Don’t Be So “Koi”
One thing I have noticed lately are ‘informational’ animes. If we were to call them ‘educational’, you would run away screaming into the night. One is “Spice and Wolf”, which tells, in a rather oblique manner, the laws of supply and demand and how economics work. Another would be “Upotte!”, which gives a history of modern weaponry and the history behind some more popular arms.
“Koi to Senyko to Chocolate” (also known as “Love, Elections and Chocolate”) is another of these, which gives an inside view into how the election process works in general, and school elections for our tale.
Welcome to school! We are at Takafuji Private Academy, a large school with over 6,000 students. Yuki Oojima (the focus of everyone’s attention above) is a member of the Food Research Club, along with seven others, including his childhood friend Chisato Sumiyoshi (the buxom number in the 1 o’clock position). Let’s run down the rest of the crew:
Nozomi Edagawa, 3 o’clock. She is younger than everyone, but was skipped grades as she is a girl genius (or mad scientist).
Mifuyu Kiba, 5 o’clock. Although she is a year older than everyone, an ailment held her back a year.
Ai Sarue, 6 o’clock. She wears a hair ornament of a carrot as her family runs a vegetable store.
Kii Monzen’naka, 7 o’clock. These two are very good friends. She wears a hair ornament shaped like a fish as HER family runs a fish shop.
Michiru Morishita, 9 o’clock. She is the most Neko character I have ever seen. She usually holds her hands in a cat paw pose.
Oboro Yumeshima, 11 o’clock. His parents run a confectionary company and the Club beta tests the food for them (as can easily be seen).
The one in back, looking dazed, is their teacher advisor, Hazuki Shinonome. In the hand you cannot see is a massive stein of beer.
The members leisurely spend their time in the club not doing much, except eating and drinking (and for the teacher, a LOT of drinking. I don’t ever remember a classroom having a beertap in it.) When the election of the next student council president comes up, the front runner, Satsuki Shinonome, proposes that clubs that have no merit should be sorted out and abolished and that funding overall should be cut as well. The Food Research Club seeks advice from the current student council president, Yakumo Mōri, who suggests Yuki run in the election as an opposing candidate. Yuki learns about the issues facing the school and decides to run in the election.
So we actually have two stories going on here. The first is what it takes to run an election, the second is the terrible secret that plagues Chisato (and it cannot be revealed, as it is a major plot point) and how everyone is able to reconcile these issues.
There is also a third, backstory, which underlies all of this, but that comes to the forefront when needed, so we will let it lie fallow.
Don’t let the number of girls fool you. Although it is a romantic comedy at its base, it is not a harem comedy. We slowly start to see Oojima discover what it really takes to be a leader, to take command of one’s self and what true sacrifice means. We also see that politics is about as dignified as a kick in the crotch, as all kinds of dirty pool is played. However, that which makes the show interesting makes it equally weak.
It is as if the show didn’t know what it wanted to do and so, in trying to cover all bases, succeeded in not doing that thorough of a job. Some things that should have been explained were not and some things were over-emphasized. It was a good attempt and I was interested in it…until the last three episodes and especially the last two, when it just went off the rails. You are not running for the Diet; it’s just a private school that you’ll be leaving in two or so year, so why the fervor? And there are times that you feel really cheated by the turn of events, but I wonder if that was deliberate. But even with its flaws, I would suggest it, if only for the primer on politics. But, much like politics, you are left feeling vaguely dissatisfied in the end.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 9 (Very good artwork, even when it gets goofy)
Plot 6 (Too many strings to keep apart)
Pacing 7 (Runs satisfactory)
Effectiveness 7 (Strains credulity)
Conclusion 9 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but it does end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (A lot more direction is needed)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. What ARE Yaoi candy sticks?