Nothing says trouble like a young man having to deal with Christmas when it comes to having several women interested in him.
What They Say
Christmas is approaching, and Manaka starts working part-time so that he can buy presents for the girls. At the hamburger shop where he works, he ends up having to work with Satsuki.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When it comes to Christmas episodes of almost any anime series, there's a number of clichés that they can go with. Trips to special places, mysteries that keep everyone close together in a particular place, alien invasions and... making money so you can afford Christmas presents for the people close to you. Generally it runs along a couple of ideas, either a character running around to multiple jobs over the course of a few days to collect a lot of part time cash or they focus on one particular job so they can play with it a bit more. Especially if you're a guy since you're not going to have a whole lot of luck selling Christmas Cakes like a young girl in a skimpy Santa outfit would.
For Strawberry 100%, Manaka opts for the single job in a fast food restaurant where he discovers after he signs on that Kitaoji works there as well, and has been for a bit. That puts her in a superior position to him and she completely uses it in order to toy with him in a teasing and sexual manner. Kitaoji's surprisingly up front about her approach that would easily land her in a sexual harassment suit. But it's fun to watch how Manaka pretty much gives in to all the temptation and does his best to take advantage of what Kitaoji is offering, and would have if not for Yui suddenly arriving and throwing a serious monkey wrench into the monkey business. Yui gets to mess with Kitaoji a fair bit in this and she even has some choice words that infuriates Kitaoji in the locker room which is pretty amusing.
Manaka does end up in another difficult situation after he extracts himself from a few girls by getting invited over to Nishino's house to "taste some of her cake," something she says with seeming innocence. Manaka of course obliges and eats cake, but he knows he can't stay there long since he cannot trust himself at all. It's an amusing situation as Nishino even plainly says she wants to see what he's like when he loses control and gets aggressive with her, but he can't bring himself to go to that point yet since there are some serious lingering thoughts of Tojo in his mind. Nishino is interesting in how she's approaching her relationship with him, since they do still call each other boyfriend and girlfriend, and she believes the distance helps. She's so earnest in her attraction to him, but not in a terrible fanservice way, but one where she's a young growing woman who wants to experience something with someone she believes she loves dearly.
Christmas episodes can be a real drag on a series, as can most holiday themed episodes as they tend to go for some very predictable routes. Strawberry 100% does deviate a bit in some of it, but it does go with the obvious by having Manaka get a job and have to face some challenges. Where it deviates from the norm is in the way both Kitaoji and Nishino interact with him, both being upfront in their attempts to gain his attentions in a sexual way. Yet they're not done in a way that screams excessive fanservice for the most part. Kitaoji's mild pushing up against him at the register or Nishino's overt offer of intimacy are all real world ways of things occurring, and that's what helps to keep this series from playing to the gutter too much.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.