Hitsugi no Chaika – 10

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Whatever else you might say about Hitsugi no Chaika, it does seem to be heading in the right direction.

I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in the middle of a D & D module when I’m watching an episode of Hitsugi no Chaika – one of the good eps, anyway.  To call that nostalgic would be an understatement, but that’s by no means a bad thing – I rather like that vibe, and the vibe watching this episode is that we’ve finally plowed through the Kobolds and Goblins and gotten to the monsters that really matter at last.  A floating fortress with an evil wizard and a sadistic killer shota who’s flayed and dismembered his family?  Sign me up.

Once again there’s nothing especially groundbreaking or brilliant about this episode, but it’s quite fun and it does seem to be raising the stakes for the story quite a bit.  It’s obvious that this Duke Gavarni is a much bigger threat than the small fry we’ve seen thus far when Tooru and Chaika arrive in a village with no young women and a towering sky fortress (think Laputa) menacing everyone who lives there.  Turns out the Duke is stealing all the girls and taking them away to the sky, never to be seen again.  Whether Tooru would have been able to talk Chaika into just walking away under other circumstances is debatable, but given that Gavarni has the remains the heroes are looking for it’s not an option.

Once a test flight on Frederica offers no way inside the fortress (Soara) the plan is simple enough – have Akari get herself kidnapped and find a way to get the others in.  Conveniently, this is also the plan that Gillette has employed in his mission to research the fortress, using Vivi (honestly, they can keep her if you ask me) and Zita as the bait. Now more than ever Gillette’s interests and Tooru’s are converging, especially when the council (the King finally speaks) decides Gavarni has become too much of a threat and decides to send their own flying fortress to attack Soara, notwithstanding that two of Konrad’s people are on-board (could that guy be a bigger sad sack?).  Gillette sends a message to them via owl – let me just say, I love that the owl is named “Fu-chan” – and they try and work out a method of escape as Akari gets captured and turned into a puppet by the enemy.

The powers that be on Soara are Ricardo Gavarni (none other than Shinji Ikari herself, Ogata Megumi), the aforementioned killer shota who’s now the titular noble in charge, along with the wizard Lancia (Touchi Hiroki) and a girl named Layla (Makino Yui) who looks to be another Chaika.  Ricardo speaks of the “dream” they’re all pursuing – just what that is isn’t yet clear, but it does seem likely that this is something highly relevant to the larger plot and not simply another side story (I hope so – these villains are easily the most fun so far).

Layla has posed as an abducted girl and managed to separate Chaika from Tooru, Akari is being mind-controlled by Lancia (may I just point out that’s at least the sixth car model – Chaika, Acura, Scania, Abarth and Skoda as well, and I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some – that’s popped up as a character name) and is attacking Tooru, Frederica has been stabbed through the chest and plunged hundreds of feet (bet she’s pissed) and if all that weren’t enough another flying fortress is steaming towards Soara to blow it out of the sky.  That’s a nice setup for what should be a very interesting episode next week – all kinds of fun possibilities there, including the Tooru and Gillette teams finally teaming up in order to survive.  I certainly haven’t had this much anticipation for a Chaika episode since the first couple of weeks, and that’s undeniably a good sign.

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Chaika - 10-9 Chaika - 10-10 Chaika - 10-11
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Chaika - 10-16 Chaika - 10-17 Chaika - 10-19
Chaika - 10-20 Chaika - 10-21 Chaika - 10-22
Chaika - 10-23 Chaika - 10-24 Chaika - 10-25


  1. u

    It's not like it's the first time the author has gone and referenced companies in his work — see the classic Scrapped Princess, where everyone was named after a weapons manufacturer (Casull, Steyr, SoCom, Sig, etc.)

  2. I guess. I figure Gilette, et al are company references too, but the car thing is certainly the dominant theme here.

  3. R

    Definitely a good buildup for the last three eps of this season. and certainly a lot better than the last few ones.

    From what i read, Layla is indeed the third Chaika. Now this would get intereting once they bring in the three Chaikas together.

  4. N

    Didnt even realise the cars. So chaika was a car made by a company called GAZ… Well, that takes the strain off having to think of names haha

  5. w

    I agree, probably the best episode since two. The story as well as the setting seem more focused and interesting, and looks like it's tying together a lot of the plot elements we've seen so far. Plus it's kind hard not to get excited about steampunk airships.

    As always Akari gets the funniest line. "Please avoid leaving any large wounds, as I intend to have him stuffed."

  6. m

    This ep was a big step in the right direction, especially after last week started the turnaround. This week amped up the emotional impact for the characters as well. You saw Gillete's, and his team's, reaction to the impending full assault, and Tooru had this tone of almost horror when he saw Akari attacking him. I know they won't kill her off, but his reaction gave off this feeling like he thought she was a goner. I didn't pick up on Layla being a Chaika at all, but after reading your post and seeing the stills (and a comment above) I guess I should've picked up on that. It leads to a lot of interesting options having 2 chaikas, the first real big bad, and team Gillette all caught up in the midst of this big battle. I hope they avoid the whole clich├ęd "this doesn't mean we're friends" or "as soon as were out of here were enemies" team up with Gillette's people, but I worry since it's Vivi.

    The only negatives I'd say about this ep have been there all season: Frederica and Akari's lack of skill. Frederica is so useless yet overpowered that they have to come up with ways to keep taking her out of the fight immediately, but she keeps hanging around the group for some reason. It's that weird mix of being too strong to be able to show her in the fights, but also absurd that someone so strong can keep losing or avoiding the situation altogether. My issue with Akari isn't that she isn't strong per se, but they made it out like she beat Tooru in everything, and she is at least equally trained, but she completely lacks his ingenuity and adaptability in battle. She just runs around swinging that club of hers without using any of the techniques that make Saboteurs seem special. I think maybe once or twice she's used a different fighting style, but we're supposed to believe she beat Tooru every single time growing up? Then why is she so worthless at anything other than being told who to swing her club at (often times losing or letting the enemy escape) while Tooru not only defeats tough opponent after tough opponent, but does so while issuing commands to the rest of the team and comes up with every plan of action? Though that's not as big of an issue overall, just doesn't seem to fit.

  7. M

    Um,I recall Akari making good use of kunais often enough and even had some variety with them,such as using explosive(vs that mercenary wizard chick on red Chaika's team) or poisoned ones(the fight against Frederica). I'd say that she contributed just as much their missions & battles as her brother. It's just that he's the better leader to their little team,and she seems to be content with that. That's also probably one of the main reasons she admires him,as she mentioned in the 1st episode and I honestly see nothing wrong with that. She might not be as capable as Tooru when coming up with a plan but I definitely wouldn't say that she lacks adaptability.

  8. w

    Also, last week implied that Akari always won because of her stubbornness, rather than being a superior fighter. I would guess that she hits harder though.

  9. m

    I know she did use those that one time, but my point is that she should be more of a presence there.
    @whemleh I did forget about that part. That explains it more, but she should prob be more well versed seeing as they both trained in so many different things. It seems like her general fighting style is so much different than his, and not just bc their main weapons are different. It seems like she's being shortchanged.

  10. R

    from what I can recall, Akari did mention somewhere that she is really not that bright in the head like Toru, So it is really not surprising to me that it is him who takes the lead in their missions. And she actually showed quite a lot of impressive tactical skills.

  11. m

    I guess I screwed the pooch explaining my point. I was saying her stupidity and therefor overtly straightforward brutishness (I do catch the humor in describing a female character this way, and maybe that's the intention with her character) to not fit being a saboteur. Funny one liners for sure, but I wish she had more depth in other areas. Even if it would be small ones such as fighting style. Her fights are boring to watch compared to Tooru and all the other members of team Chaika/Gillette. And I can't tell if she means it when she says those funny lines or not, so it's a bit confusing as how to take her as a character. She feels like she's being used as comic relief, or as some sort of buffoon, and I just would like to see more from one of the main groups original 3. If she's just an idiot I guess that's ok, but change her story to match that idea more.

  12. F

    I have heard this criticism about Akari before, and to be honest it is hard for me to relate to. I have had nothing but respect for Akari every time she appeared on the screen. She has an excellent head on her shoulders as well as a great deadpan and barbed sense of humor… and obviously has great love for Tooru as well as dedication to her work. She may not be sharp or shrewd like Tooru, but she is not unintelligent either. I like her as an overall character and to me she seems very balanced, to be honest….

    But those are just my own feelings and perceptions, I guess.

  13. M

    I think we should agree that it's down to preference. Like,if we're to talk about who's fighting style we find more entertaining,then I consider Akari's very much so. She's not just swinging her war hammer anymore than Tooru's swinging his daggers. I find both of their movements pretty detailed. I also consider Chaika's spell casting boring in comparison to Akari's fighting(among other things). Also,there seems to be some misconception I often see that putting more force into one's attacks automatically label's one as a brainless fighter that relies solely on brute force which is SO WRONG.

    What I really don't get is how you think Akari isn't fit for being saboteur like Tooru. I'd say she fit's the saboteur archtype in the context of this show just as much as her brother. He is indeed the brighter one so of course it's better for him to take the initiative but she's not blindly following his orders like an idiot. No,it's rather that she see's eye to eye with him.

    If we're to talk about the fact that she's getting slightly less attention than Tooru,Chaika and maybe even Gillette lately despite being one of the main characters,then yea,can't argue with you there. The only real problem I see with Akari is that she's not given as much time to shine as the other 2,but she still manages to create enough of an impression for me to consider her one of my three favorite characters of the show(the others being Tooru & Gillette).

  14. w

    I'm with Flower and MgMaster on this. She's had plenty of stealthy moments, and we've often seen seen her using more than just her hammer. I wouldn't even say she's an idiot, just much more straightforward in her fighting style – which really fits her personality as shown.

    I would like to see her closer to to the spotlight in a positive way, but I like her just fine as is.

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