Chaika The Coffin Princess Review


By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

One of the powers of the pen is that, without much effort, it has the ability to transport you anywhere. A story concept is initially envisioned in the mind, and then through an outline process, the bare bones start to take shape giving the story a skeleton. From there, more detail is added until you get a fully fleshed out work of art. These works of art range from comedy to drama, feel-good to horror and everything in between. Through that, some weird things can develop. And the titles to these works are no exception. A prime example is the latest from Studio Bones, Chaika: The Coffin Princess.
The 200-year war between the alliance of six nations and the Gaz Empire has finally ended with the death of Emperor Arthur Gaz. Five years later, siblings Toru and Akari Acura, former saboteurs in the war, find their skills no longer needed and have difficulty find a way in this new life. While out foraging in the forest, Toru comes upon a short, white-haired girl carrying a coffin on her back. She reveals herself to be Chaika Gaz, daughter to the former emperor. She is searching for the remains of her father, which was split up among the eight heroes as the emperor’s remains had the ability to bestow powers upon the one who has it. Chaika wants to give her father a proper funeral. Toru, finding a reason and way to put his skills to use again, along with Akari, decide to help Chaika hunt down her father’s remains to finally put the war to rest and bring fulfillment to their lives and to Chaika.

Chaika: The Coffin Princess is familiar in some aspects and unfamiliar in others. The layout of the story is familiar with our protagonist on a personal quest to obtain a specific goal so that things can be set with their lives. Here we have the skeleton of the story. Now the inner details are what make the story fun. As Chaika hunts down her father’s remains, we find that there are other Chaikas trying to obtain the same goal. Are these clones? Does Chaika have identical sisters? We don’t know at first. Then we have the sub-characters that fill in the plot like the Dragoon, Fredrika, who ends up playing a bigger role for the group. There are also sub-plots going on behind the scenes which help drive the primary narrative forward, causing complications and obstacles for our trio/quartet to deal with. Plus there’s a little girl carrying around a coffin on her back…did I mention that before? You’ve NEVER seen that, I guarantee it.
Speaking of the characters, our main group brings different dimensions to the table. Toru begins as a defeated man, no longer driven and with the feeling that he has no purpose in life. Upon meeting Chaika and understanding the passion she has for her mission, this in turn reignites the passion he once had during the war and brings his inner fire back to life. Akari, on the other hand, comes off as quiet and focused, but has a strong love for her brother, almost bordering on obsessive, prompting sometimes violent reactions if another woman shows interest. But when the situation calls for her skills, she and Toru work in tandem, almost as if they can read each other’s minds, to get a job done. Chaika has an interesting way of speaking, only using main words for a phrase, but she conveys emotion and determination through her actions and body language, which Toru picks up on. And Fredrika, though having a more minor role, brings extra personality to the group, agreeing to help Toru on the quest as long as he promises to fight her to the death when it is over. They are an odd team, but together they just seem to work.

Chaika: The Coffin Princess is one of those series that you have an idea of how things are going to end, and possibly what is in store (in the grand scheme of things) for the main characters, but it has just enough freshness that you stay interested. The animation itself is very clean and the fight scenes are a joy to watch. Each episode gives you something new and intriguing prompting you to watch the next episode, in hopes that some answers will finally be revealed (much like LOST). Chaika: The Coffin Princess may not end up in your top 10 anime, but you’ll still enjoy it while it lasts.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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