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Strawberry Panic 08
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Umbrellas are officially gay. They appear to be the source of many a fantasy for Chiyo and Tamao in this eighth installment of Strawberry Panic. This episode conjured up a well of emotions in me, I felt gladness that a character that I once hated wasn't quite as annoying as I put her down to be, I felt my heartstrings tugged as poor Yaya pined for her love, and I developed a strong psychotic urge to kill teddy bears known as Ohshibaru.







Yes, Ohshibaru is the name of a teddy bear owned by "new_character_designed to_crush_on_Nagisa_006" Kagome. Not only does Kagome seem to like talking to her bear, she talks to him in a voice so high that it verges on being off the human spectrum of hearing. As those who have read my blog long enough will know, I dislike squeaky voice characters, and the fact she kept blabbering to her bear every 5 mins didn't endear her to me. In fact when she stated that the bear was getting wet from the rain I was inclined to suggest someone shove it into her mouth so she wouldn't continue her dialogue anymore and the bear would be out of the rain. Two problems solved in one. Anyway, Ohshibaru starts to get wet from the rain and a passing Nagisa kindly gives Kagome her umbrella to protect her and the bear. Thus begins "The Great Umbrella Mystery!"





Yaya and Hikari are sheltering from the rain too in just about the only scene I could take seriously this episode. As Zyl points out in his blog it very much seems that in this scene Hikari has twigged that Yaya may have feelings for her and tries to encourage them out of her. Presumably this is to get things out in the open and to perhaps let her angst less and move on? It's certainly a possibility. Yaya looks like she is almost going to kiss Hikari on the cheek at this point (it's all done very slowly and dramatically), but Hikari pulls away at the last minute. Perhaps this is Hikari's way of trying to get Yaya to understand she isn't interested. Only time will tell though. The two Spica girls however soon are out of the realms of seriousness and into the world of ultra-gay bickering as Tsubomi is on the scene doing what she does best. I really love the banter between the first year and Yaya as they almost fight over Hikari without actually stating that fact out loud. Seeing Yaya switch from a tragic character to slightly comical in an instant is rather odd I feel but it works surprisingly well. The main plot of this episode also takes in Yaya,Hikari and Tsubomi too as Nagisa's umbrella is mistakenly borrowed by them causing more drama in "The Great Umbrella Mystery" (all shall be explained soon for those who have not seen the episode!)





On a side note how lol was Tamao this episode? Her endless fantasizing about sharing a umbrella with Nagisa (complete with the heart above) had me in stitches. There's even a shot where Tamao looks at Nagisa and is lost in her beauty, complete with dramatic zoom in. This is one thing StoPani does 100% right, every single time. It's completely and utterly cheesy and thus, hilarious. At least the poor girl does get a bit of a time with her crush under the umbrella of lurve.








Anyway "The Great Umbrella Mystery" is the main focus of this episode. Once Kagome reports some random drivel about Ohshibaru having a friend to the other girls at Spica things are soon underway. Presumably the other girls can interpret the "random squeaks involving Ohshibaru" dialect Kagome is speaking as they seem to think she is troubled as she doesn't know who to return the umbrella too (she doesn't know Nagisa's name). This triggers Chikaru and the other girls of Le Rim to whirl into "Secret Detective Club" mode to track this person down! Chikaru actually managed to be entertaining here as I'd originally dismissed her as a "ZOMG look at the ribbons in my hair aren't I sickeningly cute" type anime character and hadn't paid huge attention to her since her first appearance in the show. As the rather madcap leader of the detectives though, she provides great comic relief in the farcical events that follow. Kagome and the rest of the Le Rim are looking to give the umbrella back to its owner and find her name.. , but the umbrella ends up with Hikari, Yaya and Tsubomi which throws things off, Nagisa is also looking for the umbrella while lovestruck Chiyo is looking for it too. This being StoPani thought the umbrella is not lost in the deep dark depths of the anime for long.








Nagisa gets it back! Kagome seems capable of talking normally to someone (YAY!), and starts calling her Onee-sama and doing the usual blushing thing that all her admirers except Shizuma do. Everyone walks off under their umbrellas happy and smiling and that's more or less the end of this episode. Next episode Ohshibaru is bear-napped there will hopefully be some Yaya and Hikari drama! Oh and while I didn't mention it because I'm trying not to endlessly compare StoPani to MariMite this episode was soooooo more than a bit similar to Yumi's umbrella escapades in Haru.




"I'll tell you what the problem with this umbrella is Amane-san, it needs a heart on top to make it look EXTRA gay"
posted by Mangaminx On Sunday, May 28, 2006  
10 Comments:
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Anonymous Zyl said…

    Another great post, Mangaminx! I always love reading your entries and it makes the series even funnier.

    Btw I also loved the way the heart on top of Tamao's umbrella also *revolved* LOL

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Anonymous Matrim said…

    "In fact when she stated that the bear was getting wet from the rain I was inclined to suggest someone shove it into her mouth so she wouldn't continue her dialogue anymore and the bear would be out of the rain. Two problems solved in one. "

    Nice solution. Although the bear is too big and will get wet anyway. :) Seriously, this Kagome is even more annoying than Chiyo. At least Tamao was hilarious as usual. I think that her coming up with plans to somehow get rid of all the Nagisa admirers might be a really fun plot development. :D
    Yes, StoPani is utterly cheesy. This is often makes events look hilarious but the same cheesiness also often gets on my nerves. That's why I have a love-hate relationship with this series.

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Zyl - Always glad when I hear my posts on the series make someone laugh! I actually hadn't noticed it revolving actually *goes back to see*.

    Matrim - "I think that her coming up with plans to somehow get rid of all the Nagisa admirers might be a really fun plot development. :D"

    That would be good, especially if done in a rather tongue in cheek way. Chiyo and Kagome are SO annoying they could do with Tamao trying to put them off Nagisa at least.

    I too have a love-hate relationship with the series. It's far from good, yet it's fun enough for me to keep watching and enjoy some of it.

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Anonymous Tomoko-chan said…

    I find that the more I watch this series, the more I gain a deeper respect for Marimite. Now, I know that Marimite doesn't have a monopoly on 1) greenhouses, 2) rainy days with blue umbrellas or 3) girls trying to score in cathedrals. But, come on! I was half-expecting Yumi and Sachiko to appear with kendo sticks to bust some heads and retrieve their stolen plot lines. I would name this episode "Rainy Blue, Version 2: Shitty Poo".

    Much to my dismay, teary-eyed, bumbling idiot fangirl Chiyo makes her return to have wet fantasies under an umbrella with Nagisa. As much as I want to strangle her (boy, do I want to strangle her), she was not the most annoying character in the episode. That honour, as fabulously pointed out by Minx, goes to helium-voiced Kagome, with a serious hard-on for her stuffed bear Ohshibaru. Responding to the kind gesture of a lent umbrella, she also casts her ticket in the Official Nagisa Sweepstakes. And then there were 4.

    The only redeeming feature in this episode was the continuing unrequited romance between Yaya and Hikari. Hikari has the unenviable position of rejecting Yaya's romantic feelings while trying to retain her friendship. It wouldn't be as hard if Yaya wasn't so deliciously hot. As much as I want to see Hikari and Amane get together, I am not looking forward to Yaya getting her heart crushed. I only hope Hikari lets her down gently.

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Anonymous Matrim said…

    "I find that the more I watch this series, the more I gain a deeper respect for Marimite. Now, I know that Marimite doesn't have a monopoly on 1) greenhouses, 2) rainy days with blue umbrellas or 3) girls trying to score in cathedrals. But, come on! I was half-expecting Yumi and Sachiko to appear with kendo sticks to bust some heads and retrieve their stolen plot lines. I would name this episode "Rainy Blue, Version 2: Shitty Poo"."

    I agree with everything except the part about Sachiko and Yumi. If someone is to come armed with kendo sticks I'd expect that to be Rei and Yoshino. Just picturing them beating that stuffed bear with the sticks makes me laugh. :)

    "That would be good, especially if done in a rather tongue in cheek way. Chiyo and Kagome are SO annoying they could do with Tamao trying to put them off Nagisa at least."

    You know what else might be funny? Tamao and Shizuma uniting temporarily against Chiyo, Kagome and the other Nagisa fangirls. That said, I wouldn't trust Kagome to even remember Nagisa's name for more than a day so maybe she will drop out of the competition on her own.

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Blogger Anga said…

    SP has ability to make anything and everything cheesy. =) It should be interesting if Tamao and Shizuma fight in order to decide who get Nagisa, they have to show that in some point, don't they? I don't find Chiyo or Kagome that annoying, though i wouldn't miss them either if evil lesbians would kidnap in dark forest.

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Blogger Dav said…

    Hmm... I wonder what other things they would yurify... A raincoat? Yeah, it could work the next time they have a rainy day.

    This is indeed the most entertaining ep of StoPani so far. Tamao and Tsubomi's antics were all gold and plain hilarious! Especially Tamao whenever her love-love plan gets drenched by Shizuma and Chiyo. I was LOLing so hard when Tamao held onto Nagisa refusing to let her go until they get the chance to share an umbrella together (This scene strongly reminded me of the time in Mai-HiME when Mikoto latched herself on Mai's back like a baby koala, never letting Mai go again).

    Oh ya, pft... Kagome is one blardy annoying character. She's cute but the way she speaks in general (slow and squeaky), and how she always asks her teddy bear about almost every single thing annoy the h3ll outta me (For goodness sake, Kagome! You're 12+ years old and still talking to your teddy bear o.O||? Hmm... There's not a single argument I could come up with on why she behaved like this. Well... It's not stated in the novel anyway, so I'm not sure). Thank goodness Chikaru was there to diffuse my irritance. She is, without a doubt, made of pure win and pwnage, an absolutely awesome leader who knows damn right how to abuse her powers to an incredible and hilarious degree.

    And now comes the highlight of the ep, which is of course Yaya's dilemma... It seems very likely that Hikari is not as oblivious as we initially deemed her to be at the earlier parts of the series. Not sure when she realized Yaya's feelings towards her, but her asking whether Yaya has someone she loves immediately after the latter embraced her from behind very strongly suggests that she is aware of what Yaya's intentions are, or at least has an inkling about it. Her actions were further accentuated by pulling away from Yaya before the latter could get any further. It looks to me that Hikari is trying to discourage Yaya in the kindest way possible by gently "pushing" her back in her advances, but I doubt Yaya is going to drop it at that (Based on the next episode, it may involve more development between the two). There are two issues at the moment, which piqued my curiosity here.
    1. What caused Yaya to suddenly behave this way towards Hikari?
    2. How would Hikari respond the next time Yaya becomes bolder in her advances?

     
  • On Monday, 29 May, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    It seems that Yaya and Hikari increasingly cause speculation each and every week about what exactly is going to happen between them. In a way Hikari seeming to know exactly what is happening here is what makes perhaps the most interesting development so far. I definately agree that Hikari is trying to gently push Yaya away (something that isn't obviously going to work), and while it's sad for Yaya actually gave me new respect for Hikari. Until this point Hikari hadn't seem the most assertive of people, but in a way this was quite a big thing for her to do in trying to get Yaya to "get the message". Seeing what unfolds between them is one of the main reasons I'm following the show, it's interesting to watch.

     
  • On Tuesday, 30 May, 2006, Anonymous Tomoko-chan said…

    "If someone is to come armed with kendo sticks I'd expect that to be Rei and Yoshino. Just picturing them beating that stuffed bear with the sticks makes me laugh. :)"

    Hey! Hands off the cute bear! It's not his fault his Anna Nicole Smith-voiced owner is such a moron with major "bear-con" :).

    Anyhoo, I'm proposing a deathmatch between Etoile, Tamao, Chiyo and Kagome. My money's on Etoile, the other three don't even equal the size of Etoile's awesome 80's teased hair.

    When I watched the episode a second time, I'm beginning to realize that maybe Yaya knows that Hikari knows that Yaya likes her but is either in deep denial or just doesn't give a shit and is still going for her anyway. She wants what she wants when she wants it.

    Speaking of yuri imagery, did anybody notice how many times they showed that inverted triangle-shaped building? I'm surprized they didn't just paint it lavender and drape the rainbow flag. This series could not be any gayer even if it was named "Gay Gayerson".

     
  • On Thursday, 26 October, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Aww come on guys. Stop picking on Kagome-chan. "Compared to Oshibaru, she's much taller" awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Give her a break, she's too cute!!!^^
    "Compared to Oshibaru, you guys are a lot meaner!"

     
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