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.
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.
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.
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.