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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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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