Chrono Crusade Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Matthew Alexander
Review Date: Thursday, April 20, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Daisuke Moriyama
Translated by:Amy Forsyth
Adapted by:

What They Say
Sister Rosette and company are about to embark on a mission to find Rosette's long-lost brother, but their journey might end before they leave the bright lights of the city. A powerful witch who threatens the gun-toting Sister is on a search of her own, and she is thirsty for revenge. The Magdalan Order's finest will have to put their demon-slaying talents aside, only to be confronted head-on with the chilling face of devilry in the holy-rolling action of Chrono Crusade Volume 3!

The Review
Packaging:
ADV continues to use the original Japanese cover art for this title. The front cover shows Chrono and Rosette standing back-to-back inside a train station. In their hands closest to the reader, Chrono holds a blood stained sword and Rosette clutches her handgun. There are many colors but certain color schemes (such as the greens, yellows, and blues) are repeated throughout the frame creating a pleasing piece of art. The back cover is all white except for a cross-shaped picture of Satella standing with her jewel-summoned knight behind her (very attractive picture).

The printing is very good and the blacks stay solid throughout the book. There are a lot of extras, including the inside cover, which has a short synopsis of what has happened leading up to this volume. There is also a color picture of Azmaria wearing a yellow dress with Rosette standing behind her holding a dove. Plenty of manga have color inserts at the beginning of the book and for select chapters, but American publishers rarely include the color version at the beginning of the book and even more rarely the color chapter insert in the middle of the book when they send it to press. So I want to give ADV a BIG thanks for including the color pages in the middle of the book. The first two pages of chapter 18 are in color, along with a very attractive two-page picture of Chrono, Rosette, Satella and Azmaria wearing dresses and celebrating with streamers.

Other extras included at the end of the volume where there is a short, out of timeline, story with Rosette and Chrono chasing a possessed doll around New York City, and a three page afterword by the author that explains all of the characters' ages and a Meet the Creator Q&A. There is a recap of the story so far, translator notes, a letter from the translator staff at ADV and a one-page description of Chrono Crusade volume 4.

Artwork:
Moriyama's artwork is stunningly beautiful with an amazing attention to detail. Panel layout is very dynamic with many panels covering the top or bottom of two pages, or stretching the height of the page. This series also has some of the best and most detailed backgrounds I've come across. The characters are very attractive with beautiful older female characters, cute younger characters, and a nice dichotomy between Chrono's weak and innocent young boy form compared to his rough and powerful true demon form. Satella's character design is very similar to her anime version, but her manga version is even sexier.

The artist is also very adept at depicting battle scenes and a wide range of emotions through the characters facial expressions. I especially enjoyed Rosette's facial expressions during her drunken episode. The fight scenes are well choreographed and really lend themselves to enhancing the drama of scene.

Text/SFX:
The text is nicely centered in all the dialogue boxes and the font used for the demons dialogue is kind of jagged and always in bold, which adds a nice touch. I didn't find any problems with the grammar and the translation read very well. There are no honorifics because the story takes place in America with American characters. The Japanese SFX remains with English translations added in a way so as not to cover or detract from the artwork.

Contents: (Oh yes, there may be spoilers)
Satella was born to a wealthy family, all of whom were killed by a hornless demon when she was young. Ten years after the death of her family, Satella has become a Jewel Witch with the power to summon spectral familiars to help her battle demons. She meets Rosette and Chrono under less than ideal circumstances as she crashes into Rosette with a number of 'Hellraiser style' Undead in tow. Satella quickly uses a jewel to summon a huge spectral familiar in the form of a knight in full armor wielding a massive sword. She then proceeds to destroy the Undead with a flair for the dramatic, along with Rosette's automobile and half a city block. With Rosette receiving the blame for destroying yet another Magdalene Order issued automobile, she's instantly at odds with Satella.

During Satella's battle with the Undead, Chrono changes into his true hornless demon form. Satella thinks she recognizes him as the demon responsible for her families' death and accuses him of ruining her life. Before Chrono can defend himself against her accusations, Azmaria, Satella and Chrono are drawn into another plane of existence full of Undead controlled by an Egyptian mummy. The undead quickly attack them, which led to Satella losing her jewel and Chrono receiving a blow to the head. This attack is enough to shift Chrono's eyes out of focus as he enters a berserker rage in an attempt to protect Satella and Azmaria. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story as Chrono reverts to his true demon personality while still maintaining his innocent young boy form.

After the battle Satella learns that Chrono couldn't be the same demon she is after because he was in stasis when her family was killed. She eventually decides to accompany Rosette, Chrono and Azmaria as they travel by train to San Francisco in hopes of finding Rosettes' brother Joshua. Satella hopes this plan of action will provide information that will lead to her discovering the identity of the demon responsible for her own family tragedy. It's really enjoyable to read a story that not only takes place in America, but also has a historical setting.

During the train ride, Rosette is separated from the others and attacked by a spider-woman demon taunting her with the information that Joshua is with the demon Aion. The ensuing battle takes place on top of the train and rages with a nice intensity. There is also an almost touching humanization of the spider-woman near the end, which serves to reinforce the idea that demons are also capable of human emotions, something already seen in Chrono as his character has developed. But the battle ends with more questions than answers. Who is Aion? Why is Joshua with him and what does he want Joshua for? Or is Aion just using Joshua to get to Chrono or Rosette?

Comments
Satella's introduction to the story really gives a new dimension to the interaction among the characters and adds significant depth to the story. She seems to be a sexier, more refined woman that mirrors Rosette's character, both hunting demons in an attempt to right the wrongs done to their families when they were children. But both characters have very different personalities and use very different methods to combat demons. Rosette uses weaponry provided by the church to battle demons and Satella uses black magic like jewels to the same ends. Their differences in personalities clash in comical ways, which allow for many light-hearted moments in an otherwise dark story.

This volume continues to develop the characters and their relationships nicely. Using the viewpoint of Satella and Azmaria to reflect on the relationship between Chrono and Rosette was a nice touch. The fact that Chrono's power in his true demon form drains Rosette's life force is an interesting concept and certainly lends itself to the strong connection that they feel for each other.

Like most series that have an anime counterpart, I watched the Chrono Crusade anime before reading the manga. I really enjoyed the anime, but I have to admit that I'm enjoying the manga even more. The manga's artwork is amazing and the battles are not only longer and more detailed but usually just plain better, the battle on the train is an excellent example.

Highly recommended.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A+
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 198
ISBN: 1-4139-0045-3
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left