Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: TV 14
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 89.98
- Running time: 600
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Chrono Crusade
Chrono Crusade Complete Collection Collection (Thinpak)
By Brett Barkley
October 23, 2006
Release Date: November 01, 2005
Chrono Crusade Complete Collection Collection (Thinpak)
What They Say
© ADV Films
The year is 1928. Jazz is hot, bootleg liquor is king and the idle rich of a nation have discovered a horrifying new past-time: summoning demons! To combat this growing threat, a new order of Holy Warriors has arisen. This is the story of Sister Rosette, an elite Exorcist in the Order of Magdalene, whose soul has been bound by alchemy to that of the devil Chrono. Armed with Sacred ammo, they form an unstoppable team, ready to wage war at a moments notice... because when the gates of Hell are opened, someone's got to put the devils back! The Review!
This is one anime that skillfully grabs the viewer from the opening scene of episode one, and refuses to let go until the final closing credits.Audio:
The Chrono Crusade: Complete Collection is presented in Dolby 5.1 in English and Dolby 2.0 in Japanese with English subtitles. It also features truly excellent sound. Making exceptional use of both the front and rear speakers, this series feels as if it were made for home theater systems. Continually, I found myself amazed at how easily I became immersed in this world, the ambient sounds and exceptionally well-suited soundtrack playing out around me.Video:
With an original Japanese air date running through 2003 and 2004, Chrono Crusade is cleanly and crisply reproduced here in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. The series runs the gamut of coloration, from bright and hopeful, to dark and foreboding, all of which are handled quite well. Additionally, the series often successfully utilizes various lighting effects, further establishing the mood in a number of scenes demanding brilliant lighting, or thick and hazy fog. In these scenes, I was impressed with the subtle color shifts and reactions. Throughout this piece, I found a great deal to be pleased with regarding the video. In fact, I could find nothing wrong with the transfer and was, throughout my viewing of the set, continually impressed with the video quality and how well the visuals (in conjunction with the audio) did so much to set the tone of the series. Packaging:
The Chrono Crusade Complete Collection Thinkpak set ships in a sturdy stone brown box with dimensions very similar to ADV's other thinpak releases. In this case, the front cover features Sister Rosette and Chrono in battle positions, with the reverse featuring an image of the four primary characters in the series; Sister Rosette, Chrono, Azmaria and Satella in a pose very reminiscent to that of an important photograph from the series. Artwork on the covers is framed with an interesting arched design, an obvious homage to traditional church stained glass framing and architecture. The cover features the series title at the top, though it is surprisingly small. The box top features the cover exclusively, and the spine features two images, both with the feel of portraits; one of Sister Rosette, Chrono, and Satella in battle poses, and the other featuring Joshua.
Each of the five disks in the set are fairly straightforward and feature artwork from five of the original release disk covers. The reverse features some nice graphic design, utilizing a background of the aged granite look used in the menus. Disk information is found within a cross design element, with episodes listed horizontally. Each episode listing features three mini images taken from the show, as well as the title. Directly above the episode listings is an image of the clock Rosette wears around her neck, and below the disc listings is found the staff information. Menu:
Though fairly simple, the disc menus are easy to navigate and retain much of the ambience of the series. Employing a granite-look background, the menu features a centered gold-rimmed cross design element, which showcases a different still image for each disk. Building from this, are gold-rimmed arms of the cross extending to the right and left, as well as downward to the bottom of the screen. This lower arm is the menu location for Setup. Above the cross are a series of much smaller vertically-oriented blocks. These are numbered and serve as the selection for each episode. In the lower left-hand corner of the screen, a stylized cross medallion features the disc number. Menu selections are made by navigating a cross icon throughout. The menu also features a very nice choral audio clip that does a great job of complimenting the design and fitting with the tone of the series.Extras:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The action-packed anime Chrono Crusade is a twenty-four episode series based on the eight volume manga series by Daisuke Moriyama. The anime (titled, "Chrno Crusade" in the original markets, though I've yet to learn if this was indeed an error or simply a stylistic decision) ran throughout 2003 and 2004 in Japan, and is set in an alternative 1920s United States.
In this particular imagining of the Roaring Twenties, it's not the speakeasies that occupy America's wealthy and decadent, but rather the arcane art of demon channeling. And when those demons inevitably run amok, it is the agents of the Order of Magdalene that are called upon to put them down. The Order, a fanciful offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, employs a wide array of agents, or exorcists, equipped with strange and incredibly powerful weaponry and charged with handling the dirty work of God.
As incidents involving demons, also referred to as "sinners", become increasingly frequent, a motive begins to appear, one that revolves around a very powerful demon called Aion, and his manipulation of Sister Rosettes' own brother Joshua. It seems the demonic sinners are attempting to capture a number of individuals selected by God to have certain unique gifts in accordance with the seven virtues of Christianity: charity, faith, fortitude, hope, justice, prudence, and temperance. Using their Divine gifts, and drawing from the Astral Lines that run like rivers through the upper atmosphere, these individuals, known as "Apostles" can perform incredibly miraculous feats and wield a power coveted by the sinners. It is Aion's plan to bend the power these seven wield, as well as the formidable might of Joshua, in order to shift the pre-determined course of good and evil, as well as the very world itself. As the series progresses, the lives and pasts of the primary characters are inexorably drawn to a single, final point of confrontation, as the reality of Aion's terrible motives for gathering the Apostles become all too clear, and all paths lead to a shattering conflict and finale.
Initially, I was attracted to this series based on the unique alternate-history setting and the creators' interesting religious perspective. I was immensely pleased with the fast-paced action/adventure, the eerie manner in which the demons were handled, the immersive soundtrack, and the stunning visual and thematic presentation of the series. But as the story progressed, I found myself increasingly drawn in to the drama of the characters' lives and ambitions. The multiple threads explored in the primary plotline, the depth of the characters introduced in to the story, and the way in which all their lives tied together in the much larger scheme of the plot had me glued to my set as became enthralled, watching as all the pieces came together.
As the Order of Magdalene is quite large, having at least two bases of operation, one on either of the US coasts, there are innumerable characters. Most of these are simply the correlative of priests and nuns, here referred to as "fathers" and "sisters." For the most part, these characters are largely indistinguishable from one another, actually serving as fodder for some of the massive battles near the end of the series.
However, of the sisters in the Order, Sister Rosette Christopher, one of the series' four primary protagonists, is by far the most colorful. Young and brash, she is prone to charging headlong in to any situation, often resulting in massive property damage and general widespread mayhem. As a character, she is as warm and likeable as she is rambunctious. Yet, beneath her warmth she hides terrible pain from her past. Around her neck she wears a special clock. It is an outward showing of her covenant with the demon, Chrono, to whom she literally pledged her life. As Chrono draws power enough from her that he can remain in this realm, battling the sinners in
Rosette's brother Joshua, who becomes known as the Apostle of Hope, also shares a bond with Chrono, though his is vastly different than his sister's. While both of the children grew up in an orphanage, Joshua Christopher's youth was largely lost to the sickness and illnesses that ravaged his body. However, his spirit was incredibly strong, exhibiting enough power so as to attract Father Remington in serving the interests of the Order. In fact, Joshua was to join the Order, and serve them in the cause of good, until the terrible events that led to his startling transformation and disappearance. What he has become and the role he plays in the new reality Aion hopes to usher in plays prominently in the series.
Chrono, the now-hornless demon at the center of the story is truly a lost individual. No longer serving with Aion and the others planning to change the order of our reality, Chrono is no longer welcome among their ranks. But neither is he welcome among the ranks of the Order, as he fights alongside Sister Rosette. Though he regularly places his own life in jeopardy on their missions, it will take a great deal for Sister Kate (Rosettes' immediate superior), to accept him. However, as he seeks to find escape from and redemption for his bloody past, he too will play a huge role in the Aion's plan.
Satella is yet another character with a tragic past that traces back to Aion and the evil he has wrought in so many lives. Wielding a power much different from that which inspires the Order, Satella is a jewel summoner, whose abilities are reflected by the specific jewels she utilizes in her gauntlet. This power enables Satella to conjure magnificent beings of energy to aid her in battle. As she is not part of the order, and serves her own agenda, initially Satella is used as somewhat of a foil to Rosette. Exotically beautiful, confident, and extremely capable, Satella has dedicated her life to destroying demons.
Azmaria, like Satella and the others is an orphan. A young girl with the amazing and powerful gift to heal others merely by the power of her voice, Azmaria is initially unaware she is God's Apostle of Charity. While she joins Rosette and Chrono early in the series, it takes some time for her to adjust to the insanity that seemingly follows Rosette. Though she believes it to be a curse, Azmaria's gift serves those around her as more of a blessing, while making her the target of Aion's plans.
The prime antagonist, the formidable demon known as Aion, plays a significant role not only in the progression of the story, but also in the backgrounds of the primary characters. Driven to destroy Pandemonium, thus ushering in a new reality created in his image, Aion plays the role of a true devil as a master of the art of deception and corruption.
Chrono Crusade works so well for a surprisingly large number of reasons. The setting of the series is certainly unique, offering some great chances to explore an era largely overlooked in anime and popular fiction in general (aside from the ubiquitous gangster and crime noir stories). Combine the unique setting and period with the primary storyline, that of demons rebelling against their pre-determined fate, seeking to bring about an alternative ending to the apocalypse, and you've got a certain winner. However, beyond this, the series is incredibly well paced, deftly utilizing blazing fast action and slower, more emotional scenes to great effect. The characters and their stories are handled in such a way as to draw the viewer in, making you care about each and their personal motives.
One of the aspects I most enjoyed beyond Chrono Crusade's well-written plot is the art style. Simply put, Chrono Crusade is very beautiful to watch. The colors employed are vibrant and beautifully accentuated by the various lighting effects, adding that touch of the supernatural. The characters themselves are excitingly designed and fun to watch. While the primary characters' costumes feel more anachronistic than the background characters of the time (for instance, Satella and Rosette's costumes show way too much skin to be acceptable early in the twentieth century), they are eye-catching and cool.
While color and light play a powerful role in defining the series and establishing a glimpse of the supernatural, the Holy, the vital contribution of the scoring utilized throughout the series is not to be overlooked. Pulling influences both from the themes of traditional worship, and the series' elements of action/adventure and unrequited love, the music of Chrono Crusade adds volumes of depth to the series. I found the soundtrack to beautifully underscore each scene, working particularly well in the more character-driven scenes of individual loneliness and longing.In Summary:
While Chrono Crusade may not exhibit the strongest theology, blending aspects of traditional Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Gnosticism and New Age beliefs, it is certainly good anime. I was truly impressed with how well this series manages to accomplish so many things. Featuring loads of action, the series takes off and stays strong until the end, with only a few lulls along the way. These lulls, however, actually serve the plot as they build the characters and our emotional connection to them. While other series may fall short in this transition from the action scene to a bittersweet moment between two characters, Chrono Crusade manages this so powerfully it adds a greater weight to who these characters are, what they want, what they don't know they want, and what they will ultimately get. With flashy designs, interesting characters, and an engaging plot, Chrono Crusade is a great example of what the medium can produce.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles
34" Sony FD Trinitron Wega HDTV KD-34XBR910 and Sony Dav-FR9 progressive scan Home Theatre System with 114 watts per channel to each speaker and 115 watts to each of the subwoofer's two woofers.