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Don't bury it alive just yet. Review of Chaika –The Coffin Princess-

Chaika –The Coffin Princess-

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Baltimore has less than two months now before the otaku event comes crashing home. Otakon is coming to the Baltimore Convention Center, so be sure you’re ready. Let’s hope you got your hotel/motels booked, your transportation in order, and your hand fanning skills ready. And if nothing else, look out for the guy with the Ice Cold Water. You’re going to need to stay frosty with all the waves of excitement coming this year, like every year. But in the spirit of anime and otakus, let’s hit up this week’s anime, Coffin Princess.

Coffin Princess cast (right to left): Toru, Chaika, Akari
Coffin Princess cast (right to left): Toru, Chaika, AkariBones

What’s more stimulating then than a coffin princess? No, seriously; is there anything more stimulating or ironic? Actually, the anime is pretty interesting. Based off a light novel under the same name, the plot takes two ex-war veterans doing mercenary work to get by, a ‘supposedly unknown/rumored dead’ princess who walks around with a giant coffin on her back and a magic gun, and slams them together and sends them on an adventure. If you think you’ve heard this tune before, you’re right. However, while the basic outline is the same when you think about a group of adventurers marching for a goal, Coffin Princess isn’t the cookie cutter build of the genre. The story is fairly original in the sense that the main force opposing the group, the Gillette Corps. (the best a new empire could get~), has no idea what Princess Chaika Trabant, daughter of the terrible and powerful, magical taboo emperor that was recently overthrown and killed, is doing going around gathering his body parts. It kind of doesn’t help that all the parts of his body are magical fuel sources. Meanwhile, people keep making scant references that this girl should be dead. And of course, Toru and his (unblood related) sister, Akari take up the job of protecting her, for money and because they are technically at home in a battle. Also, Toru may like Chaika. And even after Chaika’s intensions are revealed to the Gillette Corps., the trio is still actively pursued.

The art and animation is good and easily recognizable as it sets the story in a kind of medieval Europe. There are some subtle nuances of technology, but it doesn’t clash with the overall artistic theme of the story. The characters’ looks present their personalities well as the animation does a decent job at giving the characters body language. The characters themselves leave a lot of questions, in a good way though. As the story begins, you get that Toru and by extension, Akari stay because they’re hired on. They’re ex-soldiers, so they live for battles, but Toru’s declaration about returning to an age of war makes you wonder if he would really use the girl to start a war or whether he was just speaking out the side of his mouth. Based on Gillette’s reaction, it’s not too farfetched that he thinks the threat might be in some part true. Though honestly, we don’t get too much info about the leader of the Gillette Corp. other than he’s noble, handsome, skilled, and thinks a lot. Akari comes across as a more dangerous version of her brother who has a crush on him. Chaika is a character of real interest. Aside from no one questioning the adorable way she talks, after episode five of the series, we’re all left with questions about what really happened to the girl and why she has a scar on her neck. Oh, and why there are more than one of her and everyone thinking she’s dead.

Coffin Princess is definitely worthy of its mixed reactions as some of the characters (like the plot device dragoon, Fredrika) are just stand-ins, and other times, it just doesn’t seem like the audience will be able to tell where the story will head next. All that can be said is, give it time. The series, featured on Crunchyroll.com, is still young, and unless they take it the way of Sacred Blacksmith (by the gods, let us pray they don’t), there is still plenty of time to fill in some much wanted answers. The anime is “cute” and definitely has its attractiveness and compelling story. While Chaika may get to bury her father, there is so much that the writers could have us all join the trio for along the way. After all, this is fantasy. Let’s hope it’s a good ride.