July 06, 2012
Some shows begin with a major mood whiplash. This is one of them.
Way back when, the Magic Users Club OVA began with an alien ship appearing in orbit around the Earth. It destroyed a major satellite, then descended into the atmosphere where it engaged an American CBG and destroyed it. Not particularly merry. Then we cut to the OP, which was fully of bouncy music and bouncy girls. A very strange way to begin. The first time I watched it, I wondered if there had been some mistake and I was watching the wrong show.
The first episode of AsoIku was like that. We watched a Japanese coast guard ship intercepting a ship of smugglers during a major storm. Aoi (as we later learned) boarded the smuggler's ship and engaged in combat there, including killing a bunch of the smugglers. The scene ended with the smuggler captain setting off a self-destruct charge. Then we cut to the OP, full of bouncy music and bouncy girls.
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate starts the same way. Late at night, two people meet in a quiet dark place. A girl with a fancy camera watches from the distance and takes photographs as the two people exchange things. One of them gets an envelope full of currency. The photographer is satisfied and walks away, not aware that she's been spotted. A car runs her down, and someone gets the chip out of her camera and destroys it.
...A sign of the times. Ten years ago that scene would have been someone ripping the film out of her camera....
And she is left there, on the ground, in a pool of blood. Then we cut to the OP with the requisite bouncy music and bouncy girls.
Once you get past that horrific beginning, the show itself is great. There aren't any meet-cutes. All the characters have known each other for a long time and clearly are close friends. Initially it's two girls and one guy on the way to school, but eventually we end up in the club room for the Snack Club, or whatever it's called. It's six or seven girls and two guys, though one of the guys is a bit... odd... and might be a reverse trap. Or maybe he's just gay.
Anyway, it's a strange bunch but they've all been members a long time and everyone's comfortable with everyone else (except the straight guy isn't quite comfortable with the odd one). And that is really refreshing. I get so damned tired of meet cutes.
As advertised, there's some sort of strange political thing going on at the school, and soon there will be an election for student body president. There are two presumptive candidates. One is a joke. The other, the favorite, apparently intends to kill off a lot of clubs which may be fun and popular but aren't very productive. The Snack Club definitely is on the list.
So our characters end up deciding they'll run one of their own for president, and it ends up being the normal guy, Yuuki.
It's better than it sounds, mainly because the characters are so well handled. And there's an element of lunacy under it all, like the fact that they have a beer keg in the snack club's room, which their lush of a teacher supervisor is a regular customer of. And one of their members is a mad scientist, who creates all kinds of weird devices for purposes of creating candy and other snacks.
Another nice thing: only one accidental compromising position, and it wasn't very compromising. I get dreadfully tired of accidental compromising positions.
Ordinarily with lots of girls and only one or two guys you think "harem" but I'm not getting harem vibes here. That doesn't seem to be what it's about. And though the redhead slapped the guy once, and got him in a headlock once, I'm not getting tsundere vibes from the show either. I get so sick of tsunderes...
Were it not for the really bizarre beginning, I'd be totally sold. The problem is, there's a dark undercurrent beneath the crazy, and it could end up overwhelming the fun. I guess only time will tell about that.
But I like to do the 3 episode test, at least (I normally stick around for 4-6 though). Hopefully I'm wrong, as I like good content. I just hope I am.
Posted by: sqa at July 07, 2012 12:24 PM (5/dUV)
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