Yuri Anime: Strawberry Panic, Volume 3 (English)

August 25th, 2008

If the Strawberry Panic anime had begin with what is now Volume 3, I think that I just might, maybe, have liked it a lot more than I originally did.

It’s true that if the series began at the beginning of Volume 3, we wouldn’t have been treated to 11 episodes of *absolutely nothing* in which Nagisa is ever so cute as she remains confused and out-of-place, and we probably wouldn’t have seen Hikari cry a couple of times. Certainly we wouldn’t have been treated to Amane riding up on her horse, saying practically nothing, then riding away. And of course, we would have missed all those almost-kisses that so delighted us through the first half of the series, as Shizuma teased Nagisa.

Episode 12 picks up with as significant an episode as we’re likely to find in this series, as Tamao symbolically ties a ribbon onto Nagisa’s arm “for protection.” Like Chekov’s gun on the wall, you just know that this has to play a part and so it does when, after Shizuma and Nagisa have admitted feeling lonely when the other isn’t around, they “fall” into the pool and kiss while the ribbon symbolically unties and floats free. Afterward, in Shizuma’s room, Shizuma begins to have her way with Nagisa, but a memory of Kaori brings her up short, allowing Nagisa to escape back to her own room.

Meanwhile, Kaname and Momomi step up their “seduce Hikari to break her up with Amane, and make Amane depressed so she won’t run for Etoile” campaign. This is the source of the infamous and utterly hilarious “Global Warming” scene, which is no less fabulously stupid than the first time I watched it. The entire series peaks at that moment, I think. Everything afterward is simply denouement. LOL (If you can stop laughing long enough to listen to the rest of Kaname’s monologue, it carries on, no less amusing than the beginning.)

From this point on, the entire series takes a turn. Amane and Hikari go on a romantic date, only to have Hikari return home to find Yaya crazed with desire, the result of which is that she is the object of a sexual attack for the second time in one day. Rough day for Hikari. This is followed by an episode in which Hikari and Yaya make up. Good thing for Yaya that Hikari is another Himeko.

And then suddenly, it’s time for the school festival and the play, a time-honored subject of pretty much every anime ever. And yet, these final episodes of the volume are probably the best in the entire series. They have a good plot – actual grasp of and use of character and a pretty good climax, if you ignore the utter absurdity of our resident EPL duo’s “plot” to take Amane down. Since absurdity is practically the raison d’etre of this series, by now we’d better be sucking this series down with handfuls of salt – preferably adorning the rim of colorful glasses holding margaritas. :)

And just in case we don’t yet really get that this is a Yuri series, with Yuri, we are treated to several bath scenes involving nekkid Kaname and Momomi doing Yuri things.

Last note – I was warned by the folks at Media Blasters (who I once again have to thank for this review copy) that this volume was full of typos but, if there were any, I missed them. In fact, the quality of the DVD was so consistent and decent, that I just barely remembered to even mention it – which for this kind of thing is the highest praise. In a nutshell, the technical aspects of this DVD were so good that I never noticed them. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 7 (towards the end, 8)
Yuri – 9
Service – 7

Overall – 9

I’m going to pretend that I used the above French terms in honor of the “Nagisa studies French” episode, but in reality, it was just coincidence. ;-)

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19 Responses

  1. balticbard says:

    I love your blog. I always read it. I wanted to ask if you know where I can find the scans for Strawberry Panic vol.2 chpt.14 Iknow its out there; I found a page on akayuuki.blogspot.

    http://akayuuki.blogspot.com/2007/01/manga-strawberry-panic-chapter-14.html

    Can you help?

  2. balticbard – Nope. I don’t do scans.

  3. DezoPenguin says:

    Y’know, your comment about Hikari being another Himeko gives me sudden insight on why fanon seems to wildly prefer pairing her up with angsty-yet-cool-best-friend-who-wants-to-be-more-yet-suffers-in-silence Yaya than with the actual romance that she’s in…

  4. dezo – there’s two pieces to that. Fandom often prefers the closet perve, and also the loser best friend, doomed to not getting the girl. Which is why so many people prefer Nagisa x Tamao, as well.

    The other half is that, yes, Yaya and Hikari are obviously meant to parody Chikane and Himeko – a reference made even less subtle byt the appearance of the shell, ripped blatantly from KnM. :-)

  5. balticbard says:

    Please Erika
    You misunderstood my question. I know you don’t do scans. What I’m asking is where can I find the scans to Strawberry Panic vol.2 chpt.14. I know they must be out there somewhere. I just wonder if maybe you may have seen them on some forum besides yamibo which I can’t understand because unfortunately I don’t know Japanese.

  6. balticbard – I understood your question. I apologize, my answer was a bit colloquial. I meant:
    “No, I cannot help you, I do not know the answer.”

    In fact, it says right on the home page: “Please do not email to ask for items to be scanned, or where to get scans.” Because the only answer I have for that kind of questions is “No, I do not know where you can find a scan of whatever series it is.”

  7. Caitlin says:

    Hello Erica! Great blog btw you’ve actually inspired me to blog about Yuri myself. I’ve been reading yours for quite some time -^_^-. I hope you don’t mind if I name drop you from time to time as I feel you’re probably the best thing to ever happen to Yuri.

    Anyways my question is..What are the chances of seeing more Strawberry Panic, as in a second season or maybe some ova’s like Maria? I’m guessing none but I can still pray right? :)

  8. Heather says:

    I remember the “global warming” bit–it confused the ever loving crap out of me. Oh well.

    I used to rewatch episode 12 because I actually enjoyed seeing Shizuma and Nagisa kiss for the first time… and the almost sex scene. Good times, good times.

  9. Hi caitlin – Good luck with your blog. Feel free to link here whenever you’d like.

    Heather – Kaname’s argument goes like this, roughly – “Common knowledge says that a build-up of CO2 is what is causing global warming, but that’s never been proven. Likewise, common knowledge says tht I am beautiful, talented and hard to get to know, but in reality, I’m beautiful, talented and a real softie. So don’t trust common knowledge.”

    This argument *might* be more convincing if she weren’t sexually assaulting Hikari at the same time.

  10. jaymiemizuno says:

    Considering your connections and this series, any word on when Seven Seas will release the last light novel? It’s actually the best medium, in my opinion, because the characters actually act in ways outside the stereotypes they completely are in the other media; almost as a sort of “take that”, Tamao wonders if she is acting like a pervert despite the fact that she doesn’t in the novels (the anime…c’mon, purposely scaring Nagisa so she can record the screams and listen to them while rolling in ecstasy on the bed?).

  11. Eric P. says:

    As far as ‘typos’ go the only thing I remember noticing was that ‘Oneesan’ was mostly left untranslated, but there were still a couple moments where it read as ‘big sister’

  12. Caitlin says:

    Thank you Erica :) I will if I ever steal any news from you :p I guess that non response means no chance at all? lol Unless it’s been reported for the good or bad and I missed it :o

    I guess I could read on but I prefer to watch on -^_^-, I’m from a lazy generation I suppose haha.

  13. caitlin – If there were news, you can assume I’ll report it.

    This series is old now. Japanese studious and fans are on to the enxt things, and no one is doing anything with this series. Don’t expect sequels.

  14. tsuyo_puyo says:

    i knew exactly what u were talking about mentioning the “global warming” scene lol.i think itll be awhile before Yuri fans are treated to another 26 episode series similar to strawberry panic

  15. Paula says:

    Great blog. Wondering– are the DVD releases English translations? As in, voice overs? Or just subtitle releases?

  16. Paula – The DVDs for this are subtitle only.

  17. Michiru says:

    Sorry, I know this post is old, but as someone asked about the SP novels, I thought this might be the best place to post this…

    Seven Seas has announced (in their forums) that they’re basically discontinuing their light novel line, including the SP novels, at least for the moment. Depresses the heck out of a big fan like me, but there you are. Fans are kicking up a fuss, and I hope they are convinced to release the last one, but right now it’s up in the air.

  18. Yes, the LNs are on hold for the moment. We can still hope that the third novel will be released – the translation was completed.

  19. BustyAnimeLuver says:

    i really hope the series picks up. because i was hoping for some more kissing and mabey some sex scenes.

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