Again, mostly action, so I’ll just stick with my quick impressions/observations. I suspect I won’t do a regular post again for Chaika until we see the finale, but that’s not exactly fair off, is it?
— It’s strange to see Toru try to reason with Akari: “But why did you betray Chaika? If you abandon your master, you’re no longer a saboteur.” You’d think if you know someone as long as he’s known her, you would suspect some sort of foul play. For instance, mind control… This is even easier in Chaika‘s universe since magic actually exists in it. Maybe Toru does know she’s being mind-controlled, but he thinks he can snap her out of it this way? That’s kind of silly, though.
— At the start of the scene, he says, “On the battlefield, a saboteur does whatever it takes.” But when he got the chance to put Akari down for good, he hesitates. I guess he’s not a real saboteur. I’m not even being snarky here. Thinking about it, his former master kept chiding his abilities, claiming that our hero wasn’t cut out to be a saboteur. Y’know what? Maybe he isn’t. Maybe Toru’s entire problem is that he’s been trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and that’s why he could never find a job before he met Chaika. Even after meeting Chaika, however, he’s more of a retainer or even a knight than a saboteur.
— Chaika still trusts “Layla.” This girl, man…
— As always, when there are three factions, two of the weaker factions will team up against the remaining one. Zita saves Toru’s life despite Vivi’s protestations. Speaking of which, Vivi is a rather one-dimensional character. Her reaction to every single situation is rather basic and lacking of nuance: “Zita, what are you saying? He’s–” He’s what? The enemy? Beneath her? Granted, after the incident with the purse thief a couple of episodes ago, my opinion of Vivi was already low to begin with, but everything I see here just reinforces the idea that she’s rather simple-minded. When you combined that with a sense of righteousness and superiority, you get an insufferable character.
— Case in point, Vivi indignantly asks, “You want to have the enemy help us escape?” So you’d rather die than be saved by the enemy? Now, we’re not talking about a child rapist or a mass murderer here. The two sides simply disagree on what’s to be done with Gaz’s remains. I think Vivi is being ridiculous and not in a good way. It’s even funnier that Zita has to remind Vivi what Alveric would want. Vivi will capitulate as soon as her beloved is brought up.
— Vivi: “Do you even realize the position you’re–…” Well, the same could be said of her.
— Ricardo says he intends to usher in a new age as he directs his airship to head towards a nation’s capital. Considering how he likes to slice young girls up for fun, however, I can’t imagine this “new age” will amount to anything meaningful. Layla’s probably the only person here with any grand aims, but we’ll just have to wait and see what they are.
— Doesn’t Chaika find it odd that one of the supposedly captured maidens has the means to prepare tea for the both of them? I guess not…
— Layla hints at what we’ve been suspecting ever since we saw the scar on Chaika’s neck: isn’t Chaika just a creation? And isn’t her mission just something she’s been programmed to do? Alright then, I’m prepared to hear the truth. Or rather, the truth as Layla sees it. Everyone has their own take on the world. I don’t doubt Layla has some very interesting tidbits to tell us, but I wouldn’t take them at face value just yet.
— Supposedly, when Chaika learns the meaning of her existence, she’ll fall into true despair. C’mon, quit teasing us already. Just tell us. But alas, the anime cuts back to Toru and his newfound allies.
— Indeed, we return to Toru, Zita, and a petulant child. The first two are trying to have a conversation about their current situation. Meanwhile, Vivi is only interesting in flinging shit around despite the gravity of their situation: “They must enjoy killing. Just like you.”
— The bad guys are not all that different in on respect: like Toru, they felt lost after the war. Thanks to their chance encounter with Layla, however, they’ve found a sense of purpose. It’s just too bad that sense of purpose involves kidnapping young girls and dicing them up in order to serve as magic fuel. Speaking of the dead girls, Toru removes a loose panel to discover a bunch of dead, brutalized girls hidden in the airship walls. So much for that guy’s theory that the kidnapped girls are now a part of Ricardo’s army. It’s alright, dude. Better luck next time.
— Still, something bugs me. After ten episodes of a rather carefree adventure, this has gotten rather grim all of a sudden, hasn’t it? I don’t know… there’s just something odd about how light-hearted the first 80% of the series was. Toru dueled a dragon until the dragon became a blonde loli who then joined his harem. Toru falls into a canyon and hallucinates a life alone with Chaika, but this scene was mostly used as comic relief. Toru and his girls then pretended to be a circus troupe in order to fool a bunch of thieves masquerading as the Neo Gaz Empire. Aaaaand now we’re dealing with a bunch of carved up girls stuffed inside a wall. The inconsistency in tone gives me pause.
— It’s also strange to see this sort of wanton violence, but the villains are nevertheless kind enough to cover up the dead girls’ breasts with bandages. I mean, if you’re going to humiliate the girls like this, why would you even care about her sexual modesty? I’m not asking to see a bunch of dead, naked girls, but at the same time, this is a bit immersion breaking. It takes me out of the story.
You can always employ any sort of convenient censoring to avoid showing any actual nudity. It’s not like this hasn’t been done in other shows. Certainly, when I see a dead body in True Detective, I don’t get full frontal nudity. At the same time, however, the show doesn’t pretend as though the serial killer was nice enough to cover up the victim’s private parts. I’m sure people will disagree with this, though.
— Ricardo’s motivations are rather quite simple. The war had allowed him to indulge his sadistic need to murder people. As a result, why not try to bring war back? All the characters have been like, “What is he trying to do? Start a war?” Boy, I can’t wait to see their faces when they find out how right they were. Still, there’s just one small problem: starting a war is not that simple. According to Layla, attacking the capital will “plunge the world into the warring states era again.” But how? Why would relations between the various nations instantly dissolve just because some renegade asshole with an airship attacked a capital? Ricardo has an airship, and within it, he’s got a few brigades of knights to protect him. But that’s not enough to start a full-blown war at all. At best, he might start a riot…
— Hilarious. Only now does Chiaka suspect that Layla’s story of being a kidnapped girl was a lie.
— Layla reasons, “You condemn me for lying? You, whose very existence is nothing but lies?” I’m sure that sounded very poetic in her head, but it makes no sense. Yes, how dare you get mad at me for lying when you yourself is someone… else’s… lie… yeah, j’accuse…
— Layla finally reveals herself to be a Chaika. Despite her normal speech patterns, however, this is probably the least flattering of the three Chaikas in my opinion.
— Oops, not all of the girls are dead. At least one of them has just been hanging upside-down without food or water for God only knows how long.
— In response to the poor girl begging for his help, Toru asks, “What happened? Who did this to you?” Well, if you really insist, I guess I can give you a hint…
— I can buy the premise the idea that Ricardo is torturing these girls in order to give them strong, powerful memories of pain and agony. This way, they become great sources of magic fuel. I take exception to this, however: “Intense pain, agony, and fear are easily etched deep in our memories… All the more so in sensitive young girls.” Come now… when you carve everyone up into a fleshy pulp, I doubt the gender matters anymore.
— For simplicity’s sake, I’ll just keep referring to Blue Chaika as Layla. Anyway, Layla’s conversation with Chaika continues, but it’s nothing really new if you’ve been keeping up with the series. Chaika is just one of many girls created in order to gather Gaz’s remains. Chaika’s memories are possibly fabricated. Different Chaikas have different traits.
— Of course, Layla claims that she knows the truth, but it turns out she only got the truth from some mysterious, shadowy figure. Who’s to say this mysterious, shadowy figure wasn’t lying to her as well? I’m not saying I believe Gaz had all these daughters, but Layla can’t exactly be too sure of herself either.
— I can’t see… I can’t see! Someone turn the damn lights on!
— Layla adds that Chaika’s kindness towards Toru is due to the fact that she has been created to act that way. Well, unless Layla was there during the creation of the Chaikas, she wouldn’t know this either. Someone had to tell her, and you can always chalk it up to confirmation bias, i.e. “Oh yeah, I do act like that… I must be the calculated one!” Again, I’m not saying Layla is wrong, but if we’re going to question things, we gotta question everything. And I obviously don’t give Chaika very much credit, but I still think she’s genuinely a nice person.
— Hm, I gave Toru too much credit. When asked why he and Akari are fighting, he confesses that he has no clue why. As a result, he doesn’t suspect that she’s being mind-controlled whatsoever. Thankfully, Zita is our nice, little expository device, so she clues Toru in on the truth.
— Welp, Layla’s motivations are not so grand after all, She’s only helping Ricardo out as her act of defiance against “the ones who orchestrated all this.” Yawn. None of you guys are big thinkers whatsoever.
— Elsewhere, Guy says, “I guess there are pros and cons to ensuring diversity…” Anyone want to take a stab at what he’s talking about? I imagine he’s talking about the Chaikas and their different personalities, but shrug…
— So Fredrica shows up very briefly only to be taken out by this… thing:
It stabs her in the brain, so you might think she’s dead, but eh… maybe she’s just lobotomized. Actually, I’m sure she’ll be fine, but we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.
— Alveric tries to prevent a battle from breaking out, but I think the commander is right. This is just one domain lord’s rebellion. How on earth will this become a full-scale war? I’m also not very surprised the army would wait until Alveric’s two girls make it out safely. I’m not saying I agree with the army’s blatant disregard for human life, but honestly, what do you expect?
— Anyway, the episode ends with Toru looking all heroic and stuff.