Chokotan is an adaptation of an ongoing manga written by Takeuchi Kozue. The special is only ten minutes long and was handled by J.C. Staff. Yes, the same studio behind Potemayo, The Slayers and Honey & Clover, to name a few. So, how do they handle adapting an ongoing manga into a really short special? Let’s take a look and find out.
The titular Chokotan is a miniature Dachshund. Her owner, Nao, likes a boy in her school named Arima and gets to see him everyday when taking Chokotan for her morning walk in spite of being in different classes. Also, Chokotan can talk like a human because she ate a strange plant that somehow made her vocal cords work that way. One day things go wrong for Nao when two girls who are in Arima’s class stop by and talk to him. That’s pretty much the story presented in the ten minute segment.
Now, I will be somewhat lenient with it since it is only a ten minute segment. But even being lenient, it does have multiple problems. The first is that Chokotan’s magical vocal cords seem to work by plot convenience, failing for no apparent reason and then working again for no reason. The second is that Chokotan doesn’t work like a dog. In addition to her magic vocal cords, she has magical tear ducts and doesn’t have issues with being colour blind, being able to identify what “red” looks like. The reason for the tears is used as a lazy way to make Chokotan emote because… whimpering wasn’t good enough? The lack of colour blindness is just used for a terribly written bit of dialogue. Then we have the conflict itself. Nao freaks out because Arima knows girls besides her and talks with them in an innocuous and friendly way? That’s really weak and entirely petty on her part. The romance itself just seems cliché. Yeah, that’s a lot of problems crammed into ten minutes. And I’m not even going to complain about Chokotan’s ability to talk not doing anything in the narrative since there isn’t exactly sufficient time to make it really important.
While the characters aren’t very well fleshed out, they are, in all fairness, about the best you can expect from a ten minute special. The only real complaint I have is that Nao is a twit. Having her react so vehemently to the guy she likes knowing other girls just makes her seem creepily possessive and annoyingly melodramatic.
The art is one aspect that they did a really good job with. The characters are nicely detailed and there are some nice background details. The best part is the art on the dogs, which looks absolutely adorable.
Kugimiya Rie stars as our canine protagonist and does a cutesy voice for her. To her credit, the voice she uses isn’t so over the top and high-pitched that it gets annoying. So it is much better than her Nene performance in Potemayo. Nao is voiced by Sakura Ayane, who does a good job. Arima and his dog, Happy, are voiced by Eguchi Takuya and Tamura Mutsumi respectively, both of whom do well. The music is suitable for the series.
There is no ho-yay in this series. There are only a small number of characters and the important ones are two humans of the opposite sex and two dogs of the opposite sex.
This is a short special that seems to be designed around gathering interest in the manga. The problem is it’s pretty stupid. The story, though very short, is riddled with problems. From not understanding how dogs work, to an incredibly weak conflict, to the plot contrivance talking ability and the really egregiously bad bit of “romantic” dialogue just serves to end it really badly. I will give the special that the art and acting are both good and the story, while bad, isn’t terrible or offensive. If the idea of a talking Dachshund helping her owner with her romantic problems appeals to you, give it a try. Maybe you’ll be interested enough to check out the manga. For myself, I have to give it a 4/10. There are simply too many story problems that crop up in those ten minutes. Next week, Pokemon: The Origin.