So here we are, looking down the barrel of Strawberry Marshmallow, aka Ichigo Mashimaro. And it’s still cute.
I cannot tell you how *annoying* I find it, that’s it’s so damn cute. And girly cute, no less. And giggly. God, if anyone ever saw me giggling at this, I’d never be able to show my face in public again…
…and this isn’t even my favorite volume.
So, I realize that I never really covered any of the episodes specifically in any of my earlier reviews, but I did capture the essence of the series: cute girls doing things cutely.
The first volume is primarily an introduction to our five principals. Itou Nobue, 20 for the anime, so they can leave in all the smoking and drinking gags, her younger sister Chika, 12, annoying next-door neighbor Miu, who is undoubtedly the star of the series, adorable English girl Ana 11, who has forgotten how to speak English and Matsuri, 11, crybaby and everyone’s punching bag.
There is no plot in this series, just a series of goofy gags strung along through the mostly-normal lives of the five girls. School, work, playing games like “let’s pretend” that kind of thing. Or, it would all be normal, except Evil Psychotic Lesbian(TM)-in training Miu always seems to make everything turn out strangely.
And that’s why we watch. Because Miu is crazy. And we love it. ;-)
This US release includes some extras, but nothing exciting. 4 episodes on the first volume, a mini-poster, a reversible case cover and oh boy! a non-credit opening! But I’ve got all the Ichigo Mashimaro dollies I can stand from Dengeki Daioh (and a few I can’t stand,) and US releases never have anything really good anway, except the occasional pencil board (and even those are terrifying at times, like the ROD The TV pencil boards.) More importantly, Geneon has included the clever and rewarding $3 coupon for one of the next two volumes, which I heartily approve of. In fact, let me once again offer up for free, my advice on how to get us fans to buy more DVDs.
1) Include a pre-order form or URL for the next volume in the series. Offer a discount for pre-ordering.
2) Include the same coupon, which provides another discount, thus bringing the cost down to what appears to be a really reasonable price.
3) Offer deeper discounts to people who pre-order the whole series, box sets or thinpaks. Send us whole sets, not one disk in a box and make us buy each other disk separately.
In other words, give us *incentive* and we will buy. Otherwise, get used to selling lots of Volume 1s. This coupon is a baby step in the right direction.
Art – 5 Looks like the manga. Yup.
Story – 7 – If you get past the hump that there is none.
Characters – 7 -This is a completely character-driven series. More specifically Miu drives it.
Yuri – 2- If you can call Miu’s crush on Nobue, and Nobue’s thing for Ana and Matsuri “yuri.” Which is entirely in the eye of the beholder.
Service – 7 – Just because of the essential loli-ness of series and author.
Overall – 7
Don’t drink soda while you watch this series, though. You’re liable to suddenly spurt it out your nose.