I’ve finished the third of twenty-six anime in the challenge. For the letter C I watched Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo. Like Black Cat, I’d never heard of it before but decided to watch it based on the synopsis and tags. Unlike Black Cat, I’ve decided to get into spoilers for this review.
Speaking of which, reviews are relatively new to me. Technically I’ve been writing reviews for a while now, but I always called them my “thoughts” as opposed to a review. I’ve sort of realized that essentially these are reviews, and so I’ve decided to try and find my own style for reviews because I never had the mindset of improving until recently. Reviews are definitely something I’d like to write more of and improve at.
And one thing I’d like to improve on is focusing more on positive aspects of an anime. While I agree with the words I wrote in my Black Cat review, I feel like the tone I took was a negative one. Anything positive I wrote about in that review feels like an afterthought, or like I am just throwing the anime a bone here and there.
Which is why I’m going to try to make this review a more positive one. Taking a look at the good, and rooms for improvement. We’ll see how this turns out!
Cross Ange Spoilers Ahead!
For me, Cross Ange began with the synopsis. It’s more detailed than the average synopsis, and did well in catching my interest. I do appreciate a good synopsis like this, getting me to take that first step and watch episode 1. And then the entire content of the synopsis plays out in the first episode. It’s funny really, how that happens. I guess I’d just like to say to whoever wrote the synopsis to Cross Ange: well done.
With the synopsis out of the way, what were my overall impressions with Cross Ange?
I’d say the anime did a good job.
I quite enjoyed the overarching story, it’s implementation, the characters, and even the music. Of course, Cross Ange didn’t get everything perfect. But the anime was more than sufficient in fulfilling it’s purpose of entertainment throughout the entire 25 episodes.
So let’s look at some of these aspects of Cross Ange.
Princess Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi
The plot of Cross Ange was quite the roller coaster – in a good way. The anime’s plot centers around Princess Angelise (Ange) in a world that not only has some very nefarious elements working in the shadows, but in a world where she herself knows nothing. A distinct difference between Angelise’s beliefs and reality. The truth can be harsh like that. Naturally, this creates the perfect setup for that lovely thing called character development.
Ange’s character is constantly challenged, right from episode 1. From extreme highs to extreme lows. Many times with a plot twist Ange goes through a serious reality check, and her world is turned upside down. She must then gather herself and claw her way back to a position of hope and comfort – with a new understanding of reality.
One character that I feel is a great comparison to Ange is Subaru from Re:Zero. Subaru is very similar in that he too experiences a roller coaster of ups and downs. Subaru works his hardest, getting so close to achieving his goals – only to die and lose it all, forced to start over (from a checkpoint). It’s done in a way that really engages the viewer – you can’t help but feel for Subaru in those moments when he falls back down to the bottom after all his efforts.
And I felt the same way for Ange. Ange starts out on top of the world as a royal princess, with the world at her fingertips. She then loses everything – her status, family, possessions, and freedom. She even loses a part of herself, having to reconcile with the fact that she is a “norma”, a human that cannot use magic. Norma are hated in human society, so Ange became the very thing she once hated.
She manages to fit into her new life and finds a new goal to achieve in rescuing her sister. Only to be completely betrayed and cast aside, all of her efforts proving pointless. And the cycle repeats, Ange having to pick herself back up and find purpose once again.
I won’t go through the entire roller coaster that is Ange’s story. I would just like to point out that it was very well done. The pacing was excellent and believable. The amount of time it would take for Ange to pick herself up each time she was hit with another shocking twist of fate felt very realistic and reasonable. The causes of each twist were both intriguing and believable as well.
Plot vs. Character Development
After finishing Cross Ange, I had to ask myself: which played a more integral role in the anime? The plot, or Ange’s character development?
I would say that both were done so well, in such a complimentary manner that I find it difficult to separate them. Ange’s story IS the plot, but then I guess the plot is just Ange’s character development in reaction to events around her.
I suppose the plot does open up later on, extending beyond just Ange. It starts out focused solely on Ange, and slowly broadens to include other characters in the overall story.
Well, whichever was more integral to the anime, it wasn’t by much. Both aspects were excellent. Many characters aside from Ange were also great, and I found myself interested in their individual stories as well. But of course, the anime was for the most part centered around Ange.
Ange and her story were not only the mainstay of the anime, but also my favourite aspect of the entire anime. The anime managed to impress me the most with it’s primary offering, something that doesn’t always happen. There are many times where I become more interested in something other than the main character’s story. Such as the Abyss from Made in Abyss, or the music from Fukumenkei noise. This can be extreme enough that I lose all interest in the main character(s) and their stories.
Cross Ange did it right, and kept me completely engrossed in Ange and her story.
In other words, the anime did what it set out to do!
This is what I’d consider the biggest success of Cross Ange.
Unexpected Ecchi Content
Cross Ange is not tagged as ecchi on MyAnimeList. So I was a little surprised to see blatant fan service (skimpy uniforms) right from the beginning of the anime. I’m not the biggest fan of fan service, although I think that it can fit in certain anime and works in certain situations.
The fan service was all right here. It sort of put me on edge at first though, because fan service heavy anime tend to be on the average / below-average side in my experience. I’m glad Cross Ange managed to be an exception to that.
An extension of the ecchi content that surprised me was the sexual content. Again, no tag or anything. No nudity, but the anime doesn’t make any attempt to hide various sexual situations, such as many sexual lesbian scenes, or Ange being psychologically tortured while naked.
It didn’t explicitly bother me, I just didn’t expect any of this.
When you look solely at the tags, you’d think this is more of an innocent action / mecha anime. At least that’s what I had thought.
I would say that the ecchi / sexual content didn’t take away from the anime, but I would also say that it was overdone. While I feel it was necessary to some degree, they could have toned it down and the anime would probably be a little better off.
If I had to choose one element of Cross Ange I disliked, it would be Tusk.
Tusk was the one thing wrong with this anime. It feels like Tusk was just transplanted straight from an ecchi anime to Cross Ange. His character is so unnecessarily two-sided.
On one hand, Tusk is an ecchi protagonist playing the role of a secondary character. Constantly falling face first into Ange’s nether regions, causing “misunderstandings”. No spine at all around women. Just a complete buffoon when women are around. Your typical ecchi protagonist, only not in the protagonist role.
But then sometimes a switch just goes off and Tusk becomes a badass. Acts like a professional operative, fulfilling a mission. Great at close combat. Planning for the worst, with contingency plans. A guy who has it together, and acts like a seasoned veteran.
Why they decided to merge these two personalities into a single character I don’t know.
The thing is, the anime has a lot of serious undertones and the plot isn’t exactly comedic. Ange’s story is pretty void of comedy. So for the anime to decide and make Tusk this half-badass, half-clumsy ecchi protagonist didn’t work for me. I think Tusk as a character would have been better off as someone who is mostly serious, but shows a lighthearted side at times.
Mecha / Action
Cross Ange manages to deliver some great action. The mecha battles were very well done, and well animated. I enjoyed it for the most part. The anime did a great job of switching enemies part-way through, to keep things fresh. Switching from fighting DRAGONs, to drones, to other mechs / characters.
There are also some decent hand-to-hand combat scenes where no mechs are involved.
The anime delivered on both the action, and on Ange’s story.
I won’t write too much about Embryo. I don’t think he is the best villain out there, but I do think that he was a good villain. He is powerful, selfish, and has grandiose plans for the world – treating everyone like toys. His name is a little edgy, but it works for his character. An embryo is symbolic of a new life, a new beginning; and this is what Embryo had achieved by creating modern society. Once he grew tired of that society, he once again made the decision to create a new beginning. I suppose this is his ultimate nature, never satisfied with what he has, and always excited for new beginnings.
In summary, I really enjoyed Cross Ange.
- I felt that the protagonist, plot, and mecha action were excellent.
- The side characters were also well done and interesting.
- The ecchi / sexual content was unexpected, and a bit overdone, but it fit in with the anime well enough that I don’t think it was a huge detriment.
- Tusk’s character felt like it could use improvement.
- Embryo was a decent villain.
In my opinion, this anime is underrated on MyAnimeList.
The final question I’ll ask regarding Cross Ange is: what will I remember about Cross Ange many years from now?
Above all, I think I will remember Ange, and her many trials. Her character was just excellent throughout the anime. Aside from Ange, I think I will just remember that I really enjoyed the anime.
I would recommend Cross Ange to those who would be interested in a mecha anime that actually offers an engaging protagonist & story, as long as you don’t mind some fan service and sexual situations, which could be understandably off-putting.
And that’s anime C!
I guess it’s easy to be more positive with an anime that I enjoyed. The real test will be the next anime that I don’t enjoy. We’ll see how this all works out, one review at a time!
Anime D is coming up next.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading!