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Croisée in a Foreign Labyrinth - First Thoughts PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 10 August 2011 22:30
Late 19th Century Paris. One day, the sound of unusual shoes clip-clopping along echoes throughout the old-fashioned shopping center, Galerie du Roy - it's the sound of a young Japanese girl named Yune who, although perhaps a little sad and homesick after coming all the way from Japan for her apprenticeship, is sparkling with excitement as she meets people for the first time in the Galerie. Her first job is to clean the windows of the show she's working at - but while working, she has the strangest feeling that someone is spying on her through the shop window...

Introducing YuneSmall but perfectly formed

Another show I'm late to the party with, but about a week ago I got a message telling me that if I enjoyed Aria - and I did - then I should really check this out. That comparison's borne out within the first few minutes of the opening episode - pacing, style, soundtrack, and the general idea of the series, all just scream Aria from the rooftop. Akari moved from Earth to Mars to do her dream job; now, Yune has moved from Japan to France to do her dream job. You can see where we're going.

So far, so good. There were two particular things that really sold me on Aria, though. The first of those was the setting - I've been to Venice, several times, and absolutely love the city. Neo Venezia took all that was good about Venice, glossed over some of the not-so-good, and was a faithfull enough representation of the real thing that there were scenes where I could sit and pick out places in Venice that I'd been to myself. On the other hand, I've been to Paris, and I can't say that it's a city that I'm in any great rush to go back to, so the appeal of the setting simply isn't there. Venice is also essentially timeless - the buildings you see now are the same as they were 100 years ago - but the same can't be said for Paris. One-nil to Aria.

Second, there are the characters. Yune's a poor man's Akari, and Claude and Oscar, to put it bluntly, don't have the same appeal as Akira and Alice. We do have an Alice here, but she's of the annoying rich ojousama archetype, and I have limited patience for them. Two-nil to Aria. To put it another way:

THE GOOD: It's Aria...

THE BAD: ...only not as good...

...and I'm finding myself struggling to watch each new episode. That said, I am still watching it, in the hope that it'll grow on me, or discover a unique selling point of its own. But I'm not holding out too much hope.

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