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Chrono Crusade Complete Series DVD Review

9 min read

When a devil decides to change the outcome of the Apocalypse it will take both the church and opposing demons to try to stop him-and even that may not be enough.

What They Say:
In New York, 1928, the seals between Earth and Hell are breached. Hold on to your rosary as professional exorcists rage against depravity in this iconic series from the creators of Afro Samurai and Trinity Blood.

Brandishing sacred weaponry, Sister Rosette and her partner Chrono dutifully serve the Magdalene Order, a diving organization that cleans the streets of demonic filth. Their main target: Aion, an indomitable devil reining apocalyptic horrors over America. A doozy of a devil himself, Chrono’s true powers can only be released at Rosette’s command – draining her own life in exchange. Staring mortality straight in the face, this dynamite pair races against time to destroy Aion and restore the balance between good and evil.

The Review:
The presentation for this series comes with two audio selections options -5.1 English and a 2.0 Japanese tracks. For the purpose of this review the Japanese 2.0 track was used and it is a bit of a disappointment. The track feels rather weak in volume and impact throughout though it does handle the splitting of sounds well and the dialogue is clear. Perhaps it would have benefitted from more space on the disc being dedicated to it as it just feels a touch mediocre. This aside no dropouts or distortions were noted during the viewing.

Originally created in 2003 the materials on the discs (except for menus) are presented in their 4:3 ratio. Either time or the upgrade in equipment I have had since my last viewing of the series hasn’t been terribly kind to the show as what used to be a solid presentation then now has a number of issues. Throughout the viewing things such as ghosting, noise, banding, aliasing, blocking, a bit of interlacing were some of the negative factors that appeared. There is also an amount of grain noticeable though it is rather acceptable but the colors look a bit washed out threw out though whether this is source related or encode related is undeterminable.

The release is packaged in a clear DVD keepcase that has two plastic tray inserts that each holds two discs on either side so no disc in the set overlaps. The front cover has an image of Rosette bearing a gun in each hand with Chrono in full demon mode looking ready to fight behind her set against a white backdrop. The image is surrounded by a gold boarder with a brown pinstripe background present between this boarder and the edge of the cover. The back of the case continues to use the brown pinstripe with an image of Chrono in his smaller mode with his hands in his pockets and Rosette in front of him crouched with gun drawn. The back also uses six stills from the series and uses a yellow/gold color to emphasize some of the words in the copy and show off some tag lines. The inside cover has an image of Rosette in full combat using both guns while Chrono carries his weapon backpack and rushes forward as a wrecked car sends up steam in the background. The disc labels themselves use the brown pinstripe motif with the series logo and disc number standing out in their yellow color. To add another level to the packaging FUNimation made a slip cover that mirrors the DVD cover for the release to be packaged in and help it catch the eye on a shelf.

The first disc’s main menu uses the front cover image of Rosette and Chrono set against a grey pinstripe backdrop that is rather ugly as there is a great deal of noise and some banding with the picture while a dramatic music piece plays in the background. The episode selection screen uses an image of Chrono from one of the stills on the back cover and the selectable options are set inside a gold bordered box that is also set against the grey pinstripe background. The audio set up screen uses a beat heavy music track with an image of Rosette from back of cover and the gold box/background combo is present as well. The extra screen uses a light and comedic music piece and features a distressed image of Rosette firing. Disc two’s main menu features the image of Chrono & Rosette that is featured prominently on the back cover. The episode selection screen uses a distressed close up image of one of the demon-in-human-disguise’s faces and also uses the same boarders as disc one. The audio set up screen uses an image of Chrono in his small form looking like he is in mid jump while the extra screen has Chrono in full demon form carrying young Rosette taken from an episode contained on this disc. Disc three features the image of Chrono standing in the background as Rosette readies her gun in the foreground as she holds the chain for her crucifix necklace in her mouth. The episode select screen uses a distressed image of Chrono in demon form from behind in silhouette as fire rages before him from a contained episode and the audio screen uses the image of Rosette falling/jumping backwards as she fires the gun in each of her hands. Disc four’s main menu uses the image from the cover’s reverse side for its image and the episode select screen uses an image of some Jewel fighters clashing. The audio set up screen uses an image of a crouching Chrono (young) who is wearing a sinister look and the extra’s screen uses an image of demon form Chrono with his head bowed.

For the menus themselves the options are stacked vertically with the current selection chosen being set apart with a yellow highlight. All of the screens are quickly responsive to selection changes and implement choices with a minimum of delay.

There are a decent selection of extras available on this release including all the Azmari’s Extra Classes found on ADV’s singles release, Commentaries on two episodes, textless opening and closing and unused openings for the last four episodes of the series. While these extras don’t match the volume that was available through ADV’s singles they beat the stripped down sets hands down.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The year is 1928 and while to outward appearances the roaring 20s are spreading their golden glow everywhere what lies on the surface is rarely the sum extent of anything. While the stories of prohibition and the gangsters it spawned are known a far darker plague feed of the underbelly of the greed and corruption of the time-a plague of demons and their worshipers. With the gangsters giving police all they can handle what chance do the men in blue have against Beelzebub? Luckily for them the answer comes in a religious organization know as the Order of Magdalene which has been researching weapons in which to battle those fallen angles who would appear on Earth to bring harm to man.

In this setting the audience is introduced to Sister Rosette Christopher and her partner Chrono. While the blue clad young woman and young man seem an odd combination to send out in the field from just a casual glance at appearances the truth is stranger yet. Rosette is a one woman wrecking crew capable of taking on incredibly powerful demons and leaving a gigantic trail of destruction in her wake while the young boy in fact is actually a demon himself. Due to circumstances of their past the two have entered into a pact where Chrono can use some of his stronger powers by using up Rosette’s life span. The two joined the Magdalene Order as Rosette has a mission-to save her brother from the demon Aion that spirited him away-a demon Chrono knows quite well.

As the series starts the two are assigned to various tasks as they work to save humanity from demons and the Satanists stupid enough to think they can use the demons for their purposes. Early on they come across Azamaria Hendrich, a young girl with strange powers and a tragic past. She is reveled to be an Apostle, one of a select few people on Earth who embody one of the Catholic churches seven virtues and who have been given some of God’s power for reasons that are unknown but also have been given an equal negative curse. The case touches a nerve with Rosette as her brother Joshua was also an Apostle and as Aion’s hand begins to show with his interest in Azamaria being reveled Rosette and Chrono will launch into a new phase of their pursuit of him and their attempts to find Joshua.

Along the way the group of Rosette, Chrono and a new to the Order Azamaria will also meet Satella Harvenheit, a jewel summoner whose tragic past and hatred of demons will cause her to cross paths with Rosetta’s team numerous times. Now threads that seemed separate throughout these individuals lives will start to be weaved together as Aion’s plan to change the outcome of the prophecy of the end of days start to be reveled-plans which will lead to the overthrow of Heaven itself and will also impact mankind and lead to sorrow. When all is said and done, will Rosette and company have the power to resist Aion’s plans from overthrowing all that is? And must the path of salvation always be accompanied by sacrifice?

Chrono Crusade is a tale that crosses a couple of genres during the span of its story. While it early on focuses on action and comedy it quickly establishes the emotions and back stories that will become the driving force for the series as it plays out. The use of the late 20s provides a fantastic backdrop that helps connect with events and oddly helps ground even the more fantastic elements of the story and make them seem more believable. The story really shines with its characters as the main ones are all well enough developed that they don’t come across as flat or just hastily slapped together stereotypes to fit what the plot may require. This character work is a big draw to the series when it starts to change tone and become more drama focused and it helps carry the viewer through the change. Not all of the elements work as well as one might like and the change in tone is rather dramatic and may feel like a giant switch but it is rarely an “out of the blue” feeling as most of the events have been foreshadowed to one extent or the other. One bit that may cause some difficulty in the suspension of disbelief is the attempt to put the events into the Catholic Church and the author’s decision to use creative license to make things up rather than go with what is Dogma which it may make the suspension of disbelief a little harder to do for some people.

In Summery:
Chrono Crusade is a story that is a bit deceptive in its tone as it appears to be one with a lot of action and comedy but it slowly turns through its progression to focus on more dramatic and dire events. This shift may not suit everyone equally and some religious elements may make for a bit of a tougher time for some people to take but overall it is a story with a lot of heart and it is a tale of redemption and those willing to pay the price for those they love. Those who have a previous release may not find it worth picking up again depending on their desire for the extras but for those who missed it before this is a very economic way to pick up a fun and enjoyable series.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Azmari’s Extra Classes, Commentaries, Clean Opening/Closing Sequences

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: C
Video Grade: C-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: FUNimation
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
MSRP: $49.98
Video Encoding: 480p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.

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