Oh, Yune. Such a dilligent worker for a poster girl of a French sign shop. I’m sold.
Among the ten-or-so shows this Summer season that I’ve glanced over, this by far might be the most heartwarming and down-to-earth show I’ll be looking forward to. Nao Toyama does an excellent job in portraying Yune as a humble, dedicated foreigner whose own interests are thrown out the window for the sake of her caretakers’ well-being. Her soft-spoken voice carries over well from the breakout role of Kanon that she played in The World God Only Knows. Takashi Kondo as confident blacksmith Claude was an interesting pick that works here, since I’ve only really heard him in roles like Ken Sugisaki of Seitokai no Ichizon where he played a more submissive role. Claude’s initially uptight behavior towards Yune’s naivety to his line of work and pride in his heritage served well for some drama that eventually brought the two of them closer.
Perhaps the most interesting parallel with my liking to this story has to be its similarity to the historical locale and atmosphere of Gosick. While I’m sure Ikoku Meiro will never be anywhere near as mysterious and suspenseful as Gosick was two seasons prior, the rising influence in eastern cultures certainly helps to keep up my curiosity in just how simple the story will remain, or if it will be taken up a few notches in terms of drama like this episode did with the initial tension between Yune and Claude.
Next episode: cheese. At least they cleared up the language barrier issue really fast. It was painful enough to think that Yune couldn’t understand some of Claude’s criticism, yet still see her so apologetic and serving (for a lack of a better term). +3 adolescent points to Claude for manning up to the sold kimono and promising Yune to retrieve it no matter what. His attempt at her same bow was also very touching. Queue heavenly sun rays!