Now that was something of a suprise. A pleasant one, mind you. Yes, this series seems quite silly indeed and the animation leaves a lot to be desired but the first episode was certainly funny and I laughed out loud several times while watching it. It seems that shoujo-ai is trendy this season, first Simoun, now this and I hear there is more. Anyway, the sheer absurdity of the plot made things funny.

The main character is Nagisa Aoi who is transferred into a new school in the middle of the school year. Hm, I think I have seen this somewhere.:) Somehow she ends up in the school park and is confronted by a beautiful stranger who surprisingly enough tries to kiss her on the forehead which leads to Nagisa fainting. I said surprising but knowing that this was more yuri than anything else this season, I wasn’t exactly surprised. Nagisa wakes up in the school infirmary where instead of receiving a greeting, the first thing she hears from her future roomate is how cute she is. The show certainly doesn’t waste any time before increasing the yuri factor. Since the plot seems a bit non-existent, I approve this policy. If only the characters were sexier…

Anyway, this future roomate of Nagisa is called Tamao and makes compliments to Nagisa all the time. I began to suspect that she intends to rape her once they go to sleep in the dorm. She behaved like a college boy informed he was to live in one room with a Playboy playmate. And this Nagisa was not that sexy, I would understand if it was Faye Valentine or someone like her but as it was it was so absurd that it was hilarious. Tamao even tricks Nagisa into taking her measurements while the latter is in her underwear and it turns out the measurements data is just for her private collection (nice hobby indeed :)), not for the new uniform of her roommate. I just love how shameless thесе girls are in a catholic school.

All in the name of fashion...and yuri

Later on, Nagisa naturally fails to obey the curfew and has to be admonished. Saved by a girl from the student council she is later presented in the cafeteria where for some reason everyone expects the new student and want to see if she is sexy or not. That never happened in my school I must say. Anyway, Nagisa is to be presented to Etoile (who is the school leader and adored by one and all) but the latter is absent at that moment. Of course, poor Nagisa does not realise that and greets a girl she thinks is Etoile. In a very unsurprising twist it turns out that Etoile is the mystery woman who made a move on Nagisa in the beginning of the episode. Nagisa actually praises the greatness of Etoile in front of her as a way to get rid of the one who she is talking about. Ignorance is bliss I guess. Etoile tries to kiss her again but is stopped by Miyuki (the student council girl) and the fact that it’s time for a prayer. Well, I guess Etoile whose real name is Shizuma Hanazono will have to wait a bit longer before having her way with the new kid on the block.

Pros: It’s surprisingly funny. Nice voice acting. Shoujo-ai in a catholic school (did anyone say Maria-sama ga miteru?)

Cons: Mediocre animation. Not so sexy characters. Lack of impressive music. Annoying opening and ending. Lack of originality or even a real plot in the first episode.

Conclusion: Strawberry Panic is something of a guilty pleasure and as long as it can keep making me laugh I will probably keep on watching it.