I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible in this review, so lets begin:
So what is this story about ? It begins rather unconventional in the middle of nowhere - it's like diving into the story by watching season 2 of an anime without any means to get season 1. If you want any information on the pre-story you have to play the game, because this anime begins where the game ends (to be precise it begins from the bad end^^).
It might seem a little hard to bond with the huge amount of characters but it's possible to follow the story without knowing their background. The reason might be that the focus of the story lies more or less in the struggling and growing of two characters: On the hand we have our experienced hero Yuri who wasn't able to live up to expectations everyone had for him. Having lost against the dark king despite all his efforts left him hopeless. However, he regains his hope in form of our second main character Aram and decides to put his faith in him in order to defeat the dark king for good. And, so the story unfolds where both have to prove wether the trials fate has set for them will break them or make them stronger.
The story of this definetly isn't bad, but what really stands out positivly are the animation and especially the soundtracks (it shoud be over 9000, but however). The always fitting soundtracks, especially in the important (battle) scenes, were what kept me watching and whoever the singing voice of Musica is did the greatest job ever (Listening to her voice made me fall in love).
Maybe this anime isn't the best out there and it has many flaws like the substance of the story. But, whoever enjoys awesome battles and incredible soundtracks and even those who don't should give this a chance.
Side Note: Hopefully, we will get a prequel, which I'm sure has great potential - of course with the good ending ^^
This is a spoiler-y review! Just warning you now!
Alright, I'm not usually one to write reviews, but after watching this, I immediately turned on my favorite tunes and settled in for a long rant.
Let me start off by saying: I really liked this anime. The animation was good, I loved the soundtrack, and, despite many shortcomings, there were some characters I liked as well. There's nothing quite like a good ol' fashioned medieval fantasy to lift your spirits after all! I wanted to get that bit out of the way so everyone may know that I am by no means hating on this show, but that being said, I did have some problems with it.
There were a few piddly things that sort of bothered me, but didn't really effect my overall enjoyment, such as Juliana's half-hearted voice acting, the moments of what I deemed unnecessary fanservice (*cough* witch lady! *cough*), and the way people lapsed into magical 3D animation time every time they fought (though strangely, this only happened about halfway through, which makes me think that the art team got lazy?).
What did bug me was certain story aspects, and characters. The plot had the tendency to throw concepts and new people at you without really explaining who or what they were. I get that there are OVAs before this as well as a whole game, but for dweebs like me who just want to sit down and watch Chain Chronicle without all that extra baggage, it's a bit irksome. However, I have always been the type who can sort of just accept that things are happening regardless of whether or not they make sense at the time, and the story wasn't too disjointed, so my problems in that area are minimal.
But as I stated above, the characters were not so easily forgiven. I'd say that a good 80% of them were either completely useless, just entirely uninteresting, and/or not memorable at all. Even among Yuri's core group, I probably couldn't name all the characters. Don't even get me started on the wizards I was supposed to care about! (sans magic Bakugo, AKA Velnar. I actually quite liked him!) I'd say this was my second biggest issue with the show. I just hardly cared about most of the characters, and even the ones I initially liked ended up disappointing me.
Let me offer a few prime examples: first, there's Yuri himself. He's supposed to be the secondary protagonist, this determined young general who's going to lead his army to victory against the Black King. Sounds important, right? Well... not really. I don't want to say I hated Yuri, because I didn't, it's more like he had a lot of potential that stayed completely untapped. See, in Chain Chronicle, the Black King (who's obviously the bad guy) is trying to stain the world with darkness for reasons that I didn't really get, and as a result of this, people who succumb to the darkness inside themselves will also turn "black" and become demons. About halfway through, this happens to Yuri. I wouldn't have had a problem with that if Yuri had actually done something useful beforehand or set up a legacy that his followers could lean on as they journeyed to free him from the darkness inside him, but he didn't. All Yuri really did before this was mope around, lament that he wasn't a good hero, and make painful groaning sounds because his body was starting to become infected with darkness. Obviously, when I saw these things he was doing, I was concerned that Yuri was going to turn, but then Aram (arguably the best character in the show, even though he's basically just white-haired Naruto) gives him a pep-talk, and Yuri seems to realize that he can't just sit around feeling bad for himself forever, and with that, matters seemed to be resolved. Yuri has mad peace with his inner darkness and realized that the bonds he has with his friends will see him through. He's filled with determination and then... he accidentally stabs one of his buddies and becomes a demon. In the exact. Same. Episode. Did he check to see if his pal was even DEAD before he went all pockey-smokey? No. Did he even try to fight off being corrupted by the very force that he'd been fighting against for YEARS? No. He made an oopsy, he impaled his friend, cried, yelled, and became a demon. His hair turned blond and long (for reasons completely unknown to me), and that was it. Then for the rest of the show, everyone's main objective was "let's get Yuri back!"
Which brings me to my biggest problem with Chain Chronicle. Just a warning, this is sort of a biased opinion because the dude I'm about to discuss was my favorite character and I'm kind of a weird fangirl, but I also have my reasons. You see, in the third episode, this guy, Burckhardt, turns into a demon because he feels like he's been rejected from serving Princess Juliana as a knight, and he feels abandoned and turned aside. He lets that hurt turn him to the darkness, and boom. He's a demon. I held out hope, though, because everyone was going to get Yuri back, so why not grab Burckhardt on the way there? It seemed logical enough, and Juliana seemed pretty torn up about it, so naturally I assumed that my boy would be okay.
Stupid me. Like THAT was ever going to happen. In the second to last episode, after much hopeful praying on my part, Burckhardt is killed nonetheless. By Juliana. Because she thinks it's "her responsibility that he's like this." So what does she do to repair the damage she did to her loyal knight who turned to the darkness solely because he thought he wasn't good enough to fight beside her? She kills him. Now maybe this would have worked well if it was some other story, but the problem with Burckhardt's death hinges on two, closely-connected things. First, as I mentioned, everyone seemed so ready to bring Yuri back, but even though there were people who cared about Burckhardt just as much, everyone just assumed that he was a hopeless case and seemed resigned to the fact that he was gone forever and no one could do anyting about it... then turned right back around and cheered on the folks who were fighting to bring Yuri back to the light like it was no big deal. Um, excuse you, but Burckhardt is human too, and while he may not have been as "important" as Yuri, he still had a life and friends that cared about him, but everyone had already given him up for dead as soon as they learned he had turned. Second problem: the whole theme of the show revolved around the concept of bonds and determination. All thoughout, characters stressed the importance of never giving up no matter how hopeless things seemed, and sticking together because they were stronger that way. Put two and two together and you get "we shouldn't give up on our friends, because we're stronger together." Yet what do they do to Burckhardt at the end? They brush him off as an impossible case, and then Juliana kills him because it's her "responsibility."
It should have been your responsibility to bring Burckhardt back! You should have showed the same determination as Yuri's friends and pulled your knight, who was only in this mess because you kicked him aside in the first place, out of the dark hole he'd fallen into! Burckhardt's only aspiration was to serve under Juliana because she was a leader he respected, and he worked his tail off, getting top marks in his classes and training, just to reach that goal. And how does this "respected leader" reward the one who was possibly her most staunch supporter? She gives up on him after a few rocky patches, casts him aside, and then kills him in the end even after she realizes all his suffering is her fault. I cannot tell you how much this eats me up, not only because Burckhardt was my favorite character (and an extremely good-looking one at that!), but because it makes no sense in context of the show and undermines the entire theme they tried to get across! Yes, responsibility is a difficult thing and one that is extremely important, but I believe the way Juliana handled it showed the worst possible way one could try to amend their mistakes.
Now, I could go into the other things that irked me about the characters, like how utterly useless Phoena and Pirika were, but I believe this has dragged on for long enough, so I'll cut my review off here. I don't want to give the impression that I hated this show (which I feel I've done), but I am saying that the characters left a lot to be desired, and that Burckhardt's death could have been avoided. It is for these reasons that I knocked off a star from my rating (though it's mostly the latter. I REALLY liked Burckhardt). But if nothing else, the soundtrack was beautiful, and apart from some lazy moments, the animation was amazing.
Ending on a happy note! :)
freaking loved this anime!!! it got dark/somewhat depressing for a while, but it turned into a freaking epic awesome story! the depth of the characters, and even the soul was very heartfelt, and i hereby tip my hat to the creators of this anime, in addition to everyone who was involved with the games and any other media.