Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate First Impressions
July 11, 2012 4 Comments
I am not entirely sure where to begin with Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate since it appears to significantly more than your ordinary high school harem romance, although that is still very much present. To begin with it started off as more of a political intrigue story than anything light hearted or romantic with what appeared to be members of the student council exchanging bribes for some unknown, nefarious purpose. Furthermore we see the girl who is apparently a reporter get run over by a car and while her cameras memory card is destroyed she is left bleeding in the snow. This on its own suggests that Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is clearly more complicated than the harem tag might suggest, although there are clearly elements of a classic highs school harem there. Furthermore we have two main characters that seem to be dealing with loss and an apparent dislike of chocolate.
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate follows out male protagonist Yuuki Oojima who attends the highly prestigious Private Takafuji Academy. He and his childhood friend Sumiyoshi Chisato are part of the Food Research club, a club that is centered on the enjoyment (aka eating) of snacks. Their days appear to be spent eating various snacks and generally not doing very much, this however changes as the student council elections loom ominously before them. The frontrunner in these elections Satsuki Shinonome has proposed that all clubs without any real merit or distinctive achievements should have budgetary cuts or be disbanded in order to reduce overall student expenditure. Quite a complex reason for shutting down clubs and seems to be more the sort of reason a finance minister might give than someone who is supposed to be a high school student.
This is where things become a little strange in Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, whereas a lot of the dialogue and interactions within the Food Research Club are of a more standard high school affair with bantering about beautiful girls, or simply messing and joking around, there is also a significantly more serious element to this series. There appears to be a room resembling some sort of commission or court, but also very similar to parts of the diet building where students are debating the future of their academy. The majority of these students are not shown and are little more than a disembodied voice, what we then get is a series of accusations that come across as political bantering and negotiation. It is clear that the students and therefore the student council has a significant amount of power within Takafuji Academy and as such seems to be involved in everything from clubs to school finances.
What is so curious is that there are political maneuverings and back room dealings going on, with what appears to be a specific group of students attempting to blackmail (or worse) the current student council president in order to gain control and thus power over the student body. It is very easy to forge that these are school students and not devious politicians attempting to gain more power and control over the political system and thereby the country itself. Our first introduction to Satsuki Shinonome, the girl who is suggesting that these clubs should be shut down is a particularly fascinating one that suggests she is as much a part of this political system as anyone else. She appears flanked by what can only be called ‘lackeys’ for want of a better word and shows us that she is as adept at political wrangle as anyone else. That she was able to gather what appear to be details of finances from between and within departments of this student council that appear to show the misuse of funds demonstrates her political ability.
Furthermore we also have ideas surrounding the notion of two-tier education, with the introduction of the ‘financial aid students’. This in itself may appear as an unremarkable meeting, and yet the simple notion that there are ‘normal’ students along with ‘financial aid students’ who are clearly looked down upon raises questions about how education works at Takafuji Academy. The ideas that this girl must work in a factory after school in order to maintain her position and place at the school suggests this two-tier system whereby there are those who are deemed to be inferior in terms of family status. We have yet to see how these students are treated of course, since this was only a brief moment where a girl runs into Yuuki, and yet it seems clear that they will be abused by many of the other ‘elite’ students.
At the moment we have yet to be fully introduced to the main cast since this episode appears to have been used to introduce certain central plot points. While there are a lot of harem archetypes such as the childhood friend, the cast is likeable, and also pretty eccentric. In particular the character of Hazuki Shinonome (Satsuki’s older sister) is particularly entertaining as the Food Research Clubs advisor and clearly a massive slacker compared to her astute and brilliant younger sister. Hazuki’s suggestion that they should have Yuuki stand in the presidential election is a little biased of course since as she admits, if the club is closed down she couldn’t drink during the dat. It is quite hard to tell who is the most irresponsible ion the Food Research Club considering that there is beer on tap and loads of big beer glasses. The idea of having beet on tap in a high school club is a brilliant one, but makes you wonder how on earth the club manages to maintain its existence in the first place.
I was pleasantly surprised with Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, expecting a harem romance (of which I am fond), and getting that plus a political conspiracy that appears to involve everyone at Takafuji Academy and a lot of money. We will obviously get the harem element as the series moves forward, especially after all the main girls who are going to be involved with Yuuki have now been introduced. But at the same time there is so much more to this series than meets the eye. On the surface it may appear to be a normal ‘elite’ school that we often see in such series, and yet beneath there is a much murkier world full of bribes, backroom deals and even potential killings. That the girl who was run over during the introduction happens to be related to the current president suggests a much deeper connection between what she saw and why several groups are making their move.
Furthermore, the mysterious identity of the person who ran over the girl fascinates me. She is clearly from Takafuji Academy if we look at the uniform she is wearing, and curiously her hairstyle, what little of it we see, seems to match that of Satsuki. This is all speculation and there could be someone else involved, but the simple idea that this girl who is essentially meant to be part of Yuuki’s harem could be as involved in this murky world as the others adds another fascinating element to what is a very interesting series. We also have Yuuki who appears to be seeing things, such as the propeller on top of one of the student’s heads, and the fact that one of the people who is running for president appears to be wearing a mask. This suggests that Yuuki may quite possibly be capable of seeing the unseen, and perhaps seeing what people wish to hide, then again it could also be Yuuki merely hallucinating.
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate really did get off to an excellent start, and while I love my harem anime, I do hope that it continues in this vein and really pushes the political intrigue further. The only problem I have with it so far is the terrible censoring; where the dreaded white scene of death covers the majority of Morishita Michiru in order to cover up what I can only assume is a panty shot. This sort of censoring just seems to be a cheap way with which these companies can sell their Blu-Ray disks, especially when we see foodservice in so many series with very little censorship. Luckily there wasn’t too much censorship in this episode, unfortunately it also suggests that there might be significantly more terrible censorship assuming there is a bath or onsen episode, and perhaps even if there is an episode at the beach. It is just so clunky and generally spoils an episode when characters and parts of the scenery arte covered by spray-painted white clouds. Still, it is a minor gripe in an otherwise excellent opening episode.