Ikoku Meiro no Croisee Eps08-09

I wonder why Ayako Fansubs suddenly became so sluggish with this anime around the same time that I became lazy with watching it. The final episode was just released today, though, so there's another one to cross off the list (finally).

This batch dealt with the Camille-Claude situation that had been hinted at before. While there was some closure, it didn't really feel like there was enough. These two episodes left me almost rooting for these two, although it's pretty clear (I think) that Claude is being set up to be with Yune. This author (same as Gosick) really likes inter-racial pairings, perhaps. I really don't know; the remaining 3 episodes will reveal what's really going on.

Ah, old school thinking.

The episode began with Claude and Yune heading to the mansion, since Yune had been helped out by Alice when she was sick (with the sending of the doctor and whatnot). Claude seemed a little resistant, preferring to not go to the mansion at all, but he did it out of honour and a sense of duty. Just like with Gosick, where everything seemed to happen out of nowhere, the Claude-Camille thing here really just suddenly dropped in. Apparently, the two had played together all the time when they were young, with lots of feelings most likely involved, but then something happened.

No fairy tales of marrying for love here.

One of the key factors of this episode - and this batch, actually - was that Camille never really had it in her mind to marry Claude. Perhaps they had actually been "lovers" as children (in the non-adult way), but Camille never once thought that she and Claude could be together. By his actions, he might have thought otherwise. It brought to question an interesting notion - extra-marital affairs might not have been a big deal in France at the time. I've always known that men were able to have mistresses pretty freely, but I didn't know that it was okay for women too. In the way that Camille and Alice both talked, it seemed as though that was the case.

Why so mean?

Yune didn't really get much screen-time in this episode, as it was really a little more focused on Claude and Camille. She was taken to the garden by Alice, where they had afternoon tea (while Claude stayed indoors with Camille), and then taken to Alice's childhood room, where Alice recounted a story that she had made up in earlier years of a foreign girl with jet black hair and eyes arriving. It was only when Alice ran off to prepare Japanese-style tea that Camille showed up. (It's pretty weird how Claude's plan of action for the day was to just hang out at the mansion.)

I'm pretty sure it was the dress that Alice was wearing.

Her role in this entire scene was rather questionable; she seemed to be jealous of Yune at times, heckling her, but she also seemed as though she were giving Yune advice. In the end, I'm pretty sure she's just a woman tied down by her fate, still bitter about the goings-on around her. I don't particularly like her character, but it adds a little more to the story than the naive (and annoying) Yune trotting around all the time. The episode ended with Camille helping Yune into a dress that Alice wore in the past (and wrongly claiming that it had been her...?), which is exactly where ep09 picked up.

Alice is quite coddled, just as planned.

Ep09 saw Alice finding Yune and taking her back to the garden for some Japanese-style tea (although she initially messed it up by adding milk and sugar). More talking about the symbolism of the corset preceded this event; I get it already. The corset is binding the women. Move on. This was actually the most time that Yune would get in this episode; once the flashback began, she was obviously nowhere to be seen.

So, you're only secretly tarnishing your name.

The flashback began with some scenes that were seen in the previous episode; namely, Camille talking about how her mother hated stray cats (with a lot of hinting that it was actually "outsiders"), but she herself loved them (as in Claude). The scenes continued with various incidents were Claude visited Camille - and then various times where Claude wanted to take Camille out with him, to view a puppet show for example, but failed. After Camille secretly ran to the Gallery one day and Claude chased her back, she finally revealed that the only reason her nannies had allowed Claude to visit was under the condition that Camille not leave the estate. (Why couldn't this have been said before, without all the drama, anyway?)

I wonder if slightly less noble women didn't wear them too.

When the flashbacks finally ended, Claude was walking back with Yune when she mentioned that Camille wore a corset without complaining, also providing the miraculous insight that perhaps Camille wore the corset for people other than herself. This brought the entire Claude-Camille saga to its end; Camille had realized her limitations and decided to stay within the boundaries created for her. In doing this, she was trying to ensure a better life for her younger sister. In that sense, she probably had also given up on Claude (unless an extramarital affair was one day possible); however, as with most feelings-related decisions, she sometimes wavered (as with her jealousy of Yune). It's nothing confusing; it just feels a little out-of-place since it got so serious so fast...like Gosick, actually.

Momotaro! I agree; it's pretty weird.

This batch of episodes basically just added in some drama to the otherwise happy anime, and ended it off pretty quickly. I can't see Camille posing any problems in any relationship that Claude and Yune choose to have; if anything, she just served as a convenient catalyst to get the ball rolling a little faster. I like that some more intricacy was added to the story, but it feels just as out-of-place here as it did when it happened in Gosick.