The first of four OVAs gives us time spent between Tojo and Manaka, mostly alone at times, that's reminiscent of OVAs of old.
What They Say
Junpei Manaka and the rest of the Film Study Club are at camp. They're at a villa deep in the mountains, filming their movie with Tsukasa as the lead actress. Junpei finds himself alone with Aya in a cabin!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Way back when I was first getting into non-kiddified anime, the romantic comedy shows were definitely few and far between. But when they were available, they tended to be a lot more interesting because they weren't the norm at the time and it was all brand new. There's still a huge fondness for the genre that I was introduced to with Kimagure Orange Road and Strawberry 100% has a lot of familiar echoes of it. This first OVA, which follows that far too short TV series, and it gets things going pretty fast by having Manaka and Tojo stuck in a cabin in the mountains in the midst of a storm, completely wet. Which means it's time to get warm and dry the only way a young man can think of. Of course, Manaka just can't handle it, not that I blame him, as Tojo is down to just her underwear for a bit.
Segments like this are fun, especially for the two characters that are essentially intended to be together from the start, as it allows them some quiet time together where they can talk a little more freely. There's more honesty and emotion between the two, with swirling music, and it's the kind of material that while predictable, really does a nice job of bringing two innocent kids closer together in a way that they wouldn't otherwise. Both of them are entirely likable to be certain, and as much as Manaka is an indecisive teenager, he's a good guy who wants to do the right thing. Though you can tell he'd just take Tojo if he could - or if he even knew how to do it right. Naturally, a situation like that is not going to last long and it's going to end awkwardly.
When the show shifts back to Manaka and all the women in his life together in one small house for the night where they're spending their camp time, it turns to traditional fun. They do the couples walk through the woods gig with the tried and true test of courage which is cutely fun since it puts up the pairings again. Watching Manaka make his way through his female friends here is part of the charm of a show like this, especially since the women are generally pretty decent overall. And it's a plus to see Manaka spending some time with Nishino since she was sidelined pretty hard as the TV series went on.
Being an OVA, Strawberry 100% makes out with some better looking character designs in this incarnation as well as more fleshed out backgrounds and animation overall. With the longer run time as well it's got a bit more room to maneuver as well to draw things out. This really feels very strongly like an OVA from the old days and it left me smiling quite a few times throughout. While I'd love more of the TV series to adapt more from the manga, what we get here is a good bit of character fun, fanservice and good looking animation and design. While the episode is fun, there are some technical issues Viz has run into with it, which takes time to fix since it's done via Hulu. The first is that it's listed as the first episode of the series, with that information that correlates with it as well, making for some confusing times. Especially when people are looking for episode fourteen, since there are twenty six, not realizing that the TV series is just thirteen episodes long done in pairs. The second is that the timing for the subtitles on this episode are pretty off at a lot of times.
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.