the kawaii is the key point


Ichigo Mashimaro isn’t much different than any typical slice-of-life type series. There’s no magical girls. There’s no harem acquisition. There’s no uber-robots piloted by overly emotional teenagers. There’s really no central plot beyond “four highly underaged girls and one slightly underaged girl looking cute.” Chika is the “normal one”, if “normal” = no major psychological problems. Nobue is her sexually confused older sister. Miu is the annoying next door neighbor and the source of all plot and conflict for the series. Matsuri is a combat android with 365 days to live. Ana is the culturally confused gaijin. They’re pretty straightforward, stereotyped characters, and the level of character development rival Naruto and Spy Girls.


Oddly, I can’t imagine little girls watching this show. Any action takes a long time to develop, and it doesn’t really fit any sort of shoujo formula. There’s no cute mascot for potential merchandising like Sailor Moon or Pretty Cure. There’s no boys. There’s only four girls looking as cute as possible… Hello Kitty aside, how does that appeal to like a ten year old? And they parody stuff like Planetes? How many kids watch that now?

This puzzles me; what demographic are they shooting for? It airs at 2AM and airs in HD (two week delay). Generally, the big money, wide appeal shounen series air at a certain time, like One Piece and Gundam Seed at their 6PM timeslots and shoujo series like Pretty Cure and Full Moon wo Sagashite air at 7AM. This isn’t too much different than from American TV with primetime at 8 and Leno/Letterman at 11:30. Is the audience for a 2AM show little girls? Or vampires? (La Verite didn’t even air at 2AM.)

Any why would the studio decide to air an HD version of Ichigo Mashimaro? TBS, the station airing it, doesn’t have any other anime series currently airing in HD other than this one. Eureka 7, which has some fanastic visuals… nope, not in HD. Gundam Seed Destiny? Nope, no HD Meer in lingere. But we do get HD nekomimi Matsuri.


The manga-ka for Mashimaro noted in volume 1 that “he’ll do any project with little children involved.” It’s fairly blatant who the real audience is, and it’s definitely savvy. Very similar to Sister Princess, even though one (*cough* ADV *cough*) can say it’s about “how would you love your twelve sisters,” it’s not about that. It was more about Wataru trying to keep his sisters happy. Honestly, the innuendo and perv factor is significally less than any typical mahou shoujo series and less than Sister Princess, and focus is always on the kawaii. Mashimaro manages to succeed nicely in that respect. The anidb summary says it best and most compactly, “cute girls doing cute things in a cute way.”


Overall, the show gets an “A” for aesthetic appeal in part for the character designs and even the plot can be described as cute, like when the girls visit Nobue on her job. That’s just a cute thing to do. And while most of the seiyuu do a good job voicing their characters, Ayako Kawasumi just isn’t a good fit as Matsuri. If Matsuri isn’t doing her whimpering routine, she ends up sounding like Mahoro, and that breaks the character. Nonetheless, the OP sung by the four girls, Ichigo Complete, is the heroin of OPs. Still can’t get it out of my head.

Definitely recommended for anyone, irregardless of demographic, who likes girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes and snowflakes that stay on nose and eye-lashes.

One Response to “the kawaii is the key point”

  1. Seen it. Fantastic. Really want the HD version, now…

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