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Strawberry Panic 10
Friday, June 09, 2006
It's the exam time of the year and poor Nagisa is in a spot of trouble as she needs to pass her French exam which is a subject she isn't very good at. But don't worry Nagisa-chan! Help is at hand! This weeks Strawberry Panic is entitled "Private Lessons" which makes the show sound like a hentai means Shizuma is on hand to help teach Nagisa French! Yes the Etoile's job seems to include helping other students, particularly ones she can barely keep her hands off when the opportunity arises such as Nagisa. So will Shizuma's lessons in ultra cheesy yuri French save Nagisa from failing so she can go to summer school with everyone's favourite mildly insane stalker Tamao? We shall have to wait and see.





So how does the situation of Nagisa being taught by Shizuma occur? Well one clear night our heroine is struggling with French and decides to go for a walk to clear her head. Who should be sitting on a bench in the garden but Shizuma, who apparently seems to be daydreaming about Nagisa at the time too. Shizuma obviously feels Nagisa is special as she does the usual angst ridden thought process of "shes more than she seemed at first". Anyway, Shizuma looks up from her yuri fuelled thoughts to see Nagisa assaulting a tree in frustration. Nagisa quickly explains why she is so upset and screaming "Baka", and Shizuma is quick to offer her assistance "Groping Helping troubled girls is part of Etoile's duties".






After a bit of persuasion from Tamao, Nagisa excepts Shizuma's offer fully and begins to work super hard on her French. At this point I was beginning to wonder why on earth anyone wants to go summer school in the first place (Tamao seems adamant they should go together), especially to the point Nagisa takes things here. Nagisa stays awake for ages, studying with and without Shizuma's help. Seeing as she doesn't seem to be visibly tired (in truth she seems scarily hyper) I was beginning to wonder if hard drugs were involved. Before the actual exams start Shizuma tells her to get some rest so she want pass out from exhaustion, but Nagisa rather creepily dismisses it and stays awake throughout her exams. Of course with all the help from Shizuma she passes (as we find out later), and can spend the summer learning even more. Erm. Yay. Stuff of actual note to the plot here also happens (I use "plot" in its loosest possible terms), with other girls nothing how happy Shizuma is around Nagisa and a few exchanges between Shizuma and Rokujou. Rokujou seems to have stepped down from being hostile at this point and seems to realize that Nagisa is doing Shizuma good. Of course she may actually have bought Shizuma's crappy justification for helping Nagisa she used to hide her real motives.





Before getting her exam results (but after they have finished) there is a brief ShizumaxNagisa scene by a river. Nagisa falls asleep by a tree and Shizuma creeps up and cradles her head on her lap as she sleeps, oh and she kisses her hair too. It was a fairly good scene really, actually managing to be fairly sweet and "awww", although its mildly disturbing that Shizuma managed to find Nagisa sleeping under a tree in the middle of nowhere. Was she following her in the first place?





So how should Nagisa thank Shizuma for helping her pass the exam? I'm sure Shizuma has a list of rather hands on things on her mind but Nagisa opts for making her cookies instead. The Le Rim girls are present in the kitchens running a cookery club and take the opportunity to suggest that Nagisa is making cookies for someone special to her. Nagisa is a little taken aback by all this, blushing and feeling arkward, I'll accept this is one of the mot obvious signs that she is gay and is in denial of the whole thing. "Zomg I really DO like Shizuma-Onee-Sama, what shall I do?" seemed to be the reaction here. Of course the answer is "rush around like an idiot trying to find her".




While rushing around, Nagisa falls and breaks the cookies she has made for Shizuma. Oh noes! her love tokens shall surely be rejected if they are broken! Oh the complete lack of drama in this scene was amusing. The show endlessly takes itself too seriously. Cookie/Chocolate giving is a staple of yuri storylines and pretty much every cliche is thrown in here.




See! Shizuma still likes the cookies! All is well. But wait! Oh no! LOOK that watering can is falling over, surely this is an excuse to dive on the floor together and land with Shizuma suggestively on top? Quick, dive at that watering can Nagisa and see what happens!





Ah yes, Simoun had this happen a few episodes ago with Paraietta and Kaimu falling out a Simoun and landing in exactly the same position, admittedly Shizuma manages to land with an air of elegance though, she scores higher on her landing than Paraietta did 9 points! This chance for the two to finally kiss is of course once again interpreted, just as Shizuma is about to kiss her Nagisa makes a noise like a cat drowning and pulls away. Well that whole scene was totally pointless was it not? I usually watch Strawberry Panic soon after the weeks usually excellent Simoun episode. Simoun tends to put me in a good mood, what with having a plot and many interesting characters and I sometimes am in such a good mood that I labour under the delusion SP will have the same. I'm always wrong. After this scene I am under the impression that the two wont kiss until a special DVD only episode 27 and the rest of the series will be spent with them just having scenes like this one every four weeks or so. For SP to have a good episode it needs to focus on Spica as while the cast there are predictable at least they are fifty times more likeable than our two leads here, who are just dull.




Shizuma gives Nagisa flowers, Nagisa skips back to the dorms, Tamao and Chiyo are happy the depths of boredom are plunged into once more.




Oh well, at least Shizuma is happy by the end of this dull episode. She laughed earlier you see. It was scary.



Well, I don't really have much to say that's good about the show this week. Nothing much really happens and while the opportunity for character development are they, just aren't taken (lol, I mentioned character development in a sentence about SP). Instead this week we get a dull and crappy storyline about Nagisa struggling with exams, Shizuma enjoying being around her as per usual and yet another interrupted kiss scene stopping their relationship from really developing on any level at all once again. The only faint glimmer of something interesting happening here is the scene where Nagisa seems to realize she likes Shizuma and takes a step forward out of the land known as the closet. At least by the preview I realized why Tamao (and Nagisa too) wanted to go to summer school. Tamao in particular probably has plans to letch over the other girls swimsuits.

posted by Mangaminx On Friday, June 09, 2006  
14 Comments:
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Blogger Anga said…

    Well, I'm Nagisa fan so as expected I liked this episode a lot. =)

    That scene where they practised falling was actually quite good, I don't have problems with the "so close, but not there yet" regarding the kissing. Spica's cast interesting except Amane, I just don't find any reason why I should like her. Still hoping that Hikari choose Yaya.

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Anonymous Natalie said…

    hahaha so freakin true ^_^ but I love how trashy and cliched strawberry panic is! my favorite part of the review was:

    "See! Shizuma still likes the cookies! All is well. But wait! Oh no! LOOK that watering can is falling over, surely this is an excuse to dive on the floor together and land with Shizuma suggestively on top? Quick, dive at that watering can Nagisa and see what happens!"

    XD that made me rofl!

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Blogger hashihime said…

    I actually don't think this show takes itself seriously at all. It just presents the cliches for our enjoyment. Or at least for mine. I liked this episode.

    But I wouldn't dream of comparing this with the outstanding Simoun. That makes SP seem quite lame.

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Blogger Sarahbeth said…

    You set yourself up for disappointment by watching Simoun first! I liked this episode enough to get me by one more week I suppose. I don't think they'll manage to kiss until Nagisa steps all the way out of the closet and into the bedroom. That'll be episode 26, if ever. Only 4 more months to go! In the meantime they can spend all those weeks developing the Spica relationships : )

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Anga - Awww, as far as I'm concerned next to Yaya, Amane is the best cast member.

    Natalie - Glad to make you laugh.., don't get me wrong I do like the cheese in Strawberry Panic. It just sometimes is a bit too much.

    Hashihime - I know we both agree on Simoun being amazing at least ;)! Personally I feel SP does try to be serious some of the time (not all, but some) and tends to fail miserably at that 90% of the time.

    Sarahbeth - Perhaps I should change my viewing order ;). I do agree with you that I don't think it will be till the finale that Nagisa and Shizuma fully become a couple. Probably in a cheesy Marimite ~Haru~ -esque bedside scene take off. That would work ;) .

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Anonymous Triela said…

    Let me try again

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Anonymous kev said…

    Just what are you doing?

     
  • On Friday, 09 June, 2006, Anonymous Tsukino said…

    Never mind

     
  • On Saturday, 10 June, 2006, Anonymous Matrim said…

    " For SP to have a good episode it needs to focus on Spica as while the cast there are predictable at least they are fifty times more likeable than our two leads here, who are just dull."

    Quoted for truth.

    I actually think this show takes itself way too seriously, at least in some of the episodes and this is its major problem. With so many annoying or dull characters and hyper-cheesy atmosphere it doesn't exactly have a great chance to really move the viewers (or at least move me:)) - why not concentrate on the comedy and instead of showing us cliche after cliche - make fun of some cliches for a change?

    "It was a fairly good scene really, actually managing to be fairly sweet and "awww", although its mildly disturbing that Shizuma managed to find Nagisa sleeping under a tree in the middle of nowhere. Was she following her in the first place? "

    Shizuma's gaydar is never wrong about girls she likes, it seems. Or maybe she just followed Tamao who was stalking Nagisa as usual.I can just picture - the two of them fighting who gets to hold Nagisa's head while she is sleeping. Probably Shizuma won by pointing out to Tamao that the latter can do that every night if she wants to. I think my scenario is better than the one seen in the episode. :)

     
  • On Saturday, 10 June, 2006, Anonymous Natalie said…

    yea I agree with you, Mangaminx. It goes ridiculously overboard with the suggestive yuri scenes. Its like they're tryin to combine rip offs from simoun and marimite! theres no originality to strawberry panic at all, everything is a clone of another shoujo ai series. lol you know I wouldnt be surprised if they started throwin some mecha into strawberry panic to try and pull off some kannazuki no miko scenes too >_< but I read the manga for strawberry panic and accidentally gave myself some spoilers about shizumas past and I thought it was really heartbreaking so I'm hoping the series wont ruin the whole story about shizuma and (insert depressing spoiler here) I prefer the manga for it at the moment

     
  • On Saturday, 10 June, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    "
    Shizuma's gaydar is never wrong about girls she likes, it seems. Or maybe she just followed Tamao who was stalking Nagisa as usual.I can just picture - the two of them fighting who gets to hold Nagisa's head while she is sleeping. Probably Shizuma won by pointing out to Tamao that the latter can do that every night if she wants to. I think my scenario is better than the one seen in the episode. :)"

    I always like your little scenarios Matrim ;) They are indeed better than the ones in the episodes.

    Natalie - Shizuma's past is certainly one of the more serious aspects of the manga. I'm actually concerned that because the anime takes it too seriously any emotional impact of Shizuma's past (when it is presumably revealed) will be non-exsistant.

     
  • On Sunday, 11 June, 2006, Blogger Dav said…

    "Cookie/Chocolate giving is a staple of yuri storylines and pretty much every cliche is thrown in here."

    And so are screwing up and falling on top of said gifts, trivially sweating with worry/crying over mistake and afraid that the "akogare hito" may reject the gift (which never happens anyway). Is it me or do girls in yuri series tend to fall more often than necessary? Why are they so clumsy? :p

    Yeah, the overall plot for this ep is pretty much dull, although I did enjoy the way they're slowly changing Shizuma's character. She was rather amusing when she had that stalker-like attitude at the beginning of the series but I discovered that I'm beginning to like her more and more as she starts showing her soft side. I'm not sure how others may interpret her expression near the end of the episode, but from the way her face looks, she seems to show kindness towards Nagisa for an honest and genuine reason (not the usual "Now's my chance to grope her and she can't have anything to say about it coz I'm 'helping' her" kind of excuse).

    PS. Oh, I'm with Minx on Amane. She's one of my favorites too. ^^

     
  • On Sunday, 11 June, 2006, Anonymous Natalie said…

    "Shizuma's past is certainly one of the more serious aspects of the manga. I'm actually concerned that because the anime takes it too seriously any emotional impact of Shizuma's past (when it is presumably revealed) will be non-exsistant."


    exactly! I'm dreading that episode because the characters seem to make such a big deal over the smallest problems.


    Anyway, the series is doing ok with the amane/yaya/hikari love triangle, the plot between nagisa/shizuma/tamao is borin me right now. like who cares if some cookies got smooshed or an umbrella went missing? miator needs some evil lesbians like spica has!

     
  • On Thursday, 15 June, 2006, Anonymous Tomoko-chan said…

    This episode was such utter cliched bullshit, but then again, the whole series could be categorized as such. After reading the episode nameplate, I was desperately hoping Shizuma would be a tutor for a sexy subject, like... sex education, but I guess French is sexy enough.

    Awww, an almost kiss. Well, ain't THAT just a kick in the vagina! One point of contention though. How the fuck did the bag of cookies get under Nagisa's back? I've stopped and review the part 3 times. Shizuma clearly falls with the bag in her left hand. The only way the bag could have ended up there is if Shizuma wrapped her left arm around Nagisa to break her fall and then pulled her hand out afterwards. Why wouldn't she pull the cookies out along with her hand? Or did she let go of the bag to break her fall and just left them there? But then wouldn't Nagisa notice the bag of cookies right away, instead of 8 seconds later, a convenient plot device to give Shizuma and the rest of us shoujo-ai blue balls? Or maybe it was a special bag of cookies, one that could contravene the immutable laws of physics by actually passing through Nagisa.

    One other thing that bugged me about the episode was the head of the Miator student council (her name escapes me at the moment) walking in on Shizuma and Nagisa sharing a laugh. Gee, thanks Yumi, now that you've gotten Sachiko to finally laugh, Youko and the rest of the Yamayurikai can graduate in peace. Oh, wait a minute, this isn't Marimite? Pfffft. One shot of whisky all round for every stolen idea from Marimite. They makes like what, 62 shots in 10 episodes?

    Anyhoo, Minx, Dav and I make three.
    I fucking love Amane, the rest of the cast is strangle-worthy.

     
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