Anime Review: Tokyo Marble Chocolate (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 04.06.2017

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Tokyo Marble Chocolate (UK Rating: 12)

Tokyo Marble Chocolate is made up of a pair of OVA shorts by Naoyoshi Shiotani, a veteran who has worked on a wide range of anime over the years including Spirited Away and Psycho Pass. The story delivers a date and the aftermath for a young couple who have both been unlucky in love, with each character's perspective shown in a twenty-five minute episode. This release comes courtesy of Anime Limited and is out now.

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The first episode follows the young man in this relationship, a young man named Yudai. He's someone who has always been rather hapless when it comes to love. He's a coward and even his inner monologue laments himself as pathetic. His first girlfriend he had to give up on when he was scared away by her dog. The second left him after the pair was accosted by a gang of punks and he did nothing, needing her to whoop their behinds and save the day. The third lived in a flat very high up and he would pass out in the lift when he tried to visit. Finally, there was Mika, a girl who dumped him out of hand. Now, though, he seems to have found the girl for him, a girl as ill-fated in love as he, a girl named Chihiro. Yudai has been plucking up the courage to finally tell Chihiro he loves her and this latest date will be his chance. He's gone out and bought her a pet rabbit (or, rather, he thought he had) and now he's ready to take the next step. Just one small problem, though - there was a mix-up at the pet shop and instead of a cute little bunny, Yudai has ended up with a nappy-wearing, green mohawk-rocking, miniature donkey. The lovers are separated when this gets loose and Yudai is sent on a goose chase around town trying to track down his girl, while problems a-plenty conspire against the pair reuniting.

The second episode tells the same story from Chihiro's point of view. Seeing Chihiro's history with men, it's evident she's had just as hard a time as Yudai! In recalling her past relationships, her track record has included accidentally knocking out her boyfriend's mother, having a blind date literally run away in terror (unrelated to her, but she never knew that!) and getting so drunk in a fancy restaurant she climbed onto the table, slapped the guy silly, and then passed out… It's easy to see why her relationships never last very long. She's met a charming young man named Yudai but even though she's said "I love you" many times, he's never said it back. She's not interested in a one-sided relationship and so decides their date today will be special, but it will also be their last. Following the same period as Yudai's story, Chihiro's episode shows what she was going through with the psychotic miniature donkey, while Yudai searched for her, while also giving her perspective on their relationship.


 
This may have been released in 2007, and by Production I.G., but it looks terrible. The art, the style, and even the animation are all riddled with issues, the main being that the overall product looks flawed and dated. The art tries for a scribbled, pencil-drawn style but instead of capturing a hand-drawn charming aesthetic, it just looks cheap. The voice acting isn't much better; this is a Japanese-only release and the Japanese VAs leave a lot to be desired. The performances aren't particularly bad, but they don't really match with what's going on on-screen, with characters looking excited or upset and shouting while the voices sound nonplussed. On the bonus features front, there is a pair of AMV-style music videos, one for each character, along with an English trailer.

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Tokyo Marble Chocolate is a charming pair of short stories that are enjoyable enough but the overall final product feels rather haphazardly thrown together. The crazy random "miniature donkey" feels completely out of place, the romance is not really fleshed out, and the quality of the visual and audio presentation leaves a lot to be desired.

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