Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo – 04

ange41

Jill repeats my assertion at the end of last week’s review: these girls are in Hell. But like anywhere else, Hell has a pecking order and an agree-upon way of doing things. Ange is struggling to fit in and, worse, is not even trying. As far as she’s concerned, she’s already a corpse on borrowed time that’s only going to be spent killing Dragons. No time for possessions or friends or enemies. No time for drama!

ange42

Of course, her enemies and would-be have something to say about that. Just as Salia took up a leadership position that she’s not ready or equipped for as Zola was, this week Hilda takes over as the Zola of the bedroom, the one who fills the void her death left in Rosalie and Chris’ lives. There’s always someone to step forward and assume a vacated role. But like Salia, Hilda is no Zola. We know she couldn’t even satisfy Zola on the eve of her last battle, leading Zola to prey on Ange.

ange43

I’m not saying Zola was a saint — she did try to f-ing rape Ange — but she was a vital, competent authority figure that kept her troops’ clashing personalities in check at HQ, kept them alive out in the field, and tended to their emotional and physical needs in the boudoir. No one can dispute that she owned herself. That woman has been replaced by two girls who are clearly out of their depth, but still try to cultivate the fiction that they aren’t, because at the end of the day, they can’t afford to be. They’re it.

ange45

What’s so great about the new character dynamics is it isn’t the Hilda faction vs. the Salia faction, or Hilda vs. Ange, or Ange vs. Everyone. It’s all of the above. Salia has to protect Ange from hazing because it’s her job as the captain, but there is no “Ange Faction” as long as Ange refuses to accept the help or kindness of others, or refuses to help herself. And while Ange seems to have found her new self, she remains a pretty crap person, as evidenced by her cold treatment of Vivian. Yes, Vivian can be a pain, but I felt bad for her here!

ange44

It’s not just Hilda, Roselie and Chris who are loathing the princess, either, but a large chunk of the nameless general population as well. The way she’s acting right now, Ange deserves some of that scorn. But she doesn’t seem to care either way. In an escalating battle of wills, somethings gotta give, and it does when Hilda goes too far and sabotages Villkiss.

ange46

This leads to another great aerial (and partially naval!) battle in which Ange falls from the sky and sinks, followed by a twist ending where she wakes up nude in bed with a guy (who isn’t nude, just shirtless) on some tropical island. Is this…a bit goofy? Sure, but the set-up of the scene is thankfully quite straightforward: this lad saved Ange, got her out of her wet clothes, and is letting her use his bed. He has her tied up just in case she’s trouble, which we know she is! Any kinkier interpretation is just in Ange’s (or our) own head/s. Yes, a gentleman would sleep on the floor, but maybe he’s not a gentleman!

ange47

It’s par for the course in terms of Ange continually finding herself strange, unexpected, and/or unprecedented situations. It’s also pretty standard in these kinds of stories for the protagonist to at some point end up exiled or isolated and in a situation where there’s time to analyze and re-examine, and emerge changed. I’m looking forward to seeing Ange suddenly outside of the regimented, lethal existence she’s only just gotten used to.

8_brav

Advertisements

Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

5 thoughts on “Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo – 04”

  1. You know, it’s funny because I just realized this morning that it was my week to review Ange and I totally didn’t need to text back and forth with you last night ;) Well played Hannah! Well played! ;)

  2. Also, yep. More or less how I felt about episode 4. To explain why this ‘women being awful to each other’ show doesn’t bother me as much as Vanadis: these women have been forced into a deranged hell, which the Officer continues to maintain around them Vanadis has no context for the women to be so terrible. They are the elite — only under the king in authority — for goodness sakes. Their abusing each other is just trashy garbage. This, at least for now, has some basis in the plot/world.

    1. I guess this is the reason why many find it difficult to handle Cross Ange. With Vanadis, you could easily chalk it up to “Silly anime girls fighting with each other” and laugh it out. With Cross Ange, it’s a different story. Sure, you could go and say “Nah, I’ll just turn my brain off so that I can enjoy this”, but the context will hit you back sooner or later. You would end up asking “was this supposed to be funny or fanservicy” and be in a very uncomfortable position.

      But Cross Ange is still terrible at handling its themes. It tends to go overboard, making one wonder if it is supposed to be commenting on exploitation or is itself being exploitative.This ends up making the series feel hypocritical at times.

      1. I’ve long since stopped worrying about Cross Ange’s skin-heavy surface aesthetic. It makes thematic sense as another by-product of their subjugation, and I’m just going to leave it at that.

        As for Cross Ange’s tone being inconsistent, sometimes jarringly so…that’s just the way war is like; it’s a tonal roller coaster.

        Young women being forced to fight in extremely hazardous conditions while having it constantly drilled into their heads that they’re not human and this is all they’re good for — this is the world Ange and the others live in.

        It isn’t always going to be serious, just as the tone and mood is not always serious in any wartime situation. Heck, it can’t be. From Strangelove to Apocalypse Now, films that comment on the horrors of war in a resonant fashion have comedy (often dark comedy) intertwined.

        The girls of Cross Ange are struggling to organize themselves, as groups of people always do when shoved in to the same situation; at the same time they’re really all equal as Norma, from Jill to Coco.

        They have an excess of anger and frustration, and so have to blow off steam. That means picking on Ange, who Hilda neither likes or respects and blames for Zola’s death — but also just because Ange doesn’t say or do anything to head it off (not saying she can, but she doesn’t bother trying).

        It starts out petty, and Salia allows it to a point, but when it goes too far, she at least tries to stop it, which doesn’t work, because Hilda doesn’t respect her either.

        Life is a crazy, fucked-up place for these girls. The ones who seem the best at surviving (not just staying alive) are those who stare their situation in the face…and laugh.

      2. “They have an excess of anger and frustration, and so have to blow off steam. That means picking on Ange, who Hilda neither likes or respects and blames for Zola’s death — but also just because Ange doesn’t say or do anything to head it off (not saying she can, but she doesn’t bother trying).”

        “Life is a crazy, fucked-up place for these girls. The ones who seem the best at surviving (not just staying alive) are those who stare their situation in the face…and laugh.”

        That’s what I find amusing when people start complaining that the scriptwriters are making the characters act and talk vulgarly in this series, when in fact, the context actually necessitates that they be such. It’s practically a dog eat dog world, so you really can’t expect these women to speak niceties to each other.

Comments are closed.