So, I just finished up Volume 1 (Episodes 1-4), and I have to say I had forgotten how funny the early episodes were at times. There were tons of several laugh out loud moments in these first few episodes. For instance, the end of episode one when they crash into Ellis Island is hilarious. John Swasey as the pervy old guy is great too!
I love the scripting and dialogue for this show. Matt Greenfield and the other staff at ADV spent a lot of time conducting research into the 1920’s to make the show feel authentic, and it definitely shows. They went out of their way to use slang and terms from the era. That attention to detail is not something you see too often in anime dubbing.
Greg Ayres is excellent as Chrono and he fit the character from the get go. Hilary Haag puts in a strong performance, though it takes en episode or two for her to get Rosette down pat. But from episode 3 and on, she does an excellent job. And nobody could pull of Azmaria like Jessica Boone. I will miss hearing her voices in ADV dubs.
As for the story itself, I like how it jumped straight into the action and only gave us brief introductions to the characters. It isn’t until episode 2 that you learn how Rosette and Chrono came to know each other. It will be even further in the series before you learn how they became bonded together, and how Joshua ties into everything.
I also loved the number of extras we got on this disc. First, you had the original opening for episodes 1-4, because they were slightly different than the openings for the later episodes. You also had Azmaria’s Extra Classes, which explain some of the history of American in the 1920’s and occult themes behind the show. There were also some excellent pieces of production art, as well as a type of “digital newspaper”, the Chrono Crusade Chronicle. It gives some basic notes about the characters and series, and is a cute addition.
My favorite extra however, is the commentary. Volume 1 features a commentary on Episode 1 with ADR Director Matt Greenfield, and Greg Ayres (Chrono) and Hilary Haag (Rosette). It really gives a great look behind the scenes of the English production and the work involved in it’s creation. They two VA’s discuss how Chrono was one of the hardest series they had ever dubbed and how they had both lost their voices at times due to the amount of screaming involved.
Another part of the commentary that I enjoyed, also happened to be a bit sad, especially given what happened to ADV over the past few years and their primary focus now on subtitled only releases. Matt mentions how at the time (2004) they were releasing nearly 30 DVDs a month, and were producing over a dozen dubs at a time. He then later mentions how as busy as they are, it’s amazing they are still able to get as much quality from the productions as they are. It is such a departure from where anime is today. Even Funimation isn’t producing dubs on that level, and even when they got close, it was quite obvious that their quality suffered. Though ADV did have the added bonus of having two production studios at the time. It brought back a bit of nostalgia for how things use to be, and with that, the accompanying sadness.
It’s been almost two years since I last watched Chrono Crusade. After all this time, my love for the show hasn’t diminished. I found myself smiling during most of the first four episodes, even when they took a more serious turn. It was like being reunited with an old friend.