Yuri Manga: Ichigo Mashimaro, Volume 2

August 9th, 2005

I’m woman enough to admit when I’m defeated. And there is no doubt in my mind that Ichigo Mashimaro has won by a knockout.

I originally caved back in May, when I reviewed Volume 1 of the manga, but now I’m full blown moe-geeking at the utter cuteness and wacky humor of this story. Look, Ma, I’m a genuine otaku now!

Volume 2 is more of the same nothing that is usual for Ichigo Mashimaro. Miu and Nobue treat everyone – especially each other – with unusual cruelty that somehow manages to be adorable even as its being eviler than just about anything else I’ve ever seen. And that, in a nutshell, is what has got me hooked. I just adore psychotic women. lol

So, in Volume 2, we are introduced to the last of our main cast, the European doll-like Ana, who hails from Cornwall, but has about as much English as the average Japanese elementary school student. In other words – almost none. Watching as Ana tries desperately to pretend to not know Japanese or any of the right customs is just plain hysterical.

The rest of this volume is taken up with several fanservice-y shorts, a bath episode, a Christmas episode, a running gag about a local vending machine that serves up random objects and other goofball stuff that’s funnier than it has a right to be.

And, at last, there’s a hint of the yuri that I just haven’t seen until now. Okay, its true that Nobue hugs Ana when she meets her, but she is drunk at the time. And she clearly thinks of Matsuri as a pet, not as a girl. After reading Volume 2 (and 3, but that’s a later review) I’m sticking with the Miu x Nobue combo. Miu has it bad for Nobue and frankly, I can see Nobue being okay with that. Remember, manga Nobue is 16…not so huge and uncomfortable a gap between that and Miu’s 12. I’m pretty sure we *all* had crushes on older women at that age. (In retrospect, mine was probably my babysitter, Biz Ann.) So, yeah.

The final chapter traces a cold that begins with Chika, but ends up being Miu’s. In her eternal desire to gain Nobue’s attention, Miu demands that Nobue see if she has a fever (she doesn’t….but she will.) As she lifts her face to Nobue, Nobue leans over and kisses Miu on the lips. A little surprisingly, Miu freaks. They then go on to play doctor, in a way that I’m pretty sure I never did as a kid. But I digress. Oh, and the best gag of the chapter is Chika sneezing messily on her older sister. Twice. It’s infantile, and gross, but really, really funny.

Ratings:
Art – 8
Story – 10
Characters – 10
Yuri – 5

For sheer bizarro wacky humor and psycho babydyke-in-training Miu, this manga is a serious win.

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4 Responses

  1. Kappoi says:

    Anime Nobue is 16 as well. The comment about being 20 is a censorship joke as 20 is the smoking age and the young girls in many hentai games often claim to be in “Jr. College.”

  2. hoyeru! says:

    My impression was that it was Miu who kissed Nobue, not the other way around. I think if Nobue kissed Miu a lot of people would be rather upset and begin to scream words such as pedofile!

  3. Animatrixie says:

    I still don’t buy it. It’s a stretch to label the entire series Yuri because of a hint of a possibility that Miu might be exploring her sexuality. Plenty of little girls have experiences like this at a pretty young age. I think it’s more of a reflection of real life – along the natural course of growing up – for enough females, both gay and straight, at that age (though most won’t admit it) than a statement justifying labeling the whole series Yuri. I really think the Japanese are just more honest and open about such things, whereas other cultures (especially American) might consider it taboo to the point of finding it necessary to point out such things and instantly label it “Yuri.” It’s like going to a job interview, giving all of your generally personal information and then suddenly volunteering “gee, by the way, I’M GAY.”

    Come on, already….Why is it even worth pointing out?

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