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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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 12:52 AM)
    Well in the case of Samuel Jackson playing nick fury, I never truly gave a crap about the comic book character. But I have never taken Jackson seriously as the head of shield. It hard to see him as a dependable leader.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 11:29 PM)
    Synecdoche, New York:
    What a great film. Charlie Kauffman’s directorial debut is a post-modern surreàl piece about fear of death and mortality. There are few editing and pacing issues which a more experienced director could’ve ironed out, and the very nature of the movie begs to be called pretentious and boring by shallow viewers. Yet this is still an honest and meticulous piece of artistic filmmaking which shouldn’t be missed by those who enjoy the craft.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:56 PM)
    I did think some of the outburst though in death parade 04 were verging too far on the melodrama though.
    Still like Garo this week, still a very watchable episode.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:35 PM)
    Come to think of it In kingsman they changed the villain to be black also. Of course all this I consider pretty minor. Moreso I’m tired of seeing Samuel L Jackson playing himself in everything.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:28 PM)
    But in the case of the Marvel stuff, with Nick Fury and Human torch, I know its a crap complaint but for me its a case of “He doesn’t look close enough to the comic”
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:16 PM)
    @Aidan: They think they are promoting diversity but all it ends up being is completely tokenistic to the core.
    The fantastic 4 have always struck me as characters that were too difficult to get right/write.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:08 PM)
    Sort of like how skyfall made moneypenny black for that “OOHHH SNAP!” moment. Disregarding the point of moneypenny and not to mention making her a character who was so incompetent a secret agent that she was demoted to Secretary.Or like how they made Annie black. Just why exactly?
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 10:06 PM)
    So the new fantastic four is going to have a black human torch. So…why is he black? I mean I don’t really care as long as the character is portrayed well but this feels like the only reason they made him black was just cause.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:51 PM)
    Death parade episode 4 then, I appreciated that it wasn’t as “sweet” as last week, the middle aged woman’s backstory was a highlight moreso than the guy who appeared this episode and her reaction later on was great to see. Like what Decim was up to this week but I wasn’t really feeling the tension in this episodes game as much as I should have.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Jan 30. 2015 09:47 PM)
    What on earth was up with Garo this week, heh, monster of the week healing German, still at least the ending to that episode definitely catches my attention with its last scene and it was a step up from the goofiness last week.

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