Strawberry Marshmallow

Strawberry MarshmallowStory: Barasui
Genre: Slice Of Life / Comedy
Volume Count: 5+ (still in production)
Vintage: 2003

Version reviewed: English Translated
Date of Review: 08 Dec 2006

Grade: A
grade revised 14 Jan 2010 (was B)

If it’s cute you seek, look no further. This is the original manga that inspired the equally cute anime series.

Plot Summary
Watch 16 year old Nobue, her 12 year old sister Chika, and their friends Miu (12), Matsuri (11), and Ana (11) on their everyday misadventures.

The Review
There’s something to be said about a comic strip with virtually no plot. With no overall story, Strawberry Marshmallow lets you do what Barasui wants you to: watch cute girls do cute things in cute ways. Staying up late, Miu and Ana’s feuding, keeping Matsuri’s dream of Santa Claus alive… these are just a few of the things that go on in the first two volumes.

Since the point of Strawberry Marshmallow is to watch the characters, a brief introduction is necessary. Nobue is a 16 year old high school student (different from her anime counterpart, who was made to be older at 20) with an addiction to cigarettes and an affection for all of her younger friends. Chika is her level-headed younger sister. Next-door neighbor Miu is an attention seeker and troublemaker. Matsuri lives down the street and cries very easily. Ana (who is introduced in volume 2) was born in England, but has lived in Japan for so long, and since her parents speak exclusively in Japanese at home now, can’t speak much english at all. She’s determined not to let anybody know this fact, and tries to be english in all ways, not letting anyone know that she is actually completely assimilated to Japanese culture and language.

The humor in Strawberry Marshmallow is very clever, and relies on sharp wit rather than slapstick. The subjects may be children, but their sense of humor is sophisticated and dry. As comical as scenes may get, more often than not they play out with a deadpan seriousness which makes them all the more funnier. Barasui doesn’t need to try to make this series funny, because it simply is by nature. Sometimes less is more, and this is a title that takes full advantage of not having a plot. Short stories are all that is needed to enjoy the fun of the Strawberry girls.

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