Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate follows the protagonist Yuuki Oojima, who attends Takafuji Private Academy, a large school with over 6,000 students. Yuuki is a member of the Food Research Club, along with seven others, including his childhood friend Chisato Sumiyoshi. The members leisurely spend their time in the club not doing much activities. When the election of the next student council president comes up, the front runner Satsuki Shinonome proposes that clubs that have no merit should be sorted out and abolished. The Food Research Club seeks advice from the current student council president Yakumo Mouri, who suggests Yuuki run in the election as an opposing candidate. Yuuki learns about the issues facing the school and decides to run in the election.
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate was originally a visual novel for PC and PSP, adapted into a manga in 2011, and an anime in 2012. Admittedly, I passed over this series when it was first released, since it seemed outside my domain of interest, but decided that open-mindedness was a virtue and would pick up Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate out of curiosity. The anime itself reminds me strongly of when I ran for an election at my old high school. Whereas Oojima was motivated primarily by the desire to save the Food Research Club from decimation, my motivation had been to pad my resume in light of my application to the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. Nonetheless, despite such a superficial motivation, I ended up having a good experience campaigning and giving speeches. Of course, I also realised quickly that politics could be abstracted as a popularity contest to some level (although I am careful to note that this isn’t always the case): indeed, some of my classmates refused to vote for me on the virtue that they didn’t like me, accusing me of appealing to crude means to win. I would lose a few friends during the process, but to take such a high school election so seriously is perhaps not exactly the most agreeable thing to do in reality. However, as a fictional medium, anime is a fine place to see what would happen if student elections were approached with a serious mindset. One would expect a relatively over-the-top anime, but somehow, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate manages to keep things engaging and interesting through minor plot twists and Yuuki’s interactions with his club members, Chisato and the other candidates.
- Chisato Sumiyoshi, Yuuki Oojima and Mifuyu Kiba have a tendency to break into unusual love confessions at random places purely for amusement.
- The Food Research Club exists solely for its members to hang around and eat snacks. It is, in other words, similar to what Houkago Tea Time, the Neighbours Club, Culture Club, Amusement Club and Data Processing Club do in other anime.
- Yuuki is the series’ protagonist, being considerate, self-aware and charismatic. I typically watched this anime after hours at the lab, and recall an evening where I watched several episodes in the company of a Southeast Chicken wrap from Jugo Juice while waiting for a few friends to arrive so we could go to the pub.
- Clockwise, beginning at Yuuki Oojima from the bottom (and Hazuki Shinonome above him), we have Oboro Yumeshima, Michiru Morishita, Kii Monzennaka, Ai Sarue, Mifuyu Kiba, Nozomi Edagawa and Chisato Sumiyoshi. From my editor, all of their names are showing up as spelling errors.
- The campaign process is the primary element in Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, as opposed to the more commonly accepted notion that this anime was based off a dating-sim. Consider that the name Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is literally “Love, Elections and Chocolate”. The love part is thus first, followed by elections, and the chocolate is associated with only Chisato’s storyline.
- Yuuki is constantly called “Oshima” rather than “Oojima”, much to his chagrin.
- Mouri Yakumo is a third-year student and is the student council president at the start of Koichoco. He ran for the presidency on the previous student council election as the head of the Security Affairs department. He is very gentlemanly, but his approval rating has fallen to under 30% due to a scandal called the Oosawa incident.
- Of the countless candidates here, only three make it past the primary elections.
- Mouri’s motivations for helping Oojima are to prevent the shadowy Katahira faction from rising to power: the Katahira faction are part of the Security Commission and partake in questionable activity to maintain order.
- The preparation of election materials on a budget is a limitation on Oojima’s part, but with the rest of the Food Research Club and Mouri’s help, However, this turns out to be one of the strengths of his campaign.
A few reviewers out there have completely bypassed the elections component Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, considering the anime’s election elements to be minor relative to the harem component, and then subsequently whether or not the execution ‘worked’. Anime built off a visual novel tend to feature multiple characters that could potentially end up together with the protagonist, and thus, it is argued that anime adapted from visual novels are worth watching only if the story in the anime is cohesive and focuses on a smaller number of characters. In this execution, what is left is a solid story about Yuuki’s endeavours to rescue the Food Research Club. My approach, on the other hand, results from my limited understanding of the visual novel. As such, I watch the anime talis qualis, taking in the story without any expectations. In this case, I see a story about Yuuki’s endeavours to rescue the Food Research Club.
- Some reviewers consider this anime to be a “train wreck”, citing things as “predictable” and oddities in the anime (such as Michiru’s Newtype powers) as detractors. Such perspectives are amusing, but pointless, in that this is an anime and therefore, is fiction. Remember, folks, if we are looking for realistic in our entertainment, we watch Discovery Channel.
- Nozomi is a third-year student and is the former president of Shokken. She is younger than Yūki because she had skipped several grades abroad and returned to Japan. She is a genius girl at science and is good at making various inventions, bringing to mind the talents of Rika (Haganai) and Skuld (Ah! My Goddess).
- Kii Monzennaka and Ai Sarue as Sayaka and Kyouko from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, respectively. This part of the anime proved to be a riot for me, showing off some of the more comedic aspects of the election: aside from the obvious Puella Magi Madoka Magica references, we have Oboro and Yuuki’s live reading of some rather painful doujinshi.
- Chisato cosplays as Madoka Kaname. I have caught wind that an anime site far larger than my own considers this anime to be unworthy of being watched based on appearances alone. The same site considers Tari Tari as “probably a ripoff of K-On“. Said site is poorly written and even more poorly designed: nearly a year ago, they tried to mess with search engines to gain more views for their Strike Witches Movie review over mine. Well, it’s a year later: while I’m still pretty much up top, their site has been buried under better results from the search engine, giving an indicator of who writes better reviews and has the better site in general.
- Satsuki Shinonome is a second-year student in the student council, as well as the head of the financial affairs department. She is a wise girl and is a strong candidate in the next student council president election. She has a crush on Oojima and tends to give him made up names. She and Hazuki have a strained relationship because of family issues, but she later understands her after learning the truth about Hazuki’s birth.
- Awaiting the election results for the Food Club is how most of my friends awaited the results of our government elections. A few years back, I was initially disappointed at the results for our municipal election, but recent events have thoroughly convinced me that our current mayor is doing an excellent job.
- This is about as extreme as the fanservice gets here: aside from the camera angles, exhibition of physics and a few antics, the fanservice isn’t overwhelming, considering that Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate is an H-game.
- Hazuki Shinonome (right) is a 23-year-old teacher at Takafuji Academy. She is Satsuki’s older sister and is the adviser for the Food Research Club, rarely seen without a pint in the clubroom. She secretly loves Yuki. She initially believed she was the daughter of her father’s first wife, but she later discovers that she is in fact the illegitimate daughter of her father’s then-mistress. Her father’s first wife later dies and he marries his mistress, who later gives birth to Satsuki. Upon realizing this, Hazuki became depressed and left the family.
- To the left is Michiru, a first-year student who is generally very quiet, only speaking a few words to express her thoughts, and almost never smiles. She knows how to play one song on a harmonica her best friend Kana taught her, and came to Takafuji Academy to look for her. She has the ability to see what mood a person is in, ranging from blue (sad), yellow (happy), to purple/black (evil). Isara (right) is a first-year student. She lives with her mother and two younger brothers. She works at a fast food restaurant because her family is poor, and is bullied by the wealthier students constantly, both physically and verbally.
- I won’t go beyond here with the images, mainly because discussions concerning the PC game are still rolling. Of course, for those who don’t mind spoilers, Yuuki does win the election; Satsuki becomes the vice-president, and Chisato wins out over everyone else after she and Yuuki begin dating.
After the elections conclude, Yuuki becomes the new president of the Student Council. However, his victory feels solid and well-earnt, having seen all of the work that went into running for his candidacy from both his and the Food Research Club’s end. Whether it be preparation of campaign elements, publicity or fundraising, aspects of an election are presented neatly. Of note is Mouri Yakumo’s assistance and provision of the occasional bit of insight into electoral systems and some of their accompanying flaws, as well as the complex network of political alliances and underhanded means some parties are willing to resort to in the name of safety. While such a system would probably be not be found in a school system, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate represents an abstraction of the political system that introduces a fun element into what is typically a rather tedious system, bringing to mind the Futurama episode “A head in the polls”, which brings a similar degree of satire to the table concerning the democratic process. Do I recommend this anime? Probably: it’s quite fun for people like me, who don’t take anime as more than something to be watched as light-hearted entertainment, but veterans of the harem genre and/or visual novel to anime adaptations might be disappointed.