Cross-Ange, an anime where girls must wear skimpy outfits in order to pilot mechs called Para-Mail and fight dragons. The kind of setting you can only see work in Japanese anime.
Now, Cross-Ange is continuing onto its second season, and maybe you are thinking of picking it up, or already watched the first season and need to refresh your memory about the important parts of the first season, either way, read on for a summary of the first season!
Cross-Ange is set in a universe where most humans can use “mana” aka magic. While this is most convenient in their everyday life, some irregulars are born unable to use mana and are thus discriminated against, to the point where anyone identified as unable to use mana is called a “Norma” and sent off to some facility far from the civilized humans.
Comes in Angelise, princess of the empire, beautiful, popular and naïve. The first episode has her lecture a mother on the fact that her kid is a norma and shouldn’t be considered human, that the police is taking the kid for the good of everyone… Except a few minute later, we learn that Angelise is actually a norma and her parents hid the fact up until now. The irony is delicious when Angelise is sent to Arzenal to become an anti-dragon mech pilot, like all Norma.
Welcome to Arzenal
Angelise was already an uncharismatic character, but her attitude in the next episodes really portray her as annoying to the point of being irritating. She remains in full denial, look down on her norma comrades despite being one, is rude with others and refuse to accept the few who try to show some sympathy. Eventually, she’ll get a number of her comrades killed by trying to escape on her first sortie against dragons and will become a target of bullying. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but this is the one case where I believe bullying to be justified.
During those early episodes, we also learn that the empire of which Ange(lise) was the princess might be in civil war as the people feel betrayed that the imperial family hid the fact that their girl was a norma.
Ange’s first reaction was to suicide in battle, but for some reason, she turns out to be an ace pilot and instead cut herself off from her comrades and becomes a dragon killing machine, racking up the dough from the bounties (and acting like a total bi***).
Eventually, some of her squad get fed up with her and sabotage her mech (with underwear no less!) and she end up crashing somewhere. There, she is saved by a guy called Tusk who seem to be able to fix mechs and also has a knack to falling head first between Ange’s legs. Together, they kill a straggling dragon and Ange goes back to arsenal.
Momoka, our goddess and savior
Episode 6 now. Momoka, admittedly the best character in this anime, managed to sneak into Arzenal because of her loyalty towards Ange. Still, Ange continues to be a selfish and by that point, I genuinely began to hate Ange and hope for her to get nom’d by a dragon.
Sadly, the writers would not hear my play, and Ange continues to be blessed by uncanny luck.
Still, Ange finally warms up to Momoka, and on the day where the cute maid was supposed to be taken away, Ange shows up with huge bags of cash and simply buys Momoka so that she can keep her. Guess there’s no anti-slavery laws in Cross-Ange.
I said earlier that Momoka is the only likeable character in the anime. Truth is, Selia is also likeable in a way. Poor girl is trying her best to be a good commander, but Ange simply refuses to acknowledge any kind of order.
As luck would have it, Ange get the dreaded Japanese cold and is stuck in bed for the next dragon attack, leaving Selia and the rest of the squad alone against a new type of gravity controlling dragon. Squad gets all excited and nearly get wiped out by acting brashly, Ange comes to the rescue and everyone is happy as she learn to follow orders… To some extent.
The Great Escape
And here comes the festival episode. A great excuse to put the mainly female cast in bikini and have them do everyday life things rather than fight dragons. While the first part of the episode is mostly about non important stuff, the second part has Ange use a high ranking visitor and former friend as hostage in order to escape. Incidentally, one of her team mate, Hilda, has the same idea and all three of them (don’t forget Momoka!) escape from Arzenal. Ange goes back to the empire to rescue her little sister after she received a message from her calling for help, while Hilda plans to go back to her mother’s house.
So what happens to them after they do escape from Arzenal? Well, Ange tries to infiltrate the castle, ends up realizing that it was a trap, kills a bunch of cop while trying to escape but eventually gets captured. Hilda? Her mother got another kid and simply tells her to go away. Overcome by sadness, Hilda does walk away under the rain, get beat up by cops and is taken back to Arzenal.
Feeling depressed yet?
Ange gets to be whipped in public by her own little sister while her brother announce her public execution as a first step to reinstating the imperial family. No worries though, comic relief comes in the form of Ange making a speech about how unfair and cruel people are against Norma. Ironic if you remember how she used to behave towards Norma in the early episodes.
Nonetheless, Tusk comes to the rescue and bring her back to Arzenal which seems to be out of the imperial family’s jurisdiction.
Now things are getting weird. The episode starts with a succubus, wings and all, doing naughty things with Ange’s brother and then capturing the little sister. Meanwhile, Ange and Hilda are stuck in a cell in Arzenal for trying to escape and Arzenal comes under attack from Dragon assisted by mysterious mechs, one of them becomes golden Saint Seiya style and let out a lazor beam that destroy half of the isle on which Arzenal is.
Turns out, Ange is piloting a special mech called “Vilkiss” that only those of royal blood can pilot. Selia gets jealous, try to pilot it while Ange is in prison, fails miserably, Ange comes to the rescue with a mid-flight pilot switch and now we’re going into full Macross-style. The key to unlock the golden mode (along with the megalazor) is to sing a kid’s lullaby while piloting the Vilkiss.
Follows a scene where the enemy mech’s pilot and Ange get a connection through their songs(?) she dark haired beauty explains to Ange that their fates have been entwined through the ages. Sadly, she retreats before we can hear more about all this and we’re left with many unanswered questions.
Speaking of unanswered questions, we finally get some answers now. Humans have apparently be genetically engineered by a person now referred to as “god” to be able to use mana after a long lasting war that nearly pushed humanity through extinction. The survivors who weren’t genetically engineered formed a resistance group that still fights to this day. Arzenal’s commander is the leader of a resistance movement called Libertus and made a failed uprising. She tries to get Ange to participate in the next uprising, but Ange continues to be a stubborn bi*** and refuses for no actual reason. On a side note, why the leader of a failed uprising gets to become the commanding officer of the main anti-dragon military force is beyond me.
So Bad it's Good(?)
Shocking plot development! Dragons are apparently humans and Ange’s lullaby can revert dragons into humans. Cue Ange puking at the realization that all the dragons she killed up until now were humans… Except I don’t remember her puking when she killed policemen before.
Maybe it is intended to display Ange as a terrible character? Or maybe it’s just a plot hole. Can’t ask too much from an anime whose main selling point is yuri subtext and gratuitous cruelty.
Moving onto the last episode of the season now, Ange’s brother comes to Arzenal under pretense of “saving” the norma. No one believe that and a counter attack is quickly organized. Remember what I said about gratuitous cruelty? Common soldiers burning a bunch of kids alive with a flamethrower.
What else to say about this episode, Ange continues to be annoying but her song powered Vilkiss saves the day. We also get to see Ange’s brother’s death.
While Ange was about to give the coup de grace, “God” shows up and gets rid of the brother with an overkill song-powered laser beam. All the while, Arzenal’s commander and a bunch of other girls enter a submarine and launch the Libertus uprising.
There, you have it, this is Cross Ange’s story so far. Is it ridiculous? Most definitely. Is it interesting? Depends on who you ask. My personal opinion is that Cross Ange tries to be "Code Geass", but Code Geass is infinitely better than Cross Ange.