Review: Chrono Crusade
by Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
There have been numerous stories told that have dealt with the war between Heaven and Hell, good and bad, and angels and demons; in books, on TV as well as the big screen. So it’s no surprise that this same plot is also well documented within the anime genre. One of the differences, however, between the usual telling of this battle and that presented in Studio Gonzo’s Chrono Crusade is the fact that Gonzo looks at the relationship between a particular demon and a particular Sister of the Order of Magdalene more than the overall war at hand.
Teenage exorcist Rosette Christopher works for Catholic agency The Magdalene Order in an alternate 1920’s New York, sworn to protect the seven “Apostles,” super-powered humans who have been appearing since the traumatic events of World War I. These individuals are the targets of the Sinners, a group led by Aion, a handsome renegade demon whose home dimension of Pandemonium may soon be sending other creatures through the crumbling defenses of our world.
Rosette works alongside her soul-bound demon partner, Chrono, whose great powers are contained in the body of a young boy, locked away until Rosette unleashes them using a seal she wears around her neck-compare to Bastard. Each time she does this, she uses up a little of her own life force, and there is only a finite amount of it. She also uses a WWI government-issue Colt .45, which can fire holy bullets or special “Gospel” silver rounds etched with incantations, all provided for her by lecherous genius Edward “Elder” Hamilton, the monastic equivalent of 007’s Q. Rosette and Chrono are on a journey to find Rosette’s brother who was taken by Aion many years before.
Chrono Crusade is an action-filled anime, first and foremost. And because of this fact, some of the success of this anime must be based on this detail. Now, the action element is not nearly the best you are going to see. The action sequences are riddled with bullets (literally), and it almost seems silly when you see sisters firing bullets at demons without any effect over and over again. It’s nearly the same formula with each battle sequence, so that can get a little old really quick. There are variations, don’t get me wrong, but the overall “formula” is pretty much the same for most general battles.
The real joy of the series is watching the development of the relationship between Rosette and Chrono. We see that their relationship goes back a long way, so once the series starts, we know they’ve been together for quite some time. But to see the care each has for the other and the lengths they’d each go to protect the other has a tendency to tug at the heart strings and immerse the viewer even further into the plot and developments. It’s this relationship that really drives the story along and keeps us, as an audience, coming back for each episode. The culmination of the series is powerful as well as fitting. Shakespeare himself would be moved.
Chrono Crusade isn’t the greatest anime out there and it does have many elements we’ve seen in other anime to date. The action sequences aren’t anything to rave about and the overall plot has been done before. But it’s the character development and relationship between our two protagonists that really is the beam of light in this anime of darkness. So if you can push aside the overall plot and lackluster action sequences and focus more on the relationship between Rosette and Chrono, then this is an anime that you’ll end up enjoying.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars