CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon
Episode 14

by Theron Martin,

For the second time in the series Ange and Tusk are alone together and one of the smaller Dragons is around, only this time the Dragon is actually Vivian and the location is not an island but the long-destroyed ruins of a city. Ange soon discovers that this is actually the capital of the Misurugi Empire, and in a shelter full of decayed corpses they learn that their mysterious transport in the face of Embryo's attack was not so much a matter of going where but when: several hundred years into the future, in fact, and 538 years after the emergence of a black Vilkiss during a war set off an apocalyptic chain reaction of power plants across the globe, effectively wiping everyone out. Some harsh words and an eventual reconciliation later finds them in the one remaining hotel in the ruins that is still functional, where Tusk explains in better detail how he regards Ange (and how meeting her on the island gave him a major attitude adjustment during his most depressed period) and Ange essentially tries to convince him that there's no point in them not being lovers, given their situation. Just as things are about to get romantic, though, they suddenly discover that they actually aren't alone after all.

Neither Tusk and Ange (almost) hooking up nor the pair eventually encountering the “true citizens” again is at all surprise, but the way it came about was not at all what I would have guessed. Temporarily sending characters into a distant post-apocalyptic future so they can see how the world gets ruined has been a recurring sci fi ploy ever since H.G. Wells' The Time Machine came out in 1895, and the montage shown back in episode 11 suggested that some funky business involving time could be afoot at some point, but isolating Tusk and Ange more than 500 years after everyone else has (presumably) died off is an intriguing twist for the situation; more interesting is topping it off with the appearance of the dragon people at the end. Even stranger, the Next Episode preview indicates that the Dragon Princess will be appearing again as if this is her present time. That raises the possibility that the mystical gates that have been opening up and disgorging Dragons since the first episode are not actually interdimensional portals but instead time portals. If true, that would also give Ange and Tusk their “out” to eventually return back to their normal time, but that also means that we should get some answers soon about what is really going on with the Dragons. However things end up playing out next episode, they will certainly not be dull.

Despite a dearth of action, this episode wasn't dull, either. While the writing is still far from masterpiece level, the character and relationship developments seems less forced here than back during their first encounter in episode 5. All kinds of problems could probably be noted by those familiar with decay rates, and the hotel seems in suspiciously good shape. (If we never get an explanation for that then it is a glaring “look the other way on the details for sake of convenience” issue.) Amusingly, the name of the hotel is a brazen Gundam Seed reference.

With all these twists and turns, and now time shifts, too, Cross Ange has effectively become 2014-2015's version of Valvrave the Liberator. Whether or not that's actually a Good Thing will be left to individual tastes.

Rating: B

CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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