Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui

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Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Molly Drury
Reviewed by Molly Drury
Summary: Strawberry Marshmallow is a great manga, with well created characters, simple but effective plots and good humour, and although it is not the best example of the genre, I would still recommend it to fans or younger readers.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 184 Date: March 2007
Publisher: Tokyopop Press Inc
ISBN: 978-1598164947

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Strawberry Marshmallow is a slice-of-life manga by Barasui that follows the day to day lives of sixteen year old Nobue, her twelve year old sister Chika, and Chika's friends Miu and Matsuri. The little girls try to solve problems and help each other out, but things don't always go well. Leading to a slow paced, heart warming manga that's basic premise is 'cute girls do cute things in cute ways'. Sounds exciting doesn't it? Don't be fooled! Strawberry Marshmallow, like most slice-of-life manga and anime is full of gentle, subtle and slightly obscure humour.

The first manga sees the girls trying to help Nobue quit smoking, sleeping over at Nobue and Chika's house and other little adventures. As usual the manga is split into lots of little sections, each with a short story line of its own that links into the mangas overall storyline. The storylines are always simple, sweet little plots with problems that concern twelve year old girls. Miu who is quite superficial, stubborn and at times a little mean. Matsuri is a sweet, shy little girl who is described as being a 'cry-baby' by Nobue. Chika is probably the most normal out of all the characters. Her sister Nobue, despite being the oldest, is not the most responsible adult, usually leaving the girls to sort out their own squabbles.

Strawberry Marshmallow delivers exactly what it promises. The characters are cute, but also nicely well-rounded and realistic, as they have their feisty, mean moments like all little girls. The manga finds a good balance, managing to be cute, but not sickly sweet. Slice-of-life manga is always very much a love or hate genre, and Strawberry Marshmallow is no exception. Some might even find the manga boring with its lack of magical girls, giant robots, panty-shots and girls with long flowing hair and huge sparkly eyes, but it is the humour that really makes this genre appealing. Also, we can't all relate to manga full of beautiful, often angst ridden, boys and girls who are trying to defeat an evil figure or overcome a colossal hurdle, but we can all relate to life, and a fair few of us where once twelve year old girls.

The manga is still unfinished, with five bound volumes published, and originally appeared in the Japanese shonen manga magazine Dengeki Daioh published by MediaWorks in 2002. The manga has since been published by Tokyopop and Kurokawa as of 2007. Early chapters of the manga, especially within the first volume, see Nobue breaking the fourth wall fairly often as she addresses the reader. Barasui's art style suits the story and characters personalities. The girls are all very cute, and the art style reflects that, while keeping nice soft, clean lines and a lovely amount of details, especially on the outside world. During each chapter there is a small character profile of sorts, showing one of the girls in a different outfit for each season, these add a nice touch to break up the chapters, also allowing a little insight into each of the girl's characters.

As a manga fan, and a fan of the slice-of-life genre, I would give Strawberry Marshmallow a rating of four out of five stars. Strawberry Marshmallow is a great manga, with well-created characters, simple but effective plots and good humour, and although it is not the best example of the genre, I would still recommend it to fans or younger readers. Older readers will enjoy Alex and Ada Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn.

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Buy Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Strawberry Marshmallow: v.1 by Barasui at Amazon.com.

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