Hello and welcome to G-Views, where SoL reigns supreme, moe is respected and Dokuro-chan sucks poopie. For today’s episode, I figured that I’d review one of the two anime that started it all for me in terms of my road to becoming a yuri master who proudly represents the “yuri nation”. Here’s one of my personal favorites and a classic, Strawberry Panic.
Genres: comedy, drama, romance, shoujo-ai
Number of episodes: 26
Plot Summary: Nagisa Aoi is a first year high school student who has been sent to the Astraea Dormitory after her parents are transferred abroad. The dormitory houses girls from three different girls’ schools: St. Spica’s Academy, St. Le Rim Girls School and St. Miatre Girls Academy. There she meets the representative of the three girls’ schools, the vampire, Shizuma Hanazano, also know as the Etoile, who is beloved by all students at all schools. The two of them have an interesting first encounter and Hanazano seems to take an instant liking for Aoi.
In the ensuing story Nagisa is introduced to other students from each of the three schools; some she admires, some she is intimidated by and some are merely friends encountered while attending St. Miator. The series encompasses the relationships the characters build with each other, climaxing whenever two of the characters start dating. A hint of astronomical star imagery is seen throughout the series, as well as minor Catholic religious undertones including a St. Mary statue on campus and a large Catholic church in the center of Astraea Hill.
It’s become pretty much a classic yuri cliche that almost every single yuri anime that takes place in a school, HAS to be a catholic all-girls school. Don’t ask me why, maybe it has something to do with real life experiences or something. In any case it’s not big deal.
If you become kinda confused (which I doubt) about how the school system works in this anime, you can pretty much sum it up this way.
St. Miator Academy is a Democratic school.
St. Spica Institute is a Republican school.
St. Lulim School is a school for hippies and the free spirited.
The Etoile system works like this. Two of the top candidates from each of the 3 schools compete in an election that takes place every Winter. The winning pair basically helps their corresponding school gain supreme leadership over the other schools in terms of decision making, even though the runner ups also have a say. It’s similar to a student council election except with more power involved I suppose.
An anime specifically about yuri, nothing more and nothing less. Set in a complex of three all-girl schools, this series follows a large cast of young ladies as they get into romantic entanglements with one other, most notably the naive Nagisa, devoted Tamao, and the embittered yet also elegantly mischievous vampire, Shizuma. There are main pairings plus numerous side hints among others and in the end we get two major canon resolutions and one minor. While angsty and formulaic at times, this series also features some very endearing characters and beautifully meaningful romantic moments. That’s pretty much SP in a nutshell. The show doesn’t waste any time in establishing who’s after who. Of course, as mentioned above, the Nagisa, Tamao and Shizuma love triangle is the highlight of the show. However, it’s not the ONLY highlight. Props go to the rest of the cast, whom provide a lot of charm to the show. I guarantee that there will be only 2 characters that any viewer will have mixed feelings for. Like I said, it can be angsty and formulaic at times, but that adds to the charm. For some reason I can’t help but want to see more of how the girls’ relationships develop over the course of the series.
Music: I’ve said this somewhere or in an earlier episode, yuri and classical music go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly.
Animation: Anorexic-ish, yet not as bad as another legendary yuri show that I will review in the future. The physical proportions of the characters tend to change, especially when the girls aren’t wearing their uniforms or to be precise…are naked. Basically they’re not as skinny as they appear while wearing their uniforms. As for the background, it’s average. Animation wise, this show isn’t anything spectacular but at least some of the girls are undeniably sexy, especially the unmatched Chikaru.
Short character opinions:
Nagisa Aoi: energetic female lead, who is both naive and easily startled. Adorable nevertheless.
Tamao Susumi: One of the 3 true heroines who fight for truth, justice and the OG way. nuff said. I love Tamao.
Shizuma Hanazono: A silver haired vampire with mystical powers, such as the glare of doom, athletic abilities and super strength. Possibly the most seductive babe on the show with an intriguing personality and a deep, dark secret.
Hikari Konohana: Mixed feelings over this girl.
Amane Ohtori: Pretty much the same as Hikari. I won’t spoil as to exactly why I feel this way about H and A.
Yaya Nanto: The 2nd of the 3 heroines. Another warrior who will fight till the very end though she has the most difficulty of the 3 heroines.
Chikaru: The omnipotent leader and greatest of the 3 heroines.
-Is the president/leader of Lulim.
-Has her own harem
-Sexiest girl in the series.
-Has many talents.
-Will make a club about every single thing she can think of, such as the secret club and the waiting club.
-A natural born leader.
-Has a heart of gold and is like a mother figure to all she comes in close contact with.
Kagome Byakudan and Oshibaru/Percival. The official mascots of the show. It’s a cute, quiet girl and a teddy bear. What more do you need to know? Teddy bears in anime are awesome.
Kaname Kenjo and Momomi Kiyashigi: The closest thing to actual villains on the show…also the most sexually active.
I’m not spoiling much because you have to see the show in order to get why I feel this way about some characters. Of course I left out some others. It’s my style. I only mention the entire cast when necessary.
In conclusion: This show is in short, THE definitive beginner’s yuri anime. If you’ve never seen a yuri anime before in your life and are curious to discover the magic this amazing genre holds, then this is the perfect show to introduce you to it.
P.S.: Aside from Shizuma being a vampire there are no other supernatural elements on the show. Sorry.