I saw this show at the same time I was watching “Atasuka no Yona”, but “Cross Ange: Rondo of Angels and Dragons” (“Kurosu Anju Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo”) takes it in a different direction.
We start off in the Empire of Misurugi. We are approaching the 16th birthday of Angelise Ikaruga “Ange” Misurugi (she is scowly blue up there), at which time, she will be coronated and become the official next in line to the throne. She is loved by all, despite living the cloistered life that usually accompanies royalty. However, her brother, Julio, engineers a coup, exposing the fact that she is a Norma! Are you kidding me? What a betrayal! Burn the witch!
In this world, everyone uses mana for everything. Some folks cannot do so (those are the Normas, NOT Normals, but it skates close, right?) and are ‘removed’ from society, as they pose a threat to the ‘peace’ they live in. They are trucked off to the military base-prison island of Arzenal. Since Ange is now a danger to one and all, she heads there as well, where she has to fight DRAGONs. Now, what bothers me is that they are fighting real dragons, so why the emphasis on making it an acronym? Also, here’s the funny thing: all Normas are ladies. For some odd reason, all guys can use mana; only the gals can come up short. (Let’s hear it for the Y chromosome!)
Stripped of her title and her privileges and her standing and her family (Mom is killed saving her and Dad is later executed), she now gets to spend the rest of her life (however long or short that may be) fighting these dragons and protecting a world that neither wants her nor cares for her, but still needs her. Oh, yes, and as the ‘new kid’ and ex-royalty, she is grandly detested by everyone here. Well, not by all of them, but the ladies who matter can’t wait for her to be turned into dragon dross.
The show is two well-defined arcs. Arc 1 is her trials and tribulations, going from princess to peon, and becoming a rather fierce and combative soldier. Arc 2 is the revelation, as to what is REALLY going on and what it all means. Sorry, massive plot point, so let it unfold for you.
Yeah, the fan service. For some odd reason, they have to wear these bizarre outfits. Look, if you are riding what they call a para-mail (which is a flying motorcycle that can transform into a Gundam), it gets kinda breezy up there. Aren’t you worried about the cold and whatnot? No, for these are tough broads and tough broads don’t need things like warmth! Well, they do need warmth, but it’s emotional warmth. Since there are no men, it is not uncommon for them to rent a special room for canoodling. No, you don’t see anything; you don’t ever see anything, but there is certainly much implied.
I am not going to run down the cast, as it is capacious on both sides of the fence and some necessary folks weren’t available when the above snap was taken (detention and whatnot; you know what Photo Day is like, anyway), but there is a huge amount of duplicity, double dealing and down and dirty behavior that makes one realize the only person to trust is yourself….and your mechanic. You gotta trust your mechanic.
This turned into a ‘women who save the world’ caliber of show and it was going along quite well until the mid-course correction. It didn’t change the overall scope of the show, but it sure slowed it down and the true evil force finally showed their hand. Let’s just say he is in a long line of annoying villains. As “Bones” McCoy said in ‘Star Trek 6’, “I’d give real money if he’d shut up!” Still, if you like your action shows with a strong degree of edge and some flinty ladies, this has it for you. I just wish the second half didn’t get so turgid. Oh, but do stick around for Episode 8, “Bikini Escape”. Look, you KNEW with a cast of nearly all women, we’d figure out a day on the beach (and don’t worry, we have a hot springs moment and shopping for clothes. It’s Fan Service-Tastic!)
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (A little too rough-edged for me)
Plot 7 (Regular transformation idea)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Slows down in second half)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 6 (A similar show would be “Mahoromatic”)
Overall 7 (Just a bit much to take in)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I don’t need anyone.