Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Mizuki Kawashita
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $7.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
More than just 100% fan service.
There are times when I overlook the description of what a manga is about and just open it up instead to judge for myself what type of manga it really is because there are times when a title can really take you by surprise. You will often find that by doing this you’ll discover true gems that are more than just what the cover shows. If you think that Strawberry 100% is just about a boy looking for a girl with strawberry print panties then, well, you’re right but it’s much more than that.
Surprisingly enough, Strawberry 100% has a deeper understanding of youthful romance and the hilarious awkwardness that comes with being surrounded by the opposite sex when you have no experience in the matter. Junpei Manaka is surrounded by girls, some of which adore him (like the buxom Satsuki) and another that had given up on him (the cute-as-a-button Tsukasa). Volume 7 of the series finds Junpei and Aya growing closer to the point that Aya even invites Junpei to go to the movies with her during the school break. Naturally, he agrees but not before embarrassing himself as he usually does.
In the meantime, Junpei finds out from his cute female cousin Yui who he shares his bedroom with (and still strips in her sleep) that the following day will be White Day and it’s customary for a boy to get a girl that gave said boy chocolates during Valentine’s Day a gift a month later. Out buying a gift for Aya and Satsuki with Yui, Junpei runs into Tsukasa who he hasn’t seen in quite awhile. Understandably, Junpei is a bit taken aback by seeing Tsukasa again and it isn’t until Yui informs him that Tsukasa is the girl that brought him the Valentine’s Day chocolates and not Satsuki, our boy Junpei runs after her. It clear to Junpei, from their conversation, that Tsukasa just viewed the gift of chocolates as a friendly gesture and nothing more.
With White Day pretty much a success for Junpei seeing as Aya was genuinely touched by his gift, their date to the movie went off perfectly. Aside from the fact that Aya chose a guy flick, Junpei loved that they both laughed, cried and got excited about the movie. All was going well until an attractive young girl begins criticizing the movie they had just enjoyed. It doesn’t take long for Junpei, as a film buff and budding filmmaker, to stand up for the movie.
As the new semester starts, Junpei realizes that he is grouped with most of his friends except for Aya who is grouped with the annoying Amachi. At least he can see Aya in the Film Club, which, also includes the girl he debated with in the movie theater. As it turns out, the girl’s name is Misuzu Sotomura who is the youngest sister of the photo-crazy Hiroshi. Misuzu not only criticizes the direction the club is moving as well as the film Junpei shot with his friends but also the choice of movies the club is watching. They clearly don’t hit it off, especially when Junpei starts filming the pretty girl.
Sick at home with a cold, Yui asks Junpei to return a notebook to a friend in class. Without thinking about it, our boy sneaks into the all-girl’s school and is immediately sought about by the faculty and student body thinking he’s nothing more than a pervert. A number of hilarious things happen in the school and with no way out, it is Tsukasa that saves him. Junpei sees that she has become quite popular with the boys as well.
Junpei also reflects on his situation when Misuzu gives him a free pass to a movie theater that runs old films. He sees a movie about a guy very much like himself who is chased around by different girls only to end up alone … and it breaks his heart. In the final chapter, he realizes that Satsuki certainly does have feeling for him.
Volume 7 is actually one of the more hilarious and sincerely engaging volumes of this likeable series that just gets better and better with every volume. Aside from the joy of watching Junpei awkwardly try to make heads or tails of his feeling or Tsukasa coming back into his life, we can see that Kawashita knows how to tell a story that’s funny and genuine. If you haven’t read a volume of 100% Strawberry, it’s not too late to start now.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Familiar feelings resurface when Junpei runs into Tsukasa, meanwhile his relationship with Aya advances when they go on their first date to a movie. In the theater, however, Junpei meets a young girl who is very critical of movies and the Film Club. In one of the funniest moments of the volume, Junpei is rescued by none other than Tsukasa.
Kawashita’s art has been consistently excellent since this series began and – maybe it’s just me – it’s actually starting to look even better now. The amount of panty flashing hasn’t changed either.
A new school year brings even more girl trouble for Junpei in Volume 7 of Strawberry 100% and thus making this an even more interesting and pleasantly compelling series that is more about human feeling than just fan service.