In an initial review I wrote for the first volume of this series, I presented Chrono Crusade as no more than an action-oriented comedy that dealt lightheartedly with some rather controversial stuff. While I believe that was okay for the time, I've since learned, in watching the entire anime, otherwise. Yes, this series will make you laugh, especially at the antics of the two main characters. And about half of the of the twenty-four episodes are light-hearted, while the others are surely dark. Of those twelve more serious episodes, the last four or five are as as heart-wrenching as Aztec sacrifices. But, so as not to confuse, the constant contrasting emotions have no effect on the anime itself. The happy-go-lucky stuff happens early on, mainly to introduce the characters or the settings, or whatever, and the darker stuff comes later, during the main story line.
The story itself follows Sister Rosette Christopher, a spunky girl great at destroying things, and her trusted partner-in-mischief Chrono, a peaceful, child-like devil. Both of them work for the Order of the Magdalene, a fearless group of exorcists and devil-slayers. Early on in the series, Rosette and Chrono are sent on a collection of unrelated missions, either to destroy threats from devils or to save those in danger. In one of these missions, they meet Azmaria, a girl with a tremendous power to heal, yet a power she's unable to control. They take her under their wing. Soon after, the real story begins. Chrono and Rosette's histories are revealed, and the two main enemies, Aion and Joshua, Rosette's brother, begin their quest to start the apocalypse. This ignites a war between man-kind and devil-kind, and though the sides are sometimes blurred between the two, it's clear that the final outcome wanted by Aion is one that may be inevitable. Still, help for the good-guys comes from odd places, including a pagan jewel-witch who has the power to materialize creatures from gemstones, and a horde of devil/hell-police, who want to keep the order in place, the way God had intended.
By the end, I, personally, was floored. Not only did I like the idea of devils with morals, but I enjoyed the fact that Chrono Crusade was fearless in its attempt to present a great story, controversy or not. It uses stories from the Bible, as well as religious mysticism, and mixes things that would be considered sacrilegious in our society, such as the love between a human girl and a devil. Even with that controversy, though, the message of this series is deep, and one that tells the story of human history and how many mistakes we have made over the years.
And of course, there is the actual climax of Chrono Crusade, which I will admit brought more than just one tear to my eye.
Chrono Crusade ranks close beside Last Exile as one of GONZO's greatest anime. The story ranges from moronic to dead serious, and pulls this off well by presenting a message and a theme, something that's uncommon in anime meant for laughs. The ideas in this story, though rich with controversy (if anime were as mass marketed as Harry Potter, this would be a series in the burning pits), are unique for an anime, and the ending is one of the best I've seen, especially when you consider the history of anime endings. I recommend this box set to anyone who wants to see something unique and worth multiple viewing, because that's exactly what Chrono Crusade is.