Ichigo 100 % is a mainstream harem anime, meaning the male protagonist is constantly approached by sexy females. High school student Manaka Junpei has to choose between four girls who all declare their love for him. He struggles to keep sane and not get aroused, but is constantly placed in challenging situations. It’s both fun and sweet. And actually, it’s the first time ever that I see an erection bulge in a mainstream anime. It happened in the “onsen episode” of course.
I was recommended the series by my Japanese friend, who used to read the manga in Shounen Jump. My friend was a bit surprised that an “etchy” manga like that was published in a boys magazine, but apparently it was within the borders of what was okay.
What I like most about anime is the reality aspect. I don’t like SF, but I don’t mind SF aspects of an anime that takes place in contemporary Japan. Since Japan is such an extremely homogenous society, watching realistic anime lets you get a quite accurate glimpse into it. It always gives me a little kick to recognize something less obvious than the konbini (convenience store) chains. Like the design of stamps or brands of notebooks.
In Ranma½ and Ichigo 100% I noticed that they use the same kind of blue plastic stool in the baths, despite Ranma½ was made in the 80s and Ichigo 100% in 2005 (the anime). I think my host family had the same kind of little plastic stool, though I don’t remember the colour; the traditional Japanese bath setup seems to be as rigid as the stroke order of a kanji. Here are the two scenes with almost 20 years in between them:
Another very rigid setup is that of the school. All animes have the same ring signal, just like all schools in all of Japan, I suppose. The same ringing is used in the opening and ending of my favorite Japanese radio show: ハイスクール (High School) on FM Tanabe. And the school buildings seem to have exactly the same design all over Japan and in all anime. Quite a nice design actually, with windows spanning over the whole facade. But that’s another post.
I liked Ichigo 100%. It’s very well drawn and romantic, but mostly frustrating, since nothing really happens; as soon as Junpei is going to kiss someone, you know that they will be interrupted in some way. It’s in the genre. Some screenshots below. Notice the beautiful anime sky. And the characteristic nosebleed trope.