Depicting the everyday life of four pre-adolescent girls and their older sister figure, Strawberry Marshmallow (Ichigo Mashimaro in the original Japanese) 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, acting somewhat cuter 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.
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.
That's not because of her being Japanophile, but her coming to Japan at a very young age and her parents only speaking Japanese at home (so she could learn Japanese faster, which has Gone Horribly Right, since she did actually amost entirely forgot, how to speak English).
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, JerkassbokeCloudcuckoolander Miu falls asleep, and the teacher asks Chika not to wake her.
Given how she acts in class, this is more the teacher knowing she can't change Miu's behavior, and rather than pointlessly waking her and having to deal with it during class, taking advantage of her falling asleep to teach properly.
Conversation Cut: Hiroki Matsui, cosmetics salesman, is punched in the eye, breaking his glasses and causing them to hang under his nose by one ear, thanks to Nobue becoming convinced that he's a pedophile. A few panels later, he's in front of the company president, resigning. For whatever reason, he has not removed his glasses.
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.
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.
Gag Boobs: In "Miu's News", Miu shoves stuffed toys under Chika's shirt while she's sleeping.
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.
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.
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 EncoreOVA.
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.
Rubber Face: Nobue does that to Miu, after she starts making fun of her for wearing a girly dress on a part-time job as waitress.
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
In the last episode of the the main amime, the Teacher tells Saszuka to go stand in the hall, to which he replies "I don't want to." Cuts to Teacher standing out in the hall.
Whole Plot Reference: 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.