It didn’t take me long to recognise Junichi Sato’s involvement in this series. Sure, he didn’t direct this time, but I still got that warm and fuzzy feeling that made Aria and Tamayura stand out so much. Croisée is not as memorable as those two series, but it’s definitely not bad. And, to my surprise, it differentiated itself sufficiently from Aria to be interesting in its own right.
Croisée and Aria share a theme: Moving to a new place and learning to know the city and its people. Probably because of its sci-fi setting, Aria went for a more atmosphere- and feeling-based approach. Neo Venezia does have many similarities with Venice, but it’s clearly a different place. In Croisée, on the other hand, there is a lot of focus on the authenticity of the culture clashes(between 19th century Japan and France in this case). And I was delighted by that, because culture clashes between the west and Japan are usually portrayed non-seriously in anime, Samurai Champloo and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei in particular coming to mind.
And so, not only did I enjoy the show as a heartwarming and relaxing show in the vein of Aria and Tamayura, I also liked it a lot for the historical aspect. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s so realistic that it’s educational, but I admit that I bought the premise without thinking about it too much. It was also refreshingly different compared to most “historical” anime, which are usually about Japanese history in general and Oda Nobunaga in particular, and often fictionalised with supernatural or sci-fi elements, which I’m not the biggest fan of. Nobunagun was kinda entertaining, though, if only for the pun.