Here's a much belated parting gift.

AIR Drama CD Vol. 1Title: AIR ドラマCD 第一巻 神尾観鈴・DREAM 前編 (Drama CD Vol. 1 Kamio Misuzu DREAM First Part)
Original Creator: Key/Visual Art's
Release Date: 8/24/05
Catalog No.: FCCP-0009
Rating: 4/4

This is my third time hearing the story of AIR (fourth if you count the movie) and I still enjoy it as much as I did when I first played the game.

This is the first CD out of 9 (!). It covers half of Misuzu's story during the DREAM arc. I don't know if the dialogues are taken from the anime soundtrack, but there seems to be a lot more content in the drama CDs than in the animation. I don't believe there is much new material as everything seems familiar, but that's probably because I have the visual novel and the anime both in my head.

First pressing comes with a CD case-sized sticker that matches the cover.

1. 往人の夢 (Yukito's Dream): After dreaming about his mother teaching him how to manipulate his puppet, he wakes up at the bus stop. He tries to entertain a few kids, but they don't seem interested. The words his mother told him about a girl in the sky resounds as he does his act. The game-sized version of the intro song starts playing.

2. 出逢い (Encounter): Misuzu finds Yukito sleeping on the embankment by the beach. Yukito has her find his puppet.

3. 友達 (Friend): Misuzu finds the puppet and declares that they're friends and invites him to her house for a meal. As it gets late, she convinces him to spend the night.

4. 晴子の願い (Haruko's Wish): Haruko comes him and finds that Misuzu has brought a guy into the house. At first she is against his stay, but later allows him to stay in the garage. Misuzu and Yukito have a chat before she goes to sleep. At night, Haruko finds Yukito rummaging through the fridge and the two start talking about Misuzu. She asks him to be her friend.

5. 終業式 (End of School): Yukito follows Misuzu to school. Along the way, Misuzu finds and chases after a crow. They arrive late at school and miss the end of term assembly. Misuzu admits she delayed on purpose. They then head off to the beach. As she explains her situation about how she feels like there's another self in the sky, Yukito remembers his mother's words and says that she may be the girl he's looking for.

6. 人形劇 (Puppet Show): While Misuzu is back at homeroom, Yukito does his puppet act in front of some kids. Misuzu comes and asks what he's doing and has him show her his show. She gets distracted by the crow again. Back at home, Misuzu has Yukito show Haruko his abilities.

7. 夏休み (Summer Break): Despite being summer break, Misuzu has to go to remedial class. Before she leaves, Yukito has her draw him a map of the city so that he can explore while she's in class. When they meet up again, Misuzu asks if Yukito is going to leave. After some deliberations, Yukito says that he still doesn't have enough money. That night, Haruko comes back with a new doll for Yukito. Yukito tries to give it to Misuzu, but Haruko doesn't allow it and has him pay her back for the gift. She keeps his old puppet as ransom.

8. 少女 (Girl): The next day, a young girl comes up Yukito admiring his (new) puppet. Misuzu arrives and finds out that her name is Saika Shino and knows the girl. They bring her back to her house. Yukito gives her his new gift. Back at the Kamio house, Yukito explains how he is no longer in possession of Haruko's monkey doll.

9. 夏はいつか終わる (Summer Will Someday End): The next morning, Misuzu sees that Haruko returned Yukito's puppet to him. As the two of them walk to school, they have a talk about how the end of summer will bring a new season. When Misuzu tells him that she doesn't like to be alone, he has a flashback to what his mother told him about the girl in the sky.

10. 空の少女 (The Girl in the Sky): After dinner, Misuzu asks Yukito to play cards. As she's dealing, she suddenly breaks out in tears. Later, as they're walking outside and talking, Misuzu tells him that they're friends. She still says no, but that there's a possibility. When Haruko comes home, Yukito tries to ask her about Misuzu's condition. She explains about how she's always been this way. The next day as Yukito is working, a middle-aged man comes and sees his show. He gives him a cake. Misuzu then comes and notices the pastry and says that they'll have it for dessert during dinner. As they're walking, Misuzu tells him about her dream. Yukito then thinks back to his mother's words.

AIR Vol. 4 LETitle: AIR Vol. 4 LE
Original Creator: Key/Visual Art's
Volume: 4/6
Catalog No.: PCBX-50671
Release Date: 7/6/05
Rating: 3/4

The two episodes included here tell the ending of Misuzu's story in Dream and goes to the first half of the Summer arc. Misuzu's ending here doesn't strike me as emotionally as when I played the game. Probably because her condition is as the story progresses seemed rushed here whereas the game had me sit through more dialogs about her feelings and the dreams that she has more and more. Have the same gripes about Kana's story also. Much of my enjoyment from her arc came from the adventures they had on their journey to find her mother. For example, the scene at the village where Kana has an encounter with a chicken (I believe) is a lot more humors rather than the 2 second scene they had shown.

I actually like the poem on the bonus postcard. The commentary has three staff members again. I never have the time to listen to them in their entirety.

7. ゆめ〜dream〜
8. なつ〜summer〜

HINOI チーム (Team Hinoi)Title: HINOI チーム (Team Hinoi): King Kong
Vocals: HINOI チーム (Team Hinoi)
Release Date: 7/27/05
Catalog No.: AVCD-16068/B
Rating: 4/4

I haven't had such a good laugh in ages. This album is so bad that it's pretty good.

Rather than listening to the CD first, I went directly to the bonus DVD. Like their previous CD, it contains a music video, a para-para version, and a making of. On top of that, it also has a special version of Ichigo 100% ending with Koriki Chushu, a pro-wrestler. The lyrics to the song are ridiculous, but that's kinda to be expected from a title such as this. It turns out that this song is a cover of a euro-beat song, "King Kong" by E-rotic. While the original is in English, this song is mostly in Japanese with sprinkles of English. The first two verses translated goes something like this (Engrish in all caps):

This city is a jungle ALL NIGHT LONG
I had been looking for you
This love will someday...

There's just one KING KONG HOLD ME TIGHT
It's the first LOVE CHANCE so
Please turn and look at me

So lyrics aside, this song is one of those that drills itself into your brain and stays there.

Anyway, back to my first reactions when I watched the videos. The first one is a regular music video. At the time, I was thinking, this song is pretty dumb. The lyrics make absolutely no sense at all. The dancing isn't as great as their first single. I was laughing the whole time thinking how ridiculous it is. The second video is the Para Para version. By now, the song has started seeping into my noggins. While this dance-only version isn't as good as its counterpart from the other album, it's still fun to watch. Still impressed with those 3 inch heels. The third video sealed it off. It has Koriki dancing in the foreground with the girls in the background. They have him dress up in a small shirt and speedos, enough so you can see his belly bounce around. I was cracking up at this point. Finally, the last video has the song playing in the background while they show behind-the-scenes footage. By now, I was already humming King Kong. I was also laughing at myself for becoming sucked in by these middle school girls. Quite deadly, this group is.

In addition to the original mix, there's a eurobeat version which is what the girls dance Para Para to. Personally, I like the eurobeat version over the original mix. There's another song on this CD, but it's not as catchy. Very heavy techno though. Finally, it has another remix of IKE IKE.

First pressing comes with a card of one of the four girls. Probably like everyone else, I wanted to get Asuka, but got Rina instead. Am a HINOI-OTA, now? I fear so.

Damn, can't get this song out of my head!!!

MRO Launch

Woke up extra early to go in and watch it. Picture taken with the new cell phone, but truncated to protect the innocent (aka my superiors).

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Novel 2Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Novel 2
Author: 子安秀明 (Hideaki Koyasu)
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Book Size/Pages: B-6, 161pp.
First Printing: 12/20/04
Rating: 3/4

I have the first novel, but decided to read the second novel because I thought it might have more relevance to the anime.

This book is a novelization of the special Ichigo 100% anime shown at the Jump Festival last year. The story covers chapters 66~70 in the manga. There are some parts that are different, but the overall story about going to the countryside to film their movie is pretty much the same. Given that this is based on a screenplay, the story is a pretty fast read because most of it is dialogue.

As bonuses, it has plenty of screen shots of the anime and also comes with character sketches. Like many novels, there's also a bookmark included.

東西南北、夏直前! (North, South, East, West, Right Before Summer!): Junpei is has a dream with all four of his girls as he takes a little nap in the midst of writing the script for his next film. The day before, Aya was told that her story was chosen. The next day, Satsuki implores Junpei to allow her to be the heroine, but eventually, Misuzu chooses a girl she sees working at a bakery, Tsukasa.

クランク・イン (Crank In): In the countryside (where they go filming), the film club members start filming. Aya is going to arrive late, so Misuzu has Junpei go meet her at the station. As the two of them try to go back to their summer house, Junpei gets lost. The rain starts pouring and the two of them take shelter in an abandoned hut. Junpei and Aya have their awkward moment as the try drying their clothes and are half naked. Tsukasa gets worried and goes out and eventually finds the two.

湯けむりイチゴ色 (Steamy Strawberry Color): The girls have a scene in the outdoor bath. Afterwards, Sotomura explains about the legend of the nearby lake and how it's haunted with the ghosts of the broken hearted. As a test of bravery, they decide to go. Unfortunately, Yui stays back and Aya decides to accompany her so Junpei goes with Tsukasa.

ふたりだけの奇跡 (Our Own Miracle): As they walking around, Junpei and Tsukasa start hearing noises in the bushes. In their panic, they slip down the hill and end up by the lakeside with fireflies flying around. The two of them have a touching moment, only to be interrupted by Misuzu's "cut." Turns out that the two of them were tricked into believing the story just so that Misuzu could get the scene on film.

夏が終わる前に (Before Summer Ends): The next day they finish filming and go home.

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Vol. 16Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Vol. 16
Artist/Author: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 191pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen JUMP Vol 53, '04 - Vol 10, '05
First Printing: 6/8/05
Rating: 3/4

I really feel back for all three girls, Aya, Tsukasa, and Satsuki in this volume. All three of them confess to Junpei in their own way, but as always, Junpei is ambivalent. I'm really surprised that Tsukasa came back though. I thought that after announcing her plans for after high school, it was over. It also looks like Aya and Junpei's relationship might be in trouble too with her plans for college.

No bonuses this volume.

135. Scene 122
136. 演技!?本気!? (Acting!? For Reals!?)
137. 気になって その気になって (Worried, Feeling That Way)
138. デートx4 (Date x4)
139. EAT!
140. KISS 大人味 (Adult Kiss)
141. ホントに欲しいもの (True Desires)
142. 運命!? FLASH BACK (Fate!? Flashback)
143. 傾く気持ち…混乱 (Biased Feelings... Confusion)

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Vol. 17Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Vol. 17
Artist/Author: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Book Size/Pages: Small B-6, 191pp., w/furigana
Original Serialization: Weekly Shonen JUMP Vol 11, '05 - Vol 19, '05
First Printing: 8/9/05
Rating: 3/4

Junpei made a decision! Way to go! Again though, I feel sorry for Satsuki, Aya and even Tsukasa. Satsuki really tries too hard and Junpei ought to give her a chance. I would. At the end of this volume though, Junpei is back to square one.

Bonus comes with Ichigo 14~15% omake manga. In the inside flap, the author has a photo of her hands and the callous that have developed from her excessive pen-holding.

135. 甘えていいよ… (Spoil Me)
136. 欲張りの唇 (Greedy Lips)
137. ふたりきりクライシス (Together Alone Crisis)
138. 大切だけど そうじゃない (It's Important, But That's Not It)
139. 求めあう放課後 (Search and Find Each Other After School)
140. 儚き結晶 (Fleeting Crystallization)
141. 気づいてほしい! (I Want to Be Noticed)
142. どうして…? (Why?)
143. love drive

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Drama CD 4Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Drama CD 4 「南戸唯、とーじょーっ!!」 ("Yui Minamito Appears!!")
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Release Date: 5/27/05
Catalog No.: SCD-909136
Rating: 4/4

The 4th drama CD in the series and is excellent like the previous volumes. This volume focuses on the story when Yui comes over to Junpei's place for the first time. The other girls, namely Kozue, Chinami, and Sotomura's sister, Misuzu also have a cameo at the end of this CD.

Bonus comes with a DVD case sized pencil board with the same artwork as the cover.

1. オープニング (Opening): Yui introduces the CD as she's the featured girl on this CD. She interviews the girls (Satsuki, Aya, Tsukasa) about their memories in high school since she herself is about to attend high school. Aya explains her writing stories for Junpei. Satsuki tells about her going to the beach house for filming. Tsukasa talks about going to watch Junpei's film at the school festival.

2. 第10話「思い出の女」 (Girl From My Memories): Covers about chapters 39 to 41. After being dumped by Tsukasa, Junpei returns home to find a girl sleeping his bed in the nude. After some questioning and a flashback, he remembers that she's his childhood friend, Yui. After she gets properly dressed, Yui explains that she talked to his parents and they're supposed to go out to eat. As they're coming back from the convenient store, Yui tells Junpei that she wants to attend a high school in the area, so she's looking around and staying at Junpei's for the time being. Suddenly a few dogs appear and scare Yui. Back at home, Junpei tells Yui about his current love situation. When he's washing himself, Yui offers to wash his back. The two of them get stuck inside the bathroom.

3. 第11話「教えてお願い!!」 (Please Tell Me!!): Covers about 42 to mid 44. In order to buy presents, Junpei declines an invitation to a Christmas party as he's taken up another shift at the hamburger shop. Upon hearing this, Satsuki decides to work the same shift and miss the Christmas party. As they're talking, Junpei tells Satsuki that he split up with Tsukasa. After work, Satsuki gives Junpei a keyholder as a present and he takes a star ornament for her. At the shrine during New Year's, Junpei goes with Yui and sees Aya there too. At a cafe, the two girls introduce each other and Aya offers to help Yui study. Later, Aya comes over to tutor Yui but Yui takes the conversation in the direction of love. Junpei comes over and finds Aya's story in rough draft form and reads it.

4. 第12話「また会える」 (To Be Able to Meet Again): Covers from mid 44 to 45. Yui sees that Junpei is kinda close with a girl at work and comes to confront her. Satsuki and Yui get in an argument and have a food fight. On the way from home, Junpei, Tsukasa, Aya, Yui, Sotomura, and Komiyama meet each other on the street and decide to play hide and seek. At first, Yui and Junpei hide in the same place. However, when Sotomura is about to find them, Yui goes and finds another place. It's getting late, but they still can't find Yui. It's starting to snow and they're all getting worried. Junpei finally finds, scolds, but also hugs her because he was worried. The next day, everyone sees Yui off at the station.

5. エンディング…!? (Ending...!?): 5 girls end the show. 5 girls!? Kozue joins the mix. Misuzu and Chinami also join in. Satsuki is pretty angry that there's even more girls she has to compete with for Junpei.

6. クレジット (Credit): The cast say their names and characters.

7. SS1「こずえ初体験!?」 (Short Story 1, Kozue's First Experience!?): Kozue and Mai have a discussion where Kozue explains her fear of guys. Mai tries to help out by pretending to be a guy to help her overcome her fear. Of course, Kozue has her strange fantasies while trying to keep the conversation.

8. SS2「P.S.つかさより」 (P.S. From Tsukasa): Tsukasa gives Junpei a cake (sounds like it's in the manga, but I'm too lazy to find it).

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Character File 1Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Character File 1
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Vocals: 能登麻美子 (Mamiko Noto)
Release Date: 5/25/05
Catalog No.: LACM-4198
Rating: 2/4

I really like Mamiko's voice, just not for singing. The two songs included on this CD are soft ballads. The first song is Aya's ending theme to one of the original anime DVDs.

I actually like the music and lyrics to both the songs. In fact, the second song is written and composed by one of my favorite artists, rino. Unfortunately, Mamiko doesn't really have the voice to fill the songs.

The third track on the CD has a short and sweet Aya monologue.

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Character File 2Title: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Character File 2
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Vocals: 豊口めぐみ (Megumi Toyoguchi)
Release Date: 6/22/05
Catalog No.: LACM-4201
Rating: 3/4

Tsukasa songs are a little more upbeat than Aya's. Like Aya's single, the first song is a character ending from one of the original anime DVDs. It has 2 songs, a Tsukasa monologue, and karaoke versions for songs.

I'm always impressed by Megumi's vocal capabilities. Her singing voice here is a lot different than the voice she used to sing Paine's song from FFX-2. I actually like Aya's music and lyrics better, but the singing is better on this CD.

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) TV ED SingleTitle: いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) TV Ending Theme
Original Creator: 河下水希 (Mizuki Kawashita)
Vocals: HINOI チーム (Team Hinoi)
Release Date: 5/18/05
Catalog No.: AVCD-16064/B
Rating: 4/4

The rating for this CD is solely based on how damn catchy the song is. The song is sung by a group of four 14-year-old girls. Hinoi is actually the name of the leader of the group, Asuka Hinoi. In the photos and the DVD, they make an effort to make her different from the other three. Can you guess which one she is from the cover?

The ending song has a eurobeat feel (not that I know exactly what that is, but just my impression). There's the original mix, a slightly longer extended version as well as a karaoke version. The second song is equally upbeat. Both songs don't really have meaningful lyrics, but for this type of music, it's not really necessary.

As I mentioned above, this CD comes with a DVD. The DVD comes with three different videos of the ending song. The first is a regular music video, the second is a para-para version, and the third is a behind-the-scenes film with the music playing in the background. No matter how cheesy it may be, I have to give respect to the girls for being able to dance in 3 inch heels.

First pressing of this CD/DVD combo comes with a HINOI Team sticker.

いちご100% (Strawberry 100%) Strawberry DiariesThis review is going to be pretty brief. In short, this game sucks.

The story itself is okay, because it mostly follows the first part of the manga series from when he sees the mysterious girl on the roof of the school to the first valentine day during his first year of high school (48 in the manga). It would have been nice if it was a new story, but I have no complaints that it tells me the story for the third time (first manga, second time is drama cds, third is this game, and fourth is when I get the DVDs).

Like the manga, this story is broken up into 48 chapters, each chapter taking about 10 minute to play. In total, I don't think I took more than 10 hours combined, but I started this game in April and only finished now. Haven't had much time to devote to it.

The main rant I have is the the game engine itself. Having played through a few of these romantic adventures, I expected more.

The only positive I have is that during dialog selection, it tries to mimick Junpei's indecisiveness by having a time limit. For example, you're given two choices, but if you don't choose any of the two, it gives an alternate response (almost like a third choice). The other unique part of the game is a "movie making" mini-game, but it's pretty lame. Now for the negative.

There are voices for all 4 girls with the same CV as the anime and drama CDs. But that's it. None of the other characters are voiced.

There's no history, so you can't scroll back to re-read text. For someone forgetful like me, it's not very convenient.

You can only save at the end of each chapter, rather than at any time. And they only give you 10 save slots on the memory card.

The story path I took ended up with getting chocolates from all 4 girls (yay!).

Rating: 1/4

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