Strawberry 100% (いちご100% Ichigo Hyaku Pasento?) is a Japanese harem manga series written and illustrated by Mizuki Kawashita. The manga was first serialized in the Japanese magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from February 2002 to August 2005 and collected in nineteen tankōbon volumes by publisher Shueisha between August 2002 and December 2005. The series' licensing rights were later acquired by Viz Media, first publishing the series in Germany after partnering with publishing house Tokyopop. The series was later released in North America, with the latest English release being the thirteenth volume on July 6, 2010.
The manga was later adapted into an anime and several OVAs by Japanese animation studio Madhouse, running twenty-six episodes. The anime aired on Animax and TV Asahi from April 2005 to July 2005.
Strawberry 100% chronicles the school years of Junpei Manaka, a high school student and aspiring movie director, and his relationships with the girls that enter his life. At the start of the series, he encounters a mysterious girl with strawberry-print panties, whom he quickly becomes intrigued with. Hoping to find her, he finds the notebook of Aya Toujou nearby, who turns out to be an ordinary-looking girl. However, he soon discovers that Aya is a gifted writer and the two become friends with the collaborative ambition of creating great stories into movies. Meanwhile, he believes the mystery girl to be Tsukasa Nishino, the most popular girl in his school.
Manaka wanted to recapture the moment he saw the girl on the roof. Believing it was Nishino, he felt the only way to get her to pose for his shot is to date her. Stunned by his peers, Manaka ran up to Nishino and yelled out to her, requesting a date while doing a pull-up. Amused by his requested, Nishino agreed to go out with him and eventually the two soon start a relationship together. However, he eventually realizes Tsukasa is not the mystery girl he had been searching for, but chooses to continue their relationship. During his entrance exam for his desired high school for film studies, Izumizaka High, he discovers that Aya is in fact the mystery girl. After realizing Toujou had always been the girl he saw on the roof, a part of his heart gravitated towards her as they continued their awkward friendship. Eventually, Nishino caught on that she doesn't entirely have Manaka's heart, but continued to see him as they attended separate high schools.
On his first day of high school, he meets a feisty girl named Satsuki Kitaoji, whom he later discovers to be his classmate. The two gradually become friends and Satsuki eventually falls in love with him. Junpei wanted to join the film club at Izumizaka High to develop his dreams of becoming a film-maker. Unfortunately, the club was disbanded and there was only a graphics club. Eventually he restarts the film club with Aya, Satsuki, the girl-crazed Hiroshi Sotomura, and two of his high school friends.
Later Yui Minamito, an old childhood friend, re-enters his life Around the same time, Nishino grown impatient and breaks up with him as she couldn't stand his lack of decision. This created a new series of awkward moments as Satsuki tried to aggressively chase after Manaka. Manka also experienced many awkward moments with Satsuki and Toujou as time passes. This would continue on for the next three years of their high school days, but Manaka remains indecisive about whom to declare his love for. Several other characters also came into the picture.
It is only during the last year in senior high school, that all of the girls, one-by-one, made a desperate confession of their love for Manaka (at times indirectly, but he found out). Of all that touched him the most, he chose Nishino after he mistaken Toujou's brother for a new boyfriend. At his lowest point in life, he sought comfort from Nishino and he also realized she was always there for him and confessed his love for her; they rekindled their relationship. He only later found out Toujou had always been in love with him, but Manaka didn't want to be unfair to Nishino and remained resolute to be with Nishino. Later, Manaka broke up with Nishino as he felt he hasn't matured enough to be with her and felt he needs to continue developing himself as a film-maker and as a person. Even at the risk of Nishino finding someone else, Manaka felt it's the best path for each and one of them. Nearing graduation, everyone prepared for different directions as each and one had their own goals and ambitions.
Post graduation, four years later, Manaka and his film club went to Kyoto for a reunion. Satsuki had become the owner of a relative's restaurant and the gang chose her restaurant as the location for their reunion. Toujou has become a successful writer, Sotomura developed a career in discovering idols, and Manaka has won an award and has been accepted into a film studio after years of personal development. In the end, Manaka reunites with Nishino (after several years in France, learning to become a patissier) and the two restarted their relationship.
- Junpei Manaka (真中 淳平 Manaka Junpei?) is a teenage school student, and the protagonist to the series. Junepei is constantly getting strung up in numerous embarrassing but endearing romantic situations throughout middle and then high school. Although his thoughts on girls can get quite perverted on occasion, his gentleness and kindness is what attracts them to him. His indecisiveness between the girls he loves—Aya, Satsuki, and Nishino—and inability to decipher their feelings is the focal point of the story. His dream is to make films as a director. While not academically gifted, he has great talent with cinematography that gradually develops as the story progresses.Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura
- Aya Toujou (東城 綾 Tōjō Aya?) is a shy, affectionate teenage school student. Aya is the mystery girl with the ichigo pantsu (strawberry panties—underwear with strawberry patterns) that Manaka seeks at the beginning of the series. An aspiring writer, Aya meets Manaka when he discovers a novel she is writing. They quickly become friends, and Aya falls in love with Manaka. The boys in Aya's middle school pay no attention to her because of her ordinary appearance, despite her curvy figure. When she starts wearing contact lenses and lets her hair down, she gets lots of attention. Aya attends Izumizaka High with Manaka, and she expresses her affection for him gently. Although Manaka is attracted to Aya, he seldom senses the depth of her feelings. Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
- Tsukasa Nishino (西野つかさ Nishino Tsukasa?) is the most popular student in Junpei's middle school. She is Junpei's first – and only – official girlfriend in the series. Supportive, understanding, and optimistic, she does her best to encourage Junpei in everything he does, yet is also straightforward and flirtatious enough to let him know exactly what she wants. Of the four lead female characters, Tsukasa's personality changes the most: flighty and somewhat hot-tempered during her middle school days, she develops a far more mature attitude soon after entering Oumi Academy. Tsukasa has a passion for cooking and baking, and works part-time at a French pastry shop. Her dream is to study pastry-making further in France after graduation from high school. Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi
- Satsuki Kitaoji (北大路 さつき Kitaōji Satsuki?) is a student of Izumizaka High. Satsuki is very popular among the boys in the school, mainly with the sports clubs and teams. Of all the girls after Manaka, Satsuki is the most confident in her love—having been the first to ever confess to him—and is constantly seen in his company. Unlike the others, Satsuki is very aggressive, often physical, with her feelings. Coupled with her attractive figure, mainly her large bust size (officially she is a DDD-cup), she constantly tries to push herself onto Manaka. Despite her total devotion towards him, Satsuki's feelings are rarely returned. Voiced by: Sanae Kobayashi
- Yui Minamito (南戸 唯 Minamito Yui?) Once a neighbor and childhood friend of Manaka before moving away, Yui acts more like a sister than a friend despite being only a year younger. She isn't at all shy around Manaka and is often found sleeping in his bed naked. Though considered one of the four main heroines in the series, Yui is never considered a love interest nor does she ever show Manaka any affection outside of their sibling-type relationship, although she acts at times like an overprotective big sister (especially when Satsuki gets unusually clingy), because Junpei was a crybaby in their childhood days. Voiced by: Nana Mizuki
Written and illustrated by Mizuki Kawashita, Strawberry 100% was first serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine from February 2002 to August 2005. The 167 chapters were then compiled into nineteen tankōbon volumes by Shueisha. The first volume was released on August 2, 2002, with the final volume released December 2, 2005. Strawberry 100% was later licensed for English language release by Viz Media. The first volume was released on July 3, 2007, with the volumes continually being released every few months. The newest volume, number 14, is set to be released in October 2010. It is likely that the series has been canceled after this volume is published, as the volumes after that have not appeared in any release date schedules. Viz also partnered with fellow publishing house Tokyopop for release in Germany under the name 100% Strawberry.
The Strawberry 100% manga consists of 19 volumes, with a total of 167 chapters including one bonus chapter revolving around Misuzu Sotomura as the focal character. As opposed to the anime (which emphasizes the comedic events in the storyline), the manga focuses more on the romance and drama developing among the main characters.
The first Kanji on the last names of the four lead female characters represents a specific cardinal direction. Tō in Aya Tojo refers to the East; Nishi in Tsukasa Nishino refers to the West; Kita in Satsuki Kitaoji means North; and Minami in Yui Minamito means South. Also, Naka in Junpei Manaka's name means center. The author used this as a figurative diagram indicating the direction—or girl—the compass of Manaka's heart points to at any given time. In the first OVA, Manaka has a nightmare where all four girls stand around him at their respective cardinal directions.
Strawberry 100% was adapted into a 24-episode anime TV series by Madhouse, and directed by Osamu Sekita. It aired across Japan on Animax and TV Asahi. Every two episodes aired in one half-hour block, for a total of twenty-six episodes and thirteen broadcasts, although the last broadcast went unaired. The opening theme was "Shine of Voice" by Dream, with the ending theme being "Ike Ike" by HINOI TEAM.
The OVAs of Strawberry 100% were all released at different times compared to the TV series. The first OVA was released before the TV series aired (and was made solely by Madhouse). They are not a continuation of the TV series, but are rather separate episodes based on certain chapters from the Strawberry 100% manga. The opening theme of the last four Strawberry 100% OVAs was "Kimiiro 100%", sung by the seiyū of the four lead characters, Mamiko Noto, Megumi Toyoguchi, Nana Mizuki, and Sanae Kobayashi. The ending theme is different in each episode, each song a solo by one of the lead female seiyū. The themes for the first OVA are the same as the standard anime's themes.
A PlayStation 2 video game was later released, titled Strawberry 100%: Strawberry Diary (いちご100%ストロベリーダイアリー Ichigo 100%: Sutoroberi Daiari?). The game was published and developed by Takara Tomy, and released on February 10, 2005 in Japan. The game was re-released under the Tomy Best Collection on March 30, 2006.
Initially critics expressed concern that Strawberry 100% would be a traditional harem comedy. Carlo Santos of Anime News Network (ANN) complained that Volume 1 quickly descended into "typical boy's romance fodder." Response to the characters was more enthusiastic. Robert Harris of Mania.com praised Volume 1 for developing "several effective, organic characters and relationships, along with a believable story and setting." Praise for the characters continued with the release of subsequent volumes, and worries that Strawberry 100% would be a traditional harem comedy abated. In his review of Volume 6, A.E. Sparrow of IGN Comics remarked "Strawberry 100% is a harem manga of the highest caliber, and it has all the trappings of a good harem manga: Plenty of fan service, excellent artwork, and in those rarest of cases, a compelling storyline." Comic Book Bin's Leroy Douresseaux, discussing Volume 8, enjoyed the excellent characters, and commented: "Strawberry 100% is a high school comedy/drama for everyone who loves the drama of high school love."
Most critics have praised the artwork. Harris noted: "The visual style remains firmly rooted in reality." While crediting Strawberry 100% with "some of the finest artwork available," Sparrow warned that Strawberry 100% has a great deal of fan service, "which will either repulse people or draw them in, depending on their predilection toward that kind of thing."
- Strawberry 100% (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Official Ichigo 100% Site (Japanese)
- Ichigo 100% at Avex Entertainment (Japanese)
- Ichigo 100% at Shueisha (Japanese)
- 365 days of manga review