Depicting the everyday life of four pre-adolescent girls and their older sister figure, Ichigo Mashimaro (Strawberry Marshmallow) doesn't have excessive drama, or supernatural events, or giant robots. Just the antics of four girls, two 12 year olds, two 11 year olds, somewhat cuter acting and more childlike than perhaps is entirely realistic. This notwithstanding, for raw cuteness with added snark, the anime, and the manga, should be recommended.
Originally a Shonen manga series by Barasui, created in 2001, later adapted in 2005 to a video game, and an anime series in 2005. An OAV adaptation was released in early 2007 and another one, entitled Encore in early 2009.
- A-Cup Angst: Oh Miu, poor deluded Miu.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Chika occasionally has this reaction to Miu. It shows that she's not so different.
- Adult Child: Nobue, to an extent; on more than one occasion, she acts less mature than her 12 year old sister.
- Nobue isn't really a 20 year old, she just plays one on TV, so some childish behaviour is to be expected.
- All Just a Dream: The first episode of Encore, after Miu gets knocked out while attempting to do a backflip.
- Anime Accent Absence: Averted. Ana Coppola is notably a Japanophile who knows more about Japanese culture than her native friends.
- Plus she forgot how to speak English despite being from England.
- Art Evolution: Very noticeable if one reads the series from the first few issues.
- Asleep in Class: At one point Ana falls asleep, and when the teacher goes to wake her, Matsuri protests that they should let her sleep. In another classroom, Jerkass boke Cloudcuckoolander Miu falls asleep, and the teacher asks Chika not to wake her.
- Attention Whore: Miu.
- Audience Surrogate: Nobue.
- Beach Episode
- Big Sister Instinct
- Big Fancy House: Ana's.
- Big Friendly Dog: Frusciante, who is friendly to anyone but Miu.
- Bird Run
- Bland-Name Product: Nobue's Mild Even cigarettes.
- Blank White Eyes: Episode 5.
- Blind Without'Em: Matsuri, which leads to some very dangerous situations in the public bath.
- Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Every scene involving Miu doing something stupid and Chika commenting on it.
- Taken Up to Eleven in chapter 61 with many repeated cuts of Miu giving a dumb excuse for her mistakes and Chika giving a different comment each time.
Miu: "I'm worried about the future of Japan."
Chika: "How does that make you late?!"
- Broke Episode: An ongoing theme is Nobue's lack of funds.
- But Not Too Foreign: Ana, who hails from the West Country (Cornwall, to be precise), in South West England.
- Butt Monkey: Whenever the younger-younger girls' rarely-seen male classmate Sasazuka does appear, he's usually being told by the teacher to stand in the hall.
- Miu seems to think that Ana and Matsuri are this. Everyone else knows Miu is.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Likely non-romantic, although with Miu all bets are off.
- Cool Big Sis: Nobue.
- Media Research Failure: Quite a few people mis-labeled it as Shojo, such as Amazon.com They even go so far as to say that it's obviously targeted at adolescent girls and that older viewers will find it cloying.
- The Cutie: Miu.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Happens to Ana whenever she shows that she can actually speak very good Japanese (and next to no English).
- Dojikko: Matsuri.
- Drop-In Character: Miu, even in the middle of the night.
- Hair Decorations: Miu and Chika are usually shown wearing hair decorations.
- Fable Remake: Miu retells Cinderella in one chapter of the manga, with Matsuri as Cinderella, Chika and Ana as the stepsisters, Nobue as the prince, and herself as the fairy godmother who marries the prince at the end.
- Faux Paw: In episode 51, Matsuri and Miu each don kitty ears. Matsuri does the Faux Paw maneuver (just batting, no licking), to Nobue's delight. Miu behaves more like a cat that's lashing out. Nobue doesn't think so highly of this.
- Festival Episode
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Miu.
- To a point. Occasionally Averted in some parts of the anime and manga where the girls still invite her to places and include her in their general daily life despite what a pain she is. Nobue outright states in the manga "You and Chika are our best friends too." and goes to effort to console Miu when she has her breakdown. Chika is arguably Miu's toughest critic and she still gets the most visibly and tearfully upset if Miu is seriously hurt. It's more that she's just a loopy sister to these girls instead of being someone they resent on any level.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Nobue and Miu are pretending that Miu's dead. One of Nobue's "proofs" is that Miu, despite "having been" very ticklish, doesn't react to the most severe tickling. Except that she does, of course.
- The Generic Guy: Chika.
- Girlish Pigtails: Miu.
- Goldfish Scooping Game
- Hair Colors: Miu is the classic red-haired anime character, British-born Ana the blond, Chika the typical anime brown or black haired girl, and Matsuri is gray at eleven, just to round out the mix with a touch of the unusual.
- Headbutt Thermometer
- Hot Mom: Ana's mother is a blond, bespectacled beauty. From the glimpse we get of Nobue and Chika's mother we can conclude she is rather pretty too.
- Hot Springs Episode
- I'll Kill You!
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me: Nobue's first interaction with the character Ana is to examine her, note things about her that make her cute, and then suddenly grab her proclaiming, "She's MINE!!" In her defense, she was really drunk when this happened.
- Jerkass: Miu.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted, there's quite a variety of clothes worn throughout the series.
- Lolicon: Nobue is accused and teased about this this by Miu on occasion for her I'm Taking Her Home with Me tendencies and reactions to Matsuri and Ana's Cuteness Proximity.
- Look Behind You!: Subverted and played straight in one scene.
- Magical Girl: Shinohara the angel, from Miu's dream sequence.
- Meganekko: Matsuri. Ana's mother also appears to be one.
- Must Have Nicotine: Nobue. Big time.
- No Fourth Wall
- No Smoking: Nobue is 16 in the manga, but is depicted as 20 in the anime, giving her an excuse to freely smoke and drink.
- Though she first claims to be 20 while wearing what is clearly a high school uniform.
- There is a chapter in the manga in which Nobue tries to stop smoking, with funny results. At the beginning she actually adresses the reader that 16 year old girl's aren't allowed to smoke in japan.
- Oblivious Younger Sibling: subverted.
- The Ojou: Ana.
- Otaku Surrogate
- Panty Shot: After staying "clean" for 15 episodes, Miu finally has a pair of them in Encore.
- Parental Abandonment
- Phenotype Stereotype: Nobue fawns over Ana's "typically British" blond hair & blue eyes, while Miu is jealous of Ana's breasts developing before hers.
- And of course Ana's mother is blond too.
- Light hair is fairly common in Britain (compared to the more southerly European nations), so arguably it is "typical" that Ana and her mum are fair-haired.
- Poke the Poodle: Encore introduces the cutest, most pathetic attempts at a demon facilitating hell.
- Potty Dance: Miu does it while lying on the bed because holding it in is temporarily preferable to entering the bathroom without a Varia Suit.
- Puni Plush: Rather evident, but throttled to new heights in the Encore OVA.
- Real Place Background: The girls apparently live in the town of Hamamatsu in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture, and the author sometimes sneaks in local landmarks.
- Running Gag: Miu lying face-down on the floor after skipping some off-screen violence.
- This is played with one time in the manga where in the following panel Nobue says she hasn't hit her yet, and Miu says she thought she could skip that part if she lay down in advance. Cue Miu lying down again, this time with a bump on her head.
- Sadist Teacher: The teacher in Ana's class is constantly punishing one particular student at any opportunity and for no reason.
Ana is sleeping in class. The teacher walks over to her desk
Teacher: "My my, what a magnificent nap we're having."
Matsuri: "Shhhhh! Shhhhh! Please don't wake her up!"
Teacher stares at Matsuri for a moment
Teacher: "Wouldn't Sasazuka like to have a nap too?"
cut to teacher starting his lesson with Sasazuka absent
- Santa Claus
- Scenery Porn
- Shout-Out: Matsuri's ferret is named John, and Ana's dog is called Frusciante, leading one to believe that Barasui is a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan.
- Barasui references a lot of western music in various ways throughout - for example, Nobue is a big fan of Aphex Twin and µ-Ziq.
- Standing in the Hall
- Straight Man: Chika.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Miu and Nobue's friend, when independently asked, think of Nobue like a boss.
- Strawberry Shorthand
- Surprise Santa Encounter
- Talking with Signs: Manga chapter 24.
- Twelve-Episode Anime There's two OVAs, the first one has 12 episodes, the second got 13, the third season returns to 12.
- Including the DVD-only bonus episodes and TV specials that were broadcasts months after the initial series ran, this totals to 14, 16, and 14 respectively.
- Ferret Mascot: John, a normal, if mischievous, ferret.
- We Need a Distraction
- Wiki Walk