Review: Chrono Crusade
I’m about to get nostalgic here. This was one of the first series I ever watched, I rented the DVDs from Blockbuster, and have a lot of love for it. Except, recently, I re-watched it. Chrono Crusade is that anime. It was written and illustrated by Daisuke Moriyama also known for his work on World Embryo. Published in Comic Dragon and Monthly Dragon Age from November 1998- June 2004. It was then adapted into a 24-episode series by Gonzo, where it ran on Fuji TV, it’s run was from November 2003-June 2004. The anime, as most go, did not follow the original manga, which hurts its story immensely.
The story follows Sister Rosette Christopher and her assistant Chrono in the 1920s as they search for her long lost sibling. As well as deal with Chrono’s shadowy past as a demon/devil, which becomes more crucial as the plot advances. It also shows the Order of Magdalene which Rosette works for, a holy group made in order to fight the growing demon problem in the world, especially with the elusive group of demons called Sinners. Who may have something to do with Chrono? Along the way they gain new allies and enemies, while dealing with the issues at hand, such as finding the Apostles of God and stopping the end of the world.
Rosette Christopher is the protagonist of the series and is an elite exorcist of the order. Though she is impulsive and selfish, she genuinely tries her best. She has a mysterious past with Chrono, which is pretty much cleared up in the second volume. Rosette is also a contractor. Which means her life is slowly being drained by a demon. But that’s beside the point, she’s trying to make the most out of her short lifespan, often saying that despite her short life she’ll live longer than anyone ever believed she would. She often gets in trouble and is actually, in hindsight, sort of an annoying character that can grow on you the longer you read or watch. She’s to be the bright light of hope at the end of the tunnel who knows how short and precious life is in actuality.
Chrono is Rosette’s assistant and contractor. Surprise! It’s sort of revealed right away, so no worries. Yes, Chrono is a demon, but he’s trying to be a good person. This is because he owes Rosette his life and more, but also because he’s tired of hurting people. When compared to Rosette, he’s a much quieter, almost stoic. He plays the part of the mild young boy perfectly, though he is constantly plagued by everything he’s done and the continuing guilt in what has happened to Rosette because of him. His past continues to become more and more important as the plot grows, especially as it intertwines with Rosette’s. He’s the more endearing character of the series and this is because he’s the character that probably goes through the most character growth next to Rosette.
Azmaria Hendirch is the Songtress of Vegas, a twelve-year-old with the gift of healing through song. She’s soft spoken and easily shaken due to low self-worth. Rosette and Chrono save her and she begins tagging along on their adventures as a junior member of the Order. She looks up to Rosette, even if everyone questions it. Unfortunately, Azmaria doesn’t get a lot of actual growth till the last three volumes of the manga. Which, doesn’t make up for her being a tool to further Rosette’s storyline. She merely there for Rosette to see herself in and for sad comical relief.
There’s a lot more characters, but really to keep this as spoiler free as I can, I’ll cut it short here. It will also make the story seem complicated and contrived, which it really, really can be.
So, upfront, the manga is far prettier than the anime. Though, even that is dated. I can’t be too harsh though, because it was good at the time. Still, the anime was too bright at times and had uneven eye to face ratio. Just poor anatomy in general at times. It also really like fanservice, which was basically non-existent in the manga, at least overt fanservice wasn’t. It had a direction it was going for that was very much a part of its time, it wanted to appeal to a certain audience. In doing so, it made it have no appeal in the current times. The animation was done by Gonzo studio, better known for their work on Samurai 7 or Full Metal Panic! It also was just unkind to hair and the details that became so beautiful in the manga. On the subject of the manga, as I said, it is dated now, but holds up far better than the anime. It had far more attention to detail on the characters and really shined in the way hair moved on the pages or mouths were shaped. Like many series it became beautiful the longer it went on as a manga.
The sound of the series is a lot different, considering that the opening and ending themes are pretty beautiful and the stand out sounds of the series. Tsubasa wa Pleasure Line by Minami Kuribayashi was the theme and had an uplifting sound that showed the hopeful side of the series. Saeko Chiba’s Sayonara Solitaire was the ending them and acted as a literal building goodbye for the series and characters, the artist also was the voice of Azmaria in the Japanese release. The rest of the sound is nothing to really make a note, but was composed by Masumi Ito, known for her work on Azumanga Daioh and Scrapped Princess. The series, both English and Japanese, is not the prettiest to listen to and I would much rather recommend reading the manga. It’s actually pretty cringe worthy, considering that a majority of Rosette’s lines are fast and… Screechy. Hilary Haag voiced Rosette and is better known for her work as Satsuki Miyanoshita from Ghost Stories or Hermia from Princess Tutu. Greg Ayres played Chrono, but is better known for his voice as Kaoru Hitachiin from Ouran High School Host Club or Nagisa Hazuki from Free! Both of them worked hard and it’s clear, but the series is just very dated by the changes made to dialogue and how the characters just sound in general. Which isn’t to say the Japanese is much better, because it’s not. This is definitely a series that works best as a manga, where you can read things rather than listen.
This is a good series, I swear, just in a specific form. I fully endorse the manga where you’re going to get the original story, which frankly was much better when compared to the anime, and see it’s progression. It’s also a short read, only 8 volumes! While it’s a definitely a dated series it’s worth a look into. I’m not sure if it was popular or not, but it’s one of those series that I frequently tell people about and not many people know about it. At least not from what I’ve seen.
Overall Rating: 6.5/10