Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cross Ange Episode 9

Episode 9 begins with a flashback scene to when Hilda was younger and somewhat more adorable chilling in a tree until someone who is obviously her Mom (yeah, definitely see where her looks came from) tells her the apple pie is ready.

As the flashback ends with Hilda about to wold down some pie, we cut to a later scene where Hilda is being carted off by the cops for the horrible crime of being a Norma, and her mother is understandably upset, and to her credit, she still loves her child even if she is a Norma.

Slightly later, we cut to Hilda doing a little window shopping (well, theft) as some shocked onlookers watch, though considering she's considered a criminal simply for being a Norma, that's kinda minor league in the crime department, and as Hilda evades detection and heads off presumably to her home village (with a change of clothes and a new handbag), the opening credits play.

Once they end, we cut to Ange and Momoka under a bridge, with Ange wisely telling Momoka they move only at night, and as they wait for the sun to set, Ange wonders if Hilda found her mother. We then cut back to Hilda (wearing an outfit that makes her look a LOT like she did as a kid, probably so her mother would recognize her easier), and as Hilda pops an apple off a tree and thinks back again to her mother wanting her daughter back, Hilda is hopeful (as she looks on to her home village) her mother still feels that way.

We cut back to Ange, who is still decked out like a commando and doing Solid Snake style stealth shit as Momoka serves as her locksmith (for Mana sealed doors). They manage to find Akiho (someone else from Ange's princess days), who is understandably 0_0 over seeing Ange again, and as Ange hopes to talk her down into cooperation by being calm, Akiho is edging backwards in obvious fear, doing a poor job trying to keep calm.

Eventually, Akiho falls to her knees a sobbing wreck, and Ange finally manages to calm her down by telling her "look dammit, being a Norma didn't make a monster, no matter what BS you may have been fed on that score". Akiho appears to believe this as Ange and Momoka are about to jack a hoverbike, but it's obvious Akiho is lying as she summons a comm panel behind her back to raise the  alarm, and Ange figures out really quick Akiho has drunk the racist Koolaid in obvious disgust, and Ange, after one leg sweep later as a parting fuck you, hops on the bike with Momoka as they haul ass for the Imperial palace, and we briefly cut back to Akiho fighting her way out of some quickly done up bonds.

We then cut back to Ange and Momoka using the waterway through the city to sneak past most of the public, and Ange thanks Momoka for not a being a bigot despite being a Mama user. We then get a brief scene of what looks like a younger Hilda on a bus (though the scene seems to be set in the present), then back to the present where Hilda finds her childhood home, experiences a brief bit of fear before turning the knob, then sucks it up and goes inside.

Once inside, Hilda is obviously looking around in a mix of nostalgia and fear, and discovers her childhood music box, and just then, Hilda's mother shows up (have aged into her middle years fairly well), and weirdly, is utterly unfazed by Hilda and acts like everything is the way it was before, though she seems to act as if Hilda is coming home soon (not to mention has an odd glazed over look on her face). Hilda seems oblivious to the warning signs something is not right and waits outside, crying in happiness, nostalgia blanking out some serious warning signals she would otherwise be getting.

We then cut back to Ange and Momoka just in front of the Imperial Palace, and both of them crack the throttles of the hoverbike in "fuck it, let's do this!" mode, and as Ange realizes it might be wise to take the long way around, it seems the cops were warned about her as they approach a barricade of cars and hiked up security troops. Ange decides to bust through, and while the cops wisely throw up Mana shields against the bullets she's firing, her true target is their vehicles, which leave a nice fireball in her wake as she charges on.

We then cut to the traitorous Akiho, who is in the back of a patrol car, obviously a racist Koolaid drinker through and through. We then cut to what looks like Tusk (remember, Jill had Jasmine give him a ring) doing recon, realizing Ange is still the blunt, unsubtle girl he's used to.

After the midshow credits, we cut to Ange being pursued by several patrol cars, and the cops learned from before and shield the cars with a mana barrier and try to throw a restraint net around Momoko, but Ange weaponizes her Norma status to destroy it. The cops have gotten a clue from this and prepare to use a conventional net gun instead. Ange and Momoka dodge the net gun shots well, but the imperial forces show up via a two transport craft above with more net guns, obviously not fucking around anymore, but Ange pulls the pin out of  grenade with her teeth  and targets the engine of one of the craft, causing it to crash into the other, and both go down in a fireball.

Ange then orders Momoka to charge into what looks like a waterfall, and Momoka does despite the insanity of doing so, and turns out to lead to a hidden passageway, which allows them to evade their pursuers. Meanwhile, someone is currently watching the action on their own Mana screen (presumably Julio, the asshole from the first episode who launched the coup that fucked Ange and her family over royally).

We then cut back to Ange explaining the secret passage they are using was one only known to the royal family, and Momoka is slightly miffed to learn Ange used it to sneak out of the castle sometimes.

We then cut to Julio's office, where the smug bastard is gloating over how predictable Ange is. Meanwhile, Ange and Momoka have popped out near the exit of the castle moat, directly in front of the palace, and they continue their ingress forward. Of course, more goons in armored transports show up, and as Ange sees Slyvie under heavy guard as guns are pointed hers and Momoka's direction, it's obvious Julio anticipated this and decided to used Slyvie as bait. This just pisses Ange off as she opens fire on the advancing goon squad.

We cut back to Hilda, where everything seems normal at first, and that's when that little girl who looked a hell of a lot like Hilda shows up, and as Hilda's mother addresses the little girl in a manner that makes it clear she got herself a Replacement Goldfish of her own daughter, presumably out of grief, and now that she has "Hilda", the older one realizes what she should have figured out earlier, and as her own mother regards her as a stranger, the final piece of the puzzle is made obvious.

Hilda's mom had a mental break due to her grief, adopted a surrogate for her own daughter (who she gave up for dead), and doesn't recognize her own daughter due to the fact she's living a world of denial of her own making to avoid the pain.

Before I continue, I have to say this is a pretty heartbreaking to watch, and considering Hilda (the older one) only recently started redeeming herself, even I have to admit this scene has got to be a knife to the heart for her, and shit, if you don;t feel the slightest bit sorry for her having to witness this, IMHO, you have a heart of stone.

Hilda immediately realizes all the above and basically explains "I dunno who you got to fill the void, but I'm the daughter you lost eleven years ago", which manages to pierce the denial veil of her mom, who basically is outraged her comfy fog of denial just got shattered and tells her own birth daughter to leave, which has Older!Hilda understandably heartbroken, and as Young!Hilda wonders what's going on, the fact Older!Hilda is a Norma slips out (causing Young!Hilda to faint), and you can understand Hilda's mom a little better, as she doesn't want to lose another daughter, and she still retains enough love for her birth daughter that she tells Hilda she won't tell anyone she came, but she just wants her to leave, and to get the point across, she tells her own birth daughter she shouldn't have been born (because the fact she was a Norma brought nothing but grief), which causes Hilda to flee in tears.

We then cut back to Ange taking on the goon squad, beating the ever living shit out all challengers and manages to rescue Sylvie, who is happy Ange still cares about her flesh and blood, but it's also obvious this was meant to close the jaws on Julio's trap as well.

And that's when we get the shocker of Ange getting knifed in the arm by her own sister.

As Ange is in WTF mode, Sylvie reveals she too has drunk the racist Koolaid (albeit more because she figures they would have been happier and not a cripple had Ange not been born to screw that up), though IMO some of her dialogue sounds like a script she was fed (presumably by Julio), though now Ange know exactly what Hilda is feeling as she too is betrayed by her own blood.

The soldier net Ange and Momoka, and Julio comes out to gloat, admits he set the whole thing up just to fuck her over, and then tells her they are going to put her on trial for being a subhuman.

Before I go on, I have to admit I really wanted to jump into the screen and beat the shit out of the guy at this point.

We then cut back to Hilda, who gets jumped by some cops and is beaten up and captured as well.

Next episode shows Hilda and Ange being captured, Ange being given a show trial, Tusk apparently launches a rescue, and Jill gut punches Ange, presumably for being a dumbass. We also have Sylvie narrating the post credits this time, more or less recapping her betrayal and backstabbing of Ange.

This episode was pretty dramatic and well done IMO, especially with a fanservice level of zero and a very tightly, well written plot executed, looking forward to the next one.

3 comments:

  1. After watching the episode, I've noticed a few things of interest:

    -First off, I don't see Momoka anywhere in the preview, despite being willing to help out in this failed rescue mission/trap this episode. I'm not sure why, or why Julio wouldn't even suspect her as the reason why Ange even got this far to begin with. Though this does lead into my next observation.

    - The whole "Mana users being punished" thing, which has been bothering me since episode one. While I can see the mother being let off the hook because of Ange's intervention, she was resisting authority, at least got reprehended her for it. Or even a small jail sentence, assuming those things still exist besides the island. Plus we never do see what happens to Jurai at the end of the episode, nor is he even mentioned this episode, which kinda bothered me a bit.

    So I'm hoping for some explanation next episode, even if the writers just pull it from their asses. Since at this point, I'm split between whether or not even they know.

    Finally, I'm impressed by how Tusk never even got discovered. And while I'm sure his time on the island helped hone his training. The fact that no one noticed an unidentified aircraft either shows the (lack of) competence between Julio and his forces, or that he's too obsessed with killing his sister to give two shits about anyone else (though I guess it would explain why he doesn't bring up, or seemingly recognize Momoka). Which is sad, not no life-level sad, but still pretty sad when all's said and done.

    Still, the series' has become something of a guilty pleasure for me, and with it being a two season series, I hope they explain some more stuff over time. Otherwise, I'll be back to hating it like I was at first.

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    1. IMHO, the series had a hideous start but has gotten more watchable over time, mostly because they found some decent pacing and have toned down the cheesecake fanservice. The mecha scenes are adequate at worst and quite good at best, and I liked the current episode the most because the plot and character development were front and center, and the fanservice was basically nonexistent, which, given the tone of the episode, was entirely appropriate.

      They do have a lot of unexplained stuff I hope they clear up, but the plot is starting to attain some coherence as of late, cautiously optimistic so far.

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    2. And that's all you can be. Otherwise all expectations will be dashed well before you even realize it just happened.

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