The royal life of Princess Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi was as idyllic as the life of a sixteen-year-old princess could be. Beautiful, talented, athletic, loved by her people, and soon to be baptized in honor of her ascension to the throne of the Misurugi Empire, Angelise had everything. Even her kingdom was in a blissful age of peace and prosperity thanks to the utilization of an extremely advanced technology materialization force known as "mana."
However, everything Angelise has come to know soon crashes to the ground around her after she is revealed to be a "norma," a member of society resistant to the effects of mana and unable to use it herself. Just like the rest of the norma, Angelise is arrested and removed from society. Now she's being forced to work as a soldier based out of the prison camp, Arzenal, and fly a transforming robotic vehicle called a "Paramail."
To survive, Angelise will have to adapt to several different aspects of her new life in Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo, coping with prison society, relationships with other "norma" women, and piloting her Paramail against giant beasts known as DRAGONs. Will revenge be a great enough motive to encourage her to overcome these challenges? Or will the hate for those that betrayed her tear her apart in the process?
Cross Ange is a travesty. It's a horrible, stupid, illogical trainwreck of a show with shoddy production values that relies almost entirely on pandering to the lowest forms of human life and waving shallow moments of shock value all over the screen. The series has a narcissistic sense of self-awareness, and in each episode you can nearly hear a subtle narration by the director and other Sunrise execs laughing at how much of a moron you are for watching this garbage that they've put in front of you.
"Ha, I bet those glass-eyed imbeciles are getting bored, let's put in another lesbian threesome."
"No, not yet. Only
after we show the loli whipping someone again."
That said, it's one of the best things I've seen out of this studio in years. With a big "Fuck you, Sunrise.", let's go into this.
Cross Ange is a lot of different things. Cross Ange is a magical princess show about knights and dragons. Cross Ange is a prison drama. Cross Ange is Mean Girls. Cross Ange is borderline yuri hentai. Cross Ange is Gundam Seed. Cross Ange is a catharsis for the type of person who has a Fetlife account. Cross Ange is what would happen if you made a Princess Peach anime starring Ronda Rousey. Cross Ange is proof that not only will Mizuki Nana play any role, but that she is also good at it. Cross Ange is anime madlibs where your only word choices are "lesbians", "dragons" and "kill".
The actual premise of the story is that a pampered princess named Angelise, a thoroughly awful person, is thrown out of her castle and put in an all-ladies jail when it's found out that she's a fraud. She's then forced to pilot a Gundam and fight dragons, because. And then she's bullied, molested or beaten up a lot, until she finally becomes "Ange", the greatest main character to ever appear in a Sunrise mecha show. Then the story becomes about rebellion, alternate timelines and dimensions, fighting god, virtual realities, and uhhhhh... Yeah. The story progresses through a flurry of ridiculous plot twists, comically evil villainous acts, and lesbian sex scenes. It's certainly not boring, but you will hate yourself for watching it. One of my favorite things about this series is what they do with the episode previews, where the characters break the 4th wall and banter about how ridiculous all this shit is.
My other favorite thing is that there are dragons in this show. But they're not dragons, they're DRAGONs, and they're called that because they're DRAGONs and not because they're dragons.
But really, the legitimate thing you're watching this for is Ange. Ange is amazing. She's logical, pessimistic, she cheats, she'll insult you and everything you stand for, disarm you and then shoot you through the face, twice. She's so out of the norm for an anime protagonist I can barely deal. She doesn't want harmony, she wants destruction. She wants to demolish everything that's wronged her. She's not a victim. The show is called "Cross Ange" because she's cross about 90% of the time. She is the one who knocks.
The rest of the cast is surprisingly good too. Cross Ange does a competent job at giving you multifaceted, developing characters to feel things about, even if those feelings are mostly hatred and/or pity. The other central females are almost all emotionally damaged in some way or another, and are in contrast to Ange, very fragile people. I thought this was very interesting, because not only is Ange a strong, domineering, unbreakable character on her own, but those qualities shine even more when you slowly see the deep-seated problems with everyone around her.
This series only has like two male characters. One of them is Kira Yamato from Gundam Seed, except that he's completely useless and a stooge 90% of the time. If you're ever worried about Ange being overshadowed or saved by her boyfriend, don't worry, he's the bottom in the relationship. This was also refreshing. Except for near the end where he actually starts doing things, that was lame and subverted a lot of the good things about his character and the show as a whole.
The other major male character is the central villain, Fetus-kun, who is also the most self-aware jab at otaku I've ever seen. The whole premise of his character is that he's his own OC, and is looking for the perfect waifu. It's insulting and hilarious at the same time, just like the rest of the series.
Animation-wise, Ange looks pretty okay at its best, and pretty bad at its worst. Gundam Unicorn this is not. The character and mech designs are also pretty bland, making the series not seem like anything relevant when looked at out-of-context.
The audio's good. Nothing to write home about. You get a bunch of Mizuki Nana and stuff. I can't recall much of the BGM at all even though I watch this series week by week. The recurring insert song sung by Ange is pretty memorable.
Cross Ange is a big damn spectacle with one of the best female leads in any anime. It's ridiculous and stupid, and even Sunrise probably hates you for watching it, so that means you should.
The last episode came, many people watched it and at the end one thought was strongly resonating in their brain: "Why did we underestimate this anime so much?". The beginning of this anime may be the biggest hoax in the anime history. Not only it made no sense, but it was like in the middle of night while you were sleeping someone blew up your roof, killed your family and then told you that it was your fault and you should be punished. No sense right? Still, slowly but surely this anime showed that it was a lot more than that. Sometimes surprising
by the deep philosophical understanding of the human nature, and sometimes using its main card, the fighting, the best way possible. Many could say the entire premise of this anime was to not judge a book by its cover. No mater how ugly it may be, what is inside could be worth thousands of time more than a book with a cover that shines like gold. Anyway, lets do it the normal way:
Story - 9, The story of this anime centers around a girl, Ange a royal princess, who at her coming of age ceremony is shown to be a Norma, a person not considered human in a society where everyone is using mana to control everything around them, thus making life easier. Everything falls into chaos, many sad things happen around her and after that she is sent to Arsenal, no, not the team, but a place where all Norma are disposed of, or so was believed. A lot of whining, hundreds of screams, enough to make you wish she was killed right on the spot. After a few episodes no one would wish the same thing. Not only because her character became a lot more interesting, but because the purpose of Arsenal is becoming clearer.The story becomes more and more complex as time passes so it should be impossible for someone to try to present the story in only a few words. There are betrayals, there is love, there is friendship, sadness,quite a lot of yuri, and we have an awesome antagonist who appears at the right moment. Still, its not like everything was perfect. There are a few blanks in the story, blanks that not only were not explained but it felt like a railway was missing some parts. For better or worse, we were made to forget about this and move on. I don't know if that part is to be explained in a movie, ova or maybe a second season, but it certainly needs one to explain a few missing parts without going back to the plot of the first season. Its the best ending for this anime and I really do not wish for everything to repeat in the same world as before.
Now, after the story comes the art.
Art - 9, Sometimes I wonder, how should we describe art? Some anime have such an ugly art that it would not be a surprise of everyone to hate that anime, but instead there are fans saying it receives a ten just because they feel like it fits. Sadly, I do not have the same opinion. Art is about beauty, about fluidity, about complexity, about impact. This anime excels at most, but some may say they could be even better just because .. . Anyway, every characters, robot, dragon looked awesome. Especially the dragons which didn't try to fit in the same criteria we were used to. Each battle was like a movie. They can make you forget to blink or breath. The only problem was its too fast pace. They moved to fast from one place to another and because of this it became tiresome to try to take in everything and instead were are left with the decision to only concentrate only on a few things forgetting about the rest.
Sound - 10, extremely enjoyable. The bgm is very important, but its true role is to make you feel attracted to the story, which this one did. If a bgm attracts to much attention, be it good or bad, then it failed in its purpose. Some forget about this and rate it poorly or better only based on this. The ost, op, ed and especially the seyuu's are the most important. And all of them are doing their job perfectly.
Characters - 10, Vivid, strong, beautifully. Each and everyone of them had what you could call charm. Their personalities, feelings, point of view were attractive mostly because there are so many that its impossible to not see at least one that shared your emotions and state of mind. I can say that in my opinion this anime strongest point were the characters.
Enjoyment - 9, there is not much to say about this. It was a gem found in the garbage. If you can watch it with an open mind you will not only not regret doing it but you are also going to remember it as one of the most surprising anime in the entire history.
Overall - 9, The story was not perfect, this is clear. A story that is short but also complex can hardly manage what Cross Ange did. Its divergent points were not only large in numbers, but also had its own characters which had to do their job in a way that wouldn't hinder the progress of the story. I'm going to re-watch it later this year for sure. Until then I can only recommend it to anyone who loves anime.
This is possibly one of the most underrated animes from the fall season.
You can read my overall + my final thoughts/notes at the very bottom of the review if you're feeling lazy and just want some quick feedback on the anime.
I can't lie the first 5 episodes was extremely hard to get through for many which lead to the anime being dropped early on, and also given a poor rating due to its evaluation being solely based off of these first 5 episodes. It is now one of the animes I look forward to watching every week, almost as much as "Your Lie in
Anyways, on with the review!
The setting of the anime is that of a dystopia, it follows a Princess (Ange) who is stripped of all her rights after being revealed that she is a norma (which are like unwanted humans due to their inability to use "mana"). This is one of the weaker points of the anime, although the story isn't bad, it wasn't done correctly for to be anything too special. Don't get me wrong, the story isn't boring in anyway and is fairly interesting, just not above and beyond (hence the 7).
A plus for the anime would be the unexpected twist and turns they have which sometimes really caught me by surprise, they often leave you wondering what may happen in the future. Overall its a decent story, but nothing too amazing.
Honestly the art is pretty good the characters, background, "ragna-mail", and pretty much everything looks like it was done quite well. The animation is quite fluid and well done, and I honestly have nothing to complain about in this section. The art isn't exceptionally beautiful but it's pretty good, although you can notice the budget slipping in some scenes, but overall the art for all the characters + most of the animation is very crisp.
One of the reasons why you SHOULD watch this anime. The sound track that they have is amazing in my opinion, both their OST and their opening/ending songs. Their use of music is on point for most of the anime, although there were a couple of times I felt that the music could have been used more effectively. I read one of the other reviews saying how the anime's OST + openings/endings were bad, please don't listen to them and give it a chance BECAUSE THE OST IS AMAZING!
Yeah so Ange is possibly one of the most BAD ASS female leads I've seen in a while. She is extremely strong willed and self-righteous and that is the part I love about her. I REALLY like characters that can look strong enough to take on the entire world yet can look really weak and docile the next. The character developments and the revealing of a characters true nature/past is really well done in the anime, although some of the characters story could have had some improvements (cough Embryo).
I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this anime, some parts could of had some minor tweeks, but it was a great anime to watch. To those who are able to watch all 25 episodes of this anime at once, I'm really jealous because you won't feel the pain I had to wait for this every week. :'(
I'll repeat this again, I love a strong female lead that can take on the entire world, but in the next second can be really docile, weak and in need of protection and support. Cross Ange is a mecha anime that is really well made, if you look over a few of the poor things that they have done. I promise all you mecha fans that you will thoroughly enjoy the animes OST, great animation, interesting characters and their unique background story (PREPARE A TISSUE BOX WHEN THEY'RE REVEALING SOME OF THE CHARACTERS BACKGROUND). They do quite a few plot twist and a bit of romance in the anime, however little that romance may be. But with respect to the lifestyle transition Ange has been forced to live in, the romance does feels really 'cute'.
-Please understand that this anime DOES contain mature content.
-This anime is definitely one you should give a chance to (please at least give it until episode 6).
-Review may be slightly biased due to my love for mecha animes.
+Has an amazing OST. Really love their opening and endings + their music choice.
+Ange is possibly one of the best female leads I've seen in a while.
+Highly recommended for those who enjoy the following genres: Dystopia ,Ecchi, Mecha
+The anime has enough plot twist to constantly surprise you & keep you interested.
-Personally I really dislike it when something isn't suppose to happens, not going to say who but when someone is suppose to die, they really should die.
-You may sometimes notice in the animation where the anime was being "efficient" with their budget.
-Although their OST is really good, their timing for their background music could use a little work.
-The pacing of the anime is quite good for most of the anime, but some parts could have been slowed down.
Cross Ange is the very definition of exploitation. It exploits the viewers in virtually every way possible. It has an all-star voice cast, constantly bombards the viewers with the most pandering fanservice it can, all while failing to deliver any worthwhile material in its BD releases other than a Nana Mizuki concert ticket.
[ Story ]
The story is deceptively simple, a world where mankind has developed a magitech ability known as "Mana" that is used in their daily lives as if it were the most common thing in the world. However, there are a handful of people in the world who are incapable of using
Mana, which results in immense discrimination toward them. These people are referred to as Norma, and they are taken from their homes, treated like literal objects, and forced into a military where they battle enormous dragon-like creatures called... well... DRAGONS.
On paper it sounds like an interesting concept. You have themes of racism, the aforementioned magitech, and the hardships of military life, with giant mecha battles spicing things up. The problem is in the execution.
People say that fanservice isn't inherently bad, and I'm willing to believe that. The problem comes when the writers prioritize fanservice over the work they're creating. Not only can this show not go five minutes without focusing on the bodies of its scantily clad pilots, it also can't go an episode without a mindless lesbian sex scene that only serves the characterize the cast as dominant or submissive to each other. Meanwhile the only relationship in the show that has any real substance (and not by all that much mind you) the one between the lead and the show's solitary male protagonist.
It's also a bad mark on a show when unnecessary fanservice is thrown into moments that are trying to be serious, as seen when a tragic event is highlighted by a blatant underboob shot of the main character as she's restrained to a bed, clad in nothing but bandages.
The show also suffers from a horrendous lack of awareness as to its own direction. Plot details are thrown at the viewer with absolutely no coherence and characterization frequently defies all logic to the point that some have declared the show to be a satire. At one point the main protagonist is suddenly expressing fondness for the horrendous prison that gave her nothing but bullying and abuse, which she outright expressed contempt for and desired to escape.
As mentioned above, the show brings to the table some interesting concepts, but never manages to properly address them. If it does they're usually unsatisfying answers that feel as if the writers simply shrugged off the questions so they could spend more time undressing the main character and panning over her body. The amount of times a viewer can wonder "Why is she naked?" in a single show is staggering.
At one point they went so far as to present the idea of two characters having met repeatedly across different timelines or dimensions, which basically amounted to a whole lot of nothing and only served to either wow the viewer with a shocking plot twist, or pander to them with the enormous shipping potential of these two characters.
It feels like the show doesn't know whether it wants to take itself seriously, when it tries to frame dark and edgy scenes as sexual or when the on-the-next previews lampoon the events that took place before them. It among the other things just reeks of this show not knowing what it's doing, and adds fuel to the belief that the show was meant to be some sort of parody.
A noteworthy scene at the very end of the first episode not only applies to the above, but also has absolutely no impact on the story or traumatic effect on the character it was done to. It was so vague that viewers all over can't seem to even agree what the nature of it was. "This happened. Now we're not gonna mention it again."
[ Art ]
What can I say that hasn't already been said in the many reviews beforehand? CGI is mixed in with animation so awkwardly in this series, that the only thing that lessens the blow is the constant off-model animation thrown in. If it were only distance shots it wouldn't be so bad, but often times a character up close will have a face too small for their head, or their ear will be trying to take over the rest of their faces. Compared to that, badly done CGI dragons aren't so big of a deal.
[ Sound ]
As mentioned above, the show has a large amount of talented and famous people working on it, particularly the lead, Nana Mizuki. The music direction is so-so at best and most remarkable song in the whole show is the OP. With such a good voice cast one would think the constant singing wouldn't grate on the ears, but this is just another example of the show putting style over substance.
[ Character ]
And we come to the big problem, the major deal breaker for this show (aside from the ending to the first episode). The cast of characters is often regarded as the weakest link in the show, and for good reason. The few that aren't completely detestable are either unremarkable or completely annoying.
We have our protagonist, Ange, who starts the show as the very picture of ignorant racist. Her response to a parent having her norma baby being taken away is to blissfully spout that she should try again for a proper child, as if that's easy. Once she's brought into the aforementioned prison camp, her characterization goes from a bratty racist in denial, into a bitter, cynical wannabe-badass who only shows moments of vulnerability around the lead male. For all her hardcore antics it's really baffling when Ange has to constantly depend on Tusk to bail her out of any given situation.
The next most noteworthy character is Tusk, also known as the only male character in the show outside of two of the antagonists. Tusk is the definition of a beta male, the kind of clumsy and passive character you expect to be the lead in a harem show. He claims to not be a pervert, but constantly finds himself face first in Ange's crotch and is ignorant and stupid enough to comment on her being "Blonde down there". It's another hallmark of the show's crass and tasteless writing when this supposed "nice guy" archetype doesn't know better than to say things like that.
The other characters don't fare much better (because let's face it, aside from Ange and Tusk no one really matters to the writers). One of the few characters of note is Hilda, who starts off being the perverse version of that girl in high school who is the leader of the popular cliches, and soon develops into a sexually confused teenager who claims to only be pretending to be a lesbian but then later molests Ange in the shower.
Then we have the smug snake Jill who uses everyone as her tools, the depraved nurse Maggy, Zola the rapist and Hilda's two cronies, Rosalie and Chris, and we have a wonderfully hackneyed trail mix of unlikable characters. Probably the only ones who come off as likable are Momoko, Ange's ditzy maid, Vivian, the cheerful to the point of being oblivious cutesy character, and Ersha, the stereotypical team mom.
And just because we couldn't get enough rape in this show, enter the man who has the stupidest name in the world, Embryo. This character only appears in the second half of the show, where the world surrounding the characters is finally elaborated on. He dishes out the brunt of the show's repetitive exposition, all the while mind controlling women into giving up their bodies for him. He also likes "strong, intelligent women" and becomes enamored with and determined to break the only woman who has ever been able to reject his advances. So basically, a rapist.
[ Enjoyment ]
The only enjoyment people seem to garner from this is either in its immensely sexual nature, or on how off-the-wall the show is, with some seeing the entire show as one big trolling attempt on Fukada's part (see Ep. 22).
For this viewer there was none to be had. Between the excessively sexualized nature of the show, how sloppy the story was written and how unlikable the majority of the cast is, Cross Ange is an anime that's pathetic at best and malicious at worst.
A show where its all female cast is literally treated as objects, forced into skimpy outfits, repeatedly demeaned and violated, while constantly spouting words like "skank" and "whore". It's crass, it's tasteless and as much as I don't like to use the word, it honestly comes off as sexist.