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When I hear "fan favorite", it can mean "over-hyped". In the case of "Chrono Crusade", I give this fun series a full throated "Halleluiah"!
Gospel 1: A Plague of Demons
Review by Matthew Anderson
24 Episode TV Series
Running Time: 100 minutes (4 episodes)
Rated: PG-13 for action and violence
The 1920's were well known as a period of excitement and change. It was a time where the women were fast and loose, and the booze flowed freely, in spite of prohibition laws. For the elite of society, they have found a new form of excess, conjuring devils. By 1928, things were getting out of hand.
A special organization called the "Order of Magdalene" was created centurys ago to deal with this kind of threat. Headed by Father Remington and Sister Kate, these young men and women are equipped with heavy duty weapons for then to perform God's good will.
One of the more infamous members of this group is Sister Rosette. Her fame isn't necessarily positive. In fact, Sister Kate thinks she is nothing more than a menace to society, because whenever Rosette is on a case, things tend to explode. It also doesn't help that Rosette's partner is one of the very things they fight against, a very powerful devil named Chrono. Bound to Rosette by a mystical amulet, Chrono may be under control, but that doesn't make him any less dangerous.
While Rosette and Chrono fight for the Magdalene Order, something is string in the background. An evil, more powerful than Chrono, is waiting in the wings, ready to destroy not only the Order, but all of creation!
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The transfer is fantastic. There are no pixels, wrinkles, or blemishes anywhere to be found. This is the benefit of digital based animation. Many of the technical errors of the past are nonexistent when you transfer from a digital source to a digital medium.
AUDIO: Well done for both the English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby 2.0 tracks. The English track has a fuller sound, and is louder in volume. On both versions, the audio is crisp and rich, full of surround sound during the action elements.
EDITS: The opening animations for episodes 1-4 have been replaced with a "standard" clean open. Both the opening and closing animation for the actual episodes are clean versions, with English titles. No other edits have been noted.
EXTRAS: There are tons! First off, we have a top notch audio commentary on episode one with director Matt Greenfield, Hillary Haag (Sister Rosette) and Greg Ayers (Chrono). Then we have Azmaria's Extra Classes, a pair of informational bits that cover the history of the 1920's and the Order. Along with that, we have background info on the characters the setting, and the weapons of Chrono Crusade, done in the style of an 1920's newspaper. We have the clean open and close, and the clean versions of the original broadcast opening animation as well. Last but not least we have production sketches and a reversible cover.
STORY: Based off of the popular manga by Daisuke Moriyama, Chrono Crusade is a delightful blend of comedy and action, with a dash of drama. Never going too far with one particular aspect, this series will appeal to a wide range of fans.
ACTING: You may hate me for saying this, but I found the English dub a little more palatable than the Japanese. I don't know if it's the shrill voice of Tomoko Kawakami as Rosette that did it or it was the flat reading of Hiroshi Yanaka as Lerajie, but the more I watched, the more I didn't like it. The exception was Akira Ishida intense performance for Chrono.
I found Hillary Haag's vocals more soothing to the ears. Her comedic timing was also better than Tomoko Kawakami. I loved Greg Ayers as Chrono, I was impressed that his voice as "hot and sexy Chrono" was wat different than his "cute little boy Chrono". Like Akira Ishida, when he got angry, Greg's screams struck my soul. The only voice I didn't care for was Jason Douglas as Father Remington. It just sounded a little too old, and a little too Ilpalazzo for my taste.
FAN SERVICE: There is "blink and you'll miss it" panty shot of Rosette in episode three, and she looks mighty fine in her evening wear. Other than that, nothing I would get hot under the collar about.
Chrono Crusade has been generating a lot of buzz in the anime community. Not only from the fans, but from the actors in it. Greg Ayers, Chris Patton, and Monica Rial (all who star in Chrono Crusade) could not stop talking about it at AnimeFest 2004. For me, warning flags went up. When I hear "fan favorite", it can mean "over-hyped". In the case of "Chrono Crusade", I give this fun series a full throated "Halleluiah"!
Much like the time period it is set, Chrono Crusade is very carefree, but an ominous cloud hovers above it. Directors Koh Yuh and Hiroyuki Kanbe do an excellent job at keeping you laughing while going "hell yeah" during the action scenes. The comedy aspect is very much like vaudeville, with plenty of physical gags. The pacing is pretty brisk, only slowing down enough to explain a bit of the "big picture" before going back to the demon fighting. Thanks to the rather "Dirty Pair" methods to Rosette and Chrono, there is no shortage of explosions and non stop gunplay.
In-between all of the action and adventure, there is a very sinister story going on behind the scenes. The reasons why there has been an increase of demon summoning is related to Rosette, her brother Joshua, and the mysterious Lord Aion. Taking the biblical tale of "fallen angels" as a base, we learn that both Chrono and Aion are no longer under heaven or hell's good graces. Why, we don't know, but it means that every demon in creation wants a piece of them. Fortunately, both Aion and Chrono have one half of the Christopher family to aid them. Chrono and Rosette work hard to rid the world of evil, while Joshua and Aion are busy manipulating events for their own ends. You can tell that things are going to get worst before they get better.
As you watch, you may wonder about the rather atypical behavior of the Nuns of the Magdalene Order. They gossip, they lie, they steal, and even swoon over the cute Chrono. We slowly discover that these young ladies are not "sisters" in the traditional sense. These young women have been chosen because of their abilities to fight evil. Father Remington is actually a Protestant minister, not a Catholic priest. While the Order may have some of the trappings of the Catholic church, they are more like allies of God. As we learn in one of Azmaria's lessons, the Magdalene Order is made up of members from different religious sects. This is certainly different than the Iscariot and Hellsing organizations.
I totally love the animation for Chrono Crusade. Anytime Gonzo Digimation is part of the animation process, you have a winner. The blend of CG and traditional animation looks great, with the detail you have come to expect from this premiere anime studio. The characters move with fluid motion, and the trademark Gonzo "shatterwave" look is there in every fight. The colors are perfect, and there are no blemishes or errors.
What really makes Chrono Crusade enjoyable is the acting. Hillary Haag and Greg Ayers are perfect for our two leads. Hillary is cute with out being annoying, playing up the more simple aspects of her character. Greg surprised me with his vocal range, sounding a lot older and tougher that I ever thought possible. The same can be said for Chris Patton, who went the other way, going higher and younger than I though he could. The only one I was not happy with was Jason Douglas. Don't get me wrong, he is a great actor, but his voice was all wrong for the youthful looking Father Remington.
One thing about the vocal cast struck me as very funny. In episode the character of Joshua is getting his hand licked by a demonic maid. What made me giggle, its that the voice actors are Chris Patton and Monica Rial, the voices for Dear Daniel and Hello Kitty. It shows how small the voice acting world really is.
I think that ADV is eventually going to put them selves out of the "Essential Anime" biz with releases like this. The audio and video is superb, and the plentiful extras are enjoyable. If all DVD's were like this, then I would not feel so bad paying $25 or more to get my anime fix.
Simply put, Chrono Crusade is a lot of fun. It has good pacing, lots of slapstick, and enough cool action to satisfy all tastes. Add in a great voice cast, and a well presented DVD, and you too will be preaching the gospel of Sister Rosette and Chrono.
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