I recently decided to check out one of the newest mecha anime, Cross Ange, and while I was already leery given I heard it was a fanservice fest directed by the same guy who did Gundam Seed Destiny, I figured, what the hell, let's see what the first few episodes are like.
I saw the first two, and dear god, this makes Kill La Kill look good by comparison, and I thought that one was in bad taste as well.
We first begin with a brief mecha fighting sequence, which obviously is Gundam inspired, then after this in medias res scene we get on with the actual story.
The story is about some Magitek kingdom where everyone can use Mana (magic), and those that can't are considered third class citizens. The story goes at lightning speed in the first episode, when we just barely get properly introduced to Angelina (our protagonist), then her father is deposed in a coup, her mother shot, and she is revealed as a Norma (someone who can't use magic).
This whole scene sets the tone for the horrible writing that follows, as the coup goes off in front of everybody without a hitch, no one reacts to a murder and usurpation of power from the former king in a realistic manner (save Angelina, who is the only one showing appropriate shock/horror/outrage), and the scene ends with Angelina being carted off for her crime of being a non Mana user.
The scene changes to nighttime in a prison where a prison warden is basically letting Angelina know she's a third class citizen who will be fighting in a penal battalion, gets introduced to her commander Jill (also a prisoner), who initially goes good cop and tries to explain she's basically a prison bitch who has no choice in the manner.
Angelina is still suffering shock and outrage, so Jill switches to bad cop, rips her clothes off, and in what can be only be described as a lesbian prison rape scene, "breaks her in".
The whole scene is about as lightning fast as the first half of the episode, and has this bad aftertaste of trying to make the viewer aroused and trying to make you feel sympathy for Angelina (called "Ange" now by Jill to emphasize her third class citizen status), but fails on both counts by showing way too much of the rape scene (they could have panned the camera away just as the scene started and left the audio in and kept the same impact) and it happens so abruptly you barely have time to process what has transpired.
The episode ends soon after with the feeling of being uber rushed and an attempt at trying badly to go dark and edgy that went way too fast with bad attempts at trying to make the viewer jerk off.
Even as a guy with a functioning sex drive, I experienced no joy out of the experience due to the circumstances and the hideous pacing, so the fact it failed even at softcore lesbian porn is pretty telling,
Episode two has Ange hazed and shit on by the rest of the penal battalion for not accepting her prison bitch status, and while this isn't too badly written (fairly realistic honestly), they shove in another lesbian rape scene as well as an earlier foreshadowing scene with girl on girl action in yet more attempts at fanservice. The foreshadowing scene wasn't too horrible (it was brief and underscores how the junior prisoners are the playthings of their seniors), and the following scene where Ange is further broken in and molested was tacky, but does further hammer home how low on the totem pole she is, albeit obviously done to give the lowest common denominator something to jerk off to.
Later, we finally see another mecha fighting scene, and in what is actually better writing it's obvious team tactics are important, and when our still disbelieving protag decides to ditch this shithole in her robot, another prisoner tries to follow her, gets brutally killed for her trouble, and the escape attempt ends in obvious failure.
Two episodes in, not very positive on this crap at all due to bad pacing, lowbrow fanservice pandering, no one save Ange herself acting halfway realistic (even the penal battalion characters are acting out cliches from a softcore lesbian prison porno), and utterly gratuitous abuse of telling the viewer too much in too little time instead of letting us digest the plot.
I might continue watching out of disgusted fascination with how deep the rabbit hole of suck goes, but given how it was a struggle to stay interested for the first two episodes, I'm doubtful I'll even bother.
P.S. - Memo to story writers: When your work has an obvious "let's introduce cheesecake to make the viewer stick around even if they hate everything else" and you even fuck that up due to hideously bad taste, your story sucks.