Recently I have been reading the Seven Seas English language Light Novels of Strawberry Panic which is also available in Manga and on Region 1 DVD. To best explain the complicated set of relationships in this story of life and love set in Astraea Hill a lush settling where three all girls schools converge, the diagram below is really useful.
The plot background:
Astraea Hill is a venerable institution made up of three girl’s schools: St. Miator, traditional and academic, St. Spica, for sporty, independent girls, and St. Lulim, for future wives and homemakers. When Shizuma, St. Miator’s top student, meets new transfer student Nagisa for the first time, she feels the zing of love that has been missing from all her other romantic entanglements. Shizuma is determined to win the love of Nagisa and pursues her relentlessly, even going so far as to enter the two of them in a competition to be the school’s Etoile. The Etoile is the student chosen to represent Astraea Hill at all social and school events and is considered the most beautiful and accomplished student that year. Alongside the Etoile, a younger student serves as the Etoile’s companion/consort.
Although many students consider Shizuma (who is shown at the top of this page) to be a sure fire winner for Etoile, she and Nagisa find themselves competing against the so-called Prince of Spica, an androgynous beauty named Amane . Amane has also fallen in love for the first time with a transfer student, this one a middle schooler named Hikari. Shy and reserved, Amane has no interest in becoming the Etoile, but agrees to enter the competition if it means she can spend more time with Hikari. Surprised by their forcible inclusion in a contest neither one is prepared to participate in, Nagisa and Hikari must fight off the nasty machinations of rival competitors as well as the fans of Shizuma and Amane who are jealous of the attention the two new girls are getting. Will love bloom in the face of such obstacles?
Well I won't spoil the adventure but things don't turn out as expected, accusations of malpractice abound regarding Spica's School Council application of the competitions rules and Hikari doesn't know what's hit her.
Having been at residential boarding school I found it easy to get into the hierarchical of friends, their loyalties, crushes and the intrigues that spread day to day that this novel portrays. Some of the outfits worn by the students thought the story are really cute too.
I do hope volume three (from Chapter 26) emerges soon.