OP: 「DARAKENA」 by 野水いおり (Nomizu Iori)
「棺かつぐ少女」 (Hitsugi Katsugu Shoujo)
A girl seemingly appears out of nowhere and bumps into our unknowing protagonist, only to take him on a journey with his bread-winning sister. This pretty much sums up any sort of context that you need before going into this show. It’s quite generic on the surface, but still full of many surprises once you peel back the layers of what makes this series special. Unfortunately, not even the Chaika herself seems to know what makes her so unique yet…
The story is about a young man named Acura Tooru (Majima Junji) who is pretty much a NEET (keeping up with that theme this season!) and he goes out to look for edible plants. He stumbles upon Trabant Chaika (Anzai Chika) who carries a coffin on her back and before the two can exchange many words, a unicorn attacks them. Now – Chaika is not your average lost girl, she actually carries a huge weapon in her coffin which she uses to basically annihilate this unicorn. She goes back to town with Tooru where they meet his sister, Acura Akari (Hara Yuuko) who throws him around a bit and clearly wears the pants in this relationship. They offer to help Chaika on her journey… to somewhere and off they go to invade some guy’s castle!
So I cut that last summary piece quite blatantly because it feels like the story pretty much jumps right into who Chaika is and why she’s so “special” to everyone in the story. My initial impression of her includes:
Now she’s not all bad; although I can’t say that I have a strong sense of who Chaika is as a character yet. She’s your typical lost girl with a mission but something tells me that she might suffer from amnesia? And the coffin that she carries, must be what she was “buried” in. Not that I know what’s going to happen, but that would be a good guess after that revelation at the end of the episode.
The story itself is quite fast-paced for an premiere. There’s no real time to absorb everything that’s happening around you because so much is happening at once. You’ve got your weapons and magical powers… but you also have your mythical creatures and castles all wrapped up in one episode. The setting moves around so quickly that it’s hard to truly grasp the world that we’re thrown into and what “laws” apply to the characters. It’s an interesting mix to see special weapons as a preserved hand or a giant gun coming out of a coffin – but are these elements in the story just gimmicks to make it appear more interesting or do they actually mean something? What worries me about anime like these are that these aspects of the story are never fully explained and just thrown in to make a mediocre story stand out. Don’t get me wrong – I think there’s a logical explanation for everything so far, but it does feel forced and the pacing of the episode resembles someone showing us their entire hand up their sleeve.
To me – Hitsugi no Chaika was not a show that I went in with high expectations and coming out of it, I still don’t have high expectations. Being a BONES series, the animation was even worse that I would’ve given them credit for, except for the OP/ED which were eye-catching and probably allude to bigger things in the future. Even the seiyuu’s aren’t A-listers and it’s a shame to say that when the voice acting isn’t up to par, your experience for the show isn’t as high as well. The characters for me are rather flat and the only one that seems to pack a punch is Akari. Tooru is your average bystander who just happens to get thrown into a loop of events for no rhyme or reason; other than the fact that he can defend himself, he doesn’t stand out too much. Chaika is the only one that I hold reservations on because I expect her to drastically improve over time and if the pace of the anime keeps up like this, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a great deal of the light novel animated.
The action sequences are definitely the highlights of this episode (that unicorn was quite scary). Like I said, the story appears to be speeding by and there’s a decent amount of material to go on (4 years’ worth!) so perhaps this series will have a decent ending with fully developed characters by the end. Given that there’s probably a larger story in play, we can expect more plot twists and revelations that might connect the characters a little more. Hopefully some attachment to them will pull the audience in because the show has potential to be a memorable standout. It just needs to be executed well.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Damn those eyebrows… The animation is not really my cup of tea. Murderous unicorns getting blown to bits? Wow, I honestly did not expect that =S #chaika_anime
NOTE: This is just a introductory post for now. If any of the writers (including myself) choose to blog it on a regular basis, we will update the Spring Schedule.
ED: 「快楽原理」 (Kairaku Genri) by coffin princess