OP Sequence

OP: 「世界は踊るよ、君と。」 (Sekai wa Odoru yo, Kimi to.) by 羊毛とおはな (Youmou to Ohana)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

「入口 “Entrée”」 (Iriguchi)
“Entrance”

To most viewers, this will undoubtedly be the slowest and most uneventful new series of the season, and be quickly written off as “boring” or “dull”, but for Aria fans such as myself, it’s one of my most anticipated adaptations of the season, featuring a heartwarming 19th century story about a young Japanese girl named Yune (Tooyama Nao, Kanon in Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai), who travels to Paris, France to work. I’ll be quick to admit that I absolutely adore Yune. From her strict adherence to Japanese customs and her earnest desire to be helpful to Claude Claudel (Kondou Takashi), owner of the Enseignes du Roy ironworks shop, I don’t see how anyone could not fall in love with her. This premiere episode covered the early parts of the manga that completely sold me on the series, and was just as moving the second time through in its animated form. Having voices bring it all to life goes a long way, further emphasizing that Japanese customs may be strict, but very admirable at the same time. I was really moved by Yune giving up her mother’s kimono after accidentally breaking the store sign that Claude had just repaired, and Claude realizing that Yune understands more French than she originally let on yet never spoke up out of respect. Yune’s sincerity instantly won me over, just like it did with Claude at the very end.

If it isn’t apparent already, Yune is your token Yamato Nadeshiko — the personification of the ideal traditional Japanese woman. She works really hard and is respectful of her elders and those who take care of her, including Claude’s grandfather Oscar (Tanaka Hideyuki) who brought her to France, and is quick to apologize and do whatever she can to make up for anything mistakes she feels has shamed them. It’s a very commendable quality given that she’s only thirteen years old (or ten years old in Claude’s eyes), but at the same time, it makes me feel sorry for her since she can’t loosen up and enjoy being a kid. Claude feels the same, first seeing Yune as foreign kid who will just be a bother around his shop, yet quickly realizes how sincere she is about helping out and earning his trust. With Oscar around to act as a mediator when there’s a complete misunderstanding in cultural difference (e.g. the Japanese dogeza), we have a very sweet character dynamic between the two of them. Yune opens Claude’s eyes to how important respect is to the Japanese, and he returns the favor by encouraging her to loosen those strict customs and express how she truly feels. All the while, from a viewer perspective, it makes me want to be a better person and appreciate the little things in life, just like Mizunashi Akari did in Aria.

It’s hard to say whether director/screen writer Satou Junichi’s work the Aria series has had a huge impact on Ikoku Meiro, given that the manga already gave me an Aria-vibe, but his involvement surely won’t hurt in any way. Here, he’s only working as the screen writer, adapting the scenes from the original source material, while Shugo Chara director Yasuda Kenji helms Satelight’s latest production. Their work in this first episode speaks for itself, as it turned out to be everything I was hoping for. I dare say I’ve even fallen in love with the series all over again. I got pretty excited from just the first two minutes, so I can already say that this series will be an absolute pleasure to cover. It may not draw many readers, but it’s pretty easy to talk about why I love it so much.

* Note: The dialogue is in Japanese because of the audience, but the characters are presumed to be speaking in French.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「ここから始まる物語」 (Koko kara Hajimaru Monogatari) by 東山奈央 (Tooyama Nao)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

116 Comments

    1. I really liked the OST too, especially because it was mostly classical music. I haven’t watched Aria yet, but this makes me want to, since I’m liking this already.

      Also, I was confused for half the episode because I couldn’t figure out which language they were speaking.

  1. So yeah… Started off like wtf is this??? Into heart melted. Thanks divine for the heads up early on in your summer preview so I dont miss out on a gem. I’ve never watched Aria so I’m intrigued by that as well and will probably watch that over the summer as well.

    Jin
  2. this is one series that should have people saying “cute” all over it (that or going “HHHHNNNNNGGGG” @ Yune)

    on the other hand, there’s going to be a lot of “clash of cultures” type of misunderstandings to be seen…

    ps. anyone who likes Yune within the first minute of her appearance say “I”…

    info600
  3. At first I had my doubts about the show, it was relatively slow paced and I didn’t like the way that Claude acted near the beginning. But after watching for the next few minutes I found myself loving the rest of the episode. It is going to definitely bring in people for the cute factor, myself included. Though I am interested to see where the story will go as well.

  4. ADORABLE!
    I love this show so far! Yune is ridiculously cute and, while I didn’t like Claude at first, he redeemed himself towards the end.
    While it’s true that it’s a little slow-paced, I really enjoyed it. Expecting big things from this show 😀

    Dream
  5. Yune’s too cute! Her hands are so small! X3

    At last, something I can settle down and relish in. I absolutely love slow slice-of-life story telling. The setting is a personal favorite of mine also. My only wish is for the episodes to be longer and for some reason, I’m hoping for a good cry. :’)

    I am not known to the ARIA hype but I do hear good things about it whenever it is mentioned. Perhaps when we’re all done learning of Yune’s tale, I’ll go and dive into the ocean of episodes that is ARIA.

  6. I’m gonna love this series as much as Aria. I have most of the Aria CDs, lots of wallpapers, and all my ringtones are from Choro Club. I even went to Venice to see it for myself. x.x

    But if I trust Sato Junichi’s take on Paris too much, I might develop Paris Syndrome. Onoes…

  7. lol I first thought, “oh another loli unwatchable creepy loli anime,” but than I checked it out due to the good words about it here. I’m glad I did give it a chance. It’s a very heartwarming anime that’s not complicated and doesn’t have many characters involved, but somehow it’s the type of anime that will leave a lasting impression. I look forward to more posts on this anime, although I suspect it will be hard writing much for this type of series.

    MrBrownSound
  8. I was confused about the languages. I couldn’t tell if Oscar was speaking French or Japanese to Yune, and what language she was responding in. I’d find it a little weird since if they couldn’t communicate effectively since he’s her guardian, and getting from Japan to France (presumably by boat, noting the likely era) would have taken quite a while. I suppose it kind of makes sense they’re all speaking French, but it still makes me wonder if Oscar speaks Japanese or not and if they were communicating in Japanese. If they were using different languages, some kind of cue as to which they were speaking at any one time would have been nice.

    Aside from that, I’m liking what I see.

    Delwack
    1. Yeah, I could see how that would sorta undermine the whole language barrier aspect of it. After all- the narrator spoke in French- why not have the characters speak French when appropriate with Japanese subtitles?

      Stranger
      1. I think the reason is obvious: We’d have really broken French from the seiyuu, just like we had very broken Mandarin in Senkou no Night Raid.

        The other option is to do what GIANT KILLING did and cast fluent voice actors alongside the Japanese seiyuu, but you never know who they’re going to get.

        In all the DVD/BD releases for both series, a completely Japanese audio track is provided, suggesting that it’s the preferred way of going about it.

      2. @Divine
        I agree with you. But if they added French subtitles when there was supposed to be speaking French; then we would not have that is he speaking this or that language kind of problem.

        banzemanga
      3. That may seem like a good idea at first, but Japanese animation studios can’t even be bothered to get someone to check their English spelling, so I can’t even imagine what their French would be like, especially complete subtitles in French. Plus, it doesn’t really add any value to Japanese viewers since they don’t understand it anyway. All it really does is clutter up the screen with text.

      4. The production model allows well-built shows only when everything is planned ahead – the story, the comics (manga), the voice actors and everything else. But most of the shows don’t have any centralized production model of such kind. They cut the budget and time at the cost of plot holes and other inconsistent things. Some shows are even made in its most stupid forms just because the producer or somebody else have some unofficial relations (relatives etc) – in that case everything may even go past editing and keep its ultimate (fabulous) stupidity and retardness in its raw form.
        Some shows which are made with cooperation of foreign animators or studios do have proper level of foreign languages.

        SpoilerMaker
      5. I’m not very knowledgeable about which studios have what kind of money- but couldn’t they have hired foreign people to do some parts? Like TK from Angel Beats! or the old movie director guy from Amagami SS (Nakata Sae’s arc).

        And, as mentioned, the Narrator spoke French- and very well, at that.

        Stranger
      6. It was not meant to degrade this particular show, just some others. This show seems to be nice despite its lack of budget on language checking
        (the other similar comment was posted in the wrong place)
        And their budget is limited on different departments, they have no centralized budget, most of the time, once some department is out of its small budget, it won’t be given any more.

        SpoilerMaker
      7. I have no problem with some type of assumed translation convention. It usually is best for any show produced to be in the language of it’s native audience. Actors (or VA’s in this case) can’t readily speak another language, you have to find a translator and editor, then you have to subtitle your work in the language for your target audience anyway. While it adds some flavor, 99% of the time it won’t be worth the time, money or effort.

        I just found it confusing because I couldn’t identify any particular translation convention that was in effect and language was something of a plot point.

        Delwack
  9. Yune is just too cute. loved the light and heart-warming feeling i got when i watched the anime. It’s entranced me to keep watching for Yune’s cuteness. just loved the ending full of MOE.

    Rayyy
  10. I’m certainly interested, even if slice of life isnt my fave genre… Any mention of year action takes place? Because 1870-71 Franco Prussian War and following Commune uprising would make for some dramatic background events.

    ewok40k
    1. I’m sure it’ll be at least sometime after the Meiji Restoration (1868) and the formation of the 3rd Republic post Franco-Prussian War (1870) when the political climate for both Japan and France are much calmer for normal trade to resume between the two countries, though Japan has been trading with outsiders since Commodore Perry blasted his way into the locked up country back in 1858.

      This being an “uneventfully cute” slice of life genre show, I’m guessing probably 1880s-1890s.

      Kinny Riddle
      1. Well, after watching the show and comparing with art styles and fashion, I’d place action somewhere in 1890s, probably. So no dramatic events in store on the nationwide scale.
        On another note, I find Yune as cute as everyone else, yet she has the underlying strength of character. I also find Claude very interesting male character, with his responsibility and sense of carrying family legacy. Definitely a show to watch! No ninjas, no zombies, no fanservice – unless full kimono outfit happens to be your fetish, that is – and no overly dramatic story. Still great for the picturesque way of showing age gone by.

        ewok40k
      2. An underlying strength of character is a big part of the Yamato Nadeshiko type. It’s easy to mistake the willingness to serve and please as being weak character, but she does it because she wants to and can be as stubborn as anyone if she doesn’t approve, see her holding onto the gift book when she wanted to keep it.

        znail
    2. Like i say, in other forum, it’s surely between 1878 and 1886. Why?
      Because, there are not Eiffel tower, construction début in january 1887, and in the opening you can see, the old palais du trocadéro, inaugured in 1878.

      ory26
  11. Yune’s too adorable that I can’t help but think that Claude and Oscar are taking advantage of her.
    Good to know that she’s actually 13 years old. It would be heartbreaking if she was shipped off to a foreign country to work as an attendant at age 6, which is what I would have guessed judging by her looks.

    Seishun Otoko
    1. Yeah, I’m starting to move away from providing download links because it’s kind a gray area with respect to copyrights. The video file should be available in your browser’s cache if you really want a copy though.

  12. WHAT DIVINE shes 13 years OLD!!. D:

    which part did they declare it so that i can re-watch it?
    (P.S. i don’t download anymore because my hdd is nearly full. I’m just streaming them).

    Anyway. Damn shes just so cute!!.

  13. I never really got into Aria, but I’m actually really loving how this show is starting. I would like to say my tastes are becoming more broad but I feel the aesthetics of Ikoku are more to my liking (character design, setting, production quality, etc) than Aria. It doesn’t hurt that Yune is the cutest thing to grace my screen either.
    In addition, I think what threw me off with Aria is that I had expectations thinking it was some sci-fi/fantasy show and came into it with a completely wrong perspective as a SoL series. It’s a lot harder to come into this show with the wrong mindset considering it’s setting. I’m going to give Aria another shot, but I highly doubt anything there could match how adorable Yune is.

    Guess I’m just trying to say how expectations can really mess up someone’s opinion.

    PockyG
  14. Definitely one of the best first episodes I’ve ever seen, mainly because of its simplicity. It’s so moving. And the OST’s very beautiful. I want some romance drama from Yune and Claude already. Ahhh~

    nagi
  15. I’m on the fence about whether or not I should watch this…

    While I did think it looked like a good (but not necessarily preferred on my part) anime, it also did look too cute for me.

    Question is, is there something more to this anime other than the cute-ness of it all?

    The art looks too good to pass up but yeah, not sure if I’ll actually like it 😐

    james
    1. As it’s slated in the Slice-of-Life category, I wouldn’t expect much more out of it.

      A story of friendship, and how it spans across age, borders, and cultures.

      It’s simple and heartwarming, which is all that it’ll be and all that it needs to be.

      Stranger
    2. If you look at preview 1 and 2 you can see a sub character thats going to become her friend. So there will be some definate plot development along those lines. I’m sure there is more to the series then just an amazingly cute character put in situations to show how cute she is.

      Karmafan
    1. If she is 13 then she is close to the age for romance. Back in those days I think girls got married around 14-16 and if she was 21 and not married yet she was an old maid aunt.

      Karmafan
  16. I loved this, and I wasn’t even planning on watching it. I don’t know why I loved it, I just did.

    Is this normal? I mean.. I can’t explain it at all. It just sorta’ happened.

    Pepper
  17. @Pepper: I know what you’re talking about! I feel the same way!

    I admit if not for Yune’s cuteness, I wouldn’t bother watching this. But after watching the first ep, I just loved it.

    nagi
    1. Her petite size would demark how the Japanese are generally smaller than us big ol’ gaijin peeps.

      But it’s true that she generally looks younger (just because she’s so damned cute). The only hint really is when you look at her in comparison to the rest of the children (such as in the OP).

      Stranger
    2. A kimono is also very good at hiding any curves, so even if she most likely doesn’t have much in that area so would you most likely not mistake her for 7 if she was wearing western clothes.

      znail
  18. Loved it. Will watch this every week as soon as it comes out without fail, and I can see the Aria vibes here. Being a massive fan of Aria i’m expecting great things from this series, and its almost a shame that the pacing will put many of the Narutards of the world off this kind of series.

    Thundershock81
  19. I was interested when I saw the previews, I was sold after the first thirty seconds. This looks to become one of those rare gems which come about once a year if you’re lucky. Looking forward to the next episode.

    PotNoodle123
  20. Slow… uneventful… YUNE KAWAII~~~

    No, no, no, the first two aspects mentioned above are not meant to be negatives to be negated by its third, and thus easily being dismissed as a mindless moeblob show.

    On the contrary, I meant them all three as a compliment.

    Like a cute slice of life show (think A-Channel) though the Meiji feel of Yune set in contemporary 19th century Paris sold me over. A reverse of the trope where the exotic gothic loli somehow arrives in Japan, we have the exotic Japanese kimono loli somehow being abducted, sorry, brought to Europe. But the concept is the same.

    A bit like Strike Witches, without the magic and skirtless lewd stuff.

    PS Claude’s awakening as a full-fledged lolicon has only just begun. lol
    https://randomc.net/image/Ikoku%20Meiro%20no%20Croisee/Ikoku%20Meiro%20no%20Croisee%20The%20Animation%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2007.jpg

    Kinny Riddle
  21. I was undecided wheter to watch this series or not. I was really interested in the setting, but didn’t know what to expect. This preview plus Toyama Nao sealed the deal for me. Going to watch tonight at home.

    RyougaZell
  22. That was fantastic, relaxing and frig and cute as hell. Loved the characters and the setting and cannot wait for more of this. I really should check out ARIA aswell, I read the manga a while back but still not seen the anime. 🙂

  23. Watching this show made me feel happy for some reason. I reckon it was Yune’s innocent smile. Warms my heart and made me smile. And the bgm what she was doing her cleaning was so relaxing! I love this show.

    Dusk
  24. yune being ridiculously cute and totally melt my heart aside… oscar is my favourite char atm ^-^ the kind and old grandfather 😀 … feel so warm and fuzzy just looking at him

    n0216332
  25. It’s here. It’s HERE!! *takes it all in* It’s like Aria’s lovechild with a cool french guy! Yune boggled the mind with her doll-like cuteness and loveable attitude. It’s about time we got another show you can just watch with a little smile on your face, letting everything else just happily melt away.

    Aex
  26. Well this is probably the surprise of the season for me. That was some deliciously heartwarming storytelling. Not to mention that Claude and Yuna are simply damn good characters. Gotta give the studio props for making Yune a genuine character. It would have been so easy to just make her a cute little mascot character, but they made her into something more. Also, Claude is such an incredible male tsundere `3`

    kazukifafner
  27. Oh my gosh, Yune is so cute. I just want to squish her~

    I hope they explain her backstory as well, since she must have come to be their maid for some reason other than spreading her cute-ness about Paris.

    Watching the pv’s I found the music to be very charming, and the episodes really did the same. I’ll have to check out Aria after I’m done this too.

    Amurita
    1. 10,000+ views and over 100+ comments in 2 days shows this series has a much broader appeal then to just us ARIA viewers. I’m guessing that just about anyone that watches the 1st episode will want to keep watching regardless of what anime genre they like.

      Karmafan
  28. Lol!! I watched the first episode and it definitely made me think of Aria… therefore I’m loving it already! Also, I just love the details put into the settings!

    Silver
  29. I loved it. People shouldn’t pass on this series just because it features a “loli” and is a slow-paced (for me, pleasantly paced) slice-of-life. Sometimes we just have to slow down, relax, and enjoy. 😀

  30. I noticed nobody comments about the particular decorative style of Claude’s ironworking — which is also the style of most buildings, houserooms and furniture we see in the anime. It’s a pity, because such works of fine art are definitely worthy of proper appreciation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_nouveau

    This link should lead you to all the info you need. ^_^

    mjp
    1. It’s 19th century Europe. I think people expect that sort of architectural flourish to be pretty much par for the course.

      If anything- props should go to the art department of this show- for not skimping out on it.

      Stranger
  31. Divine I’m sure you meant to write it ‘let ON’ instead of:

    ‘, and Claude realizing that Yune understands more French than she originally let off yet never spoke up out of respect.’

    Just letting you know, your writing is quite a bit better than mine to begin with anyway:)

    P3t3r P4n
    1. It also has the same feel and music of Restaurante Ristorante Paradiso. Another great anime series that was a slow moving story like Aria and this new series.

      Karmafan
  32. I was unsure at first, but I decided to go with my gut on this anime and check it out. The second I clicked the play button.. I was instantly hooked. Something about this anime just draws you in. It’s may be slow at first, but give the show a chance. It’s like a story being told with emotional and adventure in a cultural sense. OST is also very nice for the first episode and flows well throughout the episode. I am curious to see how this anime goes. It’s going to take a bit to get used to hearing Japanese/French back to back.

    FadingMoon
  33. OMG A JAPANISE ANIME ABOUT FRANCE WITHOUT ANY TRANSLATION MISTAKE O.O
    Even the narrator at the end was correct, he didn’t have any accent so I guess it’s a french guy.

    The word japanese being replaced by the french equivalent “japonaise” was really nice too.

    I hope the show will not go too fall into the classic stereotypes of french people (we do not like accordion -__- ‘ )

    KTNO
  34. OMG! toooo oAdorable! Its rare for me to see something animated and just “awwww!”
    Wow…. need to settle down…. btw, SHe’s thirteen? I was thinking 8 or 9 years old.

    omeganx
  35. The incredible french atmosphere, the traditional Japan period, the loli, that awesome kimono.

    The first episode was enough to have me preorder the entire Blu ray set. I’ve never seen Aria and have no idea what the hype is about it, but I love this series and it’s setting hits many aspects of Japan I love. And the French location isn’t bland nor repetitive like other series that take their plots outside of Japan.

    MyKotoShi
  36. Finally, something that compared to ARIA after years? I am in.

    Seriously, don’t ever comparing healing Slice of Lifes with moe-based SoL. While I don’t oppose moe based SoL, Healing SoL can heal you with not only moe, but with everything on it.

    I’m also glad that I’ve read many people become interested in ARIA after being interested with this. I glad I will love both of them :p

    zeroyuki
  37. This was the only new series this season that I knew I wanted to watch. I’m glad that it doesn’t disappoint and I’m already hoping for a long run like Aria had.

    BakaRanger
  38. The main problem of Croisee is with character designs. Edward and Hohenheim out of FMA, so I was asking where is Alphonse Elric? Considering it’s a metal workshop, maybe his brother is still hammering on him in the basement in his spare time?

    I think it was stupid to reuse FMA character designs in Croisee, just like it was stupid to put Usagi Tsukino into Tamayura. If you can’t forget about the out-of-place characters, it will derail the story.

  39. This just feels like when I watched ARIA for the first time…didn’t know about it much, didn’t expect much…”Hey, this might look interesting” kind of feeling, then I watched, then…Holy Crap!…that kind of feeling…

    Yune is really adorable too…

    onyhow

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