Chaika the Coffin Princess
A few years ago, a long war with the Gaz Empire ended with victory for the alliance. Emperor Gaz was a powerful wizard, and even in death his body parts left with the heroes who fought him, contain substantial magical energy.
Times changed, and some like Toru spent his life training to become a saboteur, only to find his kind no longer needed as he reached adulthood. Then Toru encountered a naive girl dressed in a frilly dress named Chaika. She claims to be the emperors daughter, and wants to collect his body parts in one place to bury him properly. She hires Toru and his sister to help protect her.
Things proceed well, but as they gather parts Chaika's story seems less and less plausible. With large gaps in her memories, her intentions become suspect, and she doesn't understand them herself. Only more mysteries arise once they encounter another white haired girl named Chaika, claiming to be the daughter of the former emperor.
Chaika the Coffin Princess looks like the typical anime doomed to half ass itself into mediocrity, but this one deserves a chance, and by the end of the first episode I was impressed. Episode after episode it never let me down.. until the second season which didn't maintain the momentum, but overall it's good stuff.
The fantasy world is infused with high tech gadgetry, but integrated well enough that it doesn't clash. Wizards for instance, use rifles - which isn't so far fetched compared to people shooting fire from their hands in standard fantasy. Other fantasy elements are given a strange twist, like unicorns which are fearsome savage animals. It's a great environment all around.
The reason I picked up this show? Honestly there's something about an anime girl in a cute dress with a sniper rifle I found appealing. Chaika has this quirky simplistic way of talking which is oddly adorable (and I didn't find annoying as I expected). The traveling oddball band of adventurers isn't anything new, but I liked the way they worked together, but didn't mesh perfectly, allowing them to feel like individuals.
The first season was hard to put down. "Gathering magical talismans quest" is a tired idea, but each tale telling of the misfortunes befalling the heroes who defeated the emperor kept me hooked. This transitions into the bigger plot questioning the nature of the world, Chaika herself, and the purpose of gathering the emperors remains. I'll warn you that Coffin Princess can shift into very dark and grisly content. This isn't apparent in the beginning, so be prepared. I tend to like messed up stuff of this sort, it was a plus for me.
Season two is focused on the big plot, and it's like someone hit the brakes on the show. The story isn't bad, but little gets accomplished on a per episode basis. I much preferred the faster paced smaller stories, but curiosity about where it was going kept me hooked. It comes down to typical save the world stuff, but I was satisfied with the direction and resolution of the story.
There isn't anything I'd class as unique about Chaika the Coffin Princess, but I'd say the content is solid enough to make it worth the watch. It's good for a fantasy anime, but be mindful it gets dark at times.
Toru: I am steel. Steel knows no fear. Steel knows no doubt. When faced with my enemy, I do not hesitate. I am a weapon to destroy them.
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