“Chaika, the Coffin Princess” is one of the odder journey shows I have encountered. Sure, it just drops you into the action and you have to figure things out on the fly, but the initial idea is strange indeed.
Chaika Trabant’s father was once the ruler of the Gaz Empire. OK, more of a tyrant, who exuded great and dangerous powers. When he was killed (as is the fate of all despots), his body was hacked apart and relics given to the Eight Great Heroes who overthrew him. Yeah, what a nice souvenir: the eyeballs of a dreaded ruler. Try to make the rest of the castle decorating work with a trinket along those lines.
Chaika has one wish: to gather up all the pieces and give Daddy a proper burial. Lots of luck with that! You see, even in death, these relics (do you really want me to call them body parts?) still retain that great power and those who now rule the land do not want this to occur, as a new and greater evil can arise from this Corpse of Evil (which is a great name for a rock band).
To this end, Konrad Steinmetz of the Kliemann Agency is dispatched to capture Chaika to stop the madness. However, aiding Chaika on her quest are Akari and Toru Acura, that sister and brother team of mercenaries up there (oh, they are not related by blood, just name only). With the promise of a big reward at the end, they accompany her on her voyages to reclaim the relics and fend off the forces that would deter her. Akari wields a massive sledgehammer and Toru is a double-blade sword user. They are very good at their job.
Now, in this word, magic is a real commodity. It is seen more as an energy source, so you can restock it, as it were, with the right compounds and tinctures. Chaika also uses it to power her weapon, something that looks like a .50 caliber rifle and causes great damage, but it is not a mobile weapon; it really has to be set up to dispense damage. She just happens to carry it around in the coffin that is strapped to her back. Nah, that’s not conspicuous at all. In a show that requires stealth, that is not unusual at all, at all. This world is populated with the strange and the weird.
The first season of the show (and you knew it wasn’t going to get wrapped up any time soon) basically tells us of the characters in play and the lengths some in power will go to in order to prevent this calamity from befalling a land, scarred by the lash of war.
Overall, it is more of a cutey-pie show. You never really feel that they will be thwarted in their quest, although several sidebars explain a lot of what is going on. Even those who are supposedly in power are in the dark on several key issues. Even when we learn that there appear to be several ‘Chaikas’ traversing the countryside, there is still a lack of commitment as to what to do with them. Even when we know of the second season, there is not a great deal of urgency with any proper closure of the first season.
One thing that irked me is these floating castles or fortresses. That in itself didn’t bother me, but more as to how these fortresses were ‘powered’. Aside from the rather cruel nature of it, the moral dilemma it posed got shoved off to one side. Forget that, we have to kick the snot out of the evil minions! Morality is for Aesop.
I just felt a lot was being left out, so we don’t understand a lot, or perhaps closer to the mark, not allowed to understand a lot. The dragoons had me confused, as they are real dragons, but can transmogrify into something less frightening and easier to pass through checkpoints. But why are they in this festive land? The only reason I want to see the second season is merely to determine who ended up with Daddy’s head as their relic. Yeah, put THAT on display!
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Rather standard approach)
Plot 7 (Good idea, but weak execution)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Sometimes a tad aimless)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Lacking some real commitment)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Will you come with me?