Yune is so moe its dangerous.

Finally I’m able to watch something from this new anime season! Unfortunately this and Usagi Drop are probably all I’ll get to do First Impressions of (maybe Baka to Test II but I don’t know if I’ll have time) and I won’t actually be able to blog anything this season at all – I only have two weeks left in Australia and I’d rather not spend them reviewing anime. Plus I’ll be kind of busy once I actually move in to Japan and potentially won’t have the internet for a month or so, so I really don’t have much opportunity, for this season at least. On the plus side, we’ve got Mei on hand helping Ariana out with the first impression posts and it looks like she’ll be blogging stuff too in my absence.
 A little bit of background – the first volume of manga of this series (which title translates as something like ‘the cross in the foreign maze’)was given to me as a farewell present by one of my Japanese friends when I left Japan last time, and before that I’d never heard of it. I really enjoyed it, but no one else seemed to have heard of it either. For some reason I never heard the announcement it was being made into an anime and so only actually knew about this adaptation a few weeks ago, but now nearly everyone has heard of it so I’m hoping it’ll make the manga more popular than it seemed to be.
Our setting is Paris in the 19th century, a time of industry and increasing European fascination with different countries – particularly Asia. An old gent named Oscar has just returned from a trip to Japan with exotic treasures to sell, and also with the impossibly adorable, kimono-clad young Yune in tow. Yune’s parents wanted her to see the world, and Yune wanted to work in Paris, so Oscar decides that she ought to stay and help at his nephew’s ironworks store. The nephew in question, Claude, is initially not happy about this strange girl with her strange customs who doesn’t seem to fit into French culture at all. Eventually these two will form a bond as they begin to understand each other.

I'm glad they managed sufficient detail in Yune's clothes and accessories, anyway.

Croisee is, mostly, another series in the traditional iyashi-kei, or ‘healing’ vein – a slice of life historical fiction where everything is dreamlike and rather relaxing. The manga has exceptionally beautiful art that really brings the characters and locations to life, and in the anime the very first thing that I noticed was the amazing work on the backgrounds. They’ve really done an exceptional job depicting 19th century Paris, and all the buildings look beautiful. I’m just a little disappointed that this level of care didn’t quite extend to the characters themselves. The art isn’t bad, but maybe I’ve just been too spoiled by the colour manga artwork because the difference in detail is quite obvious, and there are times when the animation isn’t all that great. Looks-wise, I’m vastly preferring the manga because you can have backgrounds as  gorgeous as you want, but if the characters themselves aren’t at the same level it can look a little off.
The plot itself was pretty much exactly the same as the manga as far as I can remember (with some tiny details left out; they might be put in later. They also seemed to have moved the plot point with the street urchin to happen earlier.) but even so, I think the manga did a better job of showing things and letting the plot flow. There’s also the issue with Yune’s speech….which is pretty much unavoidable unfortunately unless they had the whole anime in french with japanese subtitles. In the manga, to show that Yune had an accent or wasn’t speaking the language that well, her speech was dotted with katakana. In the anime, her voice sounded pretty normal for the most part so the effect was a little odd.
On the plus side, it’s still adorable and touching and whimsical as the manga was, and will no doubt get better (the first chapter of the manga being not entirely riveting stuff in the first place). I love some of the little touches the anime has done, such as that adorable clopping sound Yune’s wooden sandles make when she walks. This is not a tremendously action-packed or ‘exciting’ series but it’s a very soothing and pleasant experience that is sure to find its fans. Personally I’m so far not sold on this adaptation but I’m willing to give it a chance.


Out of 5,