To me, it just makes me think that anime is getting better at creating characters with actual personalities and interests in people, as well as engaging in more realistic interactions. Ikuto is actually acting like he cares and is affectionate, whereas in some cases, for example, Tadase and Amu, the interaction is just so... flat. There's nothing to it. It's like a mindless, air-headed crush and it's every sort of inaccurate cliche ever.
So when Ikuto shows affection for Amu, I just sit here like, "Yeah. Finally. Accuracy. And holy carp this is adorable."