Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate Final Review [Excellent]

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate finishes up as one of the best shows of Summer 2012

Final Episode Review

KoiChoco wrapped up the storyline in dramatic fashion this week (there is another BD episode, but is supposed to be a Beach one). After Chisato’s kidnapping at the end of the last episode, Yuuki is kept on the run to prevent his participation in the final speeches before voting, a transparent ploy to run him out of the race. In a further attempt at character assassination, fake stories about him start to appear in the school news alleging scandals, to cover for his absence. Oosawa really plays up her villain role throughout the episode, first trying to wheedle information out of a fully awake Kana about whether there are more pictures of the deal months ago, then revealed as the person running Yuuki around (and the source of the kidnapping order, but we knew that already). Michiru’s supernatural ability saves the day, as she warns Kana and then later Mouri about Oosawa’s intentions after seeing her black aura. And in the end, Yuuki saves Chisato (with everyone else’s help, more on that later), and makes it to the auditorium for his speech, albeit with some rule bending about allowing him to speak past his scheduled time.

The episode really kept me on the edge of my seat, excited about where it was going. I really enjoyed watching it, and even though it was pretty much a done deal that Yuuki and Chisato would end up together, the rest of the action allowed for some good tension. And in the epilogue portion, we see that Yuuki does end up winning the election, after his rousing speech about just loving everyone, and wanting the best for everyone. He doesn’t spill the beans about the plots against him, but does mention some of the ‘politics’ of campaigning, before avowing to reject them. In a surprising turn, Satsuki later joins the Food Club (along with Aomi), so even though Yuuki’s now picked his girl, he’s got a whole club filled with his harem members.

I was very slightly disappointed in one aspect of the finish, tho, and it was really lost in the overall excitement of the finale. But when reflecting on it, I realized that Yuuki didn’t do a whole lot to pull himself out of the predicament he was in. Yes, he was somewhat at the whim of the kidnapper, but that was also part of the problem. In the end, Chisato was saved early enough for him to get to the speech because he got lots of help, primarily from Mouri, but also because of his contacts. And they didn’t catch on to Oosawa’s murder attempt of Kana until after Michiru and Kana tipped Mouri off to the auto-upload from her camera (and who was the other lady driving the car last episode?). In the end, Yuuki didn’t do much besides capitulate to the kidnappers, until given enough help from other sources. ¬†Even his speech wasn’t going to happen until Mouri stepped in and overruled the election guy. So while it was a good ending, I think I was a little disappointed that so much of the heroism just didn’t happen. But how much can I expect from a normal high school kid? He’s not Rambo or Ahnold or an action hero. So I’m probably being a little unfair. But I think it would have been a bit more of a rousing success if he had been more proactive on his own.

And now on to the Series Review!

Title: Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate (KoiChoco)
TV Series; Episodes 12
Genre: Harem, School, Romance, Drama
Produced: AIC Build

The story is the best thing about KoiChoco. From the beginning, it is a much larger story than I was expecting, and is far more nuanced and complex than it would seem on first blush. From the very basic start of a school club whose entire activity is just hanging out and eating snacks (which are paid for by the club budget, what a deal), it manages to deftly wind a tale of political intrigue, family trauma and dysfunction, and competing romance into a well-written story that excites through the end. In fact, the biggest disappointment that I had in the show was that while the ending was good, easily enough to keep this show as my favorite for the Summer 2012 season, I wish it had been a little better, and had the hope that it would be based on the excellent quality of the writing up to then. The ending seemed to be a little telegraphed, and at times felt a bit rushed in the last episode, as they were trying to wrap up everything. But they did get it wrapped up, and honestly, while watching it, I had a delicious anxious feeling about what was happening. Perhaps it was a little too complicated for a 12-episode series, but I think a 24 would have been too long, and it really doesn’t leave too many questions unanswered.

One interesting aspect is that the story is far more serious than you would expect. The politics, both behind the election and in general for the school, are engaging and twisty enough to keep interest. There are multiple threads of seriousness, from attempted murder to bullying and harassment to backroom deals to overzealous interrogation and financial malfeasance. One of the best things about the show is that it works these aspects in without weighing down the overall story so much that you aren’t enjoying yourself. And you do, from the start to the end.

The characters were another excellent part of the show, and in particular their interactions really impressed me. There was a refreshing honesty, directness, and apparent mutual respect in almost all the main characters interactions (and the ones who weren’t were that way on purpose). There were multiple times where characters who were interested in each other were able to just hang out, talk, and otherwise interact without normal harem cliches, no tsun moments, not even much in the way of denial of interest. The girls like Yuuki, and he is friendly with all of them.

The biggest point of contention with the show is probably about the arc of one of the girls. After suffering a trauma when younger, Chisato does have a bit of a breakdown when faced with the action that happens. The severity of this breakdown is up for debate, tho, and she recovers in a rather quick fashion. I personally didn’t have too much trouble with this aspect, as it seems like something that yes, someone would have happen, but it’s not debilitating if it isn’t allowed to be.

The development of the characters is also in uneven depth. Two girls get far more development than the three others who are ostensibly in the harem, and one is never really seen to be in love with Yuuki, just thinks he’s better than most. In fact, some of the side characters get more development, but it works overall, in that there is enough tension between just two girls to make the romance side interesting, even though they barely interact (and don’t even meet until 3/4 of the way through the series).

The production was well-done overall. Nothing amazingly fancy, nothing groundbreaking. The OP and ED music is acceptable but generally forgettable. The animation is consistently good, and didn’t seem to have many errors.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate delivers a well-conceived story with a lot of seriousness and intrigue, but without allowing it to become so serious that it turns off the folks looking for some nice relationship development. It almost never stoops to the cliched tropes that this genre of shows always seems to (there are about three times it does, and their inclusion almost serves to make you appreciate how few there are). I felt it was the best show I watched during the Summer 2012 anime season, and enjoyed it tremendously from start to finish.

Category Score
STORY Excellent
OVERALL Excellent

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