There was interesting news this week that Hitsugi no Chaika was “renewed” for a second season this fall. When an announcement takes place a month into a season, of course, what this really means is that the series was always intended to be a split-cour. Chaika is a pretty good show and I’m happy to see it get another cour, but it does raise an interesting question – comparing it with, say Noragami, why would BONES commit pre-emptively to two cours from this series and not that one? Noragami is certainly the better show, and based on Stalker estimates Chaika will certainly sell fewer discs. That’s not a knock on Chaika – it’s certainly a cut about most anime that get second seasons. It’s just something to muse on.
In any event, Hitsugi no Chaika continues to operate about on the same level it has been for me – pretty solid, dignified and restrained for the most part, but not fully compelling. Knowing we’re getting 24-25 episodes allows the luxury of looking at the story from the long perspective, and I think the series fares better for that – it’s doing a nice job of laying out its story with relative patience, and this seems to be a fairly intricate and well-constructed
One of the things that makes this setup interesting for me is the sheer number of forces at odds with each other, and the fact that the series is actually willing to let the audience be in the dark and forced to try and figure it out. This is pretty rare in anime these days, and especially in LNs – there just isn’t much trust in audiences to be patient in this way, so the more common approach (see Bullet, Black) is to dump a bunch of clumsy exposition on us immediately. This week we meet the council of geezers – including one who sleeps through the meetings and seems to be in-charge – who appear to be running things after the death of Gaz (Gazzers?) among whom is Steinmetz, the one in charge of Gillette’s razor-sharp group. He seems to be the requisite whipping boy on the council, who treat his warnings about Gaz’ daughters running around collecting body parts as superstitious nonsense. In fact, they cut him off at the knees – ordering him to redeploy his troops into quelling farm disputes.
There’s lots of interesting stuff to chew on here, but my suspicion (nothing more at this point) is that we could find out that the Gaz story is not so black-and-white as we were told, and he might not have been such a bad guy. These developments also support the notion that Gillette and his team may end up working with Tooru and his, though for now they’re still trying to capture the Chaikas, led by the catboy Leo and Mattheus (Morishima Shuuta). Matteheus seems to have the ability to control the mythical beasts (all of whom are straight out of the Monsters Manual) like the Cockatrices he uses to disrupt the Chaika exchange, though each Chaika cooperating with her “captors” foils his plan, as both escape.
The other interesting thing going on here is the vibe between Chaika Red and Tooru. Red falls for Tooru professionally at the very least, and makes him an offer – dump that other princess and work for me, and I’ll give you all the action you can handle. And Tooru is tempted – this Chaika has a more concrete plan and seemingly more resolve. Ultimately though he decides to stick it out with Chaika White, and I like the grounds he uses to justify this decision – she needs him more. About the saboteur character class there’s still much we don’t know, but it does seem that loyalty is something they consider to be relevant (or at least this one does).
David, one of the pair holding Chaika White, seems like a decent enough fellow – but it’s worth noting that to the last, he was planning a double-cross for the hostage exchange. It’s at Red’s insistence that he finally makes an offer for Tooru’s group to join with his – but Red’s condition is that she’s the only Chaika in town, which makes it a non-starter for Tooru. It’ll be very interesting to see how that plays out. And whether it’s relevant or not, I can confirm that Red is definitely taller than White – though they could still be clones, simply of different ages.