Astarotte's Toy is an anime I would be embarrassed to admit to liking. I literally went into it thinking, "Why the hell am I watching this? I'm just going to watch one episode, complain about how stupid it is, and then drop it and move on to something else. The central premise is so creepy that I can't give a plot summary without sounding like a pedophile. It's basically about a ten year succubus starting a harem. Creepy right?
Surprisingly not as bad as I'd thought. It mostly acts like a family drama, and the male lead plays the role of a surrogate father to Astarotte, which can be creepy or adorable, depending on how you look at it. It feels a lot like Hayate the Combat Butler, if that series had taken itself seriously. The little girl makes it clear that she's got a crush on Naoya, but Naoya seems more interested in his one night love affair who he happens to meet in this fantasy world. For the most part, it barely pays much attention to its central and uncomfortable premise.
In this way, Deadman Wonderland is the exact opposite. Both series start off with a ridiculous and somewhat shocking premise, but while Astarotte's Toy choses to ignore its own premise, Deadman Wonderland relishes it. Deadman Wonderland starts off with an entire classroom of students getting massacred sans one, our main hero, Ganta. He gets the blame for it and is sentenced to death at the worst idea for an amusement park ever, Deadman Wonderland, where all the workers are criminals. Why anyone would want to go to an amusement park where inmates work at is beyond me, but it is a sick, sick place, full of Gladiatorial battles and races, where people die. A lot. It becomes so gruesomely stupid, and appears to be switching to a battle a week format. It's really a shame the plot is so confused and inane, because its extremely well animated and the music is freaking awesome, but the characters aren't likeable and the story is too ridiculous to take seriously. It's just a bunch of excuses to see people get chopped up.
In the meantime, I'm getting through [C] pretty quickly.It's a pretty good sign if the end of the episode takes you by surprise, because it seems to run at a pretty quick pace. I'm not even sure why I like this series. Its about a boy who becomes a member of the Financial District, a place where people battle using economics terms to make or lose money. The plot is like Yu-gi-oh with economics randomly thrown in, and its a a weird combination. Somehow it seems to work, and I like uncommon themes, which economics definitely qualifies as. The animation is also quite lovely, and it balances out CGI and 2D animation pretty well, and the two different styles actually mesh together surprisingly well. The characters themselves however, aren't very memorable, although the character designs for the