Mmmm, strawberries! With their bright red bodies, charming star-shaped leaves, and tart, juicy taste, it's not hard to see why they're so well-liked the world over. They go great with chocolate. They make a good flavoring for ice cream, milk, or yogurt. They make delicious jams and syrups, perfect for toast, pancakes, or crepes. They're just plain good all by themselves.
It's not surprising, then, that strawberries have also become one of the more popular symbolic fruit. Not quite as much as apples, but they've earned their own place. They generally show up in order to imply one of two things:
- Extreme cuteness. Innocence or sweetness may be thrown in on the side. Somewhere along the line, it was decided that strawberries were "the cute fruit," and they wear the designation with pride. See the Trope Namer, Strawberry Shortcake, for a particularly good example.
- Love, especially passion. Perhaps it's because they're shaped kind of like hearts. In Western examples, strawberries as symbols of love and/or passion tends to come with a side-order of Erotic Eating—especially if the strawberry involved is covered in chocolate. (See also describing someone as "Tasting like strawberries.") In Eastern productions, strawberries can mean more innocent love—and even occasionally Girls Love.
In Japan, "Strawberry" is a popular word for utterly random anime titles, though you can bet that series with "Strawberry" in the title will be an adorable shojou series... or at the very least, quirky. As it happens, the Japanese word for "Strawberry" is similar to (as in sounds exactly the same as) the popular name "Ichigo," though there are lots of different ways of spelling it. As such, expect puns.
- Hinaichigo (Her name means, translated from Japanese, "Strawberry Hina") from Rozen Maiden loves strawberries, more exactly Onigiri (a.k.a. rice balls) with strawberry filling (She, at first, could not name the food, describing it as black, red and "unyuu").
- I My Me! Strawberry Eggs
- Strawberry Shake Sweet and Strawberry Panic are Girls Love examples.
- Ichigo 100%/Strawberry 100%.
- Ichigo Mashimaro/Strawberry Marshmallow, which is definitely cute and quirky.
- L from Death Note loves strawberries, although he wasn't intended to be cute. His love of the fruit is played up in Fan Art.
- In one of the omakes, Ryuk is reading an issue of Strawberry 100%, and complains that it should be named Apple 100% instead, since he finds apples more delicious.
- The main character of Tokyo Mew Mew is named Ichigo, and all her weapons and attacks have some variation of "strawberry" in the name. And yes—she's cute.
- The main character of Bleach is also named Ichigo... but he's a guy. The fact that his name can also mean "strawberry" (it's actually written with two kanji meaning "the one who protects") is used to tease him and suggest that he's not tough.
- In an Erotic Eating variation in Hayate the Combat Butler, Ayumu eats a strawberry so seductively it gets censored. (The strawberry, we mean.)
- The first Opening Theme for Wagamama Fairy Mirumo de Pon! included a line that translates to "with a strawberry-like feeling" ("ichigo no you na kibun de"). Appropriately, the accompanying image was Kaede's head on a strawberry being held by her Sweat Dropping crush.
- Gintama, and "Strawberry milk!"
- The main character of Yumeiro Patissiere is named Ichigo. She's out to spread smiles throughout the world, one cake at a time.
- The quirky student council president in the spinoff, Onegai Twins (and the main character's friend in the original Onegai Teacher) is named "Ichigo" (using the kanji for "strawberry"). And is even voiced by Tamura Yukari.
- According to the villain in GoldenEye, Natalya tastes like strawberries (to James Bond replies "I wouldn't know", as she hadn't fallen for him yet).
- To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar: The town's distinguishing tradition (and one of the things that perks the trio up) is their Strawberry Pie competition. The Drag Queens convince them to go all out and try and range of strawberry themes and dress in glorious bright red. The actual day and the strawberry explosion occurs at a climax of a series of events where they draw out the passions of several of the town folk. The symbolism of the bright red lace in the grainy agricultural town is obvious.
- Sleeper: Woody Allen is foraging at a farm growing enormous produce, and knocks out a guard with a strawberry the size of a beachball.
- Across the Universe. SO MUCH STRAWBERRY! And it can be interpreted however you darn well want to interpret it.
- While Kamikaze Girls doesn't feature strawberries in any way, there is a scene where girly Momoko discovers that tomboy "Ichiko"'s real name is actually "Ichigo". Momoko then procedes to call her "Strawberry" repeatedly. Violent Hilarity Ensues.
- In the second Iron Man movie, Tony is on his way to Pepper's office to apologize for some of his behavior and stops to buy some strawberries at the side of the road as a peace offering. When she sees them though, it only makes things worse. Turns out they are the one thing she's allergic to (and he forgot). Good intentions, but not the best way to say "Sorry I've been a jerk and not paid attention to you"
- In the Discworld neither Granny Weatherwax (bitter old witch) nor Moist Lipwig (conman and a crook) like strawberries.
- In Lost, when Kate kisses Sawyer, he says she tastes like strawberries (to which she replies "you taste like fish biscuits").
- Firefly: Kaylee loves strawberries. The un-aired pilot "Serenity" features her eating a strawberry quite seductively. In the fancy party on Persephone in "Shindig," the strawberries are clearly her favorite item on the laden buffet table.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Very Special Episode about Willow's magic addiction, her magic dealer told her she tastes like strawberries, which is drug users' slang for a woman who trades sex for drugs.
- In The Mentalist, Lisbon's love of strawberries is brought up reasonably frequently. On at least one occasion Jane has bought them for her to apologise, and she has been seen eating strawberries multiple times. If not strawberries, then she and Jane will be eating apples, the forbidden fruit. Yes, it's shocking that fans believe they have feelings for each other.
- The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever," which was named after an orphanage.
- "Today," written by Randy Carter and popularized by John Denver, is an excellent example of Western-style strawberry imagery:
Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine,
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
Ere I forget all the joy that is mine today
- Scholars have debated for years the purpose of a scene in Richard III in which Richard requests strawberries from a courtier for no apparent reason, in the midst of a drama about treason and evil.
- Well, this actually happened in real life. Before he had Lord Hastings executed, Richard did actually have some strawberries brought into the chamber. This was probably done to put Hastings off his guard before he had him beheaded just outside the council room.
- Strawberries also feature on Desdemona's handkerchief in Othello. Iago specifically describes the hanky while using it as a plot device to convince Othello of his wife's betrayal. The symbolism of pure white cloth stained by blood-red spots is evident, and it's echoed in the bedroom murder scene—unusually, strawberries mean just the opposite of happiness and sweetness here.
- Katamari Damacy: One of the Prince's many Royal Cousins is Ichigo, a Kawaiiko who boasts her 'strawberry figure' as one of her Charm Points. However, she's also a Green-Eyed Monster and a pure Attention Whore, something the King of All Cosmos himself has repeatedly noted.
- Subverted in the Space Invaders-like Atari 2600 game Plaque Attack, which depicts strawberries, as well as other fruits, as enemies.
- Strawberries are Princess Yggdra's Trademark Favorite Food in Yggdra Union, though lots of other characters like them too. The Yggdra Unison drama CD has her being bribed into ridiculous things by the promise of one, and attacking her comrades when they lose it before they can give it to her. One of the creator's 4koma explains that Yggdra's father set the kingdom's botanists to creating an entirely new breed of strawberry just for her.
- A PC-98 Touhou Character, Yumemi Okazaki, has a theme named Strawberry Crisis!!
- The second fruit in Pac-Man is a strawberry (after cherries).
- King's Quest VII: When the packrat is offered salt, he offers to trade it for a chocolate malt. Valanice will refuse because she wants to "watch [her] figure" (I hope Graham appreciates that, Val). Rosella will ask if the rat's got strawberry instead. (She inherited her daddy's sweet tooth, apparently).
- In Kirby 64, the first course of Neo Star takes place in a jungle teeming with strawberry plants in fruiting season.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: "I'll have you know I like strawberries much more than bananas!"
- It is often mentioned in the 18+ Otome Game Under the Moon that female lead Ashe's favorite food is strawberries, and she is presented as being cute, innocent and irresistible. (Just ask the male characters, they all concur.)
- Strawberry Shortcake is about as sickeningly cute as this trope gets.
- When Beast Boy and Cyborg go inside Raven's head in Teen Titans the place where Raven's happy side lives has flying strawberries in it.
- A Noodle Incident in Galaxy Rangers has Shane snarking about an early attempt at Kiwi-engineered strawberries the "size of a basketball. Tasted like it had been through a hoop a million times."
- Lotso from Toy Story 3 smells like strawberries, which makes him appear more likable than he is.
- Hieronymus Bosch puts lots of strawberries (among the many other fruits) in the sensuality-filled center panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights.
- The programming language Perl, described as the "swiss-army duct tape of the internet," has a Windows version, officially endorsed by the creator, Larry Wall, called Strawberry Perl.