Junpei Manaka, currently a student but more importantly an aspiring movie director who wants to put his all in creating the best movies that he possibly can.
However, Junpei isn’t exactly the most secure or decisive of boys and his relationship with girls is confusing to say the least. However, one thing that will never leave his mind is the beautiful girl that dropped out in front of him on the school roof on that fateful trip to see the sunset back in middle school and more importantly, the glimpse of her strawberry-patterned panties, the vision that is to rule his life for a long, long time to come.
Fast forward time just a little and Manaka finds himself in high school with both new and old friends and part of the Film Studies Club that he himself helped start up again. However, if you know Manaka then you know one thing – he is still unsure about a girl and is thus stuck in the middle of a four-way love triangle and it seems no matter what he does, all the girls still like him…
…it is just a pity he can’t decide which one he likes back the best!
Ichigo 100% is based on the popular manga that appeared in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine by female mangaka, Mizuki Kawashita. It consists of 26 short 12 minute long episodes that were originally aired in a half-hour block, and is directed by Osamu Sekita and produced by anime studio powerhouse Madhouse.
The story falls into the shonen-orientated genre in that it comes across as a ‘boy with multiple girls who fall in love with him’ kind of story, but then adds to the complexity by splashing on a lot of romance and drama, balancing everything out with loads of comedy and then finishing it off with sprinkle of fan service here and there. The end mix is a nicely balanced, character driven show that keeps you laughing, frustrated and happy, immediately opening the show up to a much larger audience that may originally have been targeted by the initial premise alone.
If you like the whole ‘boy can’t decide which girl he likes the most but continues to interact with all of them anyway’ type of story, then you are sure to enjoy Ichigo 100% because outside of this main story element the show doesn’t offer all that much else apart for some seriously funny physical comedy. All the usual overwrought teenage angst is there on display, and there are points where you just want to strangle a character for not noticing the bleeding obvious at times!
Visually Ichigo 100% doesn’t present much to write home about, but its animation and designs are certainly up to scratch and the show looks as polished as any other comedic/romantic anime show currently on TV. The line work is all pretty clean and the colouring stands out nice and brightly, making it fairly easy on the eyes. Backgrounds aren’t overly elaborate but they get the job done and help set the scene, so I guess there really aren’t any complaints there.
The character designs are all pretty simple, nice and neat, but with exaggerated facial characteristics to help distinguish the characters from one another. (Note: thanks to the occasional fan service panty shot that gets served up, school uniforms do seem a little shorter than normal, but I’m getting used to this in anime anyway).
The voice actors for Ichigo 100% all do a bang up job and there isn’t really a single voice that stands out as being painful or just plain bad. Similarly, the show’s musical score is a great affair with some decent arrangements slotted in here and there. Because of its comical and high energy nature, the show kicks off with a high paced and cute little number called “Shine of Voice” by J-pop sensation dream and ends off on a similar note with the addictively cute “Ike Ike” by Hinoi Team.
Ichigo 100% is pretty average I guess, with decent enough visuals and sound. The story is frustratingly slow and painful at times, but admittedly it did make me laugh out loud more than once and that always goes a long way to scoring well. The drama and romance lie heavy on this title, but thankfully the scriptwriters go a long way in always keeping its sense of humour and energy intact, making it a fairly easy watch and something that won’t demand all that much attention from you in the first place.
I’m not sure who Ichigo 100% appeals to the most, but if you like the comedic ‘boy with multiple girl trouble’ romantic stuff, then perhaps this title is for you.
Me? I could have done with some more explosions please.
Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichigo_100%25