Hitsugi no Chaika – 12 (Season Finale)

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That was a pretty good final episode – but then, that’s perfectly fitting.

Rarely has an anime managed to be so perfectly balanced for so long between gaining and losing my commitment as Hitsugi no Chaika.  I’ve managed to get through an entire season without making up my mind, which is pretty incredible when you think about it.  We’ll see what happens when fall rolls around – blogging it will depend on what else is on the schedule (right now it looks grisly apart from sequels, but it’s very early), but the finale did nothing to close the sale either way.

On the whole the finale was fine.  It was mostly action-driven, had some interesting developments (even romantic ones) and a good number of seeds planted for possible second-cour storylines.  The Ricardo-Layla-Lancia arc wrapped up thoroughly, if somewhat anti-climatically.  For me it wasn’t as interesting as the last two episodes, but it was still pretty decent on the whole.  The problem is that’s the zone the show has been in for most of its run as far as I’m concerned.

The headlines are pretty apparent – Frederica not being dead for starters.  I can’t imagine that surprising anyone (we had another death later which will surely also turn out to be a fake), nor the method – she “molted”.  Apparently she had an even more tiny (and annoying) loli stashed inside the old one Matryoshka doll style, though thankfully by the episode she seems to have reverted to her full-size loli form.  As for the battle between the two Laputas, Lancia has given Soara a leg up by using the Emperor’s remains, which leads to the government fortress being seriously damaged and starting to sink.  The commander (who’s just refused Gillette’s demand to parlay after taking his Cavalier hostage) decides on a suicide mission and rams the Soara with his own doomed fortress.

Inside Vivi and Zita have managed to free Akari from Lancia’s mind control, and Tooru has gone into saboteur mode searching for Chaika.  This leads to a quick knife battle with Ricardo which ends with Ricardo being fatally stabbed, though Layla goes Tyrion Lannister on him and he plunges into the waterlogged lower decks of the fortress.  After Chaika defeats her with an assist from Guy, she dives after him and rescues him with a magic-CPR kiss, and it seems as if it’s about to be followed up by a real one when Akari spots them and puts a stop to that for now.

Probably the most interesting developments in the episode are with Team Gillette.  When thew Soara’s wayward gun blasts the ground where Gillette and Leonardo are butting heads with the vanguard force, Gillette is seemingly vaporized – except he’s got two Guys (capital “G”) standing behind him at the time, so it’s safe to assume he’s fine.  But when Vivi finds out about it, she flips out and seems to turn into another Chaika – although maybe her hair just turned white.  I honestly have no idea what’s up with that one – if indeed she has turned into a Chaika I don’t recall anything we’ve seen that would seem to have foreshadowed it.

So that’s where it stands as the cour ends – Ricardo dies in Layla’s arms as the water pours in, Chaika declares she’s going to keep looking for body parts even though she knows the truth, and all hell breaks loose in Team Gillette.  There’s also the little matter of Frederica suggesting to Tooru that he sign a contract with her and become a Dragoon Cavalier, which has a ring of Chekov’s Gun to it. It’s a modestly interesting setup for the second season, and I’ll certainly be watching to see where Hitsugi no Chaika goes from here.  In the final analysis I suspect I’m going to need something more – a continuation of the level of episodes 10 and 11 at the very least – if I’m to blog it, but there’s no point in making a final decision on that now.

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  1. s

    "Lancia has given Soara a leg up by using the emperor's remains", hahaha, I hope you threw on some sunglasses when you wrote that line

  2. You know it.

  3. A

    I really liked this episode. Chibi-Frederica chest-bursting from her own rotting corpse was hilarious and disgusting and awesome. I also like how the fights happened. The way Tooru lured in Kid Psychopath and then stabbed him in the gut is exactly the sort of ruthless efficiency that we too rarely see in fiction.

    I think Vivi might have been a Chaika all along and her way to collect the body parts was to go deep cover and infiltrate the very group assigned by the government to collect them.

  4. Do you think she was a sleeper agent, or a Manchurian Candidate?

  5. t

    it's probably magic related. when a Chaika is dead, a new one is born.
    why Vivi?it's hard to tell. maybe it's the magic's style to take who is in bad mental shape at the moment. and maybe it takes place near the location of the dead Chaika… I assume "the guy" is related and maybe responsible.
    but that's my theory. not a spoiler or anything because I am an anime-viewer only.

  6. A

    Well, a Manchurian Candidate is a type of sleeper agent. But if you're asking if Vivi knew she was playing a role or was brain washed/hypnotized/whatever I would lean towards the hypnotism angle.

    But who knows? We really just have to wait for the second season to find out.

  7. t

    it was damn good finale.
    for 11 eps this shows was in the average zone in all layers: characters, story, world building.
    it has nice fantasy world. pretty solid and all. but nothing really new or bright. same for the story, its course was expected and predictable most of the time. as for the characters..well they were likeable. it took a while longer with Chaika, but little by little she was more and more likeable. yet there wasn't any major development or something.
    pretty regular and average so far.

    however, this finale changes everything. especially now that we know a second season is upcoming in the fall.
    it was damn good battle for the finale, pretty interesting till the very end. and as you said, now we can see the seeds that open up the story toward something the real deal. now this show finally has the potential to create a really good fantasy story combining the likeable characters, magic power, politics and basically all the fantasy elements. they can create a good complex.
    as for the characters, a slight push forward like we have seen from Chaika this episode (not a lot, but a bit) and this can really elevate the show.

    there are a few things I still didn't like in the episode. first, Toru beat Ricardo way too easily.
    of course the sword fight itself was good. you could Ricardo is a good fighter despite the fact he is fighting exhausted and injured Toru (but that's what you get in war. by no means this is a fair tournament). but the finish was….way too convenient. Toru luckily avoid being hit in the a critical spot. how?with the power of luck…despite he didn't actually do something really magnificent. all this while Ricardo was in better shape since he is fresh and all…take for example Chaika's battle against Layla. she won because someone ("the guy") intervene there. not because luck or something convenient.
    Second, also related to Ricardo. his final moments with Layla..did they try to create drama?because it felt like they were trying and obviously it was failure so why did they bother?it was odd a bit..
    Finally, as for Gillette. let's face it, he is probably alive. but the way everything has happened in his camp later on…this is on of the things that demonstrate why I see this show as average and expected. well. actually they really surprised me with Vivi's transformation into Chaika. I hope they can make things interesting with it now.

    all in all, I am really glad I stick with the show. despite its average, now that all foundation has been set and audience is familiar with characters and the story, they can take it a step forward and bring out the potential. so yeah, even being an average show isn't something really bad. especially if you have a good way to make everything good later on.
    this why I like this author (also did Outbreak Company). because he creates very organized and nice fantasy world and is able to lead the characters to where he wants to. true, it took a while longer with Chaika, but now that everything is ready, second season can do really good. I expect great things!

  8. m

    Eh, I really liked the anticlimactic way Toru defeated Ricardo. His statement said it all: "You know how to stab but not fight." In fact when the fight started out, I was a bit skeptical by how acrobatic and savvy the little psychopath was. It seemed ridiculous that a pampered noble would be on par with a guy who's been honed as a weapon from birth. Ricardo doesn't even have any real fighting experience, given his penchant to carve up helpless girls, so it makes sense that he'd be severely lacking in defense.

    I was hella shocked by Vivi's transformation. There wasn't even a hint of foreshadowing, but surprisingly, I don't find myself minding because this is freaking intriguing. Now we have the suggestion that Chaikas aren't made from scratch but possibly from already existing girls. Unless, like others say, Vivi was a sleeper agent from the start.

    All in all, despite Chaika's many flaws, I'm quite fond of this show and I do look forward to the second season.

  9. w

    They've been doing a great job with the animation the last few episodes, there was some very entertaining choreography in these fights. Also, not really sure if pleased or disappointed that Akari beat the wizard with a single bop to the head. Definitely looking forward to the next season, hope someone somewhere will be blogging it.

  10. J

    Gotta like the way Akari just bashed Lancia on the head without pause for comment.

  11. The Akari and Tooru nonchalant fight wins were sort of clever in a deadpan way, I thought.

  12. A

    I had a good chuckle when Chaika pushed her coffin down before jumping, and my brain just auto-completed the scene with a sound effect of Tooru at the bottom going *oof*.

  13. s

    About Gillete, it's most likely that the two Guy's ended up saving him…but what if they actually didnt? what if they were just there as sort of grim reapers to the people he needed to die. Maybe his appearance was just foreboding because in a lot of ways it reminded me of how it was in the end of evangelion with Rei…that's all ill say for people who havent yet seen the movie, although its pretty old by now…check it out if you havent.

  14. t

    I thought about the fact he might be dead, yet I decided it less likely to happen.
    sure, it's possible, especially considering it might be related to Vivi's transformation (maybe as a trigger) or as you say a part of Guy's doing (still if the Guy is a reaper..why showing it to us?why now? I am not convinced this is the author's style or purpose here…but maybe. yeah).
    I still think it's better for the Guy to control Gillette somehow because he is well known officer. and along with Chaika-Vivi controlling him somehow the way Layla did to Ricardo and Gram…it's just fit.

    the thing that I still don't get is whether Vivi's transformation was in purpose in the presence of the others or just due to the circumstances (of the spell or the effect another Chaika dead or her mental state…). well, we will get to it in the fall (:

  15. I definitely got the impression that transformation was involuntary.

  16. n

    Ogata Megami's performance makes me laugh for some reason – probably because I cannot help imaging that's Shinji spouting psychotic lines. It's also the first time I noticed her in other show aside from Eva.

  17. R

    That chibi-Fredrica chest burster really had me grinning. Overall, the finale wasn't really the grand season close i was expecting for the series. but it definitely had me wanting to watch the next one.

    And Vivi suddenly turning out to be another Chaika? Oh, boy! that definitely got me intrigued. so, why was she given an entirely separate personality unlike the other three Chaikas? My guess is that because she is in fact the original Chaika. But then again, i have to wait four months more to see if I am correct.

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