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.
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.