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Strawberry Panic 11
Friday, June 16, 2006
Another week, another slice of Strawberry Panic cheese. This week it's time for sun, sea, surf and Tamao being more stalkerish than she has ever been so far.






So the girls are off to summer school, and everyone is very excited with the exception of our heroine Nagisa who looks pretty miserable. What's that Nagisa? Shizuma isn't there? And you feel sad? Well if you had half a brain-cell perhaps you could put together what the entirety of the cast has realized except you! But then, that would be too much to hope wouldn't it? But hey, don't worry! Tamao wants to "strengthen her friendship" with you while your at summer school, you can take comfort in that, right? Oh... I see... yeh, I agree with you.. shes damn creepy.

Way back at the school, Shizuma pines for her Nagisa-san too and goes into emo mode for the rest of the episode.







Going to the beach seems to mainly serve as an excuse for the ultra-gay cast members to letch at the unrequited object of their love in a swimsuit and this is mainly what happens here. Before getting changed however we get "actually_important_to_the_plot_scene004" in the form of Yaya talking to Hikari about Amane. Amane hasn't come on the trip, and Yaya mentions to Hikari she musn't be sad that they apart, Hikari seems to totally brush this off and seems happy in the knowledge that she will see Amane again soon at least. Yaya does her usual "I'm so in love with you, but I'll make myself feel worse by talking about the person you actually love" face. It seems to me that Hikari is getting further and further from her, which can only cause more angst. Unfortunately this episode we also see that Kagome and Chiyo are getting some screentime, they aren't funny, they aren't cute... in fact I don't have a good thing to say about them. Oh and that bear... I HATE THAT BEAR! Anyway, once everyone's changed into their swimsuits the girls head to the beach.







On the beach Tamao gets to tick something off on her "hundreds of things I want to do to Nagisa before she finds out how scary I am and calls the cops" list, in the form of putting suncream on her. Nagisa responds in a mildly disturbing way, similar to the way that Nina responds to tickles in Mai Otome. The girls build sandcastles, play volleyball, and Chiyo does her best to pick her jaw up out the sand as she gazes at "Nagisa-Onee-Sama" in her swimsuit. It's all rather pointless and irrelevant to the story in any way shape or form, but hey Strawberry Panic doesn't actually have much of a story so that doesn't really matter!






*ANGST*, Look a piano Nagisa! Look a piano Shizuma! You played the piano together a few episodes back didn't you? (for a reminder of what happened, just watch the episode of MariMite where Yumi and Sachiko also play the piano!). This scene just emphasizes how much that Nagisa and Shizuma miss each other and how both seem to be totally miserable without the other around. Considering the mind numbing dullness of Etoile's duties however I'm not particularly surprised that Shizuma is looking so down. You wonder why anyone wants the job in the first place.







It's time for a test of bravery! My first thoughts of this were "well Nagisa you really have no chance of passing it, so just give up now, k?" especially when she is teamed up with the ever pathetic Chiyo. The girls have to make there way through the dark forest in pairs and pray at a shrine in the middle. Tamao is acting even more scarily than normal and claims she has "something to do" so she won't be taking part in the walk through the woods. Hikari and Yaya are obviously a team (much to Yaya's excitement, the girls seems to be getting more and more desperate to be with Hikari), Tsubomi and Chikaru make up another team, and the rest of the Le Rim girls (+ Ohshibaru) make up a team of four. Oh and before I go there's more Shizuma and Nagisa angst as they look up at the stars from different locations.







If you go down to the woods today... a girl with a tape recorder will scare the crap out of you with a plastic skeleton than record your scream so she can fantasies about you more.. . Yep that's what Tamao is up to, scaring Nagisa and recording her scream. I don't really know what to say about this really, its too stalkerish for words. Still it gives Chiyo a chance to cling to Nagisa and drool which probably makes all her dreams come true. Meanwhile Yaya looks incredibly sinister as she "protects" Hikari on their walk through the woods. Don't get me wrong, Yaya is an interesting character but her smile then is positively demonic. A cat scares the Le Rim girls here too although strangely enough none of them mistake it for a girl crying. Odd that.




After praying at the shrine Chiyo and Nagisa head back to the dorms. Chiyo mentions she prayed for Nagisa to be happy, and goes into some random rejected fangirl mumblings about her and Shizuma and how obvious it was Nagisa and Shizuma would take part in the Etoile battle together. That's right folks even Chiyo has realized that Nagisa likes Shizuma and thus Nagisa is gay, but Nagisa isn't fully paying attention to what Chiyo is saying so once again fails to realize this herself. Back at the dorm Nagisa walks in on Tamao listening to Nagisa's screams on some headphones and rolling about on her bed in happiness that she has her Nagisa's scream on tape. Fortunately for Tamao, Nagisa has no clue what our blue haired stalker has done and seems mainly just in angst mode. Tamao actually seems to do something good for Nagisa here as some comments she makes regarding Nagisa's happiness make Nagisa realize (FINALLY) something has been missing while she's been at summer school. Tamao goes off to have a bath (inviting Nagisa along in the process, but getting refused).






Tamao angsts in the bath as she realizes that she has pushed her beloved towards Shizuma further (well presumably anyway) and manages to do her own version of the scary emo face Yaya does. Perhaps she really could go psycho herself? We shall have to wait and see.

Meanwhile Nagisa stares out the window finally realizing something. That's right Nagisa! Come on! You nearly have it! Yes that's right your G... . Oh.. you think your lonely, not gay... well, it's a start I suppose. Nagisa realizes she missed Shizuma and feels lonely because of that. I'm not entirely sure if her sexuality has dawned on her yet because it's not made particularly clear and the girl is not the sharpest tool in the box.




Anyway, to cut a long journey short when Nagisa gets back she runs to Shizuma with open arms. Shizuma turns and smiles and that's where the episode end. What happens next remains to be seen, next week!



Not a bad episode, certainly better than the rubbish that was last weeks installment. There was plenty of amusing moments, and the cheese of the angst scenes was laid on thick. Nagisa may have actually *gasp* developed as a character and made steps to realizing what she feels for Shizuma (although don't hold your breath). Yaya and Tamao both seemed mildly more unhinged than usual too (just shows what unrequited love can do I suppose), and I'm looking forward to what happens with them too. The next episode actually looked mildly interesting unlike the last bunch of previews and it looks like the "Etoile Battle" storyline may get more underway next week.

posted by Mangaminx On Friday, June 16, 2006  
12 Comments:
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Anga said…

    Nagisa's airhead personality is actually most important reasons why I like her so much. Tamao and Shizuma mix things just right way and keep it interesting. Yaya should show more her demonic smile, she could even defeat Amane with that! Though I wonder if Hikari like kind type more...

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Anonymous Philip72 said…

    I don't think it's that Nagisa is slowly realizing she is gay, as being a lesbian seems to be default status in the StrawPan world (I mean do men even exist in this world? I hope not).
    It's that she's finally grasping the fact that she's fallen in love with Shizuma.

    Correct me if I'm wrong with my limited Japanese, but I think Tamao wanted to listen to Nagisa's squeals rather than her screams. A small but important distinction, although she's still a colossal perv.
    She's the StrawPan equivalent of the hero's sidekick, whose always a nice guy, but bit of a dirty letch and a horndog.
    LOL, She's keeping all those notes on all the girls physical stats, peeping, recording squeals, ect...

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Anga - I can't stand airheads ;). As for Yaya I can't see her "beating" Amane, but I can see her causing major problems for Amane and Hikari.

    Philip - Hmm, interesting idea. We shall have to see if Nagisa is realizing her sexuality or realizing her feelings. Screams/Squeals whatever ;). I don't think differentiating is a huge issue as the fact is whatever Tamao wants to listen too its disturbing.

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Anga said…

    Well, not really, but one can always hope. =)

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Anonymous Nene said…

    Great review, as usual. You make the funniest comments! ^^ One thing, though: Tamao went into the woods to scare Nagisa with plastic skeletons and stuff, yes, but not because she wanted too, because she was ordered to do it! The whole shrine visit thing was a standard test of courage (kimodameshi) as every school group do during their summer trip to the beach, and of course some students are recruited by the teachers before the test to hide in the woods and scare the other students as they pass by. That was Tamao's job. Tamao, no doubt, would have been happier pairing with Nagisa and getting to hug her lots... but she had no choice, as they gave her the role of scaring the others. (Even though we see her scaring just Nagisa, it's certain that she did the same things to everyone else who passed! She probably recorded just Nagisa, though. ^.-)

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Anonymous Philip72 said…

    The differentiation is important; It's a lot less disturbing if it's squeals she wants, as they can be interpreted as sounds of pleasure, where as screams are sounds of terror.
    If Tamao wants to interpret the noises as the former, it just means she's dirty. If she gets off on the latter, then she's a creepy scary freak.

     
  • On Friday, 16 June, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Nene - Ah right, my mistake for missing that out. I was aware it was a kimodameshi but I didn't realize Tamao had been ordered to do what she did! Still she was obviously fairly into it even if she couldn't cling to Nagisa ;) .

    philip - Oh for sure it makes a bit of a difference I do realize the conitations of "squeal" and "scream". I just think recording her making any noise general is warrent enough to be totally disturbing. They are certainly trying to make her out to be a total pervert.

     
  • On Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Anonymous Matrim said…

    I think it's funny that I find Tamao who is a total wacko, to be a lot more interesting than some other characters who are not crazy but are morons (Chiyo and Nagisa, please step forward).

    Is it only me or the characters' legs don't look as thin as bones, as usual, when they wear swimsuits? I guess then that certain clothes do make people look thinner. :)

    This episode was not too bad but then again it could hardly have been worse than the previous one.

    "Unfortunately this episode we also see that Kagome and Chiyo are getting some screentime, they aren't funny, they aren't cute... in fact I don't have a good thing to say about them. "

    I do - Kagome said just a few words in this episode. Thank God for the small favours.

    It's also interesting how Nagisa was so scared from that cat a few epiosdes ago and now even the fake sceleton couldn't stop her from reaching that forest church. Must be the support from Chiyo...oops, she is even more of a coward so it must be the fact they were too stupid to find the way back without help, so they had no choice but to continue.

    First episode taking place outside the campus and I was wondering whether any males will show up. It turns out that the answer was negative. I wonder whether this really takes place in our world or in alternative reality where there are no men at all. I don't even recall any man being mentioned in a conversation, let alone seen on screen. Not that this such a bad thing, it's just weird.

    I think the cheesiest moment was probably when everyone got a "randomly selected" partner for the test of courage and they were so obviously not randomly selected. Fate seems to be a fan of yuri pairs in this world.

     
  • On Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Anonymous Skane said…

    Posted my comments about this episode in the following,

    Linkie

     
  • On Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Blogger Sarahbeth said…

    I dunno... I think the strawberry panic world would really be turned upside down at the introduction of a male character at this point in the story. (understatement)

    as much as this story can't compare to anything worth... pretty much anything, to be happy with it i think you've got to remember that you love it for its cheesiness and indulgence rather than any of its "merit."

    i know taco bell is officially of lower quality than dog food, but that doesn't stop me from loving a double decker every now and then. let's lower our standards and get back to the lighthearted criticism!

     
  • On Saturday, 17 June, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    There are clearly no men in the world SP is set in, or if they are they are all isolated in all gay male schools like the girls seem to be. That is the only rational conclusion by this point in time *nods*.

    Skane - Wow, thats some incredibly in-depth analysis. The idea of Tamao being a master manipulator is certainly an intriguing one that has quite big implications for the story if she is going to become a real rival for Shizuma. "In the Tamao and Nagisa relationship, Tamao is like a spider, with Nagisa the butterfly blissfully flitting into her web of manipulations. :D" That is certainly a great ananlogy and the more I look at it from your view the more I feel you may well be right. I suppose we shall just have to wait and see what happens in the future regarding Tamao.

    Sarahbeth - Oh I enjoy SP for what it is in a really awful but occasionally very amusing cheesy yuri show. When SP does well it lays on the yuri in layers and has a lot of lol moments, I feel it does badly when it tries to be serious (like episode 10) and manages zero development in the process.

     
  • On Sunday, 18 June, 2006, Anonymous emmarz said…

    EPISODE TWELVE SPOILERS!

    Or, Nagisa gets a clue. Who knew?

    http://www.strawberrypanic.com/ichigogari/index.html

     
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