Title: Ichigo 100%
Genres: Ecchi, Comedy, Romance, Harem, School Life, Drama, Shounen
Author: Kawashita Mizuki
Artist: Kawashita Mizuki
Start Date: 2002
Number of chapters at review: 167 - Complete
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 167
In any relationship, first impressions are important especially when trying to gain the affection of someone else. But, what if that first impression was by a panty? Especially, one that had a design of strawberries and was worn by a mysterious beauty? For Junpei, going up to the roof of the school lead to such an intriguing event. Aspiring to enter into the film industry, Junpei realize that such a scene with such a beautiful girl would be perfect to film. Will Junpei ever get to film this mysterious beauty?
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Superb and beautifully detailed. The detail is incredibly high but it doesn't interfere with the layout flow of the manga. Kawashita Mizuki placements of speech bubbles were very interesting also.
Since most of the female characters were semi-nude or nude but censored, one could tell that Kawashita Mizuki's understanding of anatomy is excellent. The shapes and curvatures were really amazing even when the characters were in different poses. I especially love the details on the toes and fingers. She wasn't lazy with it which I am extremely appreciative.
The facial expression were lively accompanied by body language. Each character conveyed fully what they were feeling in any situation by the well drawn expression. The scenes were clean and not over done as with other artists. Kawashita Mizuki is a very good artist. One of the best one that I've seen.
The thing that I wasn't well pleased was with some scenes that I thought had inappropriate postures. I know that this an ecchi manga but at times, the ecchi poses makes a scene unrealistic.
The plot deals with the interactions of a male protagonist with multiple love interests. His heart wavers between his love interests never really deciding upon who he should choose. It was an awkward introduction, but it drew me in. What progressed were emotional ups and downs throughout the manga. The plot was set up very well. Every indecision built up the pressure of the climax. It was such that I had to see how the story played out in the end.
For the most part, the realism that Ichigo 100% created, I found believable. The ending though was pitiful. I thought this manga had so much potential, but at the end, I was thoroughly disappointed with the sudden turn of events. The story peaked upon reaching the climax and then collapsed upon the complexity of, what I would say, the author's indecisiveness. The author's final pairing was a respectable one, but how the overall story ended was, at best, open ended and lacking.
I also felt as if the author didn't take into consideration the overall complexity of the tangled emotions of the relationships which is a discussion thread in itself. Even though I didn't get the impression that this manga was a harem type manga, Ichigo 100% is a harem type manga. That was the only way I could cope with such an unsatisfactory ending in my own personal opinion. It was unrealistic in that it was the author's way of trying to appease everyone.
From another perspective, the end didn't signify the real end but rather a restart. That was the impression that was instilled upon me. I don't know whether the author gave this away in the spur of the moment. The plot had always hinted at only one conclusive love interest and that was the driving force for the whole story. Even the author's own comment of her final decision seemed to suggest that things will play themselves out once more. Personally, the mangaka indecisiveness could be seen clearly.
Just when the story reached a critical point, things concluded at a pace that was totally uncalled for. It was clearly bad writing, and it could've been that the mangaka was either rushed or desperately tried to find a solution to the sheer complexity of it all. The ending need a reworking to allow further character development and refining.
I also strongly believe that the author left out important considerations among the relationships between certain characters that could have made Ichigo 100% much better and showcased better character growth. This was another area of disappointment.
I found the most of the cast members were enjoyable. There were some characters that weren't even need. Was the mangaka trying hard to make Ichigo 100% a real harem? It wasn't needed. Other than that, the other cast members made for memorable moments.
Personally, I felt that the theme was that a person shouldn't be indecisive and try covering it up by being nice. From my own experience, people tend to be hope in a false illusion thinking that things continue on like they did. Things change and a person has to be decisive or else he risk losing everything he holds dear.
By believing in such false illusions, reality isn't confronted head on. When reality slaps people in the face, it's hard and cold. People have to confront reality and learn how to be decisive, or, in other words, hopefully, become wiser.
Even if this was a harem-type manga, for the most part, the story was well played out. After reading Ichigo 100%, I could see why this was such a popular manga. If I were to compare this to video games, one could say that why was something like Mario Brothers 3 so popular even though there were, at that time, dozens of other platformers? It goes back to how refined the game play was for Mario Brothers 3. Using game terminology to describe Ichigo 100% (if it were a game), the game-play experience was awesome due to well polished mechanics which made it memorable. Well, like Final Fantasy 12, the ending felt incomplete or rushed.
Truthfully, it's hard for me to recommend or not recommend this manga. I felt as if it's a love-it-or-hate-it type manga. One part of me says that the reader should move on yet another part of me say that it's at least worth looking into. This I leave entirely up to the reader's discretion. If anyone wants to read about something similar but has a better conclusion, read Yume de Aetara. It's not as ecchi, and what I thought, a slower pace. Yet, the conclusion in Yume de Aetara was satisfactory in that it was consistent with the rest of its' story. Even if the male protagonist in Yume de Aetara were to choose any of the possible love interests, the author would be skilled enough to keep the story consistent and believable.
With all this said, I must also confess that no other manga has provoked such strong emotions personally. When I didn't notice, I was completely engrossed in the realism of Ichigo 100%. It was emotionally tense. I became fond of the three main characters. Even if I was unsatisfied with an inconclusive ending, it was also relieving that author seem to hint at future possibilities. What might have been viewed as the closing of the story by most was viewed personally like a brand new start to the love story at a more mature level. I suppose the only thing I could say is, Kawashita Mizuki, if you wanted to provoke my emotions, you did a very good job. Hats off to you ma'am.
Last edited by segua; February 25, 2010 at 01:04 AM.