Hitsugi no Chaika is about the quest of a pretty and charming 14-year old sorceress named Chaika Trabant, who carries a coffin on her back. She is surprisingly adept in casting high-precision spells, but she has no memory of her past. The only thing she knows is to gather the scattered remains of Emperor Gaz. Toru Acura is a Saboteur who relies on his adoptive sister Akari for their food. After the fall of Gaz Empire, he finds it difficult to land a job until he meets Chaika in the woods, and agrees to help her accomplish her quest along with Akari.
The unlikely trio sets on the journey with a clear goal in mind, unaware of the dangerous truth.
First and foremost, I went into Chaika without greatly high expectation as I hadn't heard too much about it, it was one of the least hyped shows airing at the moment.
And it turns out that it was also one of the most underrated!
So let's begin...
Story - 9/10.
The story of this anime may not look particularly original if you only read the synopsis, but getting into it it provides a really satisfying adventure-filled romp through various places. I didn't find the story either too simple or too complex, it was filled with just the right amount of twists and turns and didn't overcomplicate itself with overly
wordy explanations, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't pay it full attention, as it's full of little details. What also made this enjoyable to me was the lack of fanservice - a nice refreshing change from a lot of the anime currently airing (similar to WIXOSS), which I think would have detracted from the story.
Art - 8/10.
Although it may not be the "standard" anime style, I really enjoyed the art of Chaika. It was refreshing and original, and I thought it gave the characters actual character. It looked really nice in HD and the colours were fitting - dark and gloomy when the mood called for it, and lighter neutral tones when needed. I also enjoyed the fact that Frederica (sp?) was not animated in 3D - this can often look clunky and out of place in anime, so it was nice to see. The 3D animation that there was (the air ships, some of the magic effects) actually fit in nicely with the overall art style and did not detract from the anime at all. The fights were also really well animated - they didn't look ridiculous, or impossible, instead going for a more believable style.
Sound - 8/10.
What I really liked about Chaika was not the sound, although a really good job was done with it. The opening theme, DARAKENA, is catchy and sets the mood for the anime quite well, and the background sounds within the anime were fitting - the mood was also set by little piano parts and punchier music. The characters' voices were excellent for their character - they could have made the mistake of making Chaika too "moe", and although her voice was pretty high pitched it never seemed to fall into that trap, at least not for me. It portrayed her apparent innocence very well. I also liked the fact that Akari's voice was a bit more mature sounding, as often in anime now even girls in their 20s sound like they are 5, which is frustrating.
Character - 9/10.
And here we come to my favourite part of Chaika. The cast of characters I thought was phenomenal - you have the two main characters, Toru and Akari, brother and sister but not by blood, Chaika, the coffin princess, Frederica the dragoon and a host of other side characters, each of which added something to the story. The interactions between the main characters are funny, sometimes adorable and always somewhat believable. Akari is obsessed with Toru, but it's a running gag that this show does not overuse so it doesn't come across as needy and annoying. And they both have an actual personality to support such gags, as opposed to them being essentially token characters. Chaika is a bit of a mystery - she seems innocent and pure, however throughout the story she is made to doubt herself and her purpose. I can't say much more without spoiling the story.
I found even the side characters had their place in Chaika, either adding another bit of comedy, seriousness and depth - the mysterious entity telling Chaika where to find remains, Gilette-sama and his band of followers and various other parties are met along the way and they all add a little something more to Chaika.
Enjoyment - 9/10.
Of course I very much enjoyed Chaika, I thought it was a fun, heartwarming and exciting experience. I fell in love with the characters very quickly, they're so well written and none of them seem out of place.
I would recommend this anime to anyone who enjoys a fun adventure story with bits of comedy and a lot of magic.
It’s always difficult to review shows like Hitsugi no Chaika - ones that are clearly enjoyable to watch, but not necessarily of high quality. The characters are nice, though flat; the world is mysterious and intriguing, though it doesn't remain so; and the politics and ideologies are interesting, though simple. It’s the type of show you might marathon some lonely weekend, enjoying as you watch it, and then completely forget about.
The show takes you through the adventures of Chaika Trabant, Toru Acura, and Akari Acura to recapture the remains of a deceased, tyrannical king - Emperor Gaz.
The king was a “bad guy” who loved war, and thus the question throughout the series is whether war is a positive or negative good. Don’t expect this to be investigated too much; this is not one of the better shows on the morality of war, like Now and Then, Here and There. But they do interesting things with the motif. Along with that, questions of identity begin to pop up, prominently for Chaika but also for others; the question of how we determine and relate our identities to what we think, or what history claims, us to be becomes a formative point for a variety of characters.
Many of the other reviews seem to praise the storyline - and I can see why. There is a sense of scope, of ambition, in the epic suggestions the story attempts to suggest. But to end a review at what the show attempts to do, and to forget how it actually turns out, does a disservice to readers. There are little interesting details, but Hitsugi no Chaika doesn’t do this particularly well. There is a vague alliance of nations - the Six Nations - that serve as the constant backdrop to the adventures of our hero and heroines - they really only come into play when the show wants to show how badass the villain is, who will inevitably destroy their slow fleet. They might be vaguely based on European kingdoms. That “bad” king? He ruled for a long time, did bad stuff with magic. Never really elaborated. You will never truly be invested in the world Hitsugi no Chaika describes, because we’re not really meant to be invested in it.
Rather, we’re drawn to the characters. Toru Acura is a lazy bum of a saboteur, one bored dry by the armistice with the Gaz Empire drawn up fifteen years prior. His passion for fighting and the saboteur lifestyle has led him to become idle in the era of peace. Akari, his sister, is...well, into her brother. That’s really her most important quality. The show plays up her fascination to outrageous, hilarious degrees. Chaika, with her adorably broken Engrish, grows and develops as a character during their adventures to retrieve Emperor Gaz’ body parts. Soon others pop up too, but the focus remains on the core three - for awhile, at least. Again, don’t expect too much here. The characters are nice, but nothing to write a paper on.
Peppered throughout are plenty of adequate action scenes - occasionally, they’re even awesome, though only occasionally. The fights are distinguished by teamwork and cooperation, which give an exciting and tangible feel to an otherwise confusing battle system. For example: Toru and Akari - both hired by Chaika as saboteur bodyguards - heighten their powers via the Iron and Blood Transformation, an unexplained technique that, well, makes them more durable. Why? Because lineage, one supposes. The music is decent, nothing extraordinary. Decent art - nothing to write home about.
Clearly I’m not enamored by the series - but I tuned in to watch it, and its sequel, every week. As long as you don’t expect too much from the show, I recommend it to everyone - especially to those who love a series that hints at a large, almost epic scope. I don’t think the series really keeps that hope alive for very long, as most of the promising things about the series fail to live up; they are, instead of becoming great, wholly adequate.
Chaika might be among the most adequate shows I’ve ever seen - everything is fine, nothing is particularly great. I don’t intend to pretend that this show is worth a particularly high rating - it simply is not relative to other anime series, and I think anime scores should be, in some fashion, relative to the quality of other anime. Don’t let the numbers deter you, though - we all easily gravitate towards 10s and the like. Sometimes a light, lower score is still worth a watch - often, in fact. Chaika is an instance of a show that does everything alright - sometimes bad, sometimes good, but rarely great - and can entertain you without blowing you away.
Every season there are a handful of shows that are overlooked and underrated. Hitsugi no Chaika takes this fact, and shoves it down peoples' throats by making itself even more underrated. Before the Spring 2014 season began, I had mediocre expectations of Chaika. But sooner than later, I found myself as one of the lucky ones to stay with it all the way through.
At first glance the plot of Hitsugi no Chaika may seem "dull" or "cliche", but Chaika ultimately stands to deliver a fresh, new kind of plotline that is rather unprecedented in my opinion. It's not often you find adventure shows with
three characters traversing the Earth and having badass fights every episode. Personally, the story saves Chaika from mediocrity and adds a lot of originalty.
Okay, yes, the art style of Chaika was probably the largest turn-off for most people. But all in all, the art actually complimented the show quite nicely. Although Studio Bones did choose an original style, overall it doesn't really compete with some older anime. The animation however was decent enough, and each fight scene was very engaging, especially considering how they fought. Another thing about the art that stood out were the 3D magic effects. On their own they looked nice, but together with the normal art made it seem out of place most of the time.
The sound/music of Chaika is arguably one of the highest points in the show. The voice actors for Toru and Akari fit their personalities and roles quite well. Chaika herself stands out the most...why? Well...Her actress did portray Chaika well enough, but at times her voice did make her a little annoying. Also the opening (DARAKENA) is an Excellent choice for the show's tone. Personally, I couldn't get through it each episode without replaying it.
The three main characters: Chaika, Toru and Akari are definitely some of the most original characters I've seen in a while. Both Toru and Akari are perpetual badasses, and while they don't have much of an outstanding personality, they are still very likable. Now, Chaika is a cute character and all, but most of the time I found myself getting very annoyed with her character because she doesn't do much more than just sit back and act as the show's Damsel in Distress.
I think it goes without saying that this is very enjoyable show. Not necessarily a diamond in the rough, but definitely something that will keep your eyes peeled almost every minute.
Hitsugi no Chaika is definitely one of those shows that was massively overlooked during it's respective season. One thing, if any, is that Chaika does not fail to administer a dose of "originality" something that most anime seem to lack nowadays. Something as refreshing as Hitsugi no Chaika is meant for everybody, and should not be missed by anybody.
At first glance, Hitsugi no Chaika (Coffin Princess Chaika) may be interpreted as a cheesy adventure. We get a trio of characters traveling on a sort of journey across the continent in a fantasy realm. And one of those characters is a young girl named Chaika with mysterious origins while carrying a coffin almost twice her size. As peculiar as all this sounds, the show has an alluring premise filled with mysteries and charming moments. From these moments also draws forward an ability to make the audience follow its story. And trust me, it’s worth every single minute.
First thoughts coming into this show is adaptation.
After all, the show is based off of a light novel of the same name. The show isn’t unique or a solitary premise considering the idea of traveling and adventure. But what rains this show with wonders is the progress as an adventure to capture and deliver its message. Communicating that message takes effort but thankfully, this show aces through that with its story, characters, and abstractions. What the show offers is a bit more than just an odyssey but story value and integrity.
The journey our characters are part of takes place in a fantasy world where a past war resulted in various circumstances. In retrospect, the show identifies itself with its premise and follows it through with clever usage of historical events. These include the 200-year war that ended 5 years ago as well as the death of Emperor Arthur Gaz, a prominent figure of the past. Now in present time, his daughter Chaika seeks not revenge but a way to give him a proper funeral. It’s safe to say that such ambitions would create controversy. By controversy also means opposition and resistance so naturally, Chaika often finds herself in danger. That is until her fateful meeting with Toru Acura and his foster sister Akari that she sees as hope to bring purpose in her journey.
Mysterious yet reliable, Chaika is a riddle in this show. As the titular character, she is both a wizard and prominent figure in this fantasy world as various factions seeks her out in attempt to avert another war. Her encounter with the Acura siblings can be interpreted as fate or one of those classic ‘red string’ folklores. But of course, there isn’t any romance built from that in the beginning as their first encounter is also a bit peculiar. The reason being is that an abnormal unicorn attacks them out of nowhere and took their teamwork to bring down the beast. Odd as it all seems, the show has a surprising charm when it pulls this off elegantly. Despite being total strangers, they function well as a team and already has a potential as a group. Joining them as well is Akari, a girl with an unorthodox personality with her words and actions. Together, they make up a formidable trio when put together as a unity for their ability to accompany each others’ abilities. This is evident throughout the show as they are able to survive and escape death during compromising situations. All the way, the show also adapts itself as a cat-and-mouse scenario as Chaika becomes a person of interest for capture by the Gillette Corps.
Despite the premise and idea of the show being straightforward, it is also bounded by mysteries. Besides that though, we get an approach to identify and characterize the characters. Although a small group, they generate charm through their relationship building. The construction mainly details between Toru and Chaika as neither is similar but strangely provokes thought when putting the two together. It’s not a romance tale per se but rather a story of journey. And throughout that journey, we find out more about all three of the main characters with various flashbacks. These flashbacks not only tell the characters of their pasts but also reasons as to why they are as of today in the present. But more importantly is how the show puts this all together effectively to mark this group as entrancing towards the audience. That’s where the charm comes in as Chaika appreciates Toru and Akari to be more than just business partners. They become allies, friends, and even family-like throughout their journey. Specific events shows their progress and how they rely on each other for survival. Toru, a young warrior with skills he thought would be useless in the present world, suddenly now finds himself with purpose. With that in mind, it makes their journey all the more worth and something to truly treasure. The journey becomes more important than the destination.
As the show progresses, one could also realize the strange phenomenon going on. One prominent feature involves Chaika and her identity, as to who she really is and her purpose. Hints and foreshadowing are drawn out throughout the show as we find out more about her origins. One other aspect of the show that ties with this is a series of impersonation attempts that makes the whole concept more complicated as other characters tries to pass themselves off as “Chaika”. Character identity isn’t just an attribute though, as the show also has more emotional scenarios involving other characters such as the tragic Fredrica. Despite this, the show’s mystery can also be staggering when it comes to execution. Some bits of the show feels predictable while other parts are resolved relatively quickly despite the built-up. And while the series isn’t infamous to plot twists, the way it is executed isn’t spellbinding enough to seduce the audience into taking them by heart.
What I do take to heart though is the well-executed comedy. Whether it’s Chaika’s way of speech with her sentence fragments, Akari’s borderline yandere behavior, or Fredrica’s “murderous” gags, the show does itself appropriately to balance the mood. There’s hardly any explicit fan service either as the show focuses more on plot rather than substance. What we get from this show also involves a building chemistry between the three main characters. It’s the kind of relationship that expands beyond than just companionship and business. It gets personal and build itself piece by piece, all the while by maintaining decent balance with its story. The structure and setup holds itself together as the show never staggers off from their journey. Whether its character focusing or plot direction, the show stays honest with sincerity. The show’s magic mechanics are also explored with aesthetics whether it’s Chaika’s abilities with her large gun or other various spells.
While the show stays consistent and delivers promise, there are bits that can steer people away from appreciating this adaptation. One problem is adaptation as the show does omit parts from the light novel to condense material for this one cour season. Also, the comedy delivery can be a mixed flag that fall into the cliché hole. The incest innuendos does not hide itself and often or not portrayed repetitively. Even when it seems genuine, the show plays it off as a joke often with Akari’s poker face and trollish behavior. Speaking of which, Akari herself is more of a comic relief with underdeveloped traits and aspects. One could see her as both a child and warrior with her personality that can be difficult to appreciate when both traits fused into one entity. And finally, the antagonists of the show is underwhelming with their motivations. Hardly any of them are explored in depth when it comes to characterization. In general, the show delivers more of a story oriented product rather than a character-centric theater.
While the show looks simple on the surface by artwork, there is actual decent amount to take in by fantasy standards. There is exceptional mileage with character designs to make the characters look distinctive. This is especially true for Chaika and the weapon she carries on her back. Not to mention, her eyebrows and albino hair stands out to show her as the titular character. She can look adorable while being badass all the same time. Similarly, Toru and Akari are designed to fit their personalities, almost like polar opposites. Elsewhere, the fantasy world is designed marvelously with its landscapes and structures. It looks convincing with the architectures and overall style with its natural backgrounds. The monsters and beasts of the show also gives off a mystical vibe but at the same time also demonstrates ferocity to stir up fear. Fan service is minimal with action taking more of its place along with some bits of violence. Thanks to Studio Bones, the action is well coordinated whether it’s swordsplay, magic duels, or the sharpshooting curtsey of Chaika. In essence, the artwork ultimately captures the Old World feeling fitting for its fantasy genre.
To describe the soundtrack, I would say it’s clean and precise. Set by fantasy standards, the OST does itself well for action oriented scenes, emotional drama, or the more humorous displays from our characters. The more you listen to the soundtrack, the more you will get out of it with its stylish charm. And speaking of charm, Chaika is the epitome of that in this show with her personality. Aside from her broken speech patterns, she has more a serious and childish side as being naive. Her voice mannerisms captures the very essence of that. Similarly, Akari’s sisterly relationship with Chika and borderline yandere behavior with Toru are also drawn out with her tone. It’s comedic and contagious just like most of the conversational dialogues. Furthermore, the OP and ED songs are fluid with consistency and sets a fantasy show by example.
Hitsgui no Chika is a superior example of how a fantasy show should be portrayed as. Despite some general tropes we can see and draw similarity with, the show decorates itself with tolerable lighthearted comedy. Its small yet distinctive character cast sheds light with their development. And although some bits of the adaptation fails to cover every solid detail, it ultimately steers its direction with consistency in terms of its premise and story. All in all, this show is a great chunk of fantasy recreation with appreciable ideas. With season 2 in the horizon, it would be a shocking truth to not check it out.
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