Most of the time, adding more women to the leads life works against the show. Sometimes it's what makes the show work even better. How will Strawberry 100% go?
What They Say
When Manaka enters Izumizaka High School. In his class he meets a girl named Satsuki Kitaoji. She is very unyielding, and she and Manaka find themselves clashing almost immediately.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the school choicse now having been made, it's tie to start moving forward with the new lives. Manaka makes out well with the start of his high school career as he gets a video camera that allows him to film all manner of things. Smartly, he's starting off with basic life filming by taking the stroll under the cherry blossom trees and adjusting to how the camera works. Manaka also has the devil's luck as he strolls across a woman looking out over the river just at the time that the window blows her skirt up, exposing her simple white undergarments. He does manage to top himself though by ending up fondling her breast through an accident which makes her react in a way that's very much out of line.
Odds on her being a fellow classmate in Izumizaka? Very high.
Manaka and Tojo seem very well suited to high school life, especially as they're in the same class together. They're already close and he's very happy to be near her, especially since there are so many other boys out there that are interested in her. But this start of school also brings in the mystery girl from the river named Satsuki Kitaoji and both of them freak out upon realizing they're in the same class. This doesn't lead either of them to a good impression with other students nor their homeroom teacher and she doles out an impressive punishment for arguing before class even started. The women in Manaka's life certainly add a lot of flavor to all of it.
Unsurprisingly, the two end up in a few more fights over the day and events spill out so that the two get closer after Manaka has to help her after she hurts herself. It sets their relationship in a new light, but Manaka's focus is still very much on Tojo. And Tojo is having her own problems with style because of her hair, so she shifts back to how she was before which is like night and day in how everyone reacts to her since nobody realizes it's Tojo, even Kitaoji. Manaka's in on all of it however and he again tries to save the day, but the man has the worst luck and invariably causes himself more and more trouble and pain. It also makes Kitaoji wonder if Manaka was trying to help her out, giving her a slight nudge of interest in him.
With the school year underway, Manaka's main goal is to get the film club going since it's inactive. He needs five people for it so the quest begins with him and Tojo as the initial members and then a quick grab to get Komiyama so he can participate in the show in general. They acquire a new member in the form of Sotomura, a creepy looking young man who has set up an intriguing website about photographing beautiful women and displaying them without their knowledge. That gets Komiyama even more interested in joining up since it fits into his perverted interests. Sotomura has ulterior motives in the club though but it's a point that Manaka can use to his advantage with both of them going in with their eyes wide open about it.
The guilt factor and attraction factor has Satsuki signing on as the fifth member of the club so they can all work together to make a movie for the culture festival. But the whole thing has unnerved Tojo who sees the brewing of something between Manaka and Kitaoji but also because she's already signed on to the literature club, making his plans something of a mess. Teenage jealousies are making themselves very apparent right from the start and while Manaka has been enthused about his high school life, it's quickly turning into something he didn't expect and the emotions are getting the better of him.
Strawberry 100% plays with a lot of material here and it was a whole lot of fun to watch the first years react and cope with everything. The thing that gets me the most is that a lot of the characters are pretty honest with their emotions and admit things that most shows often try to hide. It's a norm for the high school teenager though in that some will hide their feelings for years while others will blurt them out and see what happens. Or they'll do it accidentally and that only makes it all the more amusing. There's a lot to like with this episode as Manaka is being set up with more potential girlfriends and the sign of a good show is that you waffle in who he really may be best suited for because they all offer something. Strawberry 100% continues to be a fun and silly show that doesn't go wildly over the top.
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.