Chocolate and other sweets have been banned thanks to the political reign of the Good For You Party, and the new laws are enforced strictly, with force if need be. Smudger and Huntley are two teen boys determined to eat chocolate again. They search out rumored chocolate bootleggers, eventually starting their own chocolate underground distribution.
Based on the the British children's novel Bootleg by Alex Shearer.
It's like Prohibition, but instead of ruthless gangsters making piles of money from illegal alcohol, a couple of high school students try to evade a government abolition of chocolate and all other sweets. Also, the police have giant robots specifically built for sniffing out and arresting chocolate enthusiasts. Yes, it's as ridiculous as it sounds.
Chocolate Underground is only made up of 13 three-minute episodes streamed on the internet, so there's only so much to say about it, although the show does cover a surprising amount of plot in the limited time it has. It's based on a satirical novel about two English boys with the
border-line silly names Huntley and Smudger. If only the anime were any good, because apparently the creators thought in order to make it clear the material is parody, they had to make it entirely silly; the amount of common sense one has to ignore turns the events into a goofy romp.
You get instances like when the protagonists stumble onto a (not so) cleverly hidden secret chocolate party thanks to some research about the history of chocolate. And while the party goers hide when the two first arrive, no one notices minutes later when a police task force dozens strong raids the place. Chaos and hilarity ensue. The two boys, a female friend, and a little sister than go on to open an (figuratively and literally) underground chocolate shop, and eventually lead an action-packed (giant robots, remember?) rebellion against the unfair law. The story even manages to squeeze in a subplot about a turncoat classmate with an older brother in captivity that doesn't really rise beyond a cliche due to the limited length of the story.
Characters are generally little more the pieces to advance the plot. Mostly they don't even rise to the level of one-dimensional stereotypes. Of the two heroes, I think one was supposed to be the spunky go-getter, and the other the more brainy and cautious, but I can't remember if there was any distinction at all.
Visuals and sound are both run-of-the-mill for a 2008 show. They do the job they need to but are utterly forgettable. Also, since the episodes are so short, there is no OP or ED.
The show might be enjoyable as a brief diversion and nothing more. The problem is that the idea of the Good For You Party and people's willingness to surrender simple freedoms for a "better" lifestyle and later regret and realization of their error could have at least left some kind of message to the story, but a last minute plot-twist reduces the villain to a simple corrupt-politician cliche. Apparently there's a movie version coming out with another twenty minutes of material. Maybe that might make this worth the watch. I wouldn't count on it, though.
For all of you who is searching for a short anime , short duration , eerie story but fun , and enjoyable anime ; chocolate underground is what your looking for.
I really enjoyed Chocolate Underground -althought its short and not many like it - because it has an outstading , eerie story that really amazed me . In my experience in anime , I think that most animes talk about love and confessing there feelings and a typhoon of romance or a triangle of love , which I didn't see in this anime .
I'm sure not many will recommend it , but I do
recommend it to all those who are looking 4 a short , not so romantic anime :)
Chocolate Underground is a political satire that takes place in an alternate reality where the land is ruled by a totalitarian government known as the 'Good For You Party'. This government has banned the possession and consumption of sugar, honey, chocolate, and any other kind of sweets you can think of; and have established a police force to enforce this law. In the anime we follow our two heroes, Huntley and Smudger, as they attempt to bring chocolate back to the world.
Story - 6/10
The premise of the series shows promise but is not executed in the way I personally think it should have been.
The show treats itself more like a tragedy than a comedy in an attempt to show how a lack of sweets has affected the populace. The law has left many of the characters depressed and lost without chocolate. Lots of time is spent focusing on the troubles they are facing because, apparently, chocolate is the only source of happiness in this world. Very few parts of the series had me actually laughing, most of the time I was just thinking how people make a living if all they do all day is sit around and brood about the laws. The show uses this to send the message of the consequences of social and political apathy and the search for happiness in our lives, but that doesn't really make for an entertaining show, at least not with the way these guys pulled it off.
The show is also very fast paced. With each episode only being about 5 minutes long details about how stuff happens is left out, it just happens. Often times luck and coincidence let the characters just get what they want without working for it. Though this helps to speed things along it sometimes got on my nerves.
Art and Animation - 7/10
All the characters in this show are drawn unrealistically thin. Perhaps they did this keeping in mind that they can no longer eat sweets and are losing weight or maybe just drew them like that for the hell of it, either way I'm not a big fan of this art style. The scenery isn't particularly notable either.
The animation is well done for the most part, with character movements being fluid and realistic, as realistic you can get for an anime anyway. There is also heavy use of CG animation in this series and though it is relatively well done it isn't anything special.
Characters - 5/10
There is nothing special about these characters at all. All are stereotypical and completely forgettable. This is partly due to the short length of the series, not allowing for any of them to mature or display realistic emotions, but still, I've seen shorter series do this better.
If you have a couple hours to kill Chocolate Underground might offer some mild entertainment, but if you're looking for a quality show it would do you good to look elsewhere.
Chocolate Underground is a short ONA from 2008. It was brought to us by Production IG & Trans Arts. Because it's completely necessary to have two studios work on thirteen episodes that run for five minutes each. It's based off of the novel Bootleg, by British novelist Alex Shearer. You know, the bloke what wrote The Greatest Store in the World. That's the actual title, not me praising him. It was directed by Hamana Takayuki. Who also did director work on Prince of Tennis, which I haven't seen but am bringing up because it's well known & directed a few episodes of Psycho Pass, which
isn't a bad sign. So, let's look at the ONA and see how well it holds up.
Our narrative is set in a dystopian future where the Good For You party has banned all sweets, including chocolate. You wouldn't think that would be a winning political platform but they were against Cyborg Trump and Mecha Theresa May. Two lads with names that sound like they should go with raider bosses in Fallout, Smudger and Huntley, are determined to eat chocolate again. So, they set out to find people who are illegally manufacturing and distributing it. Which starts them on their own path to stand up to the Good For You party.
Honestly, there are a lot of minor issues here that the target audience will likely not notice. The absurd, overblown action sequences of chocolate detecting robots chasing our heroes are quite silly. At one point one of our heroes somehow manages to escape from an internment facility in the old “one child stands on another's shoulders with a heavy coat over them” routine that would never work. There are several completely gratuitous, one-sided crushes that do nothing but waste time. Seriously, these episodes are around five minutes each. We don't need filler. We also get a lot of ridiculous “purple prose” moments where our heroes are just talking about the unbridled majesty that is chocolate. I know she has that heavily sexualised dominatrix outfit, but that's taking things a bit far, isn't it? These kids act like she saved all of humanity while writing episodes of the best kids' show out there.
With all that being said, the overblown aesthetic does have its appeal. I will also give the series credit for having a strong sense of tension. The episodes are short, so each one has to concisely end at a point that will get people interested in what's coming next and give it somewhere to go. Which the series manages very well. It's also where the series gets its strongest moments.
The biggest issue with the characters is that they aren't the most consistent group out there. There are a couple kids who are established early on as being very obedient towards the party. One might even say zealous for it, but then they change sides with no foreshadowing or prior indication that something wasn't kosher about their relation to the party. As a whole, the characters are just kind of mediocre. They're very basic archetypes. The only character who really moves beyond that is one who seems like a generic bad guy but turns out to be actually doing what he thinks is the will of the people which results in a shift that makes sense.
On the positive side, the character designs are nicely done. The animation is fairly smooth and the action sequences, though they can be ridiculous, are interesting to watch. On the negative side, a lot of the world objects, especially vehicles, look very low effort. Almost like the artists spent about ten minutes drawing them in a basic paint program and called it acceptable.
the acting is passable. The performances aren't brilliant. I've heard better from Toyonaga Toshiyuki, Mizusawa Fumie, Takahashi Mikako & Nakagawa Rie. That being said, they aren't bad performances either. They're functional. I could say the same for the music, actually.
There is none. All the entirely pointless one-sided crushes are het.
So, that's Chocolate Underground, based on the children's book, Bootleg. All in all, I think it's a work that small children can enjoy. As for its appeal to older audiences, it's all right. It's probably not the type of kid's show you'd seek out if you weren't actively trying to entertain a child, but it's one you could put on without being annoyed or even finding something else to occupy yourself with. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. Next week I'll take a look at Tsuritama.
Let's take a quick jog around memory lane and remember those anime you used to watch and enjoy as kids. Feel the nostalgia and see if your favorites made the list and discover more that other children enjoyed.