Review by: Ai Kano
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Mizuki Kawashita
Genre: Graphic Novel (Shonen Jump Advanced)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now
The most unexpected confession of love will complicate things further for Junpei or will it?
If it feels like Junpei Manaka’s complex life is heading for more changes you aren’t imagining things because Strawberry 100% is finally showing signs of coming to some kind of conclusion. Although the manga series ended at Volume 19 in Japan, it seems that Volume 14 of Strawberry 100% might be where this story ends for us but here’s hoping that that isn’t the case because this volume proves that Strawberry 100% still has a lot to offer.
In the last volume, we witnessed as the bubbly and very bouncy Satsuki dropped out of the running to win Junpei’s heart after realizing that the young man just doesn’t have eyes for her in the way that she does for him. Sure, Satsuki is drop dead sexy but the girls that occupy his mind the most is Aya and Tsukasa. However, even that is starting to look like a lost cause … or does it?
Volume 14 begins with Junpei running to the aid of Tsukasa who has become the target of smitten male fans who seen Tsukasa in an article that mentions she’s engaged to her employer’s handsome and talented pastry chef grandson. However, when he gets there he finds that said grandson, Higure, is the one that took care of the jerks. Junpei can’t help but think that Tsukasa and Higure look good together and they do share the same passion for baking. Even Yui can see it even though Tsukasa makes it clear that Higure’s grandmother was the one who made that statement in the article.
Meanwhile, Aya does the most unexpected thing and that is set Junpei up on a date with the incredibly-shy-yet-somehow-boy-crazy Kozue. It’s not Aya’s idea, of course, but rather their cram school classmate, Mai, who wants to see the two together. So the pair go on a movie date as Mai and Aya secretly follows them and it looks like the two are having a great time … to Aya’s obvious disappointment. It’s become apparent that Aya sees Junpei’s growing relationship with Kozue as a sign that she is losing him even if Junpei is just hanging out with her in an innocent sort of way.
However, this changes when, during the date, Junpei takes Kozue to his school in order to show her the last movie they filmed. Touched by the movie to the point of being moved to tears, Kozue takes an interest in filmmaking. The most interesting part, though, comes from a phone call she makes Aya after the date and afterwards when they all meet at their usual hangout it is Kozue herself that shouts out a confession that surprises everyone.
As for Junpei, though, his response to Kozue’s awkward confession is that she might be the perfect lead for their next and final film project for the Film Club. After having read Aya’s latest script and was touched by the fact that she wants him to be the first to read all her scripts, Junpei is determined to bring her vision to life again on film. Before he came to the conclusion that Kozue might be perfect for the lead, his two friends play a trick on Aya, Satsuki, Chinami and even Misuzu try to compete for the lead role.
While Kozue does want to help with the filming it is Tsukasa that will have to accepting the leading role. Aya was another perfect choice be she doesn’t want it so Junpei goes to the bakery to try to convince her. Yet with an upcoming trip to France to study baking with the best, it seems impossible. Then Junpei gets a call in the middle of the night from Tsukasa who asks that he join her on a little trip for a few days.
The pair end up taking a train someplace far but Junpei can see that something is troubling Tsukasa but she won’t say until she hints that she doesn’t want to talk about work or her upcoming trip to France. Instead, she would rather spend her time with him and they end up going to Tsukasa’s hometown where they spend a pleasant evening in a festival. When asked to make a wish, Junpei does and it’s an innocent one but it is Tsukasa’s secret wish that opens up an interesting possibility.
Two very interesting turn of events makes Volume 14 of Strawberry 100% yet another intriguing volume for this series as the story begins to shift gears just a little. Never losing its charming storytelling style or fan service, the series is still loads of fun to read and we hope it continues to the very end. I really can’t stop recommending this manga series enough and if you pick up a volume you’ll definitely see why.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Junpei and Kozue go on a movie date that was planned by their cram school classmate but as the two grow closer it is Aya who doesn’t look too comfortable with the idea of the two of them dating. Kozue comes to realize something and makes an unexpected (if not comical) confession in front of her classmates. Meanwhile, talk of doing one last film project for school has Junpei spending time with Tsukasa.
The girls of Strawberry 100% have always been cute and even more so in this volume and Kawashita-Sensei seems to be going for a new panty shot record with this volume.
Like it did in the last volume of the series, Volume 14 of Strawberry 100% is finally shaking things up in a way that spells changes for this series. While it’s good to see all the elements that made us love the series still intact, change is a good thing in a series that has continuously brought us a sweet and charming story about a boy and a collection of girls.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media