Before we get to the review, I have an announcement to make. The review after this will be my 20th Ani-Crap Review and I plan on personally choosing the next title that I will be covering, which I plan on doing next weekend. As a result, I don’t plan on posting a new poll for readers to choose my next title until next weekend. So what do I plan on covering for my 20th review? I’ll give you guys a hint: there’s only one title among Manga Entertainment’s infamous Holy Trinity of Suck I’ve yet to cover and this one has a lot more infamy to it than the prior two I’ve covered. Look forward to next weekend! In the mean time, on with the review.
Astarotte’s Toy was a 12-episode ecchi/ harem comedy TV anime that aired from April 10 to June 26 of 2011. The anime is based on an ongoing manga series written by Yui Haga for the seinen magazine, Dengeki Maoh. Episodes of the series are legally available for streaming via Crunchyroll.
Astarotte Ygvar is a 10-year old princess in the kingdom of Ygvarland within the magical world of Alfheimr. Born a succubus, Astarotte is expected to begin organizing a male harem as she comes of age and needing the “life-seed”, otherwise known as semen, of men in order to sustain herself. The princess, however, has a hatred of men and only agrees to organize a harem if the first male she adds is a human, as those in her realm believe humans to be extinct. However, her followers encounter a human male named Naoya Tohara who, along with his daughter Asuha, is brought to Alfheimr to be part of Astarotte’s harem.
Astarotte’s Toy is a series that seemed unsure if it wanted to be a lolicon/ ecchi romp fest or a comedy-drama focused on the developments of Lotte’s character as she spent time with Naoya. Both elements fail at being appealing due to the former appealing to the lowest common denominator of Japan’s otaku fanbase and the latter being riddled with enough clichés you would see from enough similar titles that it lacks any type of freshness.
The ecchi content for Astarotte’s Toy is not as dirty as you would think for the premise for this series. It plays up the old nice guy/ tsundere character dynamic used in past romantic comedies in its focus on Naoya and Lotte’s relationship, with the latter being yet another Rie Kugimiya-style tsundere. To those unfamiliar with what I mean, Rie Kugimiya is the seiyuu for Lotte in this series who has acquired a rep for portraying a number of tsundere characters in her works such as Shana, Taiga and Nagi. The tsundere that Rie typically portray are teenage girls with a childlike appearance having long hair, flat chests and an aggressive “tsun tsun” type personality for their character.
For the character dynamic in this series, it looked like Astarotte’s Toy was ripping off Hayate the Combat Butler with the male lead (Naoya) being man servant to the demands of the rich and spoiled tsundere (Lotte). But while Hayate the Combat Butler had its effective comedic delivery to make the premise work with Nagi and Hayate at least being a few years apart in age, Astarotte’s Toy tries to be more focused on the developing relationship between Lotte and Naoya. The approach fails to work here because the character dynamic has been done enough times before where its quite stale and the creepy lolicon implications of the relationship are present since Naoya’s a full-grown adult (despite appearing much younger) and Lotte has yet to even approach adolescence.
Outside of the relationship developments, Astarotte’s Toy also suffers in its comedic delivery and having some questionable moral elements to its story. For the show’s humor, it dabbles into the typical and tiresome perverted gags and innuendo jokes you would find in ecchi titles that involve intercourse, certain bodily features, arousal and the sometimes too-intimate interactions between female cast members. The title’s moral elements also raise some red flags as it was implied Naoya was underaged when he had intercourse with Lotte’s mother and our male lead having some pretty lousy parenting skills considering he left his daughter to fend for herself during the first few episodes of the series when he entered Alfheimr and having very loose conduct with his parenting considering Asuha’s habit of not wearing underwear, allowing her to dress in some scanty clothing and her touchy-feely behavior with members of the female cast.