The sixth volume of Ichigo Mashimaro (苺ましまろ) is finally out in Japan (it’s been running since 2001, but is only up to Volume 6 due to the author’s frequent breaks and the sometimes short chapters). There’s no earth-shattering changes, except that if anything Nobue gets even less to do. As Chika has gotten more tsundere and taken over much of the beatings of Miu, Nobue has sadly faded into the background a bit.
In any case, we get 10 new chapters here, interspersed with ‘a day in the life’ interstitials. My favorites of the interstitials are a) Miu responding to her teacher’s request to solve a difficult fraction problem by getting out her giant protractor, and b) Miu’s amusing giant geek glasses she wears during chemistry, complete with spiral effect.
The girls battle a cockroach, have fun drawing on each other’s faces (in 2 separate chapters, one with a ‘third eye’ and the other with Japanese characters), and practice cooking (in a hilarious Miu and Chika 2-hander that barely has the others at all).
Some of this volume is also being animated in the Encore OAVs, such as Matsuri’s utter inability to help herself not be kidnapped. Oh yes, and Miu dies and goes to hell, in easily the best chapter in the entire volume. You can see it animated in the first Encore OAV. Note once more Chika’s inability to stop laughing when Miu does insane stupid things, even when she’s a demon of Hell.
The final chapter, where Miu complains that the only playing they do anymore is gaming, and that they should go outside and be more physical, was only in Dengeki Daioh last month. So don’t expect a new volume anytime soon. Still, it’s 160 pages of cuteness and Miu insanity, which is always worth your time.
Art – 7 (I do like the attention paid to the different outfits)
Story – 6 (loose collection of gags, really)
Characters: 7 (9 for Miu and Chika, 6 for Matsuri, 5 for Nobue).
Yuri – 3 (Not as much here as the last volume, though Miu and Chika are
so going to be a couple in a few years)
Service – 9 (It’s Barasui. What else needs to be said? It only loses a point for lacking catgirls.)
Overall – 7. A good, solid volume.
Oh yes, and Ana is in it too.