Astarotte no Omocha!

Title:Astarotte no Omocha!
Astarotte's Toy
アスタロッテのおもちゃ! (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: KUGIMIYA Rie
While job hunting, Naoya is taken by a mysterious girl to a magical land where he is installed in the harem of the succubus Queen Lotte. Thanks to trauma from her childhood, Lotte hates men and surrounds herself with lots of other women, who all have quirks of their own. In spite of her selfishness, when Naoya learns that Lotte is really quite lonely he agrees to stay in her world...if he can bring his daughter Asuha with him.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

A Spring 2011 series

12 episodes

OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Avoid 7 6 6 5 3 3 Ggultra2764 [series:2014#1552]
Okay, the series isn't as dirty as it seemed from the premise and creepy implications the promotional material was delivering. But it still hammers enough cliches, scantily-clad dressed characters that include minors (shutters) and poor efforts at sexual humor to pander to the otaku crowd. This series has another Rie Kugimiya tsundere-type character (Shakugan no Shana, Hayate no Gotoku!, Toradora!) whose types I've come to greatly detest in many works (Hayate being an exception) and it appears the series was trying to knock off Hayate the Combat Butler with the similar scenario and character dynamic between Lotte and Naoya. Whereas Hayate got by with its comedy to make it worthwhile and the age-gap between Hayate and Nagi was only by a few years (with Nagi at least being in middle school), Astarotte's Toy tries to play its romantic developments between Lotte and Naoya straight while there's a 13-year age gap between the two with our young succubi being 10 years old. The developments between the pairing here are quite flat since the buildup with it has been done to death in enough works with a nice guy/ tsundere character dynamic and Lotte not exactly being the most likeable character to connect with. Also considering Naoya actually has his own child here (Naoya being 23 and having nailed Lotte's mom ten years earlier), his parenting skills seem to be lacking considering his daughter usually runs around with no panties on and gets quite touchy-feely with other girls without her father reprimanding her seriously for her actions.

It seemed like this series was unsure if it wanted to be a lolicon/ ecchi romp fest or a comedy-drama focused on the growth of Lotte's character. Both would be quite unappealing for me here as the former is just appealing to Japan's lowest common denominator and the latter is just rehashing character types and plot scenarios I've seen done to death from past titles choosing to play things "safe" for plot setups. Unless you're a sap for this stuff or giddy for yet another Rie Kugimiya tsundere, don't waste your time with Astarotte's Toy.

Last updated Sunday, April 28 2013. Created Sunday, April 28 2013.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2014#628]
(Two episodes watched):

First of all, don't watch this series unless you have seen Zero no Tsukaima and liked it, because the premises are pretty much the same and that show was better. Basically, a modern-day Japanese boy winds up in a fantasy alternate world and finds that a female member of royalty has taken an interest in him. Not only is the premise not particularly original, but I have seen so many Rie Kugimiya-voiced oddball girls in not very entertaining roles that recognizing her voice yet again almost made me groan. About the only thing I can say in this show's favor is that since Naoya has just arrived at the end of episode one, it is still possible that a fun relationship between him and Queen Lotte could develop. On the other hand, taking an entire episode to set up the premise, and with few signs of decent humor or storytelling talent forthcoming, is no reason for me to get my hopes up. Perhaps I will watch another episode of Astarotte's Toy, perhaps not.

After reading a claim by an ANN reviewer that, in spite of the sleazy premise, this series would develop a sort of sweetness over time, I decided to watch another episode. Clearly an effort really is being made to express things like kindness, friendship, and have a moral to the story. But the effort seemed to be so shallow and simplistic that I wasn't moved at all, and saw little reason to expect things to get any better later on. And, the jokes hardly made me crack a smile. Maybe something will happen later on, but having to watch numerous episodes of this sort would be too high a price to pay. Thus, I have decided to dispense with Astarotte.

Last updated Tuesday, May 24 2011. Created Monday, April 25 2011.

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