Cross Ange. (Review after watching up to ep 10)
This one is a quite a head scratcher. For those of you looking for mindless entertainment, I suggest you turn away. Your mind will become engaged by the content within, and for many, the content is not something they actively want to think about.
Rape abuse and torment are the themes of this show, to make that point clear. Within a “Utopian” world where all crimes can be solved by the use of magic the “Norma” are prejudiced against because they are IMMUNE to all forms of magic. As they cannot use them, and cannot be imprisoned or transported by magical barriers like the rest of the population can, they are prejudiced against as animals. This concept is that magic is the core of Humanity’s essence, and being unable to use it is somehow an active act of rejection to the "order and peace" maintained by the system. Such a thing is double sided. Is it a power that weakens you, or is it a weakness that strengthens you?
What do I mean by this? There is nudity abound in this show, but it comes at the cost of being attached to the tormented. If you watch it, you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the nudity because it is tainted. It forces you to look on in a bit more objective manner than normal, as well as pay MORE attention to it. While it does follow the traditional exploitive themes and patterns found in other anime, it could be seen as a negative form of satire against such displays. Even as the show progresses, the main character loses all interest in whether or not she is clothed, because she is dead to the world.
The displays themselves become obvious as a part of the only outlets for stress these characters could encounter, and the camera wants you to be brutally aware of this. When forced to live daily in a meat grinder, you either do what you can to enjoy yourself, or you expose yourself to lesser horrors to remove the reminders of the greater ones, even if it is just a miniscule instant. The people are soldiers, being used and abused as their country demands, with no ability or say in the matter, in an eternal war that really has no explanation other than the mainland wants to use it to kill them all off.
Of those who enjoy the “displays”, they can either continue enjoying it oblivious to what they are really doing, or to realize that the authors are calling them out on moral depravity.
As for the plot? So far at episode 10, it is taking an interesting turn, and the concepts within seem to mirror some problematic shadows held within Japan itself. It is a decent story of how the world destroys a group of people, and who they are, yet they aren’t at a dead end. The world is not going to help them out of this, as many other “despair but not defeated” anime do, so they are forced to forge their own opportunities.
The dragons are a bit of a mystery. Aside from enhancing the point of their prison of exile, there seems to be no real purpose to them, at least not yet.
Overall, it's not an amazing story, but it is clearly for those with a bit more "viewing experience" than a "casual" would feel comfortable with.
One thing I would like to bring to attention, is that this show holds an almost satanic parallel to the "Magical Girl" genre. The main character undergoes a "transformation" and then "recieves a power that had been there all along" etc.
The story still has space for completion, and this is just a placeholder review, as it is clearly on a knife's edge right now. It could have an excellent ending, or it could fall into utter jibberish. It all depends on what happens next.
Out of the three reviews on the site this is the only one worth reading.