I’ll do my best to make today’s post simple and straightforward, so you have less room for cognitive dissonance, but I have little hope of you all following the logic. So, with a deep breath and a dash of desperation, I bring you the first of the Spring 2006 Yuri Anime Season reviews.
I first encountered Strawberry Panic as a series of short stories published in Dengeki G’s Magazine. (These have now been collected into a single volume, which is NOT the same as the first volume of the manga.)I reviewed these stories as a whole in January 2004. These stories were all short, plotless vignettes. Each one gave the briefest glimpse into a “Yuri coupling” (the phrase used on the original website which is now gone) between two girls who attended one of three schools – the same schools with untransliteratable names as those in the anime.
Because Dengeki G’s is a magazine for fanboys who play dating sims and h-games with characters that all look unpleasantly young (and who, I am sure, call out “oniiii-chaaaan” at every opportunity,) in every short story, we meet a horribly lolified girl who does something exciting like trip and scrape her knee, or fall inexplicably into a pond, or make lunch. In each of these vignettes, the older, admired/desired girl is cool only by comparison with her partner who looks 6 years old. At the end of every vignette, we read a breathless thought of love, or perhaps a scandalous confession of like or, in some case, even a quick peck on the cheek! Shock!
Now here’s the part where you have to work hard to follow me. *Based on the aforementioned stories*, the anime is not that bad.
Don’t get all hairball on me – I am not saying that the anime is not bad or – heaven forfend – good. I am saying, in what I hope is a clear and concise manner that given the utter craptasticness of the stories from which the idea came, the anime is less horrible than I expected.
The anime, while moe (duh) and distinctly derivative of Maria-sama ga Miteru, and school uniform fetishy, and just plain stupid, is still better than I imagined it would be, because for however bad the Strawberry Panic anime is – it is *still better than the original stories.* (And incidentally, better than the manga, as well, in which Nagisa is one of those horrible creatures who refers to herself in third-person.)
Okay. So, I’m the only person on this continent whose expectations for the Strawberry Panic anime weren’t disappointed. But I had an a priori understanding of how dire it was going to be.
Now, let’s get the actual review over with quickly. Strawberry Panic is written for the lowest common denominator, will have as many cliche’s as possible crammed into each episode and the Yuri equals fanservice. This is a classic use of Yuri as a sales tactic. Yuri is the fetish du jour here.
Art – 6
Characters – 4
Music – 6
Yuri – 8
Service – 8
Overall – 6
Will I watch it, since it’s such crap? Hell, yes! I find crap as amusing as the next person. But the first person who tries to, say compare Strawberry Panic with something decent like Strawberry Shake Sweet, which is Yuri by a woman for women (and men), will be shunned.