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RE: [Yuricon] Saving Strawberry Panic?

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  • Ellen Kuhfeld
    Platonic hyper-reality? I really must write up my explanation of fan-fiction in terms of commedia dell arte and Hilbert space! Ellen Rose ... From:
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 3, 2007
      Platonic hyper-reality? I really must write up my explanation of fan-fiction in terms of commedia dell'arte and Hilbert space!
       
      Ellen Rose
       
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of crimsonlotus20
      Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2007 11:43 AM
      To: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Yuricon] Saving Strawberry Panic?

      Well, first and foremost, greetings. I'm CrimsonLotus (my pen-name as well) and a new inductee to the Yuricon group, though I have been drawn to shoujo-ai/yuri anime for some time now, having proceeded via yaoi. I thought I should mark my entry with a humble, critical skit of mine on that emblematic - for better or for worse - yuri anime: Strawberry Panic.  

      If there is one item of contention in the Yuri community which radically divides opinion, it is Strawberry Panic. Whereas I generally adopt Erica Friedman's view that it is, perhaps, at its most successful when it does not take itself seriously - when one considers how preposterous the whole premise is - I think there are a few points about it that merit consideration: both positively and critically.

      First, there is a very interesting Platonic hyper-reality element which can also be detected in Simoun and ICE. That is, a world populated entirely by female characters (or biological females who willingly transgender to become males).  

      [snip] 

      .

    • crimsonlotus20
      Ellen, I actually like the Commedia dell Arte idea. As a student of Romance languages, it makes quite a lot of sense (taking stock characters and constantly
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 3, 2007
        Ellen, I actually like the "Commedia dell'Arte" idea. As a student of
        Romance languages, it makes quite a lot of sense (taking stock
        characters and constantly re-interpreting them). To my knowledge,
        however, Commedia dell'Arte did not have Mary Sue/Stus.

        As for the Platonic hyper-reality: well, yeah, a bit gas-baggy, but
        they are all archetypal 'Forms' of feminity in the collective
        unconscious.

        --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, "Ellen Kuhfeld" <ellen@...> wrote:
        >
        > Platonic hyper-reality? I really must write up my explanation of
        fan-fiction
        > in terms of commedia dell'arte and Hilbert space!
        >
        > Ellen Rose
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On
        Behalf Of
        > crimsonlotus20
        > Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2007 11:43 AM
        > To: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [Yuricon] Saving Strawberry Panic?
        >
        >
        >
        > Well, first and foremost, greetings. I'm CrimsonLotus (my pen-
        name as
        > well) and a new inductee to the Yuricon group, though I have been
        drawn to
        > shoujo-ai/yuri anime for some time now, having proceeded via yaoi.
        I thought
        > I should mark my entry with a humble, critical skit of mine on that
        > emblematic - for better or for worse - yuri anime: Strawberry Panic.
        >
        > If there is one item of contention in the Yuri community which
        radically
        > divides opinion, it is Strawberry Panic. Whereas I generally adopt
        Erica
        > Friedman's view that it is, perhaps, at its most successful when it
        does not
        > take itself seriously - when one considers how preposterous the
        whole
        > premise is - I think there are a few points about it that merit
        > consideration: both positively and critically.
        >
        > First, there is a very interesting Platonic hyper-reality element
        which
        > can also be detected in Simoun and ICE. That is, a world populated
        entirely
        > by female characters (or biological females who willingly
        transgender to
        > become males).
        >
        > [snip]
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      • Albert Lunde
        I would say, for me, the key to enjoying Strawberry Panic is reduced expectations, and on repeat viewing, use of the fast- forward control: I watch parts that
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 4, 2007
          I would say, for me, the key to enjoying Strawberry Panic is
          reduced expectations, and on repeat viewing, use of the fast-
          forward control: I watch parts that I liked and try to
          ignore the rest.

          At the moment, I'm listening to tracks from the CD, which hold up
          fairly well.

          It seems to me hard to talk about originality in a piece of work
          that is so aggressively derivative.

          The existence of a female-only world is an obvious consequence
          of setting the work in a girls school: an idea which has been
          used for decades in both Japan and the west.

          It seems to me as likely that the creators decided "If one
          girls school is good, then three will be better." Plus
          it increases the opportunities for rivality and cosplay.

          If only because it gave them a way to include Chikaru
          in the characters, I approve, but I hesitate to read
          something deeper into it.

          --
          Albert Lunde albert-lunde@...
          atlunde@... (new address for personal mail)
          albert-lunde@... (old address)
        • crimsonlotus20
          I agree when you mention reduced expectations . SP is best taken for what it is, rather than as the nec plus ultra of yuri anime, as some have held it up to
          Message 4 of 6 , Nov 4, 2007
            I agree when you mention "reduced expectations". SP is best taken for
            what it is, rather than as the 'nec plus ultra' of yuri anime, as
            some have held it up to be.

            Nevertheless, I defend my statement on the relative uniqueness of
            SP's universe. You are quite right that schools for girls have been a
            recurring topic, as early, indeed, as the classic St Trinian's novels
            and, later, films. What struck me about SP is that, unlike Marimite
            (where there are male characters and there is a very real feeling
            that there is a male universe out there) SP seems to deliberately
            ignore such a possibility. The world of Astrea seems to be an
            isolated, exclusively female continuum, making it almost something of
            a dreamscape.

            Which reminds me, on a very topical note: has anyone seen the
            film "Innocence"; I think, thematically speaking, it meshes quite
            well with what SP could have done, had its creators wanted to make a
            more thoughtful anime. In both cases, the burdens of the adult world
            and, necessarily, interaction with the opposite sex, are viewed as a
            dimension apart. The only major difference is that in "Innocence" the
            cut-off point is much earlier (ie. adolescence).

            --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, Albert Lunde <atlunde@...> wrote:
            >
            > I would say, for me, the key to enjoying Strawberry Panic is
            > reduced expectations, and on repeat viewing, use of the fast-
            > forward control: I watch parts that I liked and try to
            > ignore the rest.
            >
            > At the moment, I'm listening to tracks from the CD, which hold up
            > fairly well.
            >
            > It seems to me hard to talk about originality in a piece of work
            > that is so aggressively derivative.
            >
            > The existence of a female-only world is an obvious consequence
            > of setting the work in a girls school: an idea which has been
            > used for decades in both Japan and the west.
            >
            > It seems to me as likely that the creators decided "If one
            > girls school is good, then three will be better." Plus
            > it increases the opportunities for rivality and cosplay.
            >
            > If only because it gave them a way to include Chikaru
            > in the characters, I approve, but I hesitate to read
            > something deeper into it.
            >
            > --
            > Albert Lunde albert-lunde@...
            > atlunde@... (new address for personal mail)
            > albert-lunde@... (old address)
            >
          • atheniag
            ... as ... Welcome! ... radically ... One? Hahah. Oh, right, you re new. lol ... which ... I have to say, while I consider your ideas to be really goo, I take
            Message 5 of 6 , Nov 5, 2007
              --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, "crimsonlotus20" <crimsonlotus@...>
              wrote:
              >
              >
              > Well, first and foremost, greetings. I'm CrimsonLotus (my pen-name
              as
              > well) and a new inductee to the Yuricon group,

              Welcome!

              >
              > If there is one item of contention in the Yuri community which
              radically
              > divides opinion, it is Strawberry Panic.

              One? Hahah. Oh, right, you're new. lol


              > First, there is a very interesting Platonic hyper-reality element
              which
              > can also be detected in Simoun and ICE. That is, a world populated
              > entirely by female characters (or biological females who willingly
              > transgender to become males).


              I have to say, while I consider your ideas to be really goo, I take a
              different view. There's nothing at all "hyper" about an all-female
              society. Even setting aside all-girl or all-boy schools, of which
              there are many in Japan, because the Jesuits were the first ones to
              set up a school system, there's always been all-female communities in
              existence, and I don't mean Dianic covens. ;-) The two that come to
              mind immediately are nunneries, Christian and Buddhist, and the women
              of the silk weaving world in China.

              These were (and in a few cases, still are) realities that exist. As
              do the all-girl's schools. And one has to assume that most of the
              women and girls in these communities are straight, so platonic
              relationships would be the most common. That some women would take on
              slightly more "masculine" roles comes as no surprise - someone's
              going to be the tallest, or strongest in a room, no matter how weak
              or short the population might be. lol

              So I don't see the situations in Simoun or ICE (travesty that that
              series is) as "hyper". Just a fantasy/sci-fi take on a all-female
              world.


              There is a certain strength to this
              > premise, inasmuch as you have character interaction and
              social/romantic
              > exchange without the overbearing presence of a male point of
              reference.
              > It presents female-ness (without saying femininity) as a self-
              contained,
              > finite universe which is self-sufficient on its own terms, yet is
              > knowable to the viewer through pre-acquired notions of the female
              > experience. This would have been a fascinating thought-experiment,
              had
              > Strawberry Panic not botched the operation,

              take the Ages of Woman and assign their
              > archetype to each one of three sub-divisions of the School. Thus,
              Lulim
              > (Maiden - plastic, fluid identity; creative; irresponsible); Spica
              > (Mother - powerful; dynamic; competitive); Miator (Crone - wise;
              > intrsopective; brooding). So far, so very interesting, but then they
              > took the Classical Greek (and arguably Classical Japanese)
              aesthetic too
              > far by suggesting that the only 'healthy' sexual relationships are
              > senpai/kohen based: Nagisa/Tamao and Hikari/Amane are both 'good'
              > because there is a clear relationship of dominance; conversely, poor
              > Momomi/Kaname (who, in my humble opinion, have by far the
              healthiest and
              > most balanced relationship on campus) are treated fairly
              > unsympathetically throughout the series. Ditto the unrequited
              > Yaya/Hikari and Nagisa/Tamao romances, which are portrayed as
              morbid or
              > unabalanced.

              Now this I can buy. The nature of sempai/kouhai is an exchange
              between unblanced powers. It's not entirely alien to us, as
              mentor/mentee - in the business world it's fairly common for
              executives to groom subordinates for later, greater things. In Japan
              (and Greece) as you point out, the tradition existed with sexual
              favors exchanged for entree' to inside networks - the balance of
              power had to be uneven.



              > In the end, I don't think I can isolate where Strawberry Panic, in
              my
              > eyes, went wrong, inasmuch as there are glimpses of interest and
              insight
              > throughout interwoven with fairly trite and gratuitous moments. It
              never
              > quite works as a self-parody (through the Mrs. Robinson ending came
              as
              > close as possible to being parodic without, quite taking the final
              leap)
              > and it never quite works as a serious romance (but then again, I
              would
              > argue that Marimite - a generally far more accomplished series -
              doesn't
              > either).

              The two differences there is that marimite isn't *trying* to be a
              serious romance - it's a romantic series, which is an entirely
              different thing. :-) And that the large portion of people who enjoyed
              SP *as* a serious romance relaly can't tell that it's not - and that
              it's poking fun at their inability to tell.



              So what is there to save? I think Strawberry Panic should serve
              > as a starting point for studios interested in shoujo-ai anime
              plotlines
              > as a thematic, rather than substantive, inspiration.

              Hah.

              In watching the
              > series - which on a superficial level, I found perfectly enjoyable -
              I
              > was always left with the regret that so much more could have been
              done
              > with the basic ideas and that opportunities were repeatedly missed
              along
              > the way.

              Well yes. Of course.

              >
              > Just my humble opinion. Which, since we're on it, I've said it once
              and
              > I've said it again: Hikari is perhaps the most odious, spineless
              > character I have encountered in a long time. There, I said it. Now,
              > perhaps when I have more excess time on my hands, I'll devote a few
              > lines to how she probably represents the Romanticist 'pure soul' or
              > feminine ideal.

              AMEN.

              And btw - good post. Got me thinking. I needed that.

              Cheers,

              Erica

              Hungry for Yuri? Have some Okazu!
              http://okazu.blogspot.com
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