「機杖(ガンド)担う少女」 (Ki Tsue (Gando) Ninau Shoujo)
“The Girl Who Carries the Gundo”
Chaika is going to give Emperor Gaz a funeral, even if she has to kill him first. No matter the cost.
Tooru the Dragoon Cavalier
Next in our list of mind-blowingly obvious Chaika plot turs, Tooru finally accepts Fredrica’s deal and becomes Tooru, the Dragoon Cavalier. Which was cool, don’t get me wrong, it was just so obvious and overdue that all I really felt was “Finally!”
It did give us probably the best fight of the episode. Dragoon Cavalier Tooru vs Shin-nii is one of the rare Hitsugi no Chaika fights that was actually improved because it was quick, because it was in the audience’s knowledge of the coming reversal that we found the tension, but that could only last for a minute tops before we’d all be screaming “Just shapechange and beat him already!” Shin-nii’s final words do reveal that him trying to push Tooru out of being a saboteur has less to do with skill and more to do with Tooru’s temperament, which mostly makes me wish we got to spend more time with Shin-nii. Shame the rush took that from us.
On the other hand, Fredrica got taken out first in an important battle again. Granted, if they were ever going to use the Worf Effect (trope!) with Fredrica, this was the time to do it, it’s just that it happened so many times before this that when it happened, I rolled my eyes. The legitimate use was ruined by all the necessary but overly common times she got taken out beforehand. In the end, she was really only good for aerial transport, powering up Tooru, and being kawaii as fuck.
I liked Red Chaika’s answer to Black Chaika right before she kicked her skull in. For some people, anger makes them bitter, but Red Chaika’s anger makes her strong. Where our Chaika despaired (albeit briefly, to her credit), Red Chaika shrugged off the news of losing the race. Her character was always a bit confused, which matches the vague reasons for collecting the remains she was given. Once again, I wish we could have spent more time really feeling her character arc, but at least it was there, abbreviated though it was.
Niva’s Decision, & Chaika’s Price
The rush takes another casualty in failing to justify Niva’s refusal to blast Chaika, and her decision to defect. The thing is, I can easily see it—we were shown the beginnings of a bond between Niva and our Chaika, and I can absolutely see how that could have grown to the point where she would refuse to kill Chaika. Yet we weren’t shown it. Hitsugi no Chaika showed us what it intended to do, and it even made the opening moves, but it didn’t do the rest of the dance, so we’re left understanding even if we don’t feel.
The rest of Gaz’s death is filled with a whole lot of bad decisions, Chaika pissing away all her ammo chief among them. Here’s what I would have done, if I were writing this: Chaika takes a few shots, certainly, enough to see that shooting the floating fortress is futile. Then she runs around looking for another way to get past the fortress’ barriers. The door opens, she shields Tooru, and Niva defects—that’s all fine. Then, when she’s blasting Emperor Gaz with the final spell, he puts up more of the fight, and she has to keep loading shells into her gundo to keep it going. (I don’t know if that’s possible in-universe, but it’s a story, so it can be!) She’s loading shell after shell, and it’s still not enough—and that’s when she runs out. Oh shit! Niva asks if she wants to switch to memory consumption mode, and, after Tooru’s face flashes through her mind, Chaika says yes. The extra boost is enough to destroy Gaz, the good guys still win, and Chaika still pays a price for it.
Is this a good time to mention that my book is coming out next week? Though if Bones wants to call me about writing a Hitsugi no Chaika spin-off, I’m totally in. I’m thinking a romcom where Tooru and Chaika are coming to terms with their feelings for each others while collecting all the Chaikas to form a Chaika Empire. Meanwhile, Akari will be trying to build her Anii-sama a harem so she can bang him in the confusion and write a Fifty Shades of Grey fanfic about their love. Fredrica will continue being kawaii. Sort of Tamako Love Story crossed with To LOVE-ru and Dragonball, only with thicker eyebrows. I’m available anytime, Bones. Call me.
As for Emperor Gaz, he could have dodged Chaika’s blast, or not gone down like a total bitch. Oh, and designing a weapon that can think for itself wasn’t terribly wise. Of course, the series was almost out of time at that point, so there wasn’t much to be done. Damn the rush, it’s a bigger monster than Gaz!
At The End Of It All
I’m glad that they ended by giving us a peek into where the characters ended up. I would have liked to see a kiss between Gillette and Vivi, and what Red Chaika’s pals David and Selma are up to, and most of all I would have liked to see how much Chaika remembers, and maybe in a few years, whether their love will grow to something different than it is now. But at least we got to see Little Red Riding Chaika, and Akari writing a Anii-sama x Self fanfiction, and our Chaika, no matter how much she remembers, is at least smiling. Good enough for me.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Tooru finally becomes a Dragoon Cavalier & Chaika buries her father, after killing him herself. A happy end? Yes, but qualified #chaika END
- Good news, Akari. If you’re no longer brother and sister, maybe Tooru will marry you now! Alternate spin-off idea: A horror-thriller about Akari trying to kill Chaika so she can have raunchy, yandere sex with her Anii-sama. (In this version, Red Chaika would be like the Kool-Aid Man. Nothing can stop her!) So Mirai Nikki with more zany hijinks and a twist of abject terror. I can do this all day Bones, you know where to find me.
- I hope Niva is in a coma or dead, because otherwise she’s locked up in some kind of hellacious screaming torture-agony, trapped forever as an inanimate object. *shivers*
I wrote a book! My first book, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available on Amazon now! (More information) You can also check out my personal site at stephenwgee.com. The last four posts: Sneak Peek: Wage Slave Rebellion prologue, Action Politics—a FREE short story, Wage Slave Rebellion is available NOW!, and Welcome.
I think it was Guardian Enzo (on an old podcast) who first told me that Hitsugi no Chaika was like old-school Dungeons & Dragons. This series harkens back to the kind of fantasy where heroes (or villains) travel around, get into adventures, and fight monsters for sick loot. Which, for a lot of the series, has been a lot of fun. There were the central questions—why are they collecting the remains? Who are all these girls who think they’re the emperor’s daughter? What will happen when the remains are collected?—to tie the whole thing together, and in the meantime we were adventuring with a kawaii girl and her thick eyebrows.
If Hitsgui no Chaika did anything wrong, it was all in the pacing and adaptation speed. I’ll repeat something I’ve said before: it’s usually best to allot four episodes per light novel volume being adapted. There have been some exceptions to this, with Date A Live usually managing well with three episodes per volume, and Hitsugi no Chaika doing admirably well with two episodes per. (And of course, Kyoukaisen barely making do with a full season for one.) But like Date A Live, the first season of Chaika went better than the second, and here it was because they sped things up. A lot.
We got the CliffsNotes version of the second half of Hitsugi no Chaika, and while it never got bad, the rush was clear. That, combined with some truly obvious plot turns at the end—Emperor Gaz’s resurrection, Tooru becoming a Dragoon Cavalier—kept the series from ascending into something truly great.
But it was fun. It was an adventure! I wish more anime took up the old school-style adventuring fantasy, like Slayers and such series of yore. It may not have sold well and it may have been rushed, but it was fun more often than not, and we got our happy ending. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.