This is a episode commentary. It is intended for someone who has seen this episode, and will contain episode spoilers.

Strawberry Marshmallow: Episode 3 Commentary

House Call

Collage of Strawberry Marshmallow screenshots.

Nobue’s love for cute things is really starting to show up. I prefer how the manga handled the hat even more, though: Matsuri is concerned about how her hair looks, so she wants to buy a hat to cover it. However, that requires going out in public, so she needs a hat to wear in public to go and buy a hat. Don’t you just hate those situations? At Nobue’s request, Miu, reluctantly, lets Matsuri use one of hers, but Miu picks out a cat ears and tail outfit for Matsuri. It’s also Miu who pushes the whole “meow like a cat” thing in the manga.

There is one thing the anime can do which the manga cannot, and I knew it was coming based on the preview at the end of the last episode (which I saw before reading the related manga chapter): audio. Even though I love cats and can hug them and hold them forever thanks to a feline-oriented bit of Elmyra syndrome (Tiny Toon Adventures), I don’t care for the whole “cat girl” thing. Humans with cat or other animal ears, tails, etc. I actually find to be rather creepy. Wearing a cat-based outfit, on the other hand, is absolutely adorable, and Matsuri is especially cute in the role. I looked forward to this episode completely to hear her “meow” sentences, so perhaps I have a bit of Sakaki (AzuManga Daioh) to me as well. I can’t suggest any shared similarities with Nobue simply because her smoking and rampant drinking get in the way. Having been around a smoker any given day of my life through most of my youth, I don’t see how the girls can stand it.

Looking at Nobue and her adoring cute things, I get the impression she’s attracted to all the things she isn’t, to everything either she wasn’t as a child, or can never be as an adult. She’s 20. She drinks a lot. She smokes. She can never be a cute child again, and no one will see a drunk smoking a cigarette as “cute”.

Hearing the classroom conversation (which did fool me that it was Matsuri speaking English rather than Ana in the Japanese version), I found that the English voices are nicely close to the Japanese. If they were very different, then it would have been too distracting to use the their chosen method for handling English language spoken in the English dub. I still see very often people saying they won’t watch dubs, dubs are awful, horrible, can’t hold a candle to the Japanese original, and that English dubs shouldn’t exist (for any variety of reasons). I’m glad English dubs do exist, as there have been some very nice ones over since maybe about 2004 or so. It doesn’t simply make anime more accessible to a wider audience, but it allows me to watch rather than read episodes, although I must say that Strawberry Marshmallow has an amazing amount of easy-to-understand Japanese.

I don’t understand how the cat costume was supposed to “help” Matsuri in the situation she was in with Matsuri. This has to be the first time the manga’s story (regarding the hat) made sense to me, whereas the anime portion did not. Up until now, it’s been the other way around, as I follow the anime easily, but the manga makes little to no sense most of the time. The dub did suprise me by using “nya” rather than “meow”. I’m not sure which would have been better, but I have no complaints. Matsuri should have at least called Ana and let her know everyone was coming.

Ana’s bedroom looks very English, a good fit for her being an English girl rather than a Japanese girl. She goes a bit far out of her way to hide anything Japanese, though. After Miu jumps over the wall, and Nobue steps outside, there’s a pair of shoes there. I’m guessing those are just slippers for anyone who lives there who wants to step outside. After all, there would be no reason for Nobue to have slippers with her and out there.

Once again, Chika does the Osakan-style arm thing, in the dress room. (By the way, what’s with subtitling the name on the door when it’s already in English?) The next episode preview shows she’ll continue again in the next episode. I almost feel like I should make a collage of just that. If Chika has the arm thing, and Miu has the face-plant thing, did I miss anything recurring with Matsuri and Ana? I suppose crying for Matsuri, and having a shocked, anime-style face for Ana?

As a final thought, I do admit the not-as-evil-as-in-the-manga Miu does have some funny roles this episode. There’s nothing like the childlike enjoyment of ringing a doorbell and excitedly running away. Then again, I might be enjoying it simply because it results in her being left outside. Also, I do miss all her different hairstyles seen in the manga. I take it they wanted a more stable design for the animation.

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