Strawberry Panic (ストロベリー・パニック!) Volume 5 reminds us that it is incredibly important to not write climactic moments of a series while drinking. In the sober light of day, that so-dramatic bout of selective amnesia seems a bit silly, and the thrilling tennis match between two popular contenders for the throne becomes an immensely mockable cross-fandom moment.
Volume 5 finds us on the doorstep of the climaxes of all of the many complications built up throughout the series. Nagisa and Shizuma are separated physically, their hearts still connected by love; Hikari and Amane so close to being together when an accident tears them apart…and all the other characters floating around affected by these four and unable to do much more than ameliorate their discomfort.
And the most important crisis, when Momomi and Kaname suffer an epic breakup. With slap.
The end of the volume is as melodramatically happy as the beginning is melodramatically tragic, and in the end, the girls all get their girls (with actual sex for the least likely couple,) except for Yaya, who sublimates her desire into torturing Tsubomi and Tamao who, like her namesake from Card Captor Sakura, will probably become a career alcoholic. ^_^
My sincere, sincere thanks to Media Blasters who really notched up their skills for this series and brought out the best possible version of this that we could have hoped – heck, brought it out at all, because what were the chances really, of this series being licensed? I hope that, if you think of yourself as a Yuri fan – and espcially if you say you love this series – you will buy it and let Media Blasters know that you will support their choice to bring Yuri series out on DVD.
Looking back at Strawberry Panic, I think that if I stick with Volume 3 and Volume 5, I’ll come close to finding a comfortable place for this series in my heart. I’ll never buy into the melodrama, but I can definitely enjoy the comedy. In conclusion, for what is likely to be the last post I ever write on this series, I stand by what I said originally said: SP is not a diamond in the rough, but let us call it an attractive riverstone, washed suprisingly clean and shiny by the many, many, MANY tons of water that has flowed downstream from clearer and cleaner sources. ^_^
Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 10
Service – 6
Overall – 8
I’m left with two thoughts. One – Amane’s amnesia seemed to go on for much longer than two episodes. And, two, I am once again reminded that Percival the stuffed bear might well be the most intelligent creature on Astrea Hill.