Tragic throwback anyone?
By: Nicole S. Castro on June 30, 2022 at 13:40 PHT
If there is an underrated 2000s anime that we feel deserves more attention, we would say Chrono Crusade is pretty high on that list.
The complexity and tragedy of this action/supernatural anime featuring demon exorcists was just not enough to condense into 24 episodes. Now, on to the water works!
Chrono Crusade, originally known in Japan as Chrno Crusade (Japanese: クロノクルセイド), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Daisuke Moriyama. It was originally published by Kadokawa Shoten in Comic Dragon, then a special issue of the Dragon Magazine. The manga was serialized from November 1998 to June 2004 and has been compiled into eight tankobon volumes.
It was then adapted into a 24-episode TV anime series by Gonzo. It aired on Fuji TV from Nov. 24, 2003 to Jun. 10, 2004.
Plot and Throwback (anime)
The anime is set in New York in the 1920s, with 16-year-old elite exorcist Rosette Christopher (CV: Tomoko Kawakami) of the Order of Magdalene shooting down demons with her Sacred bullets. She is accompanied by her demon partner Chrono (CV: Akira Ishida), whom she made a pact with four years prior to the beginning of the series.
The light-hearted parts of the anime include Rosette and Chrono exterminating all sorts of demons while accompanied by the songstress Azmaria Hendric (CV: Saeko Chiba) and the bounty hunter Satella Harvenheit (CV: Michiko Neya).
But it turns out Rosette's true goal is to look for her lost brother, Joshua Christopher (CV: Junko Minagawa). In a flashback, it is revealed Rosette and Joshua lived in an orphanage after their parents went missing. Joshua was a sickly boy who had healing powers that did not work on himself.
It turns out Joshua is an Apostle, one of seven humans with special powers taken from the Astral Line, the source of life for all beings. But Joshua was brainwashed by main antagonist Aion (CV: Kazuhiko Inoue), who is also Chrono's twin older brother. At the orphanage, Aion gave Joshua Chrono's horns, thus enhancing Joshua's supernatural abilities but also driving him insane as he became able to read others' thoughts without his conscious control.
Without his horns, Chrono is unable to fully utilize his powers and connect to the Astral Line. As an alternative, he forges a contract with Rosette, but this comes at the cost of gradually draining her lifespan.
How did the anime end? (Spoiler alert)
Since the manga and the anime were both ongoing from 2003 to 2004, the plot of the anime diverged at significant turning points (specifically at the carnival arc) to reach a conclusion by the 24th episode.
In the anime, Rosette is captured and controlled by Aion as she is the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene, making her a key instrument in Aion's plans to rebuild the world. This leads to Chrono releasing the seal on his powers in order to save Rosette. In a final battle, Chrono defeats Aion but is injured in the process.
Given Rosette's already shortened lifespan, how she dies varies depending on whether you're watching the anime or reading the manga. In the anime, Rosette's lifespan is fully consumed by episode 24 and passes away peacefully next to the injured Chrono. In the manga, since Rosette was not kidnapped by Aion, she dies a more gradual death due to accelerated aging. In both versions, it is implied they were buried in the same grave.
First off, we would like to wipe our tears away because we all saw the tragedy coming but we just weren't ready for it. Chrono Crusade is a standout series from the 2000s because of its serious plot, complex universe, and poignant tragedy.
However, we concede the plot's complexity was watered down to make it fit into a 24-episode TV anime. Many of the characters' pasts (especially Chrono's relationship with Mary Magdalene) were left unexplored which doesn't give enough justice to the seriousness of this series. For fans who want the full scale of the universe, the relationships, and the tragedy, we recommend going to the original manga.
Despite its limitations, wow those anime feels. It remains a must-watch from the 2000s.
Digest by AniradioPlus
NICOLE S. CASTRO
Nicole is based in the Philippines and works as a freelance Japanese Translator/Interpreter and copywriter (English). She is a JLPT N2 passer who watches anime to "study" for N1. She has a long career history on LinkedIn (with primary focus on media and translation), but her anime watchlist is much, much longer.