Hitsugi no Chaika – 05

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I suppose I’d consider that a bullet dodged.

Given the last few seconds of last week’s otherwise solid episode of Hitsugi no Chaika, I was seriously worried about where the series might be headed (much as I am about Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii and Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou, and for much the same reasons).  But there was delightfully little of “Frederica” – almost none in moeblob form, and not much more in dragon or neko form.  In fact she was mysteriously absent for much of the episode, with no explanation – after she cat-scratched Tohru in the first few minutes, we never saw her again.  As a dragon or a cat, she’s welcome back any time.

There’s something about this show, in fact, that lets it go places that would normally be quite problematical for me and come off relatively unscathed.  To my astonishment I still find Chaika #1 more endearing than annoying, and Chaika #2 isn’t bad either.  That’s “Red” Chaika, Chaika Bogdan (Zougo Saeko).  She stops our heroes’ vehicle brigand-style, obviously after the remains inside, and engages Tohru is a pretty vigorous and well-choreographed fight with her “snake blade” before he’s able to subdue her.  Meanwhile, the pair who seem to be her allies attack the car and manage to snag White Chaika, though not her coffin.

So just who is this new Chaika?  Facially identical, seemingly the same age (though she could just be a bit older – though it might be her personality that gives that impression) with the same scar on her neck.  A clone, perhaps of the magical variety?  There’s a vibe of heads being stitched onto interchangeable bodies Re-Animator style here, bur who knows.  What’s clear is that she speaks in the same clipped Japanese, has a polar opposite personality from White Chaika and like her, seems to be traveling with two escorts.

After some pretty amusing hijinks featuring the respective Chaikas in captivity (again, I’m surprised I enjoyed these as much as I did) a swap is agreed to, which leads to the two Chaikas laying eyes on each other for the first time.  Also certain to dip their wick here is the Gillette faction, who thanks to shorty-shorts catboy Leo’s detective skills (which are better than his art skills – not a great likeness on the wanted poster, but good enough) have tracked both sets of fugitive Imperial daughters and know when and where the meeting is going to take place.  And that would hardly be a surprising time for Frederica to make her reappearance, either.

I think that gap I mentioned last week is closing, because even if I still don’t enjoy the parts of Hitsugi no Chaika that I should like as much as I should enjoy them, I’m not as turned off as I should be by the parts that should turn me off.  Somehow the series just knows how far to push the moe and otaku humor and almost always manages to pull back in time, and the characters are all pretty appealing.  I find Gillette’s team full of needlessly stylized oddities perplexingly amusing, and the main trio has a nice chemistry.  As always it’s backed up by a very classic fantasy plotline that isn’t exactly thrilling, but manages to provide a reassuringly steady infrastructure for the show as a whole.  I’m still not completely sold, but my doubts are gradually subsiding.

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Hitsugi no Chaika - 05 -27 Hitsugi no Chaika - 05 -28 Hitsugi no Chaika - 05 -29
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17 comments

  1. A

    I think that was the best episode yet.

    I'm liking what little we have seen of Frederica, especially in dragon form. If she can keep up that sort of enthusiasm for what's really important, namely: Killing random badguys, she's a keeper. Akari's antics are endlessly amusing to me despite their otherwise clichéd nature. I'll give credit to good execution of a tired troupe there. I can guess where the plot is going in a general sense but I'm still interested in it because they are doing a good job of execution. As you mentioned Enzo, the fight between Chaika Red and Toru was well choreographed and well animated. The fights in general have been well put together and I see it as one of the strengths of the series.

    Hitsugi no Chaika is like a dish that you have eaten many times before. Yet it is well made enough that it's enjoyable in spite of the fact that you have eaten it so many times before.

  2. E

    The torture part cracked me up the most.
    Given Tooru's professionalism, I have no doubt that he won't hesitate to injure a moe girl to achieve his goal.
    But it turned out to be…
    Hahaha.

  3. R

    Now this is is more like it for this show!

    Fredrica turns out to be more of a kid psycho than a moeblob. I am relieved.

    And the whole red chaika/white chaika mess jdefinitely adds that needed intrigue for this series. I am definitely much more interested now. And they actually did a good way of foreshadowing this one in the last episodes. Btw, I noticed that Red Chaika's voice is a pitch lower than White Chaika's. And she is shown, ahem, more well developed, definitely suggesting that she is indeed a bit older.

  4. C

    Maybe different aspects of the "true" Chaika's personality? They mentioned more "Chaika groups" iirc. Ours wants to bury her father, the red wants revenge, etc.

  5. G

    Others have mentioned multiple Chaika's as well. Someone must have made many of them and sent them out into the world to collect the "father's" body parts. Each is slightly different in personality and skills.

    Chaika 1: magic gun user friendly personality.

    Chaika 2: Snake sword user, quiet withdrawn personality.

    Probably the series big bad is trying to cover all their bases in getting the body parts back. Certainly its not so they can be buried and the King rest in peace.

  6. w

    What you've said about the author knowing how to push the otaku cliches without being annoying makes me wonder what it'd be like if he were to write for a different medium. I can't tell if it means he could write some potentially excellent series outside of the LN world, or it just means he's really suited to writing decent LN's.

  7. That is indeed an interesting question.

  8. s

    I think the answer to that question will become clear when we see how the core plot comes together in the end. One thing i know for sure is that the author can write some genuinely funny scenarios using those otaku cliches. That whole bit with Akari always barging in when she felt that Toru was getting too close with the Chaikas (even though the one we are accustomed to is 14 so i dont get why she feels threatened when Toru is 20 years old) ended up giving me a laugh for the sole reason of how it was executed. Akari just keeps saying "Whew, that was close" in such a serious manner as if it was life or death but no one ever knows what the hell she's talking about because she's pretty much established herself as a character who knows how to bullshit with a straight face and spouts random things at times. The fact that she would would repeat that was close and then immediately change the subject without as much as a reaction to the situation is just an excellent way to play up the jealous-possessive character cliche.

  9. R

    I really like how they play (at least in the anime. Now i am tempoted to read the LN's) Akari's "Whew! That was close" in a deadpan manner, instead of making her into your typical raging, noisy brocon. Actually adds more hilarity to her character.

  10. m

    Can someone tell me what exactly is a saboteur? Is it someone who can use the iron blood transformation? Is it another name for mercenary? They seem to be looked down on in this worlds setting, but I don't know what it is and it doesn't seem like its going to be explained anytime soon.

  11. Are you asking for a RL definition or a Chaika one? Because the latter would be a sort of LN spoiler so I'd rather not see it here.

  12. E

    They are probably some kind of European's ninja? 😀

  13. Well again, if there's a specific meaning for the LNs I'd rather not hear it. But in terms of the accepted definition, it does seem to mean something different. Tohru seems to effectively be a soldier more than anything else – RL saboteurs are very much undercover types, specialists in covertly destroying equipment and such.

  14. m

    I meant in the Chaika universe, but if it would be a spoiler I also don't want to know. The show just sort of made it seem like it was something everyone should already know, and I didn't want to look up any info on the LN for risk of having things spoiled story wise. I know what it means I RL terms, but that def doesn't seem to fit in the Chaika universe. It seems like it could be either a race or just a job title. Can I ask that without having anything spoiled? Is it a race, a job title, or a specific skill set I.E. magic type or something like a ninja?

  15. m

    Though if they are going to explain it eventually you can just tell me that instead. The anime has just given the impression that they weren't going to explain it. Like it was just something everyone already knew.

  16. My take on that is that if they're going to explain it eventually but haven't yet, that's a choice the writer makes and thus it would be a spoiler. However, I suspect it's just a term thrown in because the author like using European terminology and thought it sounded cool. It seems like a character-class kind of thing, which is fitting the RPG vibe – sort of an all-purpose soldiering machine with enhanced magical ability.

  17. m

    That makes sense, and is reasonable enough to satisfy my curiosity until they either explain it or the series ends.

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