Tokyo Marble Chocolate

April 12, 2019

Heh. I thought this was some short magical food show. Too bad despite the misleading name, Tokyo Marble Chocolate does not have anything to do with any marble chocolate at all. Sighs. But it is a heart-warming love story between two people who were initially unfortunate in love being brought together. So does 2 wrongs make a right in this case? Are mismatches in love a match for each other? Not if love can do anything about it. More like a donkey…

Episode 1
Chizuru never had luck in love. Somehow she accidentally hurts the ones she loves and that’s it between them. That included accidentally beating up her boyfriend’s mom and getting real drunk during a date! Hence today’s date with her current boyfriend, Yuudai, she is planning to have a memorable date and then end it. After all, Yuudai never did say those magic words like she did for him. At the diner as they meet, Yuudai had to answer his handphone’s call. I guess in those days, the reception isn’t so good indoors. As Chizuru waits, she notices the box of present that he was going to give her, starts moving. Then bursts out… A mini Mohawk donkey in diapers?! WTF?! Isn’t it trying to get a little promiscuous with Chizuru? Ultimately it runs off with her bag so Chizuru had to chase it down until she gets them back. Well, only her handphone is missing. And for some reason the naughty donkey tied her mini present meant for Yuudai to some boy’s balloon and let it float away. Ah shucks. Can this day get any worse? Back home, Yamada who claims to be Yuudai’s friend found her handphone and returns it. He wants to flirt with her but suddenly the donkey growls at him! OMG. Is the donkey some sort of demon?! Yeah, changed his mind. Better go home. Bye. She calls Yuudai who apologizes for the mix up of the present. Can he have his donkey back? After a few flashbacks of lovely moments of Chizuru and Yuudai, next day Chizuru returns the donkey (in a box?). Too her dismay, she sees another girl in his place, Miki. I guess that’s it for her. Uhm, wasn’t she the one who wanted to end this relationship? Probably Yuudai getting another girlfriend so fast even before their official breakup says a lot. He even accuses her of being with a man last night. Huh? Okay. Whatever.

Next day at the café she works, she sees Miki. As she hides, she hears Miki chatting with her current boyfriend. Yuudai isn’t her boyfriend and is just a friend. Somehow she needed a place to stay and crashed at his place. Isn’t that a big relief for Chizuru? Later as Chizuru looks through the telescope of an observatory tower, she sees the balloon floating by Tokyo Tower. Then she sees the donkey stuck up there trying to get it. I guess donkey is afraid of heights. Chizuru makes haste to rush over to save it and when she arrives, Yuudai has already got donkey in his hands safely. You mean there’s no security to block off this dangerous place?! Anyway, after Yuudai faints from all that heart stopping action, the donkey hands over the present to Chizuru. She starts thinking how much she loves Yuudai but is not the person he thinks she is. Then she throws away the present. Damn. Donkey’s hard work gone down the drain. I guess the chilly winter of Tokyo isn’t as chilly as Chizuru’s broken heart. So sad :’(. But the donkey didn’t give up. It leads Chizuru to a bridge where Yuudai is waiting. It seems he retrieved her discarded present. Safe to say, they’re back on track as lovers. Hopefully it will last till the end of time.

Episode 2
We look it from Yuudai’s point of view this time. He too had no luck in love. Too scared of his ex-girlfriend’s dog, or his ass needed to be saved by thugs and yeah, scared of heights (she must have lived in a very high place). So with Chizuru as his current girlfriend, he hopes he can say those magic words. When he meets her at the diner, that is when he gets a call from the pet shop. It seems a mini donkey has broken from its cage and snuck inside Yuudai’s present (he bought a rabbit for her). He can exchange it now if he returns to box but is warned how dangerous and feisty a donkey can be. When Yuudai returns to the table, oops, looks like the donkey and Chizuru is gone. He goes around looking for them and when he calls, it is Yamada who picked up Chizuru’s dropped handphone. Yamada had other ideas and thinks of returning the handphone himself and flirt with her. Meanwhile Yuudai continues to fear the donkey will bite Chizuru. This hallucination has him bumped into an old man and ruined his shirt. To make up, he has to wash it. Since he runs a laundry, here’s a bunch he needs to wash too. When all that is done, he returns to Chizuru’s place. However he hears her talking (to the donkey). Worst, the donkey was licking her and she’s making ambiguous sounds so Yuudai got the wrong idea and went home. But outside his place is Miki. She got into a fight with her boyfriend and ran away. So she’s making this place like her own home? That night, he receives a mail from Chizuru wanting to apologize for today and to meet up tomorrow.

Next day as he is about to leave, Chizuru is at the door. Then she sees Miki. Who is this woman? So when he accuses her of being with another man, she agrees to that and leaves. Yuudai then checks the box she left behind. It truly is the donkey. Miki then leaves because looks like her boyfriend called and they made up. Yuudai notices a letter in the donkey’s mouth. Reading Chizuru’s letter, he realizes she wasn’t with a man last night but this ass. Feeling guilty, the donkey then leads him to Tokyo Tower. Due to his fear of heights, he climbs slowly. He then sees the donkey with the mini present. He sums up his courage to go rescue it. At that time, Chizuru arrived as she cheers on for him. But he passes out from all that heart stopping feat. By the time he wakes up, she is gone. At the bottom of Tokyo Tower, he tries to call her but she hangs up. The mini present was stuck somewhere and then conveniently flew down into his hands. He realizes this is from Chizuru and that she is his true love. He goes in search of her until they meet on the bridge. The couple continue to do many things together and their pet donkey.

Trouble Chocolate
Just as sweet as marble chocolate. Mmm… Yum… The story is simple and enjoyable without all the convoluted plots and twists. It might not be much nor it is very deep but I find it simple and fun especially when everything comes full circle when you get to see both sides of the story. You thought fate is going to screw up ultimately with them again and leave them in another round of depression but sometimes such misfortunes are a blessing in disguise. The previous exes that weren’t right for them finally led them to meet each other and sealed that single status away forever.

Both Chizuru and Yuudai aren’t the most perfect of couple and they have their own flaws and insecurities. But like they say about persistence, never give up. Try, try and try again. But the star of this series is no doubt the cheeky mini donkey. This little mule is like as though a cupid angel of love in disguise. Like as though it can read the mind of the lovers and then tries to bring them together but not without a pinch of cheekiness in it. At times when the lovers are about to give up, the donkey intervenes and brings them back to the right path. And more often with that big wide smile and set of teeth. Is this what you call a smart ass? Something tells me if Disney were to adapt this show, it would have been perfect. Heck, this sounds like the perfect material for Disney to make. Yeah, this show has got me thinking never to look down on asses again. Asses of the mule kind, that is.

I want to note something about the art style of this series. Despite being released way back in 2007, it has very simplistic design and light colour tones and hues. The sceneries sometimes look like as though they are drawn from sketches or water colour painting while the characters themselves look a little bit cartoonish. Especially the eyes. They weren’t your typical wide Japanese anime eyes. I thought I was watching a Tintin animation! And during certain ‘hallucination’ scenes, the art gets really weird. I thought SHAFT had a hand animating those parts since it could range from creepy to just abstract. Though, this show was made by Production I.G. who did Psycho-Pass, Guilty Crown, Kuroko No Basket, Haikyuu, Kimi Ni Todoke and Ao Haru Ride.

To my surprise, I recognized all the seiyuus lending their talents to this mini show. Like Nana Mizuki as Chizuru, Takahiro Sakurai as Yuudai, Marina Inoue as Miki and Yuuichi Nakamura as Yamada. Uhm, almost all. Because it seems even the donkey is voiced by Mitsuo Iwata (Ivankov in One Piece). I don’t remember the donkey being such a noisy creature here. Just some small grunts. I don’t really recall it going hee-haw out loud. The ending theme for the first episode is Matta Aimashou by Seamo. It is a rap and hip hop blend and although I’m not a fan of this music genre, it seems catchy enough. For the second episode’s ending theme, it is Zenryoku Shounen by Sukima Switch. Doesn’t sound too bad although I thought this lively pop piece sounds a bit dated but quite a fitting ending theme for our happy lovers.

Overall, this a simple and lovely show to watch if you are looking for some romance that is short and doesn’t take an entire cour. No complicated plots of outside parties getting involved and just the simple story of our lost young lovers navigating through the obstacles before getting it right. So perhaps the subtle lesson here is that we should never give up chasing after love even if that love didn’t end up as the right one for you. Because love is something that is always worth chasing after. Especially when there is a mini donkey there to obviously show you the way.