There have been more than a few anime over the years that have had student politics as a primary – or at least prominent secondary – focus. But I’m hard-pressed to recall one that seems as genuinely interested in the politics and how they work, rather than interested mostly in using them as a plot device. As a political junkie myself I sense the hand of a political geek at work here – someone genuinely interested in the minutiae of voting blocks, the influence of major parties and the uphill battle for independent candidates, campaign financing, and yes – even the issues. It was the “Election” that most interested me in July and while the “Love” definitely grabbed me with episode 5, I‘m still finding this aspect of the series a very interesting and smartly-written one.
Before that, though, there is still some unfinished business from the excellent fifth episode, and that’s the matter of Mifuyu’s love note to Yuuki. Yeah, it was obvious that the it would be mixed up with the speech but there was still a fair amount of tension as Yuuki began to read it. We normally don’t have confessions blow up this early in a series, especially from a doomed secondary character – but (un)fortunately for Mifuyu, Yuuki chose to chalk up what he was seeing to a stress-based hallucination. That’s a bit of a credulity stretch, to be honest, and I’d rather have seen the issue confronted head-on – but I don’t think the crisis has been averted, only deferred. Hopefully Yuuki knows deep down what he was reading, and only deluded himself momentarily as a form of mental self-defense with his speech looming.
I think we can safely say Yuuki is not much of a natural politician. First he royally screws up his interview by getting his manifesto reported as being primarily about spelling his name right, then he trips and smashes his nose bloody as he’s about to give his own speech. That’s awfully convenient, the way he scattered Mifuyu’s letter and had to improvise – but the improv wasn’t half-bad when you consider his best hope of advancing was as a sort of novelty candidate anyway. He was preceded by Shinonome, a lock to qualify for the second round, but I actually found her speech rather dry and professorial for a student election – though that didn’t stop it from going over very well. Being an extremely attractive girl probably wasn’t a totally irrelevant factor in that either, though as the candidate of the Finance Commission she was a lock to advance anyway.
As the votes are about to be counted we get another one of those weird KoiChoco moments that doesn’t get explained. The girl reporter who interviewed Yuuki last time shows up to do a live feed from Oojima HQ, only this time “she” is wearing a boy’s uniform, and declares himself male. This person is Shiohama Hidaka, and the fact that the seiyuu is Sanada Asami is no help, as she’s played plenty of boys as well as girls. I don’t get the sense that this is some weird phenomenon that only Yuuki can see, and maybe it’s going to be nothing more than a running gag with no deeper significance – we’ll see.
As for the returns themselves, they’re quite interesting politically. Apparently the seniors often vote for an independent candidate because they’re more inclined to make a lark out of it as they’re graduating anyway, so Yuuki’s vote share climbs as the count progresses. There’s also the matter of no independent having reached the second round in seven years, but with Mouri-kaichou’s Security Commission sidelined due to the Oosama scandal, there are actually two possibilities – Yuuki and a mysterious fourth candidate, Shirakawa Ayame. She’s running as a revolutionary but is actually a tool of the “Katahira Faction” whose purpose in the race is to qualify and split the independent votes in the second round, thus fouling Mouri’s attempts to control the process through Yuuki.
That’s quite an interesting and clever political setup by anime standards, and that’s not even factoring in the policy issue regarding the clubs and the financial aid students. Mouri is using Yuuki as a proxy, of course, albeit a somewhat willing one. And while Shinonome seems to place well ahead of Moheji in the first round, it’s clear that the reason for this is that his camp intentionally threw some of their votes to Ayame to help her advance past the primary – though not enough, as she failed by two votes, much to the relief of Team Oojima. Even so, Mouri seems to think Oojima might be at risk from this Katahira Faction that hates him so much, enough so that he orders that Yuuki receive protection. I’m officially quite interested in seeing where both Love and Election go from here, so now it seems as if it’s about time the focus turns to chocolate – we’ll see if that subplot manages to be as involving as the other two.