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.
— 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.
— 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…
— 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?
— 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.
— 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…