First Impressions – Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate

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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

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Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate - 01 - Large 02Formula 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.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate - 01 - Large 03Like 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.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate - 01 - Large 04To 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.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate - 01 - Large 07There 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.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate - 01 - Large 08As 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…

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ED: 「風のなかのプリムローズ」 (Primrose in the Wind) by Ceui

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15 comments

  1. A

    This is cheap, creepy otaku-centric pandering and nothing more. We've seen it a million times before, there are always 5 or 6 of these shows every season. Honestly, it makes me sick that a market for this exists.

    That was a very kind review, GE. Why do you think this show deserves that? It should be apparent just from the cover what we're dealing with here.

  2. I guess Mashiro made me feel like it was possible for these sorts of shows to surprise me, you know? And it's not like there was anything offensive here, or anything. Just formula, like I said in the post…

  3. A

    You forgot when the MC doesnt let the childhood friend eat the chocalate.

    I would post a huge spoiler but im preety sure you wouldnt like that.

  4. Please don't… I recall her saying she "really doesn't like" chocolate or some such, but I'll assume there's more. But let's leave it at that.

  5. S

    The implication from that quick seen was 1 of 2 possibilities:

    1) Chisato is deathly allergic to Chocolate

    or

    2) Turns into anime/male/some monster.

    I'd lean towards option 1, but I can't say there isn't some massive genre shift coming to this series, as I know 0 about it.

  6. A

    SD card, not SIM card. Just sayin'.

  7. A

    Lol dont worry, you are 1 of the 3 anime bloggers i read so i respect you enough not to do that.

  8. I

    Why is it that Childhood friend 1 has green hair on the inside? And why do the those two well endowed girls hate the president for having, what visually looked like slightly bigger tits? And why was that one of the most cheaply produced OPs ever when the contents were much more fluid?

    This episode had enough to pull its sell from the usual first impressions of an eroge adaptation, with its mild humor ("Yaoi Stick" certainly won,t make many Otaku laugh. "Ecchi Pudding" might though) and weird school politics take. Its at least enough to continue.

  9. B

    Yaoi Stick got chuckles out of me, not even gonna lie.

  10. L

    Enzo,
    Seriously, are you doing this just to satisfy the RandomC crowd or something? Totally caught me by surprise.

    Having said that, I found the uniforms on the chicks offensive enough, to be frank.

  11. I

    Surely you jest, this is nothing compared to say Mayo Chiki or Ikki Tousen.

  12. Litho, no – I mean, this was in my Summer Preview. I've liked some eroge adaptations (Mashifony and YnS come to mind) and this one sounds different enough that there's at least reason to hope. I was certainly always going to cover the premiere.

    Now, from here? Who knows. I didn't see that much in the premiere that really excited me but I still have the hope that it'll be interesting.

  13. A

    lol! I didn't notice that the jacket left a hole just for their cleavage.

  14. B

    Hmm not sure how this is going to pan out. By the rule of First Girl Wins Chisato should be the victor in the end, BUT she is also the Childhood Friend character, so that might be enough to offset the normal rule.

    Of course the rules can always get thrown out anyway, they did in Mashiroiro to absolutely DELIGHTFUL effect (<3 Miu <3). So we'll see.

  15. I can think of many examples of osananijimi winning harems, not least of which the recent mecha show where most of the audience preferred the girl who showed up late pretending to be a boy. It does happen.

    My feelings about Chisato being the winner weren't so much based on "first past the post" but the overall tone of the interactions in the episode. But that Taichou candidate could be a romance candidate to be reckoned with.

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