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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  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:11 PM)
    But I agree with Bam in that the show has lots of moments where it shines, namely in the action and the entertaining character interactions. If I was interested more so in a character story rather than an overall plot, I’m sure I’d like Eva a lot more. Certain shows work really well purely off that principle like Phantasia, but by the time I got to Eva I’d gotten relatively desensitized to those character tropes. Shinji didn’t help much either.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:07 PM)
    There’s no narrative thrusts throughout the show, it’s just scenes happening to get from one action set piece to the next all the while shoving blatant symbolism in your face. The little plot there is feels incredibly weak, aside from the world building there’s no clear objective besides a vague idea of defeating angels and something about Gendo that’s almost background noise with how little it affects the story.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 09:03 PM)
    Having started watching anime only in the mid 2000s despite occasionally seeing them on TV during the 90s, I come from a school of thought that emphasizes coherence more than anything else, basically I want the story to have focus. And while Eva’s influence on character archetypes and animation cannot be argued, I still think the story in Eva is pretty bad.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:56 PM)
    Judging purely visually I agree some leeway must be given due to the technical limitations of the time but all of my issues with the series is not visual related but story.
    I have admitted that I don’t hate Eva and I do like aspects of it. But do you really need me to give it praise? There is plenty giving it praise. I see no reason to join the choir.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 07:51 PM)
    Now you are just flying off the hook.
    I understand Eva’s cultural significance, and it’s effect on the medium. I just deem it irrelevant when judging the anime itself. For you see dear boy, if you are going to place EVA above modern anime then you must judge it by modern standards. If it falls short you can’t just bring up historic significance to wave away it’s problems.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:46 PM)
    I praised Fate/Zero for its story, pacing and charismatic protagonist. UBW I agreed to its superb battle animation and overall quality of first cour. Now when someone watches EoE or Eva Rebuild 2.2 and comments on nothing of quality, then who is the biased one here really?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:34 PM)
    If anything at least call Shinji a shitty annoying character- cuz even I won’t deny that.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:25 PM)
    When I mean discussion I don’t mean a series of personal likes and dislikes- but judging objective elements: plot consistency, animation quality, restrain in fan-service and pandering, over reliance on tropes and cliches, etc. Otherwise we all have our different preferences.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:20 PM)
    I agree with the cons of Eva, as well as its strengths. Same with Fate. Being pessimistic is a stance, not inherently a flaw. The setting of Eva predicates that tone. If anything I have a bias towards Berserk, and that’s mostly all out of nostalgia.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Jun 26. 2016 05:16 PM)
    Also what ladies? Even the “gentlemen” part is stretching it. It’s very easy for someone who didn’t follow anime 20 years ago to criticize one of its most historic moments. At least this Tenka Seiha fella doesn’t talk smack about what he doesn’t really understand.

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