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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  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:34 AM)
    @Emma: I don’t think anyone too invested in medicine and surgical procedures is bothered by gore. They simply see too much of it to look at it as something more than a science probably.
    And we also know that a lot of organs are donated and not all lives are saved. So moving organs and bodies must seem normal.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:32 AM)
    In that he pretended to himself he wasn’t in the room while commiting the executions.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:31 AM)
    I am recalling a story about an English executioner from the world war II period. His attitude to his job of hanging people was that it was merely a job and he left himself behind whenever he did the hangings, to him he wasn’t in the room when they occured.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    @;(: The doctor is aware he is saving a life, that fact I am sure overwrites his fear of the gore aswell.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:25 AM)
    Disgust is psychological after all.
    And if you can change your perspective you can change your emotion towards it.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:22 AM)
    @Emma:
    Well if you really think about it, humans are just biological bodies. Doctors see corpses and body parts all the time.
    Taking this into account, these things stop being gross if you don’t consider the being living and watched enough gore to care. Conditions which from a barrier such as a screen could be easier to meet.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:22 AM)
    Interesting note about psychopathy/sociopathy, not all offend. Also high functioning autism, sometimes psycho/sociopathy is misdiagnosed as it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:20 AM)
    =< I wish crush videos didn't exist ;M;.
  • ;(
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:18 AM)
    @Bam:
    You can try reasoning it, but fact is it happens.
    And fact is some people watch murder because it seems hardcore. You can argue that they aren’t normal, but then you have to take into account that a good portion of people are psychopaths. Either way the numbers go against what we’d like them to.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Sep 2. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @reaLjustified: everyone was obsessed with DN tho, since everyone had some fantasies of anonymous murder when they were younger due to some revenge idea. Stories of fantastical deaths are generally interesting since they are in a way a replacement for real death due to illness or age, which I believe are usually way more depressing.

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