Asobi ni Ikuyo! was a series that was hard to love, but impossible for me not to like. It was never guilty of taking itself too seriously (thank goodness) and presented the occasional moment of genuine inspiration, an incredibly catchy ED, and some of the best fanservice of the season.
What did I like here? Eris, for one. She was one of the better examples of her trope – Lala, etc. – in that she was eminently smart and altogether a responsible creature who felt genuine love for Kio and didn’t exist simply to make his life chaotic. Her decision to bypass her first mating season and wait for him was, in its silly way, rather moving. While she checked off all the necessary otaku boxes – busty, cheerful, horny (when in season) she was also thoughtful (the visit of the first assistroid being a good example) and considerate.
I also enjoyed the pleasingly obscure cultural references this series threw at the audience, showing both a literacy of American and Japanese pop culture and a respect for the audience. Tekkaman Blade suits in finale was good in its own right, but Professor Jameson and Captain Future? That’s some full-bore deep-diving into the cultural pool there – not to mention Muttley.
Best of all for me? The Assistroids. They were the series best contribution in my book. Adorably kawaii, absolutely – but also hilarious. A great vehicle for cultural references, a humorous device for censorship, and with their delightful methods of communication – they were pure win. They represent the wistful irreverence that this series embodies when it’s as its best.
It wasn’t all success, by any means. The overall plot was incredibly complicated and after a time, just not interesting enough to try and decipher. I never thought the romance element heated up much, though I didn’t dislike the main characters. Kio was fine as the guy at the center of the harem – nothing especially remarkable about him other than his denseness, but he showed enough sense and courage to be useful when times were rough. Manami’s relentless interfering on Aoi’s behalf became rather annoying, but I think it was supposed to – we saw the fruits of that in the “cat fight” in episode 11. Manami had that coming – it had to be obvious to everyone in the world except Kio and herself that she was carrying a torch for him herself while trying to deflect by pushing Aoi onto him. And why not – Aoi certainly represented an easier opponent than Eris.
Production-wise, everything was solidly unremarkable. I enjoyed the “travelogue” elements that really showed off Okinawa, if not the product placements. OP was decent, last ED extremely catchy, animation and character designs agreeable if unremarkable. That pretty much sums up my feelings about the series as a whole – though the assistroids and the wry pop-culture sensibility nudge it up just a bit above simply agreeable.