While making my season preview post, I noticed that Astarotte no Omocha was based on the manga Lotte no Omocha by Haga Yui, a porn artist that I really like, so I decided to check out the manga. I really enjoyed the manga, and the anime has shown itself to be an excellent adaption as of the first episode.
I’m going to get this out of the way now: I don’t really care what you think about this show. I know that this series has a big target painted on it, but there’s no deep or interesting reason I’m expecting anyone to have for disliking it. So please, if you don’t like this show, just don’t comment on this post. Don’t talk to me about the show. I don’t want to hear it. I like the show, I’m going to talk about why, and if you disagree, I really don’t care to argue about it.
What I was worried about with this adaption was that it wouldn’t capture the mature air of the manga that plays a big part in why I love it. Lotte no Omocha is cute and fun, but it’s also very intelligent, which is what separates it from expectation. (Mind you, I don’t make high demands of manga, but I also don’t read anything just for the fanservice. I’ve dropped manga with much more attractive characters and artwork because they were stupid as hell.)
The fascinating aspect of Lotte’s core concept, which is that she needs to start drinking semen in order to survive when she comes of age, is that it appeals to the sci-fi/fantasy fan that’s been growing inside of me for a while now. I love to think about semi-human beings—I want to see how a slight tweak in the necessities of living will alter the psychology of a humanoid. It’s not Lotte’s fault that she has to drink semen. The plot doesn’t feel like a forced attempt at a fanservice-driven story. It makes sense to me that this creature exists.
There is plenty of sexualization in Lotte no Omocha, but not in the usual ways. It’s not about a dumbass guy and an ignorant girl falling over one-another and getting shy about stuff. The main character has a daughter who is the same age as Lotte. He has no intention whatsoever of having sex with her, and is trying to support her decision to wait until she’s older before becoming sexually involved.
And the exciting part is that he knows from experience! His daughter was actually born when he was only ten years old. His mate was *spoiler* a succubus, to whom ten would’ve been the proper age for such a thing, but she left him with the responsibility to take care of the baby. I don’t think anyone could better understand Lotte’s situation.
Astarotte/Lotte no Omocha is not a serious story. It doesn’t spend all its time dwelling on sexual psychology. But it doesn’t ignore it, either. The story is meant to be cute, happy fun time with a plethora of beautiful women (please note that while there are a number of lolis, there are plenty of older girls in Lotte’s entourage, and I love all of them), but it’s not stupid. I don’t expect most people to go through the trouble of recognizing this. If you don’t want to see sexualized ten-year-old girls, then I don’t blame you for avoiding the show entirely. I for one am not bothered by it and am excited to see this kind of story that I enjoy more than any others. I love explorations of adolescent sexual psychology, I love the idea of a main with a daughter, and better yet one he had at a young age. So many elements excite me.
The anime has thus far carried the mature air of the manga. I was worried about Kugimiya Rie’s portrayal of Lotte and whether she’d overdo it, but she made the character completely endearing during this episode as she fretted over Judit.
It’s worth noting that the manga doesn’t start like this. The first episode is something like half of the first chapter with a lot of extra stuff added in, but the extra stuff was great for introducing more of the cast that we wouldn’t see till later (Zelda especially) and giving Lotte a better foundation as a character.
The biggest treat for me was the gorgeous background art which I have no doubt was the result of Okama’s involvement in the series. Shows like this very rarely give attention to background detail, so seeing that made it feel special, like the studio was really putting effort into making this good. That’s the kind of thing that gives me confidence in my expectations for the series.
There hasn’t been enough time for me to gauge the quality of seiyuu performances beyond Kugimiya, but I see a lot of good choices—Fujimura Ayumi as Zelda and Horie Yui as Effie especially. I’m going to be looking hard at Nabatame Hitomi playing Judit, who’s perhaps my favorite character from the series, but seeing as she’s the voice of Nobue Itou, I’m not worried. Satou Rina as Naoya is a weird choice to me since he completely sounds like a girl, but I suppose it can work. Also fun fact, Olav has the same voice as the principle in Hidamari Sketch!
All in all, I’m really excited about this show. I think it’s got something special that will make it memorable and endearing.