Strawberry Panic Light Novels 1 & 2: An Unbiased Review

Last time I read a book, I had to push the limits of human creativity to fit lesbians into it. Not this time.

Why bother reading when I could watch anime? Unfortunately, I’ve been suffering bouts of eye strain lately.

I’ve been dropping glasses and everything. I am such a dojikko.

So I’ve turned to reading as a means of getting away from the computer screen. As for my choice of Strawberry Panic, I couldn’t resist the tagline:

The first ever yuri light novel in North America!

Now my Mexican and Canadian readers can has yuri too.

Here’s your unbiased review:

Three things that suck:

1. Not enough evil lesbians

There’s a lot scheming going on, but nobody seems to exist for the sole purpose of ruining another character’s life (and then going down on another girl).

2. No global warming

3. Not enough pictures

There are stretches of 15-20 pages without any artwork. Perhaps that’s standard for light novels. Still disappointing.

Three things that rock:

1. Chikaru

Chikaru, a.k.a. The Shadow Empress (OH SHIT!), is a major player in the light novels, as evidenced by this excerpt:

Chikaru, the party-loving Costume Club President, who never missed a chance to wear costumes, had volunteered her club to serve as pool attendants.

Today’s theme was “Bunny Girl.”

“Here, you need to stick out your butt…because I can’t see.”

Mmmm…! Kizuna, red-faced with embarrassment, scrunched her face and poked her butt out to Chikaru.

Chikaru, kneeling behind Kizuna…stared intently at Kizuna’s butt.

What a cute butt, Chikaru thought as she repressed her urge to spank it…and slid her fingers around the French-cut edges of the suit.

Uhyayaha! Kizuna squirmed.

“Come on, stay still…”

Chikaru grasped Kizuna’s hands to calm her. Kizuna endured tickling sensations as Chikaru slowly and deliberately continued her movements.

She randomly rubbed Kizuna’s butt, fondled it…and sometimes pinched it softly…which surprised Kizuna each time.

And finally…treating it like a precious treasure, she gently placed her lips on Kizuna’s butt…and kissed it.

Don’t get your hopes up too high. That was the best part of the whole book.

2. Focus on the √Čtoile competition

The competition was a largely meaningless sideshow in the anime. It’s serious business in the light novels, which makes the girls seem slightly less petty for backstabbing each other.

3. The Setting

It goes without saying that the true strength of Strawberry Panic is that every character is a lesbian. But anyone can create a story about lesbians. What makes this one unique? The setting. Consider the two things that the anime did not change:

  • The lesbians
  • The setting

From the dorms to the schools to the secret lesbian hookup spot in the library, Astraea Hill provides a charming environment for young lesbians to discover themselves.

Other differences between the Light Novels and the Anime:

  • No pink-haired tsundere girl (forgot her name, I guess I’ll have to rewatch Strawberry Panic to find out)
  • The girl with the Teddy Bear may actually be important
  • Amane has a new rival (Kaname, the evil global warming lesbian, plays a lesser role)
  • Less rape
  • No twig stepping
  • No thumb wrestling

The final volume won’t come out for a while, so my next reading project will probably be finishing up the GTO: The Early Years manga. I’ll consider recommendations for other reading materials as well, as long as they’re not real books.

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