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May They Find Happiness

June 6, 2009

     When I first started watching Chrono Crusade, an anime based on the manga written by Moriyama Daisuke, I thought it was just another demon/darkness-related story with religious themes.  Of course, I also expected some eroticism, just like you normally get with anime and manga.  Well, Chrono Crusade has all that.  Except there’s so much more.  Set in the United States in the 1920’s, he story is of the Magdalene Order, a religious organization dedicated to the elimination of devils, evil creatures that plague mankind.  Rosette Christopher is one particular exorcist in this group.  She is hyper, impulsive, tempermental, and confrontational.  However, what is most peculiar about her is that her partner, Chrono, is a devil himself.  The two formed a contract years ago after her brother, Joshua, was taken away by Chrono’s former ally, Aion.  Aion, the series’ main villain, wants to utilize the power of the Apostles, human beings given power by God, who include Joshua, in order to destroy the natural order of the world.  Rosette and Chrono joined the Magdalene Order to try and find Joshua and stop Aion.  Along the way, they meet another Apostle, the kind and meek Azmaria Hendric, and a powerful, buxom jewel summoner, Satella Harvenheit.  The four of them battle against Aion and the Sinners while trying to understand what devils truly are and the ties that bind them.

     More than anything, this show is notable for its emotional weight.  Every time a character gets injured, you aren’t sure whether or not they’re going to survive.  It never treats battles or injury lightly.  The love Rosette has for her brother is palpable, as is Satella’s love for her sister and Chrono’s love for Rosette.  Each of the main characters is highly likable, though completely distinct.  The anime’s plot changed greatly from the manga around halfway through, and many people criticize the way that the anime altered the stories of both Rosette and Aion.  However, having not yet read the manga, I found Rosette’s story extremely tragic, even despite her manipulation by Aion.  I also found Aion a perfect representation of the enigmatic malevolence that the Devil, a.k.a. Satan, is supposed to have.  As I’ve said before, I like my villains to either be somewhat sympathetic and round or so evil that you just don’t care.  The anime Aion is the latter, and even though his aims are never entirely clear, I fear him anyway.

     Once again, I’m also going to defy the norm and say that I absolutely love the english dub.  Hilary Haag and Greg Ayres are absolutely superb as their two characters.  My personal favorite, however, is Tiffany Grant as Satella, as she gets to lend her excellent German accent to the character.  I often find accents forced and painful to listen to, but she is so good at German accents that I just love to hear her talk.  This story is so emotional, and the ending will bring tears to your eyes.  All the main characters suffer so much, and it does not finish on the happiest of notes.  However, it is a good quality of any story to be able to draw you in and make you emotionally invest in the characters, and Chrono Crusade does that better than most anime/manga.  And the music, with all its great strings and jazzy elements, fit the period perfectly and manage to complement the emotional tone of every scene.  Ever since I finished it the first time, I knew that Chrono Crusade was a personal favorite.  Today, I finished it for the second time.  It’s still one of my favorites.  I love Rosette, Chrono, Azmaria, and Satella, and it was such a pleasure to see their stories, even though they differed from the original intent of Moriyama Daisuke, that I know, given a few years, I’d see it a third time.

Story: 9.7      Artwork: 9.5      Soundtrack: 9.5      Acting: 9.7      Overall: 9.7

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