Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation – 04.5
「音楽会 Récital」 (Ongakkai)
Wow, if this bonus episode was any indication of what the producers were saving for the BD/DVD releases, I sure hope they have another one in store. This particular episode is slated to be released on November 25th with the third volume, but was streamed online for a limited time, saving me from a long four and half month wait. Featuring songs by both Tooyama Nao (Yune) and Macross Frontier star Nakajima Megumi (Anne), it depicted a bittersweet story about how music can span the globe and connect people. The song “To a Distant You” was left behind by Anne’s grandfather when he was separated from her Japanese grandmother because their relationship was frowned upon, and is beautifully sung by both Yune and Anne as the ending theme. The brief revelation on how Yune’s sister Shione (Noto Mamiko) likely learned the song from Anne’s grandmother put a really interesting perspective on things too, showing that the song managed to bring people together two generations later. However, as much as it instilled hope for future generations, I actually like how the song resonated sadness — a sentiment that Camille seems to share.
Camille’s relationship with Claude was recently hinted at in episode six, and while I already had the idea that it goes back to their childhood, it’s nice to get some visual confirmation. In relation, the flashback fits the suspicion I had about them being torn apart because of their difference in social status. I dare say I’m almost content with the “explanation” the song provided, since their situation was depicted in a way that mirrors Anne’s grandparents, but Camille’s approval of Anne living her life freely and only forming a bond with (i.e. marrying) a person she loves did leave me with hope that status differences won’t keep Camille and Claude apart forever. What’s more, rather than shooting down Anne’s ideals, Camille was in support of what she couldn’t do herself. From that, I didn’t get a sense that it was enough to make her go against her parents’ wishes, but I did get the impression that she may reconsider abandoning her own desires altogether. While I can’t say I’m really expecting much in the romance department, the subtle implication she made about birdcages in the sixth episode seemed to suggest that all of this isn’t in the past already.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to make of this episode when it started out with Claude warning Yune about Bohemians. I was partly expecting Yune’s kindness to be taken advantage of again, so I was kind of relieved when Alice came into the picture with her Japanese fanaticism and suggested otherwise. Once that possibility was ruled out, I got completely absorbed in the songs — which included three inserts. Much like the normal ending theme, Tooyama Nao’s singing in Ikoku Meiro still surprises me with how different it is from Kanon in Kami nomi. It could very well be that I instinctively associate her singing with Yune here, but I’m tempted to say that her voice is much more suited for slower songs. In any case, hopefully we’ll see more episodes of this caliber in the upcoming weeks, because this one set the bar pretty high.
ED2: 「遠く君へ」 (Tooku Kimi e) by 中島愛 feat. 遠山奈央 (Nakajima Megumi feat. Tooyama Nao)
Watch the 2nd ED!: Streaming ▼