This is review number ninety three and I’m back in the Summer 2012 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is “Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate” or Love, Elections & Chocolate. It’s a twelve episode anime where a girl eating pocky was run over by a car. Oh wait, that’s not the story at all. It’s about a girl being bullied and her panties were thrown in the trash. Oh wait, that’s not it either. Hm.
The anime is about the Food Research Club (FRC) who is planned to be disbanded after the new budget cuts of the school is implemented once a new student council president is elected. All clubs that have no value are disbanded and other clubs are brutally slashed. This doesn’t sit well with the members of FRC and they decided to fight. The will send one of their own into the election campaign and pray that the person will become president. The new budget proposal will now be stopped and the FRC’s normal days of just eating snacks and talking to each other will remain unchanged. Yuuki Oojima was voted to run and he begrudgingly accepts. The election is a brutal process though with powers that be planning to get their elected candidate to become president so they can rule the school. Can a club who basically do nothing but eat sweets be able to do something as meaningful as running a campaign and convince the rest of the school to vote for Yuuki?
Taking the Pants Off
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is an interesting anime. I have to admit that I am in love with the premise and the possibilities the anime have with the interesting premise excites me. The anime had me worried though because it’s a visual novel adaptation and it uses far too many cliché for the premise to shine through. I’ve seen a lot of anime and if you just take a peek at the anime I review in this site alone, it’s safe to say that I know my anime. Visual Novel anime usually starts out great then usually crumbles at the second half. This anime seems to follow a familiar pattern of delivering a great first half then overloads the second half. My otaku instinct is telling me to beware of such pitfalls. After finishing the anime, my feelings are a bit mixed. There are certain elements of the anime that works really brilliantly but it also has elements that were equally bad.
The premise of the anime is about a club that does nothing but eat sweets and play around suddenly faced with a big problem of being disbanded. They get Yuuki to run for president so the club remains untouched. The interesting part of this premise is that the election is such a big deal that the former president left his position because of a scandal. The members of the student council are now trying to get the vacant seat. Accusations of corruption and stealing money from the school fund are then thrown around as they try to stop each other from running for president. There are divisions like the Financial Affairs Department and the General Affairs Department trying to get the presidency so they can rule the school and do as they please. As you can see, the anime is heavy on political issues. I find it a bit ridiculous because the characters are kids and they are attending school but they act as if they run a country. In fact, the members admittedly believe they run a country. It’s really over the top with political red tape and shady dealings done below the table that it gives you the impression that the Student Council is like a real government with power hungry individuals. Can you imagine high school kids acting like government officials doing political stuff just to get the highest seat of the school? It’s a bit ridiculous and stupid but it’s really interesting at the same time. This premise is fresh and unique that I was hooked after the premise was clearly told.
The anime wasn’t direct with the premise though. It started out weak with a lot of cliché elements thrown into the first three episodes that you fear the anime will fail. My first impression of the anime is that it’s like Setokai no Ichizon where there is a level headed guy and a bunch of quirky characters that spends their time in the club room. It’s also like To Hearts (love this show) where the level headed guy is busy running around the place and he meets girls by chance then they talk and bond afterwards. Lastly, it has the same set up as Amagami SS where a bunch of girls will likely get turns being with the guy. So it’s a Setokai no Ichizon meets To Hearts meets Amagami SS kind of anime judging by the first three episodes and that just doesn’t impress me. I honestly thought the anime will be a massive clusterf*ck but there is balance in the elements and the pacing was able to accommodate the clichés and the premise of the anime.
The anime have certain clichés like the childhood friend who wakes you up at episode one, the level headed guy that bumps into girls and has chance encounter with them, a group of girls with one guy on their mind, the senior that looks like a kid but is actually a genius, overly hyper characters and all other form of sh*t that makes up one big ball of shiny cliché. Those clichés have a certain purpose though in the anime as it adds humor and comedy to the story that counters the serious political jargon of the anime. Yuuki runs for president and the anime takes a very detailed look at how to run for president. They undergo a primary voting to elect the official candidates, there is a news team that reports the change in the polls, and candidates tries to collect money to run. It has a nice air of realism to it that comes off as brilliant but also over the top. That’s the perfect combination for an anime and I’m surprised such an idea wasn’t explored yet. When you mix the appeal of the clichés and the brilliance of the premise, you get a really interesting mix of School, Comedy and Political that can only be seen in this anime. The main story of the anime is seeing Yuuki undergo the process of campaigning and trying to become president. I truly believe that if the anime focused on this alone then the result will be phenomenal. I was so involved with Yuuki, who has no knowledge of politics, going up against two very powerful candidates and try to win it all. I wish the anime was just about that but it isn’t. The anime also has another genre to it: Romance.
The romance aspect of the anime easily held back the potential of the story. The anime is a Visual Novel (VN) adapted anime. In the game, you pursue a girl and follow her “route” then try to make her fall in love with you. There are five girls to choose from and VN anime usually try to include all possible routes but solely sticking to one in the end. The anime slipped in some personal problems of Yuuki with certain girls of the anime. The political story actually stopped in the second half just so Yuuki can set up some romantic scenes with the girls. The momentum of the anime was greatly compromised and the interesting elements of the first half with political strategies and friendly rivalry among the candidates was halted in the second just so Yuuki can have time for some romance. The romance didn’t really blend with the story. They could’ve used some of the personal conflicts and present them while the political story is still going. They could’ve used sub plots and have the story flow forward while having romance in the sides but the anime didn’t do that. First half is where the premise shined and the second was dedicated to romance. I’ll give points for trying to develop the characters but the process didn’t really enhance the story. It doesn’t really matter if this girl doesn’t like to eat chocolate and the reason for that won’t really help Yuuki in the elections. So the story was dropped so Yuuki can tend to this girl and her problems. It was a big lull in the anime while you excitedly wait for the conclusion of the election.
The anime took time to discuss a girl’s route but it also opened subplots in the anime which the anime didn’t need so it dropped them along the way. There was a scene in the anime where one of the girls was bullied and the bullies took her panties. It was such a powerful moment in the anime that could’ve fueled the political story some more but the anime decided to downplay it. There was a scene where Yuuki cooked dinner for his teacher teasing something big but it was downplayed as well. There was a love triangle set up in the first half but guess what. It was downplayed as well. In the first half, it was actually part of the big ball of cliché so it actually clicked with the story but when it entered the second half, the anime needed just one route to follow so all the others were dropped. The Romance is actually the weakest part of the anime because it added nothing to it and the payoff was just confusing. The love story was also badly rushed but it’s not the first time a VN anime rushed a love story.
There is also a villain in the anime that appeared in the second half. At first, I thought that the villains would be one of the candidates but they were actually downplayed in the second half and a new baddie appeared. This one actually appeared at a great time because it explained the weird scene in the first episode with a girl being run down by a car. It actually tied in to the political story of the anime where this baddie was pulling the strings and making sure Yuuki loses the election. It sets up for an interesting climax in the anime and I believe the buildup would’ve been smoother if the romance didn’t impede the story’s progression.
The anime was badly rushed in the later episodes though because it tried to make closure to all the issues the anime presented. The hit and run in the first episode, the story behind the girl not liking chocolates, the other girl hating her sister and many more. I was focused on the political story with the big fight feel to it and I believe it saved the anime. The interesting premise was carried through until the end even if the scenes leading to it was bit sour. Some people say there is Drama in the anime but it had a weak presence and the big ball of cliché ruined it a bit. It wasn’t really a prominent element of the anime. The Political, Comedy and School elements are what make this anime amazing. I wish I could say “ignore the romance” but the romance will come and I certainly hope it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment for you as it did for me.
Sight and Sound
The anime has an amazing character design that it adapted from the VN. They are all archetypes but no one looks the same and there is much detail in the characters that even minor ones have an impact on the viewing experience. Even those girls that just randomly talks to Yuuki on the streets is designed pretty nicely. The hairstyle and the faces of the girls make a very impressive combination that really captures the appeal of the VN. The studio put a lot of effort in making the characters visually pleasing. The anime has a very bright color palette that is nice to look at. The uniforms of the girls also add some appeal to them. The only thing that looks plain is Yuuki who serves as the level headed guy that everybody likes. He comes from a long line of overly used archetypes so his plain-ness actually complements his personality. There are also some eccentric characters in the anime like the candidate of the general affairs department that has a mask on his face with a weird drawing in it. I think it’s his face, I’m not sure. It was pretty funny though and it’s a shame he had no role in the second half.
The visual appeal of the anime is pretty strong. There is some stand out scenes in the anime like the bridge shown in the opening sequence. Most of the sceneries are clean scenic shots that jut emphasizes the grandness of the school. There are scenes that bring forth the political elements of the anime. The big stadium where the characters deliver their speeches is ridiculously big for a school gathering and the student council meeting on the first episode held a meeting a room that looks like a supreme court. Other than that, the anime doesn’t really stand out in terms of background but the details on the characters are superb that you don’t need stunning backgrounds.
The OP of the anime is “Signal Graph” by Annabel. It’s a nice song that reflects the romance of the anime. It’s a bit too ordinary for me but what do I know. Annabel’s voice just seems to be a bit too simple that it feels like she is trying to keep up with the beat of the song. The OP sequence summarized the anime and even presented some spoilers. Some of the best scenes of the anime are in the OP sequence and that is just bad. Spoilers are bad.
The ED song is “Kaze no Naka no Primrose” by Ceui. It also a romantic song but it has the same feel as the OP. The ending sequence features all the girls in the VN you can fall in love with and it just bums me out that the girl I like didn’t get the guy. I was also surprised that the teacher wasn’t among the girls. That’s too bad because she was fun.
6/10 “The Romance of the anime was weak and it almost ruined the anime’s potential but it manages to stay interesting until the end.”
My otaku instinct was right. The second half was not as great as the first and the potential of the anime was almost ruined. The over the top political story of the anime combined with the generic comedy of overused clichés the anime presented makes for an interesting story. I recommend it.