All of it existing only between girls.
Or, as that last line might be reinterpreted by the fandom:
“All of it existing only between ******girls*******!!!!!!!!111111111111one”
First, many, many thanks to the fabulous folks at Seven Seas for the opportunity to review the first volume of the Strawberry Panic! Light Novel series in advance. I previously reviewed the Japanese edition of this novel, and Volumes 2 and 3, as well and, by the time I was done with them, I was *dying* to get my hands on a copy of the translation. And now that I have, I can say that Seven Seas has not let me down one single bit. This translation was just about perfect. Not a single moment of eye-popping absurdity has been altered.
It was the uniform of the venerable St. Miator Girls’ Academy, which every single girl desperately wanted to attend.
(Was that every single girl in the world – or every *single* girl? I think the interpretation’s up for grabs. lol)
The overall tone of voice – that pretentious, overformal, precious tone, favored by moe fans everywhere, was captured perfectly. My kudos to the translator and adaptor.
Hikari came off as fragile, Amane as admirable, Miyuki as snarky, Shion as raging against the machine, Shizuma as a playgirl, and Nagisa as…Nagisa. Tamao isn’t as pervy as she is in the anime, Chikaru seems to be written by two different people – the one who acts like she’s pulling the strings and the one who thinks she’s barely interested, and Kaname…is nuts.
Kaname drew a red rose seemingly out of nowhere and offered it to Amane.
“Please give up; this is our fate. It’s all right. It only hurts in the beginning….”
And the Etoile competition is, to quote Tamao, a “festering pile of trickery.” She’s right, too. ^_^
I enjoyed every second of this novel, for the amusingly over-the-top tone, the heavy beating with the Yuri stick, and the fact that while I thought it hysterical, I am sure to get many emails and comments on how “beautiful” a story it is. My answer in advance, is to once again quote from the book:
Of course, most of the young ladies used their judgment when they heard those legends. But there were some who really believed them. …And yet those same young ladies grew into fine women.
Art – 6 (I’ve revised this down, because it’s too cute for some of the characters, who are supposed to be seen as sexy, or sensual, or masculine.)
Story – 6 (I’ve revised this up, because I’m no longer weighing this series against anything I take seriously)
Characters – 7 (Ditto)
Yuri – 9
Service – 8
Overall – 7
Translation – 9
Adaptation – 9
Strawberry Panic! is stellar as a comedy. Fans who don’t see that will find it to be stellar as a Yuri novel, because it is indubitably Yuri and therefore must be excellent. ^_^