire oriental goods, such as clothing, metal and art works, silverware, etc. in order to display them as “exotic” belongings from the Far East. At the same time Alice, being from a very wealthy family, gives us another take in somewhat accurate French wealthy status during the 19th century and the problems that came with such status.
Overall, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée offers anime fans a simple but cute series to enjoy. The plot is not very interesting, and the small events that create some kind of conflict do not really add up in order to make this series a must watch. This does not mean that the series is all bad or horrible, just not very interesting. Like I said before, “I’m a sucker for moe,” so, for me, anime like these are really a must watch even before I know what they are about. In that same note, the cuteness really makes these series stand out from the typical historical genre so personally I believe any anime fan would at least be glad to give this series a try; and if you make it to the coffee scene you will see why I really liked this anime and it never failed to give me a smile while watching it.