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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  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 10:51 PM)
    But seriously I only watched this sequel because I was told to. From now on if I don’t like something at a glance of its plot summary/promo material I won’t watch it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 10:48 PM)
    And I also want to added to what I said about the latest psycho pass episode by mentioning that ridiculous fight scene with shisui, arrows vs guns.
  • Mikey
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 10:47 PM)
    Psycho Pass: So basically there is no season 2 of Psycho Pass.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:59 PM)
    @Bam, Visionary? Ain’t exactly seeing anything new here. fanservice is bad, anime is making people mindless drones. Been there done that.
    You are giving Anno too much credit man. I honestly think he just fires this shit out and laughs as fans try to find an “interpretation”
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:57 PM)
    It took me a little longer to start shaking my head a Mika’s role in the series in comparison to other viewers and I thought there may have been something salvagable, but no such luck there.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:55 PM)
    At the beginning I saw some potential in this sequel, although it was kind of slow going at first. Initially I was able to get behind the silly gore as dumb entertainment, at the start I liked kamui more than Makishima and I liked the way they had Akane as a stronger character too here.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:51 PM)
    And Kamui’s final moment, that shot was pure fujoshi baiting I don’t care what anyone says, add to his last stand being fairly underwhelming. Another unmistakable Mika moment too later on in this episode. This is the kind of thing that leaves me depressed at it whereas previous episodes I could just laugh, raise an eyebrow or stop caring.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:51 PM)
    Really Togane, is this all you come down to and amount to, an oedipus complex mess, the last nail in the coffin after you spend the show dragging out the buildup around him and killing the intrigue around him. Then giving him those silly flashbacks, now in this episode giving him a ridiculously cartoonish performance.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 09:01 PM)
    @Bam: Well put together it is and I actually like the music, the last three minutes stood out for me particularly.
    I also noticed the Eva reference slipped into the video.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Dec 18. 2014 02:14 PM)
    This is the gratuitous fan-service done for a purpose that people argued for Kill la Kill, which quite frankly just wasn’t there, but there is no denying that even in this music video some value of the fan-service is sheerly the eye-candy.

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