Love, Time and Other Complications, Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama

Previously posted in another journal, Dec. 1st, 2008 at 2:51 PM

Chrono Crusade is an eight volume manga and twenty four episode anime by Daisuke Moriyama. The setting is America during the late 1920s, and chronicles the adventures of Rosette Christopher, a fifteen year old exorcist of the Magdalen Order, and her demon partner Chrono.

The basic plot of Chrono Crusade is that Rosette and Chrono have spent the past four years with the Order trying to locate Rosette’s brother Joshua, who was kidnapped by another demon, Aion. The basic plot complication is that both Rosette and Chrono are living on borrowed time; Chrono’s horns, which are what supply him with “astral energy” were broken off by Aion in a fight that occurred fifty years previous to the story. Since a demon will eventually die without horns, Chrono uses the energy produced by Rosette’s soul. The symbol of their contract, and the device that keeps Chrono from draining Rosette too quickly is a pocket watch that ticks off the amount of time Rosette has left.

Joshua it turns out is an Apostle, a human gifted with powers beyond those of ordinary humans, among them the powers to heal and to manipulate the Astral Line, the river of life from which all souls are born and eventually return when they die. Aion is seeking out Apostles for some unknown reason, and part of the adventure involves finding out what Aion is up to, and then finding a way to stop him.

The Manga: The manga has a more science fiction feel to it. The strong science fiction elements come into play as it’s revealed that the demons are actually very powerful aliens whose ship had crashed ten thousand years ago. The concepts are basically steampunk combined with nanotech, and the villain’s master plan involves a Gray Goo apocalypse.

The Anime: The anime took a more traditional supernatural approach. It’s just as enjoyable in it’s own way as the manga (though most fans will say the manga is better) but it follows the more standard “heroes averting the apocalypse” formula. In the anime, Aion has cast himself as the Anti-Christ, and is trying to rewrite the apocalypse, and make “Earth into Heaven, and Heaven into Earth.”

Both series are terrific adventure stories that pull you right into the story. The characters are fun and engaging, and the art is amazing. The themes of friendship and family (and righting the wrongs committed by family members) add to the quest/adventure aspects of the series, and the humorous moments are well timed, taking off some of the tension from the building action.

The Characters Several characters have slightly different back stories, personalities and motivations between between the anime and the manga.

The Good Guys

Chrono: Before Chrono left the other Sinners, he was Aion’s second in command and closest friend. He broke away from the Sinners after Aion ordered him to kill Mary Magdalene. After a fight with Aion (which he lost) he escaped with Mary. (In the anime, Mary dies shortly after making a contract with Chrono, sacrificing her life so he can heal himself. In the manga, she’s killed by Aion.) In mourning at the loss of Mary, Chrono allows himself to be sealed in her tomb. Rosette and Joshua discover the tomb fifty years later, and break the seal. Chrono, now in the form of a young boy, ends up being befriended by Rosette and Joshua. Chrono is brave, kind and thoughtful. He also has He has a gently sarcastic sense of humor and is the only one who can get Rosette to exercise some restraint. (Though not always.)

Rosette Christopher: Rosette is an at times tomboyish girl with a short temper and fierce determination. She has a tendency to stick her foot in her mouth (up to her knee at times,) but she’s also very kind hearted, compassionate person. Her missions while successful also tend to be very very destructive of property, and she has absolutely terrible luck with cars (which tend to get destroyed). In the anime, it turns out that she’s also an Apostle. Stigmata appear (which Aion claims to have caused). Aion awakens her powers during a ritual called “The Rite of Atonement” and uses her to create massive riots through out the U.S., starting with San Francisco. In the manga, she doesn’t have any powers beyond sheer stubborness and willpower.

Azmaria Hendric: Azmaria Hendric is a twelve year old girl with the power to heal many people at once when she sings. She is a very shy, timid girl who is afraid of her powers because they’ve been the cause of a great deal of grief for her. Shortly after they manifested, her parents died, and she was shifted from relative to relative until she ended up with an orchestra. The orchestra became something of a surrogate family for her, until she was adopted by Ricardo Hendric, a rich casino owner…who turns out to be a sorcerer and Devil Master. The sorcerer has the orchestra killed, but Azmaria doesn’t find that out until later. Rosette and Chrono are the team given the job of rescuing Azmaria from the sorcerer.

In the anime, Ricardo is trying to restore his body, which is rotting from the inside out because he was killed during a bombing, and his demon familiar put him back together, though the demon wasn’t able to completely heal him, so he “lacks the spark of life.” In the manga he has the slightly more noble but still fecked in the head intention of bringing his wife Melda back to life. Melda had died in a bombing during the war, but Ricardo and his demon familiar Lerijie were able to regrow her body from a finger that been recovered. Hendric acquired Azmaria, because he believed her power could restore Melda’s soul. In both the anime and manga it turns out that the entire thing was a trick by Lerijie, so he could steal some of Azmaria’s power and break the spells of binding placed on him by Ricardo.

Satella Harvenheit: Satella is a gem-summoner. Her powers summon spirits kept inside gem stones. She’s independantly wealthy, and came from a well to do family, but works as a bounty hunter to help fund her search for her sister, and the demon that massacred her family when she was a little girl. The only information she had to go on was that the demon had no horns. She’s a good and loyal friend, and despite a very tough outward attitude, she’s a very kind hearted person. She meets up with Chrono and Rosette after totalling Rosette’s car in the manga, and after rescuing Azmaria from a monster in the anime (and totalling Rosette’s car). In the anime she is very self-righteous and is continually suspicious of Chrono despite having it confirmed that Chrono is not the “demon without horns” she is looking for. In the manga she’s much more accepting of Chrono, and even teases him, much too Rosette’s irritation.

The Sinners

The original “Sinners” are Aion, Chrono, Genai, Viede, Shader and Rizelle. Chrono ended up leaving after Aion commanded him to kill Mary Magdalene, an Apostle with great power. The other demons name them “Sinners” after they kill Pandaemonium, and flee to the surface world.

Aion: Aion is the charismatic “king” of the Sinners. He is extremely proud, determined, and utterly ruthless in his goals. He plans very far ahead, and is more than willing to sacrifice himself (as well as anyone else) for his cause. In the anime he’s more of a stock character–the lustful and seductive Anti-Christ figure–than in the manga.

In the manga a sense of humor emerges, and he is more of an anarchist than anything else. He has no tolerance for hypocrisy or self deception, and is absolutely driven by the goals of destroying Pandaemonium, and human civilization, which he regards as limiting to personal freedom.

Rizelle: Rizelle is a kind of demon referred to as a “puppet master.” Her ability is to possess people using tiny spiders she’s linked to. She was badly wounded in a battle with Pandaemonium, and as a result is permanently crippled. She has a crush on Aion which isn’t returned. This makes her extremely jealous of just about anyone Aion seems to like, and eventually extremely mentally unstable.

Genai: Genai doesn’t seem to like anyone very much, except for Rizelle. Like Rizelle, he was badly wounded during an attack from Pandaemonium, and as a result lost his eyes.

Viede: Viede is a very quiet character, and not very much is shown of him. He seems to work as Genai’s partner.

Shader: Shader is the cheerful engineer/doctor of the party. She’s often childish and hyper, but also has a compassionate caring side that comes out at times. In the manga this is more apparent than the anime, where she’s more of a stock humor/villain character.

Joshua Christopher: Joshua was given Chrono’s horns by Aion, which made him even more powerful, but also mentally unstable because of “the noise” he hears from the horns at times. Before getting the horns, his primary ability was to heal one person at a time, though he wasn’t able to heal his own illness. He’s very loyal to Aion, and to a certain extent, supports Aion’s goals. In the anime, Joshua is more out of it and unstable, and never fully recovers after Chrono tears off the horns during a battle. In the manga, he eventually comes to his senses and tears off Chrono’s horns himself.

Fiore: Fiore is a “doll” created from the body of Florette Harvenheit, Satella’s sister whom Aion kidnapped after massacring most of her family. She acts as Joshua’s caretaker, and is loyal and kind, and has a very dry sense of humor. In the anime, she and Satella die after Fiore appears to regain her memories of being Florette. In the manga, she and her sister Satella are frozen inside of a gem until revived under mysterious circumstances.

Supporting Characters/Minor Characters

Mary Magdalene: Mary was an apostle with the power of precognition and clairvoyance. She was so powerful that the Magdalen Order kept her cloistered most of her life to keep her protected from people who might use her power for their own purposes. When Chrono is sent by Aion to kidnap her, she goes along willingly, and even aids in their escape. In the anime, Mary has stigmata, and is a “decoy” sent to ruin Aion’s plans.

In the manga, Mary is acquired by Aion to locate Pandaemonium’s head, which was lost during the Sinner’s escape from Pandaemonium. (If this sounds confusing, Pandaemonium is both the name of the demon world, and of it’s ruler.) At some point the head revives, makes itself a new body and attacks the Sinners. During the attack Mary attempts to aid the Sinners, and ends up absorbing Pandaemonium’s memories. This alarms Aion when he finds out, and he commands Chrono to kill her because “she doesn’t have long to live as Mary,” meaning that Pandaemonium will eventually take over completely. Chrono refuses, and the resulting battle is nearly fatal, but Mary makes a contract with him, and gives him her life energy so he can heal himself.

Sister Kate: Sister Kate is the head of the New York branch of the Magdalen Order. She’s strict and very tough, and is often exasperated by the disasters Rosette and her partner have gotten into. She’s reluctant to trust Chrono because of his nature, but puts up with him on the word of Ewan.

Ewan Remington: Ewan Remington is the minister responsible for bringing Rosette and Chrono into the Order after Joshua is kidnapped. He’s a member of the Order’s Militia, and has a connection with Chrono–fifty years previously, he failed to keep Chrono from kidnapping Mary Magdalene. In the manga, his life was extended by an experiment that infused his body with Legion, the basic cell-like structure that demons are made of. In the anime he’s some kind of angel.

Elder: Your stock anime dirty old man. The dirty old man routine is somewhat mitigated by Elder having some genuine moments of wisdom and kindness. He’s the gunsmith/engineer of the order, and is something of a mad scientist/inventor.

One of The Saddest Happy Endings EVER

The Manga: In the manga, Aion is nearly successful in blowing up Pandaemonium, but is stopped by Chrono. The final, climactic battle results in Pandaemonium blowing up above the atmosphere, creating a dust ring. Rosette is left behind, but believes that Chrono will somehow return, because that was what he had promised before going off to fight Aion. The problem is that Rosette’s time is nearly up–she’s going to die, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. In the epilog, we discover that the story is being told to Satella, who has been revived in the year 1999. Satella visits Rosette’s grave, and is told by Azmaria’s grandson that despite Rosette’s grave never being listed, there are always flowers on her grave. The scene pulls back, and we see Fiore and Shader, which suggests that at least one of the Sinners survived. The very final scene is Rosette seeing Chrono, just before her last, fatal attack.

The Anime: In the anime, Aion successfully turns Rosette into “The Saint” and commences causing havoc by convincing people to riot. Chrono’s first encounters with the transformed Rosette and Aion are extremely unsuccessful because Rosette and Aion are too powerful a combination, for him to face, since he has no power at the moment. The final battle takes place in Central Park. Rosette tries to kill Chrono, but is distracted from her goal when the final stigmata appears, and she drops to the ground, cured of whatever spell Aion had her under. She uses most of her time to heal Chrono, and there’s a final battle between Aion and Chrono. Chrono defeats Aion. After the battle, both Rosette and Chrono disappear.

The last scene for Rosette and Chrono occurs six months later; Rosette and Chrono are living together in a small, extremely run down farm house. The clock is ticking down to the last few minutes, and Chrono and Rosette die together while the sun goes down. Later scenes show Joshua, telling stories and drawing pictures about people he doesn’t really remember, and Rosette’s friends dealing with her and Chrono’s death. The very last scene, in true “Apocalypse” horror movie tradition, shows Aion, or at least his spirit, still around and apparently working on some new plan of prophecy subversion.

Search Amazon.com for Chrono Crusade by Daisuke Moriyama

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Filed under fantasy, manga/anime, Review: Manga, science fiction elements, urban

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