Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo – 06

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First of all, kudos to this episode for not bringing up anything about Tusk and his island…like, at all. Not that that episode was totally irredeemable, but it was pretty bad, and it was too soon to follow up on its events. This week was Cross Ange’s chance to show it could turn the page and move on, and to its credit, the show did just that.

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With that out of the way…Momoka’s Here! It’s the ep’s title, and it’s what we get: Princess Angelise’s Top Maid. A girl who grew up alongside the princess as she served her. An inconvenient, awkward, painful manifestation of a life Ange thought was dead and buried. A reminder of how weak and dependent and vapid a girl she used to be. But these are also reasons why Momoka works, where Tusk didn’t.

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Bringing Momoka to Arzenal was opening a can of worms, but I like how they use her mere presence and a short talk with Ange to finally feed us crumbs (though not too much) of what happened to the Misurugi empire: In short, after the Angelise fiasco, it fell. Not that it matters to Ange: she’s ordered by Command to take care of Momoka for the duration of her stay, and that’s all. On top of that, Ange resents Momoka for knowing she was a Norma all along and lying to her along with everyone else…and yet even if Momoka was as in the dark as Ange, the fact remains ignorance isn’t innocence.

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Momoka’s presence also gives the Hilda Crew ammunition, which they immediately pounce upon wih relish. They know Momoka’s a sore spot and drive their heels into that spot, reminding Ange that everyone who’s shown her affection has ended up dead. They also imply that Momoka’s life is already forfeit due to her exposure to Arzenal, the DRAGON, and the use of Norma to fight them – all state secrets the powers at be will jealously protect. As cool an exterior as Ange maintains, the barbs are enough to throw off her aim.

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How can they not? Momoka reopened Ange’s old wounds, but she doesn’t hate or blame Momoka half as much as she blames herself, for everything from bringing about the downfall of her family’s empire to getting Coco and Miranda killed. She rejects Momoka’s use of her full name and service and ridiculous room improvements and even roast quail because she feels she doesn’t deserve them. She’d worked so hard to find a groove in her new life of subjugation and death, and then Momoka went and complicated everything.

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This, again, is something Momoka can plausibly do, where it was a bridge way too far last week with Tusk. And hey, we even get a bath scene with a practical purpose that serves the characters, a rare thing. I say practical, because the nudity and proximity reveals Momoka’s scar from a cut she got when she broke one of Angelise’s dolls long ago.

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Rather than get angry about the doll, Angelise tears her dress to stop Momoka’s bleeding. Mana could easily repair a scar most may find ugly, but Momoka kept it. To her, it’s a symbol of Angelise’s kindness and compassion, as well of a mark that represents her service and devotion to the princess until death. Momoka thus shows us a side of Ange we weren’t sure existed until now; or at least a side we couldn’t quite see past her appalling racism in the first episode. Momoka believes her Angelise-sama isn’t dead, but lies just beneath the hard crust of life since her exile.

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And Momoka would be right. If one would apply that flashback to the present: Ange’s resentment, guilt, and desire to discard her past life, all of it, is the doll: it simply doesn’t matter compared to Momoka. We knew as soon as Emma got off the horn with “the Committee” that Momoka was a security threat that would not be allowed to leave the island alive. We also knew the episode would use our previous knowledge that it isn’t afraid to kill off characters to give the situation some weight. Jill and Emma even create the artifice of a “transport” coming to “take her home”, perhaps to soften the blow.

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When Coco and Miranda were killed, it was because Ange was so green and freaked out of her gourd, there wasn’t much she could have done to save them, even if she hadn’t run. In this case, however, Ange has the means and the savvy over Arzenal’s system to save Momoka, so she makes it happen. She goes into battle, kills ALL the DRAGON, and uses her earnings to Buy Momoka, a transaction Jill permits, partially because even she probably feels bad about having to kill the innocent maid (Emma certainly does), and partially because Ange, the budding ace, finally understands how things work at Arzenal.

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Maid Observations:

  • I also wanted to mention that I appreciated how Momoka wasn’t some embarrassing, cliched bumbling fool. As a maid to the royal family, she’s naturally a highly competent all-rounder, whether it’s getting to Arzenal in one piece, defending herself with Mana, or spending Ange’s money on extravagances.
  • I must point out, however, that it was a bit silly for Momoka to show up in her Maid’s uniform, as well as continue to wear it throughout the episode. If you need to sneak on to a prison island, dressing down is probably the way to go.
  • It’s also my sincere hope that Momoka not only gets new, more practical clothes, but her role evolves from merely being Ange’s maid. I’m not saying she should jump in a cockpit, but like I said, she’s an all-rounder; surely there are several ways she can contribute moving forward.
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OreShura – 10

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Now with five members, the Maiden Club becomes official. To commemorate it, Masuzu recommends a training trip, and they decide to go to the beach. Chiwa is upset when she learns Ai met Eita first, but Eita notices and cheers her up. The two arrange a trip to shop for a swimsuit, but Masuzu, Hime and Ai also show up. After much chaos, Eita splits his time between them equally. On the way home they encounter his Aunt Saeko, who dismisses Masuzu as his girlfriend and asks him which of the four girls he really likes.

This episode did not start auspiciously; with characters playing off the constructions of their names and each tugging at Eita, which becomes a shopping trip in which they’re all competing against each other for his attention as they try on various swimsuits (and in Ai’s case, a wedding dress that brought back memories of Crazy Gasai Yuno). The first half dragged a bit (with the exception of Eita’s really sweet cheering-up of Chiwa after she stalked off). But this episode improves when things get grounded back into the reality of how they’re going to afford a trip to the beach. And then Saeko appears and bursts Eita’s harem bubble.

Eita’s aunt and guardian has been mostly a no-show so far, but in her first meaningful scene of the series she makes a huge impact. She sees right through and LOLs, almost cruelly, at Masuzu’s false courtesy, calling their relationship fake in front of everyone. She makes Eita confront the truth head-on: he can’t keep stringing all these girls along. He needs to decide who he likes and choose one – even if he likes them all. No one said the choice would be easy, but it is necessary. Did we mention we love Saeko for finally splashing cold water on her nephew? We welcome this latest – and perfectly-timed – disruption of the status quo, and hope the last three episodes follow through.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

OreShura – 06

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Akishino Himeka wishes to join the club, and after reading from Eita’s notebook about his previous “angels”, Masuzu gives Hime an assignment: writing a poem about what she wants to accomplish in the club. While Masuzu, Himeka and Chiwa are cleaning the pool, Masuzu’s sister Mana shows up, telling Suzu their father wants her home in Sweden pronto. Masuzu initially surrenders, but while she and Chiwa are gone Hime arrives with her poem. Mana swipes it and reads it mockingly while her driver keeps Eita back. They eventually shame Mana into returning the book and Masuzu makes her apologize and refuses to go with her. Hime joins the club, but the hall monitor Fuyuumi Ai threatens to shut it down.

She may express it in an overly stylized and florid, fantastical way, but we don’t doubt that Akishino Himeka’s feelings for Eita are real, nor do we question how she arrived at them. There’s nothing unrealistic about admiring someone who fights to protect those he loves even when the odds are against him. His convictions also inspired Hime, a shy and introverted girl, to believe that she too can break out of her shell and make more friends. The only minor contrivance is that she was in the right place at the right time to witness the spectacle that made her aware of Eita’s existence and led to her falling for him (or as she puts it, unlocking memories of her past life.)

We respect Hime because while we fully understand why Chiwa and Masuzu like Eita, it’s Hime, shy as she is, who is the first one to clearly express her feelings for him. No fake boyfriend pretense; no hanging back and admiring him from afar. She grabs ahold of what she wants and knows why she wants it. Rather unexpectedly, it’s Hime’s newfound courage and resolve – putting herself between a battered Eita and that bitch Mana’s bodyguard – that inspires the haughty Masuzu to take a stand and not go running home to daddy just because there will be hell to pay if she doesn’t. Now she has friends she can lean on if and when the consequences arrive.


Rating: 8 (Great)