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The tone has gotten darker, and the battle between good and evil takes on a an even more sinister tone in "Chrono Crusade: Gospel 3".
Gospel 3: The World, The Flesh, and The Devil.
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. For the elite of society, they have found a new form of excess, conjuring devils. A special organization called the "Order of Magdalene" was created centuries 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 to perform God's good will.
One of the more infamous members of this group is Sister Rosette Christopher. Her fame isn't necessarily positive. In fact, Sister Kate thinks she is nothing more than a menace to society. 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.
Now that Lord Aion has made the first move it's time for the Order to figure out his ultimate goal once and for all. They decide to allow Rosette, Chrono, and Azmaria go after Rosettes's brother Joshua, and hopefully discover Aion's plan for the prophets. Before they go, Rosette tells Azmaria the horrific truth about Joshua, Aion, Chrono, and even Rosette's pact with a devil. They must also finish up one last case in New York, and survive Christmas.
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.
The audio commentary is pretty typical as far as quality goes. The speakers come from the center speakers, while the episode plays in the background.
EDITS: The opening animations for episode 5 has been replaced with the "standard" clean open. The opening animation also uses a modified "Chrono Crusade" logo. 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! We have the next batch of Azmaria's Extra Classes, a pair of informational bits that cover key points of the universe of Chrono Crusade. 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 animation as well. Last but not least we have production sketches and a reversible cover. Best of all, we have an audio commentary with Matt Greenfield and Chris Patton!
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: The voice acting for the Japanese cast has gotten a lot better. Tomoko Kawakami shrill voice for Rosette is still annoying, but Akira Ishida intense performance for Chrono was fantastic. Michiko Neya's deep vocals for Satella were right on the money, and Kazuhiko Inoue as Aion was right on the evil money.
I found Hillary Haag's vocals more soothing to the ears and 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 so very different than his "cute little boy Chrono". Like Akira Ishida, when he got angry, Greg's screams struck my soul. Tiffany Grant gives a very sexy performance as Satella, and she really knows how to vamp it up.
In this volume, Chris Patton really scared the crap out of us with his soul wrenching scream and pure malevolence in episode 10, and warmed our hearts in episode 9. This is one of the most intense roles he has ever played, having to switch from a sweet and innocent kid to a evil, demonic force, kicking and screaming all the way. WOW!
FAN SERVICE: Nothing I would get hot under the collar about. Sure, Rosette's Militia outfit is pretty sacrilegious, and Satella is a walking sex bomb, but it's all innocent enough.
Marking the half way point of the series, Gospel 3 of Chrono Crusade contains the two episodes we have been waiting for, the story of how Chrono, Rosette, and Joshua met. While the rest of the episodes on the DVD are nowhere near as intense, it does set the tone for the dangerous journey that lays ahead for our heroes.
The first two episodes of this volume have Rosette and Chrono taking Azmaria to the place where everything all began, Seventh Bell orphanage. We learn how Chrono, Rosette, and Joshua all became friends, and how Aion was able to turn the innocent Joshua into a force for evil. Many of the questions about the world of Chrono Crusade are answered, but a few are still murky. Most importantly, the reason why Rosette entered into her contract with Chrono, and what her ultimate fate will be is at last revealed.
From there, we have a stand alone episode involving Rosette, Chrono, and Satella and a very fast hellhound. Looking like a relative of Alucard from Hellsing, the only thing that can stop it...the Elder's supped up Harley Davidson motorcycle with rocket pack and nitrox. Don't get me started on the anachronistic issues with this series.
Last but not least, we get a Christmas episode, in which Azmaria is trying to enjoy her first Christmas with her new family. This is the last chance Azmaria, Rosette, and Chrono have to relax before the head out to find Joshua. It's the slowest of the 4 episodes, and the comedy element is the only thing keeping it from getting too sappy.
Unfortunately, due the large amounts of revelations contained in this volume, it's very hard to analyze the themes presented. To do so will spoil your enjoyment. While most have already bought this volume, I still think it only fair not to ruin it for those who have not.
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.
The English voice actors continue to impress, and now the Japanese are fast moving up. The sexy sounding additions of Michiko Neya as Satella and Kazuhiko Inoue as Aion help to balance the annoying Tomoko Kawakami's hyper shrieking for Rosette. As always the two Chrono's, Greg Ayers and Akira Ishida, do a splendid job, giving our lovable demon the right mix of youthful innocence, and demonic fury.
Episode 10 really was the showcase for the entire dub crew. Greg Ayers with his strong, imposing voice as Demon Chrono, Hillary's emotional reading for Rosette, and Chris Patton's mind blowing performance as Joshua. As I watched the episode, the acting had cemented me to my seat, bringing tears to my eyes. This is some damn great work by the folks at ADV.
I really enjoyed Tiffany Grant's work on another German hellbrand named Asuka, and hearing her vamp it up as Satella was a delight. No offence to Michiko Neya, but if the character is supposed to be German, she should sound German. However, Andy Mcavin's voice for Aion just wasn't menacing enough. His acting was top notch, it just didn't have the "sexy beast" sound that Kazuhiko Inoue had. Still, there is no bad acting in either versions, just some minor annoyances.
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 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.
The tone has gotten darker, and the battle between good and evil takes on a an even more sinister tone in "Chrono Crusade: Gospel 3". While it does drag towards the end, the emotional impact of the first two episodes set the stage for the next volume of this amazing series. I pray to God I get the next volume soon!
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