Yuri Light Novel: Strawberry Panic, Volume 3 (Japanese)

August 10th, 2007

When it comes to Strawberry Panic!, Volume 3, I really don’t even know where to begin. This book was so cracktastic, so chock full of utter randomness that went nowhere and did nothing that the only thing I can think of to start is this:

I believe in my heart that stories that take place at all-girl’s private schools for the daughters of the privileged that are not action stories, ought to include no more than 1(One) use of private helicopters. More just seems overkill. ^_^

You may remember that Volume 2 in the Strawberry Panic! light novel series ended with Amane and Hikari having run away from the school together and Nagisa having removed herself from both the Etoile-sen and her relationship with Shizuma.

Volume 3 begins with the crowning of the winners of the most recent competition for the Etoile-sen – Spica’s newly returned violin virtuoso Kusanagi Makoto and Lu Lim’s girl prodigy, Byakudan Kagome (sans bear.) This couple was so utterly “huh???” I read the passage about three times to make sure I hadn’t gotten it wrong.

Nagisa, still suffering from heart break and nervous strain from the pressure of the Etoile-sen, decides to leave Astoria forever. Tamao catches her packing and begs her to stay – even offering to enter the Etoile-sen with her as partner. Nagisa relents and decides to stay, but doesn’t reenter the contest.

Momomi and Kaname notice one another for the first time. Woot.

Shizuma’s friends Mizuho and Hitomi admit to one another that they probably had something to do with Nagisa’s breakdown. In an attempt to reassure Nagisa, they told her the absolute truth about Shizuma and Kaori – that Shizuma never loved Kaori at all. In fact, it was Hitomi who was in love with Kaori, but since Kaori admired Shizuma so much, she introduced them. Kaori instantly fell under Shizuma’s spell. Shizuma didn’t want to be cruel, and she didn’t want to hurt the person Hitomi loved so much, so she stayed by Kaori’s side right to the end. This brings no solace to Nagisa.

Shizuma, under cover of contemplative internal monologue bares Miyuki’s and Yaya’s deepest secrets; Miyuki’s arranged marriage to some man her family had chosen and Yaya’s dislike of men, due to her father’s neglectful and abusive behavior.

For no reason at all, we learn Makoto’s secret, that she is illegitimate and that her her half sister is the “legendary” Etoile, Kusanagi Masaki. This fact is totally random, and never really given relevance and the fact that a whole new character arrives in the story to tell us this (a character who appears in the story primarily to be sexually harassed by Shizuma then does nothing else) makes the whole thing extra random. It also serves to show us that Shizuma, while in every other scene is genuinely kind and worried about Nagisa, when stuck in the bathroom behaves compulsively. (No, what it really shows is that painstakingly developed characterization will be thrown to the dogs for the teeniest, most pointless bits of service.)

Meanwhile, Amane and Hikari have run off to Amane’s family’s summer home. After getting wet in the surf, they return to the house to shower. Amane is overcome and begins to kiss Hikari. In a moment of utter, complete FAIL, as Amane begins to move down to her chest, Hikari says Yaya’s name. Amane stops and asks why, naturally enough. Hikari tells her about her and Yaya’s night in the pool. In a stunning display of self-control, Amane realizes that Yaya, poor bitch, is really in love with Hikari, and that if she, Amane, is ever to have Hikari for herself, she needs to return to Astoria, win the Etoile-sen with her, and rub Yaya’s nose in it but good. But she says it in a nicer, more cool and gracious way. ^_^

Lots of meaningless running around and angsting goes on. Yaya has stopped caring about life and is sleeping through class and haunting the halls of the dorm at night. When she does fall asleep she dreams sexually suggestive dreams about Hikari. In nearly every portentous scene, Chikaru appears, like some kind of omen of misfortune. In reality, she isn’t, it just seems that way. She also gets a random dress-up party with the Henshin Club for no reason at all. During this scene, Kagome admits that she doesn’t like Makoto, who made fun of her teddy bear.

Shizuma determines to leave the school, to return to her family and whatever marriage they have arranged for her.

The Principal of St. Miator, who likes her attendants in suits and sunglasses, suddenly appears in the story and also appears to find all of the drama fascinating.

The three Student Council Presidents meet to figure out what to do about the aborted Etoile-sen. Miyuki says that, since Miator is already holding the position, it should continue to do so. Shion objects for several reasons – Shizuma is graduating, and possibly leaving before that, Spica’s couple won the first petite crown and one half the second, so Spica should hold the position. But Chikaru regretfully says that Kagome has asked to be removed from the contest, since Makoto’s a big doodyhead. All three schools are without major candidates.

And then the first helicopter shows up.

Everyone – and I mean *everyone* – runs to the top of Spica’s big tower, the penthouse of which is the Student Council room, where the helipad is. (Yes, I am laughing as I type this.) The St. Miator private helicopter lands, disgorging Amane and Hikari, the sight of whom makes Shion burst into tears. (It’s hard to imagine if all you know of Amane is the anime version, but everyone at Astoria is in love with Amane’s good looks, her charm, her overwhelming charisma, etc.) Amane proclaims that they have returned, even though having left in the first place, they will probably be expelled. At which the Principal of Miator arrives and says that if Spica expels them, Miator would accept them. Chikaru chides the Principal, who is also her mother, for her recklessness. Learning that her family is an old Miator family, it makes perfect sense that Chikaru is attending Lu Lim.

Yaya has heard the rumors and rushes off, not to the helipad (snort) but to Spica’s Principal’s office where, when Amane and Hikari arrive, Hikari leaps into her arms, begging forgiveness. Seeing Amane and Hikari together kills all of Yaya’s unhappy thoughts and in a giant moment of satori, she realizes that she does love Hikari, but does not need to possess her. In her heart, she gives Hikari up to Amane, who accepts her happily.

Meanwhile, Nagisa suddenly realizes that she desperately wants to see Shizuma. Horribly, desperately. She runs around trying to find her, only to learn that Shizuma has already left the school. So, in a giagantic handwave, Tamao offers her *family* helicopter to go to the airport and stop her from leaving. Nagisa runs up just as Shizuma is climbing the stairs to the plane. They reunite with an embrace and kisses.

And they all live happily ever after.

The End.

So. I wasn’t really able to express to you in this review how much “wtf”-ness was contained in this book. Clearly the author thought the series was going to go on for longer, as she added in several characters that ended up doing not much of anything. I also think that at about the mention of the first helicopter, she had finally gotten a look at her paycheck for this job and thought, “well, screw that.” ^_^;

Both Amane and Yaya come through the series with actual personalities. Hikari fails massively as a person, but as a couple, only Amane and Hikari are at all interesting. Everyone at Miator was a bore and Chikaru was all foreplay and no payoff. And five years from now, when all the main players are gone, I have no doubt that Kagome and her teddy bear rule the school with an iron fist.  And, in my heart, I hope Kaname and Momomi have lots of hawt lesbian secks.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Characters – 6
Story – 10 for sheer wtf-ness
Yuri – 8
Service – 5

Overall – 7

I cannot wait to see this thing translated, really. It was so…yeah.

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26 Responses

  1. bystrouska says:

    *reads post*
    *stares blankly*
    *rubs eyes*
    *reads again*
    *stares stupidly*

    OK. It’s 2.15 am in the part of the world I inhabit, I’m still up after spending the day maratoning Marimite 3rd and trying to repair a hard drive. Oh, and I slept a bare 500 minutes in the past fifty hours. Usually when I’m in that state I can find logic in just about *anything*, even the most wildly off-the-wall stuff…

    Yet I must say the summary for this SP!LN totally beats the heck out of me (even though I’ve seen the entire anime and enjoyed for what it was – a completely trashy parody, indeed). If I wasn’t dead tired (and/or afraid of waking everyone up in the house) I’d probably be rolling under my desk roaring with laughter. (Tamao-chan owns a helicopter?!)

    Gotta hand it to the people producing the highly trashy slut of a franchise that is SP!, really – they manage to bring “outrageous” to whole new levels, imho… not to mention having the balls to name a character Kusanagi Makoto. I mean, COME ON. :)

  2. I am so glad that I am not the only one who thought that about Makoto’s name. Thank you. LOL

    And technically, Tamao’s family, who runs a zaibatsu, owns the helicopter. :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I honestly can’t WAIT until until this [if it ever] gets translated. I’ll just be on the floor, laughing through my tears. Your summary was hilarious.

    I wanted to ask- is there an in joke with the name Kusanagi Makoto?

    I’m thinking Ghost in the Shell, but I’m not sure.

  4. Nancy C. C. says:

    All I can say is >_o wtf?! X 100 times.

    I can’t wait to read it myself,and laugh forever.

    Holy…

  5. ronald reagan says:

    LOL what’s up with the helicopters..? is shizuma in an arranged marriage (didin’t understand this very well correct me if i am wrong please)i did’nt know that, it looks the novels have more details about families and stuff like that, well thanks for the summaries this is the closer i will get to the novels since this kind of stuff don’t come where i live ,i enjoyed the anime even if it was a trashy parody of marimite lol random note: the anime ended as the graduate and this one ends like casablanca?

  6. Allie says:

    This sounds awesome. I cannot wait for these to come out in English. Unfortunately Seven Seas does not have any release dates for the novels set as of yet…

  7. akayuki says:

    Paragraphs I went WTF on;

    ‘Shizuma never loved Kaori at all. In fact, it was Hitomi who was in love with Kaori.’ thingy.

    O_o||||||||||||

    Okay … it’s like so different from the anime.

    ‘Makoto’s secret, that she is illegitimate and that her her half sister is the “legendary” Etoile, Kusanagi Masaki.’

    LOL. Totally random.

    ‘Amane is overcome and begins to kiss Hikari. In a moment of utter, complete FAIL, as Amane begins to move down to her chest, Hikari says Yaya’s name.’

    As AmanexHikari supporter, I protest, wth is wrong with Hikari in the manga!? Now I prefer the whinny Hikari in the anime at least she knows who’s for her.

    ‘And then the first helicopter shows up.’

    ?????

    Manz, Chikaru doesn’t have the development in the manga unlike in the anime, I mean like all the build up with her ‘evil plans’ and all in v1/2 … the balloon just deflated like that.

    Pretty disappointing … Now i’m wondering about the plight of the manga … I learnt from someone that they’re … kinda halting it.

    Ah, anyways I’m still buying the novel for keeps sake, the anime did rocked. haha.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I really did laugh myself silly. You’ve outdone yourself with the review of this one. Who would’ve thought that SP would take insanity to the near extreme WTF? level. And yet, they went there too many times to count.

    Oddly, I feel compelled to buy this whenever it gets translated, just for the sheer humour. Silliness just doesn’t get better than this. Sad that Chikaru’s character is all say and no play. I was fangirling her for a while there.

  9. Senbei says:

    Allie, according to Seven Sea’s forums, they have pushed the release date for the manga back to November/December and the start of the Light Novels back until sometime 2008. When i received a “vendor cancelled” three months after the original release date i was a little pissed and looked it up. I am not that disappointed about pushing back or halting the manga translation, as i’ve read it and was unimpressed but from everything i’ve heard of the Light Novels, they seem outrageous. Is there sufficient furigana for a non-native to read this? Are they worth the money?

    What the heck is with Amane’s character in the novels? Did they completely rewrite her? It sounds like she’s still the dashing Oscar-wannabe but now she’s well rounded enough to give in to her urges…? Do all the novel characters consist of out-of-control raging hormones?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, damn. Now my mind is filled with ideas for stories that take place at all-girl’s private schools for the daughters of the privileged that *are* action stories. With exploding helicopters.

  11. Kieli says:

    If I could beg your indulgence to be off topic for just one moment but…are you planning to acquire the Hayate X Blade Drama CD 2 when it comes out on 2 Sept 07? Just curious.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Haha. I was on the phone while reading your review. I had to put my friend on hold and laugh for almost a minute.

    You’re right about Hikari, she is really FAIL. But I guess that little mess-up will please all the Yaya fans.

    Amane and Hikari were okay in the anime, but they totally WIN here- probably because Amane was the cool-prince she was destined to be. Props for taking the girl she wants in a non sleazy way.

  13. Fuyumi says:

    Wow. I wanted to bang my head against the screen, and all I did was read your summary – I hate to think what would happen if I actually attempted to read the novel itself.

    Kaname and Momomi should’ve noticed each other earlier – would’ve saved the entire set of light novels. Haha, can’t help but have a penchant for SP’s resident evil lesbian duo…

  14. Anonymous says:

    “and Yaya’s dislike of men, due to her father’s neglectful and abusive behavior.”

    Fail.

    Hey, japanese writers, women can be after women without having stupid reasons to “dislike men”.

    This novel seems to be just condensed “WTF”.

  15. Anonymous says:

    what the… i wonder if wer (wat website if there is) can i watch this episode regarding the volume 1 and 2,,, i will be glad if u can tell me coz wen i read your reviews it seems so interesting…
    i will be waiting 4 ur response..
    thank you..

  16. This was a review of a NOVEL, which means that it is a book. You cannot “watch” a Book. Or a CD.

    As I have already said, the anime will be out of DVD this coming year, since it was licensed by Media Blasters. You can buy it or rent it when it comes out.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well then. one of my friend just told me this anime and after watching the first episode it seems so intereting. Can i know if there is another one that goes like this one? that takes place in an all girls school? i only wnt the titles. Thank you.

  18. Click on neary every category on the right sidebar. About half of them will be more school girl Yuri. It’s the most common setting.

  19. Anonymous says:

    thank you.

  20. Tami689 says:

    Alrighty so i just finished reading the seconde volume in english.. and um i officially hate hikari cause like.. wtfshe cries all the time.
    and like the book ends with nagisa saying she doesnt want to be etoile and she leaves shizuma.. so i was like hmm ill check this blog thing out and see what happens next.

    and WTF lmao.
    this made me die, its soo jokes. obvi nagisa and shizuma would end up together.. and amane and hikari.. but like.. who became etoile in the end?? lol

    anywhoz i cant wait to read the 3rd one, i like laughing at stuff like that. and i swear to god if hikari cries the whole time like she did n the 2nd one.. ill probs go crazy.

    i vote kagome and bear as etoile btw.. :)

  21. Billborden says:

    Just a quick note of thanks for giving a run-down of the plot now that Seven Seas has done everything but make official that they are dropping their Light Novel line. Sadly, that means that most of us will never get to actually read Vol 3 (Light Novels don’t get much in the way of “fan-translation”), but now, at least, I know how everyone’s story ends. Not as good as reading it, but, hey, I’ll take what I can get.

  22. LinneaKou says:

    I’m sad about the LN not getting released in America, but I’m good with the reviews. What really pisses me off is that I won’t get to see the pretty pictures! Oh, well, not really, heh. I’d totally buy the translated LN, but the economy sucks. Thank you Erica for the summaries!

  23. j says:

    Nice err review?
    Yeah, anyways, i decided to hunt down some summaries for volume 2 and 3 of the light novel scene as my #2 hasnt got to me yet and #3 probably isnt gunna get translated :(

    I’ve got to say though i personally didnt like what you said went off in V2, Mainly because it seems as if the innocence of the anime and first volume went totally to pot.
    However, V3 sounds like they just rushed/gave up on it like you suggested.
    ‘hmm, i need to get these chars back to Astraea…I KNOW, THEY HAVE HELICOPTERS!!………Hmm i need to have some dramatic ending with Nagisa and Shizuma… err… Argh fuck it lets throw in a helicopter.’

    So through a second quick read of your summary i decided that’ll i shall erase the light novels from my head and just go troll some forums demanding a Anime sequel.
    Seriously though, I think the majority of the people are in the same boat when thinking the anime is better, Although it could of been done in half the episodes. (Possibly because it has closure that makes sense?)

    All in all thanks for the summaries. :)

  24. Anonymous says:

    No translation for volume three?
    No, Seven Seas, say it ain’t so D: Don’t take my hysterical Yuri train wreck away from meeeeeeeeeee~
    Seriously, it beats anything Lucky Star could even attempt to offer for lulz, I swear.
    ‘Peach coloured-mist,’ indeed.

  25. Anonymous says:

    O.o i absolutely LOVE strawberry panic and this review just made me love it even more. (if thats even possible) so i was wondering if volume three will ever be translated. D; (p.s. Kusangi Makoto. LOL!) just had to add that. ^-^ thanks a bunch. :)

  26. Anonymous says:

    They’re aparently translating the 3rd novel into English, and it’s going to be sold next month! (july 2011)

    Back on the review…LIKE WTF?! She never liked Kaori?! O_o” it was her friend?! that’s pretty out of the blue…and the whole helicopters thing is just totally random. Just casually have helicopters at your school for close to no apparent reason. It really made me LOL though… definitely have to buy it when it comes out :D
    Strawberry Panic WTF-ness ftw?
    I think so.

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