Ikoku Meiro no Croisée The Animation – 11
「祈り Prière」 (Inori)
Even without knowing Yune’s past, I’m hard-pressed to imagine that Claude wouldn’t miss her if she returned to Japan. You’d have to be a robot not to feel something if an adorable and extremely helpful girl like her left all of a sudden. Oscar was probably right about Claude masking that fact when the latter claimed he trusts Yune and doesn’t need to pry into her past, but I get the feeling that there’s some truth to what Claude said, seeing as Camille picked up on his trusting nature and was jealous of Yune. (Evidently, he doesn’t trust her enough to let her go to the Grand Magasin though.)
That pretty much marked the start of a fairly drama-filled episode by Ikoku Meiro’s standards. Claude looked like he felt bad about taking his hatred for Grand Magasin out on Yune, while Yune seemed to be onto something about how it might be related to Claude’s father. The only thing missing was actually delving into Claude’s past to learn exactly how he feels about his late father. In lieu, the shift to Yune’s relationship with her sister was interesting in its own way. If I were trying to comfort her, I probably would’ve told her that her sense of guilt was unwarranted and that there’s no way she could’ve worsened Shione’s eyesight. The practical side of me would’ve taken over, which is why I have to hand it to Oscar for sugarcoating it the way he did. That, and the way he spiked Yune’s drink and got her drunk. From his fairy tale-like explanations to his way of spreading the festive “joy”, he really is like a big lovable French Santa Claus — armed with a drinking flask and all.
Surprisingly, Yune’s worries came off a lot more profound than I gave them credit, thanks to the soundtrack and some heartwarming screenplay. It seemed pretty trivial after learning that Shione didn’t go blind while protecting Yune, but the delivery enhanced the emotional impact a fair bit. Once the instrumental version of “Tooku Kimi e” from episode 4.5 started playing, I was pretty drawn to Yune’s sincerity. Given the somewhat somber yet uplifting mood seen in this episode, I’m actually not sure how I’d like to see this adaptation conclude next time. Part of me is hoping for something similar, but another part of me thinks it should go out on a completely cheerful note. I’m torn. :\