This is my favorite anime set in Paris, at the end of the 19th century, this season. In this double scoop of Yune flavored creme glace, there are chills, thrills, spiked punch and some real tour de force type moments. We’ll also learn quite a bit about Yune and Claude’s past.
Episode 10 is titled, “Phantasmagoria”, based on the type of slide projector Oscar digs out of the storeroom, around halfway through the episode. At the beginning we see Claude looking through some of his father’s designs. It’s a theme seen briefly, but several times throughout the episode. First Claude leaves for an appointment with a long-time patron, who as it turns out, is more interested in the work being something Jean (Claude’s father) would do, rather than Claude himself. Claude struggles with his father’s legacy, but as he returns home later in the episode, he remembers Yune’s reaction to hearing about his father. To her pure miniature ears, it sounds like a challenge for Claude, and as he rides the train home, we can expect he’ll treat it as such.
The bulk of E10 takes place after Yune and Oscar rediscover an old slide projector that had been stored away. Oscar proceeds to set up a little slide-show for Yune, who is shortly joined by Alice, arriving with her standard entourage of maids and butler. The two young girls are both blown away by the gargoyle like images, but even more so by the phenakistoscope animator as well.
This leads to some nice moments as Oscar teaches the two friends how to create their own moving images. The culmination of the day, brought upon by the discovery of the old charming man and the young charming girl, is a large slide-show extravaganza for the people of the Galerie. As you’d might expect, the event is a big success. Alan and Oscar smartly remark on the young Blanche girl’s visitations and at the end of the episode Yune slyly peeks in on Claude hard at work, indeed taking up his deceased father’s challenge.
As Episode 11 begins, Alice once again attempts to tear Yune away from the shop on one of her wealthy excursions. This time it’s to the Grand Magasin, the Blanche super-store and the foil to the Galerie du Roy. Claude immediately hulks out when asked for permission and throws Alice through the store’s window. That’s how I saw it at least.
The young shop master decides they should all go have a picnic, probably to make up for his piss-poor attitude. Oscar participates in some underage drinking, something probably not illegal in late 19th-century Paris and then with the alcohol flowing, some tension arises. Doesn’t it always? After some un-Claude-like directness from Claude, Yune finally reveals a bit of her past.
She relates the full story of her sister Shione, who because of her eye color, was ostracized in their village, all the while raising a sickly little Yune. Over time and as Yune became less sickly, her sister’s health deteriorated herself. While seemingly at ease with her surroundings and everything around her, it turns out she has been holding this heavy regret since then. She spills all the beans to the two Frenchmen in the park and they comfort her like the friends we know they are. Oscar particularly with his smooth disposition and finely aged wisdom is able to make Yune feel better.
The 11th episode ends on possibly the cutest note ever, when Yune enters the parlor (it could be a parlor, I don’t know), dressed up as a magician. Oh my god. Just prior to that, however, Oscar again shows why he put all those points into wisdom and calls out Claude on his bullshit.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Camille Blanche arc, and was pleasantly surprised at how Episode 10 charmed my pants off. My pants were actually off to begin with, but I’m speaking figuratively. It felt like a return to some of the earlier episodes where simple situations and innocent discoveries, allow the characters to breathe pure charm. I would single out Oscar, who continually proved his worth over the two episodes.
I was grinning like a stupid bastard during the slide-show. It was a brief scene, but easily one of my favorites in the series. The sense of community in the Galerie was nice to see and even seeing Alice being part of the group was touching in its own right. On a family note, it was nice seeing Claude deal with being in his father’s shadow and of course seeing chibi-Yune with her sister in Japan. The later could never ever grow tiring. Well it could I guess. That ever after the never really took the thought too far.
Another delightful aspect of E10, was the historical perspective the slide-show showed us. The lack of historical reference was something I honestly hadn’t noticed over the season, but as such, was highlighted in this episode. That’s to say, it’s surprising they haven’t made real use of real historical events, times, inventions, etc., as it was a pretty exciting and bustling time in Paris and throughout Europe. Maybe not really noticing the lack of the times earns the show some credit at the same time. I’ll have to think upon that.
While I didn’t find Episode 11 quite as charming as the previous episode, there’s no doubt it was informative. While I kind of enjoyed the sister’s story, there wasn’t any particular surprises. If Shione of the himi cut looked and sounded familiar it was because she was voiced by Mamiko Noto, the voice of Hell Girl and Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke. Love her.
I liked it when Yune expressed all the guilt she’s been carrying around for years and how Oscar’s magic words cured her immediately. It felt a little strange. I mean, Oscar knew all this prior to the picnic, and knew Yune had all that tremendous guilt bottled up inside of her (he knows for the sake of my argument), so why did he wait to use that spell on Yune? Was it for us? I don’t know, it felt strange.
Besides Yune’s revelation and some reaction by Claude, there wasn’t too much that happened. I had to double-check to make sure it was a full episode. With the finale on its way, it’ll be interesting to see how they wrap up the series. I know there’s a special coming out this fall, but am not sure at what time that story will take place. Overall a nice one-two punch of Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, which reminded me why I’m not sorry I picked up the show in the first place.