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Alethea & Athena
Chaika: The Coffin Princess volume 4 
6th-Apr-2016 01:01 pm
Today is Review Rednesday! And I figured we might as well post early, because why not? But first, I absolutely must give a shout out to Bungo Stray Dogs, because it is AMAZING. I feel like I use all caps to emphasize things a lot lately, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing, but I'm just feeling caps more than italics.

Anyway, it's great, because it's basically like what would happen if famous Japanese authors from about a hundred years ago were super-powered detectives? And it's brought to us by the same director-writer team as Ouran High School Host Club, so you know it's going to be good! And the music is done by the same guy as Noragami! And we're especially excited about it, because the main character is played by Yuto Uemura, who played our second-(or third-)favorite god in Kamigami no Asobi, and he's been in almost nothing we've seen since then! And he has almost no emotion in KamiAso, but in this he has so many emotions! And we're like, "Hey, the kid can act!" Not that we ever doubted, but Tsukito really only has emotions in the one really bizarre ending. And the cast also includes the voices of Balder and Loki (our third-(or second-)favorite), so we have hope that maybe Anubis (our definitely most favorite) will show up later.

But even without our favorite voice actors, this show is amazing! The premise is fascinating, the characters are a lot of fun, the animation is fantastic, and all the colors are so pretty! This is one show I might say has stunning visuals and not as a euphemism for "I hated it". So if you haven't watched it yet, go check it out, because it's so great!!!

And now on to the review. This week, we bring you Chaika: The Coffin Princess! Spoiler level: very mild. And it's a pretty fun read, because we were clearly exhausted when we wrote it!

This is the first in a series of three reviews that may or may not all be written in a chunk, because we don't know how to organize our time properly to write reviews in a timely manner. Anyway, first up, Chaika: The Coffin Princess, volume...four? Four.

Chaika is a unique series for us because it somehow always comes along right exactly when Gaston wants to go to Disneyland (or at least for volumes one and four; we'd have to check some dates to find out for sure), and so we somehow seem to be translating Chaika and being physically at Disneyland at the same time, even though that's not even possible, so it's certainly not true at all.

And besides, this time it was more like we were dead from Disneyland, by which I mean we had just gotten back from Disneyland, and somehow managed to be completely and utterly drained of all kinds of energy both physical and mental so it's a wonder if this book has any coherency at all. If it does, you might very well have the Yen Press editors to thank. Or maybe it turned out to be especially brilliant, and we're just extra good at things when we're braindead.

So what happened in this volume, anyway? No, I'm asking you. I really don't remember. Hold on, let me check.

Dominica, Athena tells me. And Orthrus. I'm still not sure if that should be capitalized. It's a two-headed dog from Greek mythology, like the middle child in Cerberus's family. I don't know who the third one would be. Maybe Fenrir, but that's a completely different mythology and not even really the same species. But I will agree with the manga artist that we were pretty excited about the orthrus fight, too. Why? Because action scenes are super easy to translate. Unless they have weird sound effects, or a lot of banter, or, as in the case of Kurasame, philosophizing. But this one was just fighting, and only one of the fighters even had the capacity to talk, so there wasn't talking and it was super easy.

Of course, there was the one German spell. Did I talk about this in the volume one review? The spells involving faera seem to all be sort of German but not necessarily. This is a source of frustration for us, because Gaston speaks fluent German, but he doesn't understand how katakana works, so he cannot help us, and believe me, we tried. But anyway, our strategy is to look up German dictionaries online, and then browse through them for any word that might possibly sound like the one spoken in katakana. The grammar is practically nonexistent from what we can tell (just a bunch of words strung together with no conjugation, and I think not even verbs sometimes), but sometimes we find words that seem like they apply to the faera in question, so we throw them in there. We have no idea how this ends up in the final version because we don't have time to check our comp copies (to see how the editors change it and think, "Oooh, nooo! Why are we not good enough to make it so the editors don't need to change it!?" (or, depending on our mood, "Why couldn't they see the brilliance of what we wrote!?")).

Where was I? Right, Orthrus battle. But we're done talking about that. There's also Dominica. Did I have something to say about Dominica? The deer skinning scene is one we could have done without. Sakayama-sensei said this volume was mostly setup, and it's true, so we're interested in seeing what's going to happen next. Not that we weren't interested in this volume, just that we were braindead. And that there's not much to say about it, either.

Chaika is adorable as usual. Athena says mainly her thoughts on this volume, at the time of translation, were, "Why is everyone talking so much STOOOOOOOP...!!" And mine are, "Huh...?" Not in a confused way, but in a, "Did you say something?" way.

So read it for the adorable Chaika, and so you won't be confused when you read volume five. And to see how the German spell turned out! And to see if we're capable of anything immediately after a trip to Disneyland. If the answer is no, we will give you Gaston's email address so you can send a complaint to him. (No we won't.)

Today I'm thankful for getting to see Bungo Stray Dogs (it's so good!), getting to watch something new with Yuto Uemura in it, getting to read amusing reviews that we don't even remember writing, having Nutrageous to look forward to at some point, and still having vacation time to enjoy.
6th-Apr-2016 05:35 pm (UTC)
The part about music-by-Noragami-guy caught my attention :D I will check it out! (uh-oh, my list of various-and-sundry-things-to-check-out is getting out of hand...)

Chaika v4 is also now on my stack of book-things to check out. (I got Yen books this week!) Your review is funny :) (as is the fact that you don't even remember writing it now, though I'm not surprised given the state you seemed to be in at the time.) I will mentally address any complaints I might have against it to Gaston.
6th-Apr-2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought later that it might have been a good idea to say what else the character designer has done, but I don't always follow character designers as closely as other production people, so I really don't know. Anyway, we hope you enjoy it! (If you act now, you'll have seen all there is to see after only one episode--no backlog!)

We're glad you liked the review! (Actually, there are a lot of reviews we don't remember. It's kind of like we hold all our memories of a book in our heads just long enough to write the review, then we file it all away, including memories of the review itself, so we can focus on other things. This is why it's important to write the reviews as soon as possible. And because of that, we don't cross a book off our to-do list until the review has been written. It's helped us stay on top of things so far!) Good, your complaints will be going to the right place! XD
7th-Apr-2016 01:09 am (UTC)

You didn't tell me one of my favourite voice actresses is in it too!! (I only have two favourites, and this is the one who doesn't play Yona :D) I'm not naming her in case you care, since I don't think she actually showed up in this episode, but ANN has a character listed for her.) Eeeeee~ (but for all I know she could be a totally minor character. It's hard to say...)

I don't know character designers at all. I would think whatever I like or dislike about character design would be traced back to the original manga artist, so... But anyway, I watched the show, and it was very pretty both in art style and animation quality!!! (one would hope so in a first episode), and interesting, and I enjoyed the Arrows :) (my favourite character in the Ouran anime! (that's kind of a joke.)) So I will keep watching as long as I don't get distracted! Thank you for bringing it up :D
7th-Apr-2016 02:16 am (UTC)
Nope, fortunately we managed to avoid casting spoilers for this one, sort of. We actually found out about it more from Mamoru Miyano's blog than any other source (Miyano-kun even posted a trailer on his official Facebook page; the trailer listed voice actors, but we made it a point not to read those captions). This is one of the other reasons we enjoy it so much.

We tend to think that, too, which is probably why we don't always pay attention, but for example, the character designs for Elemental Gelade look remarkably like the ones for DN Angel, even though the manga are by different artists with different styles, and yet the anime character designs are not that unfaithful to either series. We're also noticing a similarity of character style in the Host Club and Snow White with the Red Hair anime series. More importantly, though, the coloring style matches them both (but I know it's not the same character designer as Host Club; not sure on Snow White), and I love that coloring style. ...It's not so much the color schemes, though, as, like, how they do shading and stuff. Whatever it is, it's pretty.

Anyway, we're glad you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to see more!
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