Cronos Haze Volume 1 Review
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Touya Naruyuki is enrolling into the mysterious Amagiri Academy following the footsteps of his missing father as he is convinced that the key to his father’s disappearance might be found at the school. However, he’s barely set foot on the school grounds when he finds himself being attacked by a robot. Things only get more crazy as Touya survives the robot attack only to end up in the infirmary, then leaving the infirmary only to be attacked by a strangely outfitted man. Just how will Touya Naruyuki survive his first day at Amagiri Academy and will he ever find the answers he is looking for.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Cronos Haze doesn’t delay and jumps into the action right from the very first chapter. Touya, our protagonist seems to be on a train, reminiscing about his father, when he is interrupted by a girl seated next to him. She points to their destination and says that’s the school his father named Touichirou attended, and if Touya goes there too, he will find answers to all the questions he has about his father, including why he disappeared from the world. This all turns out to be a dream and Touya finds himself being awoken by Yukiho who seems to be his friend. Thanks to his oversleeping, they’re the only people left on the train and just as they disembark, they find themselves being attacked by a robot. This attack leads to the introduction of the school president, Suzumiya, as she rushes forth with weapons to defeat the robot that’s running amok. The first chapter is mainly set up delivered in a rather round about and action laden manner with a LOT of things happening to Touya that lead to him fainting and waking up in the infirmary. It’s definitely not the smoothest start and as Touya is suddenly confronted and physically attacked by a mysterious pompadour bearing man in the last few pages of the chapter, you start to wonder if he’s even going to survive his first day at school.
Cronos Haze’s problems are little less obvious but still very much present right from the start. There is SO much action centred on the protagonist that it might feel overkill to those who prefer a more restrained narration instead of a story that seems to want to throw everything it’s got at the hero from the get go. On the other hand, even though there’s so much happening in the very first few chapters, we have very few answers or explanations and when we do get any exposition, it’s often left intentionally vague or described in terms and words that are clearly made up for the story leading to only more questions. New characters are constantly entering and exiting the story to the point where you have to constantly struggle to remember or figure out who is who and why they’re in the story right now.
Cronos Haze also has the curse of feeling somewhat generic, in that it contains a lot of overused tropes and doesn’t always execute them in a manner that feels particularly amusing or fresh. For example, the President of the Student Council is somewhat busty and so within the very second chapter itself, we have a scene where she ends up getting drenched and everyone starts shamelessly ogling her breasts. The build up to this cliche however was a little amusing and most likely THE ONLY spot in the volume that might earn a genuine chuckle from readers. Unlike the famous trope of a protagonist forced into or accidentally barging into the girls’ locker room or bathing area, it is our female protagonist who storms into the men’s bathing area in order to put an end to an ongoing battle. There’s a complete overreaction from a topless boy she comes across that mimics and parodies the reaction of a girl and might have you giggling until (or maybe even more) you realize he is doing it to get a look at her topless for the sake of ‘justice’.
Speaking of the president, Cronos Haze seems determined to use women for sexual humour often with there being a LOT of discussion about breasts and even one where a fellow student asks Touya if he is happy with the physical appearance of his female partner and lets him know that a he should have one that pleases his gaze. It’s not the most offensive content out there but it is somewhat frustrating how even the supposedly kickass and tough in charge female in the cast is mainly noted for her breasts by all the boys.
The story has quite a few bizarre characters such as an Agent hired as a part time instructor that seems to have no hesitation in constantly attacking and beating up a student, or in particular, the newcomer Touya. It’s clear that Touya is unaware and unfamiliar with how to connect or utilize whatever super power suits he has been bestowed and yet the instructor, Akatsuki Naoto, seems to go at him with murderous strength. And wouldn’t you know it, in a ‘funny’ twist, we find our Akatsuki and Touya are actually roommates. It’s twists like these that might make more well read readers sigh in frustration as they encounter tired cliche after cliche. And notice how I described Akatsuki as an Agent but didn’t elaborate? It’s because 8 chapters in and the story never once explains exactly what kind of agent he is..just that he is an agent hired as a part time instructor. Expect plenty of half assed explanations like that throughout the story. And to add to your confusion and disbelief, despite Akatsuki’s totally unprovoked attack and the revelation that he is meant to be an instructor, all he gets as a punishment for his irresponsible behaviour is the principal of the school asking him to write a letter of apology.
Cronos Haze constantly struggles with how it dispenses information. It LOVES to throw in a new character or two every chapter or two, while often under explaining or badly explaining who they are. I get that this is a ploy to keep readers curious and eager to pick up the next volume but at the same time, Cronos Haze tries to jam in as much information and dialogue on each page which only ends up leaving you feeling confused and frustrated as you are forced to digest a ton of words and new characters but almost zero answers to the actual questions you might have about the story or characters. There’s no uniformity even with the mysterious powers that people seem to possess in the story. There’s of course, the ‘suits’ that some people can apparently don which gives them various kinds of advantages, from super strength to conjuring weapons out of thin air. Then there’s people who just seem to have over powerful weapons and even a villainous character whose power just straight up seems overpowered and completely mythical in nature as it dooms people for even just ‘thinking’ about a bad outcome happening to them. A lot of the reveals about characters, the school and even the world itself comes out of nowhere feeling like a forced revelation for the sake of shock value rather than an logically revealed development.
If you’re left wondering exactly who would enjoy Cronos Haze, it DOES have a chance of impressing those of you who enjoy mysterious and supernatural like powers with very intricately drawn fighting sequences. The art in the action sequences are really well done and do a great job of conveying the dynamic movements that are happening. If you are okay with the focus being on action, Cronos Haze makes sure to saturate its story with one on one fights and battles against overpowered beings and as thanks to what little titbits of worthwhile information volume 1 DOES provide, there is a faint promise of an enjoyable and enigmatic story. However, if you have read a lot of manga before, you might be disappointed by the somewhat messy and uneven dispensing of a story that sounds somewhat familiar and generic and the sexist attitude towards its female characters. At the end of the day, Cronos Haze is best left to be enjoyed by action fiends or newcomers to the world of manga and anime.
Cronos Haze is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.