Episode 2 of C was a letdown for the most part, but that’s okay because Steins;Gate and Astarotte no Omocha are putting up strong showings as easily my favorite shows this season. I can’t contain my fanboydom for either!
Astarotte ep 3 was so good it hurt, and Asuha in animation is the cutest god damn thing this side of planet Earth. At this point—unlike with Ao no Exorcist—I’m so far beyond the changes from the manga (which have gotten pretty major) that they barely register now. This anime is much better than the manga, not just for the already true reason that Okama’s art design is spectacular, but also because it’s written by the pens of gods.
I like to refer to Toradora as a sort of keystone in the Kugimiya Rie loli arch. Everyone and their grandma has known since 2007 that Kugimiya is best known for playing “tsundere” lolis, especially in J.C. Staff shows, and it’s only grown more true over the years, with this season’s (fucking terrible) Hidan no Aria reaching almost so-terrible-it’s-like-a-meta-commentary-on-the-overuse-of-Kugimiya levels of Kugimiya overdose.
Why is Toradora the keystone? Because it takes the character type, all too known for it’s inability to grow and develop and for being perpetually misunderstood, and then the whole purpose of the show is allowing the character to do just that through 24 episodes of the best melodrama in anime. Now we’ve got Astarotte no Omocha, which accomplishes something similar in the span of three episodes.
Obviously it’s not a replacement for Toradora because that growing process is important the way Toradora does it, but it’s also a very cool new animal to see the character so easily understood, and seeing how she’ll grow in that environment. It’s like Naoya is the father to Astarotte that Ryuuji was the lover to Taiga.
Plus the show is so fucking god damn adorable, I want to hug Asuha TO DEATH. Cute girls haven’t done this many cute things since Ichigo Mashimaro.