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AKA: 東京マーブルチョコレート
Genre: Romantic comedy
Length: OAV, 2 episodes, 26 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: PG (adult themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Boys Over Flowers: Hana Yori Dango, Honey and Clover, Marmalade Boy
Notes: This review is dedicated to Brian and Maria Carney. May you survive many happy years together. ;)
Rating: Four StarsFour StarsFour StarsFour Stars

Tokyo Marble Chocolate

Synopsis

When it comes to girlfriends, Yuudai is hopeless. He's klutzy, indecisive, shy, and a bit dense. But he thinks that this time, he's finally found the right one. Today, he plans to tell her what he truly feels.

When it comes to boyfriends, Chizuru is hopeless. She's clumsy, overeager, and can't keep a steady relationship to save her life. She's convinced that this love, too, is one-sided. Today, she plans to set him free.

This is the story of how two hopeless lovers, with a little help from a miniature donkey and a massive tower, fall hopelessly in love.


Review

Bear with me a bit, it's storytime.

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a freshman who came into THEM. At his first THEM dinner at IHOP, he got a stack of pancakes, and thinking that the coffeepot in front of him was a rather large pot of syrup, proceeded to douse his plate with coffee. It wasn't until he'd already taken a bite that he said, "Gee, this syrup is really runny!" This same man would eventually get hit by cars several times (at least one of them stationary), be shanghaied into several years as THEM president, and meet his future wife by her whapping him with a rolled-up newspaper.

So, when I see the utterly hopeless, klutzy, but charming and earnest leads of Tokyo Marble Chocolate, it's like watching something straight out of THEM's own experiences. We've seen it, laughed our guts out, and cheered it on in real life -- so we're going to enjoy it in fiction as well.

One of the neat directorial choices made here was to present each episode from the point of view of one of the lovers. The same events are perceived and remembered in different ways by Yuudai and Chizuru. The only thing similar to this that I've seen is the Marmalade Boy movie, retelling the first episode of the TV series from Yuu's point of view. It worked decently well there, but it works incredibly well here, because the storytelling and the writing are so tight that everything fits together almost seamlessly.

Visually, Tokyo Marble Chocolate is a mixed bag. The animation frame rates won't impress tech junkies, but it's more than good enough to support a sketchy, watercolor-ridden art style that is appealing and charming in a jousei-manga sort of way. Music is generally quite good, and the OVA leaves enough time to feature one song apiece for each character, "Zenryoku Shounen" by Sukima Switch for Yuudai, "Mata Aimashou" by SEAMO for Chizuru.

The one element of this series that might put off some is the inclusion of a comedic mascot-type character that serves as the catalyst for most of the events in the show: a miniature donkey, of all things. It's a rather bizarre choice for a deus ex machina, and it may knock the show down a peg for a lot of people. However, as the point of the show is about how something unusual can bring two people together, it fits well in my book. Heck, if THEM can bring people together, then why not a mini-donkey?

Tokyo Marble Chocolate is a funny, charming, and endearing little series that reminds us that we can't always be perfect or put our best foot forward, but that love may happen anyway, should you just give it the chance.

If you find yourself actually really liking that crazy little donkey, go ahead and add a star. Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: The only violence here is slapstick, mostly accidental, and much of it involving the miniature donkey. As far as adult content, Chizuru is seen changing clothes momentarily, as well as another female character, but there is no nudity. Some themes may go over the heads of younger children, but the content should be fine for most audiences.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Tokyo Marble Chocolate © 2007 Production IG / Tokyo Marble Chocolate Production Committee
 
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