Coffin Princess Chaika is the first of two anime adaptation series that originally aired in 2014 in Japan. The series is adapted from the light novel series Chaika – The Coffin Princess (Hitsugi no Chaika) written by Ichirō Sakaki who also penned the light novel series Outbreak Company. The adaptation has been handled by Studio Bones (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Soul Eater) who rarely produce anything bad. Coffin Princess Chaika is available on both Blu-ray and DVD from Animatsu Entertainment who have also licensed the second series titled “Avenging Battle” so expect to see it sometime in the near future.
“The year is 1604. On the continent of Verbist, an age of war lasting for three generations finally ended with the fall of the northern nation, the Gaz Empire. In addition to legitimate knights and soldiers, the militant forces sent to battle included wizards, saboteurs, and mercenaries, totalling 620,000. What’s more, three airborne strongholds and massive numbers of magical weapons plus beast and dragon cavalries were added to the ranks, ending in the annihilation of the Gaz Empire, which had been deemed the root of all evil.” – Animatsu Entertainment
The mythology of the world is quite interesting; you have unicorns that look like eerie skeletal horses, not the glorious and magical creatures we have come to know from fairy tales. Not to mention these mythical beasts and many others throughout the series have the ability to wield magic by chanting these haunting spells. It’s fair to say that your knowledge of myth and legends as they are will get turned upside down in this series. The tone of the series does tend to darken in places, especially towards the end where we witness some twisted villains. There’s an ever-deepening sense of mystery as the series unfolds, urging you to keep watching and I personally can’t wait for the second series.
The characters throughout are interesting and engaging, Chaika Trabant in particular is fun to watch due to her fragmented speech patterns. Our main character, Toru Acura, is your typical good guy willing to go above and beyond for the girl he likes. His initial laziness was ditched due to the allure of war and fighting. His sister, Akari Acura, though not related by blood, is probably an even bigger oddball than Chaika and, while she has excellent fighting prowess, her talents lie in beating Toru up and spouting out perverted accusations. So, outside of all the action, there is never a dull moment between these characters.
Visually, the series is quite impressive, as you would expect from Studio Bones, the action scenes are clean and crisp making for a really enjoyable experience throughout. The character designs are very good, as is the world they inhabit; Bones and have done a fantastic job of really bringing this story to life.
The Japanese voice cast gives a very solid performance throughout the series. Chika Anzai, the Japanese voice actress for Chaika, in particular, does a brilliant job of bringing the character to life. The English voice cast has its ups and downs. Kira Vincent-Davis Chaika’s English voice actress gets the fragmented speech across but without the same level of impact that the Japanese voice has, leaving the character feeling lifeless and dull. Toru’s English voice is fairly decent while Frederica’s is painfully annoying; luckily you don’t have to listen to it much throughout the series. Thankfully, the atmosphere and tone of the series is maintained in the English version so aside from a few weaker elements compared to the Japanese audio track it’s still enjoyable.
I think it’s important to the overall enjoyment of a series to have a good set of OPs and EDs; Coffin Princess Chaika thankfully has two pretty decent offerings. The opening song “Darakena” by Iori Nomizu is a nice little rock number that matches the animation well and the ending song “Kairaku Genri” by Coffin Princess, consisting of Chika Anzai, Saeko Zōgō and Yui Makino is equally as good.
Extras for this series can all be found on disc one and include a selection of trailers for Sentai Filmworks titles as well as Japanese Promos and clean opening and closing animations. The trailers include Vampire Hunter D, the upcoming Brynhildr in the Darkness and the two recently released Animatsu Entertainment titles Black Bullet and Blade & Soul.
Coffin Princess Chaika is a solid adaptation from studio Bones featuring a colourful cast of characters and some impressive animation. There’s an ever-deepening sense of mystery as the series unfolds urging you to keep watching and I personally can’t wait for the second series. The English voice cast has a few weaker elements compared to the Japanese but both are a good choice.