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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Chrono Crusade - Complete Collection
Chrono Crusade - Complete Collection
ADV Films // PG-13 // November 1, 2005
List Price: $89.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Douglass Jr. | posted November 18, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

Studio GONZO has been responsible for several well known shows over the years and is undoubtedly one of the most prominent names in the industry. Series like Hellsing, Kiddy Grade, Vandread and most recently, Samurai 7, really put them on a pedestal for fans who appreciated their efforts. Another one of their shows, Chrono Crusade, proved to be just as high quality as their past projects and had a fun atmosphere with an interesting concept.

The series got its start as an eight volume manga by Daisuke Moriyama and eventually made the leap from pages to the TV screen with a 24 episode anime. Both versions of the idea are pretty much the same. The story is centered in New York during the 1920s with the church and devils playing a large role in the history of the world. The Magdalene Order is humanities best defense against these demonic Sinners, but at times even they have a rough go of it. They are armed with holy weapons and spiritual power, but all of the best equipment in the world means nothing if the person using it isn't skilled. That's where Rosette comes in.

Rosette is the lead character of the show and even though she dresses like a nun, she's not as sweet and innocent as she appears. This girl fights tooth and nail to see the destruction of devils and quite often that leads to the demolition of private property. Her boss sees her as a menace, but Rosette possesses a never say die attitude, true dedication and a knack for always coming out on top. She can be a little eccentric at times, but that's just part of her personality.

Rosette's partner is a kid named Chrono who is actually a devil Sinner. You'd think that the two would conflict each other, but they are truly about as close as two people can be. Rosette is Chrono's contractor, which means that the two are basically bound by her soul. The more demonic powers that Chrono uses, the shorter his partner's lifespan becomes, so it adds an interesting element. There is also a lot of conflict between this particular devil and Sister Kate, who is Rosette's boss of the Magdalene Order. She views him as a threat and an abomination that should be dealt with properly instead of being allowed to roam their halls.

Eventually the duo is joined by a young girl named Azmaria Hendric, who is actually an apostle of God. She has the powers to sprout wings and to heal people, plus bring them back from the dead. Because she is so young though her skills haven't been fully realized, so she is rather limited to what she can accomplish. I found her character to be pretty annoying since she seems to be helpless most of the time and often just gets in the way. She eventually grew on me by the end of the show, but it took a while for me to like her.

There are many more secondary characters that each plays a larger role in the outcome of the series than they originally let on. Rosette's brother, for instance, starts out as a memory and a dream, but eventually becomes a major plotline and turning point for the series. Many characters come and go, though each of them are finely developed and fleshed out. That's the thing about this series that really struck me; the characters are fully realized and developed properly as time goes on.

A lot of the interest in this series has to do with the many concepts that are toyed with here. There are so many ideas that put a spin on things and even create an explanation for events that occurred in our history. It's a smart way to approach things and it kind of ties the show into the "real" world, though I don't recall reading about a rampant war between God and devils in the history books.

The series starts out humbly, with some monster of the week episodes and not a lot of continuity. There are a couple of references to things in prior adventures and some points progress the more that they are played out, but the show starts out subtly. Gradually the real story for the series starts to seep in and take hold. It all starts with Rosette joining the militia and wanting to look for her brother, after that the show follows through to the end. The only real problem with the series is that things tend to drag a little at times. There are a couple of episodes that feel just kind of there for the sake of filling a time slot while others are pure magic in how entertaining they are.

I promise that I won't give anything away while I bring this up, but I have to say that the ending of Chrono Crusade completely floored me. There were so many twists near the finale that made an impact on me because I just didn't see them coming at all. The actual ending episode itself is kind of an epilogue that pulls everything together and gives the series a heartfelt and well deserved send off. For a show that occasionally lost its way slightly, it sure pulled it all together by the end in ways that other anime only wishes they could.

Whether you're drawn in by the fantastic art direction, the interesting premise, or because you're just looking for something fun to watch, this show doesn't disappoint. From the moment I first heard about the show I had been dying to see it and my expectations were met in every regard. GONZO definitely did it again with Chrono Crusade and everything from the hilarious sense of humor to the amazing amount of sentiment helps make this series one to be remembered and revered.

The DVD:

Video:

Chrono Crusade is presented on DVD with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. This is what the show originally aired with in 2003 so it should come as no surprise. The image quality is very good with very little grain, only a few moments of pixilation in darker areas and some minor points of aliasing. The art style and direction for this show is phenomenal with a lot of focus on quality. The designs and color choices absolutely pop from the screen and the animation remains very fluid, though there are a couple of points where still frames are used.

Audio:

I typically go with the original Japanese language track for my anime, but the English 5.1 option here was just as good in terms of voiceover quality. The soundtrack packed a bit more power thanks to the greater channel mix and audio definition, but the 2.0 Japanese track is quite competent as well, for what it is. The optional English subtitle track presents some smooth translations and while they don't directly match the English language selection, they are still very good.

Extras:

Originally when the show was released in individual cases, there were some bonus features that made their way onto the discs. The individual releases also were split between having four episodes on each and having three, so the series was somewhat stretched thin. In this complete collection we get five discs with five episodes on each and four on the last, but none of the extra material that the original versions had.

Final Thoughts:

I loved Chrono Crusade from start to finish. The show is fresh, hip, funny and witty all the while offering up a unique world with a history and a future. There is some very memorable development here not to mention some amazing twists in the fates of several characters. I laughed, I cried, I said "yup, that's a great show". The image and sound quality is very good as well, and aside from a few nitpick moments, I didn't really have much to complain about. I highly recommend this series if you're looking for something entertaining to watch that doesn't disappoint you in the end.


Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!

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