When I saw her, I thought I saw the chance to end this listless, peacetime life...
It's been five years since the defeat of Arthur Gaz, ruler of the Gaz empire, when a group of heroes finally confronted the evil monarch in his own throne room and slew him. The world has since then experienced a relative period of peace, but for those whose lives revolved around conflict, the transition to peacetime was anything but easy.Toru Acura was one of these unfortunates. A former Saboteur, the years since the fall of the Gaz Empire have not been kind to him, and for the most part, he'd spent most of it moping in the home he shared with his adopted sister Akari. For all her disturbing devotion to her older brother however, even Akari's patience had its limits, and when it finally came to the point where Akari started to seriously consider having him taken to a taxidermist and stuffed, Toru decided then and there that it was about time to go out again into the world that had since rejected him.And then, as he was foraging for edible plants in the mountains around his hometown, he encounters a strange girl with long white hair, who spoke in halting Common, and who carried a coffin on her back... And in the process it seems that he's gotten another chance to experience the life of battle he never though he'd experience again.Coffin Princess Chaika (棺姫のチャイカ Hitsugi no Chaika) is a light novel series written by Sakaki Ichirou (who also wrote Scrapped Princess, Magician's Academy, and Outbreak Company) and published by Fujimi Shobo under its Fujimi Fantasia Bunko imprint. It currently has nine volumes out, as well as a manga adaptation by Sakayama Shinta. An anime adaptation aired as part of the Spring 2014 Anime season, beginning on April 10, 2014, with a continuation called Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle airing in the Fall 2014 Anime season.
Light Novel notes that that's a common problem for all wizards — their spells are slow and not very flexible, and thus are used more akin to the artillery on the battlefield.
The gandr that wizards used are supposedly this, if you go by how the average one is described in the Light Novel, as large, unwieldly, and generally not man-portable. It's why Chaika's rifle gandr was described as "unusual"... Then the anime goes on to show that the sniper rifle-type gandr was the gandr of choice for most of the wizards shown in the series. Unique it was not.
Ax-Crazy: Fredrica. A Running Gag following her introduction was for Toru and/or Akari to get into some sort of altercation, at which point she would appear, drawn by the violence and keen to start killing people.
Badass: The Acura siblings are expert warriors and practitioners of the "Iron Blood" skill.
Chaika is actually a Princess and daughter of Emperor Arthur Gaz of the Gaz Empire. She is also the only surviving member of the royal family after all of them were killed during the civil war.
Toru witnessed the death of his older sister figure Jasmine after she was attacked by bandits. Also, Jasmine was trying to protect her newborn baby.....which she failed.
Deus Exit Machina: The plot contrives situations where Fredrica is either not present, or is incapable of contributing to a melee fight, because as a dragoon she'd just destroy any opposition put against Toru's group.
Dying Curse: It's rumored that Arthur Gaz put one on the eight heroes that slew him. And it may well be true: in the first season, out of the 4 heroes we meet, only one of them is living comfortably in the post-war era. As for the other three, Dominica Skoda passed away from disease (the light novels reveal she lapsed into this after she discovered her sister had been murdered by bandits while she was off fighting the war against Gaz), Simon Scania was betrayed by his wife and best friend and driven to poverty and madness (and that's in the anime, in the Light Novelshe died shortly after defeating the Emperor), and Duke Gillard Gavarni and his family were savagely murdered and dismembered by his insane son Ricardo who then assumed his identity and attempted to ignite a world war using his father's flying castle "Soara". Of the three heroes met so far in the second season, Glen Donkervoort may not be destitute, but seems to live a humble life of a forester. Claudia Dodge struck it big, but her success as a major winemaker wasn't connected to her being one of the heroes anyway ( which is why she wasn't against giving up her part of the remains). Clay Morgan is a somewhat successful shipping magnate, but was seriously traumatized by the battle against Gaz and one look at Chaika sends him into a blind panic.
Foreshadowing: The very first scene in the anime is Blue Chaika/Layla learning the truth about the Chaikas and visibly crossing the Despair Event Horizon, foreshadowing not only her existence, and the nature of it, but also the White and Red Chaikas finding out the same way during Avenging Battle.. When she later appears during the Soara Fortress arc, she drops some pretty big hints to Chaika about why she exists and tells her that when she finds out, she too will cross the Despair Event Horizon.
Hell Hound: Orthros are canine Fayla with two heads. One head is more like a pseudo-head that lets it cast magic.
Human Resources: The body parts of Arthur Gaz can be used in magitek devices such as gandrs to enhance a Wizard's power.
The women taken aboard the flying fortress Soara are used this way.
I Am Not a Gun: Inverted- Toru (allegedly) feels listless now that his saboteur talents are not needed, and would very much like to become a living weapon again.
Idiot Hero: Akari herself cheerfully admits that she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and she's fine with it.
Chaika's gundr takes on the appearance of a .50 caliber sniper rifle that fires magic spells. It's not unique for being a fantasy-style gun but because it's incredibly small for a gundr. Most others can't be carried by a single person because of their size and weight, though this is true only for the Light Novel originals. In the anime rifle-type gandr are a must for any traveling wizard.
The most widespread type of gandr in their world is a mechanical carriage. Yes, you can drive only if you're a wizard, because there the cars are magical wands.
The unicorn's magic such as making platforms for it to run on.
When Chaika cast spells it makes magic circles that form around the barrel of her gandr.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Subverted. Simon Scania uses his remains to create a hallucinogenic fog. While the hallucination initially starts out blissful, the person ultimately ends up being betrayed by their loved ones and left alone, mirroring what happened to Simon himself. Toru falls into the fog and nearly crosses the Despair Event Horizon before Akari and Fredrica snap him out of it.
MacGuffin: Invoked. The Emperor's body parts that the main trio are searching for. The protagonists have on various occasions run out of magical fossil fuel and search every store for more despite owning multiple pieces of the most powerful magical fuel in existence. Antagonists who own parts seem to have no quarrel in using the parts for home defence.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The anime compresses, rearrange and changes scenes and omits some details and background that are in the light novel source material.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: Clay Morgan. He invites large numbers of entertainers to his house to distract him from his war memories, but one look at Chaika sends it all flooding back and sends him into a blind panic.
Shrine to Self: Dominica Škoda's mansion is filled to the brim with portraits and statues of herself, so the protagonists naturally think she's rather full of herself. Turns out that it's instead Fredrica who keeps the mansion like that to remember her dead master.
Spell My Name with an "S": Gandr, gundr, gunda... no one can seem to agree on how to spell the name of the magical focus objects in this world * The term is a pun with the term "Gandr", which is Old Norse for “magic staff, stick”, and the Japanese pronunciation of "gun" being "gan". Ergo, a gun that serves as a magic staff..
Spiritual Successor: To Scrapped Princess. A pair of powerful siblings escorting a somewhat hapless fugitive princess who may cause the end of the world, being chased by a group of professionals tasked to stop them, the latter of which made up of mostly decent folk just doing their jobs? They also get joined by an immensely powerful being called a dragoon that can take on the form of a cute girl. Sounds about right.
Spoiler Opening: The opening spoils, or at least heavily foreshadows, the existence of the Red and Blue Chaikas (Chaika is even seen casting aside a blue veil in an identical manner to Layla/Blue Chaika during The Reveal). It also foreshadows an injured Toru falling into the water, and Chaika diving in to save him, during the final episode.
Talking Is a Free Action: Averted during the battle against Claudia: as Claudia uses much shorter incantations than Chaika, whenever Chaika attempts to fire her gundr, Claudia manages to strike first and either interrupt or block the spell.
Chaika drops another layer on the Theme Name trope, as "Gaz Chaika" is the full name of the Soviet luxury car, GAZ-13/14, but a Trabant (her alias) is about as low-rent economy as you can get.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Dragoons are capable of this; their true form is a giant metal dragon about thirty feet long. Dominica Skoda's dragoon, Fredrica, initially masquerades as her deceased mistress, but can also transform into a cat as well as a Token Mini-Moe (specifically, into the form of Dominica's younger sister Lucile, who is, ironically, completely Adapted Out in the anime) form, both of which she uses to tag along with Toru and Akari.
War for Fun and Profit: It's probably an act, but Toru does spin his attitude this way to Gillette. Dropping the whole continent into the chaos and war once again? At least his skills will be needed again. On the other hand, Layla's group plays this trope seriously, in particular Ricardo Gavarni wants a war to break out simply because he will have more opportunities to murder people and indulge in his violent desires.
William Telling: In season 1 episode 8, Toru and Chaika do this performance.