Sixteen-year-old pop culture idol Julia Tachibana takes in the new talent Ran as part of her job, but ends up falling for the other girl almost immediately. Slapstick fun, hijinks and other extremely humorous situations follow as Julia tries her best to woo Ran but remain a professional idol!
Strawberry Shake Sweet is a shining example of just how well romance comedy can be done. It features probably the best and funniest character I have seen in manga to date. The real shame is that almost nobody knows about this great series. The subject matter of SSS is yuri. The cast is completely full of lesbian characters and I don’t even remember one male character at all. If these themes are offensive to you then this is not your book. But even if you don’t normally read yuri stories, you are doing yourself as great disservice by not checking this one out if you like romance-comedy even a little.
The story is about a young idol name Julia who has been moderately successful so far in her career. She is asked to mentor a new up and coming idol star named Ran. Pretty quickly she finds herself secretly in love with her and it’s from here that the majority of the comedy is driven. The book is hilarious and I found myself wiping tears of laughter from my face on numerous occasions. While it features a great amount of adult themed humor and sexual comedy, it is never vulgar so I feel this series could be enjoyed by a younger audience as well. There is a lot of what I would call lesbian "inside jokes". Some you are likely to get while some may leave you confused. I am not a lesbian so I probably missed some things or didn’t find them as funny as they were intended. Still this is a story that can be enjoyed by straight and gay people alike.
Now the story is not perfect and it does have some flaws. The biggest being the ending. No its not one of those horrible romance endings, it’s a great ending plot wise, but the series feels like it came to an abrupt end. Almost as if the mangaka decided that she must end it in one chapter. Thus the final chapter has way too much going on and doesn’t share the humor of the other ones. However the special chapter at the end kinda makes up for it. I was very disappointed to see this series end.
Characters... wow is about the first word that comes to mind. Julia is tremendous. While her personality is something we have seen before in anime and manga the delivery and combinations of her personality elements is very unique. She’s perverted. A stalker. Stupid. Yes very stupid. Her antics and delusions are the driving force behind SSS's comedy. But it is her earnest nature, insecurities, and single minded drive that makes her such a lovable and compelling character. Ran for much of the beginning of the series is fairly unknown. We see the story almost exclusively from Julia's perspective so at first Ran feels a bit plain and boring. Thankfully she doesn’t stay that way and develops her own personality and delusions. She’s as equally stupid and clueless as Julia. Never have idiots been so damn much fun.
Of the supporting cast, really only one character shines above the rest. That would be Julia's manager Saeki. She’s the only rational character in the book and the only one with any brain cells. She acts as kind of a narrator at times and serves as a pillar of normalcy in an insane world. Saeki is constantly getting in the way of Julia and Ran, thinking about her career and doing damage control. Her dry commentary and wit is just as hilarious as Julia's stupidity and nosebleeds. The other characters in the cast are a bit weaker and not as memorable though they serve important roles at various points of the story.
The books artwork is pretty solid throughout. Julia, Ran, and Saeki are all adorable and well drawn. There aren’t a lot of fabulous backgrounds and settings but the artist does a great job of drawing "emotions". The art is a little inconsistent at the end, but the mangaka explains this because of the large time delay there was between chapter 16 and 17.
Overall this is the best manga I have ever read. It’s tremendously funny and adorably cute. While it has a few disappointments when it comes to the ending and overall length of the story, I enjoyed the ride immensely. Perhaps it is not for everyone, but it deserves to be enjoyed by far more people than have to date. For lovers of romance-comedy and yuri I give SSS my highest possible recommendation. Don’t let that yuri tag fool you! Even straight people are going to love this manga! read more
The story is totally yuri, there are only few guys with no important role and almost all girls are interested in girls, but the theme is treated in a kind and natural way. Despite that, this a comedy and a very good one, I really laugh all the time while read it. The story is focused in some characters and their feelings, dont go deeper than that, it´s a light-hearted story and a very funny comedy about people and their relationships.
Nice and clean, the art is quite beautiful. Actually, it´s one of my favourites.
They are all memorable. Their personalities are easy to understand, there are a lot of diferent types, and they really work togheter and make the story very funny.
This is one of my favourite series, I read the few chapters so many times and I laugh in all of them. I can´t wait to read more of them. It´s rare to find a good yuri, with no fanservice, panty shots, and the old (and boring) cliches.
If you are looking for a good yuri story or just a nice comedy I recomend this manga, i just can´t find any imperfection. You certainly will remember the story and characters for a long time.read more
Daydreaming, feeling happy, acting stupid just because "that" person is there. Doesn't being in love feel the same, regardless the gender? Just as tragic yuri stories became getting on my nerves, I found this one.
Being girls doesn't seem to get in the way of anyone except of Julia's manager, who tends to smack Julia on the head whenever doing something stupid. Getting mushy on some small parts, but mostly being purely a comedy, this is a manga about that awkward, cute love story between "an incompetent and an airhead", called that multiple times.
The art was nice, a little bit old-fashioned though, with big eyes and shiny hair. As models, everyone dresses really pretty. I liked how the girls are easily recognizeable: in such a big cast for its length, I never accidentally mixed two characters.
Talking about the characters, they are certainly the most important thing when it comes to comedies. Characters in Strawberry Shake Sweet are funny, goofy and cute. No matter how many times Julia gets a nosebleed because of fantacizing over Ran, the beauty salon owner stirs up all the trouble for her entertainment, or (a half of) Zlay begins over with their antics, I found it as hilarious as at first.
Julia is hardworking, lovesick baka protagonist who fell (hard) for her kouhai Ran. Ran is honest, goofy and dense, completely oblivious to being the subject of Julia's musings.
What I liked is that the roles the two of them had weren't that of the stereotypical "male/female" character as in the rest of yuri (and yaoi, for that matter) that I watched/read. There isn't the line of seme/uke, these girls are simply teenagers in love. A little confused and unexperienced, sure, a little stupid, and most of the time outright hilarious, their misunderstandings made me laugh out loud at several points.
Isn't love, at first, always like that? Awkward, cute and kinda complicated. Before we make it even more complicated.