Review of Cross Ange

crossange

Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons is a prime example of why viewers shouldn’t give up on an anime too early into its run. Back when the series originally premiered I was warned to steer clear of the show due to an unsavoury incident that occurs during the tail end of episode one. Thankfully I paid no heed to those words because after watching all twenty-five episodes I have to say that I rather enjoyed the series. The distasteful scene in question was much ado about nothing and shouldn’t discourage fans of shows like Code Geass from checking out this series. Seriously the similarities Cross Ange and Code Geass share are uncanny – they both feature slighted monarchs, political skulduggery, badass mech fights and even disabled sisters who are confined to wheelchairs.

OVERVIEW

The series begins in the capital city of the utopian Misurugi Empire. Thanks to the advent of mana, which allows citizens to use magic, social problems such as crime, war, pollution and hunger have all been eradicated. Life is swell unless you happen to be one of the poor souls born with a mutation that prevents you from harnessing mana. The populace fears these mana-deprived individuals, known as Norma, because their touch can disrupt the flow of mana. Any unfortunate Normas caught by the authorities are whisked off to a prison island named Arzenal where they are forced to battle inter-dimensional dragon invaders from another world. Incarceration due to a genetic defect is harsh, but hey it’s not all bad. Using a giant robot to beat up Spyro sounds like an exciting career.

Princess Angelise soon discovers that the kingdom’s laws apply to everyone regardless of their status (nothing at all like the real world where bankers and celebrities are exempt from following the rules.) During her baptism ceremony it is revealed that Ange is a Norma, earning her a one-way ticket to Arzenal. To make matters worse her heinous brother uses the revelation as an excuse to usurp the throne. The former king and queen are cruelly executed for having the gall to keep their daughter’s condition a secret from the general public. Will Ange be able to mimic the Count of Monte Cristo by escaping her island confinement and gaining vengeance on those that betrayed her? Perhaps, but first she will need to brush up on her mech piloting skills or she will end up as a flying lizard’s snack.

VERDICT

My rating for Cross Ange is four stars. As expected from a studio with the pedigree of Sunrise (they are the guys who gave us Gundam after all) the show is good fun to watch thanks to its exciting mech battles. The story isn’t half bad either. It’s much more than robots slaying dragons, although I can’t discuss the plot at length because it is all tied together by surprising revelations I would rather not spoil. Although the series has its share of dark moments, particularly early on, there is also plenty of comedy to add levity to proceedings. For the most part the gags work, although at times things can get too silly for my tastes. I’d probably award Cross Ange a better score if it had higher production values. I guess the budget went towards the CG robot designs because there are several instances were the animation quality dips. The artists are also guilty of recycling assets, particularly during the second opening sequence.

In terms of characters the series is blessed with a likable, predominately female, cast (explained by the fact that Normas are exclusively women.) The show’s only notable male is Ange’s love interest Tusk – a buffoonish freedom fighter that has a knack for “accidently” falling onto her crotch. Ange herself is a strong female protagonist, although I doubt feminists would see her as one given that she is often put into compromising positions for the sake of fan service. Anita Sarkeesian would not approve of Ange’s flight suit either, as it reveals more skin than your average bikini. If I had to liken Ange to another anime character it would be Satellizer el Bridget from Freezing. Both ladies are blonde beauties that are proficient at battling invaders. They are both also the victims of bullying, by unappreciative comrades, partly due to their uncompromising attitudes.

To finish off I would like to comment on the elephant in the room – namely how episode one finished. Was the shocking conclusion in question justified? Probably. Said incident, along with the other hardships Ange suffered, is what turned her from a pampered princess into a hardened ace pilot. A traumatic experience was also required to make audiences sympathize with the character, especially as Ange was initially presented as a spoilt rich girl. If something that extreme hadn’t befallen her there’s a possibility that viewers would think that she is simply getting what she deserved. Cross Ange is packed with lashings of ecchi that will put some people off and that is fair enough. If the first episode’s ending is your sole reason for avoiding the show I would however have to ask why? Is a one second physical examination really any worse than the gruesome slaughter seen in shows like the universally acclaimed Attack on Titan?

18 thoughts on “Review of Cross Ange

      • I’ve seen Death Note and I thought it was okay I guess. I think the further along the series went the worst it got. I’ve heard about Attack on Titan, but haven’t watched it yet, and I attempted to watch Full Metal Alchemist, but never got too far in the series.

    • I loved Death Note, due to its clever twists, but I can understand why you would feel it got worse as it went along. For many people the show dipped after the demise of a certain popular character. Attack on Titan I recommended as it is a hot property that a lot of non-anime fans seem to like. Cowboy Bebop is about bounty hunters in space. It’s worth a go if you like action, comedy and sci-fi.

      • Cowboy Bebop sounds pretty good. I’ll definitely watch a few episodes and see if I like it. And yes after the death of you know who the Death Note tanked for me.

  1. I had been considering watching this anime based on the opening alone. I know, I am WEAK. But it sound cool, and it’s by the girl who sang Symohonia’s second opening, so that’s a plus.
    Thanks for the spoiler free review, it had been bumped up several places in my watch list!
    And falling on crotches all the time, sounds like a male anime protagonist to me

  2. UGH! The yuri spirits continue to chase me. They are telling me, “OG. You must finish what you started. You must set aside your anger and review Cross Ange once and for all. This is why we continue to send messages like Otakujudge’s review your way to do it. It is your destiny.” DAMN IT! FINE. I’ll do it…

  3. Well, similarities to Code Geass aside, I might give this a watch. If an examination is all episode 1 is infamous for, then why are people so shocked? You nailed it on the head when you talked about Attack on Titans brutal gruesome deaths… but even further, why not see the way Guts dismantles some of his enemies in Berserk? Especially the manga.

    Perhaps people, although anime fans, still find some scenes in anime shocking (shockingly!) Interesting~!

    • If you do check out the series you will see why people find the scene shocking. I think people are more squeamish when something features violence against women. Although that is only natural I wanted to point out the double standards. I have seen many popular shows/movies were viewers say the action is cool because people get decapitated. Why is that okay?

  4. Hi! I really like your reviewing style its really brief and concise so slow readers like myself can take in the info efficiently XD . I really enjoyed Code Geass and I’ve come to a point where no mecha anime can give me the same experience (and if it does I’ll find it very hard to admit it lol) but I’ll give this one a shot in hopes that I’ll enjoy it nonetheless

    • Thanks for the kind words and subscription. I used to write lengthier reviews back in the day, but have changed my style, as blog readers seem to find shorter posts to be more palatable. I hope you enjoy this series. It’s nowhere near as good as the awesome Code Geass, but it’s fun all the same.

  5. Finished the series last weekend, and I LOVED it. The story was pretty good, and I liked the characters. I found nothing in this series objectionable. It is a DRAMA, and it is ART … so anything goes.

    The only problem I had was how Tusk survived the explosion, when on screen he clearly could not have. At the very least when he shows up again they should have at least shown a little story clip of a James-Bond-Like life-bubble opening up or something.
    Another example of a “They Cheated Us!!!” if you remember Kathy Bates saying that in “Misery”.

    Also it has a DECENT ENDING. An ENDING THAT IS A REAL ENDING.
    Can’t underscore that enough.

    • Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Yup, it’s nice whenever an anime ends on a satisfying finale. I dislike when shows finish with an open ended conclusion.

      Yeah, I wasn’t fond of that Tusk segment either. It was just a cheap attempt at drama. If you are going to do that you owe the audience a flashback showing how the character survived. Then again he is resilient to harm after all the whacks Ange gives him.

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