I’m on the road today (in the middle of a huge, dangerous Nor’easter, of course. Say an Ave for me, will you?) So today we have a guest review, once again, from fellow Cult of Miu member, Sean Gaffney (who is also working on an Ichigo Mashimaro fanfic for me. Feel free to harass him into finishing it.)
We’ve hit the third volume of Ichigo Mashimaro, and this is the volume where things really change… no, wait, it’s not. Things continue on exactly as before. But that’s OK, cause this is Ichigo Mashimaro, and you aren’t watching for growth or change, you’re watching for freaky Miu and sarcastic Nobue. Which this has in abundance.
I will admit I wasn’t as fond of the first story as the others, as generally when Miu is Miu I don’t like it to have as much consequence as it does here. After that, though, this is probably one of the strongest volumes to date. Even the interstitial art, with the girls involved in various sports, looks great.
Miu’s relationship with Nobue gets a deeper look in one story where we see Nobue pushing her teasing too far and genuinely upsetting Miu. It’s probably the Yuri-est this series gets, without, of course, being Yuri at all. Oh, and it’s got an awesome punchline.
The other thing that impressed me about this volume was how it showed the friendship between Chika and Miu. Chika rarely gets a long look in the book, being the one who is there to make the others look stranger, but her interaction with Miu here, and her acceptance of Miu’s strange ideas to a degree, show how the two care about each other.
I mean, sometimes you do have to wonder why the others don’t just tell Miu to get lost. She’s certainly not friendly with Matsuri (still a drip in this volume) or Ana (who has almost become a complete non-entity, and barely registers on the page for me anymore). And Nobue tends to suffer her more than actually like her.
The answer is Chika. Chika likes Miu, and Miu likes Chika. And it shows in this volume, from the hysterical chapter when they try to avoid being loud as Nobue sleeps, to the festival where Miu’s Ultraman makes Chika break up, to Miu’s video diary, where Chika actually participates a bit in Miu’s freakiness.
To be honest, nothing much really happens in this volume, much like the other volumes. But I grow more and more enamored of these three characters every time I read more. (Sorry, Matsuri, Ana, you’re dull.) They’re just fun to read, and fun to imagine in other situations.
Art: 7. I especially liked the sporting event interstitials.
Story: 6. By story I mean catalyst more than actual plot.
Characters: 8. Love that Nobue/Miu/Chika dynamic.
Yuri: 5. Bumping it up a bit for Miu’s magic yuri pregnancy, and for the ending to the Cinderella story.
Service: 5. Naked Ana is not something I needed to see, thanks.
E here: Gotta say, I agree completely with all of the above, but would add in Miu’s ninja skills as a plus, as well. Thanks so much Sean! I’ve been on a 3-hour train ride for 6 hours, so thank you, thank you…