Hitsugi no Chaika, known in English as Chaika: The Coffin Princess, is a fantasy/mystery/adventure show based on a light novel series of the same name. It stars “siblings” Toru and Akari, a pair of magically-enhanced human soliders known as Saboteurs, who agree to be employed by the eponymous Chaika as a means to overcome their post-war ennui.
You see, Chaika Gaz–a white-haired girl who speaks in clipped sentences and wields a magical sniper rife (she uses it to cut a unicorn in half in episode 1)–introduces herself as the daughter of the former Evil Emperor Arthur Gaz, who was defeated five years ago at the end of a massive war. The eight heroes who defeated him chopped up his super-magical body and split his remains among themselves. Chaika’s goal is to gather those remains and…give him a proper burial.
See, that’s what’s so interesting about this show. It is, at every level, almost embarrassingly (for the viewer) charming. Chaika herself is nearly a realistic take on a moe character. Everything about her exudes “adorable”–and, perhaps paradoxically, that gives her an air of danger.
Normally I would wait until the rest of the shows I’ve been following during the Spring 2014 anime season were finished, so I could review them all at once, but with No Game No Life, I actually had to invent a scale, a measure of my opinion of certain kinds of shows. Thus, I felt it was appropriate to give it a post of its own, to properly document exactly how bloody disappointing it was.
2010’s How to Train Your Dragon, based on the children’s book series by Cressida Cowell, was almost a surprise hit. At the time, Dreamworks was known for a few popular animated feature film series, Shrek most notably, but considering it was up against Toy Story 3 from the famously good Pixar studios, I never gave it much of a thought.
Oh, how wrong I was.
How to Train Your Dragon was one of the most well-assembled, nuanced, and deep animated films I’ve ever seen, if not the most. The music was incredible, the use of color was amazing, the characters were real. The flying scenes took my breath away.
So when I heard that they were making a sequel, I waited for years. I watched the trailer for HTTYD2 with my jaw around hip level. I was all set for them to pull a Pixar and top themselves after four long years.
So Edge of Tomorrow is the latest in the line of recent Tom Cruise sci-fi ventures, and it is a marked improvement over 2013’s Oblivion. Where Oblivion was (probably deliberately) a study in contrasts, with the too-good-to-be-true iTreehouse contrasting against the stark, make-do ramshackle reality of Morgan Freeman’s resistance movement, Edge of Tomorrow is anything but Apple-esque. Practically the entire film is made of sudden cuts meant to jar us with the sudden violence of warfare, and it works quite well when it doesn’t make one dizzy.