Hitsugi No Chaika Episode 1: Unicorns! [Quick Look]
Sidekick’s First Impressions
I’m going to skip doing a recap for this one, because much of its story is still pretty shrouded in mystery, but I’d say the gist of it is that a guy (now jobless after working as a soldier for war) meets a little girl named Chaika that carries around a giant coffin on her back. This coffin doesn’t contain a body, and instead houses her weapons she wields as a Wizard. Chaika seeks a certain artifact in the possession of a certain important military figure and hires Toru (the boy) as well as his sister Akari for saboteur work – she wants them to help her steal this artifact.
This was a pretty solid first episode, one of the stronger non-sequel pilot episodes standing alongside Soresekai and Baby Steps in terms of quality. This is yet another fantasy series (a lot of them this season), but what makes it a much better effort than most LN adaptations that pass off as ‘fantasy’ is that there is pretty solid dialogue between the characters, the characters themselves are alright and also they drop needless exposition, which is a trait in light novels I despise. Basically, BONES cut the crap with this one and had a good first episode because they knew how to tell a fantasy story the right way – without insulting the intelligence of the viewer and wasting their time explaining every little thing going on as if the viewer themselves don’t have eyes to see.
I also do enjoy how the powers used in the world they’re in clearly have limits – Chaika’s giant rifle takes lots of time to set up, for example. It’s little things like these that help to ground the story and maintain high stakes for each battle, and also helps to prevent stupid deus ex machina writing.
The characters were decent too, as I’ve mentioned. Toru is quite alright, not boring (Mahouka’s lead) or insufferable (No Game No Life’s lead) and he clearly has space for development. His relationship with Akari (his adopted sister) does have little hints of incest, but it’s very toned down to a point where it never crossed my mind too much while watching the two of them interact. Their dialogue (particularly the scene in the restaurant) served as an interesting commentary and perspective on the kind of world they lived in, which was pretty neat as well. The only character I’m a little worried about is Chaika. She’s kind of like the loli all LN anime seem to need, and it’s still kind of gross that they did sexualize her at one point of the episode…but I think it’s still within the tolerable range, and she isn’t annoying or anything. I didn’t mind her weird speech patterns too much. It felt a little endearing even.
Of course, animation-wise this isn’t where BONES put their money (It’s all about Captain Earth for them this season), but it’s still pretty above-average stuff. We’ve got some pretty decent action sequences, no noticeable off-model animation. I don’t really dig the darker colours and bolder lines, but that really could be more of a personal preference. Music-wise it was forgettable. I didn’t really notice the BGM at all, the OP is AWFUL, but the ED is serviceable. Yeah, I wouldn’t watch it for the aesthetics.
What Coffin princess really nails is the storytelling. It does a decent job at keeping much of its story still shrouded in mystery, has decent pacing and solid characters. If you need your light novel fantasy fix, this should be your go-to series for the Spring season. It’s good.
I won’t be blogging this, but I’ll definitely be keeping up with it as long as it doesn’t turn to shit later on. You guys can probably expect an overall review when it finishes airing.