Anime Review: Chrono Crusade

Genre: Fantasy/Historical

Studio/Creator: Gonzo/Daisuki Moriyama

Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu

No of Episodes: 24

Suggested Age: 13+

My Rating: 9/10

Summary: Set in the 1920’s, this tells the adventures of Rosette Christopher, a demon-hunting nun working with the Magdalene Order, and Chrono, a demon she’s contracted with.  She is fighting the demon Aion to free her brother Joshua from his control.

Review: Because Japan isn’t a primarily Christian  nation, I don’t expect them to portray my denomination accurately.  So I went in expecting a negative approach. To my surprise, I got the exact opposite.

First of all, Rosette is a very heroic woman. In the gospels, Jesus tells his apostles that the greatest love is to lay down one’s life for his friends. Rosette certainly does this. In every encounter, Aion’s forces constantly endanger innocent civilians and she put herself on the line to protect them. True, she does have her flaws. She’s an obsessive gambler. She has a hot temper. But to me, this is a positive. You see, if you think the founders of the church and its heroes were perfect and unrelatable, you obviously haven’t read the Bible.  So seeing Rosette as clay-footed as the average human is actually accurate.

Azmaria is a girl with special powers that the Order adopts after Rosette rescues her, and she is adorable.  I love how she plays the heart of the group and is so generous. Plus, she’s so pretty!

Chrono is an excellent ally for Rosette. You can tell that they trust and love each other. In fact because using his powers can weaken Rosette, he often holds back.

Aion is an excellent villain. I love how he is constantly lying to Rosette and how ruthless he is. He tells her that God won’t help her or anyone else; that God doesn’t wish to involve Himself in human affairs.  This is completely contrary to Christian teaching because if it were true, Jesus wouldn’t have come to Earth.  I think this is great because since Aion is a demon, I would expect him to lie or twist the truth. Aion also never once addresses God by name. He’s always just addressing him indirectly. This is actually biblical.  In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he says that Jesus’s name is so revered, that all life, even demonic, must bow or kneel when it is said.  This brings to mind The Screwtape  Letters  by C.S. Lewis. In that book, Screwtape, a demon, wouldn’t dare say God nor Jesus’s names. He would call God “the enemy” instead

To sum it up, I was very impressed by Chrono Crusade.  I highly recommend this one.

Music/Score: The music is very beautiful. I enjoyed both themes.

Sub/Dub: The dub is better. The reason is that Satella is actually given a German accent by Tiffany Grant, who is famous for playing Asuka in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Rosette’s voice is also pretty good, despite its raspiness. And Greg Ayers is excellent as Chrono.

Violence: (7/10)–Quite a lot of bloodshed in this one.

Language: (2/10)–yes, Rosette is a nun and she curses.

Sexuality: (1/10)–A scientist at the order constantly makes lewd advances at the nuns.

Nudity: (2/10) Rosette’s habit gets ripped a lot in this show.

Religion: (7/10) Where to begin? It’s implied that demons actually can reform, which is not possible. If you decide you do not wish to be in God’s presence when you die, you never change your mind when you get to Hell. You stay that way forever.  Also, two spoilers:

SPOILER 1: Rosette is implied to be the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene, a woman who was a disciple of Jesus.

SPOILER 2: Late in the series, Rosette gets a stigmata, or wounds similar to those Jesus received when he was crucified. There are actually at least two accounts of saints who received stigmatas: St. Francis of Assisi and Padre Pio.

Related Media: This series is based on the manga of the same name.

Trivia: This was the final series to air on Sci-fi channel’s badly run and ill-fated anime block. It also aired on Showtime Beyond.

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  1. #1 by John on October 16, 2012 - 5:25 pm

    Spoiler alert for people reading the comments:

    I thought Rosette was more of a successor to Mary Magdalene, not a reincarnation. The Mary Magdalene they refer to in the series is herself not the actual biblical Madalene, and this Mary Magdalene’s soul appears to Chrono to bring him back to life after he was turned to stone, so I’m inclined to think Rosette is not a reincarnation.

    Spoiler End.

    Anyway, this is my favorite! I prefer the dub too, but also because it uses the 20’s slang so it’s more realistic.

    If you haven’t already, you can look up Azmaria’s extra classes on Youtube, which explain where they got a lot of the religious elements in the show (some were even from Gnostic sources) though in one lesson they were WAY off. In one of these it’s explained that Aion is actually the antichrist, which makes a lot of sense. I really liked his character because even though he does mock God and everything, the series makes it quite obvious that he is the bad guy, God’s the good guy, and that God is in control (remember that Mary Magdalene was able to say with certainty that Aion would fail, it was predestined, and the demons are always just being used by God to test his Creation, a bit like Job).

    The ending is also insane, and open to a lot of interesting interpretations.

    • #2 by rocklobsterjwt on October 16, 2012 - 9:09 pm

      The only reason I thought they were going with reincarnation was that I know the Japanese believe in it. Both Shintoism and Buddhism have it as a basic tenet.

      • #3 by John on November 2, 2012 - 5:18 am

        I see. You wouldn’t be the only one, my parent’s thought the same thing when we watched it. Chrono’s description of the Astral Lines also makes it seem like we’re dealing with an Eastern reincarnation framework. However, I think that orthodox Christianity informs their actual afterlife belief in the anime though, as the characters are Catholic and the writers actually do a relatively good job at representing orthodox theological concepts. (Sister Kate asks Father if Rosette would go to hell, Mary Magdalene is a canonized saint and appears to Chrono in an apparition, Mary the Mother of God shows up to help several times etc. This couldn’t happen if we are dealing with reincarnation, at least imho.)

      • #4 by John on November 2, 2012 - 5:21 am

        Oh, and did you catch the Communion of Saints moment when Azmaria prays to Rosette (and I guess Chrono too, though there’s no confirmation that he’s in heaven) for strength and protection?

        Awesome!

      • #5 by rocklobsterjwt on November 2, 2012 - 11:09 am

        well considering that one of the saints actually prayed for Judas Iscariot, that’s not surprising.

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