The answers are coming fast and furious in my third-favorite Summer series now, with “Chocolate” fully explained, Michiru’s role clarified at last, and the fate of the girl who was the hit-and-run victim from the very start of the series (there’s quite a theme developing around that) revealed. There’s more to come on that last score for certain, as Mouri-Kaichou finishes telling his story to Yuuki. This was a fascinating episode to watch (as usual) but I can’t say it was as enjoyable as the last several episodes. This was a tough watch, full of dark emotions and a disturbing vibe, especially in the first half.
In many ways, this episode felt as if it were split in half in very stark terms, with the initial sequence focusing on the aftermath of Yuuki’s accident. And this is the one area where I’m not sure KoiChoco and myself are on the same page, because – even more so than last week – I found Chisato’s behavior creepy and disturbing. Maybe I was supposed to – but I suspect not. It seems to me that if the series was trying to make Chisato a winning character, never mind a potential winning love interest for Yuki, a fairly poor job has been made of it. It’s one thing to give an explanation for someone’s behavior and quite another a justification. And it’s quite a big gap between feeling sorry for someone and liking them.
No doubt, the loss of her brother hurt Chisato terribly, even more as she was apparently mean to him just before he died. It’s a good explanation for why she hates chocolate, but her behavior towards Yuuki still strikes me as unhealthy and possibly dangerous from a psychological perspective. The way she clings to him – literally and figuratively – crosses the line into the pathological. Thing is, I think Yuuki is extraordinarily patient and understanding, and when he finally snapped – which was perfectly understandable – he nailed the situation exactly. I can’t look at the way Chisato compulsively forced him to eat chocolate over the years as anything but sad and a little scary, and anything but a normal or healthy grief response. She fetishes Yuuki as a replacement for Daiki, and maybe even loves him in a way – but that’s not a basis for a healthy romantic relationship. They’re both driven by guilt and he’s actually the one I feel sorrier for, because of the burden Chisato has placed on him as the last barrier between herself and total breakdown. He shouldn’t have to accept that responsibility, and he shouldn’t be her hostage for life because of her grief over what happened with Daiki. At this point I can honestly say that there’s no chance the writers could craft a scenario where Chisato and Yuuki wind up romantically together at the end that I’d find believable and desirable – and I hope they don’t try.
Fortunately there are still other possibilities in the “Love” thread (perhaps it’s a good sign that Love and Chocolate are separate entities in the title) and even more, the “Elections” side of things continues to be the best part of KoiChoco, with no signs of going off the rails. Yuuki actually leads in the latest poll, but Chisato has betrayed his interest in the financial aid students to Mouri-Kaichou, who comes down on Yuuki with an order – not a request – that he cease and desist any mention of the aid students until after the election. This bares the previously touchy-feely relationship between Mouri and Yuuki for what it is, and it again raises the specter of a political equation that’s quite powerful in the real-world – is it better to take a principled stand and risk losing an election, or keep your mouth shut on the grounds that if you lose, nothing will get accomplished? It all sounds reasonable the way Mouri lays it out, and as Otto von Bismarck said, “Politics is the art of the possible”. But at what point does the selling of the soul begin?
Yuuki’s trip to the hospital might have revealed no injuries as a result of his accident, but it conveniently revealed a lot about Mouri-kaichou, and about the “Kana” whose name was etched on Michiru’s harmonica. At this point one should refer back to the very beginning of the first episode, when Ougibashi Kana was introduced. She was spying on someone – “General Affairs and the Security Commission working together”. An envelope with “around two million yen”. And information that “Yakumo-kun” would want to know. The most logical assumption at this point is that Oosawa was cutting a deal with Moheji’s people, and this is the deal Moheji was referring to last week, and what Oosawa was this week – a pre-arranged plan where Moheji would win the election. My guess is that it was a power play within the Security Commission – the Kitohira Faction reasoning that it would be better to lose the election (as the top Republicans did in 1912 by choosing conservative William Howard Taft over progressive Theodore Roosevelt) if it meant taking control of the party in the long-run. And Kana was sent to the hospital in a coma in order to keep proof of that deal from getting to Mouri-kaichou, who later cut some sort of deal himself to provide for Kana’s welfare in the hospital.
Most of that is conjecture, but what’s confirmed came as Yuuki sat as a prisoner before Mouri and his top henchmen after eavesdropping on his phone conversation outside the hospital. I suspect we’ll get the rest next week, but we did finally get the dope on Michiru – she’s an “S-agent”, a spy for the Security Commission, keeping tabs on Yuuki. She’s also in possession of Kana’s harmonica, and says she “Came to Takafuji to find her.” She also has the ability to see auras, apparently, and absolutely no sense of embarrassment over showing off her backside. I’m glad to finally have some sense of what Michiru is doing here, if nothing else, though all the pieces of her story don’t fit together yet. She makes quite an impression in her brief scenes, but it’s nice to have some idea of why she’s in the story at all.
Some one-cour shows are probably best off being one cour (and some two-cour shows would be, too) but KoiChoco is definitely a series I wish had been longer. There’s just an amazing amount of plot in this premise, so much so that most of the cast hasn’t been fully explored as a sheer concession to time. And despite the increasingly uncomfortable Chisato storyline, I’m not growing tired of anything the show is throwing at me – the various threads are still interesting and still evolving, and there are still mysteries to be solved (such as why Yuuki seems to see things most of his classmates don’t, for example). KoiChoco delivers an amazing amount of bang for the buck – content-wise it’s one of the densest series to air in quite a while – and one of the better VN adaptations we’ve seen in the last several seasons.