Before: Chaika the Coffin Princess – Avenging Battle

Before and After are my paired anime review articles, one after episode 1 and one after the final episode, possibly of a season but more likely after an entire series, or if drop it. Look back here after a few months for my final opinion!

Chaika the Coffin Princess was one of my favorite series from a couple of seasons ago, with an interesting mystery plot, fun characters, and car references out the wazoo. Season 2, Avenging Battle, is airing now, and I’m already back in.

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So I originally began watching Aldnoah.Zero–this season’s quasi-realistic mecha anime series–because of an older blog to which I once contributed (in case you were wondering from where the older posts on this blog originated…that’s where), as one of my weekly reviews. Originally, I was kind of excited about it: a mecha show by Gen Urobuchi? Last time that happened was Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, which turned out to be both gorgeous and satisfying. After a couple of episodes, though, I was getting bored. The first two episodes were laughably predictable, and I lamented the show ever getting good.

Well, thank goodness for the three-episode rule.

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Mekakucity Actors -or- Monsters and Hoodies and Snakes, Oh My!

Spoilers, o’course.

I’ve mentioned Mekakucity Actors a couple of times so far, I think, comparing other shows to it (generally, unfavorably). It is, by the way, Mekakucity (all one word, from mekakushi [blindfold] and city). It is perhaps the most well-plotted show I’ve ever seen, some kind of anime mash-up between Hot Fuzz‘s attention to detail and Pulp Fiction‘s nonlinear style of storytelling. The art, classic Shaft, is stark and evocative, with bold, simple colors used to tell a story in a glance. From the first moment (or at least, the first moment where the environment is recognizable), you can tell that Mekakucity Actors is going to be anything but normal.

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Chaika: The Coffin Princess Season 1 Review -or- Fantasy Car References FTW

Some spoilers for season 1 will follow.

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.

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No Game No Life Review -or- Being Good at Games Doesn’t Give You The Right to Be a Jerk

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.

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