Chaika - The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle
Episode 5

by Paul Jensen,

If one is good, then more is even better. It's a shaky saying that doesn't always hold true, but it sure as heck applies to white-haired heroines named Chaika. Last week's episode hinted at the possibility of the red and white Chaikas working together, and that's exactly what we get this time. The result is a great deal of fun to watch, and leads straight into this season's first all-out battle scene.

In the wake of last week's revelations, there wasn't much doubt that the show's heroes would spend this episode beating up an endless supply of enemies. The Chaikas are forced to cooperate in order to escape the dissection table, and they eventually re-unite with the rest of the cast after sneaking through a maze of hallways. The episode as a whole is composed almost entirely of action scenes, making for a major shift in pacing.

With plenty of enemies to go around, nearly every character gets a chance to cut loose and show off. It's an exciting episode with plenty of impressive spell effects, but the majority of the fun comes from the dialogue. The series has had plenty of time to establish everyone's personalities, which allows for any given group of characters play off of one another naturally. When Fredrica offers to open a locked door for Akari, the audience knows she's really just looking for an excuse to smash something. The show's typical mix of action and humor is firing on all cylinders here, which adds a sense of fun to all the swordfights and explosions.

Ultimately, it's the two Chaikas who steal the show. The red and white Chaikas spend a good portion of the episode reluctantly working together, all while bickering in their trademark Chaika-speak. The small, nuanced differences in their expressions and body language do a fine job of communicating how each girl feels about the other. Anime fans are used to seeing two rivals forced to cooperate, but the idea is rarely carried out this well.

If there's anything wrong with this episode, it's the short and simple way in which the story is wrapped up. Things move so quickly that the audience doesn't get a chance to process any significant moments, and the episodic characters are seen off in a hasty fashion. The bad guy is completely generic, and the two demi-humans have no qualms about switching sides as a result. This series has often presented Chaika with interesting and nuanced opponents, and a mad scientist with a monocle doesn't meet with those high standards.

The one potentially interesting development is the introduction of Niva. Ignoring her visual resemblance to a certain Vocaloid, she may very well force Chaika to confront some hard truths. They're both part of the Emperor's plans, but Niva appears to be much more comfortable with her role as a tool. Hopefully, this will hold a mirror up to Chaika's quest for the remains and make her choose her own path forward.

Chaika The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle appears to have finally gotten serious about moving the story forward, and for now it's heading in the right direction. This series has always walked a fine line between sharp humor and serious drama, and will do well as long as it can maintain that balancing act. If this episode leans a bit heavily towards explosive entertainment, it's only in response to last week's much slower approach. On the whole, it's more fun than a barrel of Chaikas.

Rating: B+

Chaika - The Coffin Princess Avenging Battle is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Paul Jensen also covers anime and manga at SharkPuppet.com.


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