Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, or “Croisee in the Foreign Labyrinth”, is a weekly televised anime series started in July 2011, based on a manga by the same name. Yune, a young Japanese girl, follows a French businessman back to nineteenth century Paris where he introduces her to Claude, who runs a struggling ironworking shop, where she has to adapt to a totally different culture, while he also tries to understand her.
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ep. tl;dr review: For years, anime scientists have struggled to perfect the most “moe” substance on the planet — and now they present: “Yune”, with more concentrated moe than has ever been known to mankind!
Episode Summary: Oscar Claudel returns back from his trip to Japan to the small iron-working shop in the Gallerie du Roi, which for years has been at the heart of the shopping district in Paris but by the late nineteenth century has seen better days. But Oscar has brought back more than just souvenirs — his nephew (grandson?) Claude soon discovers that he has returned with Yune, a diminutive Japanese girl who has traveled overseas to become an apprentice. At first Claude is extremely reluctant but follows Oscar’s wishes, even though it seems she knows nothing of western culture or the French language. When she accidentally breaks one of the signs he’s working on, Yune offers up a treasured kimono to Claude in exchange, but later learns it was a priceless keepsake from her mother. Ashamed at his misunderstanding, Claude attempts to apologize and find a way to get the kimono back, Yune reveals she understands the French language and the two of them make a promise to try and learn more about each other and get along.
My Impressions: At this point, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee has exactly one thing going for it: The blinding cuteness of the main character, Yune. If you thought that Victorique rolling across the library floor was the epitome of anime moe-ness, then the producers of this show have one-upped the moe-factor. With Yune, they’ve built her smaller, cuter, more innocent and helpless, resulting in the most moe character that anime scientists have ever managed to produce. Yune has more moe in her little pinky finger than the entire cast of Lucky Star, K-On and A-Channel combined. In fact, I can confidently say that her Moe Power is OVER 9000!!!!
So far, we know very little about Yune, other than she is from Japan, she marvels at everything in the whole wide world, and her eyes are as big as moon pies. Wrapped up in that restrictive kimono, she looks like she’s about eight years old (no doubt older, but cripes she looks young). But grumpy Claude is having none of it, with a taciturn hmph he does everything to dismiss her — so now we have as series where the odd couple will try to win over each other’s hearts. Awww.
But yeah…at this point the show rests heavily on Yune’s cute little shoulders. It’s a one-trick pony where we are all supposed to marvel at how insanely cute she is, and look on with parental affection as she joyously explores the world around her. That’s nice and all, but hardly something you can BASE AN ENTIRE SERIES UPON. They’re going to have to do more to keep me watching past the first couple episodes, because cuteness loses its luster pretty fast when there’s no actual story to back it up.
- Preview trailer on Youtube
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, Wikipedia.
- If you like this, you might also like: Emma – A Victorian Romance or Kure-nai.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “I’m not a world history expert, nor do I know a lot of about French culture. However, the art and the French text on-screen give a very convincing Western, if not French, vibe, much more than Gosick ever dreamed of achieving.” – Polychromium
- “The first episode simply isn’t enough to tell if this will end up as your boring apologizing japanese girl dumped in a foreign land. At least, there won’t be any mystery solving here. Maybe this can go to something of a Kure-nai direction and have the two characters develop each other, to something that we can relate to. But for that to happen, we need at least a conflict to make it show. Grade: 3/5.” – The Dere Moe Project
- “I have to admit it, I had a stupid smile on my face throughout the entire show. Except for one part around the halfway mark maybe, where I said aloud, “Oh no!” The show is decidedly seinen, but could appeal to anyone who likes historical and cultural based series.” – Moe Monster
- “Seriously…LOOK AT THAT ADORABLE FACE. Grade: 8/10.” – The Otaku’s Blog
- “Yune, our adorable little protagonist, is, well, adorable. She’s the focal point of the show and not only visually, but emotionally, brightens every scene. Every little thing she does just makes me all fuzzy inside. I mean, just look at her amazement over mattress springs! Tell me that wasn’t frickin’ cute as hell. Watching her is akin to looking at pictures of baby animals.” – Metanorn
- “I think if you like, say, Gosick, or Aria, or any of those reimagined European aesthetics, definitely give this show a try. It’s rather more a traditional seinen take, with our loli-doll protagonist and all, but maybe there’s a rewarding story behind it.” – Japanator
- “But all the creators really care about is how cute the little girl is. And she is indeed really fucking cute, what with those teeny tiny hands. So if you’re the kind of person who can watch something based on sheer cuteness alone, then go nuts. I need something a bit more substantial than shallow cuteness, being the big stinking elitist that I am, and Ikoku Meiro hasn’t put much thought into any other area of the production.” – The Cart Driver
- “This one looks like a keeper for sure. As a mood piece it succeeds immediately, and from what I hear of the source material the story really comes along nicely…for those looking for a slower-paced character series with a highly unusual setting for anime, this should be a slam-dunk.” – Lost in America
- “Oh my god. That was almost too adorable. Potential: 90%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “For me, this episode was a solid introduction to the setting and our really young heroine with the addition of very good production values. Moe aside, I feel that each episode will have interesting development as both Yune, Claude and his grandmother learns more about each other’s culture while she makes new friends along the way. ” – Chikorita157
- “Even if their personalities are a bit stereotypical, they were still quite charming. The relaxed, peaceful tone to the atmosphere in this episode does compliment the character interactions rather well, though I guess the resulting pacing is on the slow side. Grade: 8.0/10” – Emory Anime Club
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR SUMMER 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Busou Shinki: Moon Angel, Blood-C, Mawaru Penguindrum, Kamisama Dolls, No. 6, Dantalian no Shoka, Uta no Prince-sama, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee
Thumbs-down for Round One: Double J, Morita-san wa Mukuchi, Mayo Chiki, Nyanpire the Animation, Carnival Phantasm, Copihan, Yuruyuri, The Idolmaster, Sacred Seven, Manyuu Hikenchou
Coming up next: Kamisama no Memochou, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Nurarihyon no Mago Second Season, Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise, Baby Princess 3-D, Natsume Yuujinchou-san, Usagi Drop, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Second Season, Rou Kyuu Bu, R-15, Blade, Higurashi no Naku Koko no Kira, Oretachi ni Tsubasa OVA, Astarotte no Omocha EX, Touhou Project: Gensou Mangekyou, Kid the Phantom Thief Special