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CROSS ANGE #1 & 2 – Special Review

Try to find a single trope that isn’t in this. I dare ya.

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Are you really gonna make me write out the whole title? I don’t care if it’s just for the first time! Sigh... fine.

CROSS ANGE RONDO OF ANGEL AND DRAGON (*eyeroll*) made me laugh harder in its first five minutes than most sitcoms do over a whole season. Inserting boob shots, butt shots and crotch shots between an epic mecha versus dragon dogfight felt decidedly tongue-in-cheek. I mean, how could anyone take this stuff seriously when you see every other body part of the protagonist before you see her face, more than two full minutes into the show?

But then I saw the collection of color-coded, bikini-clad femme fatales sauntering menacingly toward the camera, AND the ludicrous inclusion of “nudity without naughty bits” and realized: this show expects you to take it seriously. Not just any sort of seriously either, but super, super cereal you guys seriously.

The world of CROSS ANGE is actually pretty complex and intriguing. Ange is the heir to the throne of an empire where every single person has access to the magic power of Mana. And if you can’t use Mana, well, you’re not a person. You’re declared a “Norma” and summarily stripped of all rights, then exiled or executed. This all spells doom for Ange when her younger brother exposes that their parents have been hiding the fact that she’s always been a Norma – hiding it even from Ange herself.

Ange is immediately shipped to a prison island to train to fight invading DRAGONs (an acronym that I really can’t be bothered to look up the name for, especially since it describes what the damn things are without needing to stand for other words), which up to that point had never even been mentioned. From then on Ange is the fish out of water, vainly struggling to escape from her harsh new life.

But that’s all just pretense for the actual setting of the show: underdressed girls being in prison together. And by girls, I mean girls exclusively. Men apparently can’t become Norma, so there are none in the prison. Heck, the whole cast seems to have a grand total of four male characters, half of which are in Ange’s immediate family.

While the plot is of questionable importance, the production values are sky high. For once, the CG used to animate the mecha is fluid, which really enhances the battle scenes. Even when they cheat and switch between CG and 2D for the DRAGONs, the fluidity kind of makes it hard to tell (I mean, I still noticed, but it took me a second there). From a design perspective, everything about this show pops and feels distinctive.

Even with all that budget poured into the production, nothing masks the fact that this is a straight-up T&A show. Everything serves to set up the characters pose in outfits of varying degrees of skimpy, up to and including the cavity search performed on Ange when she enters the prison. Yes, it is realistic that this sort of procedure would be performed on a new inmate, but the show presents it in such a way that it’s supposed to be titillating.

Compared to, say, OUTBREAK COMPANY, CROSS ANGE is pretty dishonest. It attempts to hide what it really is behind its high production value. While that’s not enough to salvage it, it does make a solid effort to make you forget what it actually is every now and again.

But then it reminds you exactly what it is when Ange’s nymphomaniac squad captain sexually assaults her. So, yeah: have the right set of expectations going into CROSS ANGE and it might be possible to enjoy it, but don’t try fooling anyone by saying it’s got some lofty statements about classism and war.


About the Author

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.

Kino88on Oct. 27, 2014 at 6:39 a.m.
Well I guess they'll never be another Escaflowne, yes I had my hopes, what?, don't give me that look!, it had dragons in it!!,
metalsnakezeroon Oct. 27, 2014 at 8:27 a.m.

I view this show to be a sort of exploitation film with a budget. It really doesn't take itself too seriously even if certain scenes try to do so. There a sort of guilty pleasure with the show since it able to keep things going but by all means it is not top tier show.

Jgameson Oct. 27, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.

I been enjoyong it, is a decent show with good animation.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 27, 2014 at 7:55 p.m.

This is in my bottom shows of the season. I have watched way more of Terra Formars, and I cannot bring myself to watch this. This is the reason why I was puzzled when I heard people saying "Space Dandy is not a good representation of anime, so it shouldn't be on CN" WHAT? Look at this show. Space Dandy knows that it's leering at women, and shows that being a perv is not something you are rewarded for.

This show is pretty much trash.

@Jgames said:

I been enjoyong it, is a decent show with good animation.

Part of this statement I can agree with.

zaldaron Oct. 27, 2014 at 10:43 p.m.

So a show with T and A can't be serious or have a point? I mean the blacplotation movies of the 70's were supposed to have a point. Terrantino's movies are chock full of what I would call fan servicy violence and have a point. Why is sex different? Not saying this does and anime generally doesn't mix fan service and point well ... but I mean it can be done I think and you seem to be saying here that it can not.

So Matt replacing Sam on these it seems? To bad as my taste aligned with Sam more I think. Hope he is doing well, don't use twitter (just facebook) so can't really keep up with him. Anyone that follows him on twitter want to let me in on what he is doing now?

Oh and I was going to say I bet the show doesn't have the trickyness trope ... then I looked at the second of the three pictures and as one character is obviously a loli ... yeah sigh ...

takashichea moderator is online on Oct. 27, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.

The art style for the character designs remind me of Valvrave the Liberator. The harsh racism and brutality against Norma (seems to be only women) clash with the high ecchi scene isn't unusual for me. Wizard Barristers wasn't gorey, but it had some T & A, racism, and bloody scenes. Same for Magi and Akame ga Kill, but they weren't so ecchi compared to Cross Ange.

I think the show will explain why male Normas are seen later on. By episode 5 preview, we see new male character.

YotaruVegetaon Oct. 28, 2014 at 6:05 p.m.

@zaldar: It can, but this show FAILS at it.

zaldaron Oct. 29, 2014 at 8:24 a.m.

@YotaruVegeta: Very well may, in no way was trying to say it didn't as I haven't seen this. Simply wanted to make the point we shouldn't generalize.

YotaruVegetaon Nov. 1, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

@zaldar: It's more likely than not that a show that wants to tantalize you doesn't have much to say.

Dig Deeper into CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon

CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon is a franchise that started out as an original anime series.

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