Strawberry 100% Vol. #03 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Release Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Translated by:Yuko Sawada
Adapted by:Yuko Sawada
What They Say
A friend offers to help Junpei form a film club at his new school! But does he have an ulterior motive, and does it have anything to do with girls' panties?
With the third volume Strawberry 100% finally breaks away from the harem manga clichés from which it was spawned. Unwillingly, and only partially, but separated nonetheless. What may have been a painfully average entry into the genre might turn out to be, if not revolutionary, at least entertaining.
This installment follows Junpei & Friends as they move from middle to high school, losing a cast member on the way before picking up another soon after to fill the void. This new girl, Satsuki, is one of the components which make this volume stand out. She's a fairly typical sassy, sporty girl next door character, but her report with the main character makes her seem more like a new addition to his friends than a potential romantic interest. She serves as a welcome reprieve from the embarrassed silences and awkward moments between Junpei and the other girls which had become the norm, and provides some real tension as she's much more direct than the other girls.
There's really only one thing that sets this volume of Strawberry 100% apart from its harem comrades. It's not the change of setting, or the introduction and removal of several important characters. No, Strawberry 100%'s greatest achievement is the way it makes its characters feel real. They have their own goals and dreams and even though, in typical harem fashion, all of the girls like the main character, their lives don't revolve around him. In fact, the girls are often shown at odds with Junpei and his ambitions, which makes them feel a little less like walking stereotypes.
It feels like I may be saying this quite often on future volumes, but Strawberry 100% isn't going to set the world on fire, or make you radically alter your opinion of harem comedies. That being said, Volume 3 sees the series step up its game a bit. If you enjoy the genre, there's no reason to avoid giving it a shot.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Strawberry 100%