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Case Number 05379

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Chrono Crusade: A Plague Of Demons (Volume 1)

ADV Films // 2003 // 100 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // October 14th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Mitchell Hattaway believes Sister Wendy could take a cue from the characters in this anime series—fewer paintings and more gunplay.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Chrono Crusade: Holy War (Volume 2) (published January 13th, 2005), Chrono Crusade: The Devil To Pay (Volume 4) (published May 26th, 2005), Chrono Crusade: The Complete Collection (published January 12th, 2006), and Chrono Crusade: The Complete Series (published April 3rd, 2011) are also available.

The Charge

The whole country is going to the devil!

Opening Statement

She's a nun with a gun, packing a rod for God, but can Rosette Christopher protect 1920s America from the forces of Darkness? Well, having a demon sidekick and firearms loaded with holy ammo should increase her chances.

Facts of the Case

The Great War has ended, but America's dark times are not over. The demon Aion is plotting world domination. Humanity's only line of defense is the Magdalene Order, the Catholic Church's select group of exorcists. Rosette Christopher is somewhat of a black eye on the Order, but she just might be their best chance for victory. Chrono, her demonic familiar, is filled with firsthand knowledge of the armies of the netherworld, and this could provide the Order with the necessary edge.

The Evidence

Fortunately, Chrono Crusade wastes no time kicking into high gear. The first two episodes are stand-alone installments, as the overall story arc doesn't begin to reveal itself until later. Here's a brief synopsis of the episodes in this initial release:

• "Pilot"
A demon has taken over a restaurant. Rosette and Chrono are ordered to take the creature down, but they end up bringing down the building in the process. Rosette is reprimanded by Sister Kate, the head nun of the Magdalene Order. Elder, who is the Q to Rosette's James Bond (although Q didn't have a penchant for looking up nun's skirts), shows her the Gospel bullet, his latest invention. Rosette sneaks away with the bullet, which is a good thing, as she and Chrono are soon battling yet another demon.

• "The Contractor"
Elder gives Rosette and Chrono his new Spirit bullet, instructing them to take it to Sister Kate. Rosette instead loads the rounds into her .45, which she then loses. Spirit contains a trapped demon, and when the bullet is fired, the demon's destructive force is unleashed. A devil soon arrives on the grounds of the Magdalene church, Rosette's gun in hand. The devil shoots himself in the head, and the Spirit bullet transforms him into a seemingly unstoppable monster.

• "Apostles"
Rosette and Chrono are given the responsibility of guarding Azmaria Hendric, a young opera singer who is actually one of the Apostles mentioned in the Prophecy of Fatima. Azmaria is performing at a hotel owned by the satanic Ricardo; Rosette and Chrono attempt to smuggle the young girl out of the building, but are attacked by Viscount Lerajie, a demon with a mysterious connection to Chrono's past.

• "Sinner"
Ricardo is holding Azmaria aboard his dirigible. He plans to use the girl to summon life force from the Astral Line and repair the damage his body suffered during the war. He is betrayed by Lerajie, who plans to use the Astral Line for his own purposes. In an attempt to stop the viscount, Chrono morphs into his true demon form and battles Lerajie in the skies.

Other aspects of the story are fleshed out at various points. Rosette and Chrono have been together since she was an adolescent; she and Joshua, her younger brother, discovered Chrono in a tomb under the church. Rosette appears to be unaware of her brother's current whereabouts, but in a scene in the second episode we see him living in a beachfront home. He is confronted by a large pack of devils working for the demon Borzo. Joshua, who is apparently a disciple of Aion, single-handedly slaughters the devils. Father Remington, the priest who heads the Magdalene Order, later informs Rosette that Joshua is also an Apostle. (It doesn't make much sense at the moment, but this will all come together later; I've had someone spoil some of the plot for me, but I won't be so inconsiderate.)

Chrono Crusade is by no means great, but it's entertaining enough to be a passable time killer. The story is, for the most part, fast-paced, leaving very little time for the viewer to think about how silly the whole thing really is. The story takes itself too seriously at times and not seriously enough at others (which seems to be a staple of anime). Some of the attempts at humor fall flat, and many elements of the plot feel overly familiar (you probably won't be surprised by many of the story developments), as do the characters. Still, the execution is slick enough to hold your attention, but just barely. Whether or not this series wears out its welcome remains to be seen.

The video quality is near perfect. There is a bit of edge enhancement in a few shots, and a scene that takes place near a fog-shrouded lake is marred by some digital noise. Colors, which run the gamut from bright as the midday sun to pitch black, are incredibly bold. The audio, which is presented in the original Japanese stereo and a dubbed English 5.1 mix, isn't quite as good as the video. The English track is actually a nice surprise; I wasn't expecting this much surround activity (which includes some steered dialogue) or low end information. The Japanese mix is pretty much anchored to the screen, with little channel separation and almost no bass activity; the big problem with this mix is the dialogue, which is too prominent. Extras include previews for other ADV releases, clean opening and closing animation, the original on-air opening animation, background information for the characters and settings, and Azmaria's Extra Classes. This last feature, which is slated to appear on each collection of episodes, provides further information on the world of Chrono Crusade, including factual information regarding time and place.

Closing Statement

Chrono Crusade, both the anime and the original manga, was quite successful in Japan. Fans here in the states who have been awaiting its release should, technical quibbles aside, be quite pleased with this initial offering, as should anyone who just wants to see a cute cartoon chick blow stuff up.

The Verdict

The charges against Studio GONZO and ADV films are dropped, proved they pay a little more attention to quality control on subsequent volumes. Court is adjourned.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 80
Extras: 60
Acting: 80
Story: 80
Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: ADV Films
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
Subtitles:
• English
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre:
• Anime

Distinguishing Marks

• Azmaria's Extra Classes
• Background Info
• Production Sketches
• Clean Opening/Closing Animation
• Original On-Air Opening Animation
• ADV Previews

Accomplices

• None








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