Chrono Crusade Vol. #5 (of 7) (Mania.com)

By:Christopher Homer
Review Date: Friday, February 08, 2008
Release Date: Friday, February 11, 2005



What They Say
As Rosette and her companions get closer to learning Joshua’s whereabouts, Aion and his demon cohorts launch a new offensive forcing the Magdalene Order and their allies to fight a battle on multiple fronts while being attacked from every angle. But something is wrong with Rosette herself, and the life bond she shares with Chrono may be threatened…

The Review!
The past is explored again with Satella, but the future is coming to a conclusion as Rosette reunites with someone she’s been looking for…

Audio:
For this review, I listened to the Japanese track. The audio wasn’t a problem – again very clear and concise regarding effects, especially during the battle scenes with no problems or distortions throughout the 3 episodes. 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:
Chrono Crusade continuing to be visually pleasing and artistic, merging in 1920s San Francsico with top of the range battles between human and demons – the ratio merging the video shows there wasn’t a problem and considered the difference of scenes between Chrono and Rosette dancing at a festival compared with the foggy atmosphere with a 1000 Holy Bullets aiming at 2 demons in flight, the video came across as very visually appealing without any distortions despite the complexity. From clear and beautiful to dark and mysterious, it hits the nail of the head very well in this volume.

Packaging:
The cover for this volume again focuses on Rosette, but this time also features Azmaria in a smiling pose as the two girls aim together with Rosette’s gun. The artwork is bright and beautiful with the two of them in their trademark outfits. On the back, another change in the pocket watch, this time it appears to be frozen in time as the symbol of the cross contains both the summary of the show and 12 small screenshots of the episodes with the small listing of the extras. On the inside, we get to see both parties of the cast in full flow – on the insert page we get a picture of Rosette grabbing Chrono’s hand as it looks like they’ve been shopping, with Azmaria with some ice cream in the back along with Satella, all smiles as poor Chrono looks a little surprised. On the back of the slip we have the list of 3 episodes, along with a brief summary of Az’s Extra Classes. On the inside cover, we get our favourite cat girl scientist/demon Shader on the front with Joshua in the background – wings of an angel spread out in contrast to his demon horns, with the left hand side repeating the three episode names with a slight summary for 16 and 17 and small screenshots for each of the episodes. All the artwork is very colourful with the possible exception of the Shader/Joshua insert, which seems a bit dull in contrast but overall still a good packaging piece.

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, good old Az explains the meaning of the term ‘Mary of Magdalene’ and what purpose she had in biblical history, as well as how it links in with Rosette and Aion. It’s an interesting lesson especially if you’re a novice to religion as Azmaria discusses about the apostles and the role of women around Jesus. It also discusses the relevance of the stigmata, a new plot point in Chrono Crusade, and how they are a nod to Jesus’ crucifixion. We also get another Chrono Crusade Chronicle, where we get character profiles of Duffau and Carv, and discussion of various happenings of the past like the Gold Rush of Fort Sutter and about the origins of the Carnival. Lastly, there are more production sketches, along with old favourites like Rosette, we get some of Fiore, some of Aion’s underlings and of the weapons used in Chrono Crusade, as well as some of the sketches involving the Carnival. The Chrono Crusade extras have been solid since the first volume and this is now exception.

Content:
With the pact made between Rosette and Duffau last episode, more truths get unleashed in this volume.

Satella gets the primary focus in the first episode – considering her past, she’s not too happy with Rosette teaming up with Duffau, so when she seemingly gets a routine job investigating a missing girl who is a devil worshipper, you know there’s going to be some revelations. The worshipper, a girl named Eliza, is able to trap Satella and causes a summon ritual to bring Aion so he can use Satella as a sacrifice. Of course, Aion being Aion, doesn’t fail to enjoy the moment and torture Satella mentally, revealing some truths that she didn’t want to know…and one she was shocked in knowing. Aion gets really creepy during this situation as Eliza is definitely a bit on the insane side, but Aion’s purposes are slowly being revealed and doesn’t hesitate to kill his pawn now he has what we wants. Fortunately Rosette and Chrono come, as Aion seems to enjoy toying with the 3 of them. Aion is a brilliant villain as that he isn’t shown as a demon physically compared to mostly everyone else in terms of appearance, but his words, mind games and his knowledge that he is absolute power to the point of cockiness make him perfect as the evil demon.

Satella is understandably broken from these revelations, which doesn’t help when they are preparing to go into battle with the demons. As revealed last episode, Rosette is suddenly showing stigmata on her wrists and more appears on her forehead, much to Chrono’s shock as he remembers those from a past of his. He explains their relevance as marks of God, but we don’t elaborate more than that, as the battle is ready to start. There is some humour in this with some of the larger demons enjoying being a little playful with the humans (specifically the large pig like demon Carv) but the battle with the demons is blended in a foggy atmosphere, making the video quality superb and the fights themselves very well done, with the onslaught of bullets coming from the humans and the air battles with Duffau and Carv with Viede/Ginnai – Rosette manages to get her shots in as well, just as the horns are beginning to awake in Joshua…Aion decides it’s time for a meeting with his sister…

…and what better way than at a carnival? With Rosette and Chrono a little depressed, and Satella near broken, it’s up to Azmaria to try and cheer them up and they go along to a local carnival. One thing I’ve liked as well is Azmaria, despite seemingly not a focal character, has been growing stronger and more mature as Satella points out as she can speak for herself and is not afraid to speak her mind now, especially when you compare her to the earlier episodes. There is some definite comedy and light-heartedness both on the demons side when cat-girl Shader tries to do a Hazuki with everyone and putting cat/dog ears on her fellow demons and Fiore, whilst at the carnival seeing Rosette’s frustration when she can’t hit anything at the shooting gallery is just a joy to watch after all the drama that has been hit in the last few episodes. On the romance side there is strong development between Chrono and Rosette during both their dance scene and when they are left alone as the fireworks hit overhead. However, the times don’t end up perfect, because Rosette spots a bird and follows it…and meets…

Whilst the elements of comedy are still in there thanks to characters like Shader, Rosette herself and the all too brief appearance of Carv, with 5 volumes down the crucifix of the story if you forgive the pun hits a true cliff-hanger as brother and sister are about to reunite. With so many questions still to ask and so few episodes to tell them, you just wonder how cruel it is that this disc had only 3 episodes. Coupled with the battles, the revelations for Satella involving her sister and the elements of romance, the strong mixture has got even better as the drama speaks for itself as everything just gels together.

In summary:
Disc 5 brings Satella into some much needed limelight and now with her story mingling with the demons, it seems that all our questions are about to be answered as we go into the home stretch. With a cliff-hanger between Rosette and Joshua after a tender moment between Chrono and Rosette, it’s hard to say where the story will now be going. One thing I’ve confirmed though is that this volume had nearly everything – the comedy is still there, but it’s slowly vanishing to be replaced with the excellent story and characterisation. With the pieces in place, this chess game has just gotten even more interesting. Roll on the next volume.

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



Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Aspect Ratio: 75
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Chrono Crusade