New French Anime: Valerian and Laureline

The Japanese actually took the word “anime” from the French, so all French cartoons are anime. But this one is a French/Japanese co-production, so it’s anime twice over! 🙂 It’s actually not new, because it came out in 2005. (But it’s new to me.) The English dubbing was apparently done by Australians or English people, and it’s also known as Time Jam: Valerian and Laureline.

This one’s a time/space travel show. You know it’s French because in AD 2417, some guy is smoking in Mission Control. 🙂 Anyway, in the future, the time patrol guys are supposed to observe the prime directive. And of course, Midshipman Valerian is sorely tested when confronted with a medieval babe, the eponymous Laureline. (Especially since it’s a French show!) But he remains staunch and true — until all of a sudden, he’s not in any position to object to prime directive violations, and Laureline starts going at the prime directive violations herself. So when they get back, things are a little bit weird….

Normally, you’d hear me objecting to the female protagonist’s name. But Lorelind, -lina, -line, or variants thereof, is actually a plausible Frankish or Norman name.

I’m not sure if this is a bug or an intentional clue….

I have a few questions about the outfit of the Norman/Norse villain, whether Frankish jongleurs really dressed and acted just like jongleurs of the 1200’s, whether northern French musicians even had such a thing as a lute or double drone bagpipes at such an early date, use of the phrase “true love” when that was part of the Courtly Love Movement centuries later, use of the word “chivalrous”, and so on. I know most of the viewership really doesn’t care, but in a time travel show, this sort of thing raises real questions. If they’re all time travelers together or the timeline was already altered, then no prime directive problem, right? And geez, they wrote this in France, where courtly love stuff really is important literary history that any educated person should know! And the castle is a really advanced type of castle, even though this is Normandy in 912. And the Norman dude has vast numbers of guardsmen who use Welsh longbows and halberds. And large numbers of large siege weapons, all light enough to be hauled after fugitives as part of a chase. In 912. Just because they want to draw Norman guy as a Viking. Sigh.

Yet another show you can watch legally and for free on Crunchyroll.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “New French Anime: Valerian and Laureline

  1. joy

    This sounds fun. Any possibility of romance?

    • It’s a French anime. Of course there’s romance! That said, it’s apparently not wise to keep whining to your romantic interest about how you should have followed the prime directive and let her die. Mr Midshipman is also unhappy that Laureline is a quick study about modern life, at least with the aid of teaching machines and a jongleur’s good memory. I presume that he gets over this in the next few episodes, seeing as his sense of self-preservation is strong and he’s begging to get spaced at the moment.

  2. Just discovered your blog searching for “Valerian and Laureline” things. Great stuff! (Thank you for your Terebithia-inspired venom.)

    Re: Valerian’s persona-
    “ValĂ©rian was created by MĂ©zières and Christin as a reaction to the fearless boy-scout (e.g. Tintin) and American superhero characters that were prevalent in comics available in France at the time. Instead they sought to devise a “banal character” with “no extraordinary means of action”. Eventually, with Christin feeling that they had gone too far with this angle and that the ValĂ©rian character had become too stupid, from The Ghosts of Inverloch (Les Spectres d’Inverloch) onwards, ValĂ©rian was made more sympathetic and given a greater slice of the action.” (Wiki entry)

    Silly Franco-Japanese production! Apparently there is no soundtrack release. I shall have to muddle through.

    Bless Crunchyroll! And you!!

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