It's nearly impossible to be an anime fan and avoid lolicon, as the medium as a whole is obsessed with youth sexuality. Though I've seen Kyou no Go no Ni and Kanamemo, I felt it was high time to try out the lurid and colorful world of more directly pandering shows, and so fired up Chokotto Sister. While I did not find a dark and twisted new fetish, I was beguiled by the adorable girl, her tantalizing, blank notebook, and her gaggle of entertaining friends--that is, when I wasn't hoping that Ayano would die in a fire.
Chokotto Sister opens with only-child and college student, Haruma, receiving a magical Christmas present: the sister he wished for when he was a young boy. Of course, this is no baby, because that would be silly. What male college student wants a baby? Instead, Santa--in this case a chick on a bike--drops off a pubescent girl wearing only a nightie and declares her to be his new relative. From here, the anime launches into some isolated slice-of-life sections that remain among the strongest parts of the show. When she goes shopping or stops to play with a group of feisty Kindergarten students, Choko's relative innocence and boundless energy make the series feel like a kindred spirit to Ichigo Mashimaro or Kyou no Go no Ni (though not as clever). And, when paired with the excellent musical score, these episodes make for relaxing, lighthearted watching.
However, not all of the show all is frivolous and sexy adventures. The anime crams three significant arcs into its 26 episode run with varying degrees of success. Of the three, the portion concerning the "Neko-nyan Dance" fits best with the series' tone and makes excellent use of Makoto--who suffers from criminal under-representation. In contrast, the final set of episodes surrounding the school festival goes from lighthearted to morose so quickly that viewers should brace themselves for inevitable whiplash. Without giving anything away, this closing segment cleverly leverages a previous episode to deliver maximum emotional impact before hand-waving everything back to normal for the feel-good conclusion. The longest story, however, does its best to strangle the series. While it does wrap up with an effective pulling of the viewer's heartstrings, the first main arc--dealing with Haruma's unrequited love for Ayano--drains the life from the show, as neither character can hold the viewers attention for long in absence of Choko. All in all, the uneven storytelling does add variety to the show, but feels clumsy, almost canceling the effect.
Up close, Choco and the gang move fluidly, which when combined with a vibrant color palette and over-the-top expressions goes toward mitigating the standard-looking character designs. At a distance, however, the actors distort a little and the attention to detail vanishes. Against the static backdrops, the weaker wide-angle shots appear to be of jarringly lower-quality when compared to the fully-animated "Neko-nyan Dance" or the fanservice-y bathing scenes.
Viewers' milage will vary on the vocal performances. Choko, Chitose, and Yurika all sound much as you'd expect: Choko is made of adorable naivete; Chitose's voice is that of a proper lady who gets overwhelmed by too much activity or perversion; and Rie Kugimiya lends her trademark tsundere verve to her charge, Yuri-pyon. Makoto, however, provides an interesting opportunity for her seiyuu, Rika Morinaga. In the mold of many a drunken sage, Makoto's range of behavior from extremely dirty to almost motherly makes her character both interesting and a fertile ground for vocal subtlety, and her lusty performance steals a good number of scenes.
Unlike the idiosyncratic vocals, Chokotto Sister's soundtrack sticks out as one of the better accompaniments for a slice-of-life anime. Looking past its mindless lyrics and painful Engrish, the series' OP starts each installment off on an upbeat and adventurous note, but won't likely make it into many fans' playlists. The "Neko-nyan Dance", on the other hand has a great beat with which viewers can dance along (steps provided in the anime), and, in an interesting direction choice becomes the focus of more than a few episodes in the second half of the show. Of course, this means that viewers could find themselves tired of the song by the time the final credits roll, but its inclusion in the world of the narrative adds dimension to the anime. Moreso than the OP and the ED, however, the incidental music provides perfect compliment to the show's content. Although not terribly varied, the adorable themes accentuate the action whether comical, laid-back, action-packed, or dramatic.
Without a doubt, Choko makes or breaks this anime for its viewers. Her optimism, naivete, implied sex drive, and fragility form a potent cocktail that instantly ensnares any imouto-loving lolicon. In addition, her willingness to have new experiences and her need to have everything explained to her provides plenty of justification for the crazy situations in which she finds herself. Her energy and enthusiasm help move the series along, even during its weakest portions, but if you find her penchant for nudity or her excessive ignorance off-putting, drop the show like a bad habit. Across from her, Haruma is every bit a sober older brother (takes one to know one). Though more than a little dense at times, his devotion to Choko and inherent kindness help him complement his boisterous younger sister perfectly--at least when he's not pining after the log-pretending-to-be-a-character called Ayano. His mild annoyance and gentle scoldings give him a realism that pays of in spades during the series' more emotional moments while also being perfectly recognizable to anyone who is or has had a sibling.
But a few bad apples can spoil the barrel. Ayano's listless and vapid presence dominates the first half of the anime, and her lack of personality makes Haruma's affection for her infuriating and perplexing. Paired with the abusive and stony-faced Kazuya, most of the characters involved with this love triangle inspire rage and confusion instead of sympathy. If the show didn't make such a big deal of the whole affair, the florist could likely be forgiven, but as the young college student believes her to be worthy of infatuation, her shortcomings move beyond irksome and into irritating.
While the slower moments of this series and the over-saturation of the "Neko-nyan Dance" hold the series back, the terminal cuteness and touching moments between Haruma and Choko stick out more in the viewer's mind. For anyone who likes slice-of-life and doesn't mind the occasional naked loli (it's all in good fun), this series is worth a look. If, however, you secretly (or openly) wish you had an imouto all your own, Chokotto Sister is the next best thing to one of those creepy H-games.
Chokotto Sister is one of those animes that you will like immediately and enjoy or you'll absolutely hate it. The quirky characters wanting to live simple lives are what drive this anime. Some of the comedy comes from Choko's guide book to being a good little sister, which often is not age appropriate for her. Urban legend has it that this was slated to be 26 episodes, but cut to 24 due to the law. Many of the characters are endearing in their quirks. The main problem people may have with it is, like Aria the animation, there are no major bad guys and not any real fighting. The conflicts are mostly limited to how the characters want to be vs. how things are going for them.
Also note that this anime was aired just after the 2006 anti-lolli law was passed. (In 2006, the diet passed a law prohibiting the depictions of nudity for anyone under 18. Initially, all animes covered up all nudity until the law could be correctly interpreted. Thus when you see a character undress, a police "Do not cross" tape is put over the private parts. This includes the adult characters.)
One getting started to watch this show better know what he’s in for. To its core, Chocotto Sister is about the simple daily lives of the residents of an apartment building, mostly focusing on that of the relationship between two siblings. The thing is, the show throws in lots of ecchi and in many parts oversexualizes the naked body of little girls. I mean, seriously, the story begins with the lead boy being given a little sister as a gift, half naked and in a sack. The innocent mind will see that as a nice Christmas present but the dirty as a girl kidnapped and sold to prostitution. And that is the main catch that can make you like or hate this show. Depending on how you get to bite the premise will either find it as a comical slice-of-life with lots of nude or a sleazy lolicon, dressed as comedy.
Apart from that very distinctive feature, the actual story of the anime is very simple and doesn’t really progress towards anything specific. It is just random events in the lives of the two siblings and their interactions with the other residents and some other passingbyers. It also ends in a way that is supposed to excuse not to expect anything other than that.
I wrote simple and not generic because all those erotic vibes make it hard to see it as such. Although almost all events are commonplace in most ecchi comedies (or even hentais) the weird mix of comedy with erotism and coming-of life moments create a weird blend that make it somewhat hard to be clear up in your mind on what it is really about. One viewer can focus on this aspect, some other can focus on that aspect. I for once got initially interested on the erotic part, which was really bold and bordering hentai or lolicons at many points (I like that shit). But after 10 episodes the focus shifts to the sibling relation and how the older brother is teaching his sister of various important things in life, while he is constantly surrounded by possible romantic or sexual interests. It was a somewhat enjoyable erotic comedy at this point with some staple life messages here. Ten episodes after that, the feeling went away as well and now I was just curious to see how it will all end. And well, it ended calmly and even tried to excuse this mess in a way to not expect anything else. So for me the Enjoyment is gradually dropping as the episodes go by since the lack of development story-wise was getting more and more tiresome. I still give it a good mark, for making a rather uniform blend of erotism and slice of life, without ever sticking too much on one and neglecting the other.
The characters are not special in any way. They are all quite stereotypical figures you can find in most ecchi comedies or even hentais. It’s just that the story made sure to focus a lot on their mentality, as simple as that was, as means to bring out the best of what they could offer. So although their personalities are nothing much, their interactions and mood swings seem logical and even excused. Especially Chocotto; she begins as a pedophile’s wet dream, pure, ignorant to the world, and willing to do anything to please her big brother. Steadily she becomes a cute little thing to cherish and support for all her efforts. All the rest are rather meh to care about.
Visually the show is poor; simple character figures and large outlines and not much attention to detailed coloring, shading, or smooth animation. Hands in many parts feel bulky as well. Voice acting and soundtrack are ok for this sort of series. The opening and ending videos are practically the only well made parts in the entire show and liking them or not is all up to preference. The nekonyan dance for example is hard to tell if it’s cute, sexy, plain stupid or all that at the same time. All these are trademarks of animation studio Nomad, which never has high budgets to produce visually and acoustically pleasing shows. In fact, most of them are bellow average.
In all, it is a good series to spend your free time if:
1) you are not offended by the fact it oversexualizes little girls (if you are con to the idea)
2) you are not expecting a lolicon (if you are pro to the idea)
3) you expect a good story with a great ending (there isn’t much here)
Beyond all that, it is not very memorable as a series and chances of rewatching it are slim. Being stuck as a combo of average genres does not make it better that pure and far better made erotic comedies, hentais, lolicons or slices of life.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (average)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 0/3 (none; there is nothing to gain by watching it again)
Memorability 2/4 (the premise was rather memorable but there is nothing much beyond that)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
I liked the atmosphere but it is shallow in all.