Posted by psgels on 29 August 2011 with categories: Ikoku Meiro no Croisée



Now, don’t get me wrong, this episode was wonderful. However, it did feature the big one; the cliche of cliches: the childhood friends. Instead of having Claude and Camille dating at their fifteenth or sixteenth, the creators consciously chose to show a romance between young kids of around ten years old. Here it makes sense: the theme of this episode would not have worked with older characters, but this is really something that lazy anime just keep using over an dover again.

This is something that has always baffled me about Japanese culture: how serious they view the romance between children. Instead of just playing tag, with everyone going his own way afterwards, anime seem to place a huge value on the memories they made as a kid. Instead of looking back at those childhood romances as an adorable quirk, every anime seems to believe those memories will decide your fate for your entire life. With this episode I was originally planning to question the Japanese culture again, only we’re talking about French kids here. But then again, I’m not French either. Are the French obsessed over childhood romances as well?

Anyway, the reason why I consider it to be such a bad twist is because it’s forced and overused. The big problem being the former, and the latter is the thing that made it worse. Nine times out of ten, when a childhood friend becomes involved, this is just reduced to a flashback, and a cheap excuse to get the main couple dating. It’s like saying: “I’m too bland for you, but we used to play tag together!” – and anime just keeps using that as an excuse.

In this episode things are different, though. It definitely had its purpose; this is a series about cultural differences. Not just between the French and the Japanese, but also between generations and between social classes. The childhood romance wasn’t used as a cheap romance, but instead to give Claude and Camille even more character. It added a ton of things to both the cast and the setting, on top of being adorably executed. And seeing Claude’s father was a plus too.

Here’s the thing with this show: it’s forcing me to reconsider the stereotypes I have in my mind about anime cliches. It’s not like Ao no Exorcist, which just has a bunch of cliches and executes them well, no this is really thought-provoking and it’s forcing me to take a different look at things I took for granted. Now that’s great storytelling.

Also, the tea ceremonies immediately gave me flashbacks to Hyouge Mono. I can not watch those anymore without picturing these overly obsessive faces along with it. It was quite good though: again it was a neat way to show how different something simple like tea can be. Plus, the way in which the Japanese sit. Because the bodies of Asians are slightly different from Europeans, they can sit like that much more naturally. I find it particularly murderous for my legs when I’m forced to sit like that for more than ten minutes.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

9 Responses

  1. steelbound says:

    I haven’t seen this episode yet but I think for the time period and all the ritualized traditions involved that the only way Claude and Camille would have known each other would have been as childhood friends and Claude might be the only boy that Camille has a relationship with that isn’t on her list of approved future husband prospects.

    I think the romanticized childhood friendships that appear so much in anime might be a relic from the time of the overly-formalized, stratified Japanese society that existed before WW2 and was steeped in nostalgia of a simpler, freer time.

  2. feal87 says:

    Loli Alice + Loli Camilla!!!

    Oh God, what can I get more than this?! Loli Yune you say?!

    Thanks God! *__*

  3. AstroNerdBoy says:

    FYI: You have a blog thief or two, if you weren’t already aware. ^_^;;;

    http://animenewsnetworkblog.com/?p=13939

    http://theanimezone.com/2011/08/ikoku-meiro-no-croisee-09/

    Not sure if this is a secondary blog of yours or not since a cursory look-through seems to suggest it is a mirror of this blog.

    http://www.animemag.net/ikoku-meiro-no-croisee-09

    Just thought I’d let you know in case you were unaware.

  4. psgels psgels says:

    Astronerdboy: yeah, I’ve been aware of them for a while. The problem is how to shut them down…

  5. animefan says:

    this anime is amazing…i like the art in this series

  6. RollingCamel says:

    psgels, that really sucks…even the comments are closed so you can’t lash out some of your frustration as Guy Croft did..

    http://torrentz.eu/6c4d5d3c64cd85829866bc3649b5c83f37b22c1e

    http://btjunkie.org/torrent/Fiat-Performance-eBooks-includes-Guy-Croft-workshop-manual/44326c4d5d3c64cd85829866bc3649b5c83f37b22c1e

  7. RollingCamel says:

    2ehm…come to think about it, I should have just quoted not posting an illegal link..

  8. fabulous max says:

    Psgels, Think of Anime as a Bizzarro world of Japan, pretty much ALL the tired and overused tropes in anime are completely 100% OPPOSITE of what actually goes on in Japan. All of it.

    This is why regular Japanese people HATE otaku, being an otaku(male) in Japan is akin to someone getting leprosy and being sent off to the leper colony.

    so to answer your question: NO Japanese people do NOT place any importance on childhood romance b.s. and Japanese people would think you’re out of your mind if you talked about something like that.

  9. Etrangere says:

    Are the French obsessed over childhood romances as well?
    Nope.

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  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 08:14 PM)
    The word Iran means “the land of the Aryans”, and the Germanic tribes that settled in Bavaria are correctly identified as nomadic people called Indo-Europeans, whom many settled in northern Iran. I heard similar theory of etymology for ‘Ireland’, but I’m not too sure about that one. So interestingly enough the Nazis were completely fine with Iran. The many strange forgotten wrinkles of history.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 08:10 PM)
    @K-off: believe it or not, I get confused for Spanish or Itaian all the time, so we probably share similar features. I have a Sicilian friend who’s also blond, and they’re supposedly the darker Ities, so I completely believe it.
  • K-Off
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 06:08 PM)
    Lots of people who don’t interact with Italians think we’re all black haired and brown eyed, but my dad is a blonde Italian while only my mother is a black-haired woman from Lecce. The guy on the flight was a black-haired Italian as well, but apparently terrorists look like well-dressed Italian hipsters doing differentials.
  • K-Off
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 06:01 PM)
    @Bam That reminds me of a fellow Italian American economist who got reported on his flight to Syracuse by some woman who thought the differential equations that he was working on in his notebook were terrorist scribblings.
  • K-Off
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 05:49 PM)
    @Bam Ha, I sympathize with you on the beard, after years of having one it feels uncomfortably bare whenever I shave it. Also helps out my resting bitch face.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 02:05 PM)
    Also the guy playing Cassidy in Preacher is actually Irish tho.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 02:04 PM)
    @Kaiser: haa! That’s improbable. Gimme two weeks and I’ll be at Gandalf level. Just trying to keep people at ease.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 11:15 AM)
    @Bam: Ah, K-off wins the beard combat warfare =) lol
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 11:14 AM)
    Voice actors never seem to match their voices =<
    Then again I end up associating them so much with the characters.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 25. 2016 11:12 AM)
    @Bam: Oirishness/paddywhackery/Mick-Irish or in more simple terms, stereotypical Irish characterizations irritate me considerably….
    Especially Irish-American cliches, quite literally wanted to punch the screen when I was watching the departed for example.

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