Every now and then I sit at my desk and breathe a long sigh and face-plant my head on the keyboard solely of out of boredom. Why? I'm simply stuck without a series to keep me entertained until another episode of this season's fantastic lineup becomes available. During this tortuous time I resort to scanning lists in search of anything that can keep me occupied, and this time I found myself drawn to Hitsugime no Chaika (Chaika: The Coffin Princess).
I wasn't quite sure what to expect in all honesty, checking both MAL and general comments on the show resulted in mixed impressions with most edging on the positive side. At this point I was wasting away to a pile of bones and due to no stimulation of the brain I felt myself reverting to an intelligence level of a child self, which was probably just enough to ensure I breathed. I decided I'd give the show a chance and what do you know, it was actually pretty damn good! I'll explain why.
There is nothing too complicated about this one. You have a young girl named Chaika, who carries a coffin on her back (which makes her without question cuter) in search of remains of her father and happens to bump into a seemingly bored and frustrated Tooru picking mushrooms and forest goop after no longer being in high demand as a saboteur after the war had ended at Emperor Gaz's defeat. After a pretty humorous introduction, with Chaika fumbling through the tall grass in an attempt to outsmart and evade Tooru she comes to admit that she's not actually been mimicking a wild Pokemon, but is in fact lost and requires a way to enter the city without notice, her reason for traveling in the forest.
Tooru, at this point offers his services, and a way of reaching the city unnoticed in return for a paid breakfast, certainly a lot tastier than whatever can be created with some grass and a few wild mushrooms. The journey however is not all smooth sailing, and soon we see both in the midst of battle against a unicorn of all beasts, and one that has magical abilities. But fear not! For within the cute coffin we find a Gundo (a magical sniper rifle) capable of defeating the beast, but it will require Chaika time before she is able to perform an incantation to blow the unicorn into a thousand pieces. And fear not again! Tooru, being the man itching for action (and a closet loli lover) offers to kept it distracted whilst she prepares. After a rather well animated battle, and the revealing of the Iron-Blood Transformation, an ability of Tooru's that grants him improved combat ability, the two are sitting is a cosy restaurant stuffing down heaps of food.
It is then at this point we meet Tooru's sibling, the calm and seemingly emotionless Akari who only reacts to her brother flirting with other females due to her never ending fantasies of tying him to a bed post and spanking his smooth bottom with a warhammer and some kunai. I mean she just gets angry and tries to kill him. A destroyed restaurant later and a large bill for Chaika to foot and we have the coffin princess offering to hire the pair to steal the a located remain of Emperor Gaz from a former hero who resides in the city. And there you have it, our lovely trio on the search for remains. That would get boring though, and there are revelations and twists throughout the journey which keep you very much interested, but I won't spoil here, I'll just say it'll keep you progressing quickly to the next episode if you're like me and wish to know straight away.
The art with this show is actually of surprisingly high quality. There are a few scenes, mostly those distant shots where our heroes stand and have lost all their facial features for some reason. Probably quite difficult to draw, or just budget saving but it's not a big deal. The animation is fluid and crisp and the colour pallet is varied, bright and backgrounds detailed and compliment everything else nicely. I have no complains at all really, it's a standard style but it works and due to the quality it's pleasing to the eye, especially the fight scenes, I can tell a lot of work had been put into them and it shows. The transformations and the effects of the Gundo (could be CG, I couldn't tell) merged effortlessly with everything else. I simply stand and clap, standing because I need a little stretch after watching 12 episodes without a break, but maybe that's because the show is actually that good.
I'll end with a definite recommendation to watch this series and its sequel if you have the time. If you're interested in an adventure story with likable characters, some mystery and a couple twists here and there, you can do wrong by watching Hitsugime no Chaika. It's a good filler, if you're like me and your waiting for the next episode of Monster Musume to grace your scene because we all know that half monster girls is a dream shared by every man on the planet and don't know deny it! Damn you darling, I want my own sadistic half spider beauty to tie me up in her spun web and treat me cruelly in the most erotic way possible.