Having survived the events at the end of the first season, teenage Wizard Chaika Trabant and her friends Toru, Akari, and Fredrika continue their search for the remains of the deceased tyrant Arthur Gaz and to uncover the truth behind Chaika. They finally catch a big break from the mysterious Guy who directs them toward an island surrounded in myth where Gaz's "fortune" is said to be held. Does Chaika - The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle continue the surprisingly wonderful adventure of the first season, or does it head down a route best left avoided?
(Warning, this review is for the second season of a show, it will be assuming you have seen the first season all the way through, and thus will include spoilers to the first season. If you would like to see if the first season of Chaika - The Coffin Princess is for you, please read my review of it here.)
Maintains a Sense of Levity
Chaika's first season was able to combine both humorous and dark tones relatively well. That said, as the season went on, its became increasingly grim, but never depressingly so. I somewhat feared coming into this second season that the show would continue to grow dark. Thankfully, Avenging Battle continues on with the well balanced mix of comedy and grimness that the first season had. It still maintains the overall sense of fun that I loved so much about the first season.
While it was teased upon in the first season, the mystery behind what the hell Chaika exactly is and what would happen when she completes her quest to gather Gaz's remains comes to the forefront in Avenging Battle. Things get even more interesting when the characters get to the island with Gaz's fortune, as they uncover a secret base belonging to Gaz where magical experiments are still being performed even five years after his death.
The Value of an Identity
Chaika doesn't know who, or what, she is. She doesn't know what her purpose in life is or her value as a human being. All she has is her quest to gather Gaz's remains. For all intents and purposes, she lacks any form of an identity. I touched upon in my review of the first season how I liked how the show covered soldiers and assassins trying to adjust to life in the time of peace, but this is something even more fundamentally important than that. All those warriors who now found themselves without a battlefield at least still had some sense of who they were, they were just looking for a purpose. Chaika didn't even have that, and I liked how they looked into that part of her character this season.
But it isn't just Chaika whose identity is in question. Gillette's admirer Vivi struggles with maintaining her own identity after going through a partial transformation into a Chaika herself. Being a half-Chaika results in others, such as Guy, calling her by the name she loathes with all her being.
On the Origins of Everything
This season really goes into depth explaining where every major aspect of the first season began. We learn who the original magic wielders are, the creations and purpose of the Chaikas, what the hell is up with Guy, and of course, what Arthur Gaz's end game is. I like how they leave no stone unturned when it comes to explaining everything of note in this series. Especially because I pointed out how the first season didn't go out of its way to explain things. This helps make Avenging Battle really feel like a continuation of the first season.
Fun Times With Red Chaika
Though she only appeared a couple of times in the first season, Red Chaika was quite the favorite amongst the fans of the show. Well good news for fans of Red, she and her group have a much bigger role in the second season. We even get to briefly follow her and her group on their own hunt for Gaz's remains. It's always nice to characters that fans like get an expanded role in the sequel seasons.
Though maybe not as great as the first season's conversation made entirely of the word "Chaika", this exchange between Chaika and new character Niva Lada is just to cute/funny to not make note of. So...there you go.
The finale to Avenging Battle is probably going to be one with little middle ground in regards to its reception. Not so much whether or not it is good, but whether or not it was rushed. Some people will think that the finale didn't give the climactic fights or the epilogue enough time to do them justice and that they should have been spread over two or three episodes. Others, such as myself, think that while they certainly could have expanded on the events of the finale, what we got was more than satisfactory, considering how it ties up every major open plot thread at the time of this finale.
(The next section will be touching upon the final two episodes of Avenging Battle, if you haven't seen Avenging Battle yet and want as little details as possible, please move to the Conclusion section.)
Amazing Buildup Leads to Disappointing Villain
Regardless of whether the finale was rushed or not, even adding one, two, or even three additional episodes would not have saved Arthur Gaz from being a boring, generic, by the books evil magical mage end boss. Now the guy gets points for his ridiculous gambit for being brought back to life by the Chaikas, hell the buildup to his revival is rather good. The problem is once he's alive again, he's just your average, "MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I am all powerful!" type magical big bad. And again, even with a full cour I doubt he'd be that compelling of a villain. I honestly think the buildup to him was so good that he probably never was going to live up to it anyways.
So, yeah, in the end Chaika - The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle ends on an alright, but not amazing note. That being said, I'm actually ok with that. For me Chaika - The Coffin Princess was never, ever about its ending. It was all about the journey. It's a fantasy adventure series for crying out loud. It is all about the adventures that occur along the path to the ending. And in that regards, Chaika never falters. What was one of my most surprising anime surprises of the year ends with one of the best anime sequels I have ever seen. If you are a fan of Chaika - The Coffin Princess, then it is your duty to watch Chaika - The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle! Watch Chaika, you must!
Chaika - The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle can be watched on the Crunchyroll streaming service. Chaika - The Coffin Princess: Avenging Battle is based on a light novel series by Ichiro Sakaki that is published by Fujimi Shobo's Fujimi Fantasia Bunko imprint.