#1 Sinister shoujo anime
On its surface, The Magic of Chocolate sounds like an innocent anime. Its about a teenage witch who runs a shop for wish-granting chocolate together with her cat. The characters look cute and who doesn’t like chocolate. However, right out of the gate something feels off about the show’s atmosphere. In a way that really puts you on edge.
Rather than drawing inspiration from your typical shoujo witches, Chocolat Aikawa feels more like a Umineko character at times. She is a Faustian bargainer. She listens to people’s problems and offers them magical solutions, at the cost of their most precious belonging. Her MO is very much “if they don’t ask, don’t explain.” Throughout these bargains, there is the distinct sense that Chocolat isn’t forthcoming in the slightest and might not be entirely stable regardless. Her mannerisms, voice, and even the way she looks at people, it all feels ever-so-slightly off.
The rest of the presentation doesn’t fall behind. The shop has a gothic atmosphere to it that benefits from great lighting, and the music is a great addition too. What’s important though is that The Magic of Chocolate never loses its shoujo appeal. This isn’t some edgy “shoujo deconstructed” kinda deal. It’s no edgy anime for boys that wears the skin of shoujo. The Magic of Chocolate stays true to its roots, turning it into a rare example of a dark fantasy story aimed at young girls.
#2 Delicious treats
All of Chocolat’s spells take on the form of little chocolate treats. A chocolate meringue in the shape of a music note to bring out your talent. Or perhaps a fruit-flavored chocolate to change how beautiful you are. Regardless of their effect, these snacks always look fantastic.
This is the kind of anime that makes you wish you could reach through the screen and have a bite yourself. Though I’d rather not have to pay the spiritual price for it every time I do. The Magic of Chocolate also gives you a peak in the kitchen from time to time. They’re not recipes you can follow yourself, but it’s nice all the same to see how Chocolat works.
#3 Cold, hard comeuppance
Many storylines in this anime deal with bullies. Whether its teenagers picking on their classmates or even adults making their co-workers miserable. There are a lot of people who make themselves bigger by stomping down on others. Sometimes literally stomping on them.
I realize that bullying is a sensitive topic to many. I was even tempted to drop the anime in episode 1 myself, because it felt absolutely miserable. The victims are so meek and helpless they can’t even imagine how to solve their problems. I had to cut out an entire rant I wrote here about just how cruel this all is. It really gets me mad.
Fortunately, the show has a trend of giving such bullies their comeuppance. Often in ways that are delightfully ironic or very definitively solve the original problem. As with Thriller Restaurant two weeks ago, it’s nice to see an anime for younger audiences that isn’t afraid to light a bastard on fire from time to time.
More like this…
Artiswitch: Fashionable shop that grants wishes.
Magical Peddler Roma: Witch and her familiar fulfill Faustian bargains.
Yumeiro Patissiere: Magical sweets