thin slicing strawberry panic

Definitely not Mai-class

Even with a lower moe factor than I anticipated, I think Media Works is onto something here.

At least edges out Mashiro

Sister Princess, Futakoi, and Strawberry Panic follow a distinguished line of succession from G’s Magazine. When I first watched Sister Princess, at no point did I think, “Wow, I think girls will enjoy this series!” Then when I watched Futakoi, at no point did I think, “Wow, I think anyone who hasn’t had a lobotomy will enjoy this series!” or “Wow, the goat is an _excellent_ addition. Just completes the show in so many ways.” After watching the first episode to Strawberry Panic, I can see the evolution… it’s really a shoujo series with moe shonen elements tossed in. Basically, shoujo aimed at guys.

For an anime series about an all girls school, it doesn’t have the action element that something like Mai Hime had. Nor does it have comedic elements… nor slapstick harem elements. Nor does it have a hook like its a wizard school or whatnot. Nor does it have fanservice… the uniforms are all full body and not a mini-skirt outside of Nagisa. Seeing her run around in the first episode reminded me of Lunamaria running around Minerva. The hook seems to be Nagisa becoming the typical harem loser doormat and getting passed around the school as if it were an all-women prison. Even if we’re led down a garden path that Shizuma and Nagisa will have a relationship, it’s not going to be like Shizuru and Natsuki. Shizuma is nowhere the predator that Shizuru is, for one. (Though, prove me wrong!) Strawberry Panic just doesn’t have that type of kinentic energy.

Rule 5,241 of being a harem lead: must not display any sort of coordination, ever

Everything in the show has been slow, deliberate, and gentle. I can just imagine typical slice-of-life style stories with this twist that Shizuma can go semi-Shizuru anytime, but it’s not the blatant lesbianism that attracts traditional male viewers like the twincest in TSR or the Hatsumi/Hasumi dynamic of Yami Boushi. It’s going to be drawn out, slow, prodding… I highly doubt we’ll see any tripping->falling->pulling down a skirt or any shower scenes that involving soaping up.

There’s a lot of ways to approach an all-female boarding school concept (Mai Otome is one extreme), but what Media Works has done with Strawberry Panic is that it made an anime that can appeal to both genders. For example, the school outfits aren’t sexy nor do they satisfy a typical otaku’s seifuku fetish. Instead, they are grand, elaborate, and elegant. A more shoujo design characteristic than a typical harem series. The story itself seems to focus on the characters interacting with each other… there’s no forced plot point like “he’s a ninja who has to protect his neighbor” or “I wanna do my best and become an otome” or “semi-gay 12 year old boy wizard sent to teach hormonal 14 year old girls” that’s usually found in a shonen series of this nature. In each of those series, the plot point drives the show, not the character interaction. While a series like Full Moon there is a “Mitsuki has cancer” plot point, it doesn’t drive the series… in the end, her relationship with those who are around her drives the series. It looks like Strawberry Panic is on that route.

An Allen Schezar appears!

It has enough moe elements (not to mention the possibility of lesbians, which is pretty much why I’m still watching F/SN) to keep the traditional G’s Magazine audience watching, it has enough social drama to lure in female fans as well without tossing out big breasted nekomimi flouncing around in revealing outfits that may turn them away. (Even Kashimashi has some token fanservice elements.) That’s the key. Use a carrot to lure the male audience while present stories in a while that’ll appeal to both genders.


Whether or not Strawberry Panic can accomplish both tasks is yet to be seen… I was kinda bored due to the lack of big breasted nekomimi (and the absence of any plot-like substance) but kept watching because I’m curious how high on the Shizuru meter Shizuma can hit. Fundamentally, though, moe series don’t really need a plot (see Sister Princess) but they need moe. I think there’s not enough, and that’s the weakest part of the show.

Maybe it’s dilution since this is 2006, and there has already been plenty of lesbians in anime already, but hawt girl-on-girl action isn’t new and won’t carry a show by itself. Unless it’s really hawt. Almost h-level hawt. It’s just doesn’t seem to be Strawberry Panic‘s nature to toss in a TSR-type shower scene. None of the characters introduced thus far exude moe, and they’re all pretty bland except for Shizuma, a second tier predator, and Tamao, a second tier Tama-chan, and poor Nagisa is just the typical harem loser doormat, only she’s a she. There’s no token big breasted girl (Mutsumi!), there’s no token uber loli (Shana!), there’s no token meido (Jiiya!), there’s no token clingy sister (Maika!), there’s no token anything. If I can think of a stereotypical moe catergory, this show desperately needs it.

Omega best ED of the year?

Still, I think Media Works is onto something by giving Strawberry Panic a more shoujo feel to it, and the promise of hawt girl-on-girl action will keep me tuned in… after all, if I can endure Emiya for over a dozen F/SN episodes, I think I can give Strawberry Panic a few more.

18 Responses to “thin slicing strawberry panic”

  1. I like your thoughts on SP. Instead of taking the Mai Otome, TSR comparison, I took SP more of Marimite view. I think Marimite might be an easier comparision because
    1.) elegant school setting
    2.) all that french – etoile/petit soeur
    3.) not aiming for fanservice.

    But somehow, the weak animation and colour style, coupled with weak character interaction makes SP rather boring.

    BTW, plz don’t get pissed with me, but elegent should be spelt elegant. I’m sort of proof-reading your entry also. Hope you don’t mind.

  2. Marimite is kinda shoujo to begin with. Panic is more of a trojan horse… with the lesbians riding on giant wooden horses… okay, that didn’t sound right.

    Anyway, fixed the spelling error. I don’t use a spellchecker. o_o;;

  3. Meh, when you said SP, you mean Sister Pincess or Strawberry Panic? Haha, sorry for the bad pun. But then again… seeing that they’re both G’s stuff…

    Well, I WAS quite the fan of Sister Princess. I suppose Strawberry Panic can entertain me for a bit.

  4. I’m not sure yet what Strawberry Panic wants to be. That’s part of what makes it interesting, I suppose.

    So far, I think the show’s a mixed bag. There are things that appeal to me, things that don’t, stuff that works, stuff that doesn’t. The direction seems to suck a lot of energy out of the story, unfortunately. It feels like a good show stifled by its own presentation.

    And the ED creeps me the hell out.

    But, it has enough good points to be worth my time… visions of Tamao x Nagisa dancing in my head. And I’m kinda curious about Shizuma, of course.

  5. Let’s give them a chance…
    I’m a believer, so… gamabtte SP!
    I don’t know, Kashimashi left in me a hole, with that double “ane ne” at the very final…

    We need more YURI, but also better writers…
    Poor SHizumu, she’s goign to need a doctor after to many fail atempts to get a kiss from Nagisa… ^_^ 3 so far

  6. I’ve been taking the view of comparing Marimite to Strawberry Panic while watching it myself. The similarities have been rather scary so far (I mean one of the SP cast even looks practically identical to one of the Marimite cast) but Strawberry Panic has less of a shoujo take on things as Marimite. Personally I think SP is doing very little at this point in time to be actually good in terms of story or any depth whatsoever, but I’m still finding it entertaining. The entertainment factor for me comes mainly because I’m watching the show from the perspective of a Marimite fan. SP is so much more over the top in the yuri department compared to Marimite that I laugh all the way through. I’d certainly like it to develop a good plot on top of this, but right now I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to happen.

  7. “Shizuma is nowhere the predator that Shizuru is, for one.”

    What? Shizuru waited for years before revealing her fellings while Shizuma apparently has had quite a lot of “victims” among the students and tried to kiss Nagisa seconds after seeing her for the first time.

    And “the possibility of lesbians”? I am actually wondering if there is anyone in this school who is not a lesbian, they all seemed very jealous of Nagisa after she was almost kissed by Etoile. :)

    I am still waiting to see whether Strawberry Panic will have a plot to speak of.

  8. A few things.

    Shizuma is quite possibly THE most predatory girl I’ve ever seen. This chick is DANGEROUS, she’s probably slept with half the school, and each time discarded the girl when she was finished with her.

    Tamao has “Crazy Lesbian Stalker” written all over her. After Shizuma has finished with Nagisa and thrown her away, Tamao will be waiting on the sidelines to pounce on the corpse like a good carrion eater.

    And finally, I don’t think that Mari-mite is the right shoujo show to be comparing this to, it reminds me FAR more of a much older show. The classic 70’s Shoujo series “Onii-sama E”, which has quite possibly the highest concentration of crazy lesbians EVER.

  9. >>I am actually wondering if there is anyone in this school who is not a lesbian

    This is the reason for meaningful comparison to Marimite; Lillian Jogakuen is a lesbian school and all the girls living in Ichigo-sha are attending lesbian schools. Pretty simple, IMHO.

    In some of my brief writings on SP I have pointed out some similarities between it and Marimite, mainly via screenshots- things that look the same. Or identical scenes. The student council president, the statue of Mary, the tie-fixing scene, the appearance of the library from the outside resembling the greenhouse from Marimite, and so on and so forth… the only thing the show’s missing is “gokigenyou” and a school tabloid.

  10. Shizuru is not a good role model anyway, IMO.

    You can only follow two schools, the lovable trickster (Sei Satou) or the tyrant demoness that took over the show (Himemiya Chikane)

  11. Tyrant demoness?!

    I’ll have to ask you to take that back.

  12. Strawberry Panic amuses me. Especially Tamao Suzumi. Her interaction with Nagisa borders on a Futuba Aasu( from Puni Puni Poemy) obsession level; and as expected, Nagisa does not seem to see the danger before her( which makes her ordeals with Tamao all the more adorable, and wickedly funny).

    I am half-expecting Tamao to rend Nagisa apart in future episodes. The thought of that alone brings glee to my mind.


  13. >> Tyrant demoness?!

    >> I’ll have to ask you to take that back.


    That’s a compliment you know. Not many people can dominate show and literally steal everyone else’s role.

  14. well, i go to an girls bording school (I’m sat with my room mate right now) It’s not totally like strawberry panic, but there is alot of girl-on-girl action which i love ;) being a lesbian myself.

  15. Who knows, maybe Tamao will pull a Kaede “return my Nagisa-chan to me” on Shizuma.

    Or people mysteriously die or disappear during the annual Astrea cultural festival.

    Angst after Tamao caught Shizuma kissing Nagisa / Jealousy after Shizuma caught Nagisa kissing Tamao. Possibly a scream from the discoverer from across the block.

    And there’s a good chance Tamao will stealthily strip herself and sneak into Nagisa’s bed. Meanwhile, Shizuma peeps from afar…

  16. I’ve been watching the episodes on youtube and most of them are quite good. it focuses more on non-sexual intimate relationships most of the time. unfortuneatly, not all the episodes are on it yet, but i’ll be waiting patiently for them.

  17. I think that the show has a very weak meaning its good.the gay part is werid.

  18. i have most of the videos but about three episodes are missing the middle peice and two are spanish subtitles only lol. but if u wan to watch them feel click the url

Leave a Reply