Nothing about Chronos Ruler works or is even remotely interesting. Generally, I have a long-winded and over-analyzed opening introspective on even the lamest anime I review, but I feel it’s much better to cut to the chase with this one. It’s a Frankenstein’s Monster of overdone anime tropes, concepts, humor, tone, and personalities that have been done over and over while providing nothing resembling a single original thought of its own.
Chronos Ruler is the festering junkie with halitosis and three undiscovered types of hepatitis waiting behind dumpsters at night to rummage through whatever ideas haven’t been used recently by better shows.
STORY: The only reason I can imagine this idea got greenlit in the first place is because studios are so desperate for a hit is in this age of parity, any panicky, struggling hack writer with a deadline can hastily scribble bullet-points on a Post-It note, submit it to one of the 4,259 studios that are stacked atop each other in Japan, and it’ll be regurgitated onto television to fill a time slot. In this instance, Chronos Ruler’s origins began when “White-haired card wielding, red clad protag, short-skirted loli who kicks high, and Full Metal Alchemist” was written on a napkin in ketchup and submitted.
Given the pacing, it doesn’t even pretend that this synopsis is completely phoned in. Very much like Dream Eater Merry, it hopes you’re deluded by jargon to ignore that it’s a formulaic monster-of-the-week format with faux importance purposely shrouded in mystery to make up for it not being interesting in the first place. The monsters, which I’m just going to refer to as the Hollows in Bleach (or the Yoma in Claymore), because that’s what they are, eat time. The Chronos Rulers, who are FMA’s alchemist military (or demon hunters in Blue Exorcist), are charged with hunting them down to restore any offsetting damage they may cause by devouring time, like the Shadows in the Persona series or the demons in D-Gray Man. Victor is a cool, smarmy hero who’s laid back on the surface as so his suave demeanor doesn’t expose how much he struggles to overcome his soul crushing shortcomings and his odds of letting those around him down. It’s borrowed every outdated template under the sun and winds up looking like a dad trying to be hip in front of teenagers. There’s no upswing, sense of purpose, and most of the run time for each episode is devoted to lame jokes based on the one aspect of the cookie-cutter personalities. Even its finale felt more like it exceeded its stand-up act and tacked on a room temperature three-parter with an antagonist it pulled out of thin air to stumble across the finish line. SCORE: 2 PATHETIC
ART: Chronos Ruler, like a lot of shows I’ve seen, looks cheap and slap-dashed together in short succession. The CGI doesn’t blend properly with the choppy frame rate the cel animation moves at, and during action sequences it looks like cut scenes from a mid generation PlayStation 2 game at best. The character designs are regurgitated templates that have been done to death. Victor Putin obnoxiously wears his white lab coat off his shoulders and it magically dangles around his biceps so you can get a good look at how red his shirt is (because anime). His son Kiri is clad mostly in black and is any given brooding edgelord swordsman. If you chewed up Sebastian Michaelis halfway through a wood chipper and gave him a water-based Zanpakuto, he’s what you get.
Mina, the lead female, is centuries old, but she hasn’t physically aged past 14 (again, because anime). Her one giant ponytail off to the side just annoys me. They all look like they don’t fit with wherever the hell this is supposed to take place. It’s modern day, but wants badly to be a steampunk set piece. It’s awful. SCORE: 3 POOR
SOUND & MUSIC: The English dub is provided by Funimation, and I guess this is the strongest point of Chronos Ruler. It’s far from impressive, none of the performance really stand out in a positive or negative manner. It’s the same factory produced voice work Funi has been doing since ADV closed its doors, now all the talent just sounds interchangeable.
The musical scores are very free flow jazz centric. It’s not bad, if a out of place. In the midst of a fight, it begins to speed up and seems like the horn section is making a run for it after drinking a Red Bull. Chronos Ruler calls for a more somber and orchestrative score, not Marvel vs Capcom 2. I also never caught myself humming opening or closing theme. Maybe that’s minute, but that matters to me. SCORE: 4 BELOW AVERAGE
CHARACTERS: I really miss Re:Creators. I went from delving into works of fiction gaining three dimensional personalities to these cut-and-paste chuckleheads (and I have way more hyphen fused adjectives, I’ll never run out of those) they are bottom of the basement dreadful.
The four central characters, Victor, his son Kiri, his wife, Mina, and Blaze (a fire user, if that name wasn’t subtle enough. I wonder which lucky 10 year old tyke won the Pretz Design A Chronos Ruler Sweepstakes) are devoid of chemistry and intrigue. Mina’s technically the most interesting character because of her direct ties to the Chronos bloodline (and how a woman that petite managed to give birth to a baby without exploding from traction), but it’s treated with all the care and attention of a parcel package labeled FRAGILE and serves only to explain how she’s virtually indestructible. Screen time is devoted to making all of them as annoying as possible, because they won’t stop quipping or throwing hamfisted insults at each other.
“I’m not going to listen to a virgin!”
Victor: “Hey, we can’t pick up chicks here!”
Kiri: “C’mon, be serious for a change!!”
Blaze: “That’s the saddest story ever! You’re my new little brother!!
Kiri: “Uuuuggh, no I’m not! What’s the matter with you!”
………Please laugh. We swear, it’s funny. SCORE: 2 PATHETIC
IN CLOSING: I often say if I feel a work is aiming to be an outlier, give me a B- and up or give me an F. A title like this colors way too inside the lines and is so safely average that it’s worse than it actually is. Or if this does tickle your fancy, then I will assume it’s among someone’s first anime and you have to start somewhere. Chronos Ruler brings absolutely nothing new to the table and even the microwaved leftovers hit their expiration date in 2009. It’s derivative, insultingly pedestrian, underwhelming in every category, and hopes the lazy smoke & mirrors act will fishhook unsavvy people into continuing the story in the manga. OVERALL SCORE: 3
PROS: None. I can’t think of one single thing this does that’s noteworthy
CONS: Chronos Ruler will kill you faster than eating KFC regularly