Chaika – The Coffin Princess is an anime based on a light novel written by Ichiro Sakaki and illustrated by Namaniku ATK. The series is produced by Bones and is directed by Soichi Masui. The series aired on Japanese television from April 9-June 25, 2014. As of this writing, Crunchyroll holds the North American streaming rights for Chaika – The Coffin Princess, and Sentai Filmworks holds the North American home video rights for the series.
The series is set on the continent of Verbist. At the beginning of Episode One, we learn that Arthur Gaz of the Gaz Empire has fallen, and his daughter Chaika is seen as a tool whose purpose is to set a fate surpassing the imagination of man in motion.
A young man named Toru Acura encounters Chaika, a young woman with long, white hair who wears a coffin on her back. When they are attacked by a unicorn, Chaika uses her magic and Toru uses his ability as a saboteur to buy Chaika time to use her magic; together, they defeat the unicorn. Toru takes Chaika into town, and she meets Toru’s companion, Akari. When Chaika finds out the two of them are out of work saboteurs, she hires them to help her acquire the remains of her father, Arthur Gaz. She wants to be able to give him a proper funeral.
Meanwhile, the Kliemann Agency is tasked with supporting postwar reconstruction, which also includes a small field unit known as the Gillette Corps that is tasked with capturing Chaika. The corps is led by Alveric Gillette, a cavalier from a noble family. As the series progresses, Gillette learns things that make him question his mission.
During their travels, Chaika, Toru, and Akari meet Fredrica, a dragoon that can shapeshift. At first, Fredrica joins them in order to get revenge on Toru for something he did. However, at the end of the season, Fredrika offers to make a contract with Toru for him to become a dragoon cavalier. He only says he’ll think about it Fredrica’s offer.
They also discover that there are other Chaikas out there who are also looking for Arthur Gaz’s remains, and no one knows who the real Chaika is. Even after learning what’s going on, Chaika decides to continue searching for Gaz’s remains, since that’s all she knows how to do.
After watching the first episode, I admit that I was a little annoyed by Chaika’s tendency to speak in one, two, or three words phrases; however, as the series progressed, I just got used to this character quirk. But what I saw in that episode made me interested enough to want to continue watching the series.
When Fredrica joined the cast and becomes part of Chaika’s party, I thought it added an interesting layer. At that point, not only were they being pursued by the Gillette Corps, they were now also traveling with a party member who is out to kill one of the other members of the party. Overall, I thought that Fredrica was a good addition to the party and its dynamics, and that she was portrayed realistically.
When the Red Chaika was introduced in Episode Five, I thought this added an interesting twist. Unfortunately, Red Chaika seemed to disappear after two episodes.
In Episode Seven, it appeared that Chaika had developed feelings for Toru, which ended up adding another layer to the story since it was obvious that Akari liked him.
It appears this season did a good job of establishing various aspects of the series. I’m hoping to see these various elements and the loose ends that exist for them to make some progress in the second season.
Chaika – The Coffin Princess is a series that consistently kept me interested from week-to-week, and I looked forward to each episode to see how the story would progress. I found the story to be interesting, and I came to care about many of the main characters.