Chrono Crusade Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade Vol. #4

By Christopher Homer     January 29, 2008
Release Date: September 19, 2005


Chrono Crusade Vol. #4
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
The quest team's journey to find Joshua has begun, but all hell literally breaks loose when a certain well endowed Fraulein and an old enemy both show up on the train. As the jaws of a nightmarish trap snap shut only the Magdalene Order's elite training will keep them alive, but is even that enough? The forces of good may be hopelessly outmatched!

The Review!
The past and the future are both shown as the plot thickens as humans and devils intertwine...

Audio:
For this review, I listened to the Japanese track. The audio was very strong – the stereo was very clear in all areas with vocals, the music and specifically the excellent sound effects such as the sounds of the train crashes, the bullets, hearts beating, etc. There was no problems or distortions throughout the 3 episodes and it was all very clear and concise. I switched over to the English Track as well for half an episode and there was no problems with the 5.1 Track either, the voices comes through clear without losing any of the music and sound effects from the transfer either.

Video:
The video output I had no problems with – at specific times there was some visually stunning mixture of colours and background - not just scenes like the battle for Pandemonium but also with simple scenes like when Duffau is standing with Rosette awaiting a handshake as the background colours, whilst not bright, fit well with the scene and make it good to watch. A nice mix of bright and beautiful, and then simple and clean. There were no transfer problems I could detect watching the 3 episodes so overall a very good video.

Packaging:
The two central leads take the stage as Rosette and Chrono do an action pose for the cameras in front of Rosette’s pocket watch in the background – the action shot is a pre-requisite of what is about to come in the disc and looks very strong. On the inside, Rosette gets to show her sexy side in casual wear with white stockings whilst new character Duffau gets to parade opposite her, using the white/back motif of good/evil in the background. Simple things like this make the art of Chrono Crusade just sublime at times. On the back is what I’ve come to expect from Chrono Crusade, a small summary combined with screenshots from the disc, whilst at the top Rosette’s pocket watch is showing looking ready to break – a nice little point is that each disc has a different look for the pocket watch depending on how far the story is. On the inside covers we see Aion and one of his cronies, whilst we get small screenshots with the episode guide and good old Az-chan’s extra classes. Overall, another solid packaging piece from ADV Films UK.

Menu:
A very poetic and good looking menu as the main sections are divided like a cross, with the episode list at the top, extras at the bottom, and set up and scenes selection to the left and right, whilst in the centre scenes from the disc show to some eerie background music. Selecting one of them also brings a unique twist depending what you’ve selected, from the rattling of machine guns in the set-up to the ending of each episode being shown in the background in the extras selection. Easy to go through and pleasant to look at.

Extras:
General extras as per standard are the clean opening and ending animation however for this disc we get the continuation of Azmaria’s Extra Classes – here, she discusses the travel in 1920s New York to San Francisco, discussing the Sinners and bringing some interesting philosophies of how Aion is considered an Anti Christ and he and his followers represent the 7 Deadly Sins. There is also a possible spoiler as well that Azmaria discusses that Aion discusses his possible partner…alongside the classes, there are production sketches of the characters in episodes 15-17, including some of the new characters like Duffau, Shader and Genai, and lastly the Chrono Crusade Chronicle which is a combination of revisiting what happened in the episodes and also discussing about train travel in the time period and about the San Francisco bridge. A solid set of extras.

Content:
Getting past the half way mark, Chrono Crusade now has Rosette fully involved in her searching for Joshua, and we get three episodes which further the plot, meeting some old friends and enemies, as well as get some new ones, and also add a bit of comedy and romance to go with the drama.

Episode 15 starts off with Rosette, Chrono and Azmaria heading on a train from New York to San Francisco, where they bump into Satella who much to Rosette’s chagrin has purchased most of the train to rest on. They meet a mother and her child, but the mother isn’t what she seems and hands Rosette a photo of Joshua. Rosette sneaks away from the group to find answers, and get them in the words of an old enemy Rizel. Rizel, as you may recall, was the spider based devil who is literally pulling the strings of the passengers to control them, as she (rather begrudgingly) wants to bring Rosette to Joshua. However, Chrono knows Rosette better than that, and is able to help her out, despite an initial hostage situation with Azmaria and Satella as well. However, the real bones of the episode come when Rizel makes her move and blows up part of the train, leaving Rosette in her clutches, and they have a short but rather well animated fight on the remaining rooftops of the train where Rosette uses Rizel’s own mind games against her as Rizel seems to hate Joshua because he takes too much of Aion’s time. It was really interesting to see Rosette, seemingly powerless against Rizel, able to fight with her brain despite her own torment about her brother, it shows how much Rosette has grown as a fighter from the initial episodes.

However, it wouldn’t be Chrono Crusade without a bit of comedy intermixed with the drama and episode 16 does that quite nicely as well and adds a touch of romance in there. After the train disaster, Rosette, Chrono and Azmaria are forced to travel on foot to San Francisco. Not exactly easy especially when all of their belongings were on the train – fortunately (or unfortunately to poor Rosette) Satella drives by and it is extremely amusing, not only Rosette’s initial reaction, but Azmaria’s sucking up to Satella all cute and bright eyed that Satella allows them to visit her villa. However, after a rather amusing scene involving Chrono and Satella, it appears that the young devil has got some kind of fever. The episode revolves around Rosette and Satella looking round for a pharmacy that will have medicine strong enough it would work on a devil, and the bulk of the comedy occurs here as the pairing of Rosette and Satella is utterly fantastic, considering they are complete opposites in the spectrum of life, Rosette being from the Order of Magdalene and Satella being this rich girl. It also gives a rather tender moment after a visit to a fortune teller tells Rosette of a ‘charm’ that could help his fever and Rosette visits Chrono to deliver the charm…Interestingly though, there seems to be a major plot point when the fortune teller sees something in the future about Rosette she doesn’t have the courage to say to her…

At the end of the episode and following into Episode 17 though, the villa receives a visit from a devil named Duffau, also known as ‘Duke.’ He’s known as a pursuer, someone who acts almost like a bounty hunter, however he is coming to ask for help to defeat Aion – not just from Chrono but also from Rosette. This episode delves into the past of the Sinners and the true plot of the head of Pandemonium – we see Aion along with some other Sinners of the past removing the head and Duffau trying to stop them with Chrono caught in between them (including the token cat-girl…yes, a cat-girl demon named Shader). Returning to the present, we see Aion’s plan come to fold – he requires the 6 Apostles, 7 Virtues and Pandemonium’s head to require the Atonement Drops – to bring heaven down to Earth, a.k.a. the reverse Apocalypse. This episode brings some interesting twists, as it seems that Rizel wasn’t the only one uncomfortable with Joshua being there, as a demon named Genai is quite physically rough with both Joshua and Fiore, whilst with the humans the Order is obviously quite against teaming up with Demons, however Sister Kate comes through for Rosette in fighting for her favour. It’s quite interesting to see more than one character comment that Sister Kate is becoming more and more like Rosette – an interesting change that has developed especially considering their relationship in the early episodes.

The 3 episodes at first seemed like they could have all been stand alone episodes as they varied differently from drama to comedy – sometimes it felt like they were doing too much with the return of Rizel and the addition of more demons for Chrono and Rosette to inevitably face off – but whilst elements of comedy are always there (Rosette’s reaction to Satella purchasing the train and both Chrono and Rosette’s ‘landing points’ when they faint from their fevers is worth price of admission alone), it seems the real backbone of the show is starting to pull together thanks to the final episode. There, Duffau, like Aion, refers to Rosette as Mary of Magdalene and comments that she will have ‘marks’ on her body and has the same power as her brother. Rosette is initially disbelieving, but at the end of the episode as she steps into a bath, blood drips into the bath as a mark of a cross appears on her arm…it’s not a cliffhanger as you might expect, but it gives you the anticipation for more.

In summary:
The episodes in Disc 4 had a little something for everyone – the hard work in the colours, sounds and sights of 1920s San Francisco has to be commended and Gonzo has done terrific work here. The plot thickens as Rosette’s role is now becoming much more clear and whilst it was a little disappointing that Chrono didn’t really get much attention in this disc, Rosette’s development continues to be one of the focal (and strongest) points of the show. Add to that some elements of comedy, a strong secondary cast, the introduction of new characters and the return of old ones, and even the hint of romance, whilst it could seem too much at a time, by the end of the disc you can see and enjoy why everything happened as it is. Bring on the next disc.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Azmaria's Extra Classes,Clean open and ending animation,Chrono Crusade Chronicle,Production sketches

Review Equipment
Toshiba 37C3030 - 37" Widescreen HD Ready LCD TV – Tangent Ht-50 Home Theatre System Multi-Regional DVD Players/Speakers – Tangent Subwoofer 50-150 Hz, Impedenced 8 OHM.

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