Our heroes need a better strategy. Instead of just coming right out and asking for Gaz’s remains, maybe they could first say, “Claudia said you might be able to help us….” It’s possible that they don’t want to inconvenience Claudia, especially when you consider how hospitable she was to them. Nevertheless, if fulfilling this mission is of the utmost importance, perhaps they should put aside their concerns for other people besides themselves. Anyway, Clay Morgan is scared that Chaika might curse him, so I’m thinking that hearing Claudia’s name might, well, keep him from flipping his shit. Of course, it’s not like he doesn’t have a good reason to be scared. After all, he supposedly saw one of his allies kill Gaz’s daughter. Now that Chaika has appeared before him, what is he supposed to think? I don’t blame him for thinking that Chaika’s ghost has returned for revenge, especially if the act of killing Gaz really traumatized the dude that much.
More importantly, however, Morgan’s account pretty much supports the idea that Chaika’s nightmare was something that had really happened. Remember, she also saw herself get beheaded by one of the members of the punitive force. But if she had died all those years ago, then what is she doing here? After meeting Morgan, those existential concerns are back in full force this week. Chaika even asks around for any clues regarding the existence of some hidden island — the same hidden island that might contain all of Gaz’s magical documents. Those same documents might just tell us who Chaika really is. Of course, we’ve suspected that something was off with Chaika since the very start of the first season. Hell, ever since we saw that bizarre scar on Chaika’s neck, we knew something was up with the girl. Still, this is the first time Chaika has had to confront the questions of her existence. Likewise, this is the first time she’s entertained any doubts about her mission.
Toru, on the other hand, is a bit selfish in this week’s episode. He’s astute enough to know what’s been troubling Chaika. Nevertheless, he encourages her to continue looking for the rest of her father’s remains. He thinks the information concerning the island is too vague, and as such, it’s too dangerous to look for it. Still, I think there’s more to this than that. I think he’s also afraid of what Chaika might find on that island. If Chaika isn’t real, then she might not want to continue her mission. The way I see it, knowing who you are is far more important than fulfilling some mission that you’ve been told to fulfill. The show’s been hinting pretty heavily that he sort of likes her, and she sort of likes him back. If he cares so much about her, then shouldn’t he prioritize her personal concerns over Gaz’s remains? That’s what I’d do if I was in his shoes. I wouldn’t want to complete the mission only for the girl to realize that she was nothing more than a pawn from the very start.
Nevertheless, when Chaika told Toru that she’d look for the island alone if he didn’t want to help, he suddenly jumps to the conclusion that he’s been fired. For the first time in a long time, Toru’s life has a purpose, and he probably doesn’t want to give it up. If Chaika’s fears are confirmed, she may very well abandon her mission. If that’s the case, where does that leave our formerly unemployed saboteur? Toru is thus being rather selfish and inconsiderate. I don’t think he’s doing it consciously, mind you. He’s likely operating on just his instincts, and of course, he’s also concerned for Chaika’s safety. But again, if he was only concerned for her safety, then why would he walk away? When Chaika berates him for not understanding her feelings, he says, “Saboteur will risk their lives as tools to serve their master’s purpose, but once we’re fired, that’s it.” Fine, whatever. But c’mon, she didn’t really fire him. More importantly, however, screw Toru, the Saboteur. What about Toru, the person, want?
The truth is, Toru’s got his own existential concerns to worry about, too. Again, he was jobless before he met Chaika. Perhaps he was jobless because he didn’t and still doesn’t really know who he is or what he’s supposed to be. He’s also afraid to answer these questions. As a result, he stubbornly clings to his identity as a saboteur. If Hitsugi no Chaika has any recurring theme, personal identity is definitely it. We’ve seen the lives of many former heroes fall apart completely as soon as the war ended. But the world can’t be paralyzed with conflict forever. These warriors must therefore adapt and change to the new world that they helped create. Some, like Claudia, have done so brilliantly. You can’t help but wonder why Toru is so reluctant to find a new path in life, especially when being stuck in his own ways also forces him to walk away from Chaika, someone he supposedly cares about. At the end of the day, Akari had to talk some sense into him. Unfortunately, Chaika has already run off.
Anyway, the plot thickens as Stephan Hartgan, the man who supposedly killed Chaika, is expecting our Chaika to show up at his doorstep. Not only that, Shin Acura, the guy who had trained both Toru and Akari, works for Hartgan. And oh yeah, the former hero has two doting daughters that look somewhat like Chaika as well. But the plot twists don’t end there: we all suspected that Alveric would somehow survive that attack at the end of the first season, but I doubt anyone thought he’d show up in Hartgan’s employ like this. Last but not least, Red Chaika and her group confront Toru as he is chasing after White Chaika. Still, there is a whole lot more meaningful characterization in this week’s episode compared to last week’s. People can assert up and down that I simply “don’t get” the show’s more light-hearted moments, but we all have different ways to go about enjoying anime. As such, take my posts with a grain of salt. I certainly do the same with other people’s posts.