Astarotte's Toy Episode #01 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Monday, April 11, 2011
Release Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's hard to be a succubus when you have a deathly fear of men.

What They Say:
The Exclamation of our Meeting

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based off of the seinen manga of the same name by Yui Haga which runs in in Dengeki Comics, Astarotte's Toy is a new series from Diomedea with Fumitoshi Oizaki (Welcome to the NHK, Romeo x Juliet) taking the directing duties on. Oizaki has largely worked as a chief animation director and an episode director here and there, but he's had some varied works he's been involved in over the years that have been largely clean and simple. Astarotte's Toy looks to change that as it wants to play the fanservice angle pretty hard at times. The manga began in 2007 and has been running since then with five volumes worth of material in collected form, so it's not a show that has a ton of material to work with, but enough for a good season.

The series focuses on Astarotte, a succubus who has the unwelcome reality of needing a harem in order to survive as she gets older. The parallel is made to vampires that need to suck blood to survive and what a succubus needs is lots of male attendants in order to thrive. Astarotte's main problem though is that she really, really, doesn't like guys. So she's stuck between a rock and a hard place since she'd rather not die, but she also feels like she might die if she spends too much time with a man. Astarotte's the type that plays up the really heavy Lolita type, complete with blong pigtails, so there's some mild cringe moments where she talks about her distaste for having to suck out a man's life-seed in order to fulfill her needs as a succubus. On the plus side, since the barrier between the two worlds is currently sealed, she figures she's pretty safe from having to deal with any of it for some time.

Of course, you know that won't last and a surprising event occurs that allows the Tree of Life gate to open, complete with Astarotte getting dropped inside of it, but it's her servant Judit who takes the real fall and disappears. What Judit finds there though is a young man named Naoya who she realizes would be ideal for Astarotte and she proceeds to make him very much interested in the job she has for him with a huge monthly salary. Of course, he doesn't realize the downsides to it at first, namely that it's back in the world where Astarotte resides as well as the condition that she has, and what she has to draw from him. It's definitely an amusing first encounter between the two and definitely welcome that it doesn't happen until the very end of the episode, allowing for some very relaxed periods to introduce the characters and the settings without making it a hyper event.

In Summary:
While there's the obviously questionable material about Astarotte because of her age and that of Naoya, it all will depend on how they're supposed to interact since she's not supposed to draw from him until she actually reaches maturity, which will make it more of an odd couple kind of show for awhile as she deals with her problems and Naoya has to deal with her. There's a certain softness to the show here that works in its favor but also a sweetness that I wasn't expecting based on the content. It has the potential to be a lot of fun if you can get past the main issue that it has, but that issue itself hasn't really presented itself yet. You know it's there around the corner though because of the loli nature, and a quick look at what else the show does through some reading of where the manga goes can make you cringe a bit too. But it's a show that has its charms and appeal that certainly merits checking out more to see what they're really going to do. I'm cautiously optimistic. Then again, I got a kick out of Chu-Bra so take that as you will.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Crunchyroll
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Astarotte's Toy (Lotte no Omocha)