Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (review)
Final impression – Not what I was expecting, but pleasantly satisfying (7/10)
Summer 2011 (title literal translation – Crossroads of a Foreign Labyrinth)
In the late 1800s, Yune, a young Japanese girl, stays in the sign shop of Claude Claudel as something of a housekeeper. Claude’s worldly grandfather brought her to Paris to expand her experience of the world. At first, Claude is unaccepting of this quiet little girl with strange clothes and an incomprehensible personality. But as time passes, he begins to open up to Yune when he realizes she’s much more perceptive of the world than he had initially given her credit. Additionally, he must also protect her from getting too close to the bourgeois Alice, who is obsessed with all things Japanese.
To start, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée led me to believe it was going to be a slice of life comedy and focus on the cultural differences between the west and Japan. But little by little it turned into a simple slice of life story with an unlikely premise. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, I do feel a little betrayed by the clever lead in that I was given during the first few episodes. Even with this change in pace as the story unfolds, Yune continues to be innocent and adorably naïve to western customs and ways of thinking through the whole anime, which are accented by some nice character development with her two main foils, Claude and Alice. In all, they learn to accept and at times adopt each other’s cultures.