Cross Ange Ep. 9: The good ol’ days

Cross Ange - 0914

So Hilda was just trying to enjoy a delicious slice of apple pie one day when evil men showed up and dragged her away to her island prison. Isn’t this what always happens, though?

— Elsewhere, we see Ange and Momoka sneaking around at the dead of night. Even so, the maid is still wearing her stuffy maid outfit. This is what anime does all the time, though. It’s not a “Momoka is dumb” thing. It’s not even a “Cross Ange is dumb” thing. In almost every anime that I’ve ever seen, the help must always look the part regardless of the situation. It’s odd, no? Why is that? We already know she’s a maid. Why is it necessary to keep reminding us that she’s a maid?

— Ange runs into Akiho, a former teammate, and the girl can’t help but shake like a leaf. No doubt, she’s scared of Normas. No doubt, they’ve been fed a ton of propaganda about how the Normas are just plain horrible. You know how some people will instantly cross the street if they see a black person coming towards them? This is like a super exaggerated, super ham-fisted version of that. You know who else is often considered violent and antisocial?

— But this isn’t even like, “I’m afraid for my own safety.” Rather, the girl literally has a complete and utter breakdown. She’s acting as if she just ran into her greatest fear. This is when the anime starts to get heavy-handed. Basically, discrimination is just this incomprehensible. From the viewpoint of the Other, you just can’t understand why the hegemonic group hates you this much. No matter what Ange tries to say, Akiho just doesn’t trust her. But on the bright side, our heroine has a fancy, new hovercraft.

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— We cut back to Hilda, and she’s returned to her old home. Somehow, the front door is unlock. These are some very trusting people. When her mother notices that someone is in her house, she doesn’t recognize her own daughter. Well, it has been quite some time, I suppose. I still can’t get over the fact, however, that she’s not even remotely spooked that a stranger had just nonchalantly entered her home.

— There’s something very fake about this society. Something very sterile and inhuman about it. Everything looks like it has been lifted from some TV show about the “good ol’ days.” I mean, her mother still makes apple pies. Does she make them everyday? What does she do with her spare time? Is this a culture of such abundance that these people lose their humanity and fall into these robotic routines in order to cope with the banality of life?

— But even Hilda’s reaction is odd. Wouldn’t most people be like, “Mom, it’s me! It’s Hilda! Don’t you remember me?” But Hilda just kind of does… nothing. All she does is squint her eyes wistfully and mutter “Mama!” over and over.

— But really, I just can’t help but return to the fact that the setting has been lifted straight from those old TV shows. And you know how those 50s TV shows about the “good ol’ days” always seemed to conveniently ignore the fact that black people were second class citizens back then? That’s because the “good o’ days” weren’t really good at all. They were just good for a select group of people, and this was made possible by exploiting the hell out of the Other. Well, we have the same thing here. Nobody’s even supposed to know that the Normas battle against dragon. It’s all hush hush, and Normas aren’t even allowed a separate water fountain. As soon as one is found, they’re instantly dragged away to keep the “good ol’ days” looking good.

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— This bit of “animation” cracked me up. All the animators did was literally drag Ange and Momoka across a static background. It is an absolutely hilarious sight to behold at 3:30 in the morning.

— Somehow, Ange runs into an ambush. Somehow, this explosion is the result of Ange shooting  back at her would-be captors. Goddamn. She wasn’t even trying to hurt them.

— And that’s the thing. These magic-users are not just bigots, they’re also slavers. The Normas aren’t prisoners. They’re really slaves. They’re a source of free labor to help prop up this “utopian society.” So why is Ange being such a pacifist? After everything that she’s been through, she’s just going to be this cute, little PG heroine who simply takes out her slavers’ flying cars and nothing else? Our slave went to all this trouble to escape from her “plantation,” and all she’s going to do is toss a grenade into her enemy’s propellers? C’mon. I love how we can have the female characters rape each other, but having the heroine go all Beatrix on a bunch of slavers is just a touch too edgy for anime.

— From a distance away, Tusk has been quietly observing Ange’s actions, and he does not approve: “Does she have no concept of stealth… or infiltration, or modesty?” Right, modesty. Says the guy who stripped the girl naked over and over every chance he could.

— We have a high-speed chase, and uh, these special effects sure are something else…

Cross Ange - 0916

— Our princess has reached the palace grounds, and we even get to see her open fire on the bad guys. But that’s only because Sylvia is begging for her sister’s help. Uh, shouldn’t you find that a bit… peculiar? Why is Sylvia even here? Anyway, nobody dies because Ange has the aim of a stormtrooper.

— Hilda’s mom has a new daughter, and predictably enough, the young girl’s name is Hilda. That can’t be healthy. The best part is how neither of them seems to notice that Hilda — our Hilda — looks exactly like them.

— Hilda finally reveals her identity, but her mother rejects her: “Why did you come back?” She then demands that Hilda immediately leave. It’s quite simple, really. The mother’s not going to let anything taint her “good ol’ days” fantasy. Instead of acknowledging the fact that she has a Norma for a daughter, Hilda’s mother would rather just replace her precious daughter with a bonafide magic user. C’mon, no one wants to be known as a Norma-lover. That’s just scandalous! Hilda’s mother would rather be a slaver than a Norma-lover.

— Is this heart-breaking? I don’t know. In a more serious anime, maybe. In a show full of lesbian threesomes, forced anal-fingering, dragons tearing some young girl limb from limb… I just can’t get my heart to give a damn. I know what this is supposed to represent, but it just doesn’t work on me when you slap on like fifty coats of anime paint. And maybe that’s the problem. The real problem is heart-breaking enough. Watching entire communities tear each other apart is tragic enough. So why do we need to hide it behind all these half-hearted metaphors? How are we supposed to deal with the real world problems if they’re too scary for us to face head-on even in fiction?

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— Then to top it all off, Hilda’s mother grabs a chunk of apple pie and hurls it at Hilda. The damn thing doesn’t even ball up or disintegrate. It just plops right onto Hilda’s chest like a plastic prop. That’s so cheesy, I’m speechless. It could be camp, but why would you be camp about such a serious subject matter?

— Oh lord, Ange even shoots directly at the balcony… the same balcony where her sister is. But like I’ve said, her aim is shit, so her sister is perfectly fine.

— But when Ange runs up to her dear sister, the little girl suddenly pulls out a knife and… well, her aim’s about as good as her onee-chan’s.

— Why has Sylvia betrayed Ange? Blah blah blah, if you weren’t a Norma, we’d all be happy. So she dragged her sister all the way out here for this? Odd. I wonder if she’s been brainwashed. Nevertheless, Ange collapses to the ground and gets herself captured. I’m sure Tusk will save her, though.

— We finish up with Hilda taking a beating from the cops. I don’t know whether to laugh or… well, I certainly wouldn’t cry, but you know what I mean. Alright, that’s enough Cross Ange for the week. I don’t think I can take anymore of this. Sure, there’s some interesting subtext in this week’s episode, but the way it’s handled leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Cross Ange - 0917

— Man, where can the anime even go from here? Well, according to the previews, Sylvia will be giving Ange a good whipping, so there’s that…

23 thoughts on “Cross Ange Ep. 9: The good ol’ days

  1. flamerounin

    Wait, what? Where is my weekly dose of Cross Ange fanservice? God, there isn’t even a panty shot here.

    The cheesiness and ham-fistedness aside, I actually found Hilda’s part of the episode more interesting than Ange’s (which was the more predictable one). It’s a rather cruel hark back to that line Ange tells the mother of that baby back in episode 1 (again, the ham-fisted attempt aside).

    And, hey, what’s this? The next episode preview isn’t an attempt to crack a joke. In fact, it sounded more on the creepy side given the context.

    1. MrMister

      There’s actually one pantyshot around the mana net on motorcycles, from Momoka no less.

      Yeah, Hilda’s mom definitely reminded me of that extra in episode 1. Having another, now proper child, eh?

      Should’ve went with “I caught a wild Ange in the grass today!”.

  2. TheRealWinston

    To be honest, I didn’t find Hilda’s (Norma one) and her mother’s behaviours unrealistic. Hilda hasn’t seen her mother a long time, and probably never tought she would see her mother again. Her mother maybe tought Hilda is dead and she was outcasted from society, because she gave birth to a Norma. Well I can not say that’s unrealistic.

    1. E Minor Post author

      I’m not convinced. I don’t see why she would wait so long to tell her own mother that it’s her. She purposefully said nothing just so that little Hilda could eventually get back home. If they wanted that so badly, however, maybe they should’ve had little Hilda at home in the first place.

  3. JayF

    Well Ange threw a grenade into a VTOL gunship and it blew up, taking another VTOL as it went crashing.

    I don’t think the cops and guardsmen are still alive after the burning metal and fire are done with them.

    1. MrMister

      I dunno. I mean, surely one of the most basic spells required for piloting an airship is full-body anti-fire forcefield.

    2. E Minor Post author

      And yet, you never see Ange directly kill anyone. You never see any actual bodies. It’s not a coincidence. You can assume that those cops and guardsmen are dead, but you can also assume that they’re not dumb enough to not even try and save themselves. They are magic users, after all.

  4. lesterf1020

    There are a couple of things I really don’t understand about this episode.
    1. If Julio wanted to torture and Kill Ange why didn’t he do it the first time? Why let her get sent to norma hell where she could die and then try to trick her back for public execution? he could have simply kept her in prison until he finished brainwashing Sylvia.

    2. Julio’s plan was predicated on the idea that they could
    a. Make contact with ange.
    b. That ange would be able to escape.

    They were only able to contact ange because Momoka was with her. So they had to know that Momoka got to the island, wasn’t killed and was with Ange. Also Angelise was a spoiled princess so why would they think she was capable of escaping the norma prison at all?

    3. And finally the thing that peeves me about most action shows. If you wanted to capture her in the palace and have Sylvia stick her with a knife why make it so difficult for her to get there in the first place?

  5. kaoknight

    you know, the whole norma-racism thing reminds me a lot of the loli-racism in black bullet(sorry for bringing up that abomination) in that no one really acts like actual human beings but caricatures and the discrimination is so darn extreme to a point of being funny.

    I found it hilarious that a teenage girl with a little training somehow went commando on everyone(they were pretty useless though). That preview made me laugh even harder, seriously, paralyzed imouto whipping her “nee-chan”? I know that people have been harping on sunrise since the beginning but after this can you blame them..

    1. Paulo27

      At least in Black Bullet the girls were actually dangerous and could turn into monsters at any time, here they are just dicks, not to say Black Bullet handled it perfectly but Cross Ange is a lot worst in this regard.

  6. The Real Sugoi Sugoi

    > Is this heart-breaking? I don’t know. In a more serious anime, maybe. In a show full of lesbian threesomes, forced anal-fingering, dragons tearing some young girl limb from limb… I just can’t get my heart to give a damn
    > That’s so cheesy, I’m speechless.
    > We finish up with Hilda taking a beating from the cops. I don’t know whether to laugh or… well, I certainly wouldn’t cry, but you know what I mean.
    > Man, where can the anime even go from here?

    This is why I love this show. No other show currently airing gives viewers quite these sort of confused and bewildered reactions.

    Oh, and I think the answer to the last question you asked of where this anime is headed is: nobody knows. That, to me, is very exciting.

  7. BoyTitan

    A none gundam sunrise series where you don’t save the little sister. Where will the main character go from here. Time out who am I supposed to root for in this series even crippled girl is a dick. Everyone is a giant dick.

    1. Pia

      Hahaha that was kinda cool, even the crippled imouto is a dick, but probably she has been brainwashed by Julio and Ange will fix her mind later on.

  8. Akumaten (@a9ma10)

    For Hilda’s situation, considering I didn’t see a father in the picture, how the hell did her mother produce another child? She looked like a single mom. Such crocodile tears, Hilda’s mom.

    OH SHIT, Sylvia betrayed Ange, who could had predicted such tragedy?
    Wouldn’t surprise me if Sylvia is fucking her brother.
    “I may be performing the worst kinds of incest, but at least I’m not a dirty Norma”

    Please tell me they are using Dragon parts to keep the mana flow, it would be the most beautiful irony.

  9. Pia

    This is the first Cross Ange episode that I found tolerable, the twist at the end surprised me because it makes no sense, yes, Sylvia has motives to hate Ange and Julio is a sadist, but the way they lured Ange to the palace contradicts itself.
    I think this society being afraid of norma is legit, besides the propaganda, every single norma is dangerous since without even trying they can destroy the main way of self-protection: the light of mana, so I think being afraid of one is comprehensible, just imagine yourself waking up at night and find a bulletproof burglar in your house: that’s frightening, but what I find heavy-handed is how people react after seeing a very known norma, they can’t help but call them monsters and shiver hatefully/fearfully even if the said norma is trying to be friendly.

    1. Naota

      Alternately, just shoot them with actual weapons… or don’t, because leaving aside the part where it’s foolish to live in constant fear of burglars you can’t kill, they can’t use magic either and so have little to actually threaten you with. You could also employ Norma as police quite effectively, really.

      If tomorrow people started being born into the world bulletproof, I’d like to think the first reaction wouldn’t be “Kill them! A few might possibly become criminals!”

  10. superdolphin

    The man in charge of producing this anime is the infamous Fukuda, Fukuda only care about money and he proved it when he directed the infamous “Gundam Seed” and its more infamous sequel “Gundam Seed Destiny”.


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