R1 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 27 July 2006 00:00
Chrono Crusade draws to a close with less of a bang than I was expecting, given Rosette's penchant for heavy weaponry. Instead it falls to Chrono to finally deal with Aion before the series meanders off into the sunset - but don't be thinking that leads to a disappointing ending. Oh no. Action-packed, no - but emotionally-moving, yes...
22 - Sayonara / Goodbye
The young Satella never really had a talent for jewel summoning - a lack of talent that brought her mother's disapproval - but thanks to her sister's encouragement she finally mastered the art. That's part of the reason she was so devastated when her sister disappeared - and why it's so hard for her to deal with Fiore's return now, the knowledge of Aion's involvement in her disappearance, and Fiore's continuing loyalty to Joshua and Aion. The gang are gearing up to take Aion on - Chrono's been provided with a special sword by the Elder that should help him match Aion's power without using Rosette's lifeforce - but before they can head out, Fiore escapes from the Order's base, taking Joshua with her. Meanwhile, Rosette and Aion are mingling with the people of the city - with Rosette performing very public miracles in his presence and earning the gratitude of crowds of people, it becomes difficult for Chrono and the others to move against them...
23 - Noise
Chrono receives a message, apparently from Rosette, asking him to come to an abandoned church in the city. Perhaps under Aion's urging, she's decided she wants her life back - and for that Chrono must release her from their contract. The more that happens, the more Chrono is beginning to believe that he - or his desire to be free - is responsible for all the death and destruction that's going on around them. Meanwhile, the Order has come under attack from people in the city who believe they're harbouring demons (which, technically, they are), while the chaos that first started in San Francisco is beginning to spread across the country...
24 - Chrono
With Aion defeated, the Order has been able to revive the people at the orphanage where Rosette and Joshua used to live (previously petrified by Joshua's powers, remember?). Meanwhile, Remington and the Elder continue to search for Rosette and Chrono, but clues to their location are hard to come by - all they can tell is that they're still alive, as there's evidence of them visiting Magdalene's tomb. While the search continues, a quiet country house is home to Rosette and Chrono as the days they have together run short...
At least Satella goes out in a blaze of glory, combined with some quite moving scenes that seemed good at the time but pale in comparison to what we get in episode 26. Fiore, real name Florette, is very aware she's just a "shadow" of her former self under Aion's control ("I am the fleeting rage she left behind, a doll Aion created from the corpse"), which explains the undying loyalty, but there's a good flashback to the "real" Florette taking on Aion and trying to protect Satella before we get down to some full-on jewelsummoner vs jewelsummoner action. Proof that you can mix action and emotion, but something that Chrono Crusade opts not to do past this point.
Episode 24 brings more flashbacks, this time to the time when Chrono first agreed to help Aion with his plan. There's certainly no lack of effort to fill in all the blanks from the past, but I can't help but feel that b this stage of the game there's not a huge amount of point to it. It does help highlight Chrono's growing lack of confidence, though, which needs a little motivational speech from Azmaria to help give him the boost he needs to get back into the fight. Aion's final scenes are very much the anti-climax, especially after so long has been spent building him up as the ultimate bad-ass, but with an episode still to go it's clear that his end isn't the real end of the story.
Instead, it's the connection between Rosette and Chrono that steals the show at the end of the series. She's very much aware that, after powering Chrono with her own life, she doesn't have much time left, and would rather spend it with him than share what's left with the others. The final episode focuses on their last day in a very emotinal set of scenes that risks bringing a tear to the eye of the most hardened of anime fans - and is followed by another series of scenes that shows that what they went through may all have been in vain. Be warned, this is not a happy ending.
Chrono Crusade ends up a very different show to what it began as. The comedy and nun-with-gun aspect got bumped into the background a long time ago, and by the end of the series it's very clearly a love story - just one with an unusual premise. The change happened so slowly you would barely notice it, making sure the story kept your interest along the way, and the end result is a truly worthwhile series. One criticism often levelled against GONZO shows is that they're all style and no substance - well here's the evidence that proves otherwise. Go get.