Plot: The “Food Research Club” (read excuse to eat snacks club) in on the verge of being shut down due to budget cut policies from the #1 Student Council Presidential candidate. So what better way to stop this policy, then by running for president and making your own policies? That is exactly what Oojima Yuuki does, with the help of his slacker friends in the Food Research Club.
With the American Presidential Election right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to review an election themed anime!
Based on a visual novel of the same name, Love Election and Chocolate is a romantic-comedy-drama of sorts. As rom-coms are my favorite genre, I was really looking forward to finally getting around to finishing this anime, but wound up being greatly disappointed by the end. Leading me to remember why I originally dropped it after one episode to begin with.
To start, I would like to talk about the few positives this show had. These in particular are the music, animation, clever references, and its political themes.
The OP, ED, and BG OST tracks were all-in-all pretty solid in Love Election and Chocolate. I am always a fan of good music in a show, and while I may not have liked it at first, the music definitely grew on me. There is one background OST that plays while Oojima is making his famous “Oojima Rolls” that I liked the most. Also, during dramatic scenes the opening song(?) is played, but the instruments are replaced by a violin, making it a fantastic combo that adds to the emotion of the scenes. While the OP and ED were really nothing special and won’t make any lists of mine, I will say I found myself enjoying listening to them at the start and finish of every episode.
The animation is also pretty decent, not getting in the way at all I felt. So that was nice. There was one thing in particular that drove me nuts when I first watched the show, and that is Moheiji Tatsumi’s mask. It seemed like a lazy excuse to avoid animating a characters face. However, it kinda grew on me, and then I realized you can draw it with only simple Hiragana, so that was kinda fun!
The references used in this anime were actually quite surprising. Or at least one of them was. The first notable one is the knock^off “Umaibo” candy they have in the show called “Yaoibo.” This is made even better with the fact that “Yaoibo’s” mascot is “Yaoemon” who is a clear knock-off of Doraemon. Second, and most surprising, was the “Bewitched” reference thrown in there. I sincerely wasn’t expecting an old American sitcom to be referenced in a recent Japanese anime. This was kinda fun, and neat to catch.
The last positive I would like to talk about is the actual accurateness to the political election system that was used in the show. To start, Oojima is a third-party candidate with no big endorsements from any faction in the school, setting him at a large disadvantage. This is not unlike the two-party system Americans are all too familiar with, as it showed just how difficult it is for a third-party to even put up a fight against the other powerhouse candidates. The second big election theme was the need for funds, which is huge when campaigning. The third and final point will be listed below, as it is somewhat of a spoiler, and I would rather not ruin it for those who haven’t seen the show.
And with that, now I have to move on to the negatives. And there were a lot of negatives. First off, the name of this show is slightly deceiving. I figured there would be an even distribution of love, elections and chocolate. But I would say it was about 70% love, 10% elections, and 20% concentrated power of chocolate. This was rather disappointing, since the only thing done well (no offense chocolate) was the primary election mini-arc. If the show had been more equal, I think this would’ve been a more enjoyable experience.
My next issue is the half-baked character development that just gets thrown at you, out of nowhere. Since there are so many characters, there just isn’t enough time to fully flesh out each character like the creators attempted, and failed, to do. You are expected to care and have feelings about a problem you only just found out about 2 minutes earlier in the same episode, making it a near impossible task. I found myself laughing at the fact that they introduced problems, never resolved them, and then proceeded to act like everything was fine. It was incredibly difficult to try to get emotionally invested in anything, since there were so many problems introduced and solved so quickly. You couldn’t possibly be expected to care about all of them.
It is hard to talk about the negatives without spoiling too much, so I will save a lot of it for the bottom of the review which includes spoilers.
I think this anime had a lot of potential, and a pretty decent premise. Where I think it suffered was its short run time (12 episodes +1 OVA), and all it tried to accomplish in it. Since it was based on a visual novel that probably had infinite more space and time for fully fleshed out backstories, it can be hard to compress all of that down into 12 episodes. I think 24 would’ve done it more justice, but that would only bring up other issues.
To conclude this non-spoiler portion, I would give Koi to Senkyo to Chocoreto 5.75 Yaoibo/10. It wasn’t terrible, and I certainly found entertainment in parts of it, but I really wanted a lot more from it as well.
*Warning Spoilers Ahead*
One of my least favorite parts of this show was definitely the fact that, as I mentioned earlier and despite the name, there had hardly anything to do with elections. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure it would have been a little boring to have 12 episodes of pure electoral content, but all I am asking for is a little bit more. The fact that the primary election was made a much bigger deal compared to the actual main election is beyond me. I was assuming the climax would be Oojima getting elected (it may still have been), but it was just so poorly executed that it felt like it was just kind of over and done with in a matter of seconds. It didn’t leave the same struggle that the primary did. So that was incredibly disappointing to me.
On a more positive note, and going back to the third-party candidate theme, there was an anti-bullying policy that Oojima wanted to put in his campaign manifesto that was controversial at his school. He was told time and time again by his advisers not to publicly support this platform until AFTER we is elected, since his opinion does not agree with the majority. However, he sticks to his guns in the end, and voices his opinion anyways. This conflict is one I am very happy is in here, due to its heavy real life applications as well. All too often politicians are forced to drop some policy they agree with because it may be too radical and not win over voters. However Oojima is honest the whole way through, and while maybe unrealistically, is still able to maintain the support of the student body.
As a final little complain, I didn’t like how Oojima’s stint of domestic violence was handled. While I personally think the story could have done without the event all together, since it contradicted Oojima’s normally calm and collected personality, they never addressed it again whatsoever. It happened, he didn’t apologize, and then Chisato (the girl he hit) ended up feeling guilty and more or less took the blame. I feel maybe an apology is in order from Oojima? This might just be my conscious talking, but I feel as thought hitting someone is never okay. And not at least extending a sincere “I’m sorry” is also pretty terrible. This made the pairing of Oojima and Chisato not sit well with me.
All in all, this is an anime I most likely won’t re-watch. It had its ups and a lot more of its downs. I am glad I finally finished after all this time, though. It was definitely worth the sense of completion. Would I recommend it? If you’ve caught election fever, then maybe it is worth a watch. But other than that, this is an anime you can pass over with no worries.