It seems that I was wrong. Strawberry panic is not a soft porn Marimite rip-off, it's just your average rip-off with a bit of comedy. The problem is that this episode hardly featured any funny moments and the drama element is at best mediocre. The good news for me is that the group of characters from Spica are more interesting than those of Miator, despite the fact that the similarities in personality between some of them are blatant.

In the fourth episode Hikari whom we saw for about ten seconds in episode one is properly introduced to the viewers. If you have watched Marimite just think about Shimako and you will know everything about Hikari. They even look similar in appearance which I totally approve since Shimako is the best looking character in Marimite. Of course, Hikari is shy almost to the point of getting annoying but I find her much more tolerable than Nagisa. And I can actually picture her as a chick magnet (or rather a man magnet but that's basically the same thing in a yuri show aimed at the male audience), unlike the above mentioned redhead. Anyway, right after tranferring into Spica (it seems that transfer students by default are hot and popular in the land of anime cliches) Hikari sees the most popular student in Spica – Amane, also known as The Prince. Yes, The Prince, not The Princess, but considering no one sees anything strange in Shizuma basically molesting any girl she finds hot that's hardly a surprising title.

Amane is the sport star of the school and her equestranian training session gather a crowd of devoted fangirls every day. For the Marimite fans – just think of Rei and you will know a lot about Amane. She is also Spica's best candidate for the title of Etoile. Anyway, upon seeing Amane for the first time, poor innocent soul Hikari decides this a proof that angels exist. To think that someone might argue that love at first sight does not exist… Damned cynical bastards! What do they know about the reаlity of life? Sorry, I got carried away.

Apparently, this momentous event took place about a year ago. Now Hikari is to perform a song together with the rest of the Spica choir to congratulate Amane and her teammates who had won some tournament. Of course, she can't sleep the night before the big event and in an extremely unsurprising twist Hikari screws up her perfromance on the next day. An agsty moment follows and she decides to abandon choir singing altogether.

But fear not, our damsel in distress is about to find her knight in shining armour. OK, I admit that Amane seem to have forgotten to wear her armour this very day but other than that, it's just as I described it. Apparently Amane is bothered by all the fangirls screaming from the stands so she trains mainly very early in the morning. Hmm, I guess she is the more timid kind of domineering lesbian. Anyway, she overhears Hikari singing and surprises her. Amane tells her that she too used to be nervous before big events and that the blonde girls sings like an angel. Thinking about an angel, getting compared to the angel – all hail the power of coincidences. After a bit of horse riding and pulse checking the date is over. Did I say date? I meant the very innocent and not full of sexual hints random meeting. Of course the result of it is that Hikari abandons the idea to quit the choir. The unexpected result is the thinly concealed jealousy of Yaya, Hikari's roommate who is basically the same type of character as Tamao, although it seems she is not as obsessed by the thought of sleeping with her friend.

Yes, this episode is chock-full of cliches. For some reason I can't bring myself to condemn it fully, maybe because this time the dramatic element, namely the start of the relationship between Amane and Hikari was not totally laughable. A whole episode with hardly any screen time for the Miator characters was a nice change. And a Hikari shower scene is the kind of fanservice, I'd like to see more often. 😉 I have to say that Amane looks a lot better in the manga, though and of course Rei is in a whole different league as far as good looks are concerned, if you ask me. Come to think of it probably the biggest joke is that this series feature some formiddable sexual predators like Shizuma, Yaya and Tamao and some not too reluctant sexy victims and yet we have not been shown even a kiss, despite all the hints and talk.

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