We all have guilty pleasures, this week is time for me to talk about one of them: Harem series based on
adult visual novels, and one of the most decent exponents on the genre in the past years: Love, Elections & Chocolate (Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate or KoiChoco for short)
Disclaimer: This is part of a series of reviews of Anime which I think people should be more aware of. For that purpose I'm using the tag Ani-NOW, meaning Anime No One Watched, I'm tweaking the format a little to adjust to the objective of the review series: Try to make people interested in watching the show without spoiling too much.
Summary: Oojima Yuuki and his childhood friend Sumiyoshi Chisato are members of the Food Research Club, a school club that is a flimsy excuse for their friends to get together and eat snacks. However, the club is threatened by the upcoming student council presidential election, with the incumbent mired in scandal, and the leading candidate from one of the opposing parties, Shinonome Satsuki, campaigning on cutting the funding of the Food Research Club and other clubs deemed not to have achieved anything. With a set of less than impressive alternatives in the field, Chisato and the other club members decide their best bet is to nominate Yuuki for the student council presidential election. A tale of heated competition, romance, candies and panties in the trash follows.
- The main character Yuuki is a level headed guy that is aware of what is happening around him, and people feelings for him, so it's nice to see that things develop naturally for him. He's busy running around the place doing his job, he meets people by chance (mostly girls), talks and bonds with them afterwards. He tries to help people not only by virtue of his nature, but also because as someone who's running for the Student Council presidency he can learn and benefit from it. He makes an interesting lead
- The series manages to stay interesting until the end despite the clichés and generic comedy. That the Anime manages to blend those two things really nice in order to present an interesting story is a positive thing in my book. And to top that there is the Election bit that can keep you in the edge of your seat.
- The first half of the series is full of interesting things and developments. The election is such a big deal that the former president had to left his position due to a scandal. Competition for the position is now on and now accusations of corruption, stealing money from the school fund, people back stabbing each other and shady dealings below the table follow. School kids thinking they're running a country is quite a sight to see. All of this while maintaining the lighthearted nature of the interactions in the Food Research Club, and building relationships with potential love interests. The blend works very nice.
- Wasted potential. The series starts with a very cool premise, and as I mentioned, the pace in the first half of the series is really good but at the end the romance ends up weak, and they tried to include romance a lot in the second half, causing the most interesting parts of the premise to be downplayed (like the scene where one of the girls is bullied and the bullies took her panties and throw them to the trash. It was such a powerful moment in the anime that could've fueled the political story some more). All in all the second half was overloaded and the most interesting bits were downplayed
- The misleading first scene of the first episode. The scene was intense and showed such a promising plot and ideas for the series. Unfortunately that part is somewhat forgotten or not used trough the rest of the series, causing people expectations to be betrayed.
- The last one is a personal one. I like chemistry between characters, I think chemistry is the most important thing in a romantic series, but for some reason the characters I think have the best one between them never end up as a couple. Now the next part is somewhat spoilery so skip to the "In short" section if you don't want to be spoiled. Trough the series definitely the characters with the best chemistry between them are Yuuki and Satsuki, they make the best and more natural couple, and so I think it's a shame that the series didn't take risks and decided to play it safe by going the childhood friend route that in my opinion was somewhat forced and weak (despite his arc being one of the most interesting).
In short: A really interesting first half ruined by the wasted potential of the second half, still the unique blend of politics and romance worked nicely and if you like this type of series, you may want to give this series a try.
- In episode 5, in order to promote Yuuki's campaign, characters from the Food Research Club are seeing wearing cosplay, their choices? Chisato is seeing cosplaying as Madoka Kaname, and Kii and Ai as Miki Sayaka and Kyoko Sakura respectively. All those characters from the Puella Magi Madoka Magica series
- In December of the same year that KoiChoco aired, developer Fairys (a sister brand of Sprite, the studio that developed KoiChoco) released their new game Ima Sugu Oniichan ni Imōto da tte Iitai, that takes places in the same universe that KoiChoco, the female cast of characters made an appearance in one episode of the series. Not only that but one of them is Chisato's cousin and other one is Satsuki's childhood friend. Both of them appear in that game as guest characters.
- Sprite announced an all ages PSP adaptation of the game and to celebrate that port, they decided to add a route to the game to be chose via a fan voting, the candidates were Hazuki Shinonome, Nozomi Edagawa, Hidaka Shiohama and Oboro Yumeshima. The winner to a lot of people surprise was Nozomi Edagawa (Non-chan), avoiding a trap in the process ;)