Re: Saving Strawberry Panic?
- 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
--- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, "Ellen Kuhfeld" <ellen@...> wrote:
> Platonic hyper-reality? I really must write up my explanation of
> in terms of commedia dell'arte and Hilbert space!
> Ellen Rose
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On
> 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-
> well) and a new inductee to the Yuricon group, though I have been
> shoujo-ai/yuri anime for some time now, having proceeded via yaoi.
> 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
> divides opinion, it is Strawberry Panic. Whereas I generally adopt
> Friedman's view that it is, perhaps, at its most successful when it
> take itself seriously - when one considers how preposterous the
> 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
> can also be detected in Simoun and ICE. That is, a world populated
> by female characters (or biological females who willingly
> become males).
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- 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
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)
- 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
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)
- --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, "crimsonlotus20" <crimsonlotus@...>
> Well, first and foremost, greetings. I'm CrimsonLotus (my pen-name
> well) and a new inductee to the Yuricon group,Welcome!
> If there is one item of contention in the Yuri community which
> divides opinion, it is Strawberry Panic.One? Hahah. Oh, right, you're new. lol
> First, there is a very interesting Platonic hyper-reality elementwhich
> can also be detected in Simoun and ICE. That is, a world populatedI have to say, while I consider your ideas to be really goo, I take a
> entirely by female characters (or biological females who willingly
> transgender to become males).
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
There is a certain strength to this
> premise, inasmuch as you have character interaction andsocial/romantic
> exchange without the overbearing presence of a male point ofreference.
> It presents female-ness (without saying femininity) as a self-contained,
> finite universe which is self-sufficient on its own terms, yet ishad
> knowable to the viewer through pre-acquired notions of the female
> experience. This would have been a fascinating thought-experiment,
> 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); Spicaaesthetic too
> (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)
> far by suggesting that the only 'healthy' sexual relationships arehealthiest and
> 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
> most balanced relationship on campus) are treated fairlymorbid or
> unsympathetically throughout the series. Ditto the unrequited
> Yaya/Hikari and Nagisa/Tamao romances, which are portrayed as
> 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, inmy
> eyes, went wrong, inasmuch as there are glimpses of interest andinsight
> throughout interwoven with fairly trite and gratuitous moments. Itnever
> quite works as a self-parody (through the Mrs. Robinson ending cameas
> close as possible to being parodic without, quite taking the finalleap)
> and it never quite works as a serious romance (but then again, Iwould
> 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 animeplotlines
> 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 beendone
> with the basic ideas and that opportunities were repeatedly missedalong
> the way.Well yes. Of course.
> Just my humble opinion. Which, since we're on it, I've said it once
> I've said it again: Hikari is perhaps the most odious, spinelessAMEN.
> 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.
And btw - good post. Got me thinking. I needed that.
Hungry for Yuri? Have some Okazu!