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, milkshakes, 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 shoujo series... or at the very least, quirky. As it happens, the Japanese word for "Strawberry" is a homonym to the popular name Ichigo, though there are lots of different ways of spelling it, and to the number 15. As such, expect puns.
Before adding an example, make sure the strawberry actually means something. This trope is not just "Strawberries are mentioned".
- Frankenberry of the Monster Cereals is themed around strawberries, to the point of having his fingernails decorated with them. They also double as a shorthand for his sweet and sensitive personality.
- 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. The fact that he has red hair doesn't help.
- In an Erotic Eating variation in Hayate the Combat Butler, Ayumu eats a strawberry so seductively it gets censored. (The strawberry, we mean.)
- 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 proceeds to call her "Strawberry" repeatedly. Violent Hilarity Ensues.
- Hinaichigo from Rozen Maiden loves strawberries, more exactly mochi (a.k.a. "rice cake") with strawberry filling, also known as ichigo daifuku. She, at first, could not name the food, describing it as black, red and "unyuu".
- One of the main characters in Seiyu's Life! goes exclusively by her Stage Name Ichigo Moesaki, and has crafted the persona of being a princess from the strawberry planet. She also wears strawberry-shaped hair clips and most of the stuff in her apartment is strawberry-themed.
- Strawberry Marshmallow, which is definitely cute and quirky.
- Strawberry 100% (or also Ichigo 100%). It's started when a guy meets a mysterious cute girl who wears/wore strawberry panties.
- Strawberry Shake Sweet and Strawberry Panic! are Girls' Love examples.
- 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.
- in Tsukiuta, Arata's Trademark Favorite Food is strawberry milk. He's the type with a "cool and mysterious" front, but a cute dorky side underneath.
- 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.
- The main character of Yumeiro Pâtissière is named Ichigo. She's out to spread smiles throughout the world, one cake at a time.
- The Opening Theme for My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! includes a shot of Maria revealing a large cake covered in strawberries to the main character, Katarina, who she is in love with. To hammer the message in even further, looking closely youll notice some of the strawberries decorating the sides of the cake layers look like hearts as well.
- Frank Miller's Ronin (1983): After he and Riley made love, the Ronin told her why it is important to accept pleasure when it is given.
"Once, years ago, I saved the life of a wise old priest. Grateful, he made a gift to me of these few precious words: If you find yourself on a cliffside, trapped, with a hungry tiger waiting above, and a hungry tiger waiting belo, and by chance you spy a single strawberry growing from the cliffside, pluck the strawberry, and bite into it, and taste it. We are on that cliffside. Our lives are as brief and fragile as a cherry blossom's, and just as fragrant."
- Hieronymus Bosch puts lots of strawberries (among the many other fruits) in the sensuality-filled center panel of The Garden of Earthly Delights.
- 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 occur 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.
- In Iron Man 2, 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 Wild Strawberries they represent the joy and innocence of youth. Sara picks wild strawberries to give to her uncle for his birthday. When her cousin Sigfrid finds her and starts trying to have sex with her, her apron is stained with strawberries.
- The Matrix Resurrections: Humans are now able to grow straberries in real world, which was previously unthinkable.
- The innocent-yet-wise six-year-old Nell Harris in Aunt Dimity and the Duke is seen eating strawberries, and the book's recipe is for "Nell's Strawberry Tarts". Later, engaged lovers Emma and Derek are seen eating strawberries and drinking champagne at the long-awaited fête.
- A rather sinister example in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, where Alec insists that the titular heroine taste the strawberries they picked... to the point of forcing them into her mouth. Doubles as Foreshadowing, as he rapes her later in the book.
- A Catholic priest in Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! series remarks that a good association of ideas is when you see a strawberry and it evoked the Sacred Heart of Jesus. A bad association of ideas is when you see a depiction of the Sacred Heart and you imediately feel hungry for the taste of a strawberry. (see Mythology, below).
- In Lost, when Kate kisses Sawyer, he says she tastes like strawberries (to which she replies "you taste like fish biscuits").
- Firefly: The sexy, sweet, and seemingly naive Kaylee loves strawberries. The 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.
- Expect strawberries in anything featuring Jewel Staite nowadays, usually as a reference to Firefly. For instance, the Stargate Atlantis episode "Brain Storm", which featured a.) romance between Dr. McKay and Staite's Dr. Keller and b.) Dr. Keller eating strawberries.
- 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.
- Kamen Rider Gaim features fruit-themed armors (called Arms), and while Gaim mainly uses Orange Arms he also sometimes uses a Strawberry Arms that's armed with throwing knives. Strawberry's "cuteness" is referenced in the Hyper Battle DVD by Kamen Rider Zangetsu when he's testing alternate Arms for possible use in combat - he tries out the Strawberry Arms form, but decides it's too cute for him.
- In the The Incredible Hulk season 2 opener, "Married," newlywed David feeds his bride, Carolyn, these as they sit in a gazebo right after their wedding. She tells him she'll eat all the strawberries he wants to give her and they share a passionate kiss.
- 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
- The song "Strawberry Wine" by Deana Carter is about a woman's first love.
- Strawbery bubblegum is mentioned in "Faster" by Matt Nathanson, which opens with these lines:
You're so delicious
You're so soft, sweet on the tip of my tongue
You taste like sunlight and strawberry bubblegum
- The music video for Angel In Disguise by Earl Thomas Conley features a woman eating strawberries in the ending scene (where several beautiful young women join the middle-aged Conley for breakfast, all tempting him in various ways).
- In mythology, Strawberries are connected to the Norse goddess of love, Freyja (also known as Frigga or Frigg). Also, a Norse legend exists where the spirits of children enter the afterlife by hiding in strawberries that are taken to heaven by Freyja, Odin's wife.
- The Roman Catholic devotional concept of the Sacred Heart of Jesus may well be a Christianised survival of the pre-Christian mythos. Iconographic representations show Jesus opening His robes to reveal a stylised heart underneath, floating free of His body; it has been remarked as to how this stylised representation looks less like an actual heart and more like a free-floating strawberry.note This has all the associations of love, comfort, reassurance, family, as the pre-Christian conception.
- 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 especially because the dye for the strawberries was allegedly made from the blood of dead virgins and it's echoed in the bedroom murder scene. Unusually, strawberries mean just the opposite of happiness and sweetness here.
- The Trash Pack plays with the "cute" idea with the character Sore Berry. She's one of the few female Trashies, she's dolled up with a leafy bow on her head...and she's moldy and rotting on one side of her face with ants crawling over her.
- On the more innocent side, is Strawberry Kiss from Shopkins, a toyline from the creators of the above Trash Pack. She is more traditionally cute and comes with a pre-grown flower crown encircling her head.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kirby: Squeak Squad sets this up with Kirby's strawberry cake. It goes out the window when the cake gets stolen and Kirby starts hunting down the gang who he thinks stole it. Is he cute? Yes. Innocent? Erm. Sweet? Definitely not right now.
- The Mother series subverts this with Strawberry Tofu (at least in the Japanese version). While it was originally meant as a joke on bad food combinations, someone actually went and made it and gave it to Itoi to try. It tasted about as well as one would expect. Not very.
- Subverted in Mario Party 6 with "Strawberry Shortfuse." The kitchen it's set in has a cute pastel color scheme, but the premise, in typical Mario Party cartoon violence, is to not get blown up.
- Bugsnax: The first Bugsnak the player encounters is the Strabby, a walking strawberry with googly eyes, and is considered the mascot of the series. The player later gets one as a pet that pilots hamster ball, allowing access to tight spaces.
- HuniePop 2 introduces "favourite ice cream flavour" as a character trait you can learn about for the dateable characters. New character Abia prefers strawberry, and is also the most overtly sexual character in the game (to the point where she worries she might be a sex addict). She's also a very sweet and occasionally naïve (though by no means innocent) person, potentially playing this trope both ways.
- 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.)
- Frog Raccoon Strawberry by Kyle Carrozza and John Berry. It's about a raccoon named Strawberry who wears a frog suit.
- Amethyst, from Heartcore, is often likened to a strawberry, which also happens to be TL Welker's favorite fruit.
- In Ménage à 3, Amber and Chanelle help Gary celebrate his thirtieth birthday by turning up in his bedroom wearing nothing but strawberries held on with whipped cream.
- 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.
- Lotso from Toy Story 3 smells like strawberries, which makes him appear more likable than he really is.
- Inverted in Making Fiends with Charlotte. She's as sweet, cheerful and cute as can be, but strawberries are one of the few things in the world Charlotte doesn't like.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 has a living (and obscenely adorable) strawberry cleverly named Berry.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Serious Steven", the old gem battlefield that surrounds the maze is overgrown with wild strawberries. The coloration is probably not a coincidence.
- In one episode of The Little Twins, Piper brings Petal (who's bedridden because of a frightening encounter with a snake) a strawberry dessert. Petal instantly brightens.
- The Family Guy episode "Peter's Progress" rather famously subverts this with a Cutaway Gag. Peter has a Past Life Memory where he was a strawberry, only for a worm to come along and burrow its way into him from the bottom. It then cuts to him taking a Shower of Angst, sobbing that he'll "never become a tasty pie".
- In French, "aller aux fraises" (literally "going to the strawberries") is an idiom which has several meanings, one of them being "looking for a remote place to have sex."