I have collected here a variety of anime series set in France. An idea for a post that I had for a few months, but needed to accumulate enough content. Some of the series I watched specifically for these series, and I even found out about the existence of one of them only when I started researching for this post. Enjoy!
Mireille and Kirika are a pair of assassins. Kirika has no memory but her identity card says her name is Kirika – she prefers to be called “Noir”. The duo goes from Japan to France where they take on assassination jobs in both countries and beyond.
This series strives to create an assassination plot, however, its attempted execution of these sequences is deplorable. As seen in episode r 4, their target reveals his awareness of the plot and sends out a whole unit to take them down prior to his demise. Despite the numerical advantage, our protagonists find themselves victorious as Kirika steps out unarmed and their opponents fail to recognize this fact – one can only imagine Mireille playing bowling with them as she eliminates each of them one by one.
Noir anime series has another issue related to how spread out it is. It’s dreadfully slow-paced, with numerous close-ups of objects and people walking in a sluggish manner. While this can be acceptable in general, Noir takes it too far. Furthermore, most episodes I watched featured scenes that were already present in prior installments – eight episodes worth and still recycling material! Maybe episode 9 will be nothing short of a masterpiece but personally, I was thoroughly bored as well as Mirel and Kirika who was genuinely disinterested.
Junketsu no Maria
The story of Maria unfolds in France during a devastating war between the French and English forces. Killings, deaths, and bloodshed are an ever-present reality. In her quest to end the hostilities and carnage, the witch hates wars with a passion and thus is determined to disrupt any battle that dares take place. In addition, she seeks to protect innocent villagers from robbers who rely on looting as their livelihood – all for the love of humanity. But this does not go unnoticed by the heavenly wrath of Archangel Michael; for him, wars were created by God in Heaven’s pure order and anyone who attempts to disturb it should be severely punished. The series goes so far as to question religion, bringing some humorous religious elements and even mocking traditionalist views at times. For example, there is a comic sequence that introduces two gay Christian believers who refuse to criticize Homo Sama because “women are impurity”. And another example that will surely rankle conservatives: Maria chooses to mention the full name of God rather than using generic terms like “Hashem” or “Lord”.
The series is pretty average overall, but it does have some good characters such as Maria and Ezekiel who were created by Michael to accompany her. Then there’s Joseph who goes off to war and gets attached to Maria in the process. The wars are portrayed quite satisfactorily, with the addition of some interesting weapons like the Sword Breaker which added excitement to a certain fight scene. I wouldn’t say it’s an essential watch (I only watched it for this post) but despite its mediocrity, I ended up enjoying it due to its good finale.
Le Chevalier D’Eon
Chevalier d’Éon” de Beaumont is the French protagonist of an anime series set in France that takes some historical elements and integrates them into a supernatural story. The young knight, d’Ayon, is Lia de Beaumont’s brother and a soldier in the French army. When Lia passes away tragically, d’Eon is determined to uncover the reason for her death and discovers that her soul has entered his body. Due to this inexplicable turn of events, Lia awakens within him as a powerful ally in his quest for answers. It’s an exciting adventure with brotherly love instead of friendship!
The Chevalier d’Eon anime takes some interesting liberties with history for a great fantasy plot. For example, although the real D’Eon never existed, the series refers to him as ‘Lia’, in reference to his female identity while spying in Russia. Furthermore, when his body was eventually dissected, it was found to have surprisingly feminine features – something which is worked into the fantasy part of the series wherein it is suggested that Leia’s spirit lives inside D’Aeon’s body. Additionally, this is not the only fantastical element; there are also villains who reanimate corpses and turn them into zombies. The show may not be perfect, but it manages to maintain an entertaining storyline that keeps you hooked until the end. Furthermore, its wide cast of characters (not just D’Aeon and Lia) makes their military journey all the more enjoyable.
Sans Famille (Ie Naki Ko Remy)
I had heard of the novel “Sans Famille”, but only started researching series for this post and came across an anime adaptation. Interestingly enough, this adaptation, created by Nippon Animation in the ’90s, was very different from the original novel. It featured plot changes and even changed the main character from a boy to a girl who shared their name: Remy.
Rami is a young French woman living with her mother and little sister. Her real father never became part of the family since Rami’s birth, but he supports them financially from a distance while working in Paris. To mark her tenth birthday, Rami gets word that her dad has returned home having been injured on the job. In an unexpected development, it then transpires that she is adopted – having been discovered on one of the city’s streets. Her kind-hearted father, already burdened by financial difficulties, sadly opts to sell her to a child slave trader, deemed as the legitimate thing to do! Fortunately for Rami, she comes across Vitalis – a street entertainer accompanied by three dogs and one clever monkey – and runs away with him. Over time this figure whom she had not known till then becomes like an actual father to her as they work together.
Remi and Vitalis embark on a journey together, accompanied by their pet family. During her growth alongside Vitalis, Remi learns to read and work as he encourages her to always move forward. Their mission is not only that but also to find Remi’s true mother. This fantastic series offers a slice of life with special traveling moments. Although she doesn’t shine the brightest among Nippon Animation’s classics like Alps no Shoujo Heidi, it is worth your while to explore this more obscure set of adventures, with its unexpected touching and sad moments that caught me off, guard.
Ikoku Meiro no Croisée
Set in 19th century France, Oscar, a French traveler returns from a long journey in Japan. As his last souvenir, Oscar brings along Yune – a Japanese girl he acquired. Of course, he was not involved in any form of slavery; just as a dove is not a slave. Once back at home, Yone joins to work in the family’s blacksmith shop run by Oscar’s grandson Claude.
The series is simply laidback and sweet – it conveys calmness with its sparkles of cuteness. At the same time, we are introduced to good characters like Yona, Claude, and Alice – all adding up for an easy-viewing experience without an intricate plot. So if you’re looking for something calming and comfortable – this is definitely your show!
Hetalia Axis Powers
This anime series is set in France and it is one that I have watched a few episodes of; each episode is only five minutes long, but three regular-sized episodes make up for the twelve I watched. It isn’t a bad series- it has an okay comedic value- but nothing that particularly warrants watching too much of it.
Its concept involves personifying countries and assigning them characteristics according to stereotypes. So far, it has seemed to focus mainly on World War II jokes with Rome shown as the grandparent of Italy – who is portrayed as a child. Italy seems to be the primary subject of mockery while other countries like America, England, Germany, Japan, and France make briefer appearances.
With all this in mind, I decided to watch it for this post but can’t honestly recommend sticking around beyond a single episode every once in a while.
I still haven’t finished Yuma Euro Patisserie, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I’m yet to watch the part where the anime is set in France, however, I know it’ll come soon. 18 episodes have already been watched, and though it has taken me a few years, I can still assure you that it’s great. What makes it unique is that part of its appeal comes from the French baking world and all its delicacies featured. This does present somewhat of an issue for me as I strive to maintain my weight; seeing cakes tempts me quite a bit. Despite this problem I still believe it to be good; with characters such as Amano Ichigo, Kashino, Hanabusa, and Andou – all possessing great personalities and backstories – it surely does well in leading the series.
On top of this, they have the aid of “Sweet Spirits”, making it more childish overall which sometimes causes me to feel old while watching. However, if I’m in the right mood, Yuma Iro Patisserie is one of those series I’d never miss. During wartime, when Ahmed was shooting his rockets, specifically during Keeper of The Walls, this show offered a perfect escape for me due to its calming nature.
Les Misérables: Shoujo Cosette
Cosette is the daughter of a single mother in 19th-century France. The job market was hard for single mothers and she had no choice but to leave her with the brutal Thénardier family. Unfortunately, they displayed immense cruelty, making her work hard jobs, throwing her in a cold stable at night, and subjecting her to multiple cases of abuse from their own daughters. To add insult to injury, they even extorted exorbitant payments from her mother.
This series also follows the story of Jean Valjean, who used to be a criminal and is now the mayor of France. He’s pursued by police officer Jaber, who determined to lock him up due to his compliance with the law. The lives of Jean and Cosette become intertwined amid this masterfully crafted, sorrowful, and gripping tale. This piece of work stands above the rest on our list – even Gankutsuou and Rose of Versailles, which are both outstanding.
The Case Study of Vanitas (Vanitas no Karte)
This anime is set in a fantastical version of 19th-century Paris. The story follows a young vampire named Noé Archiviste, who is on a mission to find a book called “The Book of Vanitas,” the legendary book that cures vampires of their affliction and restores them to human form. In the book, Noé encounters a young man named Vanitas who claims to be human.
He claims that the book was written by a vampire named Vanitas, who was ostracized by his own kind and created a way to end their suffering.
In the beginning, Noé is skeptical of Vanitas and his intentions but soon realizes that they share a common goal. Noé believes the book will allow him to understand his own past and the reason for his existence, but Vanitas believes it will help all vampires.
In Paris, Noé and Vanitas encounter vampires and members of the aristocracy, as well as a sinister plot that threatens the very existence of vampires and humans.
Their adventures lead Noé and Vanitas to become close friends, and they are both determined to help vampires. However, they face many obstacles along the way. As the two characters work together to uncover the truth behind the Book of Vanitas, the series is filled with action, drama, and romance.
Chiaki is a music student with ambitions of becoming a conductor. He comes across Megumi, or “Noda”, an inept pianist, and they soon form a strong bond – despite Chiaki’s supposedly disliking her. Chiaki endeavors to coach Noda in learning to play the piano, which makes for some incredible orchestra pieces featuring Chiaki conducting and Noda participating as a pianist.
The series additionally includes a French teacher and in the second season, Chiaki and Nodame go on to Paris – deepening their romance.
Despite originally not being incredibly fond of the couple due to Tsundere-like behavior from both sides, over time I grew to appreciate them greatly as I found Nodame an exceptional shoujo (Josei by standards). If you’re looking for something romantic with added music flair – this is your show!
Gankutsuou (Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo)
An adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular book, “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Studio Gonzo decided to have fun with the source material and therefore introduce science fiction, the supernatural, and even change the main character from Count Macristo to a secondary character in the original book, Albert. However, the Count of Christo is still a main character in the anime as well. Alber is a young man from a noble family who meets a rich man, whose original identity is unknown. He is only known as “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Albert soon fell under the count’s charms. But when this happens, terrible things soon begin to happen in the aristocratic circle of Albert’s family.
And of course, it’s clear from the start that the Count of Christo is responsible for all of this. But what’s interesting about Gankotusao is the mystery behind the count. What is his purpose for all this? The whole plot ran in a great sequence when an episode revealed to us new information about the count and the background behind it. The Count is indeed cunning, but there are elements in him that make him very interesting. On the one hand, he is charming, on the other hand, he does bad things, and all this under a strategic network that he builds from the beginning of the series. Thanks also to the excellent dubbing done by Jogi Nakata, it becomes even more interesting.
And that’s not the only interesting thing about this anime’s French setting. For example, Albert is engaged to a girl named Eugenie. The two are not interested in each other at all romantically. They are engaged for one reason – the usual bullshit of an aristocratic marriage chosen by the parents. But their progress is still interesting because the two are good friends. I’m not going to talk about the series beyond that, since Gankotusao is a series that’s better to enter without knowing too much because every episode after the first one is already a serious spoiler. And yes, I’m glad I went into it knowing nothing. This is one of Studio Gonzo’s best series, with its excellent and suspenseful plot.
The Rose of Versailles (Versailles no Bara)
Rose of Versailles is not that well-known compared to other anime, however, it is extremely popular among anime veterans. Set in the time of the French Revolution, it follows Marie Antoinette from Austria who marries the French court at age 14, and Oscar, her personal guard who pledges her oath of loyalty. The anime is a much-revered historical retelling; Rose of Versailles goes beyond nobility and courtship by discussing societal boundaries based on class. The series also does not shy away from criticizing Marie Antoinette for wasting taxpayers’ money on luxury and having extramarital relations. Furthermore, it speaks about marriage limitations due to class systems with examples such as Oscar’s childhood friend Andre who has strong feelings for her but can do nothing since he is not from a noble family.
It is one of the best on this list, including a top-tier series, to read Rose of Versailles. It is tragic, wonderful, and sometimes depressing. It was so good that I bought the first volume of the manga in the hardcover version (which included the first two volumes). I have one of the coolest manga collections in my collection.