Anime Review: Chrono Crusade Complete

By Drew Hurley 18.02.2018 2

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Chrono Crusade Complete (UK Rating: 15)

Chrono Crusade - or Chrno Crusade as it was originally known - originally ran as a manga 20 years ago, in 1998, starting up at the same time as iconic series like Cowboy Bebop and Hunter X Hunter. The series received an anime adaptation, back in 2003, and while it has previously been available in the UK via ADV and its old habit of splitting series across far too many individual DVD releases, this is the first time it's getting a complete collection release. Coming courtesy of Anime Limited, this complete collection is available from 26th February.

Set in an alternative version of the 1920s, the story of Chrono Crusade is set after the first World War, where the seals between Earth and Hell are weakening, resulting in demons and devils encroaching on the human world. Working against this, in the shadows, is a special sect of the Catholic Church, known as the Order of Magdalene. The story focuses on a certain Sister of this Order, named Rosette Christopher, and her companion, the titular Chrono, in their battles against the demonic hordes. At first, the series seems like it's going to be a comedic romp with a monster of the week type setup. Rosette is a nun with a gun, tracking down hidden demons, and her partner, Chrono, is a devil who has formed a contract with her. Together, they trek across 1920s America, slaughtering monsters while also accidentally causing huge property damage, like a twisted buddy-cop pair from the same time, being dragged in front of the Sister Superior who plays the role of the angry police chief. There's much more to the story, though, and episode on episode, the series lays more groundwork in the background to setup the real story.

The heart of that story is a war between the church and a group of demons called Sinners who wish to overthrow the throne of heaven. At the head of these Sinners is a devil called Aion who is hunting for the Apostles of God, humans blessed with divine power he hopes to exploit. As the series progresses, it comes to light that Aion has a special link with both Rosette and Chrono, with many episodes looking into the pair's past and Rosette's torturous childhood. She was raised alongside one of the Apostles, her brother Joshua, a boy with the power to heal who was been seduced and taken by Aion. Rosette's driving force is trying to find her brother.

Something of a replacement to Joshua comes in the first few episodes in the form of Azmaria. A young girl with an equally painful past who is also an Apostle of God, this young girl is saved by Rosette and Chrono, soon turning the twosome into a threesome and giving a fantastic group of protagonists to enjoy. Rosette is 16, short-tempered and brash, living what little life she has left to the full. Chrono is a respectful and quiet boy for a demon, constantly trying to be a good guy, while his true nature lurks beneath. Then there's Azmaria, a closeted little girl finally getting to see the world and see what friendship is.

One of the biggest story elements is the nature of the name of the series and of the titular devil, Chrono. Chrono, time. The protagonists are in a constant fight against time, due to the contract sealed between Chrono and Rosette. The episodes that delve into the past reveal that Chrono lost his horns long ago in a battle and now the only way Chrono is able to maintain his form on Earth is to feed off a human's life energy. His contract with Rosette does exactly that. Rosette wears a watch around her neck that stops Chrono from absorbing all of her life at once and instead drip-feeds him, but the contract guarantees she will never live past thirty, at the latest. That lifespan is reduced further still when Chrono needs to transform into his true form, so the seals on this watch open and grant Chrono huge amounts of power but in doing so greatly cut into Rosette's life meter. This is something that happens more and more as the series develops.

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It may be a full series of 24 episodes but there is so much packed in here that today's anime series would likely need two seasons or more to fit it all in. There are so many moving parts to the story: the true fate of Joshua; Aion manipulating from behind the scenes; demons fighting demons; fragile alliances based upon "the enemy of my enemy is my friend;" a budding romance between Rosette and Chrono; the truth of the third prophecy… and so much more. All of this is combined with some great looking, hand-drawn fight scenes, and some genuinely moving moments.

Like many anime adaptations of its time, Chrono Crusade takes the original story and breaks away to tell its own story. This was so common due to anime adaptations being produced before the source material had concluded - a habit anime still falls into to this day. There are eight tankobon manga volumes making up the complete story and when the anime reaches volume five, the story drastically shifts. This isn't the only change, though, as while the anime and manga are both telling the story of Chrono and Rosette, fighting against time, there are so many little changes riddled throughout that these feel like very different tales. Those who enjoy the anime would be wise not just to grab the last few volumes of the manga to see the alternate story, but to get them all and fully appreciate all the changes throughout.

This complete collection contains all 24 episodes on four DVDs and, due to its age, it is only available in 16:9 format. Both English and Japanese dubs are available and Chrono has a familiar voice in both the English and Japanese dub. In English he is played by Greg Ayres, the English voice of Monokuma from Danganronpa and Nagisa from Free!, while in Japanese he's played by the super popular Akira Ishida, who played Byakuya in Danganronpa and is most recognisable as Gaara from Naruto. Both deliver quality performances. Other English stars are not quite so agreeable. Opposite Chrono, Rosette is played by Hilary Haag, who delivers an utterly grating performance reminiscent of the screeching of Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
Wonderfully reminiscent of anime of its era, Chrono Crusade Complete still stands up today. So many new anime fans don't go further back than Bleach and so miss out on memorable series like this and many others. It is definitely worth checking out as it is far superior to so many of the anime released every season these days. A great story with multiple facets, enjoyable characters, and will actually stay with the viewer.

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Is this the same as the same anime that was out like 10 years ago (without the complete part of the name?)

I remember it was...ok...just never went anywhere.

ChronoCrusadeIsPerfection (guest) 29.03.2018#2

"it just never went anywhere"
It did, you're just too dumb to understand the message of the anime.

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