Posted by psgels on 16 August 2011 with categories: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée



And here we have the first time where this show really gets something wrong: the dreaded cold!

I’m really not sure where this trend started. I know that back in the days of Perrine Monogatari (1978) they also portrayed diseases in the same way, but back then it was believable: when Perrine got sick, she slept outside in the rain for an entire night: of course that would terribly mess up her system. Nowadays characters spend a second out in the rain and immediately collapse. And everybody in the anime business seems to believe that that’s the accurate way to represent a cold. Even the great Sato Junichi doesn’t seem to realize this.

Having said that though: this was a really heart-warming episode. Everyone in this episode was just totally adorable, but also the drama that the creators got out of the cold was just wonderful. This is where the clash between cultures really shines, comparing the reserved Japanese to Europeans who much more like to speak their minds. They used the young boy really well for that. I applaud this series.

What also really surprised me was the nonchalant way this episode dealt with kisses. In Japan it really seems to be something intimate (just look at all of the teenaged couples who. REFUSE. TO. FREAKING. DO. IT), while in Europe it’s a greeting, though it definitely got a bit strange when these two interpretations clashed with each other. With some great results.

Oh, and we’re past the halfway point in the series, and there has been a significant amount of character development already. That’s great to see!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

11 Responses

  1. Cholisose says:

    The anime trope of getting a melodramatic cold is one that bothers me sometimes (mainly because in my experience, my treatment was generally “meh, suck it up”), but in this case I thought it made sense for it to be taken a little more seriously, given that this is still the 19th century.
    At any rate, this was a pretty sad episode for a while, but at least things worked out well in the end. I often want to tell Claude to chill out, though. -_- He does take the time to understand Yune’s point of view in the end, at least, so I think he’s growing as a character.

  2. Kiseki says:

    Illusory thinking. Japan still thinks that getting caught in the rain will automatically result in a cold.

  3. gandalf8 says:

    Erm, did Yune really catch a cold because she went out in the rain? I thought the episode started with her already feeling ill, as seen when she nearly dropped the jar filled with sour plums. I don’t think that you have to be out in the rain to catch a cold, sometimes it just strikes you even without you doing anything to catch one.

    I also don’t agree with you on how overrated the cold is treated in the episode. Keep in mind that the setting is during the late 19-th century Paris. The life expectancy during those days aren’t like modern times, where antibiotics were only newly discovered and not yet widely used, and an illness could easily develop into something quite serious without proper treatment. Vaccines, multi-vitamin supplements and such are nonexistent, with people, especially the poor, relying only on traditional or folk medicines to combat any illness. Therefore, I totally understood Claude’s anxiety, and applaud him for swallowing his pride to ask Alice’s help to send for a doctor.

    Really looking forward to the next episode, with Claude and Camille’s history on the plate.

  4. gandalf8 says:

    Erm, did Yune really catch a cold because she went out in the rain? I thought the episode started with her already feeling ill, as seen when she nearly dropped the jar filled with sour plums. I don’t think that you have to be out in the rain to catch a cold, sometimes it just strikes you even without you doing anything to catch one.

    I also don’t agree with you on how overrated the cold is treated in the episode. Keep in mind that the setting is during the late 19-th century Paris. The life expectancy during those days aren’t like modern times, where antibiotics were only newly discovered and not yet widely used, and an illness could easily develop into something quite serious without proper treatment. Vaccines, multi-vitamin supplements and such are nonexistent, with people, especially the poor, relying only on traditional or folk medicines to combat any illness. Therefore, I totally understood Claude’s anxiety, and applaud him for swallowing his pride to ask Alice’s help to send for a doctor.

    Really looking forward to the next episode, with Claude and Camille’s history on the plate.

  5. LilyGinnyBlack says:

    Well, from what I’ve learned about Japan (and from what I’ve experienced myself through Japanese friends and being in Japan) the Japanese tend to get sick very easily (though, this tends to be for Asians in general).

    I am not sure about back then, when this series is supposed to take place, but I know that nowadays the Japanese tend to be extremely germaphobic, since they try to not bother others and get others sick (and thus wear masks), they also tend not to share sicknesses and really man up their immune system (this is especially true for children, parents try to keep them from getting sick all the time).

    So, the Japanese get sick very easily (especially through overworking themselves, which I think is how Yune got sick, we always see her working and trying so hard, it must have had a great toll on her small body).

    Also, the Japanese are very “serious business” when it comes to getting sick. When you learn Japanese in, all Japanese textbooks, when you go over “hou ga ii desu yo” the grammatical phrase of “you better do something” they always say “byouin e itta hou ga ii desu yo.” You had better go to the hospital, for…everything. You have a fever and a cough, better go to the doctors!

    My friend had a hacking cough when she was in Japan, and all the teachers were like (you had better go to the doctors!) and my friend would just reply with “I’m fine. It’ll go away in a few days if I rest and take it slow.” Which it did.

    Still, a cold was definitely serious business back when this show took place, especially for a foreigner, and was handled rather well.

    Really, watching this episode reminded me of the episode of Fruits Basket when Tohru got sick and Kyo cooked leeks, even though he hates them, for her. Claude and Yune remind me a great deal of Kyo and Tohru, which I am perfectly fine with, since Kyo and Tohru are one of my absolute favorite anime and manga couples.

    As for kissing, nowadays it is still a huge deal in Japan. For the whole two and half months that I was there I never saw any form of public kissing, only hand holding at the most (though, I never went to clubs or bars or such places where public kissing probably happens a lot).

    And back when this series is supposed to take place, kissing in public was probably unthinkable. The Japanese see kissing as something extremely personal and intimate (sexual things, however, are not seen as such) and should therefore should be kept private and not flaunted in public.

    So, for Yune, getting a kiss on the cheek must have been extremely shocking and flustering. It was all so very cute though!

  6. Tan-Tan says:

    I got a cold just by using the computer next to an opened balcony door while it was raining.

    In the afternoon.

  7. tanukichan says:

    Uhm, psgels, I know you’re busy, but you should pay more attention when watching an episode before reviewing it. :p Yune didn’t get caught in the rain for even a second. She has already felt sick since the episode started, from overworking presumably.

  8. psgels psgels says:

    Oh, no. I thought that the cold came from that time when she ran through the rain to chase that kid after he stole the the first candle. On second thought, though: that probably would have been a very long incubation time for a cold…

  9. Starry says:

    While I agree with your point that colds are usually vastly over exaggerated for melodrama in anime, here Yune’s situation actually rang true for me. As well as taking into account that sickness was a far more serious business back in the 19th century, there’s also the fact that Yune is a foreigner to consider. Japan will have entirely different germs circulating (including their own strain of the common cold) which Yune will be accustomed to, but the foreign germs of Paris will be completely alien to her immune system, meaning she’s far more likely to succumb to a cold than anyone else (and more likely for it to affect her so drastically rather than staying as a simple cough). It’s the same as the ‘freshers’ flu’ concept, where a large population of the new student body entering university will fall prey to mild illness during the first few weeks of the starting term, simply because of all the new people from different backgrounds mixing together. So in this case, I think the ‘anime cold’ can be forgiven. :)

  10. kazukifafner says:

    The nature of colds aside, I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode.

  11. tt5 says:

    I would agree if this would be a 15 or 16 year old teenager. But here its a child and I tell you in this age it can really be sudden and dramatic. Maybe Asian people get sick more often than european. But I agree in the most times its a poor excuse to create drama, like the beach episode for fanservice.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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