Episode 05 -
This was markedly different in tone from previous, with a rather tense conflict smack in the middle of it. While this series has normally opted for a rather cheery, happy way of going about things, for the first time we see Yune actually despairing a bit, although I guess she was despairing in her own cute way. The fundamental cultural differences that this episode does explore provides a rather comprehensive perspective of the main roots of this conflict. Differences between France and Japanese culture in general has always been a main point to this series, but this is the first time we’ve seen some indepth exploration of the people themselves, and how they perceive each other.
Now, I personally can’t say my perspective on European culture is correct, but I’m guessing that Europeans tend to stay away from strangers. In America, this isn’t quite the same, which is why I can’t 100% relate to the points that this episode brings up. But I do understand how the Japanese mentality to constantly help others and do their best for others would starkly contrast with the attitudes of people smack in the middle of Paris.
The scene with the shop was probably the most jarring on target, where the young homeless boy stole the candleholder. In Japan, normally stealing and such is something that is extremely uncommon, mainly because of the whole “maintain a peaceful society” mindset that is so ingrained in Japanese culture. In contrast, I’m pretty sure the same idea does NOT apply in France. I guess certain western cultures in general aren’t as trusting and forgiving of others. I am glad that this episode touched upon the poverty in Paris a bit, because previously I’d been really worried that this series was trying to build a “perfect”, romanticised Paris. Historically speaking, Paris was not all tea and flowers during this time period, and the involvement of the boy is a small little poke at such.
There are two little things that do bug me though. One of these complaints, I could write up an entire post on, but my only other complaint is, once again, the historical accuracy to this series. I do understand some of the cultural misunderstandings going on here, but do modern day cultural misunderstandings apply to similar situations more than 200 years ago? I get the feeling that cultural misunderstandings were on a completely different level back then, but then again, I’m not to familiar with how things were before the Meiji era. Once again, I think I’m just being too picky.
In the end though, this proved to be a good character development episode for Yune and claude. The story itself was touching, and at times quite telling of Yune’s preconceptions of French culture. The more stark, darker tone to the conflict was a bit surprising, but it did a good job at pushing things foward.
Overall Enjoyment: 3.9/5
Screenshots are later in the post.