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. ^_^;;;

    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.

    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..

  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?

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:17 AM)
    @kaiser: If Symphogear gets as bad as Valvrave then we’re talkin. Few companies make entertaining trash like Sunrise does.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:54 AM)
    *At first I thought it would be like nanoha
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:49 AM)
    I read a comment stating that season 3 of symphogear got so bad that it came off as along the lines of “worse than a Mari Okada melodrama”.

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