A 12 episode anime produced by Diomedea, Astarotte’s Toy is perhaps one of their less popular titles. With a setting based loosely on Norse mythology , the story focuses on Astrarotte, the princess of the Kingdom of Ygvar, and Naoya, an unemployed single father living in Japan.
Astarotte is a succubus from the realm of monsters and now that she has turned 10, she must start assembling her harem. Not only that, in the future, she will need to drink the semen of men in order to survive. Disgusted by the thought, she declares that she will only have a harem with a human male in it, something that hasn’t been seen in the realm of monsters for ages. This is where Naoya comes in, lured by the prospect of a high-paying job; he is dragged into the realm of monsters by one of Astarotte’s aides in order for Astarotte to start her harem.
From the plot summary, one would assume this anime was about a 10-year-old sucking off guys. Thankfully, that’s far from the truth. The whole idea of having to drink semen seems nothing more than a marketing strategy to create some controversy and draw attention. Astarotte’s Toy is actually very similar to Hayate the Combat Butler, both in characters and sense in comedy. They both have a stubborn, blonde princess-like character that doesn’t like to admit her faults and shortcomings, and a blue-haired butler-like character that protects and nurtures her. Both series also involve the male character cross-dressing to the amusement of onlookers and episodes that strengthen the bond between him and the female character.
Unfortunately, Astarotte’s Toy does not achieve the same level of comedy and audience sympathy towards the characters as Hayate the Combat Butler. Too often, the jokes in Astarotte’s Toy were either shallow or simply not funny. One example was when Naoya was tasked with obtaining some of Astarotte’s favourite milk, which turned out to come from the only girl in the series wearing a cowbell.
For a short anime, there were far too many side characters introduced, which detracted from the developments between the main characters. Many of the characters seemed to play little or no role in the story. A few examples are the Queen’s aides and Astarotte’s school friends. These characters gain enough screen time to be noticed, but not enough for the viewer to really acknowledge them. In the end, they just take up time that could have been spent developing the relationships between the main characters.
Despite the shortcomings in the story development, the animation style and quality were excellent, and the music was sweet. The character designs are more on the cute side and “bubbly” which helps with comedy as they can easily deform their faces to exaggerate a particular expression. The ending song, sung by Azusa, is also very calming and sounds almost sad, alluding to the end of the anime.
Production quality can’t make an average story better though. Astarotte’s Toy offers something to watch on a lazy day, but I would not consider it a series worth getting worked up over.