Yuri Anime: Strawberry Panic mid-season review

July 5th, 2006

It’s halfway through it’s run and I thought that the Strawberry Panic! anime warranted a second look.

When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class. I have long ago forgotten the teacher’s name, but I have retained two things from that class – the word “transmontaine” and an exercise that we were assigned. Our teacher told us to look through our record collections, take phrases from the songs and construct a poem. I remember this exercise very clearly, because in every case but one it was *instantly* apparent which song the writer had used. They hadn’t taken phrases – they had taken whole lines. The one exception was mine. I was the only one in the class who had understood that one could take a *phrase* someone else had created and make something unique and original from it. This is very possibly the beginning of my “career” as a fanfic writer – but that isn’t why I bring this up.

I bring this up, because in the course of writing my weekly snarky “stolen meme” report on the Yuricon Mailing List, pointing out the exceedingly obvious – and not so obvious – symbols and concepts taken from popular yuri anime and manga series, it dawned on me that Strawberry Panic is exactly the same thing as my now long-lost (and thank heavens for small favors for that!) poem.

Is Strawberry Panic derivative? Yes.

Is it laughable? Absolutely.

Is it pandering? Indubitably.

But is it fun? *Now* I say yes.

At half-way, the characters have taken on decided characteristics of their own, the story pretty much fixed one of my major issues with Kannazuki no Miko and with the exception of the lead, Nagisa, everyone has become sort of human. Sort of. I’m not saying this is high art, but as parody goes I’m beginning to like it.

I started liking this anime for something very stupid and small. When they changed to the summer uniforms, Shizuma took to wearing the single most unattractive cardigan EVER over her uniform (because heaven knows that it’s too chilly inside that old wooden building in the blazing summer heat.) That stupid sweater – so ugly, so old-ladyish, made me really begin to like Shizuma. Think about it – this is the schools’ star among stars. She is the height of cool and style…and here she is schlubbing around in a mucky gray cardigan with a yellow stripe. How…uncool. I love it.

Then, just as if the writers actully understood how to put a story together, they resolved one of the several love polygons in the series, smack dab at mid-way through. Just like you should. They ended it in a really funny and bizarre way, which has changed many geeks’appreciation of ineffective pickup lines forever.

And so, halfway through the season, I find myself in the camp of “It’s utter trash – but it’s *fun* utter trash.” And for the first time in ages, I find myself laughing at a parody. Thank you, writers of Strawberry Panic, thank you makers of ugly sweaters and thank you global warming. You’ve saved this anime for me.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Characters – 7
Story – 7 (the bits they didn’t steal from other series, that is)
Music – 7
Yuri – 9
Service – 6

Overall – 7

Oh, but the new ending sequence! Truly WTF. I thought the first one was bad, but this one is positively nightmarish. Shudder.

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9 Responses

  1. neo_hrtgdv says:

    Yes! I am following closely the series and I like the new opening over the first, I think its more stylish in my personal opinion; things are getting exciting and interesting as some chars grow angstier, some get kissed (often against their will >.>) and it isn’t clear who will end up with who, if at all.

    Now I wouldn’t call it trash, I think it has the potential of bringing some, albeit remixed, quality stuff; and most “new” Yuri fans won’t get many flashbacks from other previous anime/manga; I agree it isn’t an over the top Yuri anime but I think that, as you said, its good at what its supposed to do, it isn’t very realistic actually I think its more like a compilation of Yuri daydreams, but I know many have them and do like to see them “in the screen”; in the end we get more enjoyable Yuri, which is always welcome, and if it goes like this it might get really good and we would likely get more Yuri, and the more Yuri we have the better ^_^;

    I personally think we should support any redeemable Yuri anime, and I honestly think SP is a very reedemable one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Haha. xD
    I actually knew you were going to change your mind about SP. It does get pretty funny around episode 12 ( OR it’s the fact they finally kiss without say…a leaf blowing past intterupting them. )

    Oh well, now you can enjoy the beaten to death cliches and random fanservice without rolling your eyes like I used to do. :3

  3. neo_hrtgdv says:

    On that note I agree the fanservice has been increasing at an alarming rate, first the summer episodes and now the even the opening gives fanservice >.>, I hope for it to lower with time or at least stay the same, really SP needs less fanservice and more neat pick up lines ^_^

  4. Anonymous says:

    hmm….it needs less amane. she bugs the heck out me in the anime. she’s too…..manlyish. she’s much better in the manga.but I still hate amane/hikaru. poor yaya.

    and….why is it people think marimite is full of Yuriness? its only sei who’s like that. and Rosa Kanina. (forgot her damn name…) and I hate how alot of people think kirika and mireille have something…-_-

    I’m sorry but this just really bugs the hell outta me. i watch SP not for its Yuriness, but cuz its funny and I watch usually anything that’s in a school setting.I guess it is odd for a straight girl to watch Yuri. but oh well, I watch whatever’s interesting to me.

    just had to get that off my chest. oh….and this….

    erica F….aintcha a little….OLD to be watching anime like this? and your’e a sachiko fanatic too….can someone say anime pedophile?

    oh, and Im just stating my own opinion, so no need to get all pissy…

  5. Anonymous says:

    The previous person due to not liking your review of SP tried to make trouble for you but only wound-up making a total ass of herself – http://www.journalfen.net/community/fandom_wank/972266.html

  6. I assumed something similar, since the comment was followed by a large amount of hits on my profile.

    Thanks for the link.

  7. Annabelle says:

    i do hav to agree…..just im not a straight girl. i watch SP for the drama and music of it. the story line is absolutely fantastic. im trying to find the name of the piano song they play during some of the episodes…does anyone know what the song name is and who the artist is? i want to learn it on my piano so i can play it for my friend.

  8. There may wll have been more chapters, but as of yet, there are only two collected volumes of the manga.

  9. evelgal says:

    The Cardigan..LMAO! I totally agree with you on that one. Thanks 4 making me laugh. I watched SP for purely entertainment purposes so I definitely give it two thumbs up. No other anime has ever kept me up all night just to see the ending to shizuka x nagima and be satisfied with it. i.e Maria sama
    I hope they will have a second season or OVA. It’ll be interesting to watch the aftermath of the characters’ relationships with one another. I’ll pray every night for it..hehe.

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