Sometimes it serves you well to take a few deep breaths and reflect on the direction your life is headed. But sometimes, you’ve just finished watching such a poor excuse for a show that dwelling on your past decisions and how you got to such a despicable state of being will only make things worse. It’s so intensely difficult to find something positive to say about Cross Ange that I actually kept shoveling this trash into my eye sockets in the hopes that anything good enough to mention would happen.
In its defense, Cross Ange never tried to deny being a bishoujo. That is, an animation centered around a cast of “pretty girls.” It also likes to call itself a mecha series and has so little to do with them that the voice-over during the pilot episode’s end credits satirically asks, “Where are the robots?”
The entire first episode of flimsy exposition is practically the only semblance of a plot the series pretends to have. We open to a scene of speeder-bike lacrosse in which everyone’s mildly homoerotic adoration of Princess Perfect inspires the masses and heals all wounds. Just like in real life, even the opposing team is compelled and praises their rival openly because that’s totally a thing that happens all the time in sports.
Humans have some evolutionary trait called the “Light of Mana” which basically lets them cast spells. We’re shown this through a few stock images in the first episode that are still being used when episode 20 rolls around. Some humans called “norma” can’t use magic, which apparently makes them despicable subhumans for no reason that’s ever explained. Who would have guessed, Princess Angelise happens to be a norma, is found out, and everyone turns on her because sixteen years of being a model citizen and leader count for jack shit. She’s shipped to Abu Ghraib Island Fantasy Park where a promising pilot episode quickly devolves into a series of uncomfortable rape scenes.
Apparently there’s some kind of plot about Princess Ange’s brother Julio wanting the throne for himself (wouldn’t the son get it anyway in most monarchies?) Oh, and there are interdimensional dragons Ange has to fight because [reasons]. The most creative part of the series is that someone actually came up with an acronym that almost makes sense in English — they’re D.R.A.G.O.N.s: dimensional rift attuned gargantuan organic neototypes. Somewhere, one of the writers convinced his boss this was important.
The dragons proceed to have almost nothing to do with anything for the bulk of the series. Most of the show is an excuse to throw lesbian sex and rape at you as often as possible. I’m not sure there’s actually a single female character who isn’t raped in this show. If you can watch this sort of thing without feeling repulsion at some point, you might want to rethink the kind of person you’ve become.
In keeping with the uninspired nature of this blu-ray cash cow, the music is awful. The entire end roll is just a static picture that pans left to right, the “next episode” previews are canned jokes that tell you nothing, the animation in the series has far too few frames when it needs them most (because they’re being saved for gratuitous masturbation scenes) and none of the characters are half as deep as their bra cups.
In the rare scenes that actually have robots (I can’t say feature robots because they’re hardly the focus), the mechas actually look pretty interesting. Unfortunately, they’re rarely on screen for more than a couple minutes. Fights with the dragons are over in the blink of an eye. For the most part, they only exist to propel the plot’s agenda with hooking up different lesbian pairs or giving someone a reason to be sassy at somebody else. It’s so petty that it’s difficult to really call it a plot as much as a glimpse of an average high schooler’s day (if every high schooler happens to be a very attractive homosexual female).
There’s a big difference between a bishoujo that offers a little “fanservice” and something overtly centered around rape, molestation, masturbation, and intercourse. Cross Ange is basically a softcore porn series that ended up having all the nipples erased and being aired on TV by some sordid mistake. I’d like to say I don’t know how this got a green light, but it’s pretty obvious Japan still has a sizeable number of consumers who haven’t figured out how to find actual porn on the Internet. Remember, this is a show claiming a shonen demographic — that is to say it’s actively being marketed to young boys. The fucking scumbags who made this pile of rancid elephant diarrhea are marketing rape to little boys.
It would have even been more passable if the series stopped to note how the girls have no one else available to them. The series could have played off the rape as being a horrible consequence of being locked away on a brutal prison island. It would have still been bullshit, but at least they would’ve tried.
The mechas do look pretty cool and the shading is done with gradients, which is more effort than most big-time series put in. A male character eventually makes his way into the series to serve as a love foil for the title character. His role is to be completely useless in every single situation atop being a clueless virgin.
Title: Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons (Kurosu Anju Tenshi to Ryu no Rondo)
Original Source: manga
Source Writer: N/A
Source Publisher: ComicWalker
Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Producer: Mitsuo Fukuda
Writer: Tatsuto Higuchi
Music: Akiko Shikata
Run Start: 10/2014
Review Date: 03/2015
Episodes Reviewed: 01-07, 20