Posted by psgels on 29 August 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Oh boy. I got impatient with the slow subs, so I decided to just check out the raws for this series, just to get things over with. Believe me; it really deserves to remain unsubbed. If you were already turned off by the first half, just be happy you didn’t get to see the second half…

In any case, for those of you who don’t know: Chocolate Underground is Production IG’s latest work, which tells in 13 five-minute episodes the story where an evil party has taken over the government and banned all sorts of chocolate. At first sight, it promised to be an interesting and short look at fascism and communism. Eventually, it turned into an abomination with the “we rock they suck”-mentality.

The first half at least knows how to build up, and it introduces the potentially interesting characters of Huntley and Smudger. It successfully portrayed how the people feel oppressed, and try to do something against the government by holding secret chocolate parties. It’s all fine when these events remain on a small scale, even though the evil chocolate-banning party is obviously a reference to China, and something tells me that it’s not just a coincidence that this series aired right before the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Unfortunately, as this series enters its second half, it becomes clear that the creators didn’t even know what they were building up for and the entire series gets resolved into one of the worst conclusions I’ve ever seen. In the end, a bunch of very blatant Deus ex Machina help the oppressed children overthrow the government in a boring cheese-fest that’s downright insulting to intelligence. The adults don’t even struggle back, they just magically “see the light” and give up their life ambitions like a bit of cheesecake.

Overall, this is the piece of junk you show children to make themselves feel special and more important than adults. I wasn’t expecting much, but the climax of this series was downright insulting. It’s not like short series with only 5-minute episodes are doomed to fail. Hanoka for example was a very cute series, despite its short length, but Chocolate Underground looks like it was directed by a bunch of 12-year olds, not the director of Wellber and Library Wars.

Storytelling: 2/10
Characters: 4/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 2/10

12 Responses

  1. Denizen says:

    Where the heck are the Chinese references coming from? This is simply an adaptation of a british novel from years ago.

  2. BlueYoshi says:

    And I think the first half of Chocolate Underground is boring and has poor writing. Looks like I will take your advice and drop this piece of garbage before I am disappointed even more.

  3. kanzeon says:

    Whoa 37.5…that’s harsh…
    I’m still on the first half and I was currently enjoying the series but too bad it ended in that way. At first, I was really expecting this show to become something more political and sensible like Toshokan Sensou but I guess I was wrong… That was disappointing :(

  4. Reiter says:

    I kinda enjoyed the first few eps in a mindless sort of way (the 5 minute format doesn’t lend itself well to exploring character or plot depth).

    The problem with this mini series and Toshokan (another series I enjoyed, relatively speaking) is the silly, nonsensical reason behind all the conflict; why ban chocolate or books of all things? If they somehow made this reasoning more plausible, then their social commentary would be easier to swallow.

    Still, I honestly didn’t equate CU as being anti-Chinese but more if what would happen if the US became a police state due to the political climate these days (1984, anyone?). But I watched Toshokan mainly for the characters themselves, heh.

  5. TheBigN says:

    I’ll keep watching to see how bad it can get. It’s only like a half hour of my time when all is said and done. :P

  6. Jess says:

    I’m not really seeing where the China hate comes in, but whatever. I watched the first four episodes, then kinda forgot about it with summer ending, and, UGH, school beginning. Oh well. Good thing I didn’t bother with it, apparently.

  7. slepyhed says:

    Meh…It looked pretty interesting but I’ll take your word for it.
    On another note, have you watched Bartender? It seems like something you would like.

  8. psgels psgels says:

    About the China-thing: yeah, I guess that it’s as much a message against China as communism and fascism in general. There were indeed no real references to that specific country.

    Slepyhed: I remember that I dropped Bartender when it first aired because the fansubbers refused to release in anything other than HD .mkv (which is murder to my computer), but if I can find the right files, I might check it out again.

  9. helen says:

    How is banning chocolate related to China? China never banned chocolate – it actually has one of the most relaxed regulations on food – even some endangered animals can be found on the table at some small villages…

  10. Lika says:

    Communism =/= automatic evil. China at least made an effort for the Olympics.

  11. عربيه وافتخر [ مسملمة ] says:

    اغبيااء ايهااا الكفررره المجاانيييييييين

  12. Joe says:

    I really liked the lighthearted feel of the show. Life doesn’t need to be super serious all of the time.

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  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:24 AM)
    I don’t wanna hyperbolize, so I admit that some of the Disney/Marvel stuff has ingenuity to it. Guardians and even Antman had their moments of disarming charm, and genuine sentiment from the cast and crew, that made it special and not just another superhero flick.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:22 AM)
    @Aidan: Marvel movies feel like a very nice amusement park ride- they are always fun, but the return diminishes after successive exposure. Everything in the movies, from the fights, to the dialogue, and plot is incredibly formulatic. You just don’t get the same effect when you know what’s coming.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:05 PM)
    @Bam: Actually let me rephrase
    I meant that you will like: http://letterboxd.com/film/the-company-of-wolves/
    Because it is fairyrale inspired
    Because you liked brotherhood of the wolf and tale of tales.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:02 PM)
    @Bam: I meant tale of tales =)
    @Mario: My usual ratings are ***/***1/2 rating and ****
    Generally that indicates a film is kind good/good or great.

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