Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 24
Genre: Supernatural / Adventure / Comedy
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 19 Oct 2012
The original Japanese title for this series is Chrno Crusade.
“Like a nun with a gun, [she’s] wonderful fun.”
adapted lyric from the song “Happy the Man” by Genesis, recorded in 1972
In 1920s America, there’s a bit of a problem with demons and other unsavory types causing havoc and mayhem. That’s when the Magdalene Order is consulted, and Rosette Christopher with her partner Chrono are called upon to exorcise these demons. It is a bit of an unusual working relationship though; Rosette is a nun and Chrono is a devil.
Chrono Crusade tries hard, it really does. It goes for an unconventional setting as far as anime is concerned, but rather than feeling like the United States in the early twentieth century, it feels more like western Europe. The historical aspect never really plays into the story at all; it’s just when things happen to take place. Setting aside the fantasy or sci-fi elements, manners of speech and wardrobe simply don’t seem to fit in a 1920s America setting. A piece of the puzzle which could have contributed a historical slant to the story ended up a missed opportunity, which is a little bit of a disappointment. If you can overlook this flaw, there is still an interesting series to be found here.
Chrono Crusade starts out as an adventure comedy. Rosette and Chrono are an unlikely duo, fighting off demons and other vile creatures which rear their heads in New York City. Spiritual guns are the weapon of the day, and the Magdalene Order has an entire arsenal of holy weapons at their disposal, with more being devised by their inventor, a lecherous old man who looks like one of Dr. J‘s relatives. When he’s not inventing new weapons, he’s busy trying to get a peek at the nuns’ bloomers. Rosette is prone to crashing the Order’s cars, but she’s one of their best exorcists. Chrono has his hands full trying to keep Rosette in line, and that’s a challenging job. Since he is a devil, Chrono does offer a bit of an advantage in that he knows the enemy’s background well. When things get in a pinch, Rosette and Chrono do have a secret weapon: Chrono’s full power. There is a price to this option, however…
As often happens over the course of a series, the later parts show a shift in style; the lighthearted adventure turns into a somewhat darker and more serious story. This is in sharp contrast to the first part of the series where things are highly comedic. There is also a surprising amount of fanservice for a series which often takes place in a convent. Chrono Crusade is a bit bipolar in its approach between these two tones, but it doesn’t necessarily take anything away from the story.
Chrono Crusade is both a decent series and a missed opportunity. The historical aspects aren’t nearly integrated enough and serve mainly as window dressing. The story itself is interesting and kept my attention all the way through. For those who follow seiyuu, the late Tomoko Kawakami (perhaps best known as the title character from Revolutionary Girl Utena) does a fine job as Rosette. In all, I enjoyed Chrono Crusade, but I couldn’t help feeling just a little bit disappointed by some of the choices made in telling its story.