「チーズ “Fromage”」 (Chiizu)
“Cheese”

Alright, get ready for round two of “Why I love Ikoku Meiro so much.”

If it wasn’t evident already from my previous post, the simplicity of the series and how it makes me appreciate the little things in life more are a large part of it, much like it was in the Aria series. Yune’s innocence and naivety about France also parallels Akari’s unfamiliarity with Aqua, providing us with a window into a foreign world, whereas her respectful conduct and diligence are contagious. This second episode touches on the latter, depicting how Yune doesn’t like the taste of cheese or coffee and is unfamiliar with drinking soup using a spoon, yet is adamant about acquiring those tastes and table manners for the sake of Oscar and Claude. Showing respect and appreciation has always been an aspect of Japanese culture that I admire — even if they do get carried away with it at times — and Yune provides a small glimpse of that with her sincere desire to understand their tastes so she can prepare the food they enjoy, and not waste any of the food she’s given. It’s a very charming quality to see in a such a young girl, and makes me want to see that she’s loved in return because of it. In that sense, she’s really no different than Rin in Usagi Drop, whom one can’t help but feel compelled to extend an arm out to and want take care of.

It’s pretty undeniable that Yune’s young age and level of maturity have an added appeal, but I still feel that it’s her aforementioned innocence and naivety that really defines her character. It’s easy to misinterpret her earnest desire to be helpful as an acceptance of a life of servitude, except that would only be true if she didn’t want to come to France to learn about the world or was mistreated in any way. Clearly neither are the case, as she’s very happy to be abroad and is already dearly cared for, so much that Claude is still trying to get her mother’s kimino keepsake back. More importantly, Claude recognizes that Yune is so concerned about being helpful and not being a bother that he wants to help her enjoy her time in Paris, and decides to step away from his work to show her around the city — hardly the type of treatment anyone would expect toward a mere household maid. If anything, Yune is perceived as a younger sister to Claude and a granddaughter to Oscar, and it shows in the way they’re really patient with her as she learns about their part of the world. The trip to the marketplace was a good example of that, where Claude used the English names of all the vegetables to add to the foreign feeling.

As unusual as it may sound, what I’m really looking forward to are the moments when Yune screws up, either accidentally like in the first episode or due to her own kindness. The orphan boy who’s been seen peering into Enseignes du Roy and rummaging through the trash should provide that in the upcoming episodes, leading to some relatively minor yet rather meaningful problems for Yune to deal with. Most of all, I’m eagerly anticipating the introduction the rich daughters of the Blanche family that Claude despises, Alice (Yuuki Aoi) and her older sister Camille (Yahagi Sayuri). Alice is the other key character to the series and has an abnormal interest in Japanese culture (which could probably be said about a lot of us), and is currently in possession of Yune’s mother’s kimino. It’s not too hard to have imagine where that might take things, much like Yune teaching Claude how to write her name in Japanese. i.e. Nowhere good in either case, but interesting to watch for that very reason.

* For fang lovers out there, it looks like they gave Yune one. Cuteness meter off the scale?

 

Preview

49 Comments

    1. +1

      but Yune’s displaying curiosity rather than “naivety” of France.

      …It shouldn’t be surprising if the series touches Yune being homesick sometime soon…

      info600
  1. Everything Yune does is adorable! The scene with the warm bread was so cute it’s almost wrong!! XD It really is heartwarming how she’s already a member of the family.

    The fang is cute, but kinda out of place on Yune.

    Aex
  2. Wow! I’m at a loss for words for how heart-warming
    this episode is.

    I love the Nichijou-like expressions on her face when
    tasting unfamiliar foods and insisting that she likes them.
    I wasn’t expecting that – and I burst into laughter!

    I didn’t think this week would surpass last week’s episode!
    After watching the beginning if the 1st episode, all of the
    dialogue, it’s clear that she wasn’t bought to France for
    a life of servitude. The second episode reinforces those
    references, IMHO.

    Definitely raising the cuteness bar for future Animes!

    mac65
  3. With HHHNNNGGG moments occurring every time Yune shows up (which- being the main character- is a lot), I’m likely gonna die of a heart attack before the series gets halfway through.

    Stranger
  4. More then just cuteness, this series just oozes of quality. If the anime makers can keep up with turning out great episodes of this series it will end up as either the best of this season or 2nd best behind Usagi Drop. Both are clearly ahead of the rest of the pack for summer animes 2011.

    Karmafan
    1. You’re right, other than just being cute. This show also show consistence quality in the animation. Although you can’t denied the selling point is Yune cuteness though.

      lkaze
    1. Now, now… You don’t want to wish that. You see, there are people in the world who would like to carry her home. And you don’t want that to happen. Just Imagine people like Rena from Higurashi saying her catchphrase

      Alec
  5. It’s funny how the background music in this show is always bossa nova. That doesn’t make much sense because it isn’t’ French music and isn’t from the 19th century. LOL.

    André
  6. The one thing I found it a little weird that they didn’t reconize a parallel to ‘saying grace’ in the ‘itadakimasu’, which would have been a common western cultural counterpart.

    Very minor quibbles aside, this series is awesome in how it brings out these little moments that make you smile.

    It was a lot of fun watching Yune try to adapt to ‘exotic’ (from her point of view) foods.

    This series so far has been a beautiful illustration on the differences between eastern (collectivist, Yune’s attudes and values) and western (individualist, Claude’s attitude and values) culture. I hope they continue to explore and highlight some of this.

    Delwack
  7. The trip to the marketplace was a good example of that, where Claude used the English names of all the vegetables to add to the foreign feeling.

    I definitely thought he was speaking in French when he was staying the names. :/
    Maybe I just can’t tell the difference anymore.

    But I agree, Yune is just so cute~ w<

    Also, rather than Aria, I feel like this show reminds me of Madeline (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeline) more than anything else.

    And that narrator~ <3
    His french is just so- <3

    Irational Promise
  8. Yune’s fang… KYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTO!

    Getting ready for another round 3 of “Why I love Ikoku Meiro so much” next week. 😀

    BTW, is Yune and Claude the same age?

    nagi
    1. Japanese wikipedia (usually a reliable source for anime info) list Yune as 13.

      I don’t think Claude’s that young, judging by the fact that Claude has succeeded his late father in running a store, as well as his gramps being able to freely court ladies everywhere while Claude looks after the store.

      So I would put Claude’s age between 18-23.

      Kinny Riddle
  9. I died from all the cuteness. How could such an “uneventful” show be such a joy to watch? 😀 But I think it’s because there are a lot more factors in play. LOL. The Japanese eat three courses, the French eat bread and cheese, while Americans eat cereal/bacon and eggs…

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