Chaika: The Coffin Princess -AVENGING BATTLE-

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Posted 12/17/14 , edited 12/17/14
by cardboard_shark

There’s a lot to be said for getting the basics right. Sure, it’s great to see a series rewrite the rules of its genre, but it’s far more important to have a compelling story and engaging characters. Chaika -The Coffin Princess- may borrow ideas from other works, but it uses those elements to tell its own unique tale. The second season, subtitled Avenging Battle, stays true to its roots and carries that story through to a properly spectacular conclusion.

The first season left a lot of questions hanging around, and Avenging Battle quickly sets to work finding some answers. Chaika and company continue their search for the Emperor’s remains, while the members of the Gillette Squad try to find out what Gaz was really up to. Alliances are forged and broken, and nearly everyone is forced to face some hard truths. While the pacing can be a bit uneven from time to time, it makes for a solid continuation of the series. Newcomers should definitely start from the beginning, though, as Avenging Battle doesn’t waste time with lengthy recap sequences.

One of Chaika’s biggest strengths continues to be its large cast of supporting characters. Red Chaika and her followers make multiple appearances, often acting as excellent foils for the main characters. Watching the red and white Chaikas bicker with one another is a great deal of fun, especially with their mutually terrible grammar. Vivi is another standout, evolving from a shrill and straight-laced Gillette groupie into a complex and sympathetic character. The adorably bloodthirsty Fredrica doesn’t play as big a role this time around, but still manages to steal the show on multiple occasions. There are a lot of people to like in this series, even if some of them are determined to kill one another.

There are also some impressive action sequences to revel in, especially in the latter half of the season. Spells and magic weapons continue to look great, and the animation is solid across the board. There’s a real sense of adventure here, and the witty banter between characters doesn’t stop when the blades and bullets start to fly. It’s easy for an action show to focus only on intensity and excitement, but Chaika never forgets that it’s important to have fun as well.

The series also remains smarter than it might appear. New characters, especially some of Chaika’s adversaries, continue to offer interesting takes on what happens to soldiers after a war ends. Some thrive in a peaceful society, others are haunted by their actions, and a few even start to miss the adrenaline rush of combat. It’s the kind of thoughtful characterization that a lesser series would simply skip over, and a good example of this show’s willingness to go that extra mile.

Avenging Battle does a good job of continuing a well-made series. It’s fun, accessible, and clever, the kind of show that makes a good introduction to anime. If you’re still new to the medium or looking to get friends or family hooked, it’ll do nicely. For veteran fans, it serves as a reminder that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel in order to make something worth watching.
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