Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World – 09 – Officially Rivals

The battle between Iska and Salinger commences, and Kimisen goes full Shounen Battle Mode, complete with the arrogant opponent’s high-and-mighty speeches. It basically boils down to Ichigo—er, Iska fighting a shinigami captain—er, Salinger and weathering his attacks, with some light but welcome support from Rin.

Down on ground level, Alice is attacked by Nameless, but only very briefly, as if he was once again merely testing her defenses. It isn’t long before she spots Iska and realizes he did what she’d hoped he’d do: help her out rather than simply running when free of the cuffs.

Honestly, while Salinger was amusingly smug at times, he’s also pretty much a cookie-cutter haughty boss, and thus not that interesting. Adding to the lack of suspense is the fact Iska already defeated the Nebulis Founder, whom Salinger considers an equal. Salinger also expresses surprise at Iska’s abilities a bit too much to be a credible big bad.

I had expected Alice to join Iska in the fighting, as they’d also joined forces to beat back the Founder, but Iska has this well in hand, and manages to force Salinger to retreat. All Alice has to do is comfort the wounded Rin and serve as a reminder to Salinger that even if he defeated Iska, he’d have to deal with her.

The fires are extinguished, the prisoners recovered, and the dust cleared in Alcatroz. Alice urges a suddenly adorable Rin to be honest about her various cuts and bruises she suffered, while Alice snaps herself out of swooning over Iska by telling herself he only did what he was supposed to do as part of their temporary alliance.

The Nameless who was at Alcatroz returns to the Empire, then removes his helmet to reveal she was Risya all along; the real Nameless was off ensuring their special forces infiltrated the Central Province. It’s almost as if Risya and N07 were merely an elaborate distraction. We also catch a glimpse of some kind of giant mecha thingy that just might be the next boss against which Iska and/or Alice must face off.

As for Iska, he joins N07 on the car ride home. As she’d been worried about Iska for virtually the entire mission, Mismis reveals she hasn’t yet fully processed the fact she’s an astral mage, nor what to do about it, but since she helped save Iska, it’s his pleasure to help her out in devising a plan to keep her out of Imperial prison or worse. Who better than a former inmate like him?

Back on the royal palace grounds, Alice gazes up at the stars and utters the name “Iska”, irking Rin, who warns her master that she’ll tell the Queen if Alice keeps this up. Little to they know they’re being watched by Alice’s little sister Sisbell. We’ve already met her, as she was the mage Iska broke out of prison. Sis doesn’t want to believe it, but we know it to be true. It’s looking like she’ll be calling on him to help her out again soon.

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo – 17

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Yeah…he’s definitely going to trip on that screwdriver

While the idyllic limbo of the DRAGON world just suffered a brutal assault, it remains an idyllic limbo, one where Ange must decide whether to stay in, or return home. Tusk, committed to being her knight, will support whatever decision she makes. This is what a knight does: his life is no longer his own.

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Ultimately, Ange decides she has to go home. Messed up as it is, it’s where she truly belongs, and it’s where her beloved Momoka is. Salamandinay grudgingly accepts her decision to return, worried that they may have to fight against each other again, but Ange says whatever else she does moving forward, she’s done fighting the DRAGON, so Salako needn’t worry.

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Vivian is caught between wanting to stay with her mom and going back home to her friends/sisters-in-arms, but her mother uses a nifty analogy to set Vivi’s mind at ease. She’s grown out of her baby clothes, so it stands to reason she’s grown out of her baby home as well.

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Ange, Tusk (whom she finally refers to as her knight, to his knight delight), and Vivi follow the massive DRAGON force through the singularity into Embryo’s world, and find themselves far off course. Turns out Riza’s intelligence was falsified, and they teleported right into an giant ambush.

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It becomes painfully apparent Ange’s world didn’t stand still while she was gone; the remnants of Arzenal First Troop have picked their sides. Salia has gone over to Embryo (and Ange even wonders out loud whether Salia’s sleeping with the creep), and in return, she’s been given a ring and a black Villkiss all her own; finally able to be the leading heroine Jill never let her be.

Chris and Ersha are also with her; the former not surprisingly, the latter, a little. They went over to Embryo despite the fact they knew DRAGONs are people, like Vivian, so it’s not like they were in the dark, but it’s also important to remember that all three of these girls were orphans born and raised within Arzenal’s walls, and remain children, who have yearned for a father figure for a long time. It’s understandable they’d be taken in by Embryo’s rhetoric.

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Another day at the office for these three

That Salia is now the captain also means she gets to give formations magical girl designations like “Shining Rose Triangle!”, something Chris isn’t that on board with. It’s a great character beat for all three of these former allies.

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Embryo orders Salia’s team to take Ange into custody, but Tusk and Vivi aren’t having it, with Vivi pulling off an awesome stunt by dropping out of the sun and C4’ing the cables. Salia’s squad regroups and grabs Ange again, but she’s able to activate its teleporter again (by hitting it and yelling, naturally), just as Tusk and Vivi fly into its radius.

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They end up back on the abandoned Arzenal Island, where it all began, with no more of an idea about what the heck they should do next. Then a catalyst for that decision comes ashore in the form of Momoka, Hilda, and Roselie, in frogsuits that give them a start at first, but quickly morphs into elation.

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Again, this group makes sense. These three were able to escape aboard Jill’s sub, Hilda and Roselie were able to patch things up where Hilda and Chris weren’t, and Momoka was going to wait for Ange as long as it took, like Hachiko in a maid outfit. In a very Hilda Power Move, she grabs Tusk’s junk and concedes, a bit incredulously but genuinely, that he’s a man after all, as he was able to keep Ange alive to this point.

So where do we go from here? I think it’s probably a given that a world with Mana is unsustainable, and as difficult as it will be, that world has to end. Maybe Jill’s resistance and the DRAGONs can team up against Embryo? Could there be a peaceful resolution? Will Embryo go quietly, or break out some heretofore MEGAmail? Cross Ange still has eight eps to sort it all out.

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