Chrono Crusade DVD review
Originally broadcast in 2003-4, fantasy drama Chrono Crusade was previously released in Britain in serial form on seven DVDs. If you tried the early episodes back then but dropped the show midway, it’s well worth considering this new DVD set, carrying all 24 parts, as the later ones are a revelation.
At first the show just seems a romp. Set in the 1920s, initially in New York, it follows a typical anime odd couple: Rosette, a feisty exorcist nun who goes about demon hunting with the same zero-discipline gusto as a certain Californian Slayer; and Chrono, a seemingly milquetoast cute boy who happens to be a demon. The early episodes are often excessively cheesy and silly, and even when bigger bads (as Buffy would say) appear, it still seems lightweight.
Then things ramp up spectacularly. While the individual episodes are sometimes thin, and the animation’s full of obvious shortcuts, the underlying arc is powerful, boosted by the eventual disclosing of intense backstories. Rosette herself is a highly likable, shambolic, go-getting heroine who carries tear-jerking moments, while her main adversary is a suavely satanic guy in glasses.
The increasingly fascinating narrative is a case study of Christianity as seen from the outside (like recent anime Devilman Crybaby), occasionally comparable to Philip Pullman but with far more ambiguity. Some reviewers complain that the series doesn’t make nearly enough of its ‘Roaring Twenties’ American setting, but it scores points by leaping between the East and West coasts.
Chrono Crusade’s last third feels like a different show altogether, but it’s far more emotionally compelling because of the fun we shared with the heroes earlier. The ending feels like a (boldly indefinite) final word, but reportedly the source manga developed and finished very differently – perhaps it’s time for an anime reboot? Reviewed by Tom Arden
RELEASE: 26 February 2018
FROM: All The Anime
PRICE (RRP): £34.99
AGE RATING: 15