America in the Roaring 20s. On the surface, it's a positive, peaceful time after the violence of the Great War. But lurking in the shadows is a dark element ready to snatch that peace away. Sister Rosette Christopher, an exorcist working as a part of the Magdala Order, has a duty to fight the demons which appear and cause destruction. But along with her companion Chrno, she usually ends up causing more destruction than the demons themselves! On one particular mission, they meet a young girl with a beautiful voice named Azmaria, who is being targeted by her own stepfather. As Rosette and Chrno work to save her, more is revealed about the relationship between them. There is more to these two than meets the eye.
Chrno Crusade was republished in Japan by Shonen Gahosha in 2010. The new edition featured brand-new book design and artwork, as well as logo changes, correcting the title spelling from "Chrno" to "Chrono," which had initially been a typo.
The series was published by ADV Manga from June 8, 2004 to July 4, 2006. In addition, some of the series chapters were published in its anime and manga magazine Newtype USA.
When people think of shounen anime and manga they will undoubtedly think of stories that follow the typical format of never giving up and believing in your friends. Along the way the main characters in these tales may gain various abilities that make them insanely powerful, or gather a bevy of beauties, all of whom have some illogical desire to be with the main character.
There are, however, a few that attempt to do something a little different. The first anime adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist, for example, took a much darker turn than one might normally expect in a shounen tale. Likewise Akira followed its
own dark path, but one born of politics and science rather than alchemy. Casshern Sins roamed a post apocalyptic world in search of forgiveness and salvation, while Black Lagoon decided to wallow in the dark places of modern civilization.
And then there's Chrno Crusade, which at first glance may appear to be nothing more than just another super powered shounen manga. Looks can be deceiving though ...
Created by Moriyama Daisuke, the manga began serialization in Dragon Magazine in 1998 and ran for six years. In 2003 the story was adapted for anime by Gonzo, and since that time both versions have garnered a number fans across the world.
The tale begins in 1924 with a cargo ship that has crashed into the New York harbour. Officials and police are startled to see a monster suddenly leap down from the flaming deck and start attacking people, but are even more surprised when a car crashes into it. From the wrecked vehicle emerges a girl in a modified nun's habit, and a young boy carrying a large backpack. They are Rosette Christopher, professional exorcist and monster exterminator, and her partner Chrno, and they have been sent from the Order of Magdala to "deal with the situation".
Now one of the biggest criticisms levelled at the story is that there is simply too much going on, and it's a fair argument as the tale does indeed pack a lot into 57 chapters. The series incorporates a lot of religious symbology, and mixes it with action, demons, romance, some science fiction, magic, and ... aliens.
That's right. For some reason Moriyama included aliens, but unlike Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, the numerous and disparate threads actually work rather well together. While there really is a lot going on, each aspect of the plot plays a role withing the story, and nothing feels like it was simply tacked on because the author ran out of ideas. Even the aliens are nothing more than an explanatory note rather than the main focus of the story, which brings up a rather interesting point. If anything, Chrno Crusade is something of a triumph for Moriyama, as very few shounen tales are able to move the plot forward during action sequences. While there is plenty of combat throughout the story, there is always the feeling that the characters are unwilling participants at best, and it's because of this slightly off kilter approach that Moriyama is able to progress with the story even while the characters are fighting, and without resorting to long winded diatribes.
If you're not sure what I mean, then have a think about some of the more successful shounen manga like Bleach, Naruto, etc. Whenever the characters get into a fight the storyline simply stops while they duke it out with whichever bad guy is there at the time. Granted this is partly because of the difference in length between the series, but if Oda Eiichiro can do the same thing with One Piece that Moriyama does with Chrno Crusade, then it does ask certain questions of Kubo Tite, Kishimoto Masashi, and the other long running authors.
The artwork throughout the manga is pretty good on the whole, with nicely detailed settings and many signs of 1920s America (clothing, cars, buildings, etc), on display, however there is a certain generic quality to the character design which is reflective of the shounen nature of the story. One of the problems with this is that it may dissuade potential readers who are looking for something a little different to the norm, however it should be pointed out that while the characters themselves may not look like anything particularly fresh or different, they do display a good degree of visual expression. Now one could argue that this is much the same for almost every shounen story, and that is true to a point, but we'll get to that in a bit.
Probably the biggest surprise in Chrno Crusade is the depth of the two lead characters. Both Rosette and Chrno have justified reasons for the path they follow throughout the story, but this is further supported by the other characters as well. In addition to this the pair share a history that predates the manga's storyline, and their close relationship is apparent from the very first chapter.
What is surprising is that both characters don't really develop in the normal sense, but instead seem to extend their characterisation, with each becoming more "defined" as the plot develops. Much of the actual development seems to occur on the part of supporting characters like Satella Harvenheit and Azmaria Hendric, and while this may seem strange at first, one could argue that it's also a very "shounen" approach, and one that is prevalent in stories like Full Metal Alchemist, InuYasha, and others of that ilk.
One of the things that struck me about Chrno Crusade is how very different the manga is to its anime counterpart, especially as the latter lacks the aliens (amongst other things). That said, I found both to be enjoyable in a way that many shounen tales normally aren't, and the main reason for this was the much darker tone that is prevalent in both versions of the story. Granted the series is top-filled with shounen aspects and stereotypes, in particular where the character design is concerned, but Moriyama's skill doesn't lie there, instead showing itself in the complexity of the plot and the strong characterisations. Given the numerous, disparate threads running through the story, it's a testament to his ability that many of them not only play a part in the whole narrative, but also gain a degree of resolution.
Yes, there's plenty of action and the story plays fast and loose with religious symbols at times, but in amongst all of the hi jinks lies a strangely captivating tale that has one thing at its heart - love. It drives many of the characters, and it's surprising to find the theme works extremely well in what is effectively a super powered shounen tale.
No matter what one thinks of the story itself, Moriyama deserves praise for trying to do something different to the norm, especially at a time when the industry was very resistant to new ideas and approaches, and even now there are few shounen anime and manga that try to go off the beaten track.
That said, given the success of Full Metal Alchemist, Casshern Sins and Black Lagoon, maybe the industry is finally getting the message.
The first time I encountered Chrono Crusade (I called it 'Chrno' Crusade for many years!) was when the anime was still being fansubbed. It was random; I saw it was being subbed by a group that was subbing something else I was watching at the time and I decided to give it a go. I ended up following it weekly until the depressing (yet satisfying) conclusion, later going on to buy the lovely R1 slimpack box set. While I didn't give the anime top marks due to the rushed Gonzo 'original story' second half of the anime, I do think of it as a
very solid 8/10 series that's great to watch.
Until last month, the above was the end of Chrono Crusade ('CC' from this point onwards) and me - I hadn't started reading lots of manga until long after my memories of the anime had faded and by then I didn't have the motivation required to read the manga online. However, I saw an auction for mint copies of Vol. 1-8 (the entire series) and, since I've always wanted to see the real story in full if I could get my hands on the series for a good amount, I won it.
It's safe to say the cover art of the volumes is the best I've seen up to this point. All of the cover art is wonderful and all of the covers have vivid colours that would catch the eyes of a wandering manga reader in a book store. And, to sweeten the deal further, the lovely colour artwork doesn't end with the covers, every volume having at least one colour page inside the book, the early chapters having quite a few and the near end volumes having only one or two. These volumes were the first I've read that included some colour pages, and I hope to see more of the same in my future purchases.
As for the standard black and white pages, the art quality is excellent throughout, thanks in no small part to the manga having been serialized monthly, which means the author had a lengthy amount of time to do his work in. While I'm not exactly knowledgeable when it comes to good and bad art, my uneducated brain failed to spot any flaws in the drawings.
The only problem with reading the panels I had was following certain parts of the action. A problem that I'm sure certain manga authors have is with planning fights and how the fights should flow from one panel to the next - it must be very difficult to accomplish when they're restricted to a set amount of pages. Some manga authors are good at putting stories together and others are good at putting action sequences together, and I think the author of CC is better at creating stories than he is at making action flow from panel to panel. But don't get me wrong; the fights weren't put together badly and I was able to understand what was going on most of the time, it's just I noticed how I wasn't following the action as well as with some shounen manga that I've read recently.
Before getting into anything else, it's best I give a description of the plot for people who, unlike me, haven't already watched the anime before getting into the manga...
CC comes across as rather silly at first. A nun/exorcist working for the Magdalen Order called Rosette Christopher and her demonic partner called Chrono go on trips around America killing demons. In between these character introduction missions is lots of comedy; some of it as a result of perverted jokes and the majority coming from the dialogue between the main two characters...or rather, coming from Rosette's short tempered personality and poor Chrono getting hit. Thankfully, the story becomes much more interesting and gains depth after the opening chapters - it isn't long before you're shown the tragic events that occurred in the past that resulted in Rosette agreeing to a contract with Chrono where she would give him the power to use his demonic abilities at the cost of her own life (Rosette wears a clock around her neck that ticks away when Chrono uses his powers from that point onwards). Without spoiling too much, all I can really say is that the reason behind Rosette joining the Magdalen Order and fighting together with Chrono is her brother, who went missing prior to the start of the story.
Forgetting about Rosette's brother, the heart of the story is about Chrono and his past as a sinner of Pandemonium (In the CC universe, Pandemonium is the equivalent of what we consider to be hell in our world). Chrono once betrayed his own kind by fighting for Aion (the leader of a group Pandemonium view as sinners) in order to be free from the chains of Pandemonium. However, after the friendship the two shared soured due to a certain person, the two became enemies who walked different paths, leading to the start of the CC story.
What makes the story of CC special is the main theme of the story, which is how people can use what little time they have to the fullest. Rosette is fighting the clock throughout the story as her contract with Chrono causes her to lose a little of her life each time Chrono transforms into his adult/demonic form (he disguises himself as a youngish boy in order not to use his powers and hide his identity) and uses his abilities. Chrono, being the soft-hearted demon that he is, always tries his hardest not to use any of his demonic power, fighting like a human and often simply supplying Rosette with ammunition for her guns. As Rosette selflessly throws away years of her life in order to save her brother and Chrono tries his hardest not to use his powers in order to keep Rosette alive, you can almost feel the unbreakable bond the two share just by reading the pages; they're the best of friends and yet, by fighting together, Chrono can't help but drain the life of the person he cares about the most - it's both touching and tragic.
It's very rare in any fictional story for a relationship between two characters to reach out and touch the heart of its reader/viewer, but that's exactly what Chrono and Rosette's relationship did, in my case at least. What kept me interested in the series wasn't the fact it has nuns with guns (and fairly large buns); it was the relationship of the two main characters. Most of the dialogue came across as natural as the two bonded over the course of the story. They argued and they cried but it was always clear that the two had strong feelings for each other, even if they didn't always express their feelings in words.
Just before shutting up about the story, let me add one complaint about the story that made me give it 8/10 instead of 9/10. I felt that too much story was crammed into the final chapters and not enough was spread over the other volumes. When I was reading the last two volumes I couldn't get rid of the thought that an easy to follow story had suddenly become far more difficult to follow due to the author not pacing it brilliantly. Some of the plot elements, one near the end in particular, lost me and it probably could've been avoided if more time had been spent explaining certain parts of the story.
Now that the most important bits are out of the way I can focus on the less important bits, starting with manga and anime differences. Apart from a death scene in volume seven, the anime diverges completely from the manga towards the end of volume six. But even before the plot diverged completely, there was lots of filler added. For example, Aion appears much earlier (in the flesh) in the anime then he does in the manga, his anime appearance occurring during a zombie outbreak filler story, with him somehow ending up with his tongue down Rosette's throat. Aion also has another filler episode later where it's shown that he uses a human woman (who happens to be madly in lust with him) to kill humans in order for him to use their souls as energy... with Aion somehow ending up nearly raping Satella. Just going on those two examples, it should be clear that both the anime and manga are very different and show the characters in different lights, Gonzo seemingly wanting to turn Aion into a sex pest.
Before my back refuses to allow me to bend over my keyboard typing, the last thing I want to touch upon is the ending of the manga. Surprisingly, both the anime and manga endings are very similar: both end in the same sort of way (I can't elaborate without spoiling) and both stories fast-forward to the future in the epilogue. If I was to choose between the endings, the winner would be the anime ending because... well, it ended the story in a depressing yet peaceful way. And, though I'm sure it was just thrown in to make the story appear far deeper than it really is, I also liked the surprise at the very end of the final episode.
Overall, I loved the story to bits and would recommend it to anyone. If you're looking for a very well done story about someone shortening their own life to achieve their dream, this is for you.
I'm now going to try to rest my poor back. Here's hoping the review helps someone!
I have a lot I want to say about Daisuke Moriyama's Manga Chrono Crusade. One of which is that it is one of the BEST Mangas I've read to date. I'll also go as far to say that its much better than its Anime counter part.
I'm getting ahead of myself here so I go back to how I was first introduced to Chrono Crusade. A good friend of mine told me about this series and said it was one of his favorites, so I was interest but I watched the Anime first. The Anime for Chrono Crusade was pretty
good in its own right but after I got a hold of the Manga and read it, the Anime doesn't come close to being as good as Moriyama's Original work.
The story of Chrono Crusade takes place in the 1920's America were Rosette Christopher, a Exorcist who's apart of a organization called the Magdala Order, hunts down demons who are going around causing destruction and harm to the citizens of New York. Unfortunately, she has a reputation of causing more destruction than the demons themselves. Aided by her demon partner and close friend Chrono, Rosette sets out on a journey to find her lost brother Joshua and along the way, they meet new friends, allies and powerful and dangerous new enemies. As the plot unfolded, I was amazed on how well Moriyama took a story about exorcists and demons and made it into story of never giving up and beating the odds. There were scenes that were so sad that I actually wanted to shed a tear, it was that powerful for me. Also it has some really funny scenes too, like Rosette getting drunk for the first time.
Also, I want to compare the Anime version which was done by studio Gonzo with the Manga version and how it told the story. For starters both versions start out same with little changes from the Anime version, but there are some parts that were left out or completely change from the Manga version. Like were Rosette becomes a wondering ghost at night, that was actually an amusing and enjoyable side story. In the Anime, however, this scene was left out and I think now that Gonzo should of keep it in.
Instead there were pointless side stories like zombies in Central Park or Chrono gets sick and Rosette going out to I find a cure. These stories were never really that interesting for me and were kind of boring. As for the ending, I don't want to give anyway anything but I will say that the Mangas was more sad for me. The Animes was sad as well but it didn't fell like it was as good as the Mangas in my opinion. I just could fell how Rosette and Chrono felt in the end in of the Manga version then in the Anime version.
The art is another thing I want to praise here. From the first page all the way to the last page, the art was fantastic and great to look at. The background detail of 1920's New York and all the way to the flying fortress of Eden look really well drawn. Even Moriyama's character designs look a lot better to Gonzo's design. The fight scenes are also well done and are easy to follow so that is also another plus for the Manga.
Now here's what I really wanted to talk about, the characters. The characters of Chrono Crusade were really fun and enjoyable. Rosette, Chrono, Azumaria, Satella and Aion had there own traits and personalities. With Rosette being a loud mouth and getting her own way and Chrono with his cheer-free attitude and trying to keep Rosette under control. Again, there were changes to these characters in the Anime. I won't talk about every character so I'll only talk about the main ones.
First Rosette, there weren't a lot of changes to her characters. She still had a attitude and was a handful at times but she keep moving forward and did the right thing. So not much change.
Chrono, not much change to his character ether but I will say he was more bad-ass in the Manga. In the Anime, he was kind of a wimp.
Azumaria, I'm going to say that she was more useful in the Manga than she was in the Anime. In the Manga, Azumaria had more of a role (even at the end) and she was more likable. In the Anime, all she really did was stand and look cute.
Satella, just like Azumaria; Satella was way more likable here in Manga. She wasn't a stuck bitch all the time like in the Anime and she actually showed that is did care for her friends. Again, way more useful here.
Finally Aion, Aion was a more calculating character here and at times (when Chrono's past was reviled) he didn't seem to be that bad. He kind of reminded me of Light Yagami from Death Note in way. Where in the Anime, he was just your typical evil character and was also a pervert.
I could go on and say how much I enjoyed this Manga but I'm going to keep it simple. I enjoyed the grand scale of the plot, the fine art-style, and the fun and likable characters as they went throw their journey. I enjoy it all and I would read it all again in a heart beat.
Man, this is the longest review I've ever wrote, but that just shows how much I like this Manga. I'm really glad I was able to find all eight volumes of Chrono Crusade because now a days, its pretty hard to find them anymore, and their wroth every penny.
Chrono Crusade is easily one of my favorite Mangas of all time and trust me by saying it is wroth the read.
After Volume 7 ended on one hell of a cliffhanger, I knew it was going to be difficult to wait until I had a chance to read the final volume, so I picked the very first opportunity I had. In an earlier review I listed Volume 6 as the best of all the series so far, and now I can say Volume 8 ranks right up there with it.
It would be kind of pointless to go over the story at this point; if you don't know what Chrno Crusade is all about, you need to go back and
check out Volumes 1 and 2. Volume 8 is the end of the line, and in more than one sense.
With the world on the brink of chaos and her soul almost completely consumed, Rosette uses what little time she has left to track down her brother and convince him she really is who she says she is. Plenty stands in her way, including a major battle between Aion and Chrono, and of course, death itself looms close. It's kind of funny that a volume so packed with action could still have time for wonderful, emotional moments between characters (one reason why I ranked 7 lower than 6 and 8), but Volume 8 has enough of them, and by the time I arrived at this part of the story I cared so much about Rosette that every panel depicting her in tears made me all misty-eyed. Things don't really turn out the way she expected them to, and it's only through her sheer willpower that things take the turn they do. There's no cop-out here, though.
Without actually telling you what happens, all I will say is that the ending is the best possible ending this series could have had. Even in the epilogue there were a couple of surprises I did not see coming, which were effective enough, but the epilogue's overall presentation, showing the aftermath out of sequence and saving the most dramatic moment for the very last pages, effectively sucked me all the way in, made me teary-eyed, and left me in such a state that, even after I was done reading, a few minutes passed before I could even put the book down. I've read plenty of stories that go for the darkest possible ending and plenty of stories that cheat and go for an artificially happy ending, and even stories with endings that, while they made sense, were still disappointing in some way, either because they favored unhappy events or were just anti-climactic. Chrno Crusade's ending was none of the above. The ending was exactly what it should have been, a mixture of happy and sad, and was enormously effective and moving. The only thing I'm sorry about is that such a charming series is over.
I will very likely reread this in the not-to-distant future, and will probably choke up as much over the ending then as I did now. Rosette Christopher jumped right off those pages and into my heart, and she'll stay there evermore.