Yuri Manga: Ichigo Mashimaro

April 1st, 2005

Ichigo Mashimaro is yet *another* one of Dengeki’s too-cute for words series with some yuri in it.

By the time I got around to reading the current chapter of this manga in April’s Dengeki Daioh, my teeth fairly ached with sweet and cute overload. So I put on my grumpiest face and prepared to HATE this manga with all my heart.

I failed.

It was a horrible failure, too – half a dozen pages into it, I was giggling like a moron. Giggling. Me. It was embarrassing.

Basically, Ichigo Mashimaro is the story of a bunch of cute girls, being really cute and doing really cute things cutely. By all rights it should be abysmal. Only, it’s not. But as far as I can see, it’s not like there’s a plot, either.

Itoh Nobue is a young woman who lives with her much younger sister, Chika. I was *shocked* to find out that Nobue is supposed to be 20 years old. To say that this art style is loli isn’t at all fair to the artist – it’s just an insanely cute and minimalist art style, with no real reference to real body types. But still…20? And a chain smoker.

Chika, who is 11 or so, has a bunch of friends who come over alot and play, including Matsuoka Miu – a born troublemaker who is in love with Nobue. So there’s your yuri.

An anime for this series is slated to start shortly – early next month – so we’ll get to see if that particular relationship is carried over, but it’s not like it could go anywhere anyway. We’re basically talking schoolgirl crush on Miu’s part.

I have not read any more than one single chapter of this particular series, but I have seen it bandied about on every single Japanese “Yuri manga” list ever. So I can’t tell you what happens – except for the synopsis of the one chapter I did read.

We come into the story to find that Sakuragi Matsuri (one of Chika’s friends) is wearing a cute little bear or something outfit. Nobue comments how cute she looks, so Miu runs off and comes back with bunny ears to try and get praise from Nobue. Nobue says that the ears don’t suit her, takes them off Miu and gives them to Coppola Ana, another of Chika’s friends. At which *everyone* exclaims how adorable Ana looks.

Miu runs off and returns dressed as Dracula, bites Matsuri on the neck (which is just about where I gave up trying to hate the manga) and tries to scare the other girls. Chika, our hero, draws a cross to defeat Dracula, but Dracula seems unimpressed. Chika tries again – she goes to the kitchen and returns with garlic – only to find Miu sitting quietly, sans costume, playing a video game.

The end.

It would take a hardier person than me to actively hate this harmless piece of fluff.

I’m not really sure how to rate this one – the art is basic, the story is almost non-existent and the cute characters just do cute stuff cutely.

We’ll give it an overall 7 and see where it goes.

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10 Responses

  1. Ultima says:

    Nobue is 16, not 20. In volume one, she states that she just “your average first year high school student. She also states that she’s 16.

  2. Ultima says:

    Err, nevermind, seems you corrected yourself in your May 16th entry. Does Nobue really even age in the manga? Didn’t look like it even in volume 3…

  3. Caidence says:

    In the anime, she says she’s sixteen, then says she’s lying/joking and says she’s 20. At least, that’s what I know, because my Japanese is cheese and the subtitles are broken.

  4. Caidence says:

    guess what! I’m a loser, she’s 16, and you’re right. (I extracted the subtitles from ICE CREAM’s miserable encoding.)

  5. JEDEZ says:

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  6. Sstar says:

    actually nobue is 20… well at least thats what i know she in college

  7. Animatrixie says:

    I saw the anime before I started reading the manga, and I never really noticed the “love interest” by Miu for Nobue. I mean, it always just came across to me as though Miu was trying to get her attention, sometimes to excess. Especially since Nobue seems to favor Ana for being the “exotic foreigner” blonde type (who also happens to have budding breastage, much to the annoyance of Miu, who wants to be the best and finest of everything.). My take on the whole thing is that Miu’s just an annoying little girl who fights for Nobue’s attention. *shrug* …Unless I’m missing something, there always seems to be a group far too interested in perverting things that really should just be taken at face value. I’m certainly not saying Barasui’s a saint, since so much of his artwork has a very obvious pervy loli edge to it, but I just don’t think this story has as much “Yuri” as a lot of those fans seem to want to read into it….Just my two cents. ;)

  8. Chloe Tse says:

    About Nobue’s age:
    In the manga, Nobue is 16. But in the anime, her age was changed to 20.

    This is due to Nobue’s drinking and smoking habits.

    The manga was aimed for more mature readers who have lolita complex, so it will not promote underage smoking and drinking to too many minors.

    But the anime was gonna be on tv and is aimed for general audience, ie. mostly kids who loves to see cute things. So instead of rating the anime to 15+ just for Nobue’s bad habits, they made Nobue just barely old enough to smoke and drink. (Oddly enough she still wears high school school uniform occasionally) That is the reason why the anime did not adapt any of Nobue’s high school sequences that’s originally in the manga.

  9. Anonymous says:

    right, just for your information, the suit that matsuri wore was a kitten, not a bear. and i have to say it’s fairly cute. it was what made me give up my opposing attitude toward animal custumes.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What episode does Dracula Miu appear? Is it in the OVA’s or what? Thanks.

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