Gokigenyou minna-san! This week I finally gotten around to finishing what I started years ago in 2006. I finally watched Strawberry Panic from start to finish! I did like the show when I first watched it when it came out, but due to losing track of it and lost of interest due to the slowness of the show, I stopped for a while. I've recently acquired more patience, especially after watching Maria-sama ga Miteru several times, so I thought I'll finally get around to watching and talking about Strawberry Panic. However... it is 26 episodes and I like to be wordy, so I'll have two Yuri Mania back to back focusing on Strawberry Panic. ^^;
First disc and an Alteil promo... Anyone played Alteil?
The first post will be introductions, brief summaries and my general review of the whole show. It will be generally spoiler-free. While the second post will focus on important plot points, the ending and perhaps discussion with people who has seen it. I've got tons of things to write about so I'll start with a general summary of what Strawberry Panic is all about.
Arriving at a lone tree on a grass field, she encounters a beautiful older girl. The older girl's gaze quickly mesmerized Nagisa to a frozen state and ended up fainting from that encounter.
St. Le Rim or St. Lulim? AnimeWorks translate it as Le Rim, but others translate it as Lulim.
Tamao explains that this hill are shared between 3 different all-girls school, which is why there are different uniforms. Tamao and Nagisa goes to Saint Miator, which has an all black uniform.
Once Nagisa is familiarized with her dormitory's rules (due to the fact that she missed curfew and had to recite the dorm's rules as punishment), it was time for dinner. Here she is to be introduced to the Étoile, the most popular, beautiful student who represents all three schools.
Quite a first episode. It attracted me to the series in the first place and still did when I watched it again, but like the show, I shall slow down and introduce a little bit about cast.
Most of these pictures for the characters are from the opening video.
From Saint Miator
From Saint Spica
From Saint Le Rim
Kizuna and Remon are almost inseparable and tend to follow their leader Chikaru. Kizuna is more outgoing and excitable and Remon tends to follow suit.
Kagome is the most quiet one and will always be seen with her teddy bear Percival whom she always talks to. Kizuna manages to figure out the situation by interpreting Kagome's conversation with Percival. Although Kagome looks childish, she is quite intelligent and surprisingly fast on the take.
My ImpressionNow that you know the cast, let's get down to business... I was excited to watch this show when it first came out, but the slow process of introducing the characters really took a brunt on me. Even though I really wanted to watch it as it came out, something took over my time back then. Mainly World of Warcraft... I filled the gap with the manga that Seven Seas Entertainment was releasing, but they never finished it. Now that WoW is gone from my life and I have the whole series in my hand, I regretted for not finishing it the first time. It's a great show despite the slow introductions. By the beginning of the second disc, I was hooked again! Ok, the ecchi couple's introduction into the mix really helped.
Nagisa, the hapless victim of yuri groping and seduction, quickly became my favourite right away. She's the main reason I kept watching. Her chemistry with Tamao worked so well that I really though I was watching Cardcaptor Sakura again. Nagisa being entranced by Shizuma seemed silly but it was the first main difference between this and MariMite. When the focus changed to Hikari is perhaps the reason I stopped watching the first time. She wasn't as exciting to watch as Nagisa was.
The animation looked quite good and I realized that it was Mad House who also did Cardcaptor Sakura as well! Well there were some background characters that didn't look quite right, but the art looked so good that I thought I'm seeing Satoshi Urushihara's art coming to life!
Can't help but compare it a little to MariMite...
There were still some slow episodes later on, but there were quite a lot of memorable episodes. One of them was the first time I saw ecchi conversations and scenes that would be nowhere near in any of MariMite's scenes. Then the next episode came with a very cute and innocent episode involving umbrellas. It was like watching two different shows, but in a good way! There were so many things happening that a lot of these episodes were blending (especially since I watched them all in a row). Another favourite was the cultural festival play episode that literally had a "twist" ending. Strawberry Panic really took my expectations and toyed with them. I was surprised right to the very end! I wouldn't look for any messages though, I was in it just for the fun and I had a lot of fun watching the show, even laughing out loud at times.
I hope I've provide a somewhat informative guide to Strawberry Panic even though the anime is 4 years old. It's good to revisit older anime, especially ones that you've missed. I try to avoid any spoilers here, but in the second post that I'll do next week will be full of spoilers that a lot of you (I'm looking at you Yi and BlueBlueWave) would want to talk about. For now my only goal was to introduce this anime to those who hasn't discovered it or maybe too afraid to try it. I may have said it had a slow pace too many times, but it really does pay in the end because you'll laugh and cheer right to the very end, and maybe even cry.
And now I'll end it with the rarely seen live-action ending video. The only other anime I know with live-action end video were Initial D...
Okay, I lied... I'm gonna end it with a gallery of Yaya, who quietly became my second favourite character after Nagisa because of how cute and sexy (erokawa?) she is and I can't help but feel for her in her situation.