Title: Koisuru Asteroid / Asteroid in Love
Length: 12 x 24 minute episodes
Genre: Romance, slice of life
Year of release: 2020
I don’t subscribe to shortening reviews to as little as single sentences, but if I were to do that then the review would read something like this: “well, that was gay.” Mira meets her childhood sweetheart after years of separation, and the pair instantly get to flirting over the phone and at school, using the joint interest of astronomy, and, well, each other. They’re very into each other, and it’s so darn cute.
Maybe it’s not fair to correlate the entire ‘subtextual yuri’ movement of the past decade and a half to Koisuru Asteroid’s head, but it certainly feels like we’re pushing the boat out as far as we go while straddling somewhere between platonic and sapphic. Of course, there are a few moments that give the game away to the more avid fans of the genre. Mira thought that the childhood Ao, due to the latter’s short-hair and blunt dialect, was in fact a boy, which already tips the social stagnation regarding homosexual acceptance away, while also maintaining that uncanniness that the genre loves so dearly. Moreover, Suzu, Mira’s best-friend and wingman, is quite the shipper, giving lines such as ‘if it’s a girl then that is okay’. Yet, despite all the cutesy flirting that the main duo engage in, and indeed some mild flirting between its other cast members, the plausible deniability is still there.
I’ve gone on for quite some time about this romance, but I think it’s only fair to get bogged down with the show’s raison d’être. Doga Kobo have taken the paedophilic-content gloves off for the first time in… a while, and are producing something wholesomely sweet with the same stellar craftsman ship that you can expect, over-animating the minute and creating such pretty, deep eyes. But while Koisuru Asteroid is adorable, everything comes back to the romance-ish plot. The actual astronomy elements are mere window-dressings, coming across as well written quirks of the leads personalities that draw them together and to distract from the eventual physicality we know these girls are destined towards but will never actually take part in.
It’s yet another laconic romance featuring cute-girls with a narrative distracted by something else. The craft is superb, but I don’t see another Manaria Friends – my personal anime-of-the-year 2019 – on our hands, because the distracting factor of astronomy is just too large to really hone in on what matters. A lovely anime to watch, but one that I doubt will ever take-off and leave orbit, preferring to stay in the safety net of gravity. And that, sadly, means it is as esoteric as the astronomy hobby – you need a good contextual grounding in the history of the ‘subtextual homoerotic relations between women’ Japanese genre within 2020 to not get pissed off with the lack of romantic development, because little else is prevalent right now.