CROSS ANGE – 20 Review
Let’s set aside how this is another obvious joke aimed at Tusk and the tiresome running-gag associated with his character… Who actually told Hilda about this? Who the hell would say about a person “Oh, yeah, that dude is like mole – except he’s digging and flipping through a vagina instead of earth. Get it, digging and mole…?! That dude doesn’t even know what daylight looks like, that’s how often he’s down there between her legs!”
Cross Ange had been trash from the very beginning but it wasn’t very consistent in terms of trashiness. The series has a lot of crazy moments but it doesn’t have a lot of moments that seem absolutely crazy. Mostly it’s the fault of the series actually because you simply get used to whatever crazy shit the series usually does and since it does crazy shit all the time you end up feeling disappointed when the series misses a chance to up the ante. And this series has missed plenty of such chances. At times it even felt like the series took itself serious (but sadly not in an overblown, stupid way)! This series has a lot of crazy stuff but certainly not enough to be entertaining.
Hmm… let me think… yeah, the whole thing does indeed sound like total bullshit. It’s a fucking cheap J-Pop-ballad and it does shit because the series said so. There’s no way you can explain that shit with actual physics.
What is it with this series and exposition? Every time this series tries to explain things, I feel like I’m watching Groundhog Day. This series just can’t shut up about its mythology. But you’ve all heard it before! It’s like you’re in a relationship with someone who has won a fistfight with a bear and now you get to hear about this event every day for the rest of your life (or at least that’s how it feels like). The way this series delivers exposition, you’d either think that the series is bragging or that it’s simply senile. This is a great example of showing you exactly why depth is a great thing. If the mythology of this series would’ve had any depth it wouldn’t need to repeat itself like a broken record. We’re right at the doorstep of the finale and I feel like I haven’t learned anything new or noteworthy about the world since episode 12 or so.
But there are the characters and this episode is actually quite good in how it handles its cast. For once, the series actually makes use of its huge cast and has three different plot-lines going on at the same time. Forget depth if you can drown the audience in inane plot-shenanigans. In this episode the series seems lively for once and you actually get all the drama this series needs.
What this episode does REALLY well is to be a genuine soap-opera within the confines of its setting. The way characters interact with each other in this episode is exaggerated to a great degree while still being very superficial in nature. Characters don’t question their position in the world or that of other people. Instead the series has these obvious dramatic cues for what a character wants and then another character reacts to that in an equally obvious way without actually making a point.
Take Jill’s character for example. Her character’s zealous nature and tragic background make her an obvious choice to be an enemy of Embryo and her being a princess as well leads to a showcase of how she compares to Ange, the main-character. The similarities between Ange and Jill make the latter a good choice for a dark reflection of Ange or a mentor-character for example. There’s a story you can tell with Jill that will add something to Ange’s storyline. And yet, that isn’t exactly what the series has been going for these last few episodes. What this series clearly wanted was the drama (and it’s the cheap kind of drama).
First of all, you have Hilda who has learned about Jill’s secret personal relationship with Embryo by accident but does it lead to a confrontation? No, it doesn’t. Instead it turns into this lengthy plot-line that spans an entire episode that only works because the series suddenly decides that Jill has turned into a crazy person. She has been obsessed with bringing Embryo down for years but it’s NOW that she cracks under the pressure all of a sudden…? But of course, the series doesn’t give a shit about introspection here. Instead you get the drama-version of a childish snowball-fight with the participants stupidly acting as if whatever shit they throw around means something. The whole Jill-storyline leads to a dramatic confrontation and then a dramatic dialogue between her and the rest of Operation Libertus– and all I could hear was “bla bla bla bla…”. Good drama isn’t just about creating confrontations, it’s about creating interesting consequences for these confrontations. What Cross Ange is doing here, though, is just this bland portrayal of a problem that gets resolved in a bland fashion (by this series’ standards, mind you).
Salia is really nothing more than a plaything for Embryo at this point, it seems. And Salia’s only problem seems to be that she’s still jealous of Ange as Embryo actually wants to marry her.
And this is where we have to talk about the portrayal of dudes and girls again, don’t we? The way Embryo treats his “little harem” at least gets described as “playthings” which is a fitting description. That this series would go so far as to actually prove that description right puts this series into trash-territory again.
What this episode heavily implies, though, is that it wants to be trashy in a sexual way. And if the series actually wants to go for that, then it should. Turn the whole thing into a softcore-hentai for all I care, but I hate it when trashiness like in this episode feels half-assed because the creators clearly held back. If a series like this one wants to go for some mind-control-hentai-fetish then it should go for it. This series is already very fanservice-heavy and pervy but I certainly have more respect for a series that makes it clear what it really wants to say instead of having these half-assed perverted scenes like Ange lying on the floor while dealing with her immense pain getting turned into pleasure. Let’s face it: Embryo is basically raping Ange in this episode. He wants to marry her, she doesn’t want to – and then he tortures her in ways that don’t only involve pain. The notion of forcing Ange to feel pleasure is already a very sketchy one that should be reserved for hentai-stuff anyway.
More than that, there’s also a very curious scene involving Tusk in this episode. Hilda offers to have sex with him to gain his support but he explains that he’s basically some sort of monk until his mission is over. Okay, on one level, you do see the attempt here to subvert gender-stereotypes by how female characters are the more sexually active gender while men in this series seemingly try to stay away from sexual actions (and Embryo’s half-assed “raping” makes him out to be the evil guy while Tusk’s celibacy marks him as the good guy). On another level, though, it certainly isn’t okay how this sexual activity of the female characters gets turned into a dependency to find someone “to fuck” basically. EVERY female character in this series depends on someone else to give that characters whatever she needs. Male characters like Tusk and Embryo can follow ideals while the female characters see the world as a map of people they need, like and hate. Ultimately, Ange won’t save the day because she has a great plan or is strong. What this series focuses on is her sentimental side of being enamored with Tusk and how she likes the people at Arzenal (for some reason). And the series uses this to clearly add a gender-based message to the proceedings.
Overall I liked this episode for how soapy and trashy all the drama in it had been, but at the same time, I don’t think this series is fun to watch anymore. This series goes into absurd directions, especially when it comes to sexual stuff, but it doesn’t feel like it commits to the path it’s walking. There’s always this little hint of the series holding back and by not seeming exaggerated enough, the audience gains a chance to question the ridiculousness of this series. Naturally you’ll just end up looking at this series therefore and say “This is stupid.”
Just imagine how extreme the drama in this series could’ve been if Embryo had actually raped Ange but then she would’ve escaped with a very understandable motivation to murder the bastards. And it would’ve made any future romantic scenes with Tusk all the more effective. The point of exaggerated trash is that you don’t hold back. And I mean, if you actually want to go for genuinely good drama you need FAR better writing of course.
This series just isn’t ridiculous enough. What this series needs is disguise compelling enough to distract from its more problematic elements but that disguise is boring in this case. It’s boring because it feels like the series is taking a big dump but stops midway through for some reason. You know, that the urge is there to continue the… procedure but the series just stops shitting and whatever shit it has produced isn’t good enough to be noteworthy. So for its finale, I hope this series will have to offer more shit and less ass-clenching. Yep, it’s that kind of series.
- I certainly didn’t like how Salia overhearing the conservation between Embryo and Ange didn’t lead to her waking up as to what kind of person Embryo is. She helped Ange escape but still spouted nonsense needing Embryo because she has no friends and whatnot. Of course Ange wasn’t allowed to add a sensible rebuttal to that whiny little speech.
- So, the Dragon-people CAN open portals directly above the dawn-tower. Maybe it would’ve been wiser to do that from the very beginning considering where their beloved dragon is.
- The series doesn’t seem to care about the reincarnation-stuff anymore that was shown when Salamanko and Ange had fought. Maybe they bring it up again when it’s time for the finale but if they do… talk about bad build-up, right?
- It’s also a testament of how bad the series’ writing is that Ange had nothing to say about Embryo’s plan to just create a new sort of humanity together with her. Normally this would be the point where you talk about the themes of the series but in this case, the series just falls back on portraying Ange as this brutish individual who just doesn’t give a shit.
- It’s great how Embryo’s Norma-squad actually has members that lack a voice and a name. That’s just SUCH cheap writing that it baffles me how no producer, showrunner or director corrected that obvious mistake. Goon-characters are fine but there shouldn’t be so few that I can count them with one hand. They just stand out too much and make you wonder why no one bothered to give them a voice and a name.
- Ange’s little sister is a useless character
- Embryo’s either using some form of time-travel to save his ass or he can shit between dimensional frequencies so that he can put himself into a dimension where he wasn’t at the place where he had been when someone had killed him.
Posted on February 22, 2015, in Anime, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo, Reviews and tagged Anime, CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo, reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.