Yuri Anime: Strawberry Panic

April 11th, 2006

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.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Characters – 4
Story –
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.

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21 Responses

  1. punistation says:

    E.V.E.R.Y single time I see this anime/manga/whatever mentioned on the Net, I instantly think it’s Strawberry Shake.

    All I ever see is the ‘strawberry’ part, and already my mind is conjuring up StrawSha images, and I get all excited (OMG TORRENT!!).

    THEN I read the ‘Panic’ part, and need to remind myself it’s NOT the fun one, but the… “other” one.

    Ugh.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You should try reading the novel, the manga in dengeki g is adapted from it. I might be wrong but from what I’ve seen of those who read the novel, there is evidently somewhat of a storyline.

  3. You should try reading the novel, the manga in dengeki g is adapted from it.

    Here is a quote from my second paragraph: “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.”

    The so-called “novel” is the collection of these stories that I mention. The manga is different, as I also mention. So, since this was the third sentence into the review, I really have to wonder HOW you managed to miss it.

    Thanks for playing, try again!

  4. Anonymous says:

    After watching the 1st epsiode of Strawberry Panic, I distinctly felt that Etoile is Sei and Nagisa is Yumi. -_-”’

    hxb

  5. self-righteous prick. says:

    You know, the way you said it kinda made it seem that you were talking about illustrated short stories. And anyway, seeing as the anonymous in question was thinking of an entire novel, and not a collection of short stories, it’s not unthinkable a mistake should be made. You’re reaction was out of proportion and simply unpleasant. Alright, it’s your blog, but people who bother to respond obviously respect you enough to want your opinion. Whoever that was, wasn’t a troll, and didn’t deserve to be treated as such.

  6. Except that I was VERY clear about 1) the stories being different than the manga, and; 2) my readers having an unreasonably hard time following simple prose. The poster in question proved my point quite thoroughly.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations, Erica! You are a very angry and judgmental person. You win the internet! Now, you can be constantly annoyed at all those who are less intelligent than you, whether they have good intentions or not. Unfortunately, you are very smart, so most everyone on the net falls into that category. Enjoy your upcoming ulcer!

  8. I’m not particularly angry or ulcer-ridden thanks. Just exceedingly pragmatic. ;-)

  9. hxb says:

    To anonymous: You know, it’s “her” blog. It’s her perogative to write whatever she wants. If you don’t like what she says, don’t read it. What’s the point in flaming her… -_-”’

    hxb

  10. gregory says:

    I knew nothing about this show when I queued it up the other day. By the end I kind of felt more annoyed than anything. It felt like someone took marimite and sucked all the good out of it to make a copy of it aimed more at the fanboy crowd. No soul, no life, just blah.

  11. Amane's mine. says:

    So, what I’ve downloaded from Yurizuki is the Dengeki G’s Magazine scans, right?

    I haven’t seen the anime, and I’m currently reading the manga, and chapter 3 by Dynasty scans is up now. Some scene in the manga are screaming “Marimite!”, I’m a little annoyed by the fact that it’s a Marimite-rip off of some sort. Now, bout’ the manga, my, my, Yaya’s such a naughty girl. Guess we won’t be seeing that scene in the anime, I presume? By the looks of those screencaps from the anime they quite differ. Not that I like Yaya, I’m happy she likes girls, but she’s.. scary.

    -Amane fangirl

  12. So, what I’ve downloaded from Yurizuki is the Dengeki G’s Magazine scans, right?

    No, which means that I was completely wrong earlier. :-)

    There is yet a THIRD entity, the novel, which is quite apart from the illustrated short stories that ran in Dengeki G’s, which I have not read – so my apologies to anonymous for being a total prick about it.

    Yest another example of how I am human, and therefore fallible. Mea culpa.

  13. Neo_Hrtgdv says:

    After watching the second episode it seems its getting slightly better, at first it did seem like a weird Marimite copy; Nagisa yelled way too much and had the weirdest reactions I’ve seen in a human being (anime or not) and bordered between the “fun” and “serious” in a very strange way; but after watching the second episode it seems this is getting somewhere (seems), as we get to know more about the characters they now feel a bit more real than in the first episode; in short, I can see some hope for a really good anime if the story moves well, otherwise only time will tell.

  14. SLUR says:

    The story in the anime and manga up to what I’ve seen looks very promising actually. I somewhat prefer it to the(in my opinion) slow moving pace and only subtle hints in marimite. I can imagine it getting a little intolerable for some people… But from what I’ve heard it’s kind of a hit or miss for most people. Yes the characters aren’t exactly original at times, and may appeal to some crowds more than others(fanboys). Yet, the blatant Yuri and cute(yet almost overpowering) aspects of it exceed that of some Yuri animes & mangas.

    Beisides, a little marimite mocking never hurt anyone.

    ;]

  15. StrawberryPanicRules,Bitch says:

    i love Strawberry Panic. Its the bomb!! u should quit ur job as an anime critic.

  16. Yes! Bring it on. More names and illiterate comments, please. :-)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of any literacy issues, and despite any issues on these comments…

    No amount of vocabulary gives the incentive to act like a conceited “intellectual”, nor does it allow you to assume superiority over your readers.

    I can’t say anymore…it will probably fall on deaf ears.

    I like this comment moderation gadget as well…prevents you from being proven wrong.

  18. I think the fact that I am a conceited intellectual gives me the right to act like one.

    And, as I have said many, many times, unless it’s spam, I let all comments through. I enjoy all of them, positive or negative.

  19. Powerful Puyo says:

    Hmm I really like Strawberry Panic, and I understand its got a lot of trashy aspects about it, but it actually got me into Yuri in the first place because of the overemphasized lezbotastical theme, character development, and plot in general. Also you said that the strawberry panic manga only laster 2 volumes? Buy in your review for volume 2, you said it ends when Nagisa and Shizuma kiss each other after the race, which is chapter 12. But I’ve seen chapter 13 and 14.

  20. Nebunaga says:

    I have to agree with the large majority of your critique. I didn’t read the manga or any stories. I’ve just seen the anime.

    I don’t have a lot of experience to with Yuri, as I have only recently taken an interest. So I’ve only seen Kannazuki no Miko, Blue Drop, Simoun, Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito, Strawberry Panic and am just beginning Mai-Hime (though so far in the first 5 episodes the Yuri seems non-existent).

    I thought that Strawberry Panic was overly meladramatic, and full cliches to the point that it was funny. As you said, there was zero couple developement. Once they finally got together, they kiss once and their story ends.

    I still enjoyed it though. I wish they would mix a idea like that with an idea like Simoun. Which had plenty of Yuri, but with almost no emotional attachment. I am most interested in Yuri romantic oriented stories. Don’t know why, I just really like them.

    By the way, I don’t think they is anything wrong with condescension if you are in an obviously higher position to comment about something. As you have undoubtedly more knowledge of the franchize.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have to agree with the large majority of your critique. I didn’t read the manga or any stories. I’ve just seen the anime.

    I don’t have a lot of experience to with Yuri, as I have only recently taken an interest. So I’ve only seen Kannazuki no Miko, Blue Drop, Simoun, Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito, Strawberry Panic and am just beginning Mai-Hime (though so far in the first 5 episodes the Yuri seems non-existent).

    I thought that Strawberry Panic was overly meladramatic, and full cliches to the point that it was funny. As you said, there was zero couple developement. Once they finally got together, they kiss once and their story ends.

    I still enjoyed it though. I wish they would mix a idea like that with an idea like Simoun. Which had plenty of Yuri, but with almost no emotional attachment. I am most interested in Yuri romantic oriented stories. Don’t know why, I just really like them.

    By the way, I don’t think they is anything wrong with condescension if you are in an obviously higher position to comment about something. As you have undoubtedly more knowledge of the franchize.

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