Archive for the Strawberry Panic Category


Random Thoughts on the Strawberry Panic Light Novel Omnibus (English)

June 16th, 2011

SPN2There’s two things you need to know up front about today’s post about Strawberry Panic: The Complete Novel Collection.

1) This not a review. I’ll explain why in a moment.

2) I worked as the Copy Editor on this book and so, if you find any typos, I declare them things that were found, but inexplicably not corrected. Kapeesh? ^_^

Okay, so, this isn’t a review because realistically, you either LOVED Strawberry Panic anime, manga and/or Light Novels and nothing I will ever say will sway you from your opinion or you didn’t love it and ditto. And, at least for the first two novels, I’ve already reviewed them in English.

It’s also not a synopsis because I did that already too, when discussing the original three volumes in Japanese.

Instead, I’m going to jot down some random thoughts about the series.

Thought 1 – I want to congratulate and thank Seven Seas for another excellent adaptation from Japanese into English. If at any point you think the books sound utterly ridiculous and no one speaks that way, you should thank the translators and editors for perfectly capturing the tone of voice from the Japanese.

The original novels were written in a tone of voice I don’t have a word for, so if you can think of one, let me know. The tone is faux-serious, overformal and precious, yet so facetious and corny that it’s hard to take any individual sentence seriously, much less whole conversations. Oh, wait! I have it – a new word to describe this! I will call it moego, the language of moe. ^_^

Well, these novels are written in full moego, let me tell you. As I read, I keep saying to myself – no one speaks that way. And really, no one does.

Thought 2 – The one genuine negative comment I have about this book is that it is both an omnibus, but made with thin paper. So it feels…impermanent, but clunky. The originals were all Light Novels, which are printed in a small size and made to be a quick read, so can get away with less than stellar paper, precisely because they are “Light” novels. This collection has too much bulk to be easily carriable and yet is made kinda crappily, so it won’t survive being carried around in a book bag or briefcase well.

Thought 3 – I feel bad for this book, because there are very few anime/manga reviewers who can really do it justice. The very intelligent reviewers out there will look at this thing like a piece of three-day old dead cod. They won’t “understand” it, (as few have “understood” A Certain Scientific Railgun.) The problem is that these novels are a franchise extender for a franchise few of them are likely to have seen, even fewer to have enjoyed and Light Novels as a whole puzzle them – as they expect, y’know, *stories* in a novel and not meaningless drivel wrapped in detailed discussions of school uniforms.

As I said on Twitter the other day, manga is generally not written for people to get into, the way a novel is. Manga are frequently written for people who already have a hook into that thing to try something like that thing. With Strawberry Panic!, if you’re not a Yuri fan, there’s darn little here to appeal. (Unless the reviewer is a *very* good reader and can hear the moego for the broad parody it is.) With few exceptions, the reviewers who are likely to “get” this omnibus are going to be unashamedly uncritical fans who love the series, but won’t get what’s actually going on in the novels. I desperately hope that a few people I know and respect will review this book for what it is, loving it for the lovable bits and laughing heartily at the hilarious bits sprinkled throughout.

I will, of course, do my best to do all that. I just hope that I’m not alone in this. I can almost see the look on Brigid Alverson‘s or David Welsh‘s face trying to read this wholly inexplicable thing….(Or Ed Sizemore or Kate Dacey or Melinda Beasi or just about any reviewer I respect, honestly…. Sean – it’s all on you, I think. Help me out here!)

Thought 4 – Drinking games. It’s a toss up who cries more – in Novel 1, I’d say go for Chiyo. In Novel 2, Hikari. In Novel 3, just drink every time Chikaru shows up and does nothing.

Thought 5 – Finally! This book is the first time my Commanding Officer, Ana M. and I have had a chance to work together on a book since Inukami! For that alone, I love this book with all my love.

In fact, I do love this book. It’s hilariously funny and, in a few cases, there’s a teeny bit of romantic something or other. Thank the gods my memory of the helicopters was not some fever dream, but actually part of the story. Phew. Dodged that bullet. ^_^ In fact, I believe that, overall, my synopsis of the novels from Japanese stand solid. When I’ve read this whole thing at once, I shall endeavor to once again synopsize and properly review, knowing that, if God is indeed in his heaven and all is indeed right with the world, that shall be the very last Strawberry Panic post I will ever write.

Until then, dear readers!

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Yuri Manga: Strawberry Panic Omnibus (English)

March 3rd, 2011

91Bt+QH8+zL It’s been practically an eon since I first encountered Strawberry Panic! in the pages of Dengeki G’s magazine as stand-alone scenarios of Yuri couples. Since then, both I and the series itself have changed a few times. The series underwent an adaptation to manga, in which the initial pairs were expanded to an entire cast, and adapted into an anime, which reached deep into Yuri memes and roots and pulled out a love story with a satisfactory ending. The Light Novels, with their melodramatic stylings, served to complete the unfinished manga in an over-the-top way.

For my part, I began with pretty much nothing but loathing for the series which wallowed and pandered in a way that completely turned me off. There was nothing in the original stories that was created with me in mind and the manga was decidedly shaped for the lowest common denominator. As the anime shifted from “stolen meme of the week, which we present with a straight face and no real desire to tell a story” to “stolen meme of the week, which we present with a wink and a nod and –  we can’t help ourselves –  a bit of character development and plot, too” my opinion began to change. (I consider this a positive quality in myself, even if fans have a somewhat difficult time accepting that. I still get angry letters about reviews I wrote 7 years ago.)  And then I read the novels.

I have to say, very frankly, anyone who cannot “hear” the overt campiness of the novels, the hyper-melodramatic tone in which they were written, is really, honestly missing the point. In my review of the first LN in English, I tried to illustrate this with a few of the quoted passages. My comments were not me being snarky, but me commenting on the snark embedded within the lines of the novel. Of these, this passage really stood out as a tell:

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.

Really read that, please, and note the subtext which (for those of you who cannot see the flashing lights,) says, “DO NOT TAKE THIS STORY SERIOUSLY.”

At the moment I read that line in the Japanese edition of the Light Novel, I ceased to take any of Strawberry Panic seriously and was, at last, able to find affection for it in my heart.

This week I found myself re-reading the manga as the Strawberry Panic Omnibus, put out recently by Seven Seas (who are now more active on Twitter. Go say hello.). My primary emotion upon completing it was that I was a little sad that it ended so soon. There were so many good bits yet to come and at least one helicopter would surely have been included! But no, this story was terminated at the equivalent of the end of the first novel.

Technically, the omnibus looks good. The translation is as it was; the translation notes are short, but enough. I like the size of the book, which is A5 – this gives it the feel of a typical seinen manga. It feels good in my hand and isn’t going to break a foot if I drop it, as Cardcaptor Sakura might. The one thing I will continue to say about Seven Seas is that they really do a great job of giving us, the readers, an authentic manga reading experience.

The story is very Yuri. There is nothing else to be said about that – there are multiple pairings in this manga but, of them, there are two entirely romantic romances (which almost no fans cared about, instead focusing on the hopeless losers in the rivalries…which has got to be some kind of commentary on something, don’t you think?)

This we can say about Strawberry Panic in all its iterations: Shizuma is queen-like, a veritable goddess on earth who is inexplicably (even to herself) attracted to a humble, down-to-earth energetic, cheerful girl, Nagisa. And Amane is a Prince-like being who is inexplicably (especially to herself) attracted to humble, angelic, cry-baby Hikari. And those two romances fill the pages of this collection with melodrama, tears and kisses.

Love it or hate it, Strawberry Panic was a gateway Yuri series for a generation of fans last decade. If you have not already picked up a copy of this omnibus, please do. And get an extra for your library, to spread the love of Yuri love to the next generation.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 9
Service – 10

Overall – 8

Foreshadowing: I have had the opportunity to see the Strawberry Panic Light Novel Omnibus and it is also quite good. More than it being good, though, you need to read it to get the end of the story! If you liked/loved/tolerated the manga and 1) want to know what happened or 2) really, really want to read about the helicopters, get it! I have to say, I laughed through the novels all over again as I read them. The language is breathtakingly campy in places.

Postscript: Today we have the genuine pleasure of thanking our own candidate for Etoile, Okazu Superhero Eric P., for his sponsorship of today’s review! As always, Eric, thank you kindly for your generosity. If you’d like to become an Okazu Hero, just click on the Yuri Wish List links on Amazon and Amazon JP on the right-hand sidebar and purchase something for review and you’ll be a Hero to Okazu readers world-wide!

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Yuri News: Strawberry Panic Light Novel Omnibus

October 7th, 2010

Press release from our friends at Seven Seas:

Strawberry Panic: The Complete Novel Collection
Story by Sakurako Kimino
Illustrations by Namuchi Takumi

This omnibus collection contains all three novels from the hit Yuri series Strawberry Panic at one low price. Included in this edition is the third and final Strawberry Panic novel, which has never before been published in North America.

For new transfer student Aoi Nagisa, St. Miator Girls’ Academy offers her the chance at a fresh start and a way to redefine herself. But these noble intentions go out the window when she catches her first glimpse of honor student Hanazono Shizuma, whose porcelain white skin and goddess-like beauty leave Nagisa speechless. It’s puppy love at first sight, but naive Nagisa is unaware that Shizuma is a serial heartbreaker who has set her sights on Nagisa herself. Will Nagisa end up as another notch on Shizuma’s belt, or does fate have other plans in store for the new couple?

***

Finally! You too will be able to revel in the not one, but *two* unlikely helicopters in the third Strawberry Panic Light Novel.

The info they sent me didn’t have a release date, but man that would make a great holiday gift idea. “Here’s a book full of lesbian crack. Enjoy.”

Updated: Release is scheduled for June 2011, thanks everyone who wrote in!

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Yuri Network News – October 3, 2009

October 3rd, 2009

Yuri Light Novels

I have been the recipient of a large number of questions about the third volume of the Strawberry Panic Light Novel, which has appeared on Amazon.com with a December 3, 2009 release date.

I emailed Seven Seas last night and they confirm that the 3rd LN is NOT coming out, they still have no plans to print it. This is an errant entry, from back when they had just kept pushing the date back. They didn’t say this, but I am sure they apologize for the confusion.

***

Yuri Manga

YNN Correspondent Erin S. has two great pieces of news:

“Tankoubon versions of several Yuri Hime cell phone manga are due out on November 18:
Gokujou Drops volume 3 by Hajime Mikuni
Sorairo Girlfriend by Rikachi
Honey Quartet by Tokoro Kemeko
Otome Senshi Lovely 5! by Jounouchi Nene
Yukemuri Sanctuary by Amano Shuninta

and

The website for the new Rakuen (Le Paradis) anthology has been updated with descriptions of the stories in the first issue. Some appear to be het, but a few have promising descriptions: Takemiya Jin’s, Nishi UKO’s (she will have two pieces in the issue–a 4-panel comic and a short one-shot), and Kiryuu Suruga’s.

Thanks Erin!

Although Yohko’s been dead (for about 20 years now,) she still talks to Asuka in New Hana no Asuka-gumi, Volume 8, which is finally coming out after a really long delay. More importantly…where do Kiryuu and Bara no Miya go off to? They always seem to be in a back room together. Volume 8 is accompanied by a new volume of Gaiden, related side stories of the folk that inhabit Asuka’s world. (Also, if you missed this in the comments last week, Ana M. reports that one of the stars of the new Hana no Asuka-gumi movie is the mangaka, Takaguchi Satosumi’s daughter. That’s worth getting it, just for that!)

And Kate Dacey informs me that Dragon Sister! is not only a *third* version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in which all the roles are played by buxom women, but that there is predatory lesbianism. Woot!

***

Other News

Right Stuf announces a new Aria lithograph: “Those Nightshine Chimes.” Fan-selected artwork to be released on December 8, 2009. Visit aria.rightstuf.com for more info.

***

That’s a wrap for this week.

Become a Yuri Network Correspondent by sending me any Yuri-related news you find. Emails go to anilesbocon01 at hotmail dot com. Not to the comments here, please, or they might be forgotten or missed. There’s a reason for this madness. This way I know you are a real human, not Anonymous (which I do not encourage – stand by your words with your name!) and I can send you a YNN correspondent’s badge.

Thanks to all of you – you make this a great Yuri Network!

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Yuri Anime: Strawberry Panic, Volume 5 (English)

January 15th, 2009

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. ^_^

Ratings:

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.

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