A Visual novel allows the author to create an interactive story that lets the audience blend with it. Many of these make the jump from the game to the TV. Some of them with great success like Steins;Gate or Amagami SS. Others, well, they are just forgotten. And who can blame the audience? There are a ton of them. Today we’ll talk about one of those overlooked VN adaptations which in retrospect it almost deserves that oversight, I’m talking of “Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate”.
About the show
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate (恋と選挙とチョコレート) also known as Love, Election and Chocolate is an adaptation of a Visual Novel from the same. Announced on Nov 2011, the anime aired during the Summer season of 2012. Its entire run consisted of twelve episodes and a 13th unaired episode bundled with 7th DVD/BD volume.
“Yūki Ōjima attends Takafuji Private Academy, a large school with over 6,000 students, where he is a member of the Food Research Club along with seven others, including his childhood friend Chisato Sumiyoshi. The members leisurely spend their time in the club doing very little. When the election for the next student council president comes up, the front runner Satsuki Shinonome proposes that clubs which have no merit should be sorted out and abolished. Since their club is in that list, they do their best to save it.”
Politics is something we don’t see frequently on anime, often times is portrayed as mere bureaucratic tasks that men in suits do. So it comes as a surprise when the main focus of a VN adaptation is political intrigue and conspiracy. The show is not subtle about it, the very first scene involves a spy following people and obtaining evidence of shadowy deals among those in power. Just to be run over minutes after by an unknown figure. Cut to the cute opening. And don’t expect this to be the only tonal shift, the show repeatedly goes from one mood to another without warning.
Now, the main plot is a little complicated to explain, but let’s try to dig in. So, the story begins in the Takafuji Private Academy which allows its students to almost run the operation of the school, it works as a mini-state within the state. As any other large group of people, the school society is divided in hierarchies of power and social classes. The student council is the maximum authority in the school, to the point they can fire and hire teachers. Their powers are limited though by the three branches of school government: Public Safety Commission, General Affairs Commission and the Financial Resources Commission. These branches handle all the affairs in the school and are factions of power that are constantly fighting to obtain the power of the student council.
As I said, there are also classes. There are regular students and financial aid students. Our MC are regular ones, people wealthy enough to pay the fees. Financial aid students are students with good grades but with no money that they are allowed to attend as long as they work in companies that have deals with the school after their study hours. Financial aid students are not allowed to vote on the Student Council election and also they are prohibited from joining or founding school clubs. Discrimination against these students is rampant.
Our MC, Oojima, is a member of one of those clubs. As the election season begins, the candidate endorsed by the Finance Commission makes it clear that she wants to cut and disband clubs that are drying the capital of the school. And while the MC and his friends know their club does fill that description, they want to defend it. The only way to do it is by running as an independent candidate to try to stop these reforms. They know nothing about elections or politics, but then they get help from the current student council president and member of the Public Safety commission, Mouri. But his help does not come as a good gesture and by accepting it, Oojima gets a glimpse of the dirty world that is politics.
What I’ve just described is a mere drop of the events that unfold during the twelve episodes. There were times where I was taken back and had to rewatch a previous episode to understand what was happening. This show is a bunch of stuff. Sometimes you are watching a comedy harem, then you are watching a drama and to finalize the episode you got a spy story. Pure nonsense that doesn’t pay off. And that’s the main detriment of the show.
None of the genres that are stuffed in this show work as they should. Romantic plot is all over the place. The interactions between the girls and the MC are boring, one of the worst ones being the childhood friend (Chisato). Half of the show is nothing but her whining at the MC, and while we get a backstory (She lost her little brother and then she met Ojima and she wants to make him a replacement for her brother), by that point we don’t care. The climax scene is where the MC almost dies which bring Chisato’s trauma back, they come to the apartment and she refuses to leave him. Oojima frustrated, tells her “I’m sorry by what happened” and then, she begins to scream “Liar, liar” and pushes the MC against a mirror hurting him. It doesn’t make sense in the context of the show.
The politics of this show are probably the only thing that is worth rescuing. It does a great job of explaining concepts like demagogy, austerity, division of powers and how elections work. The most memorable scene is where Oojima presents itself to the school as the independent candidate, because it is explained before that people will prefer someone who is not a member of the groups that maintain power because they see it as infighting and not caring about the issues of the electorate, I mean students. Classism is other topic that is handled OK for this type of show. It does not come as corny or awkward and there’s a reason why it exists within the show but like I said, it gets mixed with a bunch of other issues and makes it blurry and not as important as it should be.
It’s a mess, and really does not make a good job of creating a compelling story. Amusing for what is, I’ll give it points for trying to introduce different approaches to the classic harem VN, but the choices were bad. If the VN is different, I don’t know, but as a separate entity it fails to be a passable show falling into the forgettable. I don’t recommend it at all, if you want to play the VN, go ahead. The show is available where anime is.