Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation 01 + 02: The girl behind the glass.

ikoku meiro no croisee
If these three don't make you smile, then I don't know what will.

Well, I caved. I was extremely reluctant to blog another series, but after watching the first two episodes of Ikoku Meiro no Croisée I couldn't help myself. Besides, I also realized all three series I'm blogging air on Thursday (and subs usually take until the next day), so covering a series on Sunday will keep things more lively during the week. At first Ikoku Meiro no Croisée may seem like just another moe, but what we have here is the most soothing and tranquil series of the season, and maybe of the year.

The setup is simple, a Japanese girl voluntarily thrown into the bustling world of a French gallery working as an assistant in a metal working shop. That may sound completely uninteresting to you, and at first I felt similarly, and the general reaction seems to be mixed (from what I've read online), but don't let that take you away from at least giving it a chance. What Ikoku Meiro lacks in exhilarating story, it makes up for with a stellar cast of down-to-earth characters, humor, and an unavoidable ability to make you smile. And if you're still not interested after that, then obviously this isn't the type of series for you.

ikoku meiro no croisee
Well, it's accurate enough for me.

From the moment Ikoku Meiro started I was pulled in by the exceptionally beautiful portrayal of Paris and the adorably eccentric Yune. Then BAM, I was hit by the OP which I paused and listened to about 4 times. Any show that starts that strongly is worth the dedication of writing about. Even if the slice-of-life type feel of the anime isn't for you, watching the first 10 minutes or so will give you an appreciation for the detailed art and animation.

I'm not entirely sure how accurate the depiction of 19th century France is (mostly due to my complete lack of French culture), but either way the art is simply stunning. Establishing a strong setting is one way to make a series great, and Ikoku takes the vintage characteristics of France and makes them shine with it's anime style flair. That my friends, is worth seeing, and I hope we'll get to see lots of places outside the gallery.

ikoku meiro no croisee
Thankfully, the humor is actually funny.

Yune is a very peculiar character. As a Japanese girl raised in a, most likely, very traditional family she has to adjust to living with her new French family. This really adds to the humor of the show as well. Watching Yune try and eat soup with a spoon was pretty hilarious and her obvious distaste of cheese and coffee isn't hidden very well, even if she's tries to force herself to like it. Her unusual antics and her slow progression towards the more casual lifestyle in France are very interesting to watch, and Claude's reactions make them even funnier.

At the moment the show doesn't have a serious plot and follows the day-to-day episode-to-episode like progression, but there are common themes that run throughout, like Claude's wanting to buy back Yune's keepsake Kimono from the Blance family. The easygoing pace works perfectly however, and I'm hoping it doesn't change. Next week it seems the Blance family will be introduced, so I'm curious as to how big of a role they will play.

So, what do you think of Ikoku Meiro so far? Mellow and enjoyable, or just plain boring? What do you think of the VAs?

ikoku meiro no croisee
Besides penguins, I also love cats.


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