Astarotte's Toy Episode #03 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Release Date: Sunday, April 24, 2011

As Naoya settles into life in this realm, he has a bit of a surprise to drop on Judit and Lotte.

What They Say:
Naoya brings his daughter, Asuha, from the Realm of Man now that he has been selected as a candidate for the harem and is living with Lotte in their estate. Lotte is surprised that Naoya has a daughter at his age and unleashes a barrage of insults against him without realizing exactly what she's saying. Asuha, on the other hand, doesn't seem exactly pleased that her dad had a lot of bad things said about him. Naoya tells Asuha that, instead, he wishes for her to become friends with Lotte. The very next day, Asuha tries to look for Lotte in order to make amends, but she has already gone to school. Asuha says she wants to go to school too.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The whole situations turns very weird at the start of this episode, pushing things in an even creepier way than you'd have guessed at first, as it's revealed that Asuha is actually Naoya's daughter. It's hard to tell how old he is simply because of how the characters are designed as Naoya felt like he was a teenager at best, though he was a bit more even tempered than most would be in such a situation. Now that he knows he'll be living and working in this realm, he wants to make sure he can go back and get Asuha so she can live there to. The reactions by others when they realize this is the case is priceless.

With Asuha set up here now, after a particularly creepy father/daughter scene of awkwardness, she's trying to get a bit more settled in now that her father has asked her to become good friends with the princess in order to help her out. What we discover is that even though the girls all grow up to be succubi, they do have to go to school and Lotte in particular since she's going to be the ruler some day. This gives Judit the perfect opportunity since she can send her to school with Lotte so she gets an education and Lotte gets something of a potential friend while Naoya gets to work elsewhere. Naoya's acceptance of everything and bringing his daughter here still seems like a very poorly executed piece of storytelling overall as there could have been a lot more covered, but getting past some of the opening marks to where we are should be worth it so it can move on with other stories and introducing more characters from this realm.

The focus on getting Asuha adjusted to living there is very simple since she's young and adapts easily, especially with her personality. She makes friends quickly there and they're all kind of flummoxed by her since she's so outgoing and energetic, but it can be a little infectious. In the end though, Asuha really just wants to be Lotte's friend and through the mild pursuit that Asuha goes through, we get to see some of the school and some of the softer side of Lotte with her love of taking care of flowers and such. Asuha's a surprising calm influence on Lotte though, which you would think would go against Asuha's personality, but it works pretty nicely and the things that she says stirs some good memories within Lotte. It's a warming of the relationship between the two of them, especially as they're both closer in age than we originally thought and closer than Lotte is with Naoya, which does add something to the creepy factor.

In Summary:
While I fully expect more revelations to come about the real story behind Naoya and Asuha, at the moment it just has a creepy feeling in terms of the relationship and the way certain things look. It's easy to imagine him taking on the fatherly role even though there's no blood relation being the main reveal. Still, the way it comes up here is designed to unnerve and it does it well. It also allows the show to put forth a really nice bit of warmth and heart as it focuses on Asuha much more strongly as she attends school with Lotte, makes new friends there and really starts to grow on Lotte herself. It's also the perfect thing for Lotte to experience since it makes her more accessible to others who had kept their distance for a variety of reasons. It at least gives Asuha some purpose within the show and she does it all with Naoya barely on screen after the initial part of the episode, so Asuha has to stand on her own. And she does. Astarotte's Toy continues to be a very cute show with a bit of a cringe inducing feeling behind parts of it, but its charms at the moment outweigh all of that.

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)