Anime: Chaika The Coffin Princess (Complete Collection)
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 15th, 2015
Retail Price: $69.98
The anime series Chaika the Coffin Princess begins with Toru Acura, a saboteur in a war with the Gaz Empire. After the war as subsided, Toru is now unemployed and left with an unfulfilled attitude and a lot more spare time on his hands. His step-sister Akari tries to persuade him to find a job, and while out and about he accidentally stumbles across a young woman with a rather large coffin strapped to her back. The meek girl wandering a forest introduces herself as Chaika (a wizard), and we learn that she is conducting a mission to gather the remains of her deceased father – a well known (and feared) emperor; as it turns out his “pieces” are magical power sources for anyone with ownership. Seeking something that could acquire his abilities and create unpredictable adventure, he agrees to aid Chaika on her quest and easily persuades Akari to join them as well. What presents potential for problems, is that the body parts of the fallen emperor are now possessions of the numerous “heroes” who defeated him in the first place.
People who cross paths with the group of three begin to question the outcome of their hopeful goals, with many radicals strongly believing that trouble could follow when the remains are gathered – like possibly creating another drastic war with heavy losses. The entirety of the concept is called into question repeatedly when others are shown to be on the same mission as Chaika and tensions begin to build with every encounter that involves the storyline featuring this unknown emperor. You become curious as to just what could happen, and the history of Chaika and her supposed father that most everyone is weary of. The story is presented in a timely manner, and begins to explore possibilities and plot from the first episode through the last of the 12 in Chaika the Coffin Princess.
Chaika is a character that is very straightforward, and it’s something I find refreshing for the series. Her persona is definitely a youthful girl, but despite her appearance she also proves to have strength that is shown in intervals. Chaika has a speech impediment that you begin to figure out – mostly stringing together sentences with some slight word losses in the process. She is very clear on what she wants to do, and even though other characters question her motives and bloodline, you feel that at even with worst case scenario she’s naïve more than evil. I enjoy that they create a character you are constantly warned to keep an eye on, but your gut instinct tells you otherwise, giving viewers something to look forward to in the stretched out plot of the series. Chaika is very direct with her thoughts as well as questions about those around her, making others openly discuss things people are more inclined to internalize. (Any Buffy fans reading – she’s like a young Anya.) She certainly differs from every person she meets in the series, but does develop a more interesting relationship with Toru, something else that was a joy to watch.
Toru is easily the most engaging character in Chaika the Coffin Princess, (though most are enjoyable) and some of the first things you know about him include his stuck-in-transition frame of mind. He seems to not think too highly of himself, despite his useful fighting abilities, and isn’t sure how to live a life of normalcy. It becomes apparent he questions what his place in the world is if not in combat, and that’s something explored in the series. He finds that he himself is a necessity to this new mission, which presents a path to learn and grow as a layered character. Chaika also serves as a transitional phase for Toru by experiencing the presence of a being who merely expects the best from people, whereas Toru comes into the anime dealing with scars during and after his time serving in the war. His character brings realistic layers to struggles that exist in the world, and is a great point to make that great anime series can address and reflect on relatable issues in society.
Chaika the Coffin Princess may have a name that could bring question to the quality, but there is a certain payout for the anime series. The animation consists of artistic accomplishments, best shown when Toru undergoes his appearance transformations during battle with a bright red color changing his hair and facial markings to match. The design for Akari additionally uses simplistic designs and deeper colors while still creating a more memorable appearance. The English dub of the anime adds nice tonal shifts for the core three characters and random introductions along the way. (It’s always nice to see Sentai creating English dubs.) Chaika the Coffin Princess contains battle/action sequences with intensity that provided some of my favorite moments and towards the ending of the series, but wasn’t a flat-out action anime in the slightest – there were trace elements of romance, action, and mystery that the series shifted between. In hindsight I enjoyed Chaika the Coffin Princess, and hope that there is a possibility at expanding in the future, because like many series the ending feels like there’s room for more. Make sure you check out Chaika the Coffin Princess, available now on DVD and Blu-ray!
Overall Score: 8/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-The three main characters were of significant importance to the plot, and balanced each other out very well.
-The animation and art direction of the series captured true moments of visual appeal.
-I like that the series begins feeling like you’re entering a world that’s already had major moments beforehand – bringing more depth to the characters and world they live in.