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
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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