Howdy faithful readers. Today I shall be reviewing love, election and chocolate. After much deliberation I have decided to award love and chocolate an A plus, because who doesn’t enjoy a bit of romance and a calorie rich Mars bar? Politics are dull however so I am giving elections an E grade. Hehe, just kidding! Love, Election and Chocolate is actually the localized name of an anime series, which is known as Koi to Senkyo to Chokoreto over in its native Japan. Based on an adult visual novel, developed by a company named Sprite, the show is made up of twelve episodes along with one solitary OVA. Despite featuring the words love and chocolate in the title, this UK Blu-Ray set narrowly misses out on a Valentines Day release and instead comes out on the 22nd of February.
High school student Yuki Ojima and childhood friend Chisato Sumiyoshi are part of Takafuji Academy’s after school Food Research Club. Every day, after class, the group’s members meet to chow down on an assortment of delicious confectionaries (yum… sounds much more fun than my comprehensive’s Chess Club.) Unfortunately for the Food Research group’s sweet-toothed regulars their club’s existence is under threat due to the upcoming student council presidential elections. Satsuki Shinonome, the busty head of the financial affairs department, has entered the race vowing to cut down on extracurricular expenditure. Top of her manifesto commitments is the termination of any clubs that waste their budget on frivolous activities… such as snacking down on sugary treats.
In order to save his beloved club, Yuki reluctantly agrees to sign up as a candidate in the upcoming polls. Convincing voters to pick him over Satsuki won’t be easy though, particularly as everyone has such a tough time recalling his name. With the support of his friends, and mentorship from the incumbent student council president, Yuki does however emerge as a dark horse in the contest. His knack for impromptu speeches and creative fund raising (which involves the sale of um… homosexual comics) serves him well during the primaries. A little too well perhaps, as his performance attracts the attention of clandestine groups who seek to rig the ballot. The seemingly innocent election soon escalates into a battle royale were abductions and physical abuse are not off the table. Blimey, these kids make a Tump/Clinton debate seem civil.
My rating for Love, Election and Chocolate is four stars. Although the series starts off slow, things improve once the titular election gets into full swing. The silly OVA was my least favourite episode, as it was a pointless cooking duel (bah, why couldn’t we have gotten a bikini filled trip to the beach instead?) If I had to compare this anime to another title I would liken it to Robotics;Notes, given that both shows feature clubs who must compete in order to stave off extinction. Another similarity between the two is how the script skirts between light-hearted flippancy and touching drama. One moment you’ll see Satsuki tease her political rival with goofy nicknames and in the next scene she will be involved in an emotional family feud with her estranged sister (a beer swigging teacher who somehow avoids dismissal, despite fraternizing with her students.)
One thing I enjoyed about Love, Election and Chocolate is how the student council presidency is a microcosm, used to explore the seedier side of politics found in larger scale national elections. The injection of harem hijinks to the mix does however ensure that things never get too cerebral. As expected from a story whose roots lie within a visual novel, Yuki attracts the admiration of various girls (and one guy) over the course of the show’s dozen episodes. Out of the many potential pairings Yuki x Chisato gets the most screen time. Their romance is initially presented as a stereotypical courtship between childhood pals, but things change when Chisato’s tragic backstory is revealed. Does she truly desire a boyfriend or is she just a fragile girl seeking companionship from a surrogate big brother?
You’ll have to wait until February 22nd to find out… providing that the UK Blu-Ray release isn’t delayed. Fingers crossed that Love, Election and Chocolate doesn’t end up coming out choco-later than scheduled.