Monday, 25 July 2011

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée - Episode 4

Although Yune has spent quite a bit of time trying to get used to French food (and particularly cheese), we haven't seen much effort in the other direction from Claude - however, despite his protestations and concerns over the smell of soy sauce, it seems he's been convinced to try his hand at Japanese-style beef stew.

However, before this culinary treat there is something more important at hand, with Alice's butler arriving to invite Yune to visit her for tea.  At Claude's suggestion, Yune refuses, only to find herself visited by Alice directly in an attempt to persuade her... indeed, upon seeing her, Alice seems to have decided that she'd rather like to keep Yune to herself.  Not that I can blame her, to be fair.

Although Claude, with Yune in tow, tries to escape from this particular fate, eventually Yune's polite nature means that she decides it's only fair to spent some time getting to know Alice, leaving her to be carted off to Alice's posh surroundings while a sullen Claude is left to assume that he's lost his new friend for good - after all, how can he compete with the luxurious lifestyle of the Galerie's owner?  Such a train of thought is, of course, patently unfair and unappreciative of Yune's mindset, and despite some decidedly underhand tactics from Alice, Yune eventually returns to her rightful place at the shop.

Even with a little tension injected into the episode, and despite a drop in animation quality in places this episode, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée remains a lilting, relaying and enjoyable viewing experience.  Okay, so Alice is a bit irritating, but then again that's kind of the point, and somehow it never becomes overbearing as the whole thing is kept grounded by Yune (who is growing by the episode into far more than just a generic "cute Japanese girl abroad"), complete with Claude's grugg but well-meaning nature to back her up.  It's pretty clear that nothing much is going to happen in this series, but who cares when it takes you away to a fascinating time and place and leaves you in such good company?

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