4 of 11 people found this review helpful
24 of 24 episodes seen
Opening sequence: 8/10
Ending sequence: 6/10
My Age Rating: 8: Violence and near nudity. I guess if you’re religious there’s also blasphemy and the entire theme may make the show something to avoid for you if you’re touchy about such issues.
First off what makes the difference between the anime and manga, well the manga wasn’t finished when the anime was made so the director went in an entirely different direction. The manga is about hunting monsters and has Rosette and her struggle to overcome everything as the main theme but the anime took a more religious aspect, going to great lengths to deliver a rather controversial view on God and put Rosette in the background if you will. This of course makes it obvious why the fanbase will be divided between those who hate the anime and those who’ll never touch the manga. That being said while the theme of the manga is interesting, it is certainly not novel nor great in any way and quite frankly, in my honest opinion, inferior to the anime’s dept.
The story starts out with kind of a Scooby-Doo thing where they hunt monsters in a goofy and boring way but slightly more violent than the kids’ cartoon we know. The first part of the show is quite frankly boring and is coincidently the part that is faithful to the manga. The second part concentrates more on an overall story with religious symbolism and themes that are easily dismissed and avoided by the hasty watcher, which leads to comments like “Why the heck is Aion alive at the end?” being fairly common by now. To summarize the overall plot without getting into the themes yet, I’d say that Rosette is part of a religious organisation that hunts demons and she has partnered with a demon to stop the most powerful of the demon groups, the one controled by the sinner Aion, and that they also hope that by defeating Aion they will find Rosette’s lost brother Joshua. Interesting premise and enough to give you something to watch for during a 24 episodes series.
The main theme however is much more impressive; the sinner Aion is called a sinner not because he is a human who committed a sin but because he and his accomplices defied God’s will and the balance between Earth, Heaven and Hell. They are hunted by humans, demons and angels as anarchists of the highest level with Aion’s ultimate plan being to destroy the balance and become the creator himself. To stop Aion Rosette made a contract with the demon Chrono by which he feeds on her life force to fight since he no longer possesses his former strength after Aion tore off his horns. This symbolizes that Rosette made a contract with the devil to stop evil and find her lost brother, sacrificing herself for the sake of others.
On Earth seven Apostles exists, each representing a virtue, and possess incredible power bestowed to them by God but also have an equally strong curse that condemns them to suffering while alive. Aion’s Sinners are the opposite, representing the Deadly Sins. These two conflicting forces are both necessary for the fulfilment of Aion’s plan.
Aion himself is much more than a simple demon, he represents the Anti-Christ. He offers humanity and his comrades salvation on Earth but denies them salvation into Heaven, offering them a solution to their suffering but denying them the doors of paradise. He is also seen at many occasions as kissing Rosette who is the reincarnation of Magdalene who was also speculated as often kissing Jesus himself, thus affirming his identity. Aion also uses truths about God and the nature of the world to try and lure others to his side much like a devil would do, and such truths are confirmed as well as having new ones revealed by later allied devils. One such truths was how demons exist to scare humans into following God’s teaching, making their existence a part of God’s machinations to control humanity and while that may seem cruel it is impossible to argue against it too. As a matter of fact it is difficult to argue against anything Aion said which is why his deceit was so powerful. They are those who argue Aion is a cardboard cut-out in the anime, they obviously have no idea what the character is all about.
Then there’s the Prophecy of Fatima that predicted 3 events that were to come. This prophecy is the most crucial element of the plot too. The first prophecy reveals that a great war would come to pass and a vigilant observer will notice that Aion was on Earth during WW I and came pretty close to the start of the war as well but in itself it may seem of little significance. Then the second prediction was the arrival of an even greater war. The entire series depicts Aion’s plans but as they come to fruition you realize he isn’t actually destroying the balance and so you wonder why he goes on and the wise will wonder why he would try to overthrow one who is omnipotent as well since that would be impossible. Well he isn’t actually trying to do so, that’s just another of his lies. During the series it is revealed he uses the book of Atonement and the Head of Pandemonium’s (Hell’s capital) ruler (the devil himself) to bring about a ritual that would awaken Rosette’s powers. He also uses the seven Apostles to achieve this but the moment the story’s most important factor is revealed is there, when they tell him his actions are wrong. He responds that if he was never meant to take this course of action then why do the Apostles exits? A question they are unable to answer: The Apostles’ only purpose was to be used by Aion for his plans and Rosette’s power was nothing but a tool to further his plan as well, since they have no other purpose the only answer is the frightening fact that Aion’s actions have the support of God behind them.
Then he uses Rosette to bring about chaos throughout the nation and this chaos eventually spreads across the world thus bringing about WW II, thus fulfilling the second prophecy. Now if Aion brought about the second prophecy, and was around at the time of the first one’s realization (thus a hint he realized it as well) then what does it mean? He used the tools created by God to fulfill a prophecy crafted by the Lord and so the only logical explanation is that his actions are God’s will, using war and chaos to turn humanity once again towards the curch (it’s even indicated that after the chaos starts the church is seeing unprecedented attendance).
After that Rosette and Chrono both die, with Rosette being hinted as going to Hell for making a contract with a devil and Joshua is rendered scarred to a level where he as the mental capacity of a 12 years old. These dire events only deepen the show’s attempt at showing us how God can be cruel, thus my advice for those touchy about religion to stay away from this title. Father Remington, an angel, abandons God’s service after he says himself he can’t go along with what the Lord is doing any longer to further demonstrate this part of the main theme.
And then comes the last Prophecy and the decisive factor of the story; the assassination attempt of John Paul II. Aion, who was defeated and killed by Chrono, is seen alive and at the site where the last prophecy will take place, why? It is simple, his revival shows us that God did indeed send Aion. As an omnipotent being he could easily revive him. And showed us that Aion’s presence there means he will fulfill the last part of the prophecy like he did the first two, thus confirming how all his actions were in fact in accordance with God’s designs. Leaving a rather controversial yet very powerful take on Christianity itself and a religious theme that is unrivalled in scope in anime and most other medias as well.
Now granted they are elements like the Astral Lights and such that seem like science fiction ideas rather than religious based concepts, but these come from the manga so they can be forgiven.
Now with that being said, the series those also offer a lively cast of characters that provide good humor and decent action during its course. It’s useless to say the story is epic in scale and the presentation it offers. It also has some of the most powerful emotional moments I’ve seen in anime: Rosette and Chrono’s demise, Satella and her sister’s death, Joshua’s youth as well as his encounter with his lost sister Rosette and his ultimate fate, the battle between Chrono and Joshua over Rosette and the realization of Aion’s true nature and intents were all intense and memorable.
So this series doesn’t simply offer a masterful theme but a flawless presentation, powerful emotional scenes, good comedy, decent action and great characters. Let’s not forget one of anime’s best endings ever. It offers something to everyone who is willing to watch and forget that it didn’t follow the manga, sometimes elitists of the manga can destroy an opportunity to enjoy a truly great work. I highly recommend it to anyone who knows what they’re getting into.