CROSS ANGE Rondo of Angel and Dragon
by Theron Martin,
This is the episode that everyone who has been following the series has probably been waiting for: the big reveal on what the deal is with the DRAGONs and how they fit into the whole scheme of things in Ange's world. While some of the revelations have been predicted, others still come as surprises, albeit ones that logically follow from what else is revealed.
The distinction of “Ange's world” is important because apparently that wasn't actually a time shift that we saw at the end of episode 13 but a dimensional shift, and the setting of both worlds is several hundred years after the calamitous events shown in the history recording in episode 14. As Salamandinay (previously referred to as the Dragon Princess – and yeah, that's a clumsy effort to give her a lizard/amphibian-themed name) explains to Ange, the world was ruined by war and pollution following the discovery of energy-generating dracunium particles late in the 22nd century. Some humans chose to leave Earth and found a new home, presumably in a parallel dimension; that was Ange's world, the one set up by Embryo. The remaining humans biologically adapted themselves to the environment and set about working to clean it up, with the males becoming the large DRAGONs and taking on the job of eating contamination to process it into safer by-products and the females becoming the smaller dragons but also retaining the ability to transform back into a mostly-human form. Not delved into at all is how those humans are still able to breed given the size differentials in dragon forms, as since Tusk is regarded as quite a novelty (and treated as you might expect!), the males do not seem capable of transforming back, but that does at least explain why all of the dragon-people appearing in humanoid form are female.
The even bigger deal, though, is why the “real humans” are attacking into the other world. I have long suspected that the DRAGONs might possibly be at the source of the Light of Mana, and that is basically correct; their progenitor, Aura, who is being held captive by Embryo, is the source of Mana in Ange's world, but since he gets depleted quickly he needs to be regularly recharged by harvesting other DRAGONs. This makes for an efficient but pretty sick system: Embryo arranges for singularities to be regularly opened to bait the dragon-people into coming to rescue Aura, the marginalized Norma are used to fight and kill the “invading” DRAGONs (and the danger of it effectively keeps their population under control), and the DRAGONs are secretly used to maintain the system that marginalizes the Norma. Man, Embryo is already looking like he is going to be hard to rival for Bastard of the Year honors.
What this all doesn't explain is how the Villkiss (which the dragon people's leaders are aware of) fits into all of this, how the songs function, and why the Norma cannot use the Light of Mana, but there are still several episodes left to get into that. However, the episode does also reveal why Vivian turned into a dragon: she is actually native to the original Earth and strayed into Ange's world through a singularity as a child. That means that earlier speculation about Norma generally being able to turn into dragons under the right conditions is probably incorrect.
Much of the episode is taken up with spelling out these revelations, although as info dumps go, this is not an egregious one. The rest of the episode is also entertaining, with Ange's behavior actually being a delight; the hard-edged and strong-willed but also demonstrably peckish attitude she has developed, especially concerning Tusk, is fun to watch, and definitely a far cry from where she started the series. Naturally Tusk gets another accidental faceplant to Ange's crotch (its portrayal as a running joke, instead of just fan service, makes it much funnier here than it is in your typical harem series), but in an amusing twist, Ange reciprocates, and she is not so sexually demure that she is beyond teasing him about sexual matters. The heavily Japanese style of the dragon-people's home area, the distinctive fantasy-themed clothing styles of the dragon-women, and the curious alternate take on the “lighted paper lanterns being set adrift” custom provide further interesting details, as does a musical shift to traditional Japanese-flavored themes during some scenes.
Meaty revelations, smooth info-dumping, and entertaining behavior which clearly shows how far the title character has come all add up to a higher-than-normal grade for this episode. More so than any episode since the first, it sets the direction for where the rest of the story will go.
discuss this in the forum (636 posts) |