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Chrono Crusade - Complete (DVD)
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In New York, 1928, the seals between Earth and Hell are breached. Hold on to your rosary as professional exorcists rage against depravity in this iconic series from the creators of Afro Samurai and Trinity Blood.
Brandishing sacred weaponry, Sister Rosette and her partner Chrono dutifully serve the Magdalene Order, a divine organization that cleans the streets of demonic filth. Their main target: Aion, an indomitable devil raining apocalyptic horrors upon America. A doozy of a devil himself, Chrono’s true powers can only be released at Rosette’s command – draining her own life in exchange. Staring morality straight in the face. This dynamite pair races against time to destroy Aion and restore the balance between good and evil.
Contains all 24 episodes on DVD with both the English dub and the original Japanese track with English subtitles.
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You have to give the series some props; the plot is original. You probably won't find another series starring nuns that exorcise demons alongside one, and you have even less of a chance of finding an anime series that makes numerous references to the bible and related elements to Catholicism, in great detail. And on top of that, the series takes place in 1920's America! Not Japan. Not present day. But in the past of America, a rare treat indeed. How the series progresses gets a thumbs up too. There's not a single filler episode in Chrono Crusade; I know I used this a negative point in my Pretear review, but Pretear was only 13 episodes long, Chrono Crusade is 24 - therefore allowing much more time to develop the story and its characters.
Also a lot of the common cliché in anime are handled quite nicely. For example, the romance sub plot between Rosette and Chrono is handled very maturely. You won't get Rosette going bright red when someone mentions she has feelings for him, and Chrono won't try to kiss her only to land on her breasts. Instead of lot of the tenderness between the two is `in between the lines', and the 2 actually talk about their feelings at one point, instead of punching each other like in other romance based anime. I also liked the cast, even though most of them are stereotypes, there were likable in their own way. This especially goes towards the main heroine. Rosette is your typical loud mouth, short tempered, klutz with a good heart; but none of the traits are over exaggerated. Sure she is pure of heart but she won't give grand speeches of how love conquers all. Other notable things include the action scenes; all were well choreographed, I thought the big battle at the end was a tad rushed, but the rest were very well done. There were also some nice ties to historical events and some very dark themes were thrown in for good measure. Overall Chrono Crusade has the qualities to become a classic anime.
The biggest flaw is the tone of the series, it's a mixture of comedy and dark demonic matters (which is fine, it's not the first for anime) but within the same scene the atmosphere can chop and change between the two in a matter of seconds. The best example to give would be in episode 11; one second Rosette is comically shouting at a character for robbing her moment of glory from a fight, the next she's traumatised and suffering complete angst over a bloody corpse. It's almost like Chrono Crusade is suffering from bipolar disorder! Admittedly the tone seems to stick to dark and `end of the world' theme for the second half of the series but you will still get the occasional blip of out-of-place comic relief.
Speaking of the comedy; I wasn't particularly impressed. Yes it does borrow a lot of clichés and it's expected being a regular anime viewer, but I personally thought the `breasts' related jokes cheapen the series. Chrono Crusade had a great, deep story that didn't need useless `boobie' jokes implanted just to give it a comic edge.
Animation quality is great, and has aged well considering it's nearly 5 years old. There are some cool special effects in there too; I especially liked the crucifixes that appeared whenever Rosette shot a gun, it was a nice touch.
Sound quality for the series is pretty strong throughout. The music score works well with the themes and time period of the anime; you'll get some jazz inspired tracks as well as Gregorian songs. Sound effects were surprisingly dull at times, considering the nature of the series. The best example to give would be in episode 10 where a blood splatter occurs yet you don't get an accommodating sound effect. Maybe I was spoilt rotten for blood splatter effects from watching Elfen Lied, but god dammit, if you're going to shock the audience with blood and guts, have the sound department taken care of to carry it off! The opening theme ("Tsubasa wa Pleasure Line" by Miniami Kuribayashi) is an uplifting j-pop song that I'm fond of, it's not as forgettable as some anime openings but I did find myself skipping it towards the 2nd half of the series. The j-pop ballad ending theme (`Sayonara Solitia' by Saeko Chiba), happens to be one of my favourites, and it reflects the softer side of the series well. Both the Japanese and English dub track are of good quality. The English dub features of a very strong cast of Hilary Haag (This Ugly Yet Beautiful World, Martian Successor Nadesico), Jason Douglas (Excel Saga, Azumanga Daioh) and Greg Ayres (Neon Genesis Evangelion, Burst Angel - and I swear he sounds like Spike Spencer's twin in this series!) All the actors play their parts brilliantly, and ADV did some great research for the dub, as they implanted some of the slang used in the 1920s; including `Everything's Jake' and `Oh Applesauce!', so kudos to them!
The DVDs themselves are of good quality; the box set contains all 24 episodes across 7 discs which are thankfully packaged nicely without being cramped. Plus they came with a nice selection of extras. On top of the usual clean opening and closings and trailers, we also get original Japanese on-air openings, Azmaria's Extra Classes (cute clips of one of the main characters explaining some of the more complicated points of the plot), sketches and The Chrono Crusade Chronicles (giving background info on the plot and what the world was like in the 1920s). As a side note I want to point out the subtitle quality on the collection; the translation (as far as I can tell) is fine and the text is easily readable but not all discs will subtitle the opening and ending themes, and some don't provide translation for some of the Japanese text within the series. It's not a deal breaker but it can be a tad annoying.
There's been plenty of anime that have raised the bar in quality since the release of Chrono Crusade...but there's also been a lot of crap, which Chrono Crusade doesn't come close to, so it's definitely worth a watch if you're an anime fan looking for something a bit different. Its strengths outweigh the weaknesses and gives other demon based anime a run for their money.
Rosette Christopher is a member of the Magadelane order who are a group of Nuns that specialise in exterminating devils...and in typical anime fashion, the only way these nuns can fight these devils is by shooting them and shooting them some more. However, beneath this is a deep and tragic story.
Throughout the story, Rosette is accompanied by a 'good' devil named Chrono who acts as her sidekick and companion. Together, it is their job to protect people from the devils. As can be expected, there is some truly brilliant action sequences on show here, which are nicely animated by acclaimed studio Gonzo who worked on titles such as Full Metal Panic, Gantz and Desert Punk. However, the series has a tendency to go a bit OTT with some of the fighting (especially towards the end of the series), so much so that it is some times hard to follow what is going on through the masses of explosions and noise.
My one problem with this anime, like many animes is the fact that the style of the series drastically changes when it comes near the end of the series. The series begins as a fun, action packed story with plenty of humour and likeable characters, however towards the end, the creators saw the need to introduce a very serious and much darker approach to the series. Like I said, many series do this, (usualyy after they have peaked on ratings after plenty of fun lighthearted episodes, the creators usually throw in a serious plot at the last minute to give the series a bit more structure) however, Chrono Crusade just takes the mick. As well as the plot turning serious in tone and atmosphere, it also turns downright depressing to such an extent that you question whether it is the same show. On the plus side, the story line is quite interesting, but many viewers such as myself, may feel alienated among the sheer amount of religious references in it, and again it gets very dark and very depressing and made me wish the series could go back to its normal style.
Animation wise, the series looks gorgeous with some great CGI effects as well as beautiful traditional artwork. The series also has some decent music in the form of opening and ending theme songs. Both music tracks are beatiful and go well with the style and feel of the series. However, some of the in-episode music is quite stock and more often forgettable. All 7 discs of this collection contain English and Japanese languages as well as english subtitles. There is also a plethora of special features on each disc which range from English cast commentaries to trailers. Though one of the best features is the Azmaria extra classes. These mini segments are basically little bits of information on the story and history behind chrono crusade, presentesd to the viewer by one of the series characters 'Azmaria'. These sections are a decent adition to the set and it's nice to see that ADV have made an effort with providing extra features for the DVDs. Both language tracks of Chrono Crusade are very good, but I mainly watched the english dub. Mainly because one of my favourite voice actors Greg Ayres plays Chrono. Ayres plays this character perfectly and is one of his best vocal performances in my opinion.
In retrospect, Chrono Crusade is an enjoyable series that tells an interesting story, however the drastic changes in style as well as pacing left me a bit confused at the end. Viewers looking for a fun and lighthearted anime should enjoy the first few discs of the series but just prepare yourself for some harsh depressing episodes later on. The story that the series presents is somewhat rushed but still quite fascinating with more than it's fair share of prophetical ramblings.