Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

18 May 2014: Hitsugi no Chaika is much better than I had hoped even though it turns out Chaika talks like Wilhelmina Carmel's head thingy

See also Sena's head thingy from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.

Ground-floor book readers aside, I don't think many people knew what to expect of Hitsugi no Chaika. I was vaguely interested because I heard it was about a retired soldier who develops an unlikely partnership with a young girl. I did have my reservations when I learned the "retired" soldier was only 20, but a young veteran still sounded like a more compelling protagonist than yet another middle school schmuck or stupid high school spud.

To an imouto with a hammer, everything looks like onii-sama's nail.

I grew even more skeptical when I learned there was also a kid sister in tow, since that pretty much only means one thing these days. (Well, at least this one's adopted.) In fact, this news dropped my anticipation for the show so far I completely forgot about it the first week. And then I heard the first episode had an exploding unicorn.

Sweeeet. Fuck unicorns. P.S. Spoilers.

Did someone say "exploding unicorn"? I'm back on board. Tooru is convincing as a capable "saboteur," but he's also not so shounen-jive powerful that all the tension evaporates from the fights. The fights themselves are also interesting without being too artificially flashy. Most importantly, they don't drag out interminably.

People who do this never seem to get clonked on the noggin by falling driftwood.

There are frequent (understandable) comparisons between Hitsugi no Chaika and Scrapped Princess, an old favorite that combines fantasy and techno-magic elements. Moreover, both Sutepri and Chaika are Bones anime. Additionally, both do that amusing bit with the characters' names (e.g., Casull, CZ, Mauser, Trabant, Gillette, Skoda, etc.). Is that silly? Well, it is anime.

Head thingies are kinda popular in this world.

As a matter of fact, Hitsugi no Chaika is very anime. Typically, when I've seen shows described that way it's been meant pejoratively. I intend it as a compliment. Years ago, I explained that I enjoyed watching Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ because it was anime, not because it was necessarily good. There are certain tropes and setups that I accept and enjoy with anime that I wouldn't in different media. Hitsugi no Chaika can have exploding unicorns and mischievous dragons and magic anti-materiel rifles used to boil water because it is anime. I'm even okay with the show not explaining why Chaika talks that way.

At least you got to keep your platform shoes.

Actually, I think I've figured it out. The rest of this entry contains spoilers from the past two episodes and speculation based on information gleaned during those two episodes, so avert your eyes if this concerns you. However, if you've been following The Twitter at all, you probably already know about this anyway.

Chaika and Tooru
It's so heavy because it's full of mercy.

The revelation that there is a second "Red" Chaika suggests to me the reason why Chaika talks like the maid-head-thingy worn by Wilhelmina Carmel in Shakugan no Shana is because each Chaika is an incomplete fraction of a whole, unified Chaika. "Red" Chaika is more violent and rude because she's the part that possesses the "whole" Chaika's aggressiveness. (And her breasts.) You know, it's like the time Captain Kirk got split into a mild Captain Kirk and a raging asshole Captain Kirk during a transporter accident in the episode of Star Trek,"The Enemy Within." It's basically the same thing. (Except with breasts.) I fully expect that we'll meet other Chaikas later who represent different aspects of the complete Chaika's personality.

Red Chaika
So does the red head thingy also talk?

Despite being merely halfway through the first season, I'm pleased to hear Hitsugi no Chaika will return in the autumn for a second cour. This is not a show that will win over those whose primary exposure to "Japanimation" come from the American cable broadcasts they ignore and the occasional Studio Ghibli movie, but viewers who enjoy anime for anime's sake will find a lot to like here. These days, maybe that mostly just means the male protagonist is not a putz, the female lead talks in an endearingly funny way, and the wacky sidekick conveniently spends most of her time fucking off instead of helping out when her frenemies are getting their asses kicked. Oh, and every once in a while a unicorn blows up. Nevertheless, I'm sold.

«« Symphogear and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are basically the same thing
Hibiki > Hibiki > Hibiki »»

Related Posts