Chrono Crusade DVD Review

Chrono CrusadeThe time is the middle of the 1920s and America is the richest and most flourishing country worldwide. But the race to become stronger and wealthier has tempted some Americans to summon demons. In exchange for his/her soul the summoner can strike gold, charm one’s passion of lust or execute a brutal revenge against those whom they hold a grudge against. To stop the demons from spreading and tainting the cities a religious organization called the Magdalene order is dispatching sisters with anti-demonic articles to the crime scenes. One such sisters is Rosette Cristopher – a hot-blooded blond teenager with no manners or restrain to speak of. Rosette has become a demon hunter in order to track down her long-lost brother Joshua who was kidnapped by a demon when the two were very little. Rosette’s partner and coworker is a man named Chrono who is himself a demon. Chrono used to be the strongest of demons but circumstances have left him crippled with no means of sustaining the energy needed for him to remain alive in the human realm. The two have made a pact: Chrono will help Rosette search her long lost brother and fight demons alongside her. In return Rosette will share her life energy with Chrono, which will shorten her life-span drastically. Soon the two find themselves confronting their biggest challenge of all – an almighty demon called Aion. Aion is the one who kidnapped Joshua and also the demon who crippled Chrono. Defeating him is the key to retrieving Joshua and to Chrono’s personal salvation. Along the way the two join forces with the jewel witch satella and the holy Apostol Azmaria. Together they will forge a way through Aion’s minions and try their luck at exorcising the strongest demon that ever walked the earth.

Along the years we’ve seen more than a fair share of anime that augmented conventional hero vs. villain stories with Christian motifs. Scattered all across Chrono Crusade are Christian imagery, references to the bible and strong opinions regarding the role and reign of god in an age colored with technological advancements and human lust for power. However, for better or worse these topics remain a fairly relegated part of Chrono Crusade. The core series hosts a repetitive pattern in which Rosette and Chrono fight against “the demon of the day”. Each episode introduces a stronger demon to stand in their way, and in the second half of the series those demons are mostly Aion’s lackies, but in the overall view of things the course of most episodes remain painstakingly similar. The series does feature a good pacing and earn some points for becoming evermore darker as time goes by, and yet all the symbolism in the Christian world are not enough to cloak Chrono Crusade’s simple plot. What’s more the series lacks in direction. Character interactions feel corny and exaggerated while some of the story elements are not very convincing. I often found myself confused at some of the more questionable, often inexplicable, paths Rosette and Chrono chose to take. Speaking of the two, I found Rosette’s attitude to be outright obnoxious. That said she is the one who does most of the work. On the other hand Chrono’s utter lack of fighting prowess renders him almost useless despite his warm personality. Honestly I found it impossible to cheer the good guys. They are blend and feel somewhat unworthy of our attention. Azmaria and Satella have a much more interesting tale to tell, and both support the story as best as they possibly can.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Chrono Crusade is its harsh criticism on worshipping the supernatural. Rosette notes more than once that the real problem are not the demons but the demon worshippers who summon them. God is presented as a higher being who has no interest in humans, but the former continue to blindly worship him nonetheless. Even god’s messengers – the angels – are seen doubting gods intensions. Aion, the evil demon who is set upon bringing the apocalypse implores god time and time again to try and stop him, as if he himself wants to believe that god is omnipotence and still relevant. Aion himself is presented as the Antichrist who also doubles as a demigod. His lackies are borderline more interesting that the good guys, but since this is a classic good vs. evil show they receive very little time under the spotlight.

For this review I watched the Chrono Crusade complete collection from ADV Films. The series consists of 24 episodes, presented on 5 DVDs. The presentation and music of the series are both passable. Chrono Crusade was made for widescreen and due to its bright color pallete still looks attractive today, if not very impressive. The ugly CG and plain character designs detract somewhat from that attractiveness. The music does its job without being notable. The Japanese dub is decent while the English dub is one of the worst I heard in years. I’ve come to expect the English actors to mispronounce Japanese names, but when the actors start misspelling perfectly good English names (like Rosette) you know something is amiss. The series’ extras come in the form of a 6th DVD. The most noteworthy extra is by far “Azmaria’s Extra Classes” – mini episodes that delve deeper into the lore behind the series. By explaining the Christian motifs and historical facts the series was loosely based upon these multiple episode do the series a great service.

Despite a few nicely placed ideas here and there Chrono Crusade is ultimately a simple series with below average execution and an unattractive set of main characters. If you have some nostalgic memories of Chrono Crusade and would like to own the show be my guest and buy this DVD box. Newcomers however will be disappointed by Chrono Crusade’s mediocre presentation and plain execution.

 


Pros:

- Christian motifs add more depth to the plot.

 

Cons:

- Simple and uninspiring plot.

- Unattractive main characters.

- Poor directing hampers story continuity and believability.

 

Final Score: 6/10 (Mediocre)

 

 

Product Information:Chrono Crusade DVD Complete Series. Published by ADV Films. Release Date: February 22, 2011.

Review Equipment: A Samsung 32-Inch LCD HDTV (LA32B530) connected to a Premier DVX131 DVD player using an HDMI cable.


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