In the not-too-distant future, the Good for You party has come to power, complete with a policy of promoting healthy foods and banning snacks, flavourings and even chocolate. It’s a case of a nanny state gone too far, and as with Prohibition, the people aren’t about to stand for it- instead banding together to resist this draconian legislation by setting up a ‘Chocolate Underground’.
In my last review, I spoke of how Chi’s Sweet Home proved that even a few minutes per episode was enough to tell a cute and endearing story. In Chocolate Underground, we see the other extreme- a batch of short instalments that went nowhere up until the end, all the while wasting time practically giving the next episode away in its disproportionately long previews.
The sad thing is that as a lover of chocolate, I was genuinely looking forward to scenes of delicious confectionary being made- but unfortunately, there was very little of that to be had. Instead, what we started with was an interminably slow tale about two young boys named Smudger and Huntly as their desperation to get Valentines’ Day chocolate leads to them discovering the location of the ‘Chocolate Underground’ mere moments before it gets raided by the Chocolate Police (if you think that’s ridiculous, wait until you hear about the CACAO system they use to remotely detect chocolate). Somehow, this one simple sequence of events manages to take up about half the series, leaving viewers to wonder if the writers had any intention of accomplishing anything at all with the series.
Unfortunately, in order to make up for this, the later episodes pack so much in that the series moves from the dull to the ridiculous. All of a sudden our heroes have set up their own Chocolate Underground, but when a classmate tips off the Chocolate Police, another tiresome raid takes place. Before you know it, one of our leads has been taken into custody, sparking off an unrealistic and surprisingly swift rebellion that seems to suggest that the Good for You party only had about ten easily overpowered members anyway. Suffice to say that by the end of all this, your chances of caring about either the story or its bland, featureless characters are slim to none.
Visually, Chocolate Underground isn’t much to speak of- character designs are uninspiring and the animation budget is distinctly limited. The ending theme is ever so slightly catchy in places, but in general the music is equally mediocre.
Despite the promise of delicious confectionary, Chocolate Underground turned out to be a tasteless waste of thirteen episodes, going nowhere for ages before heading off into the realms of the completely stupid. It may not take a great deal of time to watch it all, but that’s still time that could be better spent elsewhere.