a.k.a. Chrono Crusade: Mary Magdalene
Life wasn’t always so hazardous for Rosette Christopher. She and her chronically sick brother, Joshua, once lived peacefully at the Seventh Bell Orphanage until a demon stole Joshua away from her. Now in 1928, she is an exorcist working for the New York City division of the Magdalene Order. While her partner, Chrno, might be a demon, he’s her only means to finding Joshua. Standing in their way is a sinister band of demons led by the sinner Aion. The “Roaring Twenties” might be in full swing, but events are about to change forever.
summary by Eek
Highs: Second half slowly becomes engrossing
Lows: Pacing is all over the place; characters never break any molds; unexplained romance
When I first saw a promo for Moriyama Daisuke’s Chrno Crusade, my eyes went wide as I thought, “Another Hellsing?” I mean, we’ve all see the righteous-organization-hunting-paranormal-beings storyline before, and for the most part, this anime doesn’t really stand out from the genre.
Where the previous statement was almost proven to be very wrong was during the second half. As each episode races by, quite a few plot twists are introduced and manage to not confuse the audience with storytelling devices like deus ex machina. Instead, these plot twists help to pull you in further to the point that you’ll be hanging on every last word that comes out of a character’s mouth. Some sudden revelations might’ve come very late in the series, but each is just as hard-hitting as the last one.
At the root of it all, Chrno Crusade suffers from serious problems with its pacing, and this is readily apparent in the first half. A few of these episodes carry a lot of importance, but most are rather loosely-knit; since the latter episodes in the first half are mostly fluff, only a mere fraction of the content helps the series keep chugging along. As a result, the characters are also forced to take a back seat in favor of silly antics and pointless tasks. And let’s be blunt: while somewhat developed, the protagonists are shining examples of clichés. Rosette is a gun-toting tomboy with a soft side, Chrno is just another sidekick with a dark past, Azmaria is a painfully nice, mostly useless girl and Satella is a steely mercenary acting like she doesn’t care about the other three protagonists. While they don’t need to be revolutionary, these characters could have tried to push the envelope instead of being “been there, done that” stereotypes. And while arguably more of a minor problem, the romance between (you saw it coming) Rosette and Chrno is never set up properly. Without any foreshadowing or lead-in behind it, the romance is just thrown in and ends up feeling awkward.
Though you might be wondering what’s up with the Engrish title*, Chrno Crusade isn’t that bad. However, you can find better examples of this genre in Witch Hunter Robin and Hellsing, albeit not that much better.
*This series is now licensed in the US by Funimation, has had the title amended to Chrono Crusade, and episodes may be viewed legally in the United States HERE.