There weren’t too many surprises in the first episode of Koichoco, but there were at least enough twists to make the road seem like it might be an interesting one.
OP: 「シグナルグラフ」 (Signal Graph) by Annabel
Formula is a funny thing when it comes to eroge adaptations. Certain things are expected, even demanded, and anime studios are always left with difficult choices on how to adapt these multi-branching stories to the TV screen. We’ve seen something of a rise in popularity of the omnibus route in recent years, though my favorite recent example of the genre – Mashiroiro Symphony – takes traditional linear path in telling a story with some surprisingly non-traditional developments.
Like Mashifony, Koichoco appears not to be taking the omnibus route but the direct, which means that sooner or later one girl is going to have to win, which will of course piss off a certain percentage of the game’s fans and please others. For me, I have no preconceptions so I’ll just take it as it comes. As the audience avatar we have Oojima Yuuki (Nakamura Yuuichi), who by all accounts seems to be a very typical harem protagonist. He has not one but two childhood friends, Sumiyoshi Chisato (Nakamura Eriko) – also a neighbor – and Kiba Mifuyu (Mizuhashi Kaori). Early returns would seem to indicate that one of these girls (probably Sumiyoshi) has the inside track, but I’ll withhold judgment until we’ve seen the full field in action for a while.
To be blunt, there’s absolutely nothing in the interactions between these three that we haven’t seen a hundred times before, and seemingly about 50 of them with Nakamura-san as the guy in question. At this point I’m going to be looking for surprises from elsewhere, either from the plot or from some of the large supporting cast. The trio are part of a Food Research Club or “Shokken” at school, whose main function seems to be to get together and eat snacks.The club comes under threat because the favorite to become the next Student Council President, Shininome Satsuki (Asakawa Yuu), has proposed eliminating all the unproductive clubs (of which Shokken certainly seems to be one). Apparently the current president (Suzumara Kenichi) is extremely unpopular because of an unspecified incident, which may or not be the one we see play out before the OP in which some sort of spy games are playing out, and a girl photographing illicit activities (seemingly the sister or girlfriend of the current President) was struck by a car driven by the opposing faction, after which she fell into a coma.
There are a bunch of other girls in the club, and the advisor is a busty (and boozy) teacher who also happens to be the older sister of Shinonome Satsuki, Hazuki (Ishimatsu Chiemi). There’s also a rather androgynous boy named Yume (Ogata Megumi) whose family runs a candy company and who likes to talk about his “yaoi stick” a lot. None of these characters make much of an impression yet, but the most distinctive parts of the premiere are the rather odd plot elements. For one there’s some rather series business here above and beyond school politics, with competing factions vying for power and the stakes high enough to make it worthwhile to run over a girl for a
Sim SD card. There’s also the fact that Oojima-kun is seeing things no one else can see, such as a propeller on one student’s head and another student (a presidential candidate) with a mask covering his face. And the whole setup seems to be somewhere in the near future, as there are several examples of technology that certainly doesn’t seem to be available now.
As is usually the case with first episodes of VN adaptations, it’s way too early to tell if this is going to succeed as an anime. The track record for eroge making the transition isn’t great but there are certainly exceptions. The overall feel of the characters is pretty generic, but there are enough wildcards in the premise to hold at least the hope that the series will rise above formula and produce something interesting. School politics are obviously going to be a major component of things, with Oojima being drafted by Shokken to run for President in order to save the club, and there haven’t been too many examples of good anime that have focused on student politics in a big way . So if these one can pull it off, that will be something really worthwhile – and it does seem as if that element of the story holds the potential to be more interesting than the romance. But then, maybe we just haven’t spent enough time with the right girl yet…
ED: 「風のなかのプリムローズ」 (Primrose in the Wind) by Ceui