Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi is the first princess of the noble Misurugi Empire. The kingdom has seen great power and prosperity due to the advancement of the revolutionary technology known as "Mana," an abstract bending of light that has reduced the world's problems of war and pollution to a timeless peace.
However, not all are blessed with the ability to wield Mana. Those who cannot are labeled "Norma," outcasts of society who are considered a threat to civilization and live under constant persecution, and Angelise herself is one of many who want the Norma exterminated. But as Angelise's sixteenth birthday commences, it is discovered in a shocking revelation that she is actually a Norma. Chaos ensues, the public is outraged, and the once adored princess is exiled to Arzenal: a remote military base where Normas are forced into conscription.
Now, the former royal must adapt to a harsh and vastly different lifestyle; piloting mechanical robots known as "Paramail" to fend off large, devastating beasts referred to as DRAGONs. However, a sinister truth about these savage creatures threatens to change everything.
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.
I can say with great confidence that Cross Ange is one of the trashiest, garbage series I have watched in quite a while. Its ridiculous amounts of over the top fan service and emphasis on shock and awe scenes are legitimate lunacy. However, after the travesty that is the first few episodes a compelling story begins to rise from the muck that is Cross Ange and give people a legitmate reason to keep watching besides the fanservice and some some good mecha action.
The story begins by introducing us to our main heroine Ange, who lives in a world where magic is a used daily,
and those without magic are a persecuted group of people called the Norma. Ange is pretty unlikable for the first few episodes, as she clings to the fact that Normas are inferior, despite the fact that she is revealed to be a Norma herself, apparently not realizing that not using Mana once in your life is a tell tale symptom. From there she is shipped off to a Norma prison island and told that she has to fight DRAGONs to save humanity, why in all caps? Apparently Sunrise thought it looked cool. From there Ange is introduced to the other Norma, who are all young girls, and the fanservice begins, and it's literary ridiculous. There's some weird rapey scenes, lesbian three ways to keep the plot moving, and Ange is naked for about 60 percent of her on screen time, a trend continues as the series moves on. The first few episodes will test if you are ready for this series, from going for over the top shock affect on issues such as racism, lots of nudity, and little girls getting lopped in half by giant dragons. It is as ridiculous as it sounds, and it sometimes hilarious to watch the over the top nature, and the series seems pretty self aware of just how trashy and bad it is. The cast of side characters initially aren't very important to the plot or are given much attention, besides the leader Salia and the head lesbian Hilda. There is also a guy named Tusk who lives on an island and rescues Ange at some point, and all of their conversations consist of him accidentally bury his head in her crotch or something like that, than Ange shouts "baka" and beats the crap out of him. That is basically a summary of that episode. However Tusk shows some interesting characteristics as well as brings up some mysteries about the world of Mana.
The story starts to pick up near the end of the first half, when the narritive shifts from the island back to the mainland, where we are given a lot more depth into Hilda's character that makes her much more likable and understandable, and we once again see how ingrained the fear of the norma is in the people who use Mana. However a large battle breaks out on the Norma battle island, and during this battle we are introduced to the main villain Embryo, whose main attack as well as the other special mechas is powered by song. I wish I was making some of this up, but it seems like Sunrise started throwing crap at a wall until it stuck. The story starts to get more and more interesting after this point, and has some twists and shows us how exactly the earth has ended up in this state and the true nature of the DRAGONs, and some honestly genuine twist regarding the cast of characters and how they have been manipulated by the great Embryo, and seeing how he played off the weaknesses of each girl makes him a cool character to watch. They start throwing a lot of science jargon around during the end that feels like it could be replaced with a recording of Jesse Pinkman saying, "science bitch" over and over as it seems like they are just sputtering straight nonsense. Also there is a ridiculous deus ex machina near the end that left in tears as it tried to explain how a frying pain stopped a bullet and can also apparently save you from falling into a ravine and getting hit by an exploding car, its like they suddenly realized these characters are integral to the plot and has never heard of the no take back rule. But in all honesty, the second half is a vast improvement and has an interesting plot that can suck you in.
The characters are very diverse, with most falling in the categories of being Ange, wanting to bone Ange, or strongly disliking Ange because they want to be her. Ange falls in the being Ange category, and starts off pretty dislikable, but quickly turns into the chosen one who pilots the special mech with great skill and cares deeply for her comrades and friends. Tusk falls into the wanting to bone her category, and is a skilled fighter and nice guy who helps out the Norma and is considered to be Ange's knight, which as a side effect grants invulnerability. Salia is the leader and falls into the hate us because they ain't us category, and is initially a fairly competent leader who keeps a steady head, but is insecure due to the fact that she was not chosen and Ange was. Hilda wants to bone Ange and starts off unlikable, but as she learn more about her and she softens up she is a fairly likable character who goes through some nice development. Embryo wasnt to bone Ange, is the ridiculous Op bad guy with a justified God Complex, and is actually interesting to watch how he toys with others and manipulates them to accomplish his will. i was also impressed with the later development of some of the other side characters, as it really shows what's going through their heads and proves they are more than just boobs and ass.
Overall Cross Ange is a train wreck, but is one that you can;t turn away from. It's over the top scenes can make it hilarious, and it seems aware of this fact which is honestly pretty funny. the fan service is up to ridiculous levels, and I would advise if you choose to watch this series do it in a sealed room because if someone walks in on you during some of the more fanservicey scenes you are going to have some explaining to do. The plot really gets going as the show completes it's run, but you have to put up with the trash that is the first few episodes and be able to take a ready helping of fan service. Cross Ange is definitely an experience, and one i would recommend giving a try, even if you can hear cackling Sunrise execs counting their money as you watch the literal crap they put out that somehow turned out to be pretty good. Nest year we'll probably have a mecha series featuring fully naked girls fighting GRIFFINs in space while trying to bring down two gods in a separate dimension, with a healthy dose of lesbian three ways, but that goes without saying.