For Spring 2011, we have two times the prolific Japanese voice actress, Rie Kugimiya’s tsundere typecasting! One of her roles is more of the standard fare while the other is seemingly a lot less conventional while a lot more… awkward.
Fans of Toradora may feel some nostalgia in Rie Kugimiya’s male counterpart for Hidan no Aria being voiced by Junji Majima. For those unfamiliar, the two have previously voiced a romantic comedy pair – Taiga and Ryuji – in Toradora.
Others may be taken aback in the fact that Aria, Rie Kugimiya’s character, is practically a copy-and-pasted Shana from another J.C. Staff series (the studio responsible for Hidan no Aria), Shakugan no Shana, except armed with M1911s akimbo in addition to swords.
In fact, I deduce that the entire plot will be Shakugan no Shana except with a backstory and setting derived from a militarized Tokyo High School by the name of Butei, which educates students in being crime-fighting bounty hunters. As one would expect of a Shana-inspired heroine, Aria is dutiful and deadly. While her male counterpart, Kinji, is actually a competent warrior himself as opposed to his Shakugan no Shana parallel who was practically useless at the start of the series, Kinji wants to quit Butei and does’t even want to involve himself in fighting anymore. It’s obvious, however, that it won’t be going as planned.
I do appreciate the spin of giving Shakugan no Shana-inspired characters guns, however. That may even include the male lead’s other presumed love interest. I anticipate a very belligerent love triangle. If the love triangle devolves into a gunfight, this will be getting a lot more interesting!
While I would have much preferred a third full season of Shakugan no Shana, the similarities posed by Hidan no Aria are somewhat refreshing. Fans of J.C. Staff adaptations such as Shakugan no Shana may be able to appreciate Hidan no Aria, especially if they love guns.
Lotte no Omocha (also going by Astarotte no Omocha, literally meaning “Astarotte’s Toy”) features the titular 10-year-old succubus, voiced by Rie Kugimiya, attempting to find the first member of her life-sustaining male harem. As in “life-sustaining,” it is explained that the males feed succubi “sauzfryma” …
If you’re familiar with a certain substance males are only capable of producing out of their unique reproductive system, then you know what is implied by “sauzfryma.” Yep… considering how innocent-looking everything appears, that premise makes it very awkward.
Most people aren’t even giving this show a look considering the implied lolicon of the premise. Knowing how poorly most premise summaries explain the actual substance of a show during the preseason previews, however, I dared giving this one a watch to see if it was as bad as it sounded.
For a premise so raunchy, Astarotte no Omocha tries hard to retain Rie Kugimiya’s typical tsundere innocence. Her character for this series is male-hating, short-tempered, and not so mature (although she is only 10 years old, to be fair.) The closest series I can make an analogy with is Hayate the Combat Butler, looking past the raunchy-seeming premise. Lotte’s nature is similar to Nagi, although she’s probably not going to exhibit otaku tendencies in this series. The male protagonist also seems to resemble Hayate. Heck, the voice actress even voiced mecha-Hayate, Eight.
If this series brings us the romantic chemistry of Nagi and Hayate while not becoming as explicitly raunchy as its premise sounds, I may continue to keep my eye on this series.
Ideally, I anticipate this being surprisingly entertaining to the likes of B Gata H Kei, which also appeared to have a raunchy premise but still delivered a great amount of comedy while somehow avoiding gratuitous, tasteless indecency. Despite all the suggestions of lolicon in anticipation to this series, I’m hoping Astarotte no Omocha manages to be a lighthearted romantic comedy.
Nevertheless, I’m holding my breath. The first episode was very slowly paced and not very funny, as they spent much of the exposition fleshing out the Norse-based universe of the series. I'll have to watch a little more in order to determine whether or not I'll keep an eye on this.
In conclusion, while Hidan no Aria may be appealing enough to fans of other J.C. Staff adaptations such as Shakugan no Shana, Astarotte no Omocha has yet to prove its potential for a romantic comedy. I'll stand by my claim from the first image caption: your mileage may vary! Diehard RIe Kugimiya fans, however, may be pleased to find her cast as protagonists in both.