Sunday, May 19, 2013

Anime Review: Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth

Well, over this weekend we celebrated 3 birthdays, my dad's, my brother's, and my own. See, our birthdays are all one week apart (My brother: the 13th, my dad: the 20th, and mine: the 26th) and since my brother lives out of state it is impractical to have him visit once every week for three weeks, so we combined all of our respective birthday celebrations on one day. Which of course means I got my birthday gifts sooner! I received: Atelier Meruru, Dragon Quest VI, and Radiant Historia. Although, it is odd that I'm constantly not getting new 3DS games. Seriously, the three 3DS games I own, I bought with my own money or gift cards. Anyway, we also went to see Iron Man 3, which is pretty good. It has everything we come to expect from Iron Man, the lovable jerk in Tony Stark, amazing CGI effects, and more Iron Man suits than you can shake a robotic arm at. Anyway, I'm not here to talk about a drunk multimillionaire wasting his money on tools that can save the world. I'm here to talk about a tiny Japanese girl hanging out in 19th century Paris in the anime Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth.

"It followed me home, can I keep it!?"
It's the late 19th century, and things are changing in Paris. The industrial revolution is in full swing, automobiles are replacing carriages, and mass-producing factories are replacing traditional artisans. Times are changing and no one is feeling it more than 3rd generation metalworker Claude Claudel (Yes, that is his name) as his store "Enseignes du Roy" is struggling to make ends met. That all changes when his grandfather, Oscar, returned from his trip to Japan and brought home a rather unusual souvenir; a small Japanese girl named Yune. In an effort to expand her horizons beyond her small village, Yune comes to France and begins working at Claude's shop as a cleaning girl; however, cultural differences between Japan and France as well as Claude's own abrasive personality proves to be a challenge to this tiny girl. Can this little girl persevere in this foreign land, and find herself an unlikely home in the "Enseignes du Roy" among strangers? Watch Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth to find out!

The Power of Bread!
Croisee is best described as a "Slice of Life" anime, you know those animes where the entire premise is built on everyday mundane things happening to characters. In the case of Croisee, those mundane things are centered around a Japanese girl trying to figure out French culture and a bunch of French people trying to figure out Japanese culture. With no overarching plot, a lot of the episodes are mostly little vignettes focused on the characters interacting with each other. These range from Yune being disappointed about how simple it is to make a French breakfast, to Oscar telling Claude all about Japan to which Claude's mind breaks down at the images he gets, to the resident rich girl otaku, Alice, fanning over anything and everything Japanese, especially Yune herself. While there is drama between the characters, for the most part the series is a fun little series of events revolving around a Japanese girl living in Paris. Nothing more, nothing less.

Must... Reach... Cat!
Like most series in the "Slice of Life" brand, Croisee doesn't really have an ending to the series. The series just kind of stops, and has a few plot lines that is just kind of left forgotten in the process. For example, Yune gave Claude one of her Kimonos as way of apology in the first episode, which Claude sold not knowing it belonged to Yune's mother. After swearing that he would buy it back for her and a few scenes follow up scenes where we learned what happened to it, it is left unresolved and isn't even brought up again for the rest of the series. Also, this series was distributed by Sentai Films without an English dub. So even if you have the DVD, you will have to read the subtitles while a whole lot of Frenchmen speak perfect Japanese (With the exception of the narrator who actually speaks fluent French).

If I had to summarize Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth in one word it would be "Adorable." Just everything about this series is so sweet it makes your teeth rot just by watching it. Not just because Yune is genetically engineered to be the cutest thing in all of existence (although that is a large portion of it), but there is also a lot of scenes that are not only funny but endearing as well. If you want a series you can relax to and take it easy, then Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth is a great anime to check out. Highly Recommended.

Until next time.

-Crescent, Japan: the land of the Yune.


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