Chrono Crusade Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade Vol. #5

By Chris Beveridge     May 04, 2005
Release Date: May 10, 2005


Chrono Crusade Vol. #5
© ADV Films


What They Say
As Rosette and her companions get closer to locating Joshua, Aion and his demon cohorts launch a new offensive, forcing the Magdalene Order and their allies to fight a battle on multiple fronts, attacked from every angle. But something’s wrong with Rosette herself, and the life bond she shares with Chrono may be threatened. Will Rosette survive to dance with the devil, or will she succumb to the temptations of the flesh? Long smoldering desires erupt into an inferno in the fifth stunning volume of Chrono Crusade!

The Review!
Things start to get personal for some of the characters here before the action steps up and a long awaited reunion nears.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese due to two of my favorite voice actors working on this show. The show has a very solid stereo mix that makes really good use of the forward soundstage. You can hear a lot of effects being thrown to each of the stereo channels and the dialogue flowing across nicely during some of the action sequences. The music as well fills it nicely and has a very warm feeling to it. Throughout the four episodes, we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2003, Chrono Crusade is presented here in its original full frame aspect ratio. Being a Gonzo show, it's a very up front show with its color and style and just goes all out with it. On the plus side, it handles the color gradient issue fairly well though there are some noticeable instances of it. Part of this is muted at times due to the general intentional softness of the scene while some others are stronger. There are some soft scenes based with lots of fog and the creepiness that's intended and then it'll shift to an outdoor daytime scene that's just as clear and beautiful as any other Gonzo animated moment.

Packaging:
Rosette continues to be a main focus on the covers though this volume lets Azmaria get into the picture with her and both of them look really good here with some nicely detailed artwork and really good coloring to it. The back cover goes with the minimal religious symbol look with a squat cross taking up most of the background and providing lots of shots from the show, a brief summary and the usual array of production information into the various blocks. The discs extras are clearly listed as well and the increasingly becoming standard technical grid at the very bottom keeps all the key information easy to find at a glance. The insert has a good looking cast image of the four leads after getting done at a festival as they're all smiling and looking happy. The reverse side provides plot summaries for the individual episodes as well as information on Azmaria's Extra Classes. Not missing a chance to do a good looking reversible cover, this volume's reverse side gives time for the bad guys with a picture of Joshua in full mode with wings and the catgirl scientist Shader who oversees what's going on. The reverse side back cover lists the episodes and titles, provides a slew of shots from the show and fleshes it out with the production information and the technical grid, making it a very useable reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu style for the release goes with some of the quasi-religious feel, heavily felt due to the choral style vocal piece that plays briefly to the menu. The layout is centered with a small cross in which sepia toned animation clips play through while the menu selections themselves are cast around it in various blocks. It's a good looking little menu though a bit plain in some ways but it sets the mood nicely. The transitional animations for this are among the briefest I've seen and work very nicely. Access times are nice and fast and the disc properly read our players language presets without a problem.

Extras:
The extras essentially mirror the previous volumes though it again drops the commentary track. The big extra to me continues to be the Extra Classes sections which take you on a trip to tell you about the world this show inhabits. There are more classes included in this release that helps flesh things out nicely. In addition, there are some good standard extras included. The home video version of the opening and closing sequences are provided in textless. The Crusade Chronicle is a small subsection that lets you check out the people, powers, weapons and locations of the show in what's basically an art gallery form mixed with liner notes. A full series of production sketches is also included separately.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the three episodes on this volume, we get some nice progress towards the main plot finale that's getting closer and closer but we also get some more much needed character development and motivation. A lot has been going on slowly for awhile now and we get a good mix of action, storytelling and exposition in this set of episodes and probably the perfect cliffhanger episode as well.

Satella takes center stage for when things kick off here as she's headed off to deal with a problem in the area where a local mine has been discovered to be a place where people are disappearing. While she's off investigating that, it's becoming apparent that people are disappearing all over, though with concentrations on the west coast that are causing shifts in the Astral Lines, and that it's likely something that the Sinners are up to as they need sacrifices for their plans. Satella's walking into something of a trap though but it's not what the person laying it expects. When Satella makes her way inside the mine and discovers what's going on, she's cast into chains and held against her will by a human who is working for the Sinners. What she didn't expect was to catch one of the people that's considered off the list of humans that can be captured.

This brings Lord Aion into play as he arrives to deal with the situation while Rosette and Chrno hustle their way there to help once they figure out what's going on. His way of talking leads to all sorts of little hints that eventually leads us into Satella's past where we see how her family was killed and how she was the sole survivor of a demon that had attacked them. The connection becomes quite clear from there and Satella becomes frenzied in wanting to get her revenge at long last, but it's something that she isn't quite ready for as she's losing her ability to control the jewels and ends up falling into despair now that she knows who her true enemy is and her lack of ability to properly take him down.

With the knowledge of the sacrifices going down, things start to get organized for a large scale attack on the residence where they've found Joshua to be. This brings the demons working with Rosette and the others up against the Sinners and it's exciting to see them actually finally get a real battle on. A lot of things are going on at the same time that's causing problems along the way, most notably the stigmata that Rosette is now getting. Before the battle there's a lot of cute little scenes as the demons are having fun being involved with the humans and staying in their original form and messing with their heads. The two sides are a lot of fun to watch as they play against each other while trying to set up for the campaign ahead, especially since the demons have such an amusing sense of humor.

Though there is a decent sized fight sequence in here with consequences, the show hasn't hit its stride for the finale yet as that was more of a taste of what's to come I think. More things are put into motion here that help define how events will play out rather than the events themselves, such as the stigmata. Satella's storyline is also key here since it has her traveling a new arc and one that the viewer is able to identify much more with. She'd been an interesting character from the start but she didn't connect with me until these episodes when we get to see more of what's really motivating her and how it happened.

In Summary:
Chrono Crusade continues to be a fun series that's getting darker and darker. Watching this volume after attending a panel by the manga's creator, Moriyama, certainly brings about some interesting ways to look at things, from the way he thought the anime was much darker than the manga to how he'd love to do a sequel of sorts to it set in Boston because of his love of the kinds of buildings you find in places like that and old New York. The show is setting things up nicely for the final arc of episodes with a great cliffhanger here that I expect to be defused easily in the next volume but still be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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