I closed last week’s Hitsugi no Chaika post by using the words “perfunctory and oddly incomplete” to describe the story of Simon Scania, and they could just as easily apply to this week’s episode. For the second straight week we got an episode that plays like a side story (which is not an entirely healthy development in my view) with the difference being that this one was generally less interesting. Neither gave us a whole lot of reason to care, but at least last week’s ep had a good deal of effective comedy.
It’s times like this that I really wish I was blogging something else on Thursdays, because the truth is I don’t enough to say about an episode like this to justify giving it an entire post. You may have noticed that I still haven’t created a category page for Chaika yet, and that’s indicative of the fact that even now, I don’t feel committed to it. If it were one-cour I certainly would be, but I’m not at all sure I’m ready to sign on for another full season. Two weeks ago I was fairly certain – now not so much. It’s my only show of the day this season – I have time. In the Fall, who knows. It can at least be said that even when Hitsugi no Chaika is off its game, it’s never really bad – it generally avoids the realms of cliché and banality that plague many LN adaptations, even the better ones when they slip up. But in the final analysis I’m going to need more than that.
The truth is that the one thing that stood out in this episode was how irritatingly dumb it was for the main trio (quartet?) to rescue the bogus Chaika, Julia. Why would you risk so much as a hangnail for these people, who were nothing more than a bunch of brigands who were planning to rob you? Maybe in the source material they were a little more fleshed out, and in the process became someone we should remotely care about as readers – but for this viewer, their story felt – again – perfunctory and incomplete. I get that Chaika is a nice girl and very naive, but Tooru really should have put his foot down here.
There was a bit of actual substance peppered throughout the episode. Some discussion of how Chaika’s magic power works, some (quite nicely done, actually) foreshadowing of deeper mysteries behind Emperor Gaz’ existence that are sure to come to light, more trouble in the capital and with it signs that Gillette is creeping ever closer to turning his coat. But there was an awful lot of lettuce and mayo (and I don’t like mayo) to dig through to get down to that tiny amount of meat, and the end result certainly didn’t leave me feeling satisfied. I really hope Hitsugi no Chaika stops meandering down the garden path and starts moving down the main road again, with a sense of imperative behind it.